Manchester City is outflanking its Premier League rivals in the digital space, writes Steve Mullins. In just the last few months in the run-up to the start of the new season, the football club has relaunched its website, hired an e-gamer, launched a global virtual reality initiative, lit a dedicated Giphy page and rolled out a chatbot platform for fans, along with other innovations.
The Guardian is moving into time-based advertising, selling its space in slots of 10, 15, 20 or 30 seconds. First to purchase the new format is The Economist, which has a campaign up and running until September. In fact, The Economist is pretty au fait with time-based ads, given that it also runs them on its own website. Also in the UK, the Financial Times rolled out the format last year, based on research which found that brand recall increases significantly the longer an ad is in view.
Cool Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is looking to enter the US handset market and plans to push its communications along social media channels to target young consumers keen on getting their hands on new technology. Xiaomi does already have a US presence selling audio earbuds and fitness bands via its online store.
Worldwide plug-in vehicle sales reached 180,500 units in the first-quarter, up 42 % on the same period in 2015. However, growth was down compared to last year – which was 71 % on 2014 – according to EV Volumes data. China remained the global plug-in sales driver, with passenger car volumes more than doubling in the first three months of the year. Japan recovered after a weak 2015 (-22 %) with a 36 % spike for the first quarter, while the US market for plug-ins lifted, posting 19% for the same period. Europe struggled to maintain the 99% growth rate of last year.
Accenture is investing €500,000 in RoboValley, a Dutch hub for start-ups working in robotics. RoboValley was founded by the TU Delft Robotics Institute specialist engineering college with a view to fostering robotics knowledge and supporting international collaboration in the sector. It is currently home to some 30 start-ups, as well as a handful of more mature robotics companies.
German postal group Deutsche Post DHL is looking to start selling transport from its own fleet of electric delivery vehicles next year as it ramps up production to 10,000 units per year. Post developed the 120-km range Streetscooter for its own delivery usage but now wants to make it available to third parties.
Nokia is leaning heavily on the Ozo virtual reality camera as a means of winning back some cool after its smartphone debacle, writes Steve Mullins. The company is planning to roll out the 360-degree VR kit in China next month – its presently available only in Europe and the US – and it has cut the price of the camera by a hefty $15,000 to $45,000 a pop. Nokia reckons VR is really taking off in China so this is a big play to take the Ozo to the next level.
From car-sharing to self-driving, Uber is putting the wheels on its autonomous car strategy via a tie-up with Volvo. The two companies have inked a deal for a joint project to develop new base vehicles incorporate the latest innovations, including driverless cars. Uber and Volvo will use the same vehicles for deployment in their own autonomous car strategies. Volvo reckons a car manufacturer allying with a Silicon Valley-based outfit is as major move in the automotive sector and says it is seeking a longer-term industrial alliance with Uber.