Heritage QR code research project

As the final dissertation part of a Building Conservation MSc at the Weald and Downland Museum, a website has been created that uses a whole range of online technologies, but which focuses specifically on the benefits that the use Quick Response (QR) codes can bring to UK heritage and conservation. See the website at www.itsinconservation.co.uk

QR codes appear frequently now, and are regularly used in magazines, posters, on TV and buildings as an advertising tool.  The QR research initiative will explore the effective use of QR codes to help visitors of all ages to UK heritage locations, by providing links to new and interesting online and text information.

The goal is to use QR codes to help UK heritage site vistors to get a better appreciation and understanding of our unique buildings, history and culture. A QR code research trial is running from June to August 2012 with over 70 QR codes at 4 sites including Dover Castle, Boxgrove Priory, Bramber Castle and the South Downs National Park.

Using a QR reader linked to the built-in camera on their mobiles or devices and a mobile internet connection, visitors will be able to scan any of the QR codes at the sites, plus also download the QR reader at the entrance to each site if they don’t currently have it on their device.

The results of the QR code research will be finalised towards the end of August and then presented in September 2012 to the heritage and conservation sectors.

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Scanning waypost QR codes

Scanning waypost QR codes

QR codes are easy to scan and cheap and simple to produce and replace. The mobile web pages they link to can also be continually updated.

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Top Linked In Profile IT skills

Having spent some recent days helping colleagues with Linked In lately I took the time to review some of the lesser used features in Linked In.

Linked In Skills is one area that seems to have been overlooked by many people. Launched 9 months ago it is likely to come to the fore for those in the recruiting business seeking to filter out candidates early on with the right type of skills.

Whilst skills like ‘consulting’ and ‘presentation skills’ are featured, they’re not much use and not very focused. What are useful are more specific IT and marketing related skills. In addition, Linked In helps by showing what the year on year growth is in the profiles featuring these skills, giving a good indication of the popularity of each individual skill.

Below are the top growing IT related skills featured in Cloud, Digital Marketing, Social Media and Microsoft technologies. Microsoft Office 365 is still too low to feature, but expect fast growth in line with Windows Azure.

It’s interesting to see Salesforce.com in decline and perhaps surprising that Google related skills are growing so fast in Digital Marketing.

There are no real surprises in Social Media, but in the Microsoft technology space it’s interesting that SharePoint is growing well, followed by their CRM and Dynamics products

Cloud Technologies Growth
Windows Azure 40%
Cloud Computing 37%
PaaS 35%
Amazon Web Services 34%
Excel Services 12%
SaaS 9%
eCRM 6%
Hosted Solutions 6%
Google docs 6%
Salesforce.com -1%
Digital Marketing Growth
Google website optimiser 35%
Google webmaster tools 26%
Digital Marketing 24%
SEO 18%
Enterprise Collaboration 17%
Google Adwords 14%
Online marketing 13%
SEM 10%
Web Development 4%
Web Content Management 3%
Social Media Growth
Twitter 64%
Social Media 47%
Social media marketing 43%
Linked In 41%
Bing! 41%
YouTube 34%
Social Networking Sites 29%
Skype 15%
email marketing 8%
Text messaging 7%
Microsoft Technologies Growth
SharePoint 8%
Microsoft CRM 6%
Microsoft Dynamics 1%
.NET -4%
SQL -6%

Office 365 versus Google docs

Providing Office 365 services to small and medium organisations

While both Office 365 and Google Apps offer similar features and functionality, the two cloud based applications are quite different. While they both make it easier for staff to communicate with one another and share documents, they vary widely in terms of the types of businesses they are suited to.

Office 365 is an enterprise proven solution and Google Apps falls short when it comes to offering different levels of security, compliance and support.

Some of the major differences between them include the following:

1) If you are seeking to get started, Office 365 is easier because it provides options as well as resources that are quite clear and task oriented. The difference is that in order for you to sign up for Google Apps for Business you require domain-ownership verification. This requirement therefore assumes that your company has an existing website and also that you work with the site administrator. This makes Office 365 easier to use when getting started.

2) With Office 365, it is possible to edit your documents offline as Word, PowerPoint and Excel require a separate subscription. However, you will realise that Google Apps are not usable offline. What this means is that with Office 365, if you have Microsoft office installed on your computer, you can work on your documents offline. However, with Google Apps, you can only edit documents and spreadsheets through your browser.

3) Office 365 makes use of familiar interfaces while Google Apps does not integrate other Microsoft apps or documents. With the Google option, you literally have to import most Microsoft office documents in addition to auto-saving them. This makes it rather difficult to use.

Microsoft’s cloud option gives businesses the opportunity to move to the cloud in their own time and on their terms, while Google does not. Google’s option is online only.

Since many organisations make use of Microsoft Office, Office 365 presents the best option since it makes use of tools that you are already familiar with. However, both options have made it possible for small companies to access tools that would otherwise have been out of reach to them because of the cost involved.

To sign up for a trial of Microsoft Office 365 go to http://www.my-office-365.com

iContact email system

I have recently tried out all the major online email systems that medium sized organisations use, that usually have 5,000 to 10,000 email contacts. I have been running trials with Constant Contact, Mail Chimp and iContact over the last 6 months.

For a combination of lowest cost and best  / most user-friendly functionality I recommend iContact.

Try iContact out free here – http://bit.ly/iContactTrial

For summary details about iContact email, here’s also a user guide with system costs and benefits –  http://bit.ly/iContactUserGuide

iContact benefits summary:

  • Easy list management – multiple lists, with duplicates all removed on send
  • Good open and click results analysis – pie graphs, download click contacts etc
  • Allows you to edit your emails in both design and html view, plus a text version
  • You can import your current event email templates easily in html, plus upload images.
  • You can send up to 6 emails per month to your entire email list (newsletter, sales email, different topics etc)
  • Costs is $74 per month for up to 10,000 email addresses loaded (0.7c /email). This works out at 0.5p per email contact.
  • Categories: email marketing

    Psychology

    My first Blog on psychology – psychosis is thinking 2 and 2 is 5, neurosis is knowing 2 and 2 is 4, but getting really cross about it!

    Categories: Psychology