Parking Insider Helps with Avoiding Parking Tickets in Berlin

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Parking Insider is a smart app with a mobile wallet dedicated to enabling its users to quickly and seamlessly pay for parking spots. The app also invites users to earn free minutes of parking by snapping pictures of free parking spaces. The photos will be used to create a heat map that enables other users to find open parking spots.

It’s the second attempt at this idea by two of Parking Insider’s three creators. Shruti Kuber and Advait Kumar are currently getting their master’s degrees in embedded systems at the Technical University of Berlin.

“We do see expanding into other brands and cities,” said Shruti Kuber, co-creator, Parking Insider. “We’re taking this seriously.”

The app is limited to Berlin currently. It’s also limited currently to working with the APIs of Deutsche Bank and Daimler. To use the app, the customer will need to be a Deutsche banking client, which would enable them to set up a prepaid account that automatically renews every month and allows them to track their payment history. The customer will also need to drive a Mercedes-Benz, Smart car, or other Daimler vehicle. Parking Insider has every intention of seeking out partnerships with other banks and car companies in the future.

Ericsson Demonstrates New 5G Technology’s Speeds of Up to 5.7 GBs per Second

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Mobile technology company Ericsson recently demonstrated the new 5G technology, as it delivers a speed of 5.7 gigabytes per second. The company claimed that this first-ever live demonstration of the 5G network was done using its 5G-test bed and 5G NR radio.

“The demonstration using Ericsson’s 5G testbed delivers a throughput of 5.7 Gbps and ultra-low latency of 3 millisecond,” said a Ericsson statement.

The company had recently released a report saying India will have over 10 million 5G subscriptions by 2023. Ericsson has also projected that the total revenue potential to be $27.3 billion by 2026.

“They are getting ready for 5G play given the government vision to introduce the new generation services by 2020,” said Nunzio Mirtillo, head for Southeast Asia, Ericsson.

The largest opportunity will be in sectors like manufacturing, energy and utilities followed by public safety and health sectors. “Introduction of 5G technology will bring a new level of performance and characteristics to the telecom networks enabling new services and creating new ecosystems,” said Nitin Bansal, managing director, Ericsson India.

Snapchat Creates Long-form and “Hands-on” AR Ads

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Snap Inc. is looking to assist businesses with immersive new ads formats with the introduction of two new forms of ads. The “Promoted Stories”, which string together multiple Snaps into longer-form slideshows which can be easily opened from a tile on the Stories page that’s shown to everyone in a given country. Snapchat also features the Augmented Reality Trial ads that allow people to play with an AR version of a product overlaid on the world around them.

“Our advertising partners have been asking for ways to tell deeper stories on mobile” said Peter Sellis, director of revenue product, Snap Inc.

HBO is piloting the format with Promoted Stories about why their customers should stay in and watch Game Of Thrones. While in Europe, clothing brand ASOS highlights “night-out worthy looks.”

These new formats could make Snap’s ads more viewable and more memorable, which would generate money from businesses that are hoping to make a mark on premier audience of US teens. Both Promoted Stories and AR Trial ads go a step beyond what Facebook offers, but could soon be copied like the rest of Snapchat.

Advertisers can create a series of three to ten photos and videos to create a Promoted Story that auto-advances or that users can tap through to follow a detailed narrative about a brand or see multiple angles of a product. They can also look like a user Story or a mini magazine-like Publish Story like what appears in Discover. Each Snap can be swiped up to open a website, app install, or article.

AR Trial Ads take Snapchat’s World Lens ads and makes them functional. Previous World Lens ads remake customers’ reality into a favorite show’s scene or let them place a mascot into their videos.

“We wanted to insert ourselves in an organic way into the Snapchat environment and its users’ world. That is the most meaningful way to address our fans in a style that fits the channel,” said Jörg Poggenpohl, head of digital marketing, Snap Inc.

The company added just 4.5 million users last quarter, slipping below 3% user growth for the first time ever. Snapchat is down from 17% before Instagram Stories launched.

Fricke exits Bauer Media

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Christian Fricke, Bauer Media’s managing director of its digital arm Bauer Xcel Media has resigned from the company. He joined the Australian branch in July of last year. He also managed the Bauer Xcel office in Germany since August 2012. Fricke has also held leadership positions in the company’s print business.

“Christian has made an outstanding contribution to Bauer Media, particularly around the launch of Now to Love, which has captured our news and lifestyle content for our growing digital audience. We wish him all the best for the future,” said Paul Dykzeul, CEO, Bauer Media.

New Bauer CEO Dykzeul announced a major shuffle of the publisher’s executive line up, which included the closure of its custom publishing arm Bauer Works. However, at the time, Fricke’s job remained safe. Bauer Media announced publications including Yours, Recipes+ and Homes+ would no longer be running in 2018.

Uber’s Data Breach could Cause Trouble

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Uber has managed to maintain the title of world’s largest ride-hailing service despite its seemingly endless string of problems. The company’s latest problem involves a data breach cover-up.

“We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber.

Hackers were able to steal data of 57 million riders and drivers. Uber concealed the incident for a year after paying $100,000 in ransom for the stolen information to be destroyed.

Riders and business experts say that the company’s problems such as workplace sexual harassment, drivers with criminal records and other past infractions are serious. Stolen data, however, hits people directly and could make them angry enough to delete the app. Although, some riders have fled from Uber before, but enough have stayed because of the company’s convenience so the latest breach may not make much of a difference. The brand is so well known for quickly responding to ride requests that it’s often used as a verb for such trips, no matter which service is summoned.

In the data breach, the ride-hailing company has reassured riders that hackers received only names, email addresses and telephone numbers. They did not get personal information such as trip details or credit card and Social Security numbers.

For about 600,000 drivers in the US, hackers received driver’s license numbers. To alleviate this problem, the company has offered them free credit monitoring services.

Dentsu Aegis Network Acquires Oxyma Group

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Dentsu Aegis Network announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Oxyma Group, which is a leading performance marketing agency in the Netherlands and Dubai. The transaction is subject to be approved by the Dutch competition authority. After the acquisition, Oxyma Group will be rebranded as Merkle and all agencies as a Merkle company.

“We are very proud to acquire Oxyma, which will enhance the prospects of our business in the Dutch market, ensuring we continue to deliver outstanding work for our clients in digital media, nationally and internationally. We welcome the Oxyma team into the fold and look forward to working with our new colleagues to leverage the exciting opportunities of the intersection between CRM, data, technology, and performance marketing,” said Julius Minnaar, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network, Netherlands.

Oxyma boasts an impressive roster of international clients, which includes industry leaders such as Air France KLM, Audi, Liberty Global, Unilever and Vodafone. The company is headquartered in Rotterdam with additional Dutch offices in Amsterdam and Breda, as well as a location in Dubai. All of Oxyma’s over 300 employees will join Merkle, which will exceed 1,000 employees.

“The acquisition of Oxyma will provide global scale and a new footprint for Merkle in the Netherlands and Dubai, which is critically important in executing on our mission of extending Merkle’s people-based marketing capabilities across EMEA,” said David Williams, chairman and CEO, Merkle. “With a seasoned management team, world-class client base, and complementary vision, Oxyma will be a tremendous addition to Merkle and Dentsu Aegis Network.”

Agency Revolution Releases New Automated Marketing Product

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Agency Revolution, a digital marketing company serving independent insurance agents, released a new product suite, “Attract”. This is a collection of marketing tools including a website or prospecting hub, social integration, automated campaigns and email marketing.

“Attract™ will be an extremely powerful marketing suite for all agents and brokers. Our web designers will help create a vibrant website, one that comes optimized for search engines and already integrated with Google Analytics,” said Rick Fox, president, Agency Revolution. “And perhaps best of all the websites come stocked with engaging content in the form of articles, infographics, and video.”

The suite uses the personalized website as a platform to capture the information from interested leads. They are then assigned to one of several automated campaigns designed to nurture and convert the prospect. There is also a “social foundations” campaign that allows agents to establish a formidable presence on the big three social platforms.

Another automated campaign that will run within this new suite is a referral generation campaign. This will automatically mail an agent’s most satisfied clients four times a year asking them to refer their friends, family, and colleagues.

Agency Revolution’s Attract will give agents all the tools they need to completely redefine their online presence. The new feature will also offer agents the ability to start putting their agency’s best digital foot forward.

Cheddar Launches in Europe With Molotov

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Cheddar, the leading post cable network, introduced its first-ever European partnership with leading France-based OTT service Molotov. Cheddar will be available to all od the French OTT service’s viewers.

“I’ve been reading about Molotov for a year and been blown away by the product and user numbers. It’s a vision of the future, and the logical partner for us to launch with in Europe,” said Jon Steinberg, CEO, Cheddar. “JeanDavid Blanc is a visionary entrepreneur and values professional news content. Cheddar will be a brand that scales globally, starting today.”

Launched less than 18 months ago in France, Molotov already has millions of viewers. As Molotov expands throughout Europe, Cheddar will be part of its lineup.

“Cheddar is taking a unique approach to a traditional business news network, focusing on content younger generations care most about like consumer technology. Molotov is similarly focused on disrupting the legacy TV model by reinventing the way we discover and consume television. In addition to traditional news services, viewers will now tune in to Cheddar on Molotov to learn about the latest market and news developments,” said JeanDavid Blanc, CEO, Molotov.

Molotov combines live TV with catch-up services, a cloud DVR and an advanced search functionalities and discovery. Viewers can access over 90 TV channels within the Molotov app and can start watching on one device and finish on another.

It is available on Apple TV, Android TV, LG and Samsung Smart TVs. Also iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux are capable of receiving this partnership’s new television station.

The Atlantic Names Lorenzoni and McRae as VPs of Advertising Partnerships

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

The Atlantic Publisher and SVP Hayley Romer announced two key leadership positions. Ryan McRae is joining the company as vice president of advertising partnerships. He will head The Atlantic’s New York City-based sales team and sales efforts on the east coast and the United Kingdom.

Liz Lorenzoni, who is based in Chicago, was promoted to vice president of advertising partnerships. She will lead the staff and their sales efforts in the Midwest and Western regions.

“Ryan and Liz are both incredibly smart, strategic, passionate sales leaders and brand storytellers who bring a new level of energy and creativity to our talented team,” said Hayley Romer, SVP, the Atlantic Publisher. “With these two in place, we’re able to focus on planning for a formidable 2018.”

Both Lorenzoni and McRae will concentrate on increasing the number of multimillion-dollar global partnerships that are central to The Atlantic’s continuing revenue growth. Both will report to Romer. Together they will report to Michael Monroe, VP of the award-winning creative marketing group, Atlantic Re:think, which comprises the senior team for sales and marketing.

The Atlantic’s sales and marketing ingenuity has delivered years of double-digit revenue and profit growth. Atlantic Re:think leads the native content space by emphasizing high-impact, art-directed campaigns for top global brands. Atlantic Re:think will drive three-quarters of The Atlantic’s digital ad revenue this year.

Also this year The Atlantic recently sold and launched the first branded podcast from a publisher studio and introduced the first responsive content native campaign.

This year alone, the marketing group was named “Content Team of the Year” in the Digiday Content Marketing Awards. The group also earned the top honor of “Best Content Studio” at both the Digiday Publishing Awards and Digiday Publishing Awards Europe.

It was recently named “Studio of the Year” at the 2017 Native Advertising Awards, where it also picked up Gold and Silver awards for a series of sponsored articles for Allstate on “Restoring Public Education”. The advertising group also was recognized for a native campaign for Jaguar, “The British Impact.”

Apple Launches HomePod Smart Speaker in Early 2018

By Chrissie Cluney, Contributing Editor

Apple Inc. has pushed the launch of its HomePod smart speaker to early next year from December. This means that the company misses the holiday shopping season as the market for such devices becomes increasingly competitive.

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod … but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the U.S., UK and Australia in early 2018,” said an Apple spokeswoman.

Apple introduced the voice-controlled HomePod in June. The speaker, which can make music suggestions and adjust home temperatures, takes aim at Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa feature and Echo devices.

Apple is working to keep its Siri voice assistant relevant in the face of competition from Amazon’s Alexa and Alphabet Inc’s Google Assistant. Both are featured on smart speakers from those companies.

“Last holiday season, smart speakers were huge, and this season they’re going to be huge,” said Bob O‘Donnell, founder, TECHanalysis Research. With Apple’s delay, “there will now be some people who make a different choice. The market’s getting more and more competitive.”

Apple is also counting on HomePod to boost subscriptions to Apple Music and block the rise of rival Spotify. Smart speakers from Google and Amazon let users give voice commands to play Spotify, but Apple Music does not work on the rival devices.

“When HomePod comes out, you’ll probably hear some great content from artists that are familiar and popular, and there’s probably going to be some other special aspects as well,” said Brian Blau, analyst, Gartner