REVIEW: tFRWRD DIY Covid-19 Test (At Home)

Taking this Corona test at home takes patience but is awesome.

coronaCorona is a killer and nobody said that life was going to be easy, but on the run-up to Christmas 2019, life in retrospect was a breeze, as easy as pie, a walk in the park.

Now, 12 months on, the world is a different place after Corona, that nasty little crown, took nature’s advice and wreaked revenge on humans.

If you melt polar caps and set fire to the world’s biggest forests, where did we expect the pathogens to go? Disappear? Ha! No, they descended on us and now we’re a different, and more fearful, species.

Much has happened in 2020 and much will continue to happen. Mass testing and vaccines are the order of the day and it is clear that those who can afford to be tested and those who can acquire the vaccine are going to have very different lives to those who cannot.

Governments, immigration and airlines now demand testing certificates if people want to check their health, want to guarantee against self-isolation or even want to travel and get on a plane… without travelling miles to do so.

So, step forward the tFRWRD DIY Covid-19 Test, the Corona test that can be done at home before being dispatched to Vienna for test results and the ‘certificate’ to be well and to travel.

This is not an easy process and go that takes patience. The kit arrives by post with these, at first, confusing instructions.

1. ​Scan the QR code, download the app and register to complete the log-in process

2. Insert the cell phone into the recess provided and start video recording via the app

3. Insert the narrow tube into the holding point. Open the saline solution, put it in your mouth and rinse the oral cavity thoroughly for 60 seconds. Attention: Don’t swallow! After 60 seconds, rinse the straw into the insert narrow tubes and spit the saline solution into the tube through the straw

4. ​Discard the straw and the close tube with sealing adhesive. Place the tube in the transport container and close well

5. ​End video recording and close app and place the sample in the box and seal

6. ​Bring the test kit to the post office and send it off. You will get the laboratory test result directly on your app

This seems straightforward enough, but it takes time to go through the stages, not least the videoing of the process. However, this is a test for Corona and there can be no missteps… and this reviewer might be stupid.

It took me time to slavishly follow the instructions and just as I was about to emerge from the process to take my sample for shipment, I realized that I could only finish if I swapped browsers… of which there was no warning.

So, USE CHROME and save yourself a lot of time. Once that had been navigated and I had driven to a local outlet where I could send my sample via UPS, the rest of the experience was seamless.

I received an SMS letting me know at all times where my sample was and then, 24 hours later, an email saying I was negative. Job done.

There are increasingly a large number of options to testing for Corona. The UK has a number of centres where people can drive to and be tested there. Turnaround times are similar to that of tFRWRD DIY Covid-19 test, now least going privately.

But if you’re under lockdown for a considerable period of time and it’s difficult to go out into the world, stay at home and take the test using this product. It will give you peace of mind, even though it will send you a little mad actually doing it.

Baggl pledges £1 million of grants for SMEs

baggl strives to help up to 300 small businesses during the tough months ahead with their innovative SME grant initiative, supported by AdSmart from Sky.

baggl

Amid the chaos of the Covid-19 Coronacoaster and impending lockdown, innovative start-up baggl, a new online barter marketplace scheduled to launch around mid-November, where businesses and freelancers can trade what they have or do, for whatever they need, albeit using a combination of barter trade credits and cash.

In order to help support other SMEs during the tough months ahead, baggl has created a match-funded TV advertising grant, pledging £1 million worth of their barter trade credits to contribute towards media and production, putting up to 300x small businesses on prime-time television leading up to Christmas and into the New Year, targeting thousands of potential new customers whilst at home.

This exciting initiative is being supported by AdSmart from Sky, as well as several video production houses, all of whom share baggl’s desire to help the small business community.

“As a start-up ourselves we’re all too familiar with the challenges that businesses face during a more buoyant economy, let alone the current Covid19 market conditions, therefore we’re thrilled to be able to work with AdSmart from Sky in helping small business continue advertising and on TV too, especially with so many marketing budgets being slashed right now,” said baggl’s CEO, Paul Grundy.

Each lucky applicant will receive a 30-second localised TV commercial, including video production, which will be broadcast frequently over 30 days across Sky’s world class content and premiumchannels such as Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, MTV, National Geographical and Sky Atlantic to name a few, targeting customers within a 2.5 mile radius of their desired postcode.

“AdSmart and baggl are looking forward to helping smaller businesses get onto TV and we’re excited to show smaller businesses how by joining this exciting initiative, they can utilise the power of AdSmart to help grow their business even in these trying times,” said David Sanderson, Director at AdSmart Local and Development.

The match-funded grant requires an equal contribution of £3,500 from successful applicants, totalling £7,000 for an AdSmart local TV campaign, including video production.

Businesses can apply for the grant via baggl.com, with applications being processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Samuel Huber, CEO Admix – Exclusive Q&A

SamuelWelcome to Mob76 Outlook, Samuel, can you tell our audience about Admix?

We are in gaming and define ourselves as an entertainment company with in-game ads that wants to disrupt the advertising industry. Moreover, the industry is hot right now and entertainment is becoming more and more digital. It is one of the only industries growing faster under lockdown – we are a ‘success story’ during a difficult time.

We are also going against the hated advertising industry – big players seen as evil monopolies, stealing user data and so on. We’re taking on Google and Facebook. Everyone likes a David and Goliath story. We are building a revolution in the industry by putting users first.

We also have a focus/expertise on VR/AR which is also a polarising topic – when is it going to become mainstream?

Not everybody is a fan of in-game advertising, what are you doing differently, Samuel?

With 1.5 billion daily players, gaming is the new entertainment. Everyone is playing games, one way or the other. Lately we’ve seen the rise of platforms such as Fortnite or Roblox who are pushing the boundaries of gaming as we know it to become platforms for general entertainment, concerts or education therefore catering for a much wider audience than simply ‘gamers’.

At the same time, that wide new-found audience needs to be monetized, and this is where Admix comes in: we are proposing a business model for the next generation of entertainment. The Covid crisis has further amplified this phenomenon as people have been forced to live online.

How is the gaming industry changing apart from the digital aspect, Samuel?

The definition of gaming is changing rapidly. Gaming technologies, mainly real-time 3D, are started to be used outside of games – movies, manufacturing, education, ecommerce. There is a clear transition from 2D content to dynamic 3D content across industries.

It is not hard to imagine that these technologies will power a 3D version of the internet, further amplified by VR and AR, the next computing platform.

The largest companies out there – Google, Amazon, Facebook – have capitalised on the first generation of the internet. They have generated billion of dollars by monetizing users’ attention in different ways (via advertising and commerce). But they all operate on the 2D internet – websites and apps.

What happens when most interactions happen in 3D, whether on a screen on a VR headset? This requires a completely different interface and technology. That’s what the Admix long-term vision is. We are building a business model for the next generation of the internet. We want to be the next Google of the 3D world.

Why should readers care about what you’re doing?

Currently, we focus on gaming, as early adopters. As a marketplace between publishers and advertisers, we solve two needs for huge industries.
On the gaming side: with gaming evolving into more entertaining, immersive experiences, developers need a new infrastructure to power more profitable business models, particularly in immersive channels such as e-sport and XR where traditional ads don’t work.

On the ad side, the web is saturated with ads; as a result, young generations are hard to engage. Advertisers need to find new channels and a less intrusive approach. They’re realizing that gaming is a genuine channel to engage audiences at scale, but lack the tools to do so.

So, this is a big deal for AR and VR developers?

Admix enables developers of 3D content to monetise areas within their game with non-intrusive placements – such as billboards, posters and even 3D products such as a can of coke or wearable sneakers. These ads are integrated with the gameplay and therefore do not create a bad user experience. It also gives developers complete control over their advertising experience, which is a complete revolution in the space.

Can you give us some idea of what your product consists of?

Our product stack is split into three components:
SDK for Unity and Unreal, enabling developers to create inventory within their games
developer dashboard for inventory management, analytics, and handling monthly payments
supply-side platform, connecting to advertising platforms to sell our inventory on the runtime.

Now please explain that to a smart person who isn’t that into games

The Admix solution enables game developers to place billboards, posters, videos, and even 3D products in their games. Every time a user sees or interact with the ad, the game publisher generates revenue.

Because these ads are integrated with the environment instead of interrupting the gameplay, they do not affect the user experience, and work better for everyone. We are building the first advertising solution that puts players first.

Everybody loves a founder’s story. How did you get to this place, Samuel?

I am French and graduated in Physics from Polytechnical Shool of Lausanne (CH) in 2010. Wanting to apply my knowledge in a more practical way, I came to the UK to get a Master in Engineering and went to work as engine engineer for Mercedes F1 in 2011. At the time, I could see the mobile market growing fast and started some app projects on the side, before making the jump to go full time entrepreneur in 2013.

I used to run a small development studio and grew frustrated with available monetization solutions, all providing a terrible user experience. None of the publishers I knew were excited to work with any monetization, seen as a necessary evil. Yet they all used it.

I thought that there would be an opportunity to build a solution that would put users first, that developers would actually love to use, and that advertisers could leverage to reach an otherwise unreachable audience. This would literally shake the $500 billion advertising market for the better. This ‘three-way marketplace’ is symbolised by our triangular logo.

Where are you based and who’s in your team?

We are based in Farringdon, London, with remote employees in Ukraine. My cofounder Joe Bachle-Morris has more than 20 years experience in the advertising space, as CEO/COO/MD of various agencies like Brothers&Sisters and VCCP. He also had a stint as CMO and BSkyB.

Natasha Whitfield-Niven, VP Revenue was Head of Commercial at Rubicon Project. Our CTO Mohammed Alisrawi has experience building ad servers for adtech companies. We also have great advisors and investors with industry-specific experience.

How big is your audience and how much traction do you have?

We handle four billion ad requests per month (growing 30% m/m), we have 220 publishers onboard and $1.3 million ARR. We also recently raised $7 million and we are using this to expand our global operations.

Finally, why are you better than your competitors, Samuel?

Look at existing success in the advertising space: Facebook and Google grew their ad side model quickly because they made it easy for advertisers to join the platform and start spending. They reached critical mass which quick-started strong network effects that meant that nobody could catch up.

Google owns web advertising and Facebook owns social advertising. Compare that with agencies (aka service companies) whose growth rate is capped, do not build defensibilities, and are worth a fraction of the value.

Admix aims to be the former. We aim to own in-game advertising. We are building unique technology to enable brands to access 1.5 billion daily players while they play, and that requires scalability at its core.

Thanks a lot for your time, Samuel, best of luck with it all

No problem, thanks for inviting me.

BlockSpeak 15 – Changpeng Zhao (CZ) – CEO Binance

Our latest guest for BlockSpeak 15 is CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, aka CZ.


BlockSpeak 15
BlockSpeak 15 guest this week needs little introduction to anybody in the crypto and blockchain world.

Changpeng Zhao, better known by the kindly acronym CZ, is the CEO of the world’s biggest exchange Binance.

I took the liberty of calling him CZ and in this episode, CZ speaks on a wide range of subjects, not least the effect of Covid-19 on Bitcoin and crypto activity on the Binance exchange, as well as the long-term implications of this extraordinary disruption on all types of finance.

According to CZ, exchange volumes have gone up more than 500% over the past three months as traders and speculators have either moved over from more traditional fiat exchanges or incumbent investors have increased their activity.

He also links this with the recent Bitcoin halving and is fundamentally optimistic about the future of crypto as a more mainstream from of money that will continue to gain critical mass.

Moreover, CZ is also questioned about the security of his exchange and recent high-level stories about wallets being hacked and the booty being transferred to the Binance exchange and the being converted into other cryptocurrencies such as Monero and being spirited away to the extent that law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and UK Police lose the trail.

While being relatively non-committal on how Binance has improved its security in light of these stories, he confronts the questioning front-on and comes across as somebody who understands transparency.

Listeners to BlockSpeak who are fascinated by how exchanges work and this increase of magnitude of trading during these surreal days will enjoy this episode. The numbers certainly back this up.

This episode (BlockSpeak 15) has proved to be the most-viewed of all our conversations to date and we’re delighted to announce that CZ will be joining us later this year to share future opinions and reflections.

To view previous episodes go to the BlockSpeak page of this website or the main site at www.blockspeak.io.

BlockSpeak 9 – Brett King, Moven CEO

BlockSpeak 9 is all about the difference between fiat currencies and crypto.

BlockSpeak 9BlockSpeak 9 takes on the intricacies of digital currencies and what defines a fiat currency such as the Dollar, Euro or Pound Sterling.

It’s a difficult subject to understand, but Moven CEO Brett King and global finance superstar is the perfect person to explain it. Fiat currencies are those that are regulated by governments giving them a value while crypto currencies are decentralized from any government regulation.

Their formation goes all the way back to 11th Century China when banknotes were originally issued and they began to proliferate in the 20th Century before US President Richard Nixon untethered the US dollar from the gold standard in 1971.

Then there is another complication. If fiat can be defined as a government-issued currency, what then is digital fiat and how does that compare to the nature of a cryptocurrency?

Wikipedia says that a Central bank digital currency (CBDC), also called digital fiat currency or digital base money, is the digital form of fiat money (a currency established as money by government regulation, monetary authority or law). Are you with us so far?

If so, here we go again.

Central bank digital currency is different from virtual currency and cryptocurrency, which are not issued by the state and lack the legal tender status declared by the government. As such, public digital currencies can compete with commercial bank deposits and challenge the current fractional reserve banking system.

King has his considerable nose to the ground when it comes to hot-to-handle subjects such as this one. While not an idiot’s guide to digital currencies, digital fiat currencies and fiat itself, King’s style appeals to both the veteran and ingenue.

At the end of the 35-minute broadcast, listeners will take away a wealth of information that will help anybody who is interested in the subject.