How Meredith Plans to Implement Live Video and Virtual Reality

first_img Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere, live video is almost certainly the hottest new distribution channel of the summer for publishers. Immersive video experiences provided by virtual reality headsets seem to be gathering steam as well, with The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and InStyle, among several others, already getting in on the action. Lee adds that the company is using open APIs at its studios in New York and Des Moines to ensure uniform quality and methodology across brands, further indicating that this is a company-wide strategy. A third studio, in Seattle, is scheduled to begin live video production later this year. The company wouldn’t reveal specifics about upcoming initiatives planned once the new technology has been fully implemented, but Melinda Lee, Meredith’s newly appointed SVP and GM of video, tells Folio: that the jump into the new formats comes as marketers are increasingly seeking those capabilities in publishers. The women’s publishing giant whose massive audience continues to grow — as of yesterday’s statement, the company claims to reach 102 million unduplicated women in the U.S. — announced a commitment to expand its relatively nascent Facebook Live activity into a fully-fledged “video innovation” strategy encompassing live video, virtual reality, and 360º video. “We have developed creative expertise in VR and 360º in-house and are training all of our producers on these new production technologies,” Lee tells Folio:. “We started by experimenting on more affordable cameras, but have recently made the investment in higher-end cameras, too.”center_img While Meredith seems no less bullish on the new video formats, Lee cautions that to fully realize the potential of any new medium, it is first necessary to attain a deep understanding of the technology and the ways in which audiences consume it. Yesterday, Meredith Corp. revealed that it, too, had joined the live video and virtual reality craze that seems to be sweeping the consumer publishing industry.  “In order for content creators to fully utilize all the good things that live video and VR can bring to our audiences, we need to fully dive into engagement metrics and iterate on our ability to tell a good story through these new video production technologies,” Lee tells Folio:. “Video insights are more important than ever and we have made an investment here.”More on this topic The Mistake Brands Can’t Afford to Make with Virtual Reality Magazine Publishers Begin to Embrace Virtual Reality Facebook Pays Publishers Over $50 Million to Start Using Live Video Video Programming, Channing Tatum Star at Hearst’s First-Ever NewFronts Meredith to Partner with “Fixer Upper” Stars on New Lifestyle Mag UBM Takes Several Titles Digital-Only as Strategic Shift ContinuesJust In Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest Restructuring Shanker Out, Litterick In as CEO of EnsembleIQ The Atlantic Names New Global Marketing Head | People on the Move This Just In: Magazines Are Not TV Networks TIME Names New Sales, Marketing Leads | People on the Move Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the MovePowered bylast_img read more

What AncestryDNA taught me about DNA privacy and the complex world of

first_img Share your voice Tags The hardest thing about having your DNA sequenced is generating a teaspoon’s worth of spit.They don’t tell you this in the marketing materials for your typical at-home DNA test kit, but producing enough saliva to fill a pen-sized tube up to its high spit mark is hard work — and strangely nerve-wracking, too.I sneak into an unused meeting room, chewing on air to generate slobber. The kit has two tubes. One, now full of my spit, and a second smaller tube with a chemical mix that stabilizes DNA. After uniting the two tubes, I stick the pale blue spit-mix into a box and mail it off to AncestryDNA, the genetics arm of the world’s largest genealogy company, Ancestry.In 2012 Ancestry launched the AncestryDNA service, which provides paying users the ability to build a timeline of their genes, search for relatives and understand what geographic regions their DNA originates from. Ancestry has sold 14 million kits since launch, and the number continues to grow as curious consumers turn to DNA to unravel their histories. The AncestryDNA kit Chris Linton So it’s not just me caught up in this craze — search for “Ancestry DNA results” on YouTube and you’ll find an entire subculture propped up by enthusiastic explorers probing their genetic histories. There’s a whole genre of evening TV dedicated to analyzing the family histories of the rich and famous. Over the last two years many DNA kit manufacturers have begun marketing their products as “perfect gifts.” In the 2018 Thanksgiving period, AncestryDNA broke its November sales record. Your DNA story has become this year’s hottest Christmas gift! Consumer genealogy tests have become big business practically overnight. Why are we so interested in finding out the secrets of our DNA?”I think the major appeal of DNA testing is to find out something new about us,” says Caitlin Curtis, a population geneticist at the University of Queensland. That’s certainly true for me, at least. My first thought is what revelations my spit might teach me about myself. But in the quest for answers, do we truly understand what kind of information we’re giving up?Related: The best DNA testing kits for 2019 Digging into your DNAThe almost unfathomable complexity of all life on Earth, from bacteria to humans, relies on DNA, but the DNA code itself is made up of just four letters: A, T, C and G.These letters, known as bases, always pair together the same way — A with T, C with G. The order in which these letters are arranged is what makes us different and gives us our unique traits. And because we hand parts of our DNA from parent to offspring, it also links us to the past. We just need to be able to “read” it and put all those bases in order. This is known as DNA sequencing. In the future, not even your DNA will be sacred Genealogy site credited with helping ID Golden State Killer suspect Best DNA Ancestry Testing Kits Now playing: Watch this: The genealogy craze 8 7:06 DNA data storage could solve a big problem Comments Who does that data belong to? It can be confusing, especially when these companies make deals with huge corporations to share their data.”I believe that there is an ethical obligation for these companies to be very upfront, honest and explain in simple terms to people what might happen to their data after they take a test, but that is not always the case,” says Curtis.AncestryDNA’s terms and conditions state that it “does not claim any ownership rights in the DNA submitted for testing” but by submitting a sample you effectively “grant AncestryDNA … a royalty-free, worldwide, sublicensable, transferable license to host, transfer, process, analyze, distribute, and communicate your Genetic Information for the purposes of providing you products and services.”It may be my DNA, but how it’s used in the future is something that AncestryDNA decides. However, there is a failsafe. The nuke-it-all option.”It’s your data, you should be able to do with it what you want,” Starr says. “If you decide at some point that you don’t want us to have it anymore, you can tell us to delete it and you can even tell us to destroy the DNA sample.”DNA as data”The biggest danger with handing control of your DNA data is the potential for discrimination based on that information,” says Curtis.Now that even our DNA is being digitized and stored in the infinite online filing cabinet of the World Wide Web, we must confront a reality in which our own genetic makeup can be hacked, stolen or used against us.”There are some parallels to broader conversations around how to govern our personal digital data online – and the possibility for it to be used in unanticipated ways in the future,” she continues.When we began signing up, en masse, for social media services such as Facebook and Twitter over a decade ago, we blindly shared our best baby photos and snarkiest thoughts with reckless abandon. Little did we know our personal data was being siphoned off insidiously and then used to target us in ad campaigns. And that data is still being generated and used today — Facebook gets to know exactly who we are in a matter of months. A cautionary tale, it would seem, considering genealogy testing has undergone rapid growth in the last two years. And though the science is getting better, the regulations and potential pitfalls are becoming harder to nail down.”It’s a complicated issue because in some countries there is protection against discrimination, and in some countries there are very few laws about what you can do with genetic data,” explains Curtis. In the US, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prevents health insurers and employers from discriminating against you based on your genetic profile. However, in Australia, insurance companies can discriminate based on the results of a DNA test, increasing premiums or completely excluding coverage for certain diseases.Cool. Cool cool cool. Almost none of this research was done before I spat into a tube six or seven weeks ago, and now I realize my nerves weren’t about how much spittle I could produce. I jangled because I was diving headfirst into a world I thought I understood, but actually knew hardly anything about. There were voices gnawing at my subconscious. A devil on one shoulder, an angel on the other. One quietly trying to tell me that it’s kind of weird to give a private, multinational company access to the immutable information that can be used to identify me — and only me. The other saying “what can you lose?”You already know which one I listened to. I click through ready to solve this admittedly feeble personal mystery. But there are no shocking revelations. I end up with an ethnicity estimate that puts my DNA origins at 55 percent England, Wales and Northwestern Europe and 44 percent Ireland and Scotland.However, there’s also a zero to 1 percent chance my DNA comes from a region in West Africa that AncestryDNA pegs as relating to “Benin/Togo.” Surprising to me, but not unusual, according to Starr.”A 0-1 percent would say there might be something interesting here, but there might not,” he says. A result such as this might “fall out” in the future, as AncestryDNA’s databases continue to be refined by additional samples and research programs. My ethnicity estimate is only one half of the picture, however, because I can also look at my DNA matches, which directly correlates my DNA with that of other users in Ancestry’s database. In my case, it throws up two matches that AncestryDNA classes as “second cousins” — pretty close relatives of mine, according to my genes.I’ve never seen these people.And this is a caveat for the AncestryDNA kit. Your DNA might kick up matches with people you’ve never seen before, but if you want to fit them into your family tree, you need to subscribe to the other side of the Ancestry business to pore over how you might, potentially, be related to one another.  dnastoryMy ethnicity estimate had me at a 0 to 1 percent chance of having genetic heritage in Benin/Togo Jackson Ryan Digital DNA trailIn January, Buzzfeed News reported that FamilyTreeDNA, another huge provider of at-home DNA kits, had given the FBI access to its database of over a million profiles. The company provides the FBI with the ability to upload genetic profiles from crime scenes to FamilyTree’s database, which may aid them in genetically hunting down criminals. However, FamilyTree didn’t notify users that their genetic information might be used this way before giving the FBI access. And while there have been high-profile, beneficial uses for law enforcement — the apprehension in 2018 of a suspect in the Golden State Killer case, for example — it does raise issues about how this highly personal information may be shared in the future. Particularly concerning is the idea that you don’t even have to share your own DNA data for it to become searchable because your third cousin has already uploaded their own profile. It’s your data, you should be able to do with it what you want. Barry Starr The technology to perform this task has improved dramatically over the last two decades, driving the costs of DNA sequencing down from $10,000 in 2011 to $1,000 in 2017, according to the US National Human Genome Research Institute. Those advances have trickled through to the commercial sector, allowing a myriad of companies, from startups to huge public organizations, to develop their own at-home DNA testing kits.Kits provide customers with an estimation of their genetic histories, ancestries and even potential health issues they might run into. But going from a saliva sample to a genetic history solution is a complex process involving overwhelming amounts of data and statistical analyses that often confound more than they clarify. “There is a general lack of knowledge about how the whole process of ancestry testing works,” Curtis says. “People’s perceptions of the results might be different from the way a genetic scientist might interpret the results.”I’m pretty well versed in the complexities of molecular biology, but after sending my spittle away I become acutely aware that I have no idea how AncestryDNA’s test works. I know it’ll give me an “ethnicity estimate” and tell me my “DNA story,” but beyond the marketing buzzwords I’m in the dark.Science, math and dataAncestryDNA uses a database that contains more than 16,000 reference DNA samples from 43 regions around the world. About 12,000 of these samples come from Ancestry users who opt in and allow the company to use their DNA for research purposes, while the remaining reference samples come from public databases such as the 1000 Genomes Project.”We find people with long family histories from a certain part of the world and we analyze their DNA, and their DNA becomes, by definition, 100 percent from the region” says Barry Starr, director of scientific communications at AncestryDNA. The science of it is complex: The procedure splits up a DNA sample into 1,001 different “windows,” as Starr calls them. All up, those 1,001 windows look at approximately 700,000 spots in the DNA code. When you take the test, every window is compared to the 1,001 windows in a reference sample, and that occurs for each of AncestryDNA’s 43 regions.If 500 of those windows match, say, a Canadian region, then by AncestryDNA’s definition, I am 50 percent Canadian. Sci-Tech “It really is cutting-edge science, and as the field advances we advance with it and so provide updates to consumers when we have made changes based on the progression of the science,” says Starr.CNET rates AncestryDNA as having one of the best kits available, in large part thanks to its huge database. But testing doesn’t just rely on database size — where the data comes from is also important. Almost 75 percent of AncestryDNA’s ethnic regions skew toward European descent, so detailed estimates of ethnicity from other regions is difficult to obtain at present. A study, published in Nature in 2016, suggested that the scientific inquiry into genomes was also suffering from bias.With fewer reference samples from both consumers and scientific research available in regions of Africa and Asia, accurate estimates for genetic heritage in those locations are more prone to error. “Everyone started out in Africa, and a small set of them moved out of Africa and colonized the world,” explains Starr. “The genetic diversity within Africa is huge compared to the rest of the world, which means you need larger reference panels.”And the results of different genealogy tests may show marked differences. For instance, 23AndMe, a rival genealogy company based in California, has a more extensive catalogue of East Asian regions than AncestryDNA. Providing DNA samples to both companies could lead to completely different ethnicity estimates. It’s not that your DNA has changed — but the different databases and algorithms used to calculate it have. ancestrydnakit-3crop Ian Knighton/CNET My DNA storyI’m not exactly sure where I come from.An educated guess would say this impressively pale skin hails from a region localized entirely within Britain. There could be some Scottish in there. Maybe a hint of Irish, too. I don’t think there’s lots of room for suspense or intrigue here.Four weeks after I spat in a tube, my email chimes. Your AncestryDNA results are in!last_img read more

New images and an opening date for MSC Cruises Ocean Cay private

first_imgTags: Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Ocean Cay Wednesday, January 16, 2019 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> FORT LAUDERDALE — MSC Cruises’ Ocean Cay will welcome its first guests on Nov. 9, 2019, according to the cruise line.Officially known as Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the island is surrounded by 64 square miles of protected waters, and a coral nursery is being established to encourage and sustain the growth of new coral, says the cruise line.MSC is currently transforming a former industrial sand extraction site for its marine reserve and private island destination, and plans are underway for a marine laboratory to be situated on Ocean Cay for researching climate change-resistant coral.“Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will bring something new and unique to our Caribbean itineraries from Miami and is set to become a truly memorable highlight for our guests,” says MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato. “We have created a guest experience that complements the breathtaking natural beauty of this remarkable part of the Caribbean. There was no need for us to build extensively on an island that already had the ingredients of a natural paradise. However, we have undertaken extensive work to clean-up the island, removing tons of historic industrial waste and helping to return the beaches, and the entire 64 square miles of protected waters surrounding the island, to their pristine state.”Onorato adds: “For the guest services on the island we have kept it authentic and designed an experience that will allow guests to simply enjoy nature at its best. The ship is an integral part of the experience as we have built a pier so that guests can go easily back and forth between the ship throughout the day making full use of both the ashore and onboard facilities.”Here are the highlights:More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoSUN, SAND, SEA & SKYWith over two miles of white sandy beach shore formed from the world’s best aragonite sand, guests will be spoiled for choice with seven distinct beach areas, each with their own allure and character, says MSC.Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve features 7 beaches for guestsSun beds will be available on all beaches, and some beaches will offer cabanas that can be rented for the day. The Great Lagoon’s shallow crystal-clear water is ideal for protected swimming and water sports, while the smaller family lagoon is designed for younger guests to enjoy, offering very shallow, calm water and plenty of games. At over half a mile long, the Great Bimini Beach is the largest stretch of beach on the island, as well as the place to go to enjoy a variety of water sports.DISCOVER AND EXPLORE WITH EXCURSIONSMSC says its Ocean Cay excursions will allow visitors to explore, discover, relax and enjoy nature’s beauty at its best: “Discover the waters around the island through snorkel safaris, kayak tours and paddle boarding. The Family Explorer club will also offer fun activities for the entire family.”Ocean Cay guests will also be able to privately rent a smaller island close to the main body of land for the day, which will include: a private boat that will take the group to the island and remain at their disposal; and a marquee, sun beds and loungers and food and drinks. Near the island is an old shipwreck, making it a perfect spot for snorkelling.Swimming and water sports at the Great LagoonGuests can also participate in a wide range of entertainment activities including sports games and tournaments, dance lessons as well activities for the entire family.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsAnd here’s a bonus: ships can remain in port into the evening, allowing for a range of evening experiences.DRINKS & DININGMSC says that as part of the commitment to ensure that the island is sustainable and to minimize waste, there will be a select number of dining options on Ocean Cay. The ship will also be fully operational while docked at the island, and the furthest point from the ship is only a 20-minute walk, or there will be an electric carts service available to transport guests around the island. There will be buffet dining plus food carts including a taco truck, conch fitter truck and more. The trucks will be stationary during the day around the beaches and will move to the Marina area at night creating an atmospheric food festival-style feel.Food and beverage services will be offered at an additional cost with upgrades available to the beverage package, says MSC. As the ship is easily accessible guests are able to walk on and off at their leisure, allowing them to also be able to freely dine on board as they choose.Bar options are set to include an authentic Bahamian bar and a Lighthouse Bar. There will also be an Ice Cream Parlour and Coffee Bar.SHOPPING & SPAAcross four distinct shopping areas, MSC passengers will have the opportunity to take home unique and special souvenirs or find vacation essentials that they may need. For those guests looking to relax and rejuvenate on the island, there will be services provided by the aw MSC Aurea Spa will have a selection of relaxing body and facial treatments.center_img Posted by Travelweek Group New images and an opening date for MSC Cruises’ Ocean Cay private islandlast_img read more

AQSCs Steamboat Academy developed with ondemand training for agents

first_imgAQSC’s Steamboat Academy developed with on-demand training for agents Travelweek Group Tuesday, March 5, 2019 Share Posted bycenter_img Tags: AQSC MEMPHIS — When clients envision a paddlewheeler trip along America’s rivers, most likely what they’re picturing looks a lot like an American Queen Steamboat Company sailing.AQSC says it sets the standard for cruising on American rivers, where passengers can experience the romance of the past in modern comfort on the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers onboard the company’s authentic paddlewheelers: the iconic and opulent flagship American Queen or the luxurious new boutique paddlewheeler, the American Duchess. Or clients may prefer to explore the great Pacific Northwest on the American Empress.AQSC’s all-inclusive cruises offer a pre-cruise hotel night prior to embarkation; all meals including 24-hour room service and alternative dining venues; snacks, specialty coffees, soft drinks, and bottled water throughout the voyage; wine and beer with dinner; and shore excursions in each port of call. Guests can also sit in on daily enrichment programs and check out nightly Broadway-caliber entertainment.AQSC’s travel agent support includes Steamboat Academy on-demand training, developed as a comprehensive, on-demand certification program that provides agents with the knowledge to speak confidently about AQSC’s products and destinations.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthThere are also opportunities to increase commission with trip enhancements such as additional hotel nights, City Stay packages, an Unlimited Beverage package, and premium shore excursions. Agents can also take advantage of marketing support such as customizable promotional flyers and online brochure ordering.For more information, visit americanqueensteamboatcompany.com/. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more