My Metaverse Meeting

When I was invited to a meeting in the metaverse, my heart sank a little. Was it fear of the unknown or fighting the buzz and all-round obsession with the Metaverse? Who knows?

We do know that we must embrace the ‘Future of work’. Be that hybrid or fully remote. Let’s be honest, the likelihood of many of us ever coming back into the office five days a week is slim. And most of us are happy about that. So, it’s no surprise that the use of technology to bring us all virtually together – even if we are physically far apart – is being explored.

So back to the metaverse. What exactly is it? In summary, the “metaverse” describes a fully realised digital world that exists beyond the one in which we live. Impressive hey!? Well, perhaps it is not quite as “wow” as you think. The metaverse is not new at all. It actually just hit its 30th birthday. The word was first coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, but then it was still just an idea. It came more into fruition just over a decade later in 2003 with the launch of Second Life.

So, if it’s been around for a while, why now are we seeing so much chatter?

Google is an excellent barometer of consumer sentiment and interest. I googled ‘Why is everyone…’ and it automatically suggested ‘Why is everyone talking about metaverse’. So, I guess everyone is asking the same question.

Anyway, back to my meeting.  I sat at my home office desk as normal and joined my metaverse meeting with my talented colleagues at Splendid UNLIMITED. Connecting on Horizon Workrooms, we talked all about the potential of this technology. Although still in beta phase, the Workrooms world truly showcased to me the opportunities to interact with people be those colleagues, clients, suppliers ‘in-person, from home’. Then we left the virtual office and played some metaverse mini golf!

Now, don’t get me wrong it felt very strange to be sitting at my desk wearing a headset. But really… what is normal anymore? The metaverse has the potential to unlock some truly incredible opportunities. It is admittedly early days – headsets are still pricey and supplying an entire workforce with them might be a pipedream – but competition, innovation and time will help.

Many big-name brands are already onboard. Microsoft is positioning its products for better business collaboration in the metaverse, McDonald’s recently filed several trademark applications (including one for a virtual restaurant that would deliver to an actual home!), and just last week at Mobile World Congress HTC unveiled its ‘Viverse’ vision of the metaverse.

My view is that any innovation which brings people together is brilliant and must be explored and embraced. In the modern-day, where most of us are working flexibly, communication channels that allow us to collaborate in fun ways should be championed.

My Metaverse meeting was memorable for all the right reasons. I’m excited to see how the technology develops and the creativity it inspires.

So, drop me a line, let’s meet up in the Metaverse… and play some mini golf!


What you need to know about communicating your sustainability credentials

Think you’re ready to promote your sustainability credentials? Truly understanding your audience is a vital starting point.

Check out this 3 minute summary of research which reveals the three society attitudes towards sustainability and what they mean for your comms strategy.

Get in touch with us if you’d like to hear more about what audience attitudes to sustainability mean for comms. Or read the full research from our Human Understanding Lab here.


Sustainable Sessions: Episode 1

There’s a growing recognition that the technology sector is responsible for mountains of e-waste and the consumption of energy and natural resources. But the world is also expecting tech to be the source of innovation which can halt the crisis. In our first episode of Sustainable Sessions we look at what tech companies need to do to tackle the climate crisis.


#Cybersecmonth – it’s noisy out there, but is anybody listening?

We often talk about “finding a hook”. Something that will make a story feel really timely and relevant to the audience – and therefore be widely seen and shared. #Cybersecmonth is a campaign run by the EU (and US Government in tandem) in October to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats and how people can protect against them. This timebound event gives companies the opportunity to ride on the coattails of the EU’s initiatives and get in front of the swathes of audiences who are now tuned in to cybersecurity content. But are people really listening?

We took a look at the data to see what’s happening.

There is a lot of noise on social – but unfortunately it’s almost entirely one way

#cybersecmonth is busy with mentions alongside campaigns and news from brands in the space. From traditional cybersecurity companies to big tech behemoths like Siemens and IBM, it’s clear all are looking to educate and inform to help promote the good fight. And at first glance it looks like the campaign is achieving cut-through, however dig a little deeper and comments and shares are few and far between. The target audience might be seeing the content, but they aren’t engaging with it.

The only posts that generated more than 25 likes for this year’s campaign were from the EU itself around its #thinkb4Uclick campaign. The picture is the same in the US, where the Government’s #BeCyberSmart campaign has received little engagement beyond their official posts.

Journalists are saturated with cybersecurity news and content

A meme tells a thousand words. Danny Palmer (senior ZDNet reporter) drew inspiration from Game of Thrones White Walkers to describe his experience:

It’s reflective, however, of how many security and tech journos are feeling this month. Overwhelmed, fatigued and ultimately switched off to the noise. To them, it’s likely none of this is new, it just makes it harder for them to dig out the real ‘news’ landing during the month of October!

News coverage of the event is low

It’s hardly surprising that journalist fatigue is reflected in the media coverage numbers. There were only 468 English-language mentions of Cybersecurity Month, mostly within the US media. Coverage centres on announcements from the US Government, which made significant promises to address the urgent threat after the reality of the likes of the Colonial Pipeline hack. Real news.

The overall picture for #cybersecmonth may not look brilliant. But for the EU and US Governments, it serves as a focal point in the year to get some positive initiatives out to the public and hopefully prove cybersecurity is a growing threat that is being taken seriously. Even if engagement is low now, the tips and advice content will live on well beyond the end of October. Anything that helps educate people around how to stay safe is a worthy and worthwhile initiative without question.

For cybersecurity companies though, it’s no time to jump on the bandwagon without real news that will get you the cut-through you’re looking for. While education is one thing, our analysis shows that your £s and $s may be better spent elsewhere this month – delivering more airtime and differentiated storytelling.


The impact of ransomware on critical infrastructure drives bold commitments during #Cybersecmonth

Here at Nelson Bostock, we’re talking cybersecurity week in, week out thanks to our mix of clients that tap into this sector. So, it doesn’t take Cybersecurity Awareness Month for us to indulge in the latest news, but it has been a particularly interesting few weeks in terms of industry news.

The US initially took the lead with some bold commitments

Biden’s administration took the lead early in the month by announcing a range of measures to help bolster the U.S. governments’ understanding of the ransomware threat and how cybercriminal enterprises operate.

In fact, he set his stall out early, by kicking-off Cybersecurity Awareness Month with an official statement on Oct 1st that outlined his commitment to “strengthening our cybersecurity by hardening our critical infrastructure against cyberattacks, disrupting ransomware networks, working to establish and promote clear rules of the road for all nations in cyberspace, and making clear we will hold accountable those that threaten our security.” What followed was a series of specific commitments against this pledge.

First off, a new law was proposed to compel U.S. businesses to disclose any ransomware payments made in the event of a cyberattack within 48hrs of the transaction taking place.

Following that, the Transportation Security Administration made a commitment to introduce regulations to compel high risk railroad and airport operators to improve their cybersecurity procedures by naming a chief cyber official, commit to disclosing attacks and ensure draft recovery plans are in place if an attack occurs.

And finally, it was the announced that Biden has committed to setting up a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team to crack down on the misuse of digital currencies, an act that feels directly related to the severity of the DarkSide ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline in May, which shut down the major U.S. fuel pipeline that supplies an estimated 45% of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel to the East Coast, for several days.

I’m sure there is more to come before the month is out.

According to the recently launched CB Insights Cyber Defenders 2021 report, the U.S. is also leading the way when it comes to creating a healthy business environment for cybersecurity companies to thrive. CB Insights estimate that 75% of the 2021 Cyber Defenders are headquartered in the US — mostly in California.

U.S. and UK appear unified around Ransomware

It’s not just the U.S. that is concerned about the impact of cybercrime, specifically ransomware attacks, to impact critical infrastructure and cause real damage. Just this week Lindy Cameron, the head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), spoke at Chatham House’s Cyber 2021 Conference and in her speech, she claimed ransomware and Covid-related cybercrime to be one of the ‘biggest threats to UK security’, adding that cyberattacks linked to the Covid-19 pandemic were also likely to be prevalent for many years to come.

Echoing the narrative that it doesn’t pay to pay, she set out a clear warning to companies in the UK that there is no guarantee that paying a ransom will result in cybercriminals returning encrypted files or sensitive data and in fact, paying ransoms has the potential to embolden these criminal groups.

Something our client, Sophos, has been saying for a long time. Earlier this year, we launched the findings of Sophos’ 2021 State of Ransomware report, which revealed that of the companies that paid the ransom, on average, only 65% if their data was recovered. In fact, only 8% of companies managed to recover all their data, and 29% recovered less than half. One you’ve paid, you still have all the remediation work to address the damage of the attack and the associated disruption to the business to deal with.

We’re speaking to press every couple of days supporting Sophos’ mission to regularly engage with and add value to the security community, feeding journalists the highlights from SophosLabs to ensure business can stay protected against the latest threats and one thing is clear, Cybersecurity Awareness Month or not, ransomware is the biggest topic in the industry right now and has relevancy for every business.

Lindy Cameron’s call for businesses to be prepared, to build cyber resilience and make cybersecurity a board-level issue, has to resonate. Summarising her first year in the role, she states that “the vast majority […] of these high-profile cyber incidents can be prevented by following actionable steps that dramatically improve an organisations’ cyber resilience.”

Her revelation that many firms still have no incident response plans or processes in place to test their cyber defences, after the eventful year we’ve had, is hopefully the wake-up call those trailing behind need. With all the advice flying around from cybersecurity companies this month, let’s hope some of it sticks!


Can the HGV driver shortage be solved by self-driving vehicles?

Mobility Bytes: Episode 1

In this first episode of the series, Shane O’Donoghue interviews Mobility PR expert George Chamberlain on whether the HGV driver shortage could be solved by self-driving vehicles.

Are self-driving vehicles the answer? And what’s the media’s role been in the crisis? Let us know what you think of this issue by commenting on: LinkedIninstagram or Twitter.