• Posted on October 14th, 2013

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    Future Proofing Your Business in a Sharing Economy

    This is a guest post by Jennifer Le Roux, Digital Marketing Consultant at www.thoughtshift.co.uk and Founder of altmu.co.uk.


    Globally the Sharing Economy is worth £310 billion. Not only that, according to Sharing Economy expert Benita Matofska, 52% of adults in the UK are accessing it and another 28% are interested. It is clear the Sharing Economy has thrived in recent years yet, like many others, Benita Matofska, had to endure the frustrating process of trawling the internet to organise her family holiday in 2011, hoping for local insights and property sharing. Fast forward two years and she is now the Founder and Chief Sharer of the first and only comparison website in the Sharing Economy, Compare and Share. Celebrating the launch of their crowdfunding campaign on CrowdCube, which has already achieved £9,920 investment since its unveiling this morning.Compare and Share have not only created an aggregator that allows consumers easy access to what they need, they have developed asset-sharing technology that enables companies to make and save money from their own resources and buy idle goods or services cheaply from others. This new technology has come at a time when businesses are beginning to embrace peer-to-peer sharing as a method to maximise full use of their assets. For example, Marriot International has a partnership with LiquidSpace renting out unused corners of their hotels to entrepreneurs and start-ups. B&Q have launched streetclub.com, an online platform that connects the industry to share tools and Marks & Spencer have introduced ‘Shwopping’, donating the sale of used clothing to Oxfam. In the US, Wal-Mart are planning to crowd source online deliveries through instore customers with empty seats – all excellent examples of how the Sharing Economy benefits both business and people.

    Changing the Business World

    Businesses need to be resource efficient if they want to achieve sustainability. Jeremy Heimans, the CEO of Purpose.com, recently reported his view in the Guardian that the Sharing Economy offers an antidote to overconsumption, an eroding middle class and rising concentrations of wealth and power. Describing the influence of the Sharing Economy as ‘devolving power to participants and creating trust-based communities’.

    The smart companies are future proofing their businesses, recognising that the Sharing Economy is essentially changing the way that business is done, and Compare and Share has recognised the opportunity to develop an engine that can empower that change. They build the tools that enable these companies to actually deliver peer-to-peer sharing both to their employees and to their customers.

    Sharing Economy Experts

    Compare And Share’s Benita Matofska is regarded as one of the global leaders of the Sharing Economy, and is often approached for her expertise or to be a spokesperson at key events on its continued growth and popularity. Her background in broadcasting communications for travel programming and the insights from her own not-for-profit initiative, The People Who Share, alongside the talents of her co-founder Nick Tong, has led to this explosive venture ripe with opportunity for investors.

    Nick has a background in innovation and technology building specific software technologies that enables sharing items (rentmyitems.com / sunshine) and has been integral to the development of the compareandshare.com and corporate asset-sharing technology. Tong has previously been nominated for a BIMA award for Ivy4evr and has also developed clinical trial management software used at GOSH. Further experience includes working with big names BBC, Courvoisier, Publicis Group.

    Together they have created a myriad of technology enabling people searching on their platform an engaging and accurate experience. With data mining techniques deployed across their data mapping algorithm, their asset-sharing technology can deal with large data sets delivered from a wide range of partners. Plans to develop faceted search techniques and semantic vectors will also help with Natural Language Processing (NLP) enabling searching to be very precise.  Compare and Share’s Sharing Economy focus on user experience means the community is put centre stage making the sharing part of their DNA.

    Sharing Potential

    Compare and Share recently secured a contract with UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support building technology to connect volunteers to those who need support The move is likely to interest further charities who will be lining up behind a pipeline of companies that have approached Compare and Share for their unique expertise, including a major high-street retailer. Matofska said: “There are a lot of opportunities for charities to engage in this space. What we are doing for Macmillan is very pioneering and I’m sure we’ll see many other smart charities adopting the Sharing Economy because they will see the benefit peer-to-peer support can bring.”

    Benita believes that the potential reach of the Sharing Economy is wide open. With predictions from some that fertility is the next big thing. In addition websites such as ‘Borrow My Doggy’ with peer-to-peer dog walking and ‘Grape Night In’ are enabling people to share wine, so the possibilities are endless.

    “Fundamentally the Sharing Economy extends to anything that people can share with each other, which is absolutely anything and everything. There are no boundaries and that is what makes it exciting because peer-to-peer sharing has limitless potential.”

    In terms of Compare and Share’s aggregator, although the Compare and Share website currently focuses on car-sharing, development is already underway for the introduction of global accommodation, a vertical that’s estimated to be worth 26 billion and one of the fastest growing segments of the Sharing Economy with well-known players such as Airbnb and Love Home Swap. Future plans include building travel related verticals from peer-to-peer dining to leisure activities such as person to person tours. In addition to this they plan to go deeper into the travel space, providing an end-to-end travel experience (e.g. everything you need for your journey – cars, accommodation, food, activities, equipment…). With ultimate plans to include in peer-to-peer goods as a complete one-stop shop for the Sharing Economy.

    Crowdfunding Campaign

    Benita Matofska is confident that they will raise a large amount of investment with the launch of their crowdfunding campaign this Friday, which will also showcase a new video of showcasing their company and the asset-sharing software. There are many comparison websites in the insurance or travel space but no other comparison sites on getting best deals in the Sharing Economy to make and save people money. Last year adults in the UK saved 4.6 billion pounds by accessing the Sharing Economy and that is just a snippet of the astounding statistics available via The People Who Share’s report State of the Sharing Economy 2013, which can be found at www.stateofthesharingeconmy.com.  A Sharing Economy is an economy that is built from the sharing of our finite resources and it’s very much a people’s economy; people to people, peer-to-peer, person to person. Compare and Share are seeking crowdfunding investment as the first and only comparison website for the Sharing Economy in the world and set to be the next big aggregator to open up the explosive peer-to-peer market.

    According to Forbes Magazine, in the last year revenue growth in the Sharing Economy is up 25% further enhancing the huge market potential in peer-to-peer sharing. At this point in time Compare and Share are the first and only comparison website for the Sharing Economy and set to open up the sharing market in the same way eBay opened up the second-hand goods market making the sharing of spare goods ubiquitous.  As world leading experts in this space, they have the talent and a unique idea that is infinitely scalable. This is the next big aggregator, the global technology brand, of the future with massive potential for a huge return on investment.

  • Posted on October 10th, 2013

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    A quick look at Cameras

    It’s been a while since we wrote about cameras here on GirlyGeekdom so we thought it would be interesting to see what my favourite brand of camera manufacturers Sony have been up to recently.  I must say, I miss my Sony Cybershot camera even though my phone has a higher spec camera in it than my Cybershot had.  There is just something about having a camera as just a camera without any distractions or complications that is just sensible and practical in my opinion.  With that in mind I thought it might be fun to take a look at the latest compact system camera range for cameras by Sony.

    Having looked at the broader range of cameras on offer to me this particular range are practical and professional yet not so big that you need a giant bag just for the camera.  They are the middle ground between a phone camera and the fancy DSLR’s that are out there and when you start looking at the price of them they aren’t too bad for an entry level professional camera. (£375 – £999)  The interchangeable lenses and the form factor look like a really good option for someone like me who doesn’t like carrying around loads of equipment.  Overall the compact system camera range from Sony looks like a really interesting option if you are looking for something that is reliable and flexible.  It would be interesting for us to get our hands on one of these to see if they live up to my initial expectations!

    And on that note I’ll leave you with this infographic from the Sony site!


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  • Posted on August 20th, 2013

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    Innovative Cyber Security Solutions showcasing at Titanic Belfast

    ICT KTN and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen’s University Belfast have teamed up to bring you this opportunity to see great cyber security solutions and the latest research in a lovely setting – the new Titanic Belfast.

    Attendance is free but places are limited. Information and registration here:


  • Posted on July 9th, 2013

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    North West Tech Companies – Where’s the money?

    There are literally billions of pounds of money available to help innovative companies expand what they do. Could you use some of this?

    On July 8th 2013, at the Liverpool Innovation Centre, a free event will be laid on giving advice on at the many sources of funding available to support R&D work.

    This half-day event will feature:
    - a live internet link with an ICT Lead Technologist from the Technology Strategy Board
    - Eddie Townsend from the  ICT Knowledge Transfer Network  talking about the opportunities in Horizon 2020 (the next round of research and development funding from the European Union); and
    - a Knowledge Transfer Partnership advisor presenting the benefits of a KTP investment.

    If you would like to see how your company can benefit from the support available please register for this event at: http://liverpoolsmes.eventbrite.co.uk/

  • Posted on July 8th, 2013

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    Getting the most out of Windows 8 Features – Refresh and Reset

    So far in this series of ‘getting the most out of Windows 8 features‘ we’ve covered Family Safety and File History. AKA protect your kids on the web and prevention of data loss. In today’s post we look at Refresh and Reset, for the lovers of speed and hoarders of desktop applications amongst you, this Windows 8 feature is going to be right up your alley.

    A question of speed

    Modern society loves speed, nowhere can this be optimised more than when it comes to technology. Speed is the message of the day with advertising campaigns such as “Superfast” 4G mobile networks from EE and “High Speed” Fibre Optic broadband from Virgin Media. Load speeds now a days are judged in milliseconds, a concept backed in a recent study release by Google highlighting that for every 500 millisecond delay time resulting in a 20% loss of traffic. I remember the days when connecting to the internet was a 5 minute process and the concept of YouTube was about as close as light-speed space travel.

    So when it comes to desktop PC’s speed is just as much a factor as with any other facet of technology, opening a program and watching the egg time spin for 5 seconds is simply not an option for most. That said, we continue to fill our computers with once used and long forgotten applications and files (I still have my A-Level Geography project on deforestation and it’s effects on soil erosion), which in turn can drastically affect PC performance. In the past the only option available was the trick and time consuming process of  wiping the hard-drive and re-installing the operating system. That is of course if you could find the original disk and associated access key.

    Windows 8 makes this process obsolete…

    No more re-installations

    So when your hard drive  is packed to bursting point and your PC performance is beginning to suffer, you now have a quick, easy and viable alternative in the form of Refresh and Reset, the functions of each I have outlined below:

    Refresh – the less extreme of the two options, Refresh removes your installed applications and resets PC settings to default whilst maintaining all your files and folders and paid applications from the Windows store, no losing that premium version of Fruit Ninja.

    Reset – much closer to the reinstall, reset clears all your programs, app purchases and files returning the OS to it’s starting glory with PC Settings returned to default.

    We know what it is, let’s learn how to use it.

    So now we know what Refresh and Reset is, lets go through the How-to guide below which has been created in the form of an infographic. This is pretty much because I like pretty colours and design. The content is taken from a guide written by our in -house Windows 8 expert , Gary Fildes.

    So there we have it, no more re-installs. Join us for next weeks instalment where we look at ‘Ease of Access’ in Windows 8.


  • Posted on July 5th, 2013

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    Have you put anyone forward for IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award?

    The deadline for entries for the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award is fast approaching and I would strongly encourage all companies and individuals with shining stars within their companies to put someone forward and showcase their talents!  Here’s some information about the awards and the deadlines.  Let’s showcase some of our young talented females and start to put forward the role models of the future!

    IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year (YWE) Award
    Entry deadline 31 July 2013
    Prize:  £2,500, trophy and IET Ambassador role

    This prestigious award honours the very best female engineers working in the UK today, highlighting the achievements of women in engineering and encouraging others to enter the profession.

    Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices
    Entry deadline 31 July 2013
    Prize:  £750, trophy and IET Ambassador role

    This prestigious award is for an outstanding female engineering apprentice who has made a contribution within the workplace beyond the realms of her normal duties and demonstrated dynamism in her approach to the solutions of engineering problems. All entrants to the Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices will be automatically entered for the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award.

    Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Prize
    Entry deadline 31 July 2013
    Prize:  £750, trophy and IET Ambassador role

    The Women’s Engineering Society Prize is awarded to a young female engineer who is able to engage and inspire young people’s involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). All entrants to the Women’s Engineering Society Prize will be automatically entered for the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award.

    All winners will be announced at a national ceremony in London on 5th December 2013. Please visit our website for more details and to apply: www.theiet.org/ywe.

  • Posted on July 5th, 2013

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    How do smartphones enhance your life?

    If you are anything like me then you'll be wondering how you ever managed without a smart phone…. However some people, my dad included still only use basic feature phones. So if you aren't a smartphone user what are you missing out on?

    In my case I use my smartphone to know what I am doing when and with whom. It is my camera, my mp3 player and video player all at the same time. When I get lost it becomes my satnav and when I have something I really want to share it becomes my main comms device of choice. I edit documents, I create content and I share some of those key moments that you could only ever capture if you had a device with you that could do all those things.

    Recently Carphone Warehouse launched a campaign to showcase how other people use their smartphones for much less trivial uses than me. In fact they have shared the amazing story of Simon Wheatcraft which you can watch in the video below. They are inviting people like you and I to share our stories on their website to inspire and learn from one another.

    Here's a little more information Simon Wheatcroft who features in the video above:

    Simon Wheatcroft is an ultra-marathon runner who uses the latest smartphone technology and apps in order to overcome his diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition. Simon began losing his sight to this disease at the age of 13, and was classified blind when he turned 17.

    Simon is working with Carphone Warehouse on their Smarter World initiative, celebrating the great and interesting things that people do with their smartphones, encouraging others to share their stories online.

    Shortly before joining University, Simon decided that he wouldn’t allow his disability to get in the way of his love of running, and started training near his house, in an area that he memorised in his head.

    Using a normal iPhone and existing fitness apps, such as RunKeeper, Simon was able to utilise audio to keep track of how far he was running, his heart rate, and his average pace, alongside his location using GPS, allowing him to keep track of his route without the need for a guide dog or running companion.

    Constantly looking for new challenges, Simon is taking part in ultra-marathons including the Grim Reaper (a 40 mile race), and has ambitions for the New York Marathon in 2014. But his biggest aim is to race the fabled Ocean Floor race – 160 miles through one of the harshest environments in the world, the Sahara Desert.

    Simon is passionate about his ultra-marathon running, and wants to raise awareness of the opportunities that smartphones can give to those who suffer from his condition.

    ,p>To find out more about the wonderful things we can do with our smartphones or share your own story visit www.carphonewarehouse.com/smarterworld.


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