Views and news curated for you
November 14, 2014
When Boston Dynamics recently released a video of its Atlas Robot doing the “crane stance” from Karate Kid, I, like many others, had a mixed reaction. I was part amazed – I had never seen a robot balance like that on one foot before; part unimpressed – It didn’t even attempt the kick; and part bemused – other than for taking over the world Terminator style, what is its application? Science and engineering are advancing at such a phenomenal rate that real world applications for new technological abilities seem to come quite a long way after the original invention. However there is one area where the latest technology always seems to end up… toys. I often wonder if it is an in-joke amongst the world’s top research labs? -
October 17, 2014
Back in my tween days, my wonderful yet curious mum wanted to read my diary. She didn’t in the end – something along the lines of “rights to privacy and independence” and my dad believing in them. On another occasion, I must have been around 12, I ran into a friend after my piano lesson, decided to spend some time with her and didn’t call home to let the family know. I didn’t have a mobile phone and I just wasn’t thinking that they would be worried. I was very wrong. They were. I eventually got home, got very memorably told off and learned some important lessons.
January 2, 2014
We work in a lively and exciting industry, so we could almost certainly say this every year, but nevertheless: 2013 has been a great year for innovations, campaigns, technologies and initiatives within the children and family space. We witnessed a new children’s apps category get created on iTunes, kids TV series published on mobile devices before airing on TV; we witnessed programmed TV being less and less popular with certain audience categories whilst the OTT boxes went from strength to strength. We were in awe to see 3D printing take a bigger step towards the mainstream consumer market and devices such as Oculus Rift being made available to public.
July 29, 2013
To grow sales on digital platforms likes Netflix and iTunes film and television distributors (kids or otherwise) need to significantly increase their investment in sales analytics, consumer research and competitor benchmarking to develop digital ‘content planograms’ – the homepage equivalent of the bricks-and-mortar one above. This data-driven approach will support negotiations for better placement; help properly evaluate promotional opportunities; and drive share of market across a much broader range of platforms. Here’s why.
April 10, 2013
When I lived in Germany as a young boy I loved Salamander shoes or rather I loved Lurchi, the little salamander character whose comic books and figurines you got wherever Salamander shoes were sold. Since then a lot (!) of time has passed, we moved abroad and my little friend was but a distant memory. For a long time now I’ve thought that brands – retailers, airlines, insurers etc. – could really benefit, both in the short and long term, from creating better experiences for families – parents and children in particular.
March 28, 2013
I think that good educators have always brought games into the classroom: from role play, to cards, to scavenger hunts and quizzes – they are all games and playing to learn is not a new concept. But as laptops and tablets become more common in classrooms, and as games become the more dominant media in kids’ lives, the introduction of video games into education or “gamification of education” moves towards the centre stage of learning-related discussion. So I wanted to share some thoughts on why I think games definitely do belong in the classroom, and some examples of how this has worked.
March 20, 2013
Part of the 9 stages of childhood development series.
I did a degree in photography, well it was actually more specialist than that, it was a degree in photographic and electronic imaging sciences. The main bulk of the course was studying the science of how photographic film and print creation works. We learnt how the camera takes in the light and through the magic of photo chemical reactions, converts that light into a negative; we learnt how to develop that negative and then how to convert that negative into a final print. I would like to argue I have the most redundant vocational degree of anyone my age.
March 12, 2013
“Wallykazam”, a new TV show by Nick Jr. is set to hit TV screens in 2014. But the show and its characters will not be all new, at least not to the users of smartphones and tablets, because educational apps built around it will start appearing in app stores late this year. This will make “Wallykazam” Nickelodeon’s first major show to be introduced as a mobile product first.
March 12, 2013
So the “ethics” of in-app-purchasing (IAP) – where kids or parents download an app for “free” and then get offered additional content, time or functionality at a premium – seems to be the subject of a big debate in the kids app industry, fuelled particularly since Apple decided to refund £1,700 to parents of a child who had racked up a massive bill. Stuart Dredge’s recent post where he interviewed a range of industry figures in the UK gives a good snapshot of the debate.
March 8, 2013
The old stereotype of a ‘gamer’ was a teenage boy in a dark room shooting people, but this simply isn’t the case anymore. According to the ESA the average gamer is now 30 years old, the same age as the average new parent, and just as likely to be a woman as a man. The stereotypical ‘gamer’ has grown up, moved out of their parents’ house, got married and are now having children of their own, and they are bringing that love of gaming with them into their family life.
According to Goldsmiths University and casual games company PopCap, a third of parents in the UK play video games with their children, in the US this goes up to 52%. Playing video games together as a family is now seen as a great way of spending time together. Last Christmas, UK Interactive Entertainment Association discovered that families were more likely to play video games together than they were to go to a carol service or a nativity play.