Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Stuck-at-home TV viewers stream to Netflix

It will come as no surprise to learn that Netflix has done well from the pandemic. The streaming service now has more than 200 million paid members, up more than 30% from 2019, with more than 80% of the new sign-ups coming from outside the US and Canada, helping it make a profit of almost $2.8bn in the past year.

The success of Netflix Originals such as Bridgerton and the French-language drama Lupin shows what a major force it has become in film-making and TV. Netflix has 500 titles preparing to launch and plans to release at least one original film every week in 2021 as it strives to maintain its lead over the likes of Amazon Prime and Disney. …


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. ‘World’s smartest face mask’ unveiled at CES

CES 2021 — the annual trade show where tech companies show off all their new innovations — took place this week (entirely online, of course). One of the most eye-catching concepts came from gaming company Razer, who unveiled what is claimed to be the world’s smartest face mask, complete with a built-in microphone.

The prototype claims to amplify the user’s voice to prevent muffled speech and includes active ventilation, exhaling warmer air while pulling in cooler air. …


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Calls to cut data fees for online schooling

With most children learning at home again, there have been calls for broadband companies to do more to help low-income families. Many disadvantaged children live in homes without a fixed broadband connection and are dependent on pay-as-you-go or monthly phone subscriptions that only include a small data allowance.

And many schools are using video-chat tools such as Teams and Zoom to live-stream classes, which consume a lot of data. Tech for UK has suggested one way forward would be for internet providers to “zero rate” edtech apps and websites, so that their data use would be deducted from a mobile subscriber’s monthly allowance. …


It’s 2021 and we’re still working from home. Our senior product designer Isabel Taylor shares what she’s learned about the importance of environment from nearly a year of remote working…

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More than ever before we’re all feeling the effects of working at home in comparison to the office. With the new year bringing yet another national lockdown, the prospect of catching up with our office pals feels further away than ever. …


Our marketing manager, Ricky Wallace, discusses why it was important to evolve the agency’s brand and online presence to reflect the changing business landscape and expectations of customers…

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As we enter what we hope will be a happier and healthier new year, we’re delighted to launch our new website, www.zonedigital.com.

As most agencies can probably attest to, internal projects are never easy, especially when it comes to designing and developing your own website! One of the biggest challenges is resourcing.

At Zone, we’ve been in the very fortunate position to remain incredibly busy despite the pandemic. Our clients have recognised the need to elevate their customer experience like never before in order to best serve the rising expectations of their customer bases. So that left very little spare capacity for any of our team to dedicate time to improving our own CX. …


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Facebook attacks Apple for privacy features

There’s not a lot of festive cheer between Facebook and Apple right now, with Facebook taking out full-page ads in three prominent US newspapers to attack Apple’s upcoming privacy feature in iOS that allows users to opt out of letting apps track their activity for advertising purposes — a move that will hurt Facebook.

Of course, Facebook is aware that people won’t feel too sorry for the company having less access to their data, so it’s positioning its ads as standing up for small businesses who also rely on data for personalised ads. …


Welcome to the 400th edition of the Friday Five! Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. UK plans customised rules for tech giants

The UK is planning to issue Facebook, Google and other tech giants sets of rules customised to each company. The tailored codes of conduct are part of a plan unveiled by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which will take over responsibilities at a local level from the European Commission due to Brexit.

The CMA intends to set up a Digital Markets Unit to draw up the rules and govern compliance. The watchdog wants the new unit to be able to fine the tech companies up to 10% of their global turnover if they do not comply with the remedies to anti-competitive behaviour it demands. …


In association with Penguin Business and Campaign, Zone was delighted to host a virtual Book Club with professor Cal Newport, author of New York Times bestseller Digital Minimalism — Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.

Professor Cal Newport
Professor Cal Newport

Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social media or the news while your anxiety rises? Are you feeling frazzled after a long day of long video calls?

In this timely book, professor Cal Newport shows us how to pair back digital distractions and live a more meaningful life with less technology.

By following a ‘digital declutter’ process, you’ll learn to:

  • Rethink your relationship with social…

Zone’s Martha Green handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Salesforce picks up Slack, takes on Microsoft

In one of the biggest tech mergers in recent years, Salesforce has agreed to buy work messaging app Slack for £20bn. Described as a “match made in heaven” by CEO Marc Benioff, the union offers Salesforce the chance to expand beyond its core markets of sales and marketing, and put it in a better position to take on Microsoft.

Slack, founded in 2009, has seen its share price sink since launching publicly in 2019 and has missed out on the stratospheric rise enjoyed by other tech firms, such as Zoom, during the pandemic. It has suffered badly since Microsoft launched Teams in 2016, with Slack’s 12.5 …


Our front-end developer Fran Haines shares what she learned from joining the audience for a BBC News special celebrating the best women in technology…

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Over the past few decades women have come a long way in the workplace, and careers that were very male-dominated have become far more popular with women. However, women still make up a very small percentage of the technology sector and this is a common theme from around the world. Series such as the BBC 100 Women try to tackle this by featuring female role models who are breaking boundaries in their sector.

I recently took part in the audience panel for the BBC Click 100 Women Special: an episode which showcases pioneering women in technology. The guests were Nicola Mendelsohn, VP for EMEA for Facebook; Serene Ow, head of data science at Grab (the Uber of South-east Asia); and Erica Joy Baker — director of engineering at GitHub. United by gender and career choice, both the panelists and audience joined from all over the world to ask questions and share industry insights. Despite the geographical and cultural variation, it became clear that many of our experiences in education and work were similar and the insights shared were invaluable. Here’s what I…

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We write about design, content, strategy & technology to share our knowledge with the wider community.

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