Royal Wedding Souvenir & Gifts industry

Royal Wedding Souvenir & Gifts industry
As the Royal wedding draws close, the British souvenir and gifts industry are moving into full swing. From the exclusive to the more traditional, the wedding itself is opening doors for many companies to offer a range of wedding souvenir and gifts.

With the Royal wedding in little over a month, one such ‘exclusive’ gift p is what is reported to be the first ever Loving Cup, recently hand-gilded at a pottery in Staffordshire yesterday. Bearing the entwined initials C and W to stand for Prince William and Kate – or Catherine – Middleton, in gold and silver, this fine bone china two-handled cup, which is new to the range of Official Royal Wedding Commemorative China, also features the coronet of Prince William and the wedding date.

The couple had the final say on the piece and approved the design, which is decorated with a pattern of doves, white ribbons and hearts in silver, gold and grey, set against a pale grey striped background. Inside the tankard are rows of tiny hearts and two silver doves holding a gold wedding ring. Each is made with several layers of burnished gold and platinum before a final layer of gilding is applied by hand in 22-carat gold. There will only be 1,000 of them made for the Collection and gilder Linda Hancox said working on the first ever Loving Cup was a nerve-wracking task.

Another UK company offering a range of exclusive gifts are using the Internet to promote their Royal wedding souvenir and gifts. The Thimble Guild have a rather exclusive range of commemorative thimbles, wedding bells spoons and much more available to the British public.

Other more traditional the wedding souvenir and gifts, bunting, flags and commemorative magazines are available throughout the UK and on every street corner in London.

This is a fine example of British industry making the most of the market whilst helping the public celebrate such a happy occasion.

Small Business & SEO Marketing

Small Business & SEO Marketing
More small companies intend to incorporate search engine optimisation into their business to business marketing initiatives, a new survey conducted by Network Solutions indicates.

More than one-quarter of the small businesses polled (27 percent) said they currently had a search engine optimisation plan in place, which is up from the 19 percent that used this strategy in 2010.

Additionally, more companies intend to develop business to business Search Engine Optimisation plans over the next two years, with 36 percent planning to have a Search Engine Optimisation strategy in that time frame.

Social Media
Social Media is also becoming important to successful business to business marketing strategies, with as many as 46 percent of respondents intending to have a social presence within the next 24 months. Facebook is the most popular social network, however, LinkedIn also seems to be becoming more popular as well.

Both social media and search strategies give companies a significant audience to which they can promote their products. More than 500 million consumers have Facebook accounts, while nearly 17 billion searches were conducted in February alone, according to comScore.

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Home Wi-F Slower’ than Fixed Broadband

Home Wi-F is 30% slower’ than Fixed Broadband

People relying on home wi-fi are getting significantly slower speeds than from their fixed broadband connection, research suggests. The study ran one million tests over 14,000 wi-fi connections in the UK, US, Spain and Italy. On average, the results showed a 30% drop-off compared to the speed coming into the home.

However, the research also suggests that users tolerate slower speeds in exchange for the freedom wi-fi offers. “People are voting with their feet and trading speed for the benefits of mobility,” said Iain Wood, from network measurement firm Epitiro, which carried-out the study. He said that researchers were “surprised” by the amount of drop-off in speed but that for the majority of consumers the slower connection would not be noticed.

“Most of us do e-mailing and web surfing and for these things there is precious little difference between the 50Mb/s services and an 8Mb/s service,” he said. This is because web surfing uses up relatively small amounts of data.

But for other services, such as downloading video or watching IPTV, the degradation of speed will become more noticeable. Telephony services such as Skype could also be particularly affected, thinks Professor Andy Nix, a wireless expert at Bristol University.

“If you have a poor quality router and you are using wi-fi at some distance away from it, you could struggle to have a decent Skype conversation,” he said. But, he added, for those who invest in good quality wi-fi equipment and position it sensibly, the effects of the speed degradation would hardly be noticed.

The study raises interesting questions for an industry obsessed with speed. “There seems to be a disconnect between the ISPs striving to deliver faster speeds and consumers who are happy to accept slower wi-fi speeds,” said Mr Wood.

For those unhappy with their home wi-fi, there are some simple measures that can be taken to improve their connections. “Firstly people can change channels on their wi-fi router to reduce interference. If they live in flats or urban locations there are likely to be other routers operating on the same channel,” said Mr Wood.

Other devices in the home, such as baby monitors, TV remotes and cordless phones can also cause interference. And for those wanting to download video, the speed issue is resolved simply by plugging the laptop or other wireless device into the router, said Mr Wood.

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Unrealistic Broadband Speeds

Advertising Unrealistic Broadband Speeds
According to a news story on the BBC news website, Ofcom is seeking to stop internet service providers from advertising unrealistic broadband speeds. Currently most ISPs advertise services as ‘up to’ a certain speed – for instance, 20Mbps (megabits per second). But Ofcom’s latest research finds that very few consumers actually get these headline speeds.

“There is a substantial gap between advertised speeds and the actual speeds people get in their homes,” Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards told the BBC.

“The chances of someone receiving the advertised headline speed are fairly remote,” he said.

“We would like to see clearer information provided to consumers which more accurately reflects the likely speeds they will actually receive,” he added.

Ofcom’s latest research into broadband speeds found that just 14% of customers on ‘up to’ 20Mbps services received speeds of over 12Mbps, while 58% averaged speeds of 6Mbps or less. Cable and fibre services fared better, with 92% of Virgin Media customers on an ‘up to’ 50Mbps service averaging 45.6Mbps. Its lower 10Mbps service saw average speeds of 9.6Mbps.

BT’s Fibre-to-the-Cabinet technology, which is currently available to 15% of UK homes, has an average of 31.8Mbps on the 40Mbps service.

Unrealistic broadband speeds has long been an issue for consumer groups, who say such advertising is adding to consumer confusion over net services.

“Broadband speeds are a major source of dissatisfaction for UK broadband customers,” says Michael Phillips, product director at comparison site Broadbandchoices.

“We have been pushing for ‘typical speeds’ to be made the gold standard for speed measurement since 2007 – in the same way that banks use ‘typical’ APR percentages.”

The Advertising Standards Authority is looking into the issue. Ofcom is recommending that ISPs use Typical Speed Rates (TSR) to avoid confusing consumers. It has set guidelines for these speeds. It recommends that ADSL services currently advertised as ‘up to’ 20Mbps (megabits per second) be changed to a TSR of between 3 and 9Mbps.

BT is not impressed with Ofcom’s idea. “We have real concerns with their approach. Broadband speeds vary from line to line and so it is meaningless to use one speed for advertising. That is why we use the term ‘up to’,” said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail. He said he thought such a policy “would encourage digital exclusion rather than tackle it”. “Enforcing typical speed ranges is also dangerous as it could encourage more ISPs to cherry pick customers who will increase their average, leaving customers in rural and suburban areas under-served,” he said.

PlusNet defended its current advertising. “We offer customers a personalised speed range. “This is confirmed at application and then again once a customer has had their broadband service fully installed – we are completely honest with customers about the speeds they will receive,” said chief executive Jamie Ford.

Virgin Media, which fared the best in the speed tests, welcomed the news: “Ofcom’s latest report is yet another damning indictment that consumers continue to be treated like mugs and misled by ISPs that simply cannot deliver on their advertised speed claims,” said Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media.

Andrew Ferguson, editor of broadband website ThinkBroadband, said using average speeds could encourage mediocrity. “Providers who now go all out to get the best speeds could give up and make do with the average,” he said. He added that there was “no such thing as an average” because the speed of a connection depends on so many factors, including home wiring, the applications being used and where in the UK people live.

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