Monthly Archives: November 2017

Technology Changes the Sports World

By   November 22, 2017

Like any modern game, Basketball is continually evolving. The game that started with a peach basket and a Canadian teacher is now America’s most played sport, fueled by enthusiastic fans, vibrant basketball uniforms, and thrilling playoff runs. Whether you are speaking NBA, WNBA, minor league or home league, basketball is an exciting pastime for participant and spectator alike. And, one could argue, the best is yet to come, as basketball gets more and more steeped in contemporary engineering, the innovations that are being generated could change how we play and watch sports.

Although relatively new to athletic performance analytics, there is definitely a sea of change coming to basketball and basketball hoodies, as lots of athletes and fans are getting ready to become trapped in it. Together with the increase of analytics includes a new wave of technology designed to measure, analyze, and improve performance on a degree never before seen in professional sports. But before we dive into the creations, let us take a look at how the sport began, its development since, and the development on the horizon.

Basketball’s humble beginnings are much more primitive than what it’s become today. In December 1891, James Naismith, a Canadian professor of physical education at a YMCA in Massachusetts, was searching for an athletic pursuit to maintain his students occupied. He wanted a game that could be played indoors in a gymnasium, due to the cold and harsh New England winters. According to Naismith’s journal, he incorporated the principles of a child’s game known as “Duck on a Rock” to make a new sport that he called “basket ball” — named primarily for the fact that the first “net” was a peach basket affixed to an elevated track. (It was not until later than Naismith decided to cut open the bottom of the basket, allowing the ball to be poked out with a dowel; up to that point, a participant had to climb up and empty the ball from the basket when a group scored.)

Given that basketball is a comparatively youthful game, there were even more innovations to come; ones that even James Naismith could not have predicted when he awakened that peach basket. Since those days of awkward balls and makeshift baskets, basketball has seen a great deal of change. Ever since the NBA was formed from the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1949, athletes are drawn to this fast-paced game, and have demonstrated a strong desire to enhance their performance and triumph. At the end of the day, the aim for any professional staff is to be the very best, and get a competitive advantage by embracing innovation and technology.

Take the present trend of analytics in sports. There appears to be a dividing line between those who believe in analytics as new gospel, and those who would rather keep having an old-school way of thinking when it comes to picking players and picking the best lineups. Yet unlike baseball and soccer, basketball does not have a lot of “old school” mindset to draw on, and it looks a lot more receptive to staying on top of new inventions and trends. As soon as you include the childhood of many of basketball’s star athletes, then you receive an industry that’s far more open to embracing analytics as a mathematical means to succeed.

With all the current ways to see a Basketball game whether on tablet, computer, smartphones, televisions, which all provide replays on demand; the NBA is doing its best to keep up with the times, and, in some regions, transcend them. In 2013, Newsweek reported on the upcoming video technologies that would be set up in each NBA arena for this coming season. This innovative motion catch tech would offer an unprecedented opportunity to assemble player data: Throughout every NBA game, six cameras will capture the position of every player and the ball 25 times per second. In 48 minutes of activity, that is more than 4 million total data points per game. Information being data, it could be sorted, sliced, diced, minced, examined, and queried. Coaches and general managers will use it to learn things about basketball nobody even thought to ask about before.

Even in the past few years the players have been looking at, and using, this collection of information to improve their performance. More than just watching and analyzing video highlight reels, an increasing number of athletes are turning to movement sensors and basketball replay technology to receive a microcosmic perspective of how they are performing, and how they may be performing better. And the most recent generation of 3D motion sensors capture the athlete’s performance metrics such as vertical height, acceleration, rotation, and even hang time. This powerful information can be overlaid onto mechanically created video highlight reels, providing athletes of all abilities a profound comprehension of their performance. As time continues, a growing number of athletes use this technology to hone their abilities, thus making them more precious. Those people who are on the forefront of this expanding technology movement might be the ones who reap the most rewards.

When new technology is on the horizon, it is worth it to be an early adaptor. And because innovations are being made all of the time to be able to generate basketball among the most cutting border sports out there, there is no telling what the future might hold for analytics, wearable technology, data collection and more. It may have built tremendously upon James Naismith’s original concept, but if he had been around now, he may just be amazed that his small “basket ball” game is In the forefront of technological progress.

Marketing Tools: AdWords or SEO?

By   November 15, 2017

With Google’s recent search results changes it appears that paid search is growing in attention to the detriment of organic.

Paid advertising — like Google AdWords — is a terrific way to increase traffic to your site and can increase prospects, but it can quickly become a costly endeavour if you are not careful.

Organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is possibly free, but behind the scenes requires a whole lot of effort to be able to reach a good ranking and maintaining it.

Paid Search: Google AdWords

Before getting started with Paid Search you will need to know what listing you want to appear for. The Google AdWords instrument is an excellent resource for assessing and understanding traffic and keywords for your industry.

One key issue with this tool however is that it will push you more towards very broad keywords. These are nearly always much more expensive and much less effective.

Many marketing managers have complained that they were putting a massive amount of money to Google AdWords and getting traffic but not getting quality leads. The truth is they noticed their advertisements were coming up for things they did not even do – and they had wasted almost all of their budget.

In starting a campaign attempt to understand what your customers are typing in to find your services. Often, it’s not the broad (called ‘head’) expensive search terms, but what are known as ‘long tail’ terms — often much cheaper with less competition but a potential goldmine for new enquiries.

This is the single biggest mistake business owners — and even internet agencies — make when setting up a campaign. Setting a head key word or phrase opens you up to all types of loose variants of that sort of term — often many are completely unrelated to what you’re doing.

Additionally, it is important to frequently review your campaign. You can see the search terms that have been used where you paid result appears as well as what people click on and you can block this phrase from appearing in future – resulting in savings. Again, many people including agencies either don’t much knowledge about this feature or don’t take the opportunity to filter the campaign.

In spite of the changed search layout it’s still proven that only 30 percent of consumers will click on a paid advertisement result, the remainder — the vast majority — will select the page to the organic search results.

Additionally, according to a recent poll 26 percent of net users indicate that they use some kind of Ad Blocking program. This leaves AdWords and other paid search totally useless.

 

Organic Search: SEO

SEO ‘costs’ nothing in order for your site to appear in search results. However, the process of attaining that ranking (and maintaining it) can involve plenty of money and time.

SEO relies on hundreds of individual factors that form part of a search engine’s algorithm when ranking your site. In Google’s case, the current algorithm changes they’ve put a focus on good quality content — writing quality web content and information for your visitors.

Generally speaking your rank is composed of variables on your page (search-engine) and from your webpage (off-page).

On page factors include tags and code that make up your web design. Things like TITLE tags, Descriptions, Heading tags and much more are analysed and indexed. However, as mentioned before much of the rank comes from an analysis of everything you have on the page — content.

Off page factors are slightly more difficult, but normally include links to your site from other websites. Further recent changes to Google’s algorithm though have meant that business-related sites are the focus and in many cases, you don’t need a lot to achieve a good ranking. There is an argument however, that if sites are connecting to you (rather than just your main page but subpages too) then your web page content must be relevant and useful to users — Google will therefore pay more attention to your site.

As the web continues to mature many businesses are developing their sites, putting more into these as a vital marketing tool and reaping the benefits. This also suggests that the goal posts are moving, your site may once have rated well but because perhaps it’s code was not actually targeting anything, you’ll now start to fall behind.

 

To Conclude

AdWords is a fantastic way to ‘immediately’ appear at or ‘higher up’ in search results. But take care to monitor search phrases and exclude what is irrelevant to avoid wasting money. Of course, the minute you quit spending the results vanish.

SEO may be free, but requires a whole lot of effort so as to rank well. And as your competitors realises that the internet is an excellent marketing tool it means increased effort must remain higher in the ranks.

Today, there’s a case for the two to both be part of your marketing plan but ensure you constantly track results and reporting to maintain an effective campaign.

A brand is more than a logo

By   November 10, 2017

Logo design is a component of brand design. But, a brand is not just its logo. When does a company’s logo become part of its brand?

To answer this question, let us first define a logo and a brand:

What is a logo? A logo is a unique, purposeful design that is paired with your business name in an interesting and cohesive manner. The logo also has a colour palette delegated to it. It has to be scalable, able to be replicated consistently in all of your advertising, and ageless — so that it doesn’t become stale or look old too soon. Your graphics must be consistent so that your logo fits in with your web design and other platforms and advertising material.

What’s a brand? A brand is the group of perceptions that your customer has about your company. Be aware that the brand resides on your client’s mind — and the ideas that they have about your company.

This does not mean that the brand is outside of your control. You can control your client’s notion of your own brand by defining your brand and designing eye-catching, stand-out images to convey that message. Then, use those images consistently throughout your marketing materials, thus helping your customers get the right idea about your brand.

Aspects of your brand that you have complete control over include:

The narrative that you are telling about your company. The first step in branding is to figure out who you are, what you do, what makes you different and who your best customers are. And, to put that all together in an easy-to-say and easy-to-understand brand story. Use that as the base for all of your visual communications, business and marketing writing, and your promotion design and strategy.

Your logo: Your Logo ought to be designed to visually inform your brand story and to be appealing to your target clients.

Your visual vocabulary: Your logo is just one piece of your visual communication toolkit. If your marketing materials only had your logo and text on white paper, whilst it is a good start, you would be missing opportunities to make your layouts more eye-catching. Your visual language is all of your additional graphics to the logo — such as background colours or patterns, header layouts, stock photos, your headshot, borders, or special offers, pictures of your products, and your font styles and colour palette. This gives you more tools to create stunning designs for your own brand.

Marketing material designs: The design of your business card, letterhead, brochure, ebook cover, website, as well as your Twitter page are all a vital part of your brand. These materials should reinforce one another and match without mixing together too much.

Therefore, a brand is much more than a logo — it’s the consistent story that you tell through graphics and all other ways you write about your business

That story gets into your customers’ minds and – if you have established a stand-out brand — it’ll stick there!

When you make this stickiness, also known as memorability, your customers will all be “on the same page” when it comes to your brand. This means that their opinions and buzz about your company will reinforce their thoughts about you and your business.

The Impact of Technology on the Construction Industry

By   November 8, 2017

There is a whole lot of buzz nowadays about drones, 3D printing and robots. It’s easy to brush these technologies off as fads or luxuries until you understand a few of the cases which are being applied by integrating those emerging technologies. As everyone matures, we are getting much closer to a world where structures could be constructed entirely automatic and unmanned. I’ve talked to a variety of companies in this space and here is what I have discovered.

Agility at scale wins

Building big complex structures is a very expensive and time-consuming endeavor. The Freedom Tower in New York City took over seven years to complete. This past year, The Guardian showed a video of a 57-story building being constructed in 19 days in China. Granted, this construction is not as complicated a structure as the 104-story Freedom Tower, but 19 days remains an astonishing achievement.

How are companies attaining these remarkable feats? They are combining multiple emerging technologies to gather data, automate processes and construct structures with more precision, and speed instead of using the largest cranes or double the manpower. These technologies also allow investors to determine value out of their large investments much sooner than in the past, leading to a quicker ROI.

Automation enabled by data

Inspections play a crucial part in building. Before a single piece of engineered timber, the concrete or foundational base is constructed, the construction site goes through a series of inspections to comprehend various data points concerning the soil, drainage, vegetation, surface space and a whole lot more. Once the building procedure starts, many more reviews are necessary to guarantee worker safety, compliance, quality, progress and many other critical data points. In conventional construction, all these inspections are mostly manual, time-consuming and at times even dangerous to execute. Imagine the risk of examining beams on the 34th floor of a building under construction.

Drones are now being set up to expedite these inspections. They can cover a broad area in short time spans. They have quite advanced lenses which may capture detailed, close-up images, and send data in real time to computer systems and machines which could react in real time to the information received. There are many benefits of collecting digital information from drones. A large benefit is that the data allows builders to perform pre-construction simulations, permitting them to test many hypotheses and designs and reduce the risk of error before breaking ground for the first time. Another benefit, which I will expand on later, is having the capability to do construction jobs remotely and unmanned.

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is also transforming the way complex structures are being built printing concrete constructions in high speed. The 3D printing business published the top 10 3D printed structure inventions, which I recommend watching. Among the most astonishing innovations was from Amsterdam based 3D printing firm MX3D. One of the videos featured an unmanned robot 3D printing a whole bridge.

3D printing is also being used to publish complex, curved, layered and artistic structures and objects which make up modern buildings. Creating these intricate objects by hand and in the scale is a massive undertaking, but with 3D printing, the job becomes much more effective.

Automated robots are being used to construct beams, lay bricks, dig, drill, place timber beams, paint and perform just about any task needed to construct structures. What is really exciting in this area is the ability to do construction unmanned and remotely. Innovative businesses have built solutions that allow smart robots to operate synchronously to assemble complex objects. All this could be achieved under the watchful eye of a technician from throughout the world over the net.

RoboticsX, a high-tech startup in Germany was recently spoken to. Their vision is to change the entire world from space and robotics business. They state that “If Elon Musk is going to Mars, our robots and systems will be the first passengers”. RoboticsX is presently focusing on autonomous robotics which will enable the construction of buildings and structures on Mars which will perform under changing environments and without continuous supervision from earth. Their current focus is to constantly perfect this technology and apply it to the “Digital Factory” to optimize manufacturing plants in what many call the Industry 4.0 way. These robots are being used in the automotive industry to manufacture cars, trucks and other vehicles and in the pharmaceutical sector to produce goods. Peter Boras, CEO & co-founder, stated they are testing scaling around 3,000 robots working at the same time.

Summary

The construction industry is being disrupted and we are still in the very early phases. The number of innovation in several technologies have allowed leaders in the building sector to leverage technology to radically change business models for constructing large structures and buildings. The move form drake low loaders to drones, large information, machine learning, 3D printing, and robotics are some of the key enabling technologies leading the disruption. As machines get smarter and more competent each year, the vision of construction on Mars becomes less of a dream and more of a reality.