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MEININGER Hotels opens new location in Venice (IT)

MEININGER Hotels has signed a contract securing the hotel group’s operation of a former 434-bed hostel in Venice Mestre under a lease agreement. The opening of the property on behalf of the MEININGER Hotels Group is planned for the second half of 2022. The company is actively moving ahead with its growth plans in existing markets: as recently as January 2022, the hotel group opened its fourth property in France; in Germany, its largest market with 13 properties, two new openings are planned this year, in Bremen and Dresden.

After Milan and Rome, Venice is the third location for MEININGER Hotels in Italy. In the southern European country, the hotel group’s bed volume will grow to more than 1,000 beds after the opening of the Venetian property. After taking over the seven-story building only minor adjustments will be required before the opening in mid-2022.

 

We are delighted with this new addition to the MEININGER portfolio, which meets our high-quality standards. The building is in very good condition, and we are taking over a majority of the furniture in the guest rooms and public areas while refreshing the concept with our unique MEININGER style,” said Ajit Menon, CEO of MEININGER Hotels.

 

“We would like to particularly thank the owners of the building, Deka Immobilien for their trust in MEININGER Hotels for this new adventure and look forward to building a long and fruitful partnership with them,” commented Nicolas Capelle, Vice-President Development and Asset Management of MEININGER Hotels.

With a total floor area of 4,500m², the building offers 434 beds and 112 rooms, including double rooms as well as multi-bed rooms for up to six people, which can either be used privately by families or groups or shared among guests travelling alone.

 

“The previous hostel was among the most famous accommodations for young group travellers and backpackers in Venice Mestre. We will continue to remain attractive for these target groups whilst enhancing our guest mix. Families and business travellers will also certainly feel at home here,” said Ajit Menon, CEO of MEININGER Hotels.

 

As in other MEININGER hotels, the Venice location will also feature a guest kitchen, game zone, washer and dryer, as well as a bar and spacious public areas. From the train station Venice-Mestre, just a five-minute’s walk from the hotel, guests can reach the lagoon city of Venice within ten minutes by bus and train.

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Paramount Studio Prevails in Copyright Battle Over ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

Paramount & The Copyright Battle Over ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

The Voice Of EU | Paramount emerges triumphant from the legal showdown triggered by Maverick’s triumphant return to the big screen. A U.S. district judge swiftly shut down a lawsuit brought by the widow of the Israeli scribe who penned the piece inspiring the 1986 blockbuster, Top Gun. The heirs of Ehud Yonay alleged Paramount breached intellectual property rights with the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which soared to unprecedented heights in 2022, raking in over $1.5 billion worldwide. However, the judge decreed that numerous aspects of the sequel, including its narrative and dialogue, bore no resemblance to Top Gun. The sole shared element? Both narratives orbit the U.S. Air Force pilot training hub.

Judge Percy Anderson’s verdict laid bare that many of the claims raised by the Yonay clan failed to meet copyright criteria. In a 14-page ruling, he affirmed that the sequel’s themes, dialogue, characters, setting, and overall presentation diverged significantly from Yonay’s original article, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Marc Toberoff, the legal maestro representing the Yonay lineage since 2022, swiftly vowed to contest the ruling. The estate had dispatched a cautionary missive to Paramount in May of that year, weeks before the sequel’s release, forewarning of potential copyright infractions due to the family reclaiming story rights in January 2020.

The judge’s decree solidifies that Top Gun: Maverick marches to its own beat, with little homage paid to its predecessor or Yonay’s source material, which meandered through life at Miramar Naval Air Station in a non-linear fashion, honing in on pilots Yogi and Possum. Instead, the latest installment, helmed by Joseph Kosinski, unfurls a linear tale set years later, spotlighting a fresh squadron at North Island Naval Air Station, also in San Diego.

With the lawsuit dismissed, the runway is clear for the trilogy’s third chapter, headlined by the indomitable Tom Cruise. Currently in pre-production at Paramount, the script by Ehren Kruger, architect of the sequel’s success, fuels anticipation. Talks are underway to enlist Kosinski’s directorial prowess once more, though industry pundits speculate production could hit turbulence if Paramount falls under SkyDance’s umbrella. The titans of entertainment are in deep discussions about the fate of Tinseltown’s venerable studio.

Regardless, Ehud Yonay’s legacy won’t grace the credits of the third installment, as Judge Anderson quashes any such notion.


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4 Ways AI Is Transforming Social Media Marketing

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith explains how marketers and content creators can use AI-powered predicative analytics, content personalisation and scheduling tools to create successful social media campaigns.

Is artificial intelligence (AI) the next big thing for social media marketers?

With over 4.26bn social media users to serve, AI is set to transform targeting and improve content personalisation for a more focused marketing future.

AI is not a new phenomenon in the marketing world. When surveyed, over 56pc of chief marketing officers (CMOs) said they use automated assistants for content personalisation and tracking consumer insights. AI-driven social strategies are just the next step in a fast-approaching digital future of campaigning.

However, could a push for AI-infused social campaigns pose ethical concerns for future marketers? From breaching consumer privacy to decision system bias, with great technology comes great responsibility.

Here we look at AI’s impact on social media marketing and discuss some of the best AI-infused platforms that are tipped to lead social strategies in 2023.

How can AI improve your social media?

Using AI, you can quickly segment large demographics into targeted groups, track viral trends and schedule personalised content responses in seconds.

If you want to compete against commerce giants and industry leaders, your social content should be consistent, compelling and customised to each and every consumer. Here are some insights into how AI can help.

Content personalisation

In 2023, 73pc of shoppers expect brands to offer them a personalised experience and content that speaks directly to their values. AI can enhance a brand’s personalisation potential in a number of ways.

Automatically harvesting behavioural and historical consumer data, AI-generated platforms can quickly learn about a user’s interests and predict what products or services they’d be most likely to interact with, resulting in a hyper-individualised experience that can boost engagement and increase the chances of conversion.

However, with 69pc of consumers now concerned about how their data is collected and used on mobile apps, it’s important to use content personalisation tools with caution.

“As consumers continue to learn and become more informed about their data rights and how their data is currently used, I expect we’ll see more and more calls from consumers to have their data protected,” claims Swish Goswami, CEO of browser extension platform Surf.

The key here is to keep your consumers in the loop. Give your followers a chance to choose what they share, and make sure the data you collect is transparent. Personalised ads, posts and targeting is a business game changer, as long as you have consent.

Automated content posting

Creating content for your brand is the driving force behind audience engagement.

While experts recommend that brands upload social media content daily, this process can be time-consuming. Using AI-driven social media tools, marketers can feel the pressure drain away, as automated assistants not only create original content formats but automatically schedule them too.

For example, AI-infused content planner Sprout Social can generate personalised tweets that reply to fans and followers in seconds. Instead of physically manning social channels and checking for replies, Sprout Social monitors a brand’s comment section before analysing the tone and sentiment of a reply. Sprout can then suggest an auto-response that aims to carry on the conversation between the brand and the consumer.

While automatic replies can pose ethical questions about a brand’s true identity, Sprout Social ensures that before an automatic reply is posted, the social media manager is able to review and edit the content. This guarantees that the brand’s voice still has a human tone when connecting with its audience.

Hubspot is also a nifty tool to have under your belt, especially if you’re struggling to develop new content ideas. By simply pasting a content link into Hubspot’s content generation feature, it uses AI to quickly analyse the metadata and create an original social post.

Social media advertising

Social platforms are the perfect vessels for advertising success. Whether you choose TikTok or Instagram, with the ability to post a pop-up on a user’s scroll-down feed, or a sponsored TikTok that blends seamlessly into a For You Page, social channels allow for a more organic future of ad placement.

However, with so many brands utilising social media, it can be hard to make your ad stand out from the crowd. Your ads must be full of compelling captions, quick links to your online store and contain a personalised hook for your target consumer.

Using AI, brands can optimise their ad performance on social channels. With the ability to analyse historic campaigns and current trends among industry leaders, AI-driven ad tools such as Sprinklr can make recommendations for smarter campaigns that drive better results.

Also, AI-infused ad strategies are more likely to be personalised to each user’s feed. AI tools like Phrase can generate customisable ad phrasing that adapts to target individual customers. This is a great way to ensure your ad captions remain fluid and speak directly to a diverse set of leads.

Predictive analytics

While it’s easier than ever to track social media performance, acting on your results can be tricky. AI-generated monitoring tools utilise the data harvested on content engagement, clicks and consumers, and turn these insights into predictions for new campaigns, content formats and new target groups to work on.

The key here is to take these predictions and turn them into content campaigns that frame the values of your brand. It’s also important to do your own research before jumping into an AI-generated content campaign, as just like humans, AI can have a decision system bias.

“AI is fallible and in a perfect world should be used critically, responsibly and democratically,” says Annie Brown, founder of the creative sharing platform Lips. “AI is only as fair and accurate as the algorithm, and the algorithm is only as fair or accurate as the human-generated information it gathers.”

For example, if the only data your AI tool collects is from a specific consumer group, it’s likely to inherit the same biases. Therefore, it’s important to perform your own content research if you want your brand voice to remain objective on social media.

However, with more data to inform their strategy, brands that use AI to influence their social campaigns are more likely to see higher conversion payoffs.

As social platforms continue to become more visual, AI can also enhance video and image analysis. For example, AI algorithms can now identify certain aspects of Instagram images and TikTok videos, making it easier to gather more data on a user’s interests and behaviours.

Visual analytics could help a brand improve its content styles as AI tools learn more about audience preferences and the formats going viral.

Could AI take social media marketing to the next level?

AI can enhance the experience a consumer has with a brand on social media. With predictive analytics at play, the content targeted users receive is more likely to speak directly to their values.

While there are still ethical concerns surrounding an AI-infused future of campaigning, there’s hope on the horizon for data-sharing transparency and the impact of algorithmic biases as both consumers and marketers take control of how data is gathered and shared.

As machine learning gets even smarter, the possibilities are endless for brands that want to get close to their leads. From automated responses to automatic content creation, the future of social media marketing is AI-driven.

By Rebecca Barnatt-Smith

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith is a freelance content writer and multi-media marketing executive at Solvid Digital, specialising in social media trends and widespread digitalisation in the marketing sector.


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A New Era of Flight: Alef Aeronautics’ Flying Car Receives FAA Certification

Alef Aeronautics’ Flying Car Receives FAA Certification

By RAZA H. QADRI (ALI)

In a world where futuristic visions of flying cars have long captured our imaginations, a new era of flight is about to take off. On June 12, 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate to Alef Aeronautics, granting their flying car model the official approval to take to the skies.

This marks a pivotal moment in the history of advanced air mobility (AAM) and represents a significant step towards revolutionizing transportation as we know it.

The Concept and Creation of Model A

Alef Aeronautics, a California-based company, began working on the concept of their flying car in 2015, driven by a vision of safe and efficient urban air mobility. The result of their innovative efforts is the Model A, a road-legal passenger car designed to accommodate two occupants. The Model A boasts an impressive driving range of 200 miles (322 km) and a flight range of 110 miles (177 km), making it a viable option for short-to-medium distance travel.

The sleek and compact design of the Model A is intended to resemble a regular car, ensuring that it can seamlessly blend into everyday life. One of the standout features of this futuristic vehicle is its ability to achieve vertical take-off and transform into a biplane midflight. The doors of the Model A serve a dual purpose, cleverly converting into wings that allow for a smooth transition from ground to air. This innovative design not only promises a thrilling flying experience but also aims to dramatically change the way we commute.

Technological Challenges and Safety Concerns

While the Model A holds great promise for the future of transportation, numerous technological challenges remain to be overcome. Jim Dukhovny, the Chief Executive of Alef Aeronautics, acknowledges that some components required for the flying car’s design do not currently exist in the world. The development of highly specialized propeller motor systems is crucial to avoid differential stress and ensure the safety and stability of the flying car. Balancing size, weight, and price constraints presents further hurdles in making these vehicles accessible to the public while maintaining their safety standards.

'City of Future Mobility' by PS Art - Voice of EU
‘Future of Air Mobility’ by PS Art — ‘THE VOICE OF EU’

Despite these challenges, the Model A is poised to undergo manufacturing in 2025 or early 2026, with vehicles already available for pre-order. The current price tag stands at $300,000 (£246,000), but Alef Aeronautics aims to scale down the cost to $35,000 or £28,700 per vehicle in the future. However, ensuring a seamless transition from ground to air remains a complex issue that needs to be addressed to guarantee passenger safety during take-off and landing.

Regulation and Infrastructure

As the concept of flying cars inches closer to reality, the focus shifts towards ensuring a smooth integration of this new mode of transportation into urban landscapes. Urban air mobility operations will primarily be overseen by a country’s air navigation service provider (ANSP), such as the FAA in the United States. The ANSP holds full jurisdiction over the nation’s airspace operations and is responsible for certifying new aircraft types after rigorous safety reviews.

According to a blueprint report published by the FAA, the initial implementation of flying car operations will leverage existing regulatory frameworks and rules, such as visual flight rules and instrument flight rules, as a basis for enhanced aircraft performance and higher levels of autonomy. However, several concerns need to be addressed, including noise, pollution, security, sustainability, and cost. The issue of who will drive these flying cars and whether passengers will need a license also requires careful consideration.

Trajectory Planning and Noise Pollution

One of the significant concerns surrounding the advent of flying cars is the potential for collisions and noise pollution. With these vehicles traveling at high speeds, ensuring precise path and trajectory planning becomes essential to avoid accidents. However, to date, there are no provisions for flying car trajectory route planning, necessitating robust research and technology development to address this challenge.

Moreover, designing flying cars to be exceptionally quiet presents another obstacle, particularly when large-scale commercial operations could involve hundreds of take-offs and landings every hour. Electric propellers and other propulsion design elements can mitigate noise pollution, but strict government regulations may be necessary to control noise levels effectively. Drawing on metrics from traditional airplanes and helicopters, guidelines for air infrastructure can be adapted to curb noise pollution.

Equitable Access and the Future of Flying Cars

As the reality of flying cars draws nearer, ensuring equitable access to this mode of transportation becomes paramount. Initially, air taxis may primarily serve densely populated areas, offering a convenient and efficient solution for peak commute times in cities like central London or New York City. However, cost considerations may limit access, making these services accessible mainly to affluent travelers.

Addressing this concern, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) collaborated with Arup, a British firm specializing in design, engineering, and sustainability services, to develop a report on urban air mobility policy framework considerations. Emphasizing the importance of treating flying cars as a funded municipal service and a public good, this report suggests that once the proof of concept is established, rigorous testing has taken place, and safety risks are mitigated, advanced air mobility services should function as a community-wide asset, similar to libraries, schools , airports, or roads.

By viewing urban air mobility as an essential public service, cities can play a crucial role in establishing rules and regulations to ensure safe and equitable access to flying car services.

Los Angeles, A Potentially Early Adopter

With its legendary traffic congestion, Los Angeles has emerged as a city with significant potential for embracing flying cars as a solution to its transportation woes. The promise of faster, traffic-free commutes is undoubtedly enticing for Angelenos. However, it is essential to manage expectations, as urban air mobility will not entirely eliminate congestion. Instead, the focus should be on utilizing air taxis strategically in densely populated areas during peak hours to optimize their impact.

NASA and FAA’s Partnership

As the world gears up for the new era of flight, significant progress is being made through collaborative efforts. NASA, along with the FAA, university researchers, and industry leaders, has joined forces to develop software tools that model and predict AAM noise. This initiative aims to assist manufacturers in designing quieter vehicles to minimize noise pollution in urban environments. By exploring human response to low-level noise and understanding the threshold for “broadband noise,” NASA seeks to predict the combined sound generated by multiple flying cars in flight simultaneously.

The Road Ahead

The journey towards incorporating flying cars into our daily lives remains a complex and multifaceted process. Addressing technological challenges, ensuring safety during transitions from ground to air, and managing noise pollution are just some of the hurdles that must be overcome. Regulatory bodies and urban planners will play a pivotal role in defining the future of urban air mobility, establishing guidelines for air infrastructure, and implementing necessary rules to guarantee a safe and seamless experience for all.

While flying cars are often seen as the epitome of futuristic innovation, it is crucial to ground these advancements in practicality and feasibility. Economies of scale will likely play a significant role in making flying cars more affordable over time, eventually broadening their accessibility beyond the wealthiest travelers. As with any transformative technology, public acceptance and engagement will be essential to ensure the integration of flying cars as a valuable addition to our transportation ecosystem.

As the Model A prepares to take its maiden flight, it represents not only a significant milestone for Alef Aeronautics but also for the entire field of advanced air mobility. The dream of a future where flying cars dot the skies may soon be closer than ever before, bringing a new era of transportation and endless possibilities.

In conclusion, the FAA’s certification of Alef Aeronautics’ flying car marks a crucial turning point in the history of air mobility. While significant challenges and complexities lie ahead, the progress made by companies like Alef Aeronautics, along with the collaboration of regulatory bodies and industry leaders, pave the way for a future where flying cars become a reality in our cities. As we embrace this new era of flight, it is essential to strike a balance between innovation, safety, and sustainability, ensuring that the promises of flying cars are fully realized and integrated into our lives in a way that benefits all members of society. The skies of tomorrow hold the potential to unlock a new dimension of transportation, ushering in a world where flying cars soar alongside traditional vehicles, revolutionizing the way we move and connect. The journey has just begun, and with each step forward, we inch closer to a future that once seemed only possible in our wildest dreams.

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Raza Qadri (ALI), founder of USADCO and Yorkshire VBT, is a distinguished science, technology and business contributor renowned for his insightful perspectives on cutting-edge innovations and their practical impact on the business landscape.

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