Snapchat ‘Spectacles’ used by Doctor for the first-ever lifestream surgery

A London based doctor performed surgery in real time on Snapchat. Dr. Shafi Ahmed used ‘Spectacles’ to give a first person view of a hernia repair surgery at London Independent Hospital. He captured the surgery on $130 Spectacles providing an in-depth look at the procedure and offered insight on what he was doing.

Dr. Ahmed believes in using the tools, from phones to apps, to go beyond the limits and reach more people. According to Ahmed, 150 to 200 medical students tuned to his Snapchat Story.

In April, Ahmed set up a 360-degree camera to document a removal of tumor from patient’s colon. It was the first virtual reality medical film.

Dr. Ahmed is going to publish results of his Snapchat experiment in the coming weeks. He is confident he will continue to use Spectacles in his practice with the hopes of reaching people all around the world.

Virgin Media preparing to launch a new budget broadband brand

Virgin Broadband
Rastin Mehr/flickr.com

Virgin Media is preparing to launch a new budget broadband brand as it expands the coverage of its cable network next year, a move that would open a new front for TalkTalk in its battle to retain market share.

The plans are understood to be at an early stage and under secret development at Virgin Media under the codename Project Prosecco.

If launched, Project Prosecco would represent an unprecedented move downmarket. Sources said Virgin Media was likely to offer significantly lower internet speeds to protect its premium customer base.

BT does something similar with its Plusnet brand, positioned to compete directly with TalkTalk for more budget-conscious households.

Sources said the operator is working towards a potential launch in 2017, although no final decisions have been taken. The initiative is part of a wider effort by Virgin Media to capitalise on the ongoing £3bn investment by its parent company, pan-European operator Liberty Global, in expanding Britain’s cable network.

Coverage is scheduled to increase from around half to two thirds of homes by 2020.

Asked whether Virgin Media would launch a budget broadband, Tom Mockridge, it’s chief executive, said: “There are a lot of people down in the more economic sector. But we think there is room for everyone in this market.”

The move will nevertheless be seen as a threat to TalkTalk. Its share of retail broadband has slid by 10 percentage points since 2010 to just 13pc, and the arrival of a cable budget competitor to target its core market would add to the gloom at TalkTalk, which has lost three fifths of its value in 18 months. A Virgin Media spokesman declined to comment on its plans.

By Christopher Williams

Possible future for 3D printed cars

At the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, Local Motors 3D printed a plastic car called the Strati.

Local Motors printed the car's chassis and body all in one piece, and also printed the fenders separately. The first phase of the process took just 44 hours.

Then the non-printed components (engine, seats, steering wheel, etc.) were attached in the last stage of the assembly.

“A 3D printed car like ours will only have dozens of components,” Local Motors engineer James Earle told Business Insider. In the near future, he says, it could cost only about $7,000 to manufacture, perhaps the start of what will become a niche market for customized cars.

Famous Piccadilly Circus landmark advertising boards gets a tech overhaul

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Wed, 7 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

Piccadilly Lights, the famous illuminated advertising boards that overlook Piccadilly Circus, are to be switched off for an extended period for the first time since the Blitz to allow a complete overhaul.

Clive Darra/Flickr
Clive Darra/Flickr

Land Securities, the commercial property giant that owns the site, has secured permission from Westminster Council to replace the patchwork of boards with a single, ultra-high definition curved screen.

The current six screens, which advertise brands including Coca-Cola and Samsung, will be switched off in January and dismantled in works that are expected to take until autumn to complete.

Although it is the first extended switch off since the 1940's, the famous displays went dark a fortnight ago for a number of hours after London's West End was plunged into darkness by a power cut.

The boards have been almost constantly illuminated since the Second World War, with only brief blackouts for power cuts and the funerals of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana. Recently the lights have also been switched off for the annual Earth Hour environmentalism event.

While Coca-Cola and Samsung will remain, Land Securities’ partner, Ocean Outdoor, hopes to tempt new brands to the landmark site, with new capabilities and more flexible tenancies. The site is believed to be the most expensive outdoor advertising location in Britain.

The patchwork appearance will also be maintained by the new screen, due to be Europe’s largest, but live video streaming and integration with Facebook and Twitter feeds will be added.

Tim Bleakley, chief executive of Ocean Outdoor, said the new technology at the site will “protect its heritage while keeping ahead of trends”.

The advertising boards at Piccadilly Circus date back to the the early 1900s. Perrier was the first brand to illuminate its sign, in 1908.

TDK, the Japanese electronics maker, ended its association with the site last year after quarter of a century. Coca-Cola has advertised there for 62 years.

Aedamar Howlett, Coca-Cola GB's marketing chief, said: “This new technology will allow us to be more agile and tailor our messages in real-time, as well as be more creative when it comes to the content and engaging consumers directly.”

By Christopher Williams

 

Scientist and entrepreneur Ruopeng Liu turning science fiction into reality

Chinese scientist and entrepreneur Ruopeng Liu is turning science fiction into reality. From cutting edge computing to space-faring technology, there’s no project too far-fetched. He’s been dubbed China’s Elon Musk and now: he wants to take you to the edge of the atmosphere.

Sky Plc About to jump into the U.K. Wireless Market

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bloomberg.com – – Mon, 28 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

Sky Plc is about to jump into the U.K. wireless market, betting that even as a latecomer it can pry customers away from the four established competitors by harnessing its powerful entertainment brand and millions of existing subscribers.

Prospects for Sky’s mobile offer remain hard to pin down for analysts. Their forecasts for the company’s share of the 15.2 billion-pound ($18.9 billion) U.K. market range from as little as 1 percent to 10 percent, which would bring it close to CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.’s Three U.K., now the No. 4 player.

The outlook for Sky’s offer remains clouded by a lack of details, including pricing. Guy Peddy, an analyst at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in London, originally estimated Sky could capture about 2 million customers by mid-2021. He’s raised that figure by more than 50 percent to 3.12 million, saying this week in a report that the opportunity is bigger than he thought and the offer is more sophisticated. “Wireless risks for the existing operators are understated,” he wrote.

The type of customer Sky attracts is as important as the number. That’s because its biggest rival, BT Group Plc, has been busy establishing itself on Sky’s home turf in pay-TV. The former U.K. phone monopoly this year expanded its slate of Premier League soccer matches, long a Sky stronghold, and acquired mobile operator EE. That gave it a “quad-play” lineup of fixed and mobile phones, broadband and television. By adding a mobile offering, Sky has a chance to retaliate.

‘Substantial’ Potential

“The fact that they will be entering the quad-play space after BT/EE means that competition for similar customers could be intense by the time they come to market,” Ameet Patel, an analyst at Northern Trust Securities LLP in London, said in an e-mail. EE and Sky will be fighting for a broadly similar subscriber base of “higher-value, more data-hungry users,” Patel said.

Sky says it sees “substantial” potential for the cellular service. What little it has revealed suggests that the company, whose biggest investor is Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc., is confident it can poach mobile customers from its rivals by bundling services across platforms. Existing Sky customers who indicate their interest in the mobile product online are told it will be “the smart network for your smart phone.”

Sky’s experience delivering content to mobile platforms means the new service is a natural extension, Sky Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Darroch said last week at an investor conference in Barcelona. Sky will first focus on signing up its existing customers, who currently get their mobile service from a range of providers, he said.

“It’s a market where I think we’ve got the right skills to be successful,” Darroch said. Sky’s success with broadband and its high-definition TV service show the company is good at marketing new products, he said. “Our ability to upsell that scale is very, very strong.”

EE’s Share

EE had a 29 percent share of U.K. retail mobile subscriptions at the end of 2015, according to industry watchdog Ofcom. It was followed by Telefonica SA’s O2 with 27 percent, Vodafone Group Plc with 19 percent and Three with 11 percent.

Representatives for EE, Three and the Vodafone declined to comment. A Telefonica spokesman said the company will benefit from the traffic generated by Sky because the pay-TV provider is buying space on O2’s network for its mobile offering.

Sky built its pay-TV business on ownership of premium programming like top-flight soccer, rather than discounting, so analysts don’t expect it to try to undercut rivals on price in pursuit of volume. Still, its entry into an already crowded U.K. mobile market will intensify competition.

Some analysts underestimated the growth of Sky’s broadband business. After more than a decade of investments, including the acquisition of Telefonica’s U.K. fixed-line business, Sky has become the second-largest internet provider in the U.K. after BT. Its market share rose to 23 percent in 2015 from 15 percent in 2010, according to Ofcom.

BT mobile subscribers that don’t get broadband from the carrier may already pay for Sky services and may be the most likely candidates for switching to its cellular offering, said Allan Nichols, an analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Amsterdam.

Broadband Success

“They’ve been way more successful with their broadband than I ever thought they would,” he said.

Research suggests two-thirds of Sky customers would consider the company’s mobile offering, Stephen van Rooyen, chief executive officer of the U.K. and Ireland business, said at a capital markets day last month. They’ve been able to register since October.

“We’ve long had our eyes on the size of the prize,” he said. “The mobile market is huge.

By Rebecca Penty  and Kasper Viita

Training Corporate Security Teams in The Event of Cyber Attack

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bloomberg.com – – Thu, 24 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

Computers
Longmont/flickr.com

Despite billions of dollars invested in antihacking technology over the past 10 years, companies appear to have little idea of how to respond to a cyber attack. When Target was hacked during the busy 2013 Christmas season, investigators found the company had missed early warnings that might have prevented the loss of data belonging to 70 million customers. When the news came out, lawsuits were filed, and Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel resigned. Sony Pictures Entertainment’s fumbling response a year later to North Korean hackers turned a bad situation into a terrible one, costing Amy Pascal, one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, her job as co-chairman.

IBM, which has spent five years buying companies to make itself the world's third-largest cybersecurity provider, wants to train corporate security teams, CEOs, and PR departments to handle those kinds of crises. Shortly after Election Day, the company unveiled a facility that combines gaming techniques and millions of dollars of sophisticated hardware to re-create scenarios like Target’s and Sony’s in white-knuckle, stock-plunging detail.

The idea is borrowed from the Pentagon, which uses a similar approach to train soldiers for cyberwar. Instead of the pressure of combat, the facility at IBM’s security division headquarters on the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass., wants to re-create a postbreach pressure cooker that can move rapidly from a regulatory investigation to a call from the FBI to whatever else the range’s multimedia producers can conjure. “We don’t want to scare the crap out of people,” says Caleb Barlow, vice president of IBM Security. “We do want people to feel a little of the adrenaline burst and the pressure.”

By the time IBM’s cyber range is fully operational in January, it will offer 12 training programs. Think of them as plays, Barlow says, with settings, acts, and an unusually wide range of actors, including general counsels, marketing teams, and C-suite executives.

The staging area is a bit like a flight simulator built for two dozen. Theater-quality video panels cover the front wall, and the ceiling is studded with the same sensors that allowed Tom Cruise to manipulate data with his hands in the movie Minority Report. (The ceiling array, made by Oblong Industries in Los Angeles, is the most expensive thing in the room.) Racks of servers located a floor below simulate the data stream of a full-size corporate network.

During a recent afternoon demo, the training program began with a phishing e-mail sent to a fictitious HR rep. The hackers made off with a cache of data before the IT crew could isolate the source of the breach. Then an insider leaked news of the breach, and the pressure mounted. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission initiated an investigation. More pressure.
As the afternoon wore on, events spun out of control. The security team discovered that the hackers hadn’t just stolen information, they’d also altered the company’s financial data shortly before its quarterly earnings report. Uh-oh.

$200 million: IBM spending on its cyber range and teams for intel and incident response

All this realism doesn’t come without risks. The range is designed to test out some of the most virulent malware, so the whole thing is air-gapped, which means it’s not connected to the real internet. Instead, developers collected data from thousands of web pages to create a miniature, self-contained internet.

Like many of the range’s features, that idea came from Joe Provost, the project’s threat modeling and simulation architect and a former master hacker for the National Security Agency. Two days after hackers took some of the world’s most popular websites offline in October with a botnet of infected home routers, TVs, and other internet-connected devices, Provost figured out how to replicate the attack so he could add it to one of the range’s scenarios. In the simulations, he also plays the main bad guy.
The facility is expensive, and IBM wouldn’t say exactly how much it costs to run. Barlow says the company had spent a combined $200 million on the range and the development of cyber intelligence and incident response teams for on-site investigations of major hacks. He may be reticent to break out spending on the facility, because there’s no guarantee the investment will pay off. IBM says it’s not planning to charge people who come in for the training sessions; it’s more of a marketing tool, an effort to convince companies there’s enough value in IBM’s various cybersecurity technologies to make them worth buying. “This is in some ways a grand experiment,” Barlow says.

Roland Cloutier, chief security officer of payroll-services provider ADP, says that based on what he knows of the gaps in traditional cybersecurity training, IBM’s plan should work. “What IBM has been able to do is take two very different processes and combine them into a single training,” he says. “One is technology-based—I have an attack going on, and I have to stop it. But then you have crisis management, which is about leadership in tough situations. That’s a whole different skill set.”

The bottom line: IBM has built a cybersecurity training center to test corporate readiness. Now it has to persuade customers to buy its gear.

By Michael Riley

(Updated second paragraph to correct IBM’s global market position.)

Facebook to open new UK headquarters in London hiring 500 new staff

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Mon, 21 Nov, 2016) London, UK – –

Facebook (FB.O) said it would expand its presence in Britain by 50 percent in 2017, joining other U.S. technology firms in increasing investment despite the uncertainty sparked by the country's vote to leave the European Union.

The social network firm said it would hire 500 new staff, adding to the 1,000 people it already employs in Britain, as Facebook gears up to open a new UK headquarters in London next year, following other firms drawn by talent and a thriving tech start-up scene.

Before the Brexit referendum in June, campaigners in favour of remaining in the EU had warned that international companies could seek to reduce their presence in Britain as a withdrawal from the bloc would make it a less attractive place to invest.

Some big banks such as Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Citi (C.N), which employ many thousands in London's financial centre, are said to be considering shifting some jobs elsewhere in Europe as a result of Brexit, a worry for the British economy where financial services account for around 10 percent of output and provide some of the best paying jobs.

Facebook's UK expansion comes after Google (GOOGL.O), owned by parent company Alphabet Inc, said earlier in November that it would invest an estimated 1 billion pounds, and make 3,000 new hires in the Britain.

“The UK is definitely one of the very best places to be a technology company,” Facebook vice-president of Europe, Middle East and Africa Nicola Mendelsohn said at a conference run by the CBI, an employers group, adding that it was too early to say what Brexit would mean for the movement of labour.

“The movement of talent is something…that matters to us.” she said, adding that Facebook employs people of 65 different nationalities in Britain.

Facebook opened its first engineering office outside the U.S. in London in 2012 and has been growing rapidly in the UK since. Its main UK operating unit's staffing increased by 90 percent in 2015 from 2014, according to its latest accounts, with more than half of those hired engineers.

It also employs hundreds of sales and marketing staff who tend to focus on larger clients or running regional teams, according to Facebook job ads and linkedIN profiles of staff.

Amazon (AMZN.O), which created 3,500 UK jobs in 2016 at its head office, research and development centres, customer service centres and distribution depots, plans a further 2,300 jobs at three new distribution centres in 2017.

AMAZING ECOSYSTEM

Such investments have helped Britain's tech sector to shine at a time when some other firms are less optimistic.

A recent survey showed that three out of four companies with sales between 100 million pounds and 1 billion pounds have considered moving operations to the European continent in the wake of the vote.

Mendelsohn said that Britain needed to work hard to keep its position as a global hub for technology.

ALSO IN TOP NEWS

“We need to make sure that we continue to look outwards and not inwards; we need to stay competitive, and we need to remain a welcome home to tech,” she said.

London ranked no.1 for start-ups in the 2016 European Digital City Index, and Google said the talent pool, educational institutions, and passion for innovation helped it decide to invest more in Britain, sentiments echoed by Mendelsohn.

“It's a place that our engineers want to come and work at, it's a place that we see this amazing ecosystem, not of just tech companies but also of creative companies coming together inspiring, fuelling one another,” she said.

Facebook has a complex corporate structure for tax purposes and declared Dublin as its European headquarters which means almost no taxable profits are reported in the UK. It also has significant historic tax losses on its books, which means any cut in corporation tax would have little impact on its finances.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is reported to be considering cutting corporation tax from the 20 percent headline rate in a move to attract companies away from other parts of the EU to Britain.

(Additional reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by Kate Holton and Alexander Smith)

By Sarah Young | LONDON

Fender Musical Instruments Corp challenge customers to commit for life

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bloomberg.com – – Mon, 21 Nov, 2016) London, Uk  – –

Each holiday season, thousands of teenagers tear gift wrap off shiny, new guitars. They giddily pluck at the detuned strings, thinking how cool they'll be once they're rock stars—even if almost all will give up before they ever get to jam out to “Sweet Child o' Mine.”

For them, it's no big deal to relegate the guitar to the back of the closet forever, in favor of the Playstation controller. But it is a big deal for Fender Musical Instruments Corp., the 70-year-old maker of rock ‘n' roll's most iconic electric guitars. Every quitter hurts.

“The industry's challenge—or opportunity—is getting people to commit for life,” said Andy Mooney, Fender's chief executive officer. “A pretty big milestone for someone adopting any form of instrument is getting them through the first song.”

The $6 billion U.S. retail market for musical instruments has been stagnant for five years, according to data compiled by research firm IBISWorld, and would-be guitar buyers have more to distract them than ever. So how do you convince someone to put down the iPhone, pick up a Stratocaster, and keep playing?

Beginning players, whether they're fickle teens or too-busy adults, have always quit the guitar at high rates. Guitar makers have never before made much of a concerted effort to keep them, Mooney said. But Fender estimates that nearly half its customers are first-time players, and it's making an effort to treat them as such.

Fender says it hauls in about a half-billion dollars a year in revenue and is on track to grow in the high single digits this year. That's still down from its $700 million in revenue in 2011, a number revealed when the company filed for an initial public offering in 2012 that was later withdrawn.

The task of keeping kids hooked on playing is a tricky one for a company still crawling back from post-recession struggles. In late 2012, as Fender fought to stay profitable, private equity firms TPG Growth and Servco Pacific took control of it. Last year, they brought on Mooney, a veteran executive who held posts at Disney, Nike, and Quiksilver, to make Fender more digital- and consumer-focused.

That means more apps, more connected devices, and a newfound focus on helping folks learn how to play their guitars. The hope is that players will get hooked early on cheap starter models, then upgrade to fancier guitars as they commit themselves to playing, with the most devoted among them evolving into collectors, their walls hung with high-end instruments. That all means more cash for Fender.

Almost everyone who picks up a guitar, about 90 percent, abandons it within the first year, according to Mooney. Many give up within three months, frustrated or unwilling to commit. Some people bounce to another instrument. And people quit electric guitars more often than acoustic ones, he said, because of the pain factor: Steel strings hurt delicate hands.

Over the next few years, the company will be releasing a suite of digital products to help keep new guitar players strumming along.

The first, a tuning app, teaches players how to change the pitch on their guitars, whereas most of the dozens of existing tuning apps assume some level of guitar proficiency. “When the kid plugs it in for the first time, it doesn't sound like a screaming cat when it comes out of an amp,” said Mooney. “We want to help with a lot of the basic stuff.”

Fender is also looking to release a practice-room app that can teach someone to play any song in their music library, along with a tone app that lets an amp emulate the sounds of famous guitarists. Fender's newest amp model, to be released next year, will be able to connect to apps wirelessly, through Bluetooth, to let players alter and share sound effects.
Fender says about 60 percent of its business is in guitars, both electric and acoustic; the rest is a mix of related products such as amps and picks. (The company acquired Aurisonics, a maker of medical and military-grade in-ear monitors, in January and announced new lines of earbuds.)

When it comes to selling guitars, color palettes have become more crucial than ever, said Mooney. Once, all anybody wanted was black, white, or sunburst. Now fashion is coming into play, and Fender is looking to collaborate with artists to create styles. This spring, its top-selling hue was metallic blue.

Nearly all Fender's business is done through traditional retailers; online sales from its own website make up less than 2 percent of total sales in North America. Mooney doesn't see that as a problem. Players need to touch, feel, and play a guitar before they buy one, he said, and his company prefers to use the internet as a learning tool for shoppers, rather than to drive sales.

Detractors have predicted the death of the electric guitar for years, pointing to the rise of rap and electronic dance music on pop charts.
But Mooney isn't worried. More women are playing guitar these days, he said—something he credits largely to Taylor Swift—and Fender now sees as many women as men playing the acoustic guitar, if not the electric. And although the mix of instruments sold is constantly shifting, guitar sales have actually grown over the past decade, he said. “The pendulum swings back and forth.”

By Kim Bhasin

Google, Facebook aiming to stop spread of fake news

 

People who got election news on Facebook might have been looking at more fake stories than real ones. BuzzFeed reached that surprising conclusion after analyzing the last three months of campaign coverage. The website studied how Facebook users engaged with bogus news stories, as compared to authentic ones. Jericka Duncan reports on what it means for voters.

British insurer Admiral abandon plans to use data taken from Facebook

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Thur, 3 Nov, 2016) London, UK – –

British motor insurer Admiral has had to abandon plans to use data taken from Facebook (FB.O) to price insurance premiums for first-time drivers following discussions with the social media firm, an Admiral spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

British newspapers said earlier on Wednesday the insurer would analyze Facebook accounts of new drivers for personality traits which show a cautious nature, such as writing lists and arranging a set time and place to meet friends.

Insurers say examining social media could improve the pricing of policies, but critics say this could erode customers' privacy.

Admiral's firstcarquote app was designed to allow new drivers to share social media data in order to get a discounted quote.

“Following discussions with Facebook, the product is launching with reduced functionality, allowing first time drivers to log-in using Facebook and share some information to secure a faster, simpler and discounted quote,” the spokeswoman said by email.

“Admiral does not have access to customers’ Facebook data and does not hold social media data to set prices for its customers.”

Facebook bans the use of its data on apps to make decisions about “eligibility”, such as how much interest to charge on a loan.

“Protecting the privacy of the people on Facebook is of utmost importance to us,” a Facebook spokesman said by email.

“We have made sure anyone using this app is protected by our guidelines and that no Facebook user data is used to assess their eligibility. Facebook accounts will only be used for log-in and verification purposes.”

Steep insurance premiums for young drivers in the UK have encouraged the use of technology to cut prices, such as telematics – black boxes installed in cars to monitor safe driving.

Some UK insurers also monitor public social media data to help them identify fraudulent claims, industry sources say.

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)