About Martin De Saulles

I am a Principal Lecturer at the University of Brighton. I teach digital marketing to final year undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Brighton SEO – keeping me up-to-date

brighton seoI’ve just got back from another interesting Brighton SEO conference. I started going to these twice yearly (April and September) events a few years ago when there were only a couple of hundred people attending. At today’s event there were about 3,500 attendees, 9 different streams and over 90 speakers all packed into the Brighton Centre. It’s a great way to find out the latest thinking in the digital marketing world and chat to practitioners from across the industry. I usually bump into current and former students and today was no exception. In terms of content, the conference has moved on from focusing on what marketers need to do to rank more highly in search results to include social media marketing, pay per click (PPC), AI and machine learning marketing applications, ecommerce and regulatory matters. I always recommend my students attend the event as tickets are free if you are quick off the mark (the free tickets normally all go in a few minutes!).

I could only stay until the lunch break but I’ve come away with some exciting ideas for updating my undergraduate and postgraduate digital marketing modules at the University of Brighton for the 2017/18 academic year. These include:

  • running workshops on implementing structured data to improve search rankings and results listings;
  • running some in-class demos of voice search using the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices and exploring what the implications of voice search are for marketers;
  • helping students understand the importance of the Google Knowledge Graph and what it means for search, particularly voice search;
  • running some demonstrations of the application of AI to search using services such as Pinterest’s “Shop the Look” and “Lens” and Google’s Translate service for images;
  • helping students understand the range of data sources which marketers can use to improve the application of analytics to market research and targeting. I think there will be some overlap here with my interest in the Internet of Things (IoT).

So, plenty of ideas to keep me busy over the next few months.

Success for MSc student

This post is from James Dunn who has just graduated from our MSc in User Experience Design. 

James Dunn

James Dunn, MSc User Experience Design

Shortly after completing my MSc in User Experience Design I was invited to submit my Major project for the Brighton University Environmental Award, for which I was delighted to receive a ‘highly commended’ recognition.

My project involved the creation of a prototype smartphone App called “Driven”.

It is designed to provide motorists with real-time vehicle telemetry geared around a variety of driving styles, including economic/sustainable motoring. Additionally, it automatically logs journeys, allowing users to build up a picture of their motoring habits over time.

It works by using a small hardware component connected to the car’s diagnostic port to read data from the vehicles systems, and transmit it to a smartphone. The App interprets this data and is presents it to the user via an appropriate interface, the design of which was the focus of the project.

The resulting information can be used to make informed decisions about driving styles, leading to more economical and sustainable behaviour. The project was conceived due to a lack of suitable existing products in the marketplace that offered comparable functionality. It feeds on the desires of users for increased information and data about the way they live their lives, extending from the number of paces they take each day, to the number of miles driven.

Motoring has for a long time been high on the agenda in sustainability conversations, with legislation being passed to encourage new vehicles to reduce their environmental impact. While it can’t force drivers to change their habits, it does provide factual data that can be acted on to reduce carbon emissions and encourage sustainable motoring.

The project was a lot of fun to work on, and concluded an excellent year at the University. Since graduation I have been working as a UX (user experience) Consultant, introducing a user-orientated design process to a software development company based in London.

You can follow me on Twitter @jdworksUX

 

Partnering with an alumnus to develop a novel legal software system

Quote

In November The University of Brighton has won £144,794 funding to work with Brighton-based firm, Family Law Partners. The project will utilise the university’s knowledge engineering and artificial intelligence expertise to develop a triage style system to underpin a novel model of family law provision.

Alan Larkin

Alan Larkin, Director of Family Law Partners

Family Law Partners specialise exclusively in family law and their Director, Alan Larkin is an alumnus of the university. Alan said:

“We are delighted to be working with the University of Brighton on this project. We see technology as having a pivotal role in the future delivery of family law services, and it is with great excitement that we have teamed up with knowledge engineering specialists from the university to innovate our service. On a personal level, it is also particularly satisfying to be strengthening our existing relationship with our local university and the institution where I undertook my legal training.”

The funding has been awarded through a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) supported by the Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The project will be led by Dr John Kingston and supported by Professor Miltos Petridis, both from the university’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics.

Family Law Partners has already been shortlisted for a national award in the ‘Innovation in IT’ category for development of its first commercial software offer, Siaro, and by collaborating with university experts to use technology to streamline elements of the divorce process, they will be further innovating their service to be at the very forefront Family Law provision.

Winner of Best Poster award at AI 2016 conference

The annual BCS conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI-2016), held from 13-15 December in Cambridge, had a significant presence from CEM with two accepted papers; one poster; and Professor Miltos Petridis as one of the Chairs of the conference. The presentations covered the topics of artificial intelligence and legal liability; comparing different learning methods for predicting user behaviour; and using data mining to enhance online advertising.

Congratulations to the presenters of the accepted papers and poster: Nikolay Burlutskiy, Maria Diapouli, John Kingston and Miltos Petridis. Congratulations also to co-authors Nour Ali, Alexei Chernov, Roger Evans, Andrew Fish and Stelios Kapetanakis. Special congratulations are due to Maria Diapouli and Miltos Petridis for winning the prize for the best poster presentation, chosen by conference delegates.

Maria Diapouli

Maria Diapouli with her poster

AI Poster winners: Maria Diapouli and Miltos Petridis

AI Poster winners: Maria Diapouli and Miltos Petridis

A student startup success story

I’m always impressed when our students are able to combine their academic work at the University of Brighton with work commitments in the outside world. Usually this involves working for others but some of our students set up their own businesses. Thea and Sam are two such students. They have created a website, Share Style, which showcases fashion for real people.
Thea

Thea

Sam

Sam

I did a quick Q&A with Thea and Sam to find out more about Share Style and their plans for the future:
1) What courses are you studying and what year are you in? 
We’re studying Digital Media and Computer Science and we’re in the 2nd year.
2) What is Share Style and who is it aimed at? 
Share Style is a shopping and style sharing website; you can discover new brands, share your own style photos and collections; and most importantly shop the clothes you see on real people. The website is open to anyone, in fact a big aim of ours is to encourage people who might not ordinarily get themselves out there on social media to inspire each other and share style tips.
3) How did you come up with the idea for the site?
The initial idea came around because of our own frustrations when shopping online. We were sitting around in our flat one day trying to shop for clothes online, but ended up becoming more and more frustrated by the lack of choice and difficulty finding exactly what we wanted. The solution was simple, create a place where you can browse for clothes and see what they look like on real people!
4) Who does what on the site? 
Sam, who studies computer science handles the web development and infrastructure whereas I (Thea) take care of the design, marketing and PR. We’re lucky that we have a very cohesive skill sets and between the two of us we cover all the areas necessary to build and launch an online startup.
5) What have been the biggest challenges so far? 
Initially the biggest challenge was building the website whilst trying to keep on top of university and holding down part time jobs. There was a huge skill-gap that we needed to get past and it was incredibly time intensive. Since our launch, we’ve ditched the part-time jobs which relieves a little stress but the biggest challenge has been maintaining the marketing and keeping the website stable on a shoestring budget.
 
6) How do you balance your university work with running the site?
It’s definitely a challenge. Generally, during busy times at university we spend the weekdays doing university work and evenings and weekends working on the website. I can’t say we’ve always got the balance perfect, it’s taken lots of late nights and early mornings to squeeze everything in.
 
7) How much interest have you generated so far with it?
We’ve had some great feedback from our early adopters and everyone who comes across the site says they love the concept. Since our launch in February we’ve have collaborated with dozens of talented bloggers worldwide to celebrate how real people express themselves through style.
8) How do you see the site developing in the future?
In the coming months, Share Style will be released from beta with a bunch of new exciting features and an ultra modern front end.
We’ll be putting more of an emphasis on personalisation, for example, you’ll be able write and share posts formatted in a whatever font and style you please. We’re also introducing blog and Instagram integration, for our blogging community. After the website is officially re-released, plans for creating a Share Style app will swiftly follow. Everybody is crazy about apps, so we think this will be a great way for us to expand and grow.

Computing and Media Careers Fair 2016

University of Brighton Careers FairOn the 2nd March 2016, the University of Brighton held a Computing and Media Careers Fair on its Moulsecoomb campus. 22 companies had stands, all looking for talented computing and media graduates. I interviewed a few of them to find out what they did and the types of skills they are looking for from our graduates.

 

It was an excellent opportunity for our students to chat informally with recruiters from a wide range of local, national and global companies, including IBM, Brandwatch, Capgemini, Deloitte, West Pier Studio and ZenithOptimedia.

ZenithOptimedia

Kate Conroy (left), Talent Resourcing Manager and colleague from ZenithOptimedia

A common theme amongst a number of the recruiters was a need for graduates with analytical skills, particularly around big data. I suspect this will be a trend for the next few years as companies try to gain a competitive advantage from the all the data they are collecting, particularly from the web and connected devices.

Digital Marketing – a look into the future

Brighton is blessed with a thriving digital media scene. As well as the job opportunities this offers to our graduates there are also lots of events where industry experts share their experiences and knowledge.

Ogilvy-One

OgilvyOne Worldwide’s Dayoan Daumont talking about the potential of artificial intelligence to shape digital marketing

Last night I went to an event organised by Wired Sussex as part of the Digital Catapult initiative of which the University of Brighton is a key stakeholder. The event was titled, Real-time, Place-based Digital Marketing and brought together some leading thinkers and entrepreneurs to talk about the work they are doing and the future of digital marketing.

As the title suggests, the theme was how new technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and location-based services are changing the way marketers and advertisers connect with customers.

Amazon Dash

Wifi-enabled smart buttons for one-click ordering of branded products from Amazon

I found  Dayoan Daumont’s keynote talk particularly interesting. Dayoan is Innovation Director at OgilvyOne Worldwide, one of the world’s leading advertising agencies. He showed us how some brands are using new technologies such as virtual reality to connect with customers but made the point that ultimately these technologies have to offer something tangible which the customer actually wants. For example, the Amazon Dash buttons aim to make the reordering of staple household items easier through the single click of a button. Although the Dash buttons are a relatively crude attempt to drive sales by Amazon, they point the way to how technology can become embedded in everyday items to remove friction from transaction processes.

Looking further into the future, Dayoan argued that artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives such as Google’s AlphaGo and IBM’s Watson will change how companies learn about our behaviour. It is likely that, based on the knowledge which Google is building up about our online and offline behaviour, we will not need to type or speak our search requests as the company will know what we want before we do. Whether this is something to look forward to or be worried about is another matter.