Emerging Technology

Cut back on hours… The wireless recharge… We love chocolate… Song selection via SMS

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Cut back on hours

Entrepreneurs, be warned. Relationships Forum Australia in a report called “An Unexpected Tragedy” has warned that people who work long unsocial hours and spend less time with their families and friends are in danger of damaging their relationships. Duel earning parents with young children are at greater risk of depression.


Go wireless for a recharge

A start-up in Pennsylvania USA is about to launch, with electronics giant Phillips, technology that replaces electrical wires for recharging low voltage devices, such as a mobile phone. Powercast’s platform uses radio waves and its receiver turns the radio waves into DC electricity, recharging any device’s battery at a distance of a metre away reports, Business 2.0.

It’s cheap enough – about $5 to make – for any low voltage device. Powercast’s founder and CEO John Shearer told Business 2.0 that he estimates shipping many millions of units by the end of 2008.

Powercast says it has signed non-disclosure agreements to develop products with more than 100 companies, including major manufacturers of mobile phones, MP3 players, automotive parts, temperature sensors, hearing aids, and medical implants.

The last of these alone could be a multibillion-dollar market: Pacemakers, defibrillators, and the like require surgery to replace dead batteries. But with a built-in Powercast receiver, those batteries could last a lifetime.


As Easter approaches, Australians prove their love of chocolate

Australian consumers’ taste in chocolate is moving up-market and toward dark chocolate. The Australian Financial Review reports that the chocolate manufacturers who are thriving include Koko Black, Haigh’s and Lindt.

Each Australian ate more than seven kilograms of chocolate in 2006. Boutique chocolate shops are springing up, offering chocolate appreciation nights. Easter 2007 should be a time of maximum chocolate consumption.


Don’t wait too long for your song

Patrons at select pubs and restaurants in Israel, France and Australia no longer need to worry about change for the jukebox or bugging a DJ to play their favourite tunes — they can queue up their music choices via text message from their mobile phones, reports Springwise.

SMS jukebox technology, such as c|station by Australian Rippamedia and SMS DJ by Israeli YCD Multimedia, puts song selection literally at customers’ fingertips.

Customers simply select from a menu of available tunes — which may be promoted on menus, coasters or other collateral throughout an establishment — and send in their requests via SMS for a small fee. The service plays their requests over the in-house speakers and can even complement the music with videos, or promotions to download ringtones.

Once a customer has sent a request, they can also access the full library of available songs. YCD launched its version in cooperation with network operator Orange in Israel and France, splitting revenues from the premium text message service between the mobile operator, the owner of the location, and YCD.

It’s a winner for bars because the customer may stay longer, and they no longer have to guess what their patrons want to hear. And there could be opportunities for advertising to the users via their mobile phones.


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