Here's a fascinating report from Reuters on the emerging technologies and vendors seeking to help tackle the spread of out-of-control drones – there are already 100 startups dedicated to anti-drone tech.
Earlier this week the UK Minister of State for Digital & Culture Matt Hancock said Israel was ripe for creating disruption in the global law profession at an inaugural legal tech event held in Tel Aviv.
The RT Hon Matt Hancock in his second visit this year to the “startup nation” hosted a roundtable of leading Israeli players in the emerging Legal Tech industry on Tuesday night hosted by Barclays (20 December). The Minister said the UK legal profession was notoriously slow to change, but that the potential of technology - from the UK or abroad - to transform the industry was inevitable “as every other industry has been disrupted”.
The inaugural UK-Israel Tech Initiative involved an intimate discussion on the future of law and technology bringing together: Minister for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock, British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey, Ilan Admon CTO and Co-Founder of AI contract review and negotiation software LawGeex, Noory Bechor, CEO of LawGeex (and former corporate lawyer at Meitar Liquornik Geva & Leshem Brandwein), Len Rosen CEO Barclays Capital Israel, Professor Niva Elkin Koren, Director Haifa Center for Law and Technology, Jeremy Lustman, Partner and head of DLA Piper’s Israel Country Group, Zohar Fisher of the Tech and Law community in Israel, Yoram HaCohen, President of the Israeli Internet Association, and Michael Goren-Miller, Legal Advisor to Digital Israel.
CEO of LawGeex Noory Bechor said: “We are one of a number of firms revolutionizing the legal world through innovative technology. Using the latest advances in AI, our contract review and negotiation platform allows lawyers to automatically review and approve standard contracts at a speed and scale that humans cannot achieve. This frees up lawyers’ time to focus on deep and more complex advice to clients.”
Ilan Admon, CTO of LawGeex, added: “It was an extremely frank and open discussion and a great honor that the Minister came to Israel to learn about the best technology and the future for disruption in the legal market.”
RT Honourable Matt Hancock said: “I admire the tenacity and drive of the Israeli tech community. Of all the places we have to compete to be the best place to set up the leading tech firms, we have one really difficult competitor in Israel and that is why I come here so often, to find out what you are up to.”
Picture Noory Bechor CEO of LawGeex with RT Honourable Matt Hancock - we'll leave you to guess who is the startup techie and who is the government minister.
COMMENT: Well good news for LawGeex but hello minister, shouldn't you be promoting the UK legal tech startup scene?
Greg Bufithis, a writer, digital/telecom attorney and founder of GP Media Studios/The Project Counsel Group has just reported back from attending the annual Slush event in Helsinki last week...
"More than 17,500 people came to Helsinki for the annual Slush event which matches startups with investors. Bigger than almost any other event, the 2300+ startups came from around the world to match-make with 1100+ investors, plus attendees that just want to see the next "new new thing".
Held at the Messukeskus Convention Centre ("cyberpunk gothic-tech" as noted by many) it was wall-to-wall with applications that ranged from AI applied text analytics/text extraction to augmented reality to chat bots to food to robotics. I think after Brexit and Trump it was an affirmation that technology and innovation is thriving in a country that gave birth to Linux (still the most influential operating system in the world) and Nokia. Oh, and Angry Birds. Oh, and Clash of the Clans, too.
"As I have written before, European technology (and more generally, technology outside of the U.S.) has now broken the mould of trying to be the next Silicon Valley and created its own identity and momentum. U.S. companies ... Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, etc., etc. ... were here in force because as one attendee told me:
"there are something like 4.8 million professional developers in Europe compared to 4.1 million in the U.S. Given Trump's threats to curtail work visas, we need to be here looking for talent for our research and development centers."
"As I have noted before, in the last two years U.S. companies have opened more new R&D centers in Europe than in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world."
The Slush event is described as a Burning Man meets TED event (with rock music) and is now Europe's leading event for startups and the focal point for the Euro tech scene. The 2017 Slush event is scheduled for November 30 to 1 December 2017.
Another event Greg recommends is the Cannes Lions conference for the advertising and media industries, but which also has a big focus on the impact of technology, the visualization of data, creativity, and how to create a high level of quality storytelling. The next Cannes Lions runs 17 to 24 June 2017
Those of you who follow my Twitter feeds will know I have a curmudgeonly love/hate relationship with the tech PR industry. At the heart of it lies the fact the press and the PR industry have wildly different agendas.
For the PR, everything their company (if they are in-house) or their clients (if they are with an agency) does is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD – until of course the next time they do the most important thing in the world.
For the tech journalist, the most important thing is their readers. Journalists (like all writers) want people to read their stuff – and the best way to do that is to inform and entertain their readerships.
Readers, for their part, are not going to be informed or entertained if all they see are endless good news stories about the same bunch of companies. Not least because readers (in their capacity as consumers of tech) may have had distinctly bad experiences with the PRs' clients.
Add in the fact that even in specialist, niche vertical markets there may be dozens, if not hundreds, of players, to focus on just those whose PRs squeak the loudest and most frequently, would result in an unbalanced news coverage that is a disservice to readers.
It's all a question of balance and different agendas.
So, it's CyberMonday, the day we buy loads of tech gear online however here on Gonzo News we retain a healthy suspicion that many new apps and gadgets are just gimmicky solutions in search of problems.
Definitely falling into this category is piece of Dutch innovation called Block a "luxury that helps you break away from your phone". In effect this is a miniature Faraday Cage that will hold up to six phones so, when you are out for a meal or in a meeting, you can pop your phones into a Block container and that will block off any incoming phone calls, messages, alerts or notifications.
Pricing starts at €99.00/US$105.00 and the company is funding its first production run, crowdfunding style, from pre-orders – which it hopes will be ready by Christmas.
Are we missing something here but wouldn't switching your phone to airplane mode achieve exactly the same result?
A commercial cartoonist I follow – Tom Fishburne aka The Marketoonist – recently published a post on the concept of the Creator's Code. (This was devised by Hiut Denim & David Hieatt – here's a link to Tom's post + see graphic)
The aspects that interest me the most are
Point #5: Chase the work, not the money. The money will come in time.
And Point #9: There are no short cuts. Do the work! (If I was being picky I'd also amend #10 to read Great Green Tea Helps.)
But seriously... Points #5 and #9 are the ones most people get wrong – and in the case of #5 usually get the wrong way around and focus entirely on chasing the money.
In both instances the killer factor is short-termism aka instant gratification – unrealistic expectations – looking to make a quick buck.
I've seen this with magazine and website publishers (I've been the launch editor of a number of titles) and software businesses/startups. Let me explain...
With publishing, the way you shouldapproach a new magazine launch is to focus on generating insanely great content – which will then attract readers. And this in turn attract advertisers and their money.
Sadly too many publishers approach the project from the opposite direction: "Oh look, here's an industry niche with an untapped marketing budget, let's get ourselves a slice!"
So they fill the zine or site with advertorial (sponsored copy or whatever else they want to call their pay-to-play model) that keeps the advertisers happy – and they will certainly never dare run stories remotely critical of their advertisers.
But then they are surprised when nobody reads the publication (readers aren't stupid) and they subsequently lose the advertisers. Add in the way many publishers set unrealistic targets for new publications and 12 months later you see the publication being quietly buried.
With software companies the situation arises when they are trying to expand into new market but, once again, they want to do it in a hurry. So, they spend a shedload of money on advertising (usually in the wrong places) and sponsoring events (usually the wrong events) and then are surprised to discover, 12 months later, that they are not market leaders. Like unsuccessful publishers, they then pack their tents and slink away into the desert.
With startups, the problem is usually outside investors who have unrealistic expectations that the business is going to be The Next Big Thing and pull the financial plug before it ever has been given a proper chance to thrive and succeed.
These are all long-term commitments. There are no short-cuts, you have to do the groundwork. You have to get the basics right and then you will reap the financial rewards.
Anything else is folly. Short-termism is the enemy of creative innovation and promise.
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Barrister and Reuters correspondent turned writer, award-winning tech journalist, radio presenter, podcaster, and sometime werewolf-hunter Charles Christian chronicles his adventures in the worlds of writing, radio, geek, tech, media, marketing, music, and the weird. The site also has links to all Charles Christian's books including fiction and nonfiction, plus the latest reviews.
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