The Backed Pack: Butterfleye flutters past wires, can keep an eye on anything, anywhere

Butterfleye9

Each week our friends at Backerjack highlight a successfully crowdfunded gadget. This week, we look at Butterfleye, a wire-free monitoring camera that has raised four times its funding goal in the first four days of its second crowdfunding go-round.

There’s been an explosion of new home security cameras on the market in the past few years, but whether they are attached to some kind of monitoring service or rely on their own apps, they are less convenient to install than they could be. While many of them happily hop onto a Wi-Fi network, they can’t stray too far from an outlet.

Butterfleye combines a wide-angle lens with a big battery to keep it going up to a week without charging. It employs sophisticated sensors that go beyond simple motion detection to include sound detection; it can also differentiate between humans and pets. The company claims it has additional improvements in accurate identification technology on the way and says that it plans to deliver these via regular firmware updates. Going along with the prevailing model these days, the service includes limited cloud storage of video the Butterfleye captures and offers the option of additional storage for a monthly fee. The company’s app allows users to swipe between multiple Butterfleye cameras.


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Since its initial campaign last year, the San Francisco-based company has toned down the non-security selfie applications of its camera and is instead focusing on the camera’s ability to wirelessly safeguard your home for up to a week without needing a charge. The company seeks to raise $100,000 by August 25th in a Flexible Funding campaign to help with the tooling process. It’s offering a number of limited tiers, with a baseline price of $199 for a single unit.

The Butterfleye is ideal for situations that require surveillance stints of a few days, particularly outdoors (as in camping trips). The company claims its low-light performance exceeds that of the iPhone 6 and says it has plans to further improve nighttime video capture.

Netgear also offers a wireless camera system that claims long battery life with its Arlo system, previously known as the Avaak Vue. Like the Arlo, the Butterfleye uses a magnetic mount that allows for a fair degree of range. Due to the Butterfleye’s heavier size, mounting it requires something sturdier than the Arlo mount’s light adhesive.  However, one reason the Arlo cameras are so small is that they use a proprietary wireless communication method. That requires a base station that must be plugged in at all times (and potentially requires an extender as well).

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The Backed Pack: Butterfleye flutters past wires, can keep an eye on anything, anywhere

Butterfleye9

Each week our friends at Backerjack highlight a successfully crowdfunded gadget. This week, we look at Butterfleye, a wire-free monitoring camera that has raised four times its funding goal in the first four days of its second crowdfunding go-round.

There’s been an explosion of new home security cameras on the market in the past few years, but whether they are attached to some kind of monitoring service or rely on their own apps, they are less convenient to install than they could be. While many of them happily hop onto a Wi-Fi network, they can’t stray too far from an outlet.

Butterfleye combines a wide-angle lens with a big battery to keep it going up to a week without charging. It employs sophisticated sensors that go beyond simple motion detection to include sound detection; it can also differentiate between humans and pets. The company claims it has additional improvements in accurate identification technology on the way and says that it plans to deliver these via regular firmware updates. Going along with the prevailing model these days, the service includes limited cloud storage of video the Butterfleye captures and offers the option of additional storage for a monthly fee. The company’s app allows users to swipe between multiple Butterfleye cameras.


From VentureBeat
Get faster turnaround on creative, more testing, smarter improvements and better results. Learn how to apply agile marketing to your team at VB’s Agile Marketing Roadshow in SF.

Since its initial campaign last year, the San Francisco-based company has toned down the non-security selfie applications of its camera and is instead focusing on the camera’s ability to wirelessly safeguard your home for up to a week without needing a charge. The company seeks to raise $100,000 by August 25th in a Flexible Funding campaign to help with the tooling process. It’s offering a number of limited tiers, with a baseline price of $199 for a single unit.

The Butterfleye is ideal for situations that require surveillance stints of a few days, particularly outdoors (as in camping trips). The company claims its low-light performance exceeds that of the iPhone 6 and says it has plans to further improve nighttime video capture.

Netgear also offers a wireless camera system that claims long battery life with its Arlo system, previously known as the Avaak Vue. Like the Arlo, the Butterfleye uses a magnetic mount that allows for a fair degree of range. Due to the Butterfleye’s heavier size, mounting it requires something sturdier than the Arlo mount’s light adhesive.  However, one reason the Arlo cameras are so small is that they use a proprietary wireless communication method. That requires a base station that must be plugged in at all times (and potentially requires an extender as well).

Never miss out on the latest crowdfunded tech innovations by signing up for the Backerjack Daily Digest

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Ashley Madison Refutes Claims That Its Site Was Populated With Fake Female Accounts

Ashley Madison Avid Life Media, the parent company behind hacked dating site Ashley Madison, says this morning that media reports claiming the site had very few active female users were inaccurate. That’s hard to believe, given that the leaked emails resulting from the massive data breach also revealed the company paid people to create fake profiles (dubbed “angels”) on an ongoing basis,… Read More

VMware public cloud gets vCloud Air SQL, Site Recovery Manager Air, object storage

On the exhibition floor at VMware's VMworld conference in San Francisco on Aug. 25, 2014.

VMware today announced several enhancements to its vCloud Air public cloud at the company’s annual VMworld conference in San Francisco.

Companies can test and run plans for disaster recovery in vCloud Air’s new cloud-based Site Recovery Manager Air. And VMware is starting to offer disaster recovery on vCloud Air based on usage, instead of just a monthly or yearly subscription.

“Customers pay a flat fee for each VM [virtual machine] protected and the amount of storage consumed by the VMs,” VMware said in a statement on the news. “When a DR [disaster recovery] test is run or a DR event occurs, customers only pay for the compute consumed when VMs are running.”


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VMware is also introducing vCloud Air Object Storage powered by Google Cloud Platform, the first new product to come out of VMware’s reseller relationship with Google announced earlier this year. It should become generally available by Sept. 30. A related product based on parent company EMC’s ViPR software, vCloud Air Object Storage powered by EMC, should become available in an early access program by the same date.

These updates and others from VMware this week show how the company is looking to become a formidable contender in the cloud infrastructure market. VMware has become a major provider of on-premises software for virtualization, which enables several virtual machines to run on top of each physical server. But companies are depending on public clouds to a greater and greater extent. Public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, brought in almost $6 billion in revenue in the year that ended on June 30.

VMware, which as an entire company generated just over $6 billion in revenue in 2014, counts many large companies in its user base, and today’s additions to the product lineup reflect that to some extent. Disaster recovery, for instance, is a priority, with two announcements in that area.

Still, VMware is taking steps to have the basic components that other cloud providers have.

The release of the new vCloud Air SQL database as a service, which will become available in an early access program in the fourth quarter of this year, and the new object storage services — which were first announced at VMworld in San Francisco last year — give VMware features that many of the top cloud providers have.

VMware is also announcing today Hybrid Cloud Manager, a new tool to plug in to the vSphere virtualization software that should help on-premises do more with application deployments that extend in to vCloud Air.

“This solution provides workload migration, data center extension and enhanced hybrid management within the vSphere Web Client, including support for VM migration,” VMware said in a statement.

Find all of our coverage of VMworld 2015 here.

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How marketers are tailoring their content strategy for a multi-channel, multi-device world

tablet coffee shop

This sponsored post is produced in association with Citrix GoToWebinar.

We’re living in a technologically empowered age where smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and e-readers reign supreme and customers are spoilt for choice not just for the content, but for the platform they wish to view it on.

Fortunately, content is still king for consumers. And the top marketers in the industry are the ones that can tap into the power of connected data and understand what sparks and sustains user interaction across different platforms.

The key to building a solid multi-platform content strategy is to have a keen understanding of the limitations of new technology and how you can create tailored content for each platform. And that demands a highly dynamic content strategy that offers a unique experience to users across each channel.

Your customer is a moving target, and you need to be fully tuned into their content consumption habits and device preferences to actively adapt your content strategy for attracting the right audience.

Making mobile a priority is non-negotiable

At this point, denying the impact of mobile marketing is like trying to contest the existence of gravity. According to a 2014 comScore report, 31 percent of content published by top media entities is viewed solely on smartphones and more than half of U.S. users spend the majority of their time consuming digital media with mobile apps. Google, Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, and Facebook collectively topped the list for highest combined platform usage.

A recent study conducted by Millward Brown revealed that nearly 60 percent of buyers use mobile devices to research their purchases.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the intrinsic value of your content in the eyes of mobile-savvy users instantly shoots up if your brand maintains a consistent multi-platform presence. However, you need to keep in mind that content relevance means a lot more than multi-channel presence.

Here are some of the most rewarding practices used by content marketers to captivate mobile users:

1. Make it locally relevant

Whether you’re setting up a mobile-optimized website or a mobile app, location plays a monumental role in determining your audience’s content consumption habits.

According to a mobile media consumption study done by Pew Research Center, 74 percent of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location. Location-enabled services in apps allow marketers to target consumers at the right time – and right place – giving marketers a golden opportunity to serve location-specific content to consumers and make their brand interactions worthwhile.

For example, Blis Media helped Spotify produce excellent results by serving ads in airport coffee shops based on the assumption that people would be inclined to purchase last-minute travel entertainment.

Foursquare, Waze, Tinder, and Google Now have also done a splendid job delivering high quality location-specific content through the efficient use of big data. You can easily entice people walking by your store to walk in simply by offering a sweet check-in deal on Facebook or Foursquare.

2. Optimize for push messaging

Thanks to this newfound context-driven approach, content marketing through messaging for apps has become a lot more productive.

The highest click rates come from short messages (10 or fewer words) packed with words like “offer,” “super,” “ends” and “deal”. A 2014 Localytics report on push messaging revealed that there’s a 66 percent higher click rate on push messages that are sent on weekdays, and the ideal time to send them to users is between 12 p.m to 5 p.m.

Make your content relevant and timely by sending offers and updates on products users have viewed before. For instance, a user may have abandoned their online shopping cart with a few Burberry clothing items for some unknown reason in the past. By following up with a notification like “Your favorite item: Burberry Check Coat – now 20% off”, you have a high chance of rekindling the transaction.

3. Prioritize visual content

Social Bakers looked at the top 10 percent of posts made by more than 30,000 Facebook brand pages and found that posts with photos saw the most engagement—accounting for a whopping 87 percent of total interactions.

Mobile consumers strongly prefer rich visual content over text-heavy content due to the limitation of screen space and straightforward nature of the brand communication. Therefore, opting for catchy infographics and visually striking banners to promote your brand will prove to be a lot more engaging.

4. Champion responsive design

If you’re aiming to deliver a seamless content interaction experience to your customers across different platforms, then investing in responsive design should be on the top of your priority list – particularly if you haven’t yet invested in a mobile app. It allows automatic optimization of content across devices for effortless navigation and eliminates the need to create a mobile version of your website.

Big players in the media industry like USA Today and Disney have implemented responsive design across a number of their properties to streamline the cross-platform content experience for audiences.

Here are some of the key elements involved in implementing responsive design for marketing content across mobile devices:

  • Readability –to make sure that your message is easily visible, use at least 14 point fonts.
  • Navigability  to accommodate finger tapping for navigation more efficiently, avoid cluttering the page with unnecessary elements and create big buttons.
  • Adaptability — to target users more effectively, leverage the power of big data to change specific elements of your website, ad, or email body based on the past interactions of the user. Amazon’s brilliant recommendation engine is one of the best examples of dynamic content strategy.
  • Granularity — to deliver your content effectively across all platforms, plan it in such a way that you can break down your content into shareable tweets, Facebook posts, quotes, etc. without losing the authenticity of your brand message.
  • Action Potential — to focus your reader’s attention on the key points, use a single column to structure your content and place your call-to-action at the top of the screen.

It’s not easy to ignore that the always-on nature of social media can be a really intimidating factor in devising your content marketing strategy, not to mention the need to continually feed other content across your owned properties. However, if your content is crisp and you know your consumer profile and the best way to reach them, then delivering a seamless multi-platform content experience is not a dream so far-fetched.


Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company that is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of news stories produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact [email protected].










India accuses Google of rigging search results following complaints by Facebook, Microsoft

Google sign Neon Tommy Flickr

The Indian government has formally accused Google of manipulating its search results to favor its own products.

According to a story today in the Economic Times of India, the government took actions after receiving a host of complaints from Google’s competitors, including Facebook, Microsoft, Flipkart, Nokia’s maps division, and MakeMy-Trip.com. The charges made by India’s Competition Commission closely mirror the anti-trust charges filed earlier this year by the European Commission.

The Times story said the agency had canvassed 30 businesses that provide a range of services that compete with Google. The case was filed last week, and Google has until Sept. 10 to file a response. If the ruling goes against Google, the company could be forced to pay up to 10 percent of its revenues in penalties.

The charges are the latest regulatory headache for a company that has been trying to argue for years that it is not abusing its dominant position in search across the globe. While U.S. regulators opted not to pursue a case, EC officials filed their formal case after spending years trying to negotiate a settlement with Google.

With Google essentially locked out of the massive Chinese Internet market, it would be a big blow to the company if it is also forced to curtail its activity in India. That country is one of the fastest growing in terms of smartphone use and Internet adoption, making it a lucrative target for many U.S. tech companies looking for ways to continue growing.

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Ashley Madison fires back, says ratio of men to women is 1.2 to 1 with thousands still signing up

Ashley Madison

Hacking victim Ashley Madison wants you to know that reports of its demise are premature, and that reports that there are no women on the site are totally bogus.

In a new blog post today, the company said thanks to the publicity, “hundreds of thousands” of new users have signed up this week, including 87,596 women.

“Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated,” the company said. “The company continues its day-to-day operations even as it deals with the theft of its private data by criminal hackers. Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing.”

The statement comes just a couple of days after Avid Life Media CEO Noel Biderman left the company following a major hack and leak of its internal data. Last week, reporter Annalee Newitz of Gizmodo analyzed that data and concluded there were virtually no real females actually using that service.

In the post, Ashley Madison said her analysis and assumptions were incorrect.

“Last week alone, women sent more than 2.8 million messages within our platform,” the company said. “Furthermore, in the first half of this year the ratio of male members who paid to communicate with women on our service versus the number of female members who actively used their account (female members are not required to pay to communicate with men on Ashley Madison) was 1.2 to 1.”

The company noted that its app is the 14th highest grossing app in the social networking category in the U.S. Apple App Store. It also said that 70 percent of that revenue comes from members who make repeat purchases, indicating that customers are more than satisfied.


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The anatomy of an Agile marketing team

cogheads

This sponsored post is produced by Workfront. 

If you’ve been halfway tapped into the marketing zeitgeist lately, you’ve seen this phrase: Agile marketing.

Everybody’s talking about it as the “next thing in marketing.” It even has its own manifesto. Despite all this hooplah, however, you shouldn’t feel too bad if you can’t quite put your finger on what Agile marketing is.

Take a look at the Agile marketing groups on sites like LinkedIn, and it becomes clear that more than a few people are a tad confused about it. Is it simply restructuring your marketing and in-house creative teams and their processes to be more nimble? Sort of. Does it just mean streamlining your process and jettisoning any baggage that slows your team down? Kind of.

To give you a nice, clean 20,000-foot explanation of it, Agile is a work management methodology that has been dominating IT work management for the last several years. It has been known to increase teams’ flexibility and ability to react to demand while improving productivity. Now that it’s proven itself effective, the marketing folks have taken notice.

Agile-driven creative teams have reported that, freed from the endless development cycles that can happen in traditional marketing work management, their creativity has experienced a major boost. Creative teams have seen their productivity explode by 400 percent and with less fuss. Marketing teams can test and iterate on campaigns faster.

If that last paragraph caught your attention, read on to see the four essential steps every creative team will need to follow to successfully manage their workflow using an Agile methodology:

1. Have a process to accommodate all kinds of requests

Agile is designed to handle all kinds of work, but that means your request management process should, too. Teams need to have a central place where requests can be submitted, including project-based assignments, formal one-off requests, and informal one-off requests.

Also, a creative brief is a must to allow your team to assign a required number of hours to it as a story.

If your team shares work with teams that don’t practice Agile marketing, a work solution that can handle mixed methodologies is highly recommended. Otherwise, you could find yourself duplicating requests and communication between your tools and their tools, which can suck up a lot of your team’s time.


exclamation-001To learn more about how Agile marketing works, join Chief Martec’s Scott Brinker and other experts for a webinar on how marketing teams can adopt this best practice without losing the creative and artistic elements that make them shine.

Register today for free! Tuesday, September 1 at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. 


2. Maintain your backlog

As requests enter your domain, they officially become stories within your backlog, a running collection of all your outstanding stories. Under the advisement of your team, you will assign a number of hours to each story, so that you can easily choose the most important and doable stories when it comes time to organize your sprint. If a story takes up more than six hours, consider breaking the story into two more bite-sized stories.

Your backlog can be managed in any number of media: whiteboards, bulletin boards, index cards, or work management software. This backlog should sorted by priority, whether by deadline, ROI, or client.

3. Hold your sprint planning meeting

With your backlog all sorted, you’re ready to kick off your sprint with a planning meeting. During this meeting, your team will gather to look at your backlog and decide which stories to work on during the upcoming sprint. As stories are moved to the burndown chart, these stories are assigned to individual team members, who commit to complete their stories within the sprint.

4. Keep an eye on your burndown chart

As your team works on their stories, they should also move their stories from ‘incomplete’ to ‘in progress’ to ‘approval’ to ‘complete’ on the burndown chart, so everyone can see their progress in near-real time. A good burndown chart will also include a graph showing how much has been completed versus what was planned to be completed.

When done right, this very public chart keeps stakeholders updated and provides a little extra motivation for team members.

5. Wrap up with a sprint retrospective

One of the key principles of Agile Marketing is its focus on continuous improvement and collaboration. Holding a sprint retrospective at the end of your sprint is crucial to your continued success. What worked? What didn’t? Which parts of the process need to be changed for the next project?

More than just a round of high-fives, this meeting should generate at least one improvement for the next sprint. Then, armed with this new learning, you begin the process all over again…

David Lesue is Creative Director at Workfront.


Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company that is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of news stories produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact [email protected].