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It’s news to us: stories that caught our eye in October

Posted by Joe McNamara on 31st October 2012

LinkedIn updates company pages and adds news features8th October

It’s hard to put a specific date on this news, as LinkedIn has been making a series of updates to its company pages interface throughout September, which were finalised and rolled out at the beginning of this month. LinkedIn may not be the sexiest networking platform of the moment, but it still owns the space of a ‘professional network’ and has 160 million registered users, making it an important engagement tool for B2B and B2C companies.

The updates included a more streamlined design, optimised content for mobile devices, and improved navigation for users browsing company pages for products, career opportunities and information. It is not just company pages that have been overhauled. User notifications are now far more prominent, meaning InMails, connection requests and people viewing your profile are immediately flagged. Furthermore, with LinkedIn being a popular recruitment tool for both job and talent seekers, the platform has added a proactive edge to the popular endorsement features, perhaps removing the slightly embarassing process of asking somebody for a LinkedIn recommendation!

Felix Baumgartner’s stratospheric sky-dive14th October

This isn’t a tech story we here you say. We’ll take nothing away from veteran free-faller Felix Baumgartner’s extraordinary daring, but if it were not for the sheer engineering brilliance behind the Red Bull Stratos, the journey of man beyond the speed of sound would not be a reality. There is always something special about conquering space, be it the first lunar landings or Curiosity landing on Mars. The challenges are enormous, and engineers must prepare for the launch, extreme heat conditions, hostile conditions of space and gravitational complexity and simply the alarming speed at which everything happens. Exposing a human being to these elements in such a raw environment is no mean feat, and every single embedded component must be able to cope with the harsh demands. It is a testament to the chip producers, semi-conductor manufacturers, and engineering consultants that make such landmark events a possibility, as much as the sponsors and individuals involved themselves.

Facebook announces new page structure for global brands – 17th October

In the same month that Facebook announced it had reached a staggering one billion active users, the world’s largest social networking platform also updated it’s offering for global brands. While it has always been possible for brands to geo-target posts to localised communities, the updated page structure makes it far easier for brands to build a global audience. As a tech PR agency with a number of global accounts using Facebook as an engagement tool, the new structure makes it possible to roll out localised campaigns, optimised by country and language, at the same time as maintaining a global presence and share content that is applicable to multiple audiences. For consumer technology clients, social networks are becoming increasingly important customer service platforms. The new feature allows Facebook to issue advice, tips, apologies and thanks to both global and regional audiences.

International Advertising Bureau (IAB) Engage 201225th October

This year’s IAB Engage event certainly gives brands and digital marketers a few things to think about when it comes to using social media and mobile advertising as means of engaging with customers and driving sales and web traffic. One of the most interesting findings is that the UK spends the most per head on e-commerce. This means there is no better time for companies in the online retail and digital marketing spaces to be investing in the UK market. Moreover, another interesting revelation is that 60% of the UK’s biggest advertisers still do not have websites that are optimised for mobile use. This represents a real opportunity for email and web designers and developers with expertise in the mobile space, as techniques such as mobile optimised responsive design are bound to be invested in more heavily with users consuming content on mobile devices more and more every year.

Europe increasing cyber security preparedness – 25th October

Research released by the EU’s cyber security agency, ENISA, has found that there has been a 71% rise in practice drills over the past two years, indicating that concerns towards cyber security threats have risen significantly. The report analysis outlines that the dramatic rise in cyber security exercises boils down to the increasing threat of security breaches and criminal hacking, risking the exposure of sensitive public and private data, as well as financial losses. For companies in the cyber security space, these findings are a step in the right direction as European organisations are clearly taking potential threats more seriously. The increasing awareness and knowledge of the risks may lead to large companies being more likely to adopt new technologies in order to protect their online interests.

Microsoft launches Windows 8 and leaps on tablet bandwagon – 25th October

At an event in New York, Microsoft launched the latest instalment to the Windows OS range, Windows 8. Windows 8 is supposed to provide users with a simplified interface, potentially mimicking its iOS and Android counterparts as it plans a raid on the smartphone and tablet market. To compound this, Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, shared more information on Windows first offering in the tablet market, the Surface. Apple has dominated the tablet market and don’t appear to be letting up, with the launch of the iPad Mini on 23rd October. Nevertheless, it’s always exciting to see a device intended to reduce Apple market share, not least as it represents an opportunity for independent app developers to sample their wares on a far more open platform. Microsoft is of course late to the party. Google’s plans to launch the Nexus 4 have only been postponed by Hurricane Sandy, and Amazon upping it’s own game in the tablet market with the Kindle Fire HD series set to be released next month. It also throws a gauntlet down to existing Windows software producers to see how they will optimise their products to be useable on mobile devices, and whether they will succeed. One talking point surrounding both Windows 8 and the Surface, inherently consumer facing solutions, is how it fits in with Microsoft’s enterprise initiatives. Does this represent a shift in direction for Microsoft as it gives its product line a makeover to boost sex appeal to consumers? Or will the Surface suffer from trying to be all things to all men (be both a personal consumption device and enterprise tool)? We are certain that November will provide a few more answers, but it is nice to see the technology world talking about Microsoft once again.

Joe McNamara