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The top tech round-ups of 2018



It’s been a brilliant year for tech, with advances that couldn’t have been imagined in our wildest dreams a few years ago! As you may have been able to tell from some of our latest blog posts, at Refresh PR we love a bit of tech and we’re extremely excited about the future of tech (particularly in our beloved Manchester!).

 

In this blog we’ve pulled together our top tech roundups from the year. If you want the best gadgets, the most interesting stories or the more niche tech, we’ve got a round up for everyone.

 

Engadget

This article focuses on the successes within tech. In a year with many things to complain about, Engadget has found many things worth celebrating. As well as the obvious tech such as phones and laptops, this piece also looks into mini synthesizers, retro emulators and e-readers.

 

TechRadar

TechRadar has pulled together a list for people who expect the best. If only the best is good enough, this is the roundup you need to read. For each category within the round up, there is only product/service, and the article will be continuously updated when something new takes the top spot – so you know you are truly getting the most up-to-date best of the best.

 

Alphr

This roundup describes 2018 as ‘a turbulent one in tech’. The article describes some of the complex news stories that have made headlines over the past year. From Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal to some of the year’s most shocking data hacks, this article has got all the ins and outs.

 

BestProducts

If you are someone that loves to have every bit of tech that’s out there, then this is the one for you. The 100 coolest gadgets of 2018.

 

Popular Mechanics  

And last, but certainly not least, a nod to another one of our passions at Refresh PR, food and drink, with this article on ‘The Best Gifts for the Tech-Loving Foodies in Your Life’. From red wine aerators to coffee mills, there are a few things we wouldn’t mind on this list!

 

The future of tech

What is to come in 2019? We’re already looking forward to seeing 2019’s roundups, and comparing them to the roundup’s in this blog post, because let’s face it every year we sit and think how did we possibly live without the tech that now exists? Stay tuned to our blog for more updates, round ups and insights into the tech industry!

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , tech, Tech PR, Tech round up

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The Tech Ghosts of Future, Past and Present



There’s nothing like the impending festive period to focus the mind on how quickly time flies. We’re just over a week away from calendars flipping into 2019 yet it seems like a mere blink of the eye since 2017 morphed into 2018.


The speed of which time seems to pass us by, is no more profoundly felt than in the world of tech. We all know the famous quote ‘a week’s a long time in politics’, well in tech sometimes it feels like a day is an eternity such is the speed of change.


So, in an attempt to both take time to reflect and to get into the Christmas spirit, I’m going to attempt to take a leaf out of a Charles Dickens book (quite literally) and condense a year in tech down to a night of vivid dreams (well, a blog actually).


The Ghosts of Technologies Past


If there was to be a ghost appearing from technology’s past this year it would undoubtedly be visiting the CEOs of some of our tech giants with a warning about taking users for granted. Both Facebook, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and security breach that affected 50 million users, and Twitter, with its lax policy on extremist users, were in the limelight for all the wrong reasons in 2018.


And it wasn’t just social media giants that found themselves in stormy waters. Google faced rebellions over its Dragonfly project, which aimed to create a censored engine for the Chinese market and Project Maven, a programme to produce a computer vision system for warfare, prompting several members of staff to resign.


What all of these incidents made clear is that while people may well be heavily bought into - even maybe reliant - on these tech giants, they expect them to follow a certain ethical code and not to just expect them to accept any actions they decide to take. Moving into 2019 it will be interesting to see whether these incidents see a greater moral consideration in future tech developments and projects.


The Ghost of Technologies Present


For all the warnings of the Ghost of the Past, the Ghost of Technologies Present will almost certainly arrive with a more positive message. There is no doubt that tech is booming. In the UK tech is growing nearly three times faster than the overall economy. Globally the sector is seeing more and more star-ups bringing innovative products and solutions to the market. So, all in all it is a positive industry to be in right now.


However, for all that positivity it’s vital that the sector doesn’t get complacent. Some of us are old enough to remember the dot com crash of 18 years ago and there are small signs that, if the sector doesn’t take steps to prevent it, another similar crash could be on the horizon. It might seem unnecessarily gloomy given all the positives but I don’t remember the Ghost of Christmas Present rocking up with a sleigh full of joy inducing gifts!


The Ghost of Technologies Future


The future of tech is exciting – change, evolution, revolutions even, are occurring all the time in this vibrant sector. But let’s face it, in the UK’s 2018 edition trying to make a prediction is just downright foolhardy – I don’t need to spell out the B word right? And let’s not even spell out GE – it might just push Brenda in Bristol over the edge.


Uncertainty aside I’m going to stick my neck on the line here and make one bold prediction that I believe that any Ghost of Technologies Future would deliver. Ahem, are we ready: AI will once again dominate column (or blog) inches in 2019 with the potential it has to deliver. It will once again advance and evolve and we’ll start to see its capabilities harnessed more widely. However, for all the hype it won’t advance to the stage whereby the machines will rise and take all our jobs. That’s a positive outlook isn’t?


Anyway, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas – I best sign off this blog post now, I’ve just received an email from the MD calling me into a meeting about the PR Professional Humanoid Bot 2000……….

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , tech, Tech PR

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Podcasts you’ve got to listen to…




I'll start this blog with a disclaimer… I love podcasts. The first ever one was released in 2003; fast forward 15 years and there are now over 500,000 of them on Apple Podcasts. What a growth story. Simply by making having a voice accessible to the masses, podcasts are a wonderful thing.

My love of podcasts started on my eight-month trip around Asia last year when I had A LOT of spare time on very slow transport methods to fill. Got to spend 26 hours on a bus from Laos to Vietnam? Download a podcast. Someone snoring in the bunk above you in a hostel? Podcast. Spending two days on a slow boat travelling from Thailand to Laos? Podcast.  

Are you looking for inspiration for your next listen? We’re here to help; here’s what the Refresh PR team said when I asked them which podcasts they love and why…

S Town

From the creators of This American Life (another great podcast), this was probably one of last year’s most talked about podcasts. The eight parter which started as a murder mystery story in a small central American town ended up being something a wholeeeeeeeeee lot different! A lot of twists and turns along the way but with great storytelling throughout, you don’t want to miss this one. Prepare to smile, laugh, be sad, or just downright confused - I was crying on a beach by the end of it. 

Here it is: https://stownpodcast.org/

Reply All

This podcast, centred around all the weird, wonderful and sometimes scary things the internet affords us is a great listen if you don’t have time to dedicate to a longer podcast. A good one for your daily commute, you’ll find everything on here - from how podcast creator, Alex Goldman, played a telephone scammer at his own game (one of my personal favourite episodes), to a woman that can’t remember where she stored her Bitcoin, to an investigation into fake online reviews and why Amazon is sending us crappy goods.  

Check out a full episode list here: https://www.gimletmedia.com/reply-all/all

Eat Sleep Work Repeat

If you’re struggling to find a work life balance or simply happiness or worth in your day to day job, this one is for you. Even those with a seemingly ‘perfect’ job can still have those “what am I doing here?!” moments, right? Listen to this one if you want to learn how to cultivate creativity, an engaged workforce, learn how to switch your emails off in an evening and be fine with that, or even just want some simple mindset shifts that can allow you to enjoy your job that little bit more.

Check it out here: https://eatsleepworkrepeat.fm/

The Totally Football Show

There’s gotta be a sport related one in there somewhere, right? Our senior account exec, Jake, reckons so. Here’s what he said: My favourite podcast is ‘The Totally Football Show’ which, surprisingly, is a football podcast that goes out twice a week during the Premier League season. Thursday’s episode builds up to the weekend’s fixtures, discussing team news and predictions for each game before Monday’s episode takes a look back at the big talking points from the weekend’s matches. The podcast isn’t too serious and is hosted by James Richardson who I find very charismatic and funny. Although it’s light hearted, a panel of sports journalists provide real insight into the world of football on each episode.

I enjoy it because I’m obsessed with football and it gives me stats and facts to talk about with my mates when I’m at the pub. I listen to the podcast on my walk to and from work - Thursday’s gets me in the mood for the weekend’s football and then on Monday I enjoy hearing what the panel have to say about each match and finding out things I might have missed when watching. 

They also did a Totally Football Show World Cup special that went out every single day of the World Cup which was great…I miss the World Cup.

Are you a football freak too? If so, here it is: https://www.thetotallyfootballshow.com/

How’s that for starters? We’ve still got loads more on the list so check back soon for more. I’ve got a feeling that this is going to be a two parter…. 


Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , podcasts, PR, tech, Tech PR

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Investment in tech in Manchester is at an all-time high: how the region’s tech businesses can capitalise on this



I seem to have been harping on about the potential of tech up North, and particularly in Manchester, for the past three years or so, ever since I started working heavily with clients in the sector on creative communications campaigns.

It’s been amazing to watch the sector grow at the rapid pace it has over the past few years, so I wasn’t surprised to read this week that tech companies in the North have attracted investment at the fastest rate in Europe over the past five years. The research by Prolific North told us that the region attracted a whopping £482m in investment in 2017, with Manchester named the fourth most popular city to invest in across the whole of Europe. In addition, TechCity’s 2017 Tech Nation report revealed that Manchester’s tech sector is worth £2.9bn to the regional economy, providing 63,000 jobs across the city.

Manchester has always been a city steeped in innovation, from being at the helm of the industrial revolution over 200 years ago, to the birth of the first modern computer, designed and built at the University of Manchester in 1948, right through to the present day, with hundreds of exciting digital businesses operating out of the city.

Born and bred Mancunian companies like Boohoo, Misguided, AO.com, Avecto and Autotrader, sit alongside huge corporate businesses such as Sainsbury’s  –  which moved its digital and tech team up to Manchester in 2016 – and co-working space, WeWork, which recently opened its first UK office outside of London in Manchester. All of these businesses are benefitting from the opportunities offered to them through the region’s dynamic digital sector.

Here at Refresh PR we love tech; we live it and breathe it. We really believe that Manchester is well on its way to becoming a global technology leader, so we want to shout about the brilliant work the tech sector in the region is producing. However, we know it’s often the last thing on the minds of tech entrepreneurs, as they prioritise growing their businesses and working on exciting projects.

We have a wealth of experience in helping tech companies – from digital agencies and app developers, to fintech and eLearning businesses – share exciting news and build their brands in creative ways. So if you’re a tech company that would benefit from some PR and communications we would love to have a chat. We’ll provide the brews and biscuits!

Give our tech account director, Lucy, a call on 0161 871 1188 or email at lucy @refreshpr.co.uk.

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , FinTech, PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, tech, Tech PR

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What is Legitimate Interest, and does it affect you?



The EU General Data Protection Regulation, otherwise known as GDPR is a hot topic at the moment, with thousands of businesses across the UK currently adapting their data protocol in time for the changes coming into play in May 2018. For tech companies, users and consumers are vital for business, so you’re more than likely to be affected by GDPR.

‘But I process data for the greater good!’ we hear you cry. ‘I have to process client data, otherwise how will they know about the company?’ is another common worry.

The legitimate interest clause – which is currently going somewhat under the radar – is providing tech businesses with some security amidst the confusion.

The clause, one of the six lawful grounds for data processing in Article 6.1 of the GDPR states:

[Processing is] necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the controller or a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests, rights or freedoms of the data subject

There are some examples where legitimate interest may apply – risk assessment, for direct marketing purposes, existing relationships (agency and client, for example) – but for those working in tech, certain areas are particularly pertinent:

Personalisation

Personalisation is key in many digital marketing campaigns and today, is expected by users. However, under the new GDPR rules, personalisation as we know it will be heavily controlled and marketers will need to have evidence that they have permission to target their users with marketing and comms. The legitimate interests clause within GDPR however, means companies can justify using analytics to personalise website content for each user. It is argued providing a better UX is in the user’s best interest, and therefore particular elements of personalisation may not be liable to GDPR.

Web analytics

As a company centred on technology development and innovation, web analytics are pivotal to your business success. So good news, you can happily use diagnostic analysis to track visitors, posts, user journey and social media metrics to advise future marketing campaigns without fear of a fine under GDPR. This information must be used for business intelligence. Cookie consent, however, is a different matter so make sure you’re clear on the difference.

Artificial Intelligence

Many websites use artificial intelligence to provide a quick, improved UX. Netflix provides tailored film choices, dependent on previous viewing history; Siri uses data stored in a device to answer questions, all using AI. Certain elements of AI do not fall under GDPR and many companies will not need to change their processes to facilitate this. It’s more a case of what you do with the data after this stage so be clear on what applies to you and what doesn’t.

While legitimate interest can provide some reassurance, it is important that companies understand GDPR, what it is and how to best implement processes to protect your company. If the groundwork isn’t put in before the 25th May 2018, when GDPR comes into effect, the consequences to your business could be catastrophic.


Tagged with: Data, GDPR, tech