Saturday, 30 December 2017

12 days of Christmas - skignz Online Advent Calendar


This year skignz used an Online Advent Calendar for the 12 Days of Christmas to provide you with information on the top people, places and things in the world. 

These ranged from holiday destinations to restaurants, hotels to events, all of which we believe would be suitably enhanced further if you used skignz. 

Revealing even more information that's both useful and interesting certainly enhances these wonderful places and their environment. 

The content could be historical, simply useful, reveal offers, show videos and also allow you, the visitor, to leave a small digital note, almost like signing a guestbook!

Take alook for yourself here... https://skignz.adventcalendaronline.com/


The uptake we had was quite staggering, from an email list of just over 1,800 people, we had in excess of 900 people access the Online Advent Calendar, with over 500 accessing the interesting and useful content we provided. I

f you are reading this and you have decided to visit one of the places selected, please do share with us your experience and don't forget to use skignz whilst you are there!

Until next Christmas, may we take the opportunity to wish you all the very best for 2018 and a Happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.

For further information how you can get a Online Advent Calendar please visit www.onlineadventcalender.com
If you want to find out more about skignz, then please visit our new recently launched website www.skignz.com as well as the usual social media channels

Saturday, 9 December 2017

AR/VR DiT Trade mission to US West Coast


skignz was invited alongside a host of other British companies for a AR/VR Trade mission to visit Los Angeles and San Francisco over 10 days.

The mission was run by the UK DiT in conjunction with their local offices in LA & San Francisco, who had lined up a plethora of presentations and meetings with some of the world's biggest brands in this space, and one or two lesser known ones.

Apple, Universal Studios, Lucas Film, IMAX, reFramed etc. were just a few of the organisations we visited on the trip. The experiences and knowledge gained was amazing, this was one of the best missions any of the skignz team had undertaken. Instead of being bored to death with presentations from Inward Investment organisations encouraging you to invest in their locality, this trip focussed on brands and organisations who were willing to open their doors to British Companies and engage in quite frank and honest conversations.

Some of the companies admitted despite being global players in their own verticals and marketplaces they felt they had learnt not only about what other tech and resource is out there, but were surprised at the talent from the UK that they hadn’t tapped into.

Our CEO, Si Brow said , "To visit the Lucas Film, see the original StarWars Artwork, experience what they are currently working on was a memorable experience that will live with him forever. 

Especially being able to fight Darth Maul in AR with a lightsaber and seeing a real hologram of Princess Lea. His favourite film coming to life was the icing on the cake. 

The first experience in the fourth instalment of StarWars, was way back in the latter part of the 1970’s. So to see the developments and progressions of the film tech was mind-blowing".

skignz were super keen not only to visit, but also understand more of what the world's most famous and leading branding, Apple, are looking for in Augmented Reality.

Apple have made no secret over the last 12-18 months about where they see the importance of AR and how they are focussing quite heavily on it (obviously without telling us what exactly they are doing beyond ARKit). 

We hope that a potential follow up meeting in early 2018 will provide us with more guidance, direction and opportunity for the skignz technology and platform with Apple. Watch this space ...

In addition to the companies we visited the delegates on the mission proved, as ALL missions do, that sometimes it's not where you are visiting or what work /relationships you aim to establish whilst there, it's actually the people you're with (sort of a Big Brother intensive shared experience) that actually brings more immediate opportunities and scope for partnerships. 

This was certainly the case on this trip and the skignz team are looking forward to more focused meetings with quite a few of the other delegates. Again watch this space ...

As the skignz team have considerable experience from these Trade Missions to various locations across the world, we asked Si what did he think were the 3 most important things you need to consider when ‘Investing in a DiT Trade Mission’, because that's exactly what you are doing, you are investing time, energy, resources, and above all, funds to be involved.

Si’s three key points to consider are:
1. 
Research the location, does it fit with a business metric? Can you realistically produce 5-10 times more in revenue than the trip costs? If it's not about revenue and it's about understanding a marketplace, then be careful to make sure it's the marketplace you can not only deliver and do business in, but to understand also the impacts on the rest of the business if it's successful.


2. Pick the right people in your team to attend. Sending one person is more than enough. The reason I say that is, it forces you to engage with the other people attending and gets you out of your comfort zone, too easy with 2 to 3 of you attending for it to become a jolly. Focus is key!

3. Request what the likely agenda will be, who you will be seeing, when and why? If it's inward investment bodies, accountants, lawyers and other professional firms, don’t waste your time! 

If you want to do business in that country/location then you need to meet prospective customers, then if there is a market for your product or service, they will not only clarify that for you in more detail, but also all the other things will come after if you secure a new client or three.
In summary Si commented: “These trade missions are only as good as what you put into them, long intensive days, strict timetables of activity that if you don’t adhere to them, you will fail to get the benefit you seek.

Furthermore, you have made all the effort to get there, don’t be a wallflower, talk to the people around you who are also in the same boat and ask questions … especially of those people who are presenting or showing you demonstrations/examples. 
They are giving up their time to ‘host you’, get as much out of it as you can.

Also, be brutally honest with yourself and your colleagues when you return, debrief them:

What was good?
What was bad?
What inspired you?
What did you find out?

Everything you think will help you and the team in your business who weren’t present. 


They may ask questions of what you did, answer them honestly, they may see things that you don’t”.

Finally you need to enjoy it … yes you are there to work but in our experience ‘highest energy wins’.

We will keep you updated through our blog and reference this DiT inspired and creative event with our follow up and further actions as a result of ‘being there’ on the West Coast.

If you would like to know more about the UK DiT or the GREAT campaign then please visit.

If you want to find out more about skignz, then please visit our new recently launched website (www.skignz.com) as well as the usual social media channels 

If you would like to download our FREE App then please Press here http://get.skignz.com

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Friday, 8 December 2017

Sport is Great in Atlanta & Middlesbrough

skignz had the delight of being involved in a ‘Sport is Great’ event with the Department for International Trade in Atlanta.

We had been contacted by them to say that a Football Club from England, was interested in visiting Atlanta, on a fact-finding mission regarding commercial opportunities and increasing their reach in the USA.

Of course, we gratefully accepted and were thrilled to find out that the club in question was Middlesbrough FC. 
With skignz being founded in Middlesbrough, and still with our HQ there, it made sense to work in partnership to make the event, and the visit, as informative as possible.

skignz own Jamie Clarke said, “The opportunity to sit on a panel to discuss the business of sport, which included references to using technology as a fan engagement and commercial tool was too good to miss.

The event was attended by businesses and soccer fans from across Atlanta and allowed us to introduce ‘The Boro’ to some of our partners, further strengthening the relationship”
.

Relationships are key in the world of business, and skignz are thrilled to have made a business relationship with our hometown football club. We are delighted to be able to have an opportunity to speak with them about how the AR technology can enhance some of the great work they are already doing both at home and abroad.



Jamie Clarke COO of 
skignz speaking at the Sport is GREAT event in Atlanta, alongside Mark Ellis COO of MFC, Sarah Kate Noftsinger of Atlanta United and Bernie Mullins of the Aspire Group.

If you would like to find out more about the UK DiT and the GREAt campaign then please visit their website at www.greatbritaincampaign.com

If you would like to find out more about Middlesbrough F.C, please visit their website at www.mfc.co.uk



If you would like to find out more about the Atlanta United, please visit their website at www.atlutd.com

If you would like to find out more about skignz, please visit our website www.skignz.com or keep upto date, then how about following us on the usual social media channels.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Use of AR at the Los Angeles Auto Show


skignz interest in this year's LA Autoshow was two-fold.

One was taking up the opportunity of being in town for a DiT Trade Mission and using some of our down time looking at how AR & VR are progressing within the Motor Industry.

Although the LA Auto Show isn’t the largest of all the world's motor shows it’s still a huge event. All car manufacturers take significant stand space to showcase their latest models whilst trying to 'Wow us' all with a sneak preview of the future of their respective brands, models and most importantly new tech ...


With LA being so close to the home of tech in Silicon Valley we expected to see much more ‘innovative’ uses of AR and VR, yet on the scale of the show only a small fraction offered up either.

AR seemed to be confined to HoloLens on 3 different stands whereas other VR headsets were on a few more.

Many of the brands look to provide experiences such as 'simulator racing'. Dodge did this with two 'Challengers' kitted up to race on hydraulic rams, large screens in front of them and 3D surround-sound to allow the visitors to experience a Race Car experience, beyond a normal simulator.
Others pushed you towards the XBox and gaming area, but we think they are missing a trick! And not just Auto Shows ... any type of large (or small) conference in locations like this can benefit from applying the skignz platform in order to enhance the visitor/delegate experience, alongside the proven ability to find your way around more easily or indeed find people you are looking for.


Here at skignz we are obviously looking ahead to the future, but it was the inclusion of Nissan's partnership with Star Wars for the impending launch of their latest release ‘The Last Jedi’ where Nissan had ‘converted’ a few of their vehicles into Spaceships. They certainly raised a few eyebrows and the kids seem to love them.

We would normally end this post here alongside our picture but as the week progressed we ended up at LucasFilm in San Francisco where we were treated to a preview of their latest VR game (launching 6th July) titled ‘Droid Repair Centre’

After the demo, we managed to have a go with a full headset to be immersed, which was extremely awesome and cool...  but that’s what this tech is meant for so it’s a shame that the biggest future link between an Auto Show and AR/VR turned out to be a badly modelled Nissan Tie Fighters and X-wing's!

Should you wish to discuss this post or anything else then please feel free to contact us or if you want to keep up-to-date on skignz and Location AR then please follow us on the usual Social Media channels, this blog or even subscribe to our Occasional updates.

If you would like to download our FREE App then please Press here http://get.skignz.com

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

App Sizes - Annual Comparison - Does size really matter?

Since the original concept of skignz was ‘formed’ we have had a fascination with the size of Apps on our mobile devices. 

At first, we were more interested in understanding why Apps were the size they were and where efficiencies could be made to reduce the overall file size on your mobile device.

Further conversations and research helped us reason that most mobile devices had a certain amount of storage that was not supposed to include the OS. 

This in itself proved sufficient when we had a small/limited numbers of Songs, Photos and Apps. 

The big issue came when we increased the number of Apps on our devices (in addition to Music, Video, Photos,  Books etc) as they become available. It’s clear at this point, that none of the App developers were too concerned about file size. It was more around making their Apps look impressive and work as best they can.

Then as the OS’s were developed and upgraded (especially on your existing device(s)) the changes they made, would mean they would require some of this file storage space, normally reserved for your personal Photos, Music, Videos and favourite Apps. This, of course, has a knock-on effect with each of the App developers on the whole. It means each developer has to update their own apps in order to maintain the status quo in response to the changes in each update made by the OS.

This has become ‘part of the industry’ where annually the OS is upgraded to the next version and a number of times throughout the year ‘tweaks’ and 'updates' are made to that version. In many cases having this knock-on effect means App Developers are required to make changes to their apps immediately. Obviously, each change an App Developer makes to one of your favourite Apps, it's likely done in haste, in order to ‘maintain’ and it's more than likely that this change will further increase the App Size. 

In isolation this doesn’t present a problem, but with the average mobile device carrying 20 different Apps, if they all increase by 5-10% per OS update, plus the same twice a year as the developer pushes out increased functionality/updates, hopefully, now you can see why and where your storage gets eaten up ... not just a little but a lot.

Ask yourself: How many Apps do you have on your device? How much other personal ’stuff’ have you stored on your device? How many ‘new’ Apps have you download annually? Couple this with our previous point about the number of upgrades and impact of the increased file size of those Apps, then now you can see why (certainly on some older devices) you are requested to remove ‘your stuff’ or delete Apps just to make the OS upgrade to keep your device current.

You might say that with smartphones now having up to 256GB, why does it matter? We have plenty of storage space! Also add in the cloud access, which many device owners have access to, this should not even be an issue.

However, we would like to raise a few areas of concern with this approach:

  1. All the Apps being ‘reactively’ altered to maintain the Status Quo are essential a ‘multi-storey tower block’ built on a bungalows foundations, at some point they will have been added to so many times, tweaked and changed that they will either fall over, or they will slow down, or even become too complicated to keep up-to-date. Each App Developer has an enormous investment to make to rebuild from scratch in a more robust and efficient way, using the latest methods.
  2. As each of the OS develop new ways of doing things, point one will only accelerate.
  3. As the cost of the latest hardware increases, yes, they have increased memory, but are they in line with one another? 'Cost of memory' v's 'Increased cost to the user'. You may have noticed the changes from 8Gb to 16gb, then 32Gb, 64Gb, 128Gb and now 256Gb. In many cases, the jump from one to the other isn’t gradual with a new handset as hardware suppliers offer either 32Mb or 256mB, not each variation in-between.
One key question is, “If Apps were built to be as efficient and lean as possible, would the need still be there to keep increasing the storage size on our devices?”

Below is our annual App File Size comparison, now in its third year and as you can see many have doubled in size. Some have increased slightly, and a very small number have actually reduced. The ironic part is our own skignz App has seen the biggest increase, but then we would say that everything is relevant and our 300% increase from 1Mb to 3Mb, but this is nothing, compared to a 50Mb App increasing to 100Mb.



A further influence, on all of the above, is the introduction of technology developments and improved hardware such as ARKit/ARCore, camera improvements, barometers etc. The Hardware and OS developers are developing their relevant areas with App Developers in mind, and this allows the App developers to adjust and redefine their development roadmaps. 

Why duplicate what the OS/Hardware people are doing when you can take advantage of the billions they are investing? Which is allowing you (App developers) to focus on other areas of your App.

Although many see the size of their Apps as irrelevant or a small issue/price to pay versus the app working properly and looking amazing, we don’t dispute the latter part of this as the user should always be front and centre in any App developers mind. 

However, in a relatively new industry and growth sector, can ‘best practice’ be introduced, aspiration standards for us all to meet as an Industry. A more standardised approach may (just may) provide a framework for greater discussion between those developing Hardware/OS and those developing the Apps or similar technologies that are downloaded onto our mobile devices. 

So does size really matter? We think it does….

If you would like to find out more about skignz, please follow us on the usual social media channels.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

skignz CEO, speaks at the Houses of Parliament

India Technology Summit – Presented by Kosta from Empact – The startup super connectors.

We were proud to be part of this Technology Summit that was hosted at the Houses of Parliament. Where our very own Counder & CEO, Si Brown, had a chance to air his views on technology and its future, plus engage with some powerful leading figures. 

Following the successful hosting of 19 summits at the UK Parliament over the years and having engaged around 2700 delegates from more than thousand organisations, Europe India Centre for Business and Industry, supported by Sivaleen Inc and Empact Ventures, organised the 'India Technology Summit 2017' 

The event is designed to discuss, promote and talk about future developments for companies that are involved in Internet development, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Fintech, Electronic Systems, Communications, Cyber Security and Retail Security. This summit attracts technology experts, technology companies from the UK/Europe and India, policymakers from UK and India, British MPs and Member of House of Lords and other leading invited guests.

In addition to these interesting technology companies, there were also around 5-6 British MPs who attended. 

So you can imagine, it was a wonderful experience for both Si and Alan Clayton, skignz's Global Communication Manager, to attend this prestigious event and have a greater of understanding of what is actually happening in all areas of the internet world. A huge honour was Si being invited to speak on two panels; The Investment Panel and The Next Best Thing Panel. 

Si was personally asked to explain the difference between AR & VR. He proceeded to asked the 70+ delegates to download the skignz App and view some of the content placed around the Houses of Parliament. Companies such as, Pizza Hut, Jaguar Land Rover, Santander, Hay Group were also asked to speak. 

If you'd like to know more about the summit, who attended, the aims and objectives and whether you would like to be involved, you can read more details here.

And we proud that Si has since been invited to speak at a further summit at a venue still to be disclosed in Russia. We will keep you posted on this awesome news.

If you would like to find out more about skignz, please follow us on the usual social media channels.