Apr 12, 2014

Vodafone's "Firsts" Campaign: 2 Grandmas take their first flight; Neil Harbisson's Color Conducted Concert

Vodafone, a telecommunications company, was off of my radar until an endearing video crossed my path on Facebook today.  Vodafone Firsts is part of a global brand program, led by social media, that aims to inspire people to do things for the very first time. Vodafone's strategy seems to be working.

In the following video, An and Ria, two elderly women, take their very first plane trip together to Barcelona.  It is well worth taking 10 minutes to watch it!   The video also does a good job of showing how the women approach using newer technologies, such as a tablet/video phone -- and a VR flight simulator to prepare for the flight.

An & Ria's First Flight  

In the following video, Neil Harbisson uses technology to create a concert that is based on the transformation of color into music. The interesting thing is that Neil is color-blind and has a "cyborg" apparatus that interprets colors for him by converting them into music/sounds. Vodafone provided him with an amazing creative opportunity.  

For more videos and behind-the-scenes information, see the full story on the Vodafone Firsts site, and also the TED Talk video on this post.

Neil Harbisson's First Color Conducted Concert Trailer

Neil Harbisson's TED Talk:  I listen to color

Vodafone Firsts
Vodafone Corporate Site

Vodafone Americas Foundation:  "Mobile for Good"
Vodafone's 2013 Wireless Innovation Project's competition winners pushed the envelope to create new ways of using mobile technology and sensors for health and environmental monitoring.
ColdTrace: Wireless Vaccine Monitoring
MoboSens: Mobile Water Sensor
G-Frensel Cellphone Spectrometer (optical spectroscopy)

Apr 7, 2014

A New Twist to Infoviz: iPad Magic and Card Tricks to Convey Positive Stats About Stockholm

I came across a new twist to information visualization, featuring the creativity of magicians.  They were called to create short videos to promote the city of Stockholm, Sweden.  The use of magicians to convey the "magic" of Stockholm and the economic climate in Sweden was brilliant!  

It might be difficult for "pure" capitalists to understand how Sweden, with such high taxes, can provide an economic environment that supports innovation, capitalistic ventures, and a high standard of living while maintaining an efficient "welfare state".   

For those who live in Sweden, it just might be to the "magic" of the Nordic Model, an economic approach that combines capitalism with social welfare and good stewardship among government officials.   

If everone is healthy, the economy is healthy, right?   Swedish citizens feel that their high tax dollars are well-spent, and also well-managed, which is not always the case in other countries, especially in highly populated regions.

Not all is rosy in Sweden - there were riots last by "disaffected" youth last year, as the youth unemployment rate is high.  Despite the problems, there are are a number of countries who are considering the adoption of the Nordic Model.   The Economist's special report about the Nordic model has an interesting quote:  

Goran Persson, a former Swedish prime minister, once compared Sweden's economy with a bumblebee---"with its overly heavy body and little wings, supposedly it should not be able to fly--but it does."

The following video features Charlie Caper and Erik Rosales, of D1Gits, using iPads and creative magic to convey the positive economic statistics related to doing business in Stockholm:

In their most recent video to promote Stockhomlm,Charlie and Erik take it one step further, by using visualizations that seamlessly interact between iPads and a whiteboard:

In the video below, a magician spouts out interesting facts about the multiple benefits of living in Stockholm, Sweden while performing a number of card tricks to illustrate his points.

When I think about information and data visualization and Sweden, the first person that comes to mind is Hans Rosling, of Gapminder, and his talent at telling stories through interactive, animated data visualization.  As you can see from the video, an entertaining, story-telling approach to information visualization is effective!

The secret of their success:  The Nordic countries are probably the best-governed in the world     2/2/13, Special Report, The Economist
Practical lessons for business from the Nordic Model
Anne Lise Kjaer, Futurist - 9/2013, SME Magazine
The Nordic Model (pdf) 
2007 MIT Department of Economics
What Can the United States Learn from the Nordic Model?
Daniel J. Mitchell, 11/5/07, The CATO Institute
Charlie Caper and Erick Rosales: Using Magic to Introduce Stockholm
The World By Road Collective, 3/2012
Charlie Caper, Magician
Hans Rosling's TED-talk videos