Obama launches technology initiative

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Obama thumb Obama launches technology initiativeUS President Barack Obama has launched an initiative to develop new manufacturing jobs, in a move that will see more than 500 million dollars invested in advanced technologies.

The initiative will team up government, companies and universities and aims to speed the development of a new generation of American-made high-technology products.

The program will leverage existing federal funds and future deferral departmental budgets to invest in domestic manufacturing capabilities deemed critical to US national security.

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New technology aids cancer detection

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cancer thumb New technology aids cancer detectionA new cutting-edge technology that detects and diagnoses breast cancer has become available in the US.

Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) can detect lesions that are so small, they don’t show up on a traditional mammogram, providing early detection and treatment.

BSGI requires the patient to be injected with a low-dose radioactive tracer. That tracer is absorbed into cancerous cells, which then light up on the image.

A mammogram detects about 85 percent of breast cancers in women, and doctors say BSGI could be more reliable in uncovering cancers that we wouldn’t see any other way.

The technology is also useful both for newly diagnosed patients and high-risk women who carry the breast-cancer gene BRCA.

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Technology give gamblers choice

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Las Vegas slot machines thumb Technology give gamblers choicePokies technology that allows players to choose whether or not to curb their spending is the best way to stop problem gambling, Victoria says.

Gaming ministers from around the country will meet in Canberra on Friday to discuss federal Labor’s plans to crack down on pokies, based on an agreement it made with independent MP Andrew Wilkie last year which helped it form a minority government.

One idea on the table is the introduction of a mandatory pre-commitment scheme, which would require patrons to nominate their maximum losses before they started gambling.

But Victorian Gaming Minister Michael O’Brien said that approach infringed on peoples individual rights.

He argued optional pre-commitment technology on every poker machine in the state, combined with the removal of ATMs from gaming venues from July 1 next year, made Victoria’s anti-gambling package tougher than the commonwealth’s.

‘We think we have a far more effective integrated package that will work, whereas the Wilkie deal is basically born of a quick political fix,’ Mr O’Brien told ABC Radio.

He vowed Victoria would not sign up to any reform plan today if it included mandatory pre-commitment technology.

Federal Families and Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said she was pleased that at least there was consensus that pre-commitment technology was a useful tool.

‘That’s an important first step,’ she said.

But Victoria’s plan to keep the system purely voluntary wouldn’t be enough to stop problem gambling, Ms Macklin said.

That’s because even if someone uses the technology in the first instance, they can just take their pre-commitment card out of the machine and play on once they’ve reached their limit.

‘It’s not actually going to help the problem gambler,’ the minister said.

‘It’s like saying to people, ‘The seat belt is in your car but you don’t have to use it’.’

Ms Macklin said there were a number of anti-gambling strategies on the agenda for Friday’s meeting, such as pokies display warnings, club ATM restrictions and online betting.

‘We understand how important it is to act on a number of fronts,’ she said, adding there was still time for detailed consultations with the states on the issue.

The government has vowed to have the legislation ready by mid-next year, with Ms Macklin ‘hopeful’ all premiers and chief ministers will support it.

Labor will need the votes of key independents to have the draft laws passed in parliament, but Tony Windsor has already flagged his opposition to the scheme.

Ms Macklin said the government would keep talking with the crossbenchers and stressed how important it was to act on problem gambling.

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More Americans Own Mobile Phones than Computers

A higher percentage of US adults owns a mobile phone than owns a computer, according to new data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Cell Phones, Computers Top Gadgets
Pew data indicates that 85% of Americans now own a cell phone. Cell phone ownership rates among young adults have reached 96% of 18-to-29 year olds. Meanwhile, three-quarters (76%) of Americans own either a desktop or laptop computer. Since 2006, laptop ownership has grown dramatically (from 30% to 52%) while desktop ownership has declined slightly.

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Less than Half Own MP3 Players, Video Games
Ownership rates of other popular gadgets among US adults do not reach 50%. Slightly less than half of American adults (47%) own an MP3 player such as an iPod. This represents a nearly five-fold increase from the 11% who owned this type of device in early 2005.

Console gaming devices like the Xbox and PlayStation are nearly as common as mp3 players, as 42% of Americans own a home gaming device. Parents (64%) are nearly twice as likely as non-parents (33%) to own a game console.

Tablets, E-readers Grow with Early Adopters
Compared with the other devices on this list, e-book readers (such as the Kindle) and tablet computers (such as the iPad) are relatively new arrivals to the consumer technology scene and are owned by a relatively modest number of Americans.

However, these devices are proving popular with traditional early adopter groups such as the affluent and highly educated. Ownership rates for tablets and e-book readers among college graduates and those earning $75,000 or more per year are roughly double the national averages of 5% and 4%, respectively.

Multiple Ownership Common
Eight in 10 American adults (78%) own two or more of these devices, and the median adult owns three of the seven gadgets we asked about in our survey. Among other factors, device ownership is highly correlated with age.

For example, the typical adult younger than age 45 owns four devices, while the typical adult between the ages of 55 and 64 owns two and the typical senior (age 65 or older) owns just one. Those with high levels of income and education are also more likely to own a relatively large number of devices compared with those with lower income and education levels.

iPad Owners Valuable to Advertisers
iPad owners may currently represent a small segment of the adult US population, but they demonstrate a number of demographic trends that make them valuable to advertisers, according to research from The Nielsen Company. iPad owners skew younger and more male than owners of many other portable computing devices. Sixty-five percent of them are male and 63% of them are younger than the age of 35.

Google eyes online consumer index

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Google US internet titan Google is readying its own ‘Google Price Index’ based on a vast database of online purchases, providing a daily measure of inflation, said a top company official quoted in the Financial Times.

Google has not yet decided whether it will publish the index (GPI), which is still in development, the group’s chief economist Hal Varian said at the National Association of Business Economists conference in Denver, Colorado.

Varian said the GPI indicates a ‘very clear deflationary trend’ for goods purchased online in just under a year of data gathering, a potentially worrying prospect for US officials.

The GPI, calculated differently from official statistics of consumption — a key indicator of US economic growth — as it only accounts for products sold on the internet, but can be a much faster tool as results could be modelled at real-time speed.

The most recent official data from the Commerce Department was released at the beginning of October and showed consumer spending in August. Those figures showed spending rose 0.4 per cent in August as consumers spent slightly more than expected for the second straight month.

Story from www.ninemsn.com.au

Boomers Spend Money, Use Tech

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The Baby Boom Generation is still responsible for a substantial portion of consumer spending and is technologically sophisticated, according to new data from The Nielsen Company.

Boomers Spend 38% of CPG Dollars
An estimated 78 million Baby Boomers, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, currently reside in the US. This population segment spends 38.5% of CPG dollars. Yet it is estimated that less than 5% of advertising dollars are currently targeted towards adults 35-64 years old (which includes the latter half of Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1976, in addition to Boomers).

With most marketers generally targeting 18-49 year olds, more than half of the affluent Boomer demographic is ignored entirely. It is worth noting that Nielsen data shows Boomers dominate 1,023 out of 1,083 consumer packaged goods categories.

Boomers Watch TV, Employ Technology
Boomers watch one-third of all TV content consumed in the US. In addition, defying stereotypes of older people being out of touch with technology, Boomers:

  • Watch the most video: 9:34 hours per day.
  • Comprise one-third of all online users, social media users and Twitter users.
  • Time-shift TV more than 18-24-year-olds (two hours and 32 minutes a month compared to one hour and 32 minutes a month).
  • Are significantly more likely to own a DVD player.
  • More likely to have broadband internet access at home.

Boomers Have Similar Web Tastes to Younger Adults
Baby Boomers have similar tastes in internet sites to adults aged 18-34. Of the top 10 sites favoured by 18-to-34-year-olds, eight are shared by Baby Boomers. Both demographics rank Google and Yahoo as their top and second-favourite sites, respectively. Baby Boomers rank Bing third and Facebook fourth, while 18-to-34-year-old reverse this order of favouritism.

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The two sites Baby Boomers rank in their top 10 which 18-to-34-year-olds do not are Ask.com (ninth) and Amazon.com (10th). In comparison, 18-to-34-year-olds differ in their preference for Fox Interactive Media (eighth) and Apple (ninth).

Pat McDonough, SVP, insights, analysis and policy at the Nielsen Company, said Baby Boomers should be as desirable for marketers as Millennials (ages 15-32) and Gen-Xers (ages 33-44). “As the US continues to age, reaching this group will continue to be critical for advertisers,” said McDonough.

Boomers like Savings Tied to Spending
In previous analysis, Nielsen advised that Baby Boomers tend to be big spenders who like monthly or quarterly cash-back savings programs that reflect spending levels. The upsell can be pursued into prescription medications, insurance, gifts for grandkids and kids, entertainment, travel, even discount wines by the case.

In addition, Boomers are big online shoppers, comfortable using email and messaging to stay in touch. Twitter is a huge untapped outlet for reaching Boomers, who increased utilization 469% during 2009. Reach one and you can reach their entire follower base with product info and special offers.

Mobile Shopping Doubles in 2010

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Shopping, yes. Buying? Maybe

Mobile commerce has been slow to catch on. According to Multichannel Merchant, four in five multichannel retailers have no m-commerce presence. But while consumer usage of mobile shopping is still relatively low, it is increasing, prompting firms such as Coda Research Consultancy to predict a doubling of m-commerce revenues in the US this year, to $2.4 billion.

There has also been a doubling in usage of mobile shopping, according to PriceGrabber.com’s “Smartphone Shopping Behavior” survey. In April 2010, 35% of US Web-enabled mobile phone owners said they had participated in some form of mobile shopping in the past year, such as browsing or researching but not necessarily purchasing products. That was up from 17% who said the same in 2009. Still, only 13% actually made purchases via mobile, up from 10% last year.

Among all mobile users, there was a marked willingness to adopt more mobile shopping behaviors over the next two years, though a significant portion of the population indicated they would never be interested in such activities.

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Consumers’ greater willingness to shop on the mobile channel rather than buy is supported by other research. Retrevo found in February 2010 that across all age groups Internet users were at least three times as likely to research or compare prices on their phones as they were to make a purchase.

In Q9 2009, four times as many Internet users surveyed by ATG said they researched or browsed via mobile at least weekly than bought.

Among the mobile buyers surveyed by PriceGrabber.com, the top purchases were of digital content for their phones and consumer electronics, with both categories increasing over last year.

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PriceGrabber found some of the barriers to further mobile buying were inherent to the medium, with respondents complaining that mobile screens were too small and saying that they simply preferred using a PC because it was easier. About one-third of respondents also said the mobile buying process takes too long, and one-quarter indicated transactions were too difficult to complete.

Smartphone Owners Lead Daily Mobile Web Access

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Smartphone owners, men, and consumers younger than 40 are most likely to access the internet via mobile phone at least once a day, according to a survey by ABI Research.

Half of Smartphone Owners Access Web Daily
Overall, ABI Research data indicates that about 25% of US consumers accessed the internet via mobile phone at least once per day in February 2010. Broken down into specific demographic segments, the data finds that about 50% of smartphone owners did so. Not surprisingly, this made smartphone owners the consumer demographic most likely to perform daily internet access with a mobile phone.

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Close to 40% of both men and consumers younger than 40 performed daily internet access with a mobile phone. There was a sizable drop from this usage rate to the usage rate of next-most-active consumer segment, women (a little more than 20%). Consumers older than 40 followed with a usage rate slightly below 20%. Only about 15% of non-smartphone owners accessed the internet at least once a day in February 2010.

These results essentially reinforce stereotypes of technology usage. Early device adopters, males, and younger consumers are most likely to perform a technologically advanced activity, with women, older consumers and technology device laggards least likely.

Low Expense, High Personalization Drive Mobile Marketing Spend
The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of mobile marketing and advertising will exceed 40% in the next five years, according to other data from ABI Research. In 2009, well under half a billion dollars were spent on mobile marketing and advertising. During the five years to the end of 2015, that expenditure will grow at a compound annual rate of more than 40%, according to estimates from ABI Research.

ABI Research says this robust growth will be fostered by several factors. Compared to campaigns in more traditional media, mobile marketing can be relatively inexpensive. Moreover, ads can be highly targeted and naturally paired with rich mobile content that growing numbers of consumers are accessing through smart mobile devices.

One-third of Mobile Subscribers Use Browser
Applying different metrics, comScore found that 30.1% of US mobile subscribers ages 13 and up used a mobile browser in the three-month average between January and March, 2010. Texting was the most popular mobile activity, performed by 63.7% of subscribers.

About the Data: ABI Research surveyed 1,003 US consumers about their mobile internet usage.

Low Ad Recall but High Response for Location-Based Services

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Mobile location-based services provide a variety of functions, including maps, navigation, friend finders and store locators. According to a study from Luth Research and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), more than one-quarter of US mobile phone users have used a location-based service, and 10% do so at least weekly.

Users of mobiles ages 25 to 34 were the demographic most likely to use location-based services at least once a week, at 22%. iPhone users also came in above average, with 63% using the services weekly. The most common activities were finding nearby points of interest, including stores, locating the user on a map and using navigation services.

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Advertisers may not be taking advantage of the opportunities offered by such utilitarian services. A scant 9% of monthly location-based services users said they had noticed ads at least one-half of the time. In contrast, 35% of mobile Web browsers remembered seeing adds most of the time, as did 25% of mobile information searchers.

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But among those location-based services users who did see ads, nearly one-half (48%) took action. Only 37% of SMS ad viewers and 28% of mobile Web ad viewers said the same.

“Consumers believe location-based services offer them significant benefits in functionality and relevance,” said Peter A. Johnson, vice president of market intelligence, MMA, in a statement. “Consumers’ significant adoption and appreciation of location-based services opens up enormous new opportunities for brands and agencies to leverage this unique virtue of the mobile channel.”

In Q1 2009, Brightkite found just 4.3% of non-iPhone users and 15.4% of iPhone users recalled seeing mobile ads on location-based services, indicating the ads may be somewhat more prevalent in 2010. A January 2010 survey from R2integrated found that nearly one-fifth of North American marketers planned to use location-based campaigns this year, but that could include non-advertising marketing components.

Commonwealth Bank Releases New Augmented Reality Application for the Australian Market

I first wrote about Augmented Reality applications back in October after I had returned from the Inman Technology conference in San Francisco, if you’d like to read that article, here’s the link to refresh your memory Augmented Reality What is it?

I’ve been patiently waiting for the technology to start to be implemented here in Australia and now its finally arriving with news the Commonwealth Bank have announced the release of their new Augmented Reality iPhone application.

Here’s the media release from the bank:

“Building on Commonwealth Bank’s vision of banking in 2013, the Group is announcing its next digital innovation with the release of its iPhone augmented reality application for anyone buying or selling a home, or simply looking to keep on top of the property market.

The new iPhone application will take property search to a new level, revolutionising the way home buyers search for a home allowing them to make smarter property decisions with virtual reality insight in to any Australian home anywhere, anytime.

The technology is supported by two industry leaders realestate.com.au, the nation’s number one property portal and rpdata.com, Australia’s leading property information and analytics company.

The core functionality of the application utilises ‘augmented reality’ where rich data including past sales history (on more than 95 per cent of properties in Australia), current property listings and recent sales, is mapped on to a real world view through the iPhone’s camera.

Users can also switch to a list or bird’s eye view to pull in insights on properties matching their search criteria. Home hunters can then track their ‘dream house’ in their favourites, send to a friend and make informed decisions with access to detailed suburb profiles revealing demographics, median price, property hotspots and capital growth trends.

According to Mark Murray, General Manager Consumer Marketing, “We are leveraging new technology and continually innovating to deliver convenient, relevant and real-time services to make buying a home easier.

“As Australia’s biggest home lender we have teamed up with rpdata.com and realestate.com.au, to help Australians make an informed decision when it comes to making their biggest financial commitment.

“The new iPhone application will be an industry first in Australia.  Home buyers and sellers can easily access a host of customised information, tools and insights on every home in Australia – for free.

“The application is a significant milestone in our 2013 vision of banking, bringing virtual reality property search to customers right here, right now,” added Mr Murray.

A video demo of the iPhone augmented reality application will be available next week with the application available for download from the Apple App Store, coming soon.”

If you can’t wait to see how the application will work, you can take a look at the video here.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph I can’t wait to be able to download this application and start playing with it, this hopefully will be the start of more Augmented Reality applications like this, and I’d also like to see the use of GEO Fencing technology and location based applications being employed by business here as well, the use of this technology has many benefits to the end consumer.

Whilst this application is aimed at the real estate buyer, this opens up the potential of this technology to all types of businesses, imagine the impact this type of technology has for restaurants and tourism.

Being able to access prices, menus, consumer reviews and book a table or a room directly from your phone opens up a new world of opportunities for business in this country.

Well done Commonwealth Bank and I hope this is the start of more of these applications being widely adopted by both business and consumers.