Colors: Purple Color

WTM London 2017, the leading global event for the travel industry, is calling on digital influencers to apply for its hugely-popular and biggest-ever WTM London Digital Influencers’ Speed Networking event (formerly called the Bloggers’ Speed Networking).

Sponsored by Whalar, the influencer marketing platform that helps brands collaborate with content creators, the fourth edition of the 90-minute session takes place on Wednesday 8 November at 9am in the Global Stage Networking Area (AS1000). It will see 120 leading industry digital influencers hold quick-fire business meeting with exhibitors interested in increasing their media exposure.

WTM Portfolio Press & PR Manager Paul Nelson said: “The number of digital influencers attending WTM London has increased dramatically over the past few years, as their power and influence continue to grow stronger especially in the travel industry.

“The fourth Digital Influencers’ Speed Networking will be the biggest yet with 120 digital influencers taking part, with an increased focus on YouTubers and Instagrammers”.

Last year’s event saw 400 exhibitor personnel discuss business opportunities with 110 bloggers. The event launched in 2014 with 70 bloggers and expanded to 100 in 2015, and will see 120 digital influencers in 2017.

Digital Influencers will need to have registered for WTM London as members of the media to apply for a place, and then a separate application form for the speed networking is already available.

Whalar co-founder James Street said: “Working with influencers and bloggers should be at the core for any travel brand or tourism board and we hope by partnering with WTM that we can spread the message of just how powerful it can be.

“At the heart of Whalar is our matchmaking functionality so any brand can find the right influencers to reach the target audience that they are looking for.”

Sandwell youngsters will be able to take advantage of innovative state-of-the-art TechPlay craft sessions at some of the borough’s libraries during the summer holidays.

The TechPlay sessions – made possible thanks to £85,000 of funding from Arts Council England – use virtual reality headsets, iPad tablets, 3D doodler pens and robotic kits.

The aim is for children aged eight and above to have fun as well as developing their skills using technology.

There will be drop-in sessions in the six town libraries of Blackheath, Oldbury, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury, and Central Library West Bromwich.

All sessions are free, and are being run by the LearnPlay Foundation, who have great experience in working with children and young people.

Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, said: “It’s great news that we are able to offer these sessions as a result of our successful bid to Arts Council England.

“This is a great opportunity for children to have fun with new technology that might otherwise be unavailable to them.

“Our libraries are offering a wide selection of activities during the summer for all ages, so I would urge parents and children at alike to check out what’s going on at their local library.”

The TechPlay sessions are as follows and run from 10.30am-1pm, and 2pm-4.30pm

Blackheath Library: Monday 31 July/Monday 7 August/Monday 14 August/Friday 1 September

Wednesbury Library: Tuesday 1 August/Tuesday 8 August/Monday 21 August/Tuesday 29 August

Tipton Library: Wednesday 2 August/Wednesday 16/Wednesday 23 August/Wednesday 30 August

Central Library: Thursday 3 August/Wednesday 9 August/Friday 18 August/Friday 25 August

Oldbury Library: Friday 4 August/Friday 11 August/Tuesday 15 August//Tuesday 22 August

Smethwick Library: Thursday 10 August/Thursday 17 August/Thursday 24 August/Thursday 31 August

For more information, contact any Sandwell Library.

Brits typically spend more time picking their new sofa, laptop, car, watch, wedding dress and even deciding what to eat than they do on viewing a property before making an offer to buy it.

New research by Zoopla has found most people spend less than 30 minutes in a house before deciding to buy it. The figure was lowest in the East Midlands, where just 25.9 minutes are needed before the average buyer places an offer, while the time is 26 minutes in the south-east and 26.2 minutes in the south-west. Those in the east of England spend the longest – an average of 31.8 minutes – in a property during viewings.

In comparison, a typical person spends 34 minutes each day considering what to eat, up to 90 minutes choosing a new sofa and more than 70 minutes buying a laptop or PC.

Kevin Shaw, national sales director at property specialist Leaders, says: “Almost a quarter of people make their minds up within 10 minutes of entering a property for the first time and, on average, it takes three times longer to choose a new car than a new home.

“As a seller, this means you have only a short time to grab the attention of buyers so make sure your home is presented at its very best before opening the door to viewers. A good estate agent will be able to advise you on exactly what buyers are looking for and how you can ensure your property ticks all the right boxes.

“If you are looking to buy, it is undoubtedly true that acting quickly can help you to secure a home ahead of the competition. But it is also important to take your time both during viewings and when doing your homework on a particular property. After all, this is likely to be the largest purchase you ever make and getting it right is key.”

While the amount of time spent on viewings is short, an average buyer in the south-east spends a huge 73.5 hours browsing property advertisements on online portals.

Kevin adds: “This underlines the importance of working with an estate agent that will promote your property on all the major portals and go the extra mile to take eye-catching photos that are sure to stand out and appeal to prospective buyers.”

The University of Wolverhampton is putting on a festival to spark interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

SCI-FEST, now in its sixth year of running, plays host to school pupils of all ages from around the region ranging from those studying STEM subjects at primary school, GCSE, A Level and BTEC levels.

A family day will also be held at the City Campus in Wolverhampton on Saturday 1st July 2017 between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm, offering a range of free workshops, experiments, games and drop-in activities – all designed to bring STEM subjects to life.  All ages are welcome.

Titan the Robot will be putting on performances at 11.30 am, 12.30 pm and 3.00 pm; there will be Fizz Pop Science, face painting, forensic games, rocket cars on display, coding and maths games as well as a petting zoo with a chance to meet guide dogs.

Building games will be on offer in the Springfield zone where children will get the chance to make badges and buildings.  Science Shack is putting on a performance of ‘Blastermind’ – a Mastermind-style theatre show quizzing the greatest science minds of all time – tickets are still available.

Professor Nazira Karodia, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering at the University, said: “The idea behind SCI-FEST is to engage the community and showcase that science and technology is exciting and fun.  We hope that, as well as enjoying what is on offer, people will learn something new as well.

“The University is investing over £100 million in new facilities for its Science and Engineering Faculty and interest in our STEM courses is increasing every year.  Our aim through SCI-FEST is to showcase the range of subjects we offer while at the same time offering a day of family fun.”

Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console, will make its full UK playable public debut exclusively at EGX 2017.

Set for release on the 7th November, the Xbox One X boasts 40% more power than any other console to offer an immersive 4K gaming experience.

Visitors to EGX will be able to get hands-on with a wide selection of games on the Xbox One family of devices including first party titles Forza Motorsport 7, Sea of Thieves and Super Lucky’s Tale as well as the eagerly anticipated Middle-earth: Shadow of War from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Origins.

Xbox One was available to play first in the UK at EGX 2013 and we’re delighted that Microsoft has again chosen EGX to demonstrate its cutting-edge hardware first. It’s a further demonstration that EGX is the number one UK event for launching new product,” said David Lilley, MD of Gamer Events.

EGX 2017, powered by Virgin Media, takes place on the 21st-24th September at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event which will feature all aspects of gaming culture including big budget blockbuster games available to play before release, innovative titles from the thriving indie scene, thrilling esports action and much more.

Over seven million adult Brits (14 per cent) have used someone else’s Wi-Fi because they cannot afford their own, according to new research from Santander UK, which also reveals that millions are putting their online security at risk while trying to save money.

The study found that five per cent of people have ‘borrowed’ Wi-Fi from their neighbours (regardless of permission) because they couldn’t afford their own, rising to 14 per cent for those aged 18 to 34 years. Five per cent (11 per cent for 18 to 34 year olds) have spent time in a café or shop with free Wi-Fi without ordering or buying anything. And three per cent of people have jumped on an unknown, unsecured Wi-Fi when out and about.

While data security is a concern for over half (52 per cent) of individuals when using someone else’s Wi-Fi such as in an airport or a shop (rising to 60 per cent for those living in London), the need to ‘get online’ and take advantage of a free connection appears to take priority over concerns about unsecure networks. Despite acknowledging the risks, 17 per cent of those with security concerns are willing to use Wi-Fi hotspots if they ‘need’ to check their social media profiles or download shop or restaurant discount codes. And 19 per cent put aside their worries to use an unsecured network for work.

Meanwhile, Santander’s research showed that over a quarter (26 per cent) of British adults, and 49 per cent of those in the 18-34 year old age group have carried out financial transactions on their phone using an unsecured Wi-Fi network. This includes checking balances, making transfers and inputting bank or credit card details to make purchases.

Over the past ten years, the cost of phone and broadband bills has increased by 24 per cent, putting financial pressure on consumers. Bills are made worse for the three in ten Brits (30 per cent) who say they go over their data allowance, with six per cent doing so every month. Those topping up data spend an average of £16 per month – a collective £212 million.

Matt Hall, Head of Banking and Unsecured Credit at Santander, said: “Mobile phones are such an important part of life these days, but many people appear to struggle with the associated costs. While ‘piggybacking’ someone else’s Wi-Fi might seem like a good way to save a few pounds, consumers are risking their online security by doing so.

“Whether it’s a private or a public connection, we urge internet users not to make financial transactions using unsecured networks. Consumers should look to manage their data costs by carefully reviewing their contracts and payment plans, double checking the small print for things like extra charges for non-direct debit payments and being careful not to go over their data limits.

“And a final word of caution - consumers should be aware that borrowing Wi-Fi without permission is potentially a criminal offence.”