New JPEG Format for Virtual Reality, Drones and Self-driving Cars

“JPEG XS Promising to Load Images Faster and Consume Less Energy”

Nowadays graphics aren’t just made for digital screens, they can be found in areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality, space imagery, self-driving cars and professional movie editing. The Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) committee has recently introduced ‘JPEG XS’, a new file type that compresses images and videos into versions with “visually lossless”  qualities while consuming less power, which basically means they load faster.

Primarily, ‘JPEG XS’ is built to stream files for professional movie editing and photography, virtual reality, augmented reality, drones, live streams, and self-driving cars, even when they’re shared via broadband networks such 5G or Wi-Fi networks. This means that you could use your smartphone, tablet or computer to project a high-definition movie or a video game onto a large-screen display almost instantaneously without cables and the image quality would be extremely high.

Go Touch VR

JPEG XS file sizes tend to be larger, but the creators claim this shouldn’t be a deterrent, since its aim is to stream HD files, not store them in phones or computers.

Touradj Ebrahimi, a professor at EPFL’s School of Engineering (STI) said, “We are compressing less in order to better preserve quality, and we are making the process faster while using less energy”. He explains that while regular JPEG photos are compressed by a factor of 10, the newer version does it by a factor of six.

“Compressing the images with ‘JPEG XS’ doesn’t compromise quality at all: even experts can’t tell the difference between an original and a compressed picture or movie.”

Good news for Videographers also, as you will also stand to benefit from the file type. Whereas current HDR cameras have their own proprietary formats and need to be transcoded before they can be edited, ‘JPEG XS’ serves as a universal format that lets you import files directly into editing software.

The open-source format is still awaiting approval. At present, Ebrahimi says it can be used in “professional applications like movie editing, space imagery and professional-grade cameras,” but should be ready for use in consumer electronics like “self-driving cars, virtual reality, augmented reality, and wireless connections between multimedia devices and TV monitors or projectors” in due time.

“To be able to use JPEG XS, consumers will need to own the next generation of devices. In terms of software, they will probably just need to run an update, like they do from time to time on their computers and smartphones anyway.”


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Strategy vs. Creativity: Which is More Important?

The struggle of balancing strategy and creativity has plagued every business at one stage. Where some completely focus on strategy, others pride themselves in creativity, but when you can create the perfect blend of both elements, you will end up becoming ethereal gods of your market.

Take for example Apple vs Blackberry. Blackberry was once the cornerstone of the smartphone market, but its black and white user experience was one of its major downfalls. BlackBerry also insisted on producing phones with full keyboards, even after it became clear that many users preferred touchscreens, which allowed for better video viewing and User experience. They also failed to anticipate that consumers — not business customers — would drive the smartphone revolution.

Today Apple is the largest tech company in the world, they utilised their innovation and creativity to change the world, but if it weren’t for the aggressive technical strategies behind the products and their complimenting marketing campaigns, they wouldn’t be where they are today.

Why Strategy?

Steuart Henderson Britt once said, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.” Replace advertising with its broadened concept, strategy, and you’ve got yourself a killer-quote to live by.

A business most definitely needs strategy. It requires asking the important questions that drive success:

  • Who are your target customers?
  • How can your customers benefit from your product/service?
  • How exactly are you different from your competitors?
  • Where do you want to be and how are you going to achieve that?

If nobody asks the important questions, you won’t really get anything done.

Why Creativity?

Every business needs strategy, but what’s strategy without anything that distinguishes you from the next business doing the exact same thing as you. In some industries, differentiation isn’t necessarily a big deal, and that’s fine, but if you really want to get anywhere in your industry, adding a bit of differentiation is like adding a spark to a haystack.

Do you think Apple would’ve become so popular if they decided to focus more on technically operational user experiences (UX) and user interfaces (UI)? I highly doubt so. What helped skyrocket them into half of the world’s hands is how easy to use their software is, and how slick and seemingly modern their hardware design is. They put creative thought into everything they do, not just technical thought. 

When it comes to the creative side of the equation, you need to be thinking different to everyone else. A few things to keep in mind when creating campaign artwork  or writing a brief for a designer:

Plan your design
Identity is important as it will help to define your campaign and be sure to carry the look and feel of your brand through all aspects.
Vision: What do you want to achieve? Brand awareness? Do you want to inspire? Answer a question? Maybe even ask a question? Be intellectually playful with your vision.
Insight: What do you want your target market to feel? E.g. Warm, welcome, hungry, excited, inspired etc.
Intent: What do you want your market to do? Click, read, subscribe etc.
Balance: Balance provides stability and structure to a design. This can be achieved through hierarchy of text

Post design
Is it attention-grabbing? Will the user engage? Does everything have purpose? If you can’t explain why an element has to be there or be a certain way – it simply shouldn’t be there.
Does the design have focal points? Do they draw attention to certain elements, CTA, specific images, particular words you want to highlight or trigger an emotio?.
Test Use and optimise: Don’t be afraid of criticism, test your artwork and ideas with peers. Also don’t be afraid to fail with your artwork, optimise and evolve until you get it right.

Why both?

The two elements shouldn’t be considered as rivalling opposites, but rather as coexisting partners because they need to work together in order to achieve the best outcome.

A great example of good creative and good strategy working together is found in nightclubs. You go to a nightclub for the dancing and genre of music; although the revenue is made at the bar. They sell an experience.

Make your campaign a nightclub; give your audience an experience, rather than serve them an image with some overlay text, repeated multiple times throughout a campaign, think outside the box, push your brief to its limits and research what works or doesn’t.

Also, think about how can you use those images and text in different ways? How can you get the most from your target market? Everyone has an audience on the dance floor (your followers, local community or existing customers), now you need to get them to the bar.

Don’t ask yourself ‘how do I build a bridge’, ask yourself ‘how do I cross the river’.


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Social Media Management Has Never Been So Important

Facebook is making a major change to the News Feed that will show you more content from friends and family and less from publishers/businesses

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that, as a result, he expects that people will spend less time on Facebook.

Facebook

On Thursday, Facebook said that it will start to show users more posts from their friends and family in the News Feed, a move that means people will see fewer posts from publishers, brands and businesses. This announcement is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s bad news for publishers who rely on Facebook for traffic, or a business who uses it as a form of organic marketing. Facebook is very clearly telling these businesses their content won’t spread as far in News Feed, and many publishers spend lots of time and resources creating stuff intended to do just that.
  • The company admitted that people will likely spend less time on the platform. This has to leave a sour taste in investors’ mouths. The more time people spend on social media, the more ads they consume, and the more money Facebook can make. Less time, at least on paper, seems like it will correlate to less revenue.

“Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” he wrote. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

Paid social media marketing has never been more relevant, with a decrease in natural reach businesses and publishers will need to increase their presence online, either through alternate means or increase / allocate budget to social media marketing. You will simply be left in the dark if you don’t keep up with the social giant and develop a new strategy.


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Why Social Media Marketing is Important for Small Business

The world has never been the same since Mark Zuckerberg decided to develop a website where people could connect online. Facebook has since become the most used online social platform since the email, with roughly 2.07 billion monthly active users, according to Statista. In saying this, if your small business is not on Facebook (or other relevant social media), you must be out of your mind

Being present on social media is a huge part of digital marketing in today’s world, simply because it’s:

  • FREE (to an extent)
  • directly connects you to consumers
  • acts as a social hub for your business

Although simply being on social media is just one part of the formula, the next is to be actively present. By posting relevant content a few times a week, you are putting your business in the minds of your its followers and/or customers, and we all know repetition is the best way to remember something (this is called brand recall).

As well as this, posting social content positively increases brand perception and therefore, brand reputation, because, as consumers come across your content, they can think one of three things (depending on your content): “this is (1) great, (2) average, or (3) terrible”.

The last (and hardest) part of the formula is getting it right. To understand your business, you need to understand your customers, then conceptualise some advertisements and translate them into posts.

In a social media sense, anything can be an advertisement as long as it relates to your business:

  • a blog post that discusses or explains certain topics
  • a social post emphasising or clarifying a certain product or product’s feature
  • a social post of an event you or your team are attending

Don’t post what random act your crazy devil cat is doing, or how tasty your steak and mash is; leave those for your personal profiles.


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We would be more than happy to explore with you the possibilities of digital and social marketing.