Monthly Archives: October 2016

Tips for Sleep Better

Can’t sleep? There’s an app for that. Or at least a gadget.

Not getting enough sleep can result in poor performance at work, bad moods and even a weakened immune system. Therefore, it’s important that you consistently get a good night’s rest — and these products, from customized alarms to smart sleep masks, promise to help.

Check out these 11 gadgets to help you get more shut-eye.

 

NORA

Say goodbye to nose strips and ear plugs, Toronto-based tech company NORA says it has a solution for snoring.

NORA aims to be a non-invasive, silent and portable tech gadget. You place one piece of it on a surface near your bed and the second piece (a padded insert) in your pillow. When the device detects any snoring, the mini pump in the pillow insert will inflate and deflate — gently moving the pillow, and as a result, stops snoring.

NOX SLEEP LIGHT

It may be time to disable your iPhone alarm clock. Here’s a bedside system that aims to help you naturally wake up.

By placing a giant band on top of your mattress, the Nox system measures sleep patterns, heart rate, breathing rate and how much you’re tossing and turning.

The data gathered is sent to an app connected to a bedside light that aspires to provide the perfect lighting and sounds to wake you up naturally. The light also apparently helps you get sound sleep by producing red wavelengths and soothing sounds that increase melatonin levels.

Rich Got Morgan Freeman

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg got actor Morgan Freeman to be the voice of his artificial intelligence assistance Jarvis (cheekily named after Tony Stark’s Jarvis AI from the Iron Man movies).

Zuck has been working on Jarvis for about a year, and in the video below, you’ll see him using it to manage many things in his household — including room temperature, his toaster and teaching his daughter Mandarin. You even see him use it to get one of his signature grey T-shirts to him by a cannon-like device.

 

The billionaire decided to create Jarvis after he wanted to learn more about AI.

“My goal was to learn about the state of artificial intelligence — where we’re further along than people realize and where we’re still a long ways off,” Zuckerberg said in a Monday Facebook post. “These challenges always lead me to learn more than I expected, and this one also gave me a better sense of all the internal technology Facebook engineers get to use, as well as a thorough overview of home automation.”

This one definitely gets a “Wow.”

The best news of digital marketers

For digital marketers, 2016 was a year of innovation and change. And while some of the most prominent challenges were familiar, there were brand new hurdles that seemed to emerge daily. So, what were the most critical ones?

Related: How to Stay Ahead With Digital Marketing

As marketers close out the year and consider strategies for 2017, here’s a look back at five of the biggest obstacles they faced over the last year.

 

1. Ad fraud is still a big problem.

The United States has one of the worst ad fraud rates in the world. This year, the rates will cost the industry more than $7 billion in advertising spend — up, once again, from the previous year (in this case, 2015). For comparison, other countries like Australia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom all have better rates.

On the bright side, as the problem has grown, so has awareness among advertisers. This has led to supply-side changes, with publishers eliminating high-risk and potentially fraudulent inventory. We’re also seeing more industrywide standards and incentives in place this year than there were two years ago.

For instance, the IAB has put in place a Traffic of Good Intent Task Force, designed to combat ad fraud and offer recommendations and best practices. And, this past summer, the Trustworthy Accountability Group launched an anti-fraud certification program.

Together, these things are turning the tide — albeit slowly. As fraud lingers, however, marketers might look at other channels that have more inherent engagement and audience buy-in — such as mobile apps and email — as a means for launching launch campaigns.

 

2. Marketers are stuck on data collection.

Today, more than 92 percent of marketers collect information on customers or prospects. Data-driven marketing is the industry standard. But we’re still stuck in idle, focusing on data collection. Most marketers are just learning how to crawl when it comes to making data actionable at scale; and 2016 didn’t see much progress in that direction.

When it comes to data implementation, an alarming number of marketers still lack the internal experience — either at the functional or operational level — to be successful. This is why, according to a report from IDG Connect and Avention, more than 40 percent of marketers can’t draw insights from harvested data.

This will hopefully change as marketing tools offer more self-service, automating data analysis and implementation. And others will offer machine-learning capabilities to drive immediate applications of customer data.

 

3. Marketing software is too hard to use.

During this past year, 2016, technology’s ease of use has become a much bigger focus for the marketing industry. This is because of the complexity in the customer journey. Scott Brinker, the CTO of ion interactive, said it best when he characterized the funnel as “hundreds of touchpoints” that are “aching to be addressed every month.”

As the customer journey has grown more complicated, with more touchpoints and data, software supporting marketers needs to be simplified. Companies that do that will optimize adoption and support ROI.

Related: Tailor Your Digital Marketing to the Customer Experience

Marketing software shouldn’t be a rite of passage. To navigate the complexity of the modern customer journey, it must be built for ease of use, with intuitive UIs and functionality. This has been the focus of many software providers this year. Advertisers, agencies and marketers want more platform simplicity from vendors.