Monday, 24 March 2014

MCC International: March Newsletter

Time for a Spring Clean – why not refresh your Communications content?

With some surprisingly mild weather and (dare we mention it) some sunshine to combat a waterlogged winter, it is finally starting to feel like Spring has actually arrived. There are a lot of hackneyed clich├ęs about Springtime being about rebirth and Spring Cleaning - the abundance of chocolate Easter eggs and the assorted seasonal goods has long traded on this idea. But actually there does seem to be a palpable change in attitude and mood for many of us. Energy levels are higher and undoubtedly this reflects in the world of business too. It’s no coincidence that the trade show season is well and truly in the swing now, so MCC International is busy working towards this, shouting about all that is new and exciting.

Although the Spring Cleaning metaphor for cleaning out the old and making improvements is a heavily used one, the truth is this is an excellent time for any business to really push its message and catch the attention of an invigorated audience. This could be an increased presence in online media with digital content creation (perhaps in the ever increasingly popular form of video content for example) and social media, it might even be the creation or beefing up of your internal news sharing (such as a newsletter or internal e-shot) to ensure your own team feel well informed and motivated, or a targeted press campaign of news and expert opinions to show the media you know your stuff. 

At MCC International we can help you with any of these and more, creating interesting and engaging content (whatever medium it may be used in) is what we are here for. We even offer design services if you feel like this fresh content needs a bright new look. Undoubtedly the most receptive audience is one that is already feeling motivated to find new opportunities, so why not capitalise on this and make sure your message isn’t going unnoticed! 
  
If you would like to talk about how you can do more with social media give us a call on 02380 111977 or visit www.mccint.com

MCC partners with specialist boutique agency in Israel
MCC International is proud to announce its partnership with Kraiem PR, a boutique PR and media consulting firm based in Israel and specialising in technology, start-ups and finance. The agency was founded by Gil Kraiem, who holds more than 14 years of experience as a top consultant in the private and public sectors in the Israeli market.  Kraiem PR specialises in consulting, planning, and implementing public relations, integrated marketing communication, and social media activities for both for Israeli and global companies.

How to get the best from your product reviews
In January LaCie launched three exciting new products at the CES show in Las Vegas and as the UK press office for this award-winning hard-drive company MCC International was delighted to give the media a sneak preview.  With world’s first silver-plated hard-drive, the fastest portable drive available a 1TB wireless drive and an extreme design USB we had a lot to talk about! With stories in Stuff, T3, Nuts, MacUser, MacFormat, Living, Digital Arts, Gizmodo, The Register and Photo Professional to name just a few, the reception has been fantastic.


MCC International has been running hardware and software review programmes for our clients since the agency began way back in 1988, working with the likes of Ipswitch, Nitro PDF, Kaspersky Lab and of course LaCie.  So we have put all of our experience and expertise in to a free guide, to share with you the secrets of how to get the most out of product reviews. If you would like us to send you a copy please email Simon.Hewitt@mccint.com

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Look at what arrived at the MCC office today!

We always get excited when one of our clients sends over products. So, when a parcel arrived this morning from LaCie we couldn't wait to open it up and see what was inside. In the box we found waiting for us one of the brand new Rugged USB3 Thunderbolt drives with a huge 2TB of storage. 

As well as looking great (thanks to the design by Neil Poulton), these drives are tough and are the kit of choice for photographers, adventurers and film-makers around the world, as well as those of us who just want great pieces of tech that performs as well as it looks.

Sadly, as much as we don't want to let it go, this little powerhouse of a hard-drive will be winging its way out to the UK tech reviewers, so they can take a closer look and put it through its paces. We are sure they will be as impressed with it as we are. 

So, before it gets boxed up and shipped out, here it is being modeled by our very own Simon Hewitt.

  




Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Is being connected the same as being engaged?

Today, thanks to a spot of car trouble I found myself making a rare journey on the local village bus. The trip would take around 25 minutes, so I thought great I can get a head start on my email, post a few Tweets and generally take advantage of not driving to the office. Five minutes in to the journey I looked up from my iPhone and noticed something very odd. I was the only person using a mobile device. What was stranger still was the fact that everyone was talking to each other!

It may be a generational thing, as most of my co-passengers were of a certain age (although these are surely the sliver surfers we hear about), but it also made me realise that whilst I would not be without a tablet, smartphone and laptop there is an awful lot to be said about switching these things off (or at least silent) from time to time, taking in the scenery and having a good old conversation.

The technology we have today is supposed to make us more connected and whilst I busily fired off emails around the world from my seat, this was certainly the case. Yet, as a professional in the world of communications it did make me stop and evaluate whether being more connected is the same as being engaged.  The conclusion I arrived at, as I made the short stroll to the office, is yes and no. It is all about the context.

Undoubtedly, technology connects me and makes me more engaged with people with whom I able see rarely, due to the long distances that separate us. Without it I would revert back to writing letters, remember them? However, I cannot say that I am fully engaged with everyone I am connected with on my ‘social’ channels, I broadcast to them through status updates and they reciprocate. Yes, some of those people on the bus may have been exchanging pleasantries but in their short journey they were also bonding in way you cannot replicate electronically.

What strikes me is that for many of us we have become so fixated with our digital lives that we instantly assume that this will be far more interesting and rewarding than speaking to the people who are there with us in the moment. Be honest, how many of you have walked in to a pub, restaurant or a meeting and placed your phone on the table in front of you. I know I have.

So, with this in mind I am making a belated New Year Resolution to walk over to the other side of the office and ask a question rather than email (lazy I know, but we all do it!). I will think about making a short call instead of beginning an endless string of text messages when I am planning a night out,  and when I am in a meeting I will try to leave the phone in my bag.

Technology is fantastic and I wouldn't be without it, but I do worry that there is a danger, that the interpersonal skills we have developed over generations will be suppressed if we don’t use them more often. 


I wonder if my bus journey home this evening will be so thought provoking?

Friday, 17 January 2014

Hard work, hard drives and a happy new year

Well we are almost three weeks in to 2014 and already there is much to be excited about in the world of tech PR here at MCC International.   We have been busy generating content for blogs and social media, articles have been drafted, placed and published in the media, press releases are streaming out the door and journalist briefings are filling up the diary. We have also been busy updating our own online publication SolentTechNews.

Highlights of the year so far (yes we already have highlights!) are the launch of LaCie’s new hard-drives, Fuel, Sphere (see the image below) and Culbuto, announced at CES in Las Vegas. In the last week we have a huge amount of brilliant exposure for these products online and in print including Shortlist, Gizmodo, Digital Arts, Mac User and NUTS. Also, NICE Systems revealed it had reached the milestone of the $1billion bookings for 2013, as well as being all over the security media for its work in the city of Sochi, as hype around the Winter Games in Russia builds with the opening ceremony just weeks away.

It is always a great time of year getting out (albeit in the rain) meeting with clients and putting plans in to action.  This week included a leisurely lunch with the team at EEMA and Revolution Events, held at the famous MP hangout, The Cinnamon Club in Westminster, being a bit of a foodie I couldn’t wait to taste the delights of Head Chef, Vivek Singh. The lunch menu cannot be recommended highly enough and I am sure I will be making several more visits in the coming months for press briefings and launches.


ENDS

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

We are supporting Global Entrepreneurship Week with EFACTOR

Next week is Global Entrepreneurship Week and here at MCC International we love working with entrepreneurs, whether it is a fledgling company with an exciting idea they want to bring to market, or a business that has achieved much but is still hungry for more. Helping a company to reach its goals and aspirations is a hugely rewarding experience, and the reason many people who have been successful in business choose to get involved in supporting those with entrepreneurial spirit.

Two such people are Adrie Reinders and Marion Freijsen, who founded EFACTOR, which is today the world’s largest entrepreneurial community. They are also the authors of a great book entitled ‘The E-Factor Entrepreneurship In The Social Media Age.

Each day next week we will be giving away a copy of the book via our Twitter page. All you need to do is tweet us (@mcc_int) with a piece of advice or inspirational message for would be entrepreneurs and include the hashtag #efactor, for your chance to win.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Flexing our media muscles in Brussels at ISSE 2013

This week I jumped on the Eurostar and headed to the annual ISSE conference (one of my favourite events in the MCC calendar). The two-day IT security event is the result of twelve months of hard work from the team at EEMA, TeleTrust and Revolution Events as well as many other organisations who come together to put on a conference that places content at the heart of the event.

MCC International has had the pleasure of running the press office for over ten years in cities including Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Budapest, Warsaw and Madrid. This year it was our pleasure to welcome members of the media from across Europe (and a few beyond) to Brussels for the second year in succession. ISSE is perennially popular with the media as it always attracts the big names to speak and a very high calibre delegate, making it the ideal place to spend quality time with the who’s who of IT security.


This year they were treated to presentations from Google’s Mayank Upadhyay, Chief Executive of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance, John Lyons (both of whom prompted a lot of debate on Twitter and in the corridors following their keynotes), and Kim Cameron from Microsoft.  In fact, it is a curious phenomenon listening to the presentations being given, whilst reading Tweets commenting on what is being said in real-time. Sat at the back of the packed auditorium it was impossible to detect who the main protagonists were.

Arriving back in the office on Wednesday morning I was delighted to receive an email from a journalist saying: “Congratulations to you and the ISSE 2013 team on producing an excellent event. Some really well-pitched presentations, I learned a lot.”


So, I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the members of the media that joined us at ISSE 2013 and to everyone who makes the event a compelling pull. I look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Online Dinosaur?





There has been some debate in the MCC International office recently about the role of email in business and in our lives in general. In some ways it represents a technology anachronism, a tool dating from the earliest days of online that has, in some cases, changed little in the last decade or so. In a world where social media, IM and online file transfers have easily superseded it in terms of flexibility and availability, the humble email is showing its age. You can’t easily tell if the recipient has read and digested your message, the file swapping size is tiny by modern standards (a couple of photos could bounce back!) and there can easily be long delays in any response (if it comes!) – it could easily have gone  the way of the Dodo long ago. In many ways it emulates its traditional offline predecessor (Snailmail anyone? - even that email-era nickname seems old now!!), sharing many of its faults - and yet it’s still clinging on! I had wondered why myself until recently, when the slightly archaic online service I still use for my personal emails (13 years and counting!!) decided to go offline - and for an undetermined period.

Business email systems are still important for many organisations. They represent an electronic version of the paper memo (for those that can remember the ‘Cc’ stands for ‘Carbon Copy’, a throwback to the days of simple paper duplicates!) Certainly this old-fashioned legacy has lost it favour amongst the upcoming generations now leaving school. Email is not ‘cool’ and for many young workers represents a very old-fashioned way of doing things. Even at my age I find emailing a bank a frustrating experience for example, IM is so much more immediate and helpful. So when I lost my email access I wasn’t immediately bothered. But then when I thought about it, the connotations were more worrying. If you use online banking, where do you get notifications? (or a password reset) If you buy something online where do they send an invoice/confirmation? If an item is faulty (in my case a TV) where does the manufacturer want to send the returns details? If you book travel or hotels, where does the confirmation go? Despite its apparent inflexibility, your email address still represents a secure point for the online community to recognise. It’s actually the closest we get to a virtual letterbox. And in the same way as if you got locked out of your home, it’s difficult to easily prove who you are or to get secure services without it.

Thankfully my dinosaur of an email service has been restored and I have access to all those Amazon receipts and old bank statements again (hooray!) – but it’s been a real eye-opener for me. As old and unsexy as the technology may seem it’s still important to us in the second decade of the 21st Century and I am very seriously thinking of registering all my online services with a more mainstream (and hopefully more reliable!) provider. But then, that’s quite a hassle in itself – much like changing your physical home address or mobile number it involves a fair amount of running around!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Launching The Latest News Site For Technology In The Solent Region


A new website has launched this week that aims to share the technology innovations and successes being made by businesses in the Solent region. Solent Tech News is being run by our journalist team based here at MCC International.

In addition to the latest tech stories we will also be profiling some of the key movers and shakers that are helping to keep our region one of the most ground-breaking in the UK in the Solent spotlight.

Our academic institutions attract some of the brightest young science and technology talent to the area and there is a thriving entrepreneurial start-up culture, as well as many large national and international brands that choose to have their operations in the area.

Solent Tech News is a resource for all of these individuals and organisations to share their stories with the local tech community and beyond. So, if you have an interesting news story please send it to: news@solenttechnews.com

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Supermarket swipe - Tesco enters the tablet arena with Hudl

It is blackberry season at the moment, but whilst they are in abundance in our hedgerows their namesakes are proving not so fruitful (wanting to use the phrase blackberry crumble!) in the pockets of gadget fans. Meanwhile, Apple has reported nine million units of its new iPhones were sold in the first three days of launch, despite reports of problem ‘hacking’ of the fingerprint scanner.

So, whilst the faltering of Blackberry and the success of a new iPhone didn’t come as huge surprise, I wasn’t expecting to watch Rory Cellan-Jones showing off a new Tesco tablet on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning.  Yes there has been a lot of talk about the supermarket entering the tablet world for some time now, but what did shock me was the spec of the new Hudl device.



Sure, it doesn’t have the screen resolution of the Nexus 7 or the app store of Apple, and it certainly doesn’t win out in the looks department with its chunky bezel, but at £119 it does have a lot going for it. Firstly it has expandable storage and an HDMi out (a big bugbear of mine as I impatiently wait for the UK release date of the Google Chromecast). What is more, it doesn’t slap you in the face with Tesco content, giving you a pure Android (Jelly Bean) experience, unlike the Kindle Fire. Yes the Tesco content is there, but clearly and discreetly via a ‘T’ icon.


What is more with Clubcard vouchers and good discounts via Tesco Direct, the chances of anyone actually paying the RRP are slim. We are yet to get our hands on one and I am sure those of use with tablets won’t be rushing to buy a new one, but for those who have yet to enter the world of tablets (there are still a few out there) and with Christmas just 13 weeks away, this could be a winner.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Music For The Masses




In case it escaped your attention, this week Apple announced the launch of two iPhones, the 5S and the 5C, which are essentially a variation on the same theme as all iPhones that preceded them.  Arguably it was the launch of iTunes and the iPod back in 2001 that was Apple’s finest hour.

Whether you use iTunes, another of the digital music stores, or the likes of Spotify, it is fact that we have never had it so good when it comes to the quantity of music at our fingertips.  Thanks to the late Steve Jobs, the iPod and all subsequent incarnations has  given us the record collections we could only dream of when we were younger. It was the efforts of Ray Dolby that made it possible for us to listen to our music, whether at home, or in the cinema, in the highest quality. So, it was with much sadness that we learnt of the passing of Mr Dolby at the age of 80.

Both Steve Jobs and Ray Dolby both made a monumental contribution to music and have enriched the lives of all music lovers, regardless of the genre you choose to listen. It is the passion and drive of people such as these that makes working in the world of technology such an exciting place to be. So, whilst it is true I am not overly excited about the latest iPhone launch, I do appreciate how spoilt I am to have that view.  Technology innovation moves at such a fast past, however, it also seems that our expectations of it are evolving at an even faster pace.