Distree 2014: gambling on emerging technology

Distree in Monte Carlo is the perfect place to forge a long distance relationship with a new tech vendor. Just be careful who you hop into bed with, says Nick Booth

I’ve always been suspicious of marketing types who talk about customer relationship management. If you buy a sandwich at lunch time, Tesco’s marketing manager shouldn’t assume that you and he are now ‘in a relationship’ and that you ‘want to engage’ with his ‘content’. People have been issued restraining orders for far less creepy behaviour!

Don’t laugh, but there are actually people in marketing who think that consumers like having ‘conversations’ with ‘brands’. Good grief. You might think it’s harmless, but these ‘recreational’ addictions act as gateway drugs to much more damaging and harmful types of anti-social behaviour, such as customer stalking and snooping. So, all you brand marketing types out there, get onto Facebook and change your status back. You are not ‘in a relationship’, you’re just lonely and a bit disturbed.

However, at Distree in Monte Carlo last week, MicroScope met a variety of eligible techie inventors who are looking for love in the UK.

Madrid-based tablet maker vendor Vexia is a hive of invention, creating new ways to make tablets and smart phone more powerful, easier to use and less harmful. Among its 60 patented inventions are Reticare (technology that protects the eyes of tablet users), Zipper phones and its own brand of Intel quadcore driven Android tablets. They’re very easy on the eyes and looking for a UK partner. Ask them about Magic Contact.

If you want to attract a partner, you might want to send them a picture of yourself. Not just any old self portrait though – you need something to make you stand out from the selfie crowd. Apotop can help you here – it has created a new variety, the i-Selfie. It’s a gadget/app combo that helps you set up a better brand of self-portrait. Once your selfie is on a smart phone, it can be projected onto any bigger screen, via Actiontec’s new invention. Everyone’s going crazy for selfies, so fill your boots while the craze lasts.

There seems to be a whole new genre of products catering for the Selfie phenomenon. Italian vendor Aiino has invented a mobile case that’s specially designed to stick to hard surfaces. So you can stick your mobile to your mirror, for example and it holds your camera perfectly still as while you take you own picture. Being Italian, all the iPhone and mobile accessories have to be fashion icons. One iPad case, for example, comes in two pastel shades which can be reversed to match whatever outfit you are wearing today. Check their web site for a new stop motion film, released any day now, featuring all the stylish clothing range for gadgets, as they march down a catwalk. If you’re a fashionista distributista, Aiino could be the perfect match for you. Don’t forget to write and tell us how you got on.

The man from Connectedevice explained how relationships are creating a market for analogue watch-cum-digital communicator combos. His girlfriend wanted an old fashioned analog watch, that you can wind up, but she also wanted instant feedback every time someone emailed, texted, tweeted or Facebooked her. So Connectedevice created a watch that connects via Bluetooth to your smart phone. Whenever, say, an email arrives in your inbox, a little icon lights up on your watch. So you can keep up with social media every second of the day, without having to stare at a glowing screen. You’ll just have to glance at your watch all the time, which might make the people you’re with think that you’re bored with their conversation. Still, there’s millions of people who’d love a Cogito Pop (or one of the other models), so why not become the UK distributor for the Connected?

If you find it hard striking up a conversation with strangers, Plustek has a brilliant attention grabber: a mobile scanner for your tablet. How often have you been somewhere and thought, “Boy, what I wouldn’t do for someone who could help me move this colour page into my iPad.” Well now help is at hand, because there’s a mobile gadget that will fit inside your laptop bag that can swallow a page whole and burp it into your tablet computer in perfect detail. The UK’s Plustek distributor will become a popular company indeed.

People are going mad for wearable technology, concluded Intel’s marketing manager for new markets, Fabrice Couadou. Intel is pouring money into creating the software layers to handle all the data and security that keeps it all safe and private. To prove his point he announced a new Intel competition for creative types in the UK channel. There’s a pot of $1.3 million available to any inventors who can come up with new ideas for products. To find out more information on how to enter type “Make IT Wearable” into Bing. Or shout it into your smartphone. Or ask your new partner from overseas to help you. See how your relationship survives that!

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