If you’ve ever sent an email to the wrong person, Recipicheck wants to help

Uhoh 520x245 If youve ever sent an email to the wrong person, Recipicheck wants to help

We’ve all done it: one minute you’re happily sitting there sending emails and the next you have that horrible moment of realization that, actually, you hadn’t meant to send that confidential or potentially embarrassing file to that Sam, you meant to send it to the other Sam. The one you actually know and work with.

While potentially embarrassing in our personal lives, you can usually recover. An apology goes a long way. But in a work context when you’re a lawyer or banker where the need for secrecy is imperative – in some cases a legal imperative. For example, when an investment bank is managing a takeover but there are other teams in the same banks that can’t know it is taking place. Sending an email to the wrong Sam in that sort of situation could lead to far more serious consequences than feeling a bit silly.

This is why Quiver, a London-based startup with an eye on making sure this never happens again, has developed Recipicheck. It’s also why the company’s attentions have gone purely on businesses where data privacy is paramount, Quiver’s co-founder and director Tim Sadler, told The Next Web.

“It’s targeted at organizations that deal with highly-sensitive information. It uses algorithms that we’ve designed and developed just to try and predict whether you’re sending the email to the correct person or not. And kind of integrating with all the other processes that go on in an investment bank usually.”

Easy Peasy

Sadler explained that while the software has a critical mission, it has been designed to be non-intrusive for the end-user.

Through its algorithms it identifies situations in which it thinks you might be sending an email to the wrong person, either through possible name confusion, or by learning that you normally email certain things to certain groups of people, and that actually, in this instance you’re sending it to the usual group plus two other individuals.

“One of the things that we wanted was for it not to get in peoples’ way and for it not to be a burden for them. It’s completely discreet and operates in the background.

When it detects you’re sending an email regarding a certain set of information, whether that’s because there’s a certain attachment in there, or because it’s regarding a certain project or deal that you’re working on, the software will look to see if it thinks you are sending it to someone who is not approved to see that information.”

If it does it just pops-up a prompt asking if you really still want to send the email to the people addressed. Pricing for the service is just as simple, if not opaque. Businesses just pay a monthly fee, negotiated on an individual basis.

The company’s founders met as engineers at Imperial College in college, and as such mostly have a background in programming. After realizing that toiling for others as software engineers in investment banks wasn’t for them, they left their jobs and spent 9 months developing the software with feedback from the industry; the first public iteration was just last week.

receipicheck 730x350 If youve ever sent an email to the wrong person, Recipicheck wants to help

But how does this help me?

Well, Quiver wants to take Recipicheck (which as a name I don’t like) far and wide – put it in the cloud and make it interoperable with every single email service, client and device on the planet, whether a desktop installation of Windows Live Mail or that random little cloud email provider that you still use for some yet to be revealed reason.

It wouldn’t be a Web email client (as you might be thinking because of the word cloud), instead, it would allow you to stop yourself from accidentally sending an email to the wrong person from any device, account or platform. It’d be totally agnostic.

To do this would mean putting the service server-side (it’s currently all client-side, avoiding most potential issues), but to do that would mean all sorts of navigation of European (and beyond) data regulation laws, as well as some other headaches.

“Going server-side means we obviously have to have a host server that deals with this kind of information and these kind of email communications. We’re talking with engineers at the moment about how we can encrypt the data as it comes in so we wouldn’t even be able to see the data that came in. I think that’s something that would be of a major concern and will be a challenge for us as engineers to find a solution.”

Data regulation and practical encryption aside, I have bigger concerns for Recipicheck. The first thing that sprang to mind was, “aren’t there people already doing this? I’m pretty sure Gmail has a feature in Labs called Got the wrong Bob?”

When I asked Sadler about this and whether they had protected the software and algorithms’ IP (intellectual property). He said they were still looking into what Quiver’s claims to the technology could be.

Hmmm

Don’t misunderstand, I like the idea. I sent an email to my colleague Martin Bryant that was intended for someone else just yesterday. I’m just a little concerned that with no IP protection in place and rival/similar in effect, if not in method, filter services already out there Recipicheck could be ripe for copying.

However, with the launch just last week and the immediate plan to focus on the UK financial and legal business sectors, to be followed by expansion to other large financial centers, the service could service it’s niche very nicely. Whether or not the company will be able to break the service out of the niche is yet to be determined.

The long-term goal would then be to widen it out to every device and service under the sun before someone else does it. Maybe Recipicheck will manage it; I imagine Martin hopes so, that way he shouldn’t get any more emails like the one yesterday that wasn’t really meant for him.

Featured Image Credit – Thinkstock

British broadcaster BSkyB launches £9.99 Now TV set-top box to make all TVs smart

sky 520x245 British broadcaster BSkyB launches   9.99 Now TV set top box to make all TVs smart

Days after Google unveiled its $35 Chromecast dongle to bring the smart TV experience to regular TVs, British satellite broadcaster has got in on the act after launching Now TV Box, a Roku-like set-top box.

The box is available for 9.99 and brings the benefits of Web TV to any television. Customers can enjoy ongoing access (sans contract) to BBC iPlayer, Sky News, Demand and the BBC News App. That’s in addition to Sky’s own Now TV service, which features notable channels like Sky Sports and Sky Movies.

Of course, the Now TV Box also brings Web services to TVs, so the likes of Facebook and Spotify can light up living rooms around the UK via the box.

The Box – which measures 8.4cm x 8.4cm x 2.4cm – plugs in via an HDMI cable and, once connected to WiFi, is up and running. It’s similarity to Roku, couple with Sky’s $11.9 million stake in the media company, suggests the device may be a white-labelled version of the Roku player.

now tv British broadcaster BSkyB launches   9.99 Now TV set top box to make all TVs smart

“Millions of people are switching on to the convenience and flexibility of on-demand TV, choosing when and how they want to watch,” said Director of Now TV Gidon Katz, Director of Now TV. “For under a tenner, the NOW TV Box offers the best terrestrial catch-up, plus pay-as-you-go access to must-see sport and the option to enjoy latest blockbuster movies on demand – all on the big screen.”

Sky has diversified its television offering from straight-up satellite in recent times, and the introduction of the Now TV Box looks like an interesting move to boost subscriptions of its Web-TV service.

Launched in 2012, Now TV offers Sky channels via a more flexible monthly subscription plan. It finally brought Sky Sports into the mix in March this year, letting users access all its main sports channels for 9.99 for 24 hours – a price that may not appeal to all but represents an alternative offering to a full-on Sky subscription.

The boxes are available to buy now from nowtv.com. The Now TV service itself can be accessed from the Web, devices running iOS and Android, Xbox, PS3 and Roku set-top boxes.

Headline image via BEN STANSALL / AFP / Getty Images

Breaking Bad finale coming exclusively to Netflix in UK and Ireland starting August 12

Netflix 520x245 Breaking Bad finale coming exclusively to Netflix in UK and Ireland starting August 12

The series finale of the hit TV series Breaking Bad will air in the UK and Ireland exclusively on Netflix starting from mid-August, following hotly on the heels of the episodes being aired in the US.

The online streaming service announced the news on Friday, adding that new episodes will be available each Monday following August 12 as they are shown in the US.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the highly-anticipated Final Season of Breaking Bad to Netflix members in the UK and Ireland on a first-run basis,” Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said. “Breaking Bad is a once in a generation calibre of show and continues to be a huge success on Netflix.”

That’s right folks, you’re favorite crystal meth kingpin will be back on your screens shortly to conclude the story.

As well as watching the final season, Netflix members can also play catch up by streaming any of the previous series’ episodes.

The deal is a particular coup for Netflix in the UK and Ireland specifically as it will see the shows being transmitted with the minimum of delay following the US screening of the episodes. Traditionally, content shown in the US could take weeks or even months before it was ready to be shown to a UK audience.

The move keeps pressure up on rival online services like LOVEFiLM, Amazon’s online streaming arm in the UK. The domestic market is also seeing challenges from non-traditional content providers such as supermarkets. For example, Tesco’s BlinkBox service simply charges on a per-viewing basis, rather than charging a monthly subscription.

Featured Image Credit – AFP/Getty Images

Sky increases mobile and on-demand viewing figures more than five-fold

BSkyB 520x245 Sky increases mobile and on demand viewing figures more than five fold

British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), or known better as simply Sky, has reported full year earnings for the last 12 months revealing that the broadcaster made great strides in growing on-demand and mobile viewing figures.

Overall, revenue for the year was at 7.2 billion, an increase of 7 percent in comparison with the previous 12 months and operating profit was at 1.29 billion, an increase of 4 percent year-on-year (YoY).

Notably, Sky said that much of its growth had come from its on-demand viewing options and its Sky GO mobile TV service.

Overall viewing figures for on-demand content had increased by five times the level it was at this time last year and now delivers more than 6 million on demand streams per week.

“Over 2.7 million Sky customers, more than a quarter of total customers, have already connected their Sky+HD boxes to broadband, a rise of 170 percent on last year. This gives them access to the UK’s biggest Catch Up TV service alongside hundreds of hours of popular TV box sets and an extensive library of exclusive movies,” Sky said in a statement.

The company also said the growth of Sky GO had helped the overall perfomance during the period. For example, of the 3.3 million regular Sky GO users, the company has converted 166,000 of them to Sky Go Extra customers – which allows users to view content on mobile and tablet devices with or without an active connection.

Content house

As part of its push to increase the number of people using its streaming services, Sky has been gradually introducing new providers and programming for its on demand content.

For example, it introduced Fox and Sky Movies Disney to the line-up, while a further 14 channels joined Sky Go including 8 kids channels (Disney, Disney XD, Disney Jnr, Nick, Nick Jnr, Cartoon Network, Cartoonito and Boomerang), 5 entertainment channels (SyFy, Universal, C&I and Star Plus) plus Channel 4 and More 4 and 4oD’s VOD (Video On Demand) content.

Particular hit shows for the broadcaster over the past 12 months have been Game of Thrones, Mad Men, The Sopranos and Hannibal, it said.

In order to keep up the pressure on rival providers, such as Virgin Media and BT’s Vision packages, as well as online streaming providers like Netflix and LOVEFiLM, Sky said it would introduce another 20 channels to its catch up service over the next 12 months.

To spur the number of people using its on demand services, Sky also introduced a new 10 NOW TV box that will allow people to access content on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The broadcaster has recently been in a bitter battle with BT to retain customers that are particularly interested in football and other sports broadcasting.

Earlier this year, BT won the rights to show 38 premier league football matches this season, and added an extra lure to win over existing Sky customers by offering its sports TV service for free to customers on its Infinity fiber broadband packages. Sky, naturally, responded with its own football-orientated offers, such as broadcasting the first day of the season for free to the whole of the UK, regardless of which TV service is used.

Featured Image Credit – AFP/Getty Images

97% of Three’s network traffic is data

Ninety-seven per cent of the traffic carried on the Three network is data, according to a company blog posted this afternoon. Do people even make phone calls anymore?

The British Telco angled themselves as a 3G data network when they started in 2003 and that’s now one of their big selling points: usually offering bulkier data deals than other providers.

Then they also shift a lot of USB modems, which solely provide data, so it’s probably not surprising that the Three network is streaming more bits than the average phone operator.

[S]ince June last year and September this year (just 14 months) we’ve seen a 427% increase in data usage on Three for smartphone customers. Downloading apps, streaming movies, getting around town with Google Maps, even checking in on Facebook – it all adds up, and you’re doing it now more than ever.

Problems ahead for data-guzzlers include the spectrum shortage forecast over the next four to five years.

Review: Sky’s NOW TV box. We put this tiny £10 Roku device to the test

NOWTV 520x245 Review: Skys NOW TV box. We put this tiny   10 Roku device to the test

Sky’s NOW TV service might not be as well known as others under its auspices, such as Sky Go, for example, but at under 10 for a little white box that promises to make your boring old TV an internet-connected one, it sounds like a no-brainer. Plus it introduces the option to pay for on demand access to Sky’s sport and movie channels too.

The one thing that’s critical for an internet-connected TV is….yep, an internet connection. This is where my experience with NOW TV started: with a failure to connect.

Opening up the box, you’ll find the unit itself (which will be very familiar if you’ve seen or used Roku’s little streaming player), an HDMI cable for connecting it to the TV, a remote (plus batteries) and a power pack. Naturally setting it up is as easy as plugging all those things in.

NOWTV rear 730x391 Review: Skys NOW TV box. We put this tiny   10 Roku device to the test

Once you’re ready and the unit is switched on, you’ll see a welcome screen asking you to connect to a WiFi network. Despite trying several times, having double and triple checked that I’d put in the correct password, it simply wouldn’t connect to my (Virgin Media) router. I tried disabling security on the router altogether, to no avail.

However, tethering it to my phone worked no problem at all. First time, in fact.

Once connected, the software will update itself and then ask you to sign in to NOW TV. If you don’t have an account you’ll need one, and you can’t set one up from the box, so you’ll need a laptop or tablet or something.

Once that hurdled has been safely cleared you finally get to the NOW TV menu screen which provides access to all installed channels (apps) and the settings menu.

Now TV Menu 730x422 Review: Skys NOW TV box. We put this tiny   10 Roku device to the test

Navigation is simple enough, all performed via the arrow and enter keys on the remote and it’s responsive enough to keep you from being frustrated at having to wait around.

New apps can be installed by pressing the apps button on the controller and then navigating to the desired option, whether that’s dedicated channels like BBC News 24 or things like Spotify or the Facebook photos and videos app.

apps1 730x482 Review: Skys NOW TV box. We put this tiny   10 Roku device to the test

Actual streaming performance, which will undoubtedly vary depending on your connections – tethered to 4G in this instance, was without problems and it didn’t balk at the BBC iPlayer HD content, though it only supports output at up to 720p.

Obviously, Sky’s hoping you’ll shell out for its on-demand Sky Sport and Sky Movies. Pricing has been set at 9.99 per day for all six Sky Sports channels and subscription to the movies channel is being offered on a 30 day free trial for new customers, followed by a one month introductory price of 8.99, which then rises to 15 per month.

Essentially, the unit is a rebranded Roku unit with Sky’s software on board and a few services removed. While Roku devices tend to retail for a little more than the price of the Sky branded-offering (which is around $15), Sky’s not really in this for the hardware cash. To it, the value of those ad-hoc daily sports, or monthly movies are far more important.

Personally, I’m not that interested in Sky’s movie or TV offerings, and with no access to services like Netflix, LOVEFiLM, ITV Player, and 4oD (for obvious reasons – as competing on-demand streaming platforms) it’s slightly less smart than I’d like, but to be able to turn a normal HD TV into an at least semi-smart TV for 10 has got to be worth anyone’s money. Providing it’ll play nicely with your router. I’ll let you know if I get it working with mine.

Update: After much wrangling the WiFi connectivity issue was eventually resolved by accessing the hidden menu (press home button 5 times followed by fast-forward, play, rewind, play and then fast-forward again) and selecting “disable network pings” in the options.

NOW TV

European startups need to be valued higher – in more ways than one

europe 520x245 European startups need to be valued higher - in more ways than one

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Kevin Cornils, CEO of UK-based, venture-backed European eyewear retailer Glasses Direct.

Why should a startup Silicon Valley business be valued at up to five times higher in the US, than its Silicon Roundabout equivalent in the UK?

As a Californian-born entrepreneur, who has chosen to spend the last decade working in London, I am struck by the huge difference in the way that the US and Europe values startups and early stage businesses.

Finding the next Facebook is as much the goal here as it is in California. There, it really seems a possibility. Yet here we focus too much on why it won’t happen.

To my mind, the history of tech success stories in the US – Microsoft, Google, eBay, Twitter – means it is second nature for a US investor to think that they might have the next Facebook on their hands.

In Europe, companies like Skype, developed in Tallinn, and Spotify, in Sweden, have been global groundbreaking ventures, but there has never been the same hype around them or their founding teams as there has been around US startups like Twitter, Google and Amazon.

In Europe, we talk about the lack of an “ecosystem” for start-ups. In the US, the founders and entrepreneurs that started and drove these businesses, create the ecosystem through their inspiration.

This huge difference in attitude feeds directly through to valuations of startups.

Last spring, JustEat.com – the takeaway food website – was very pleased to receive its third round of venture capital funding funding of $64 million ( 39.8 million). Meanwhile, Yelp, a US restaurant review site that is a smaller business than JustEat, was making its stockmarket debut with a valuation of $1.47 billion.

In the retail sector of my business, Glasses Direct, we have also seen a disconnect from our leading US rival, Warby Parker, which recently received a valuation rumoured to be 8 to 10 times revenue. European businesses are more likely to attract funding closer to two-to-three times revenue.

It is a pattern that continues as companies grow. Listed European technology firms valued at more than $100 million are on average 32 percent cheaper than their North American peers. Bloomberg says they trade at an average ratio of 15 times earnings compared with 22 times earnings in the US and Canada.

Behind this, there lies a lack of financial and market support for start-ups in Europe.

In every year from 1995 to 2010, venture capital investment was higher in the US than it was in Europe – reaching four to five times the European level in many years (BVCA report [PDF], page 29).

In 2010, the last year for which figures are available, investment reached $23,263m across the Atlantic, compared with $4,978 million in Europe. Meanwhile, a report in 2009 by the British Venture Capital Association, showed that Silicon Valley funds around 300 mid to late growth companies each year at levels of 5 to 20 million, whereas the UK only funds about 60 (CBI report [PDF], page 28).

While the US VC sector is worth more than $30 billion a year (CBI report [PDF], page 29), the UK’s is far smaller.

Even the press act differently. In the US, a whole media sector exists to chart startups and is eager to tell success stories, whereas in Europe, journalists are keener to write about the difficulties startups have.

Progress has been made with the LSE and Downing Street initiative to make it easier for high growth companies to float. However, the fact that there is no Internet category for institutional investors to cover might continue to make this a challenge.

Here in the UK where we lead the G20 in terms of the internet’s role in our economy, isn’t it time that we learn to celebrate startups?

This is not just a plea for US-style valuations. It’s a humble request that startup businesses are valued in all senses of the word – and praised as much for what they have achieved so far, as for the future businesses they might become.

Image credit: Thinkstock