OpenText Named a Customer Communications Management Leader in 2019 Aspire CCM Leaderboard MTS Staff WriterMay 29, 2019, 2:19 pmMay 29, 2019 AspireCustomer Communications ServicesEnterprise information managementinfluential visualizationsMarketing TechnologyNewsOpenText Previous ArticleHG Insights Fuels Precision Marketing and Sales Programs at Scale with Marketo EngageNext ArticleTechBytes with Vinayak Nair, VP Research Ops and Custom Analytics at Verto Analytics Aspire Says ‘OpenText Well Placed to Shape CCM Market in Years Ahead’OpenText, a global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), announced OpenText has been recognized by an independent consulting firm Aspire Customer Communications Services as a Leader in the 2019 Aspire Leaderboard, one of the industry’s most influential visualizations of the customer communications management (CCM) solutions landscape. OpenText is positioned as an overall market leader in the Aspire Leaderboard, and as a leader in the Communications Composition, Business Automation and Omni-Channel Orchestration grids for its OpenText Exstream CCM solution.The Aspire Leaderboard provides relevant vendor assessments, with analyst insights, to help enterprises determine the best software vendors for their business needs. Aspire evaluated the CCM solutions of 23 key vendors for critical capabilities and strategic direction. Exstream received top scores for critical capabilities in CCM overall, in communication composition and in business automation. Aspire concluded in its report, “OpenText is an excellent fit for enterprises wanting to buy from a large enterprise IT provider with best-in-class products such as Exstream, as well as structured support and professional services capabilities.”Aspire cites the flexible, hybrid OpenText OT2 platform for EIM SaaS applications and the OT2 vision for helping organizations easily extend solutions to the cloud as key differentiators.Marketing Technology News: From Sensing to Sensemaking: Converging Big Data with Plant AI“Under its OT2 vision, OpenText is gradually re-architecting key customer experience management products, including Exstream, and adding them to its microservices and container-based OT2 cloud platform,” said Kaspar Roos, founder and CEO of Aspire. “The company’s OT2 vision, powered by low-code/no-code business process management, cloud-to-cloud connectivity, identity management and automation, and AI/ML-based analytics, allows for drag-and-drop type application development that can be rapidly deployed in the cloud. It’s an extremely compelling vision for a world in which CCM is increasingly becoming part of a wider, digital customer experience ecosystem. With its OT2 cloud vision and focus on emerging technologies, OpenText is well placed to continue to shape the CCM market in the years ahead.”“OpenText has been at the forefront of providing innovative customer communication solutions for two decades,” said Guy Hellier, Vice President of Product Management for Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions at OpenText. “We continuously seek new ways to make it easier for businesses to quickly and effectively communicate with customers via their preferred digital channels and to build better customer experiences across all touchpoints.”Marketing Technology News: Index Exchange Introduces Adaptive Timeout, Incorporating Machine Learning into Header BiddingOpenText recently announced Exstream 16.6, which offers self-service, browser-based capabilities for designing and authoring customer communications and for interactive editing. These new capabilities help to free marketing, business and other non-technical users to compose and edit their own responsive HTML5 as well as paginated templates without technical assistance or additional coding. This saves time in customer communications and reduces strain on IT departments.The Aspire report additionally expressed excitement for newly released Exstream advancements “which put more content control in the hands of the business user.”OpenText also introduced customer communication orchestration capabilities for line of business process owners in Exstream 16.6. Now the people who have the greatest understanding of their customers can graphically define the creation and delivery steps for all communications using an intuitive, web-based drag-and-drop visual interface.OpenText is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Exstream and wants to thank its customers, many of which have been Exstream users for more than 15 years, for their business, loyalty and input as the product has evolved. Exstream is now being deployed by more than 5,000 enterprises worldwide to build lifetime customer relationships and business value.Marketing Technology News: How Digital Can Save Brick-And-Mortar Retail with Customer Experience Objectives
The EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR as it’s widely known, fundamentally changed the handling, sourcing, and distribution of data collected about customers living within the European Union region. As professionals trying to engage with a global audience, it’s important for marketers to be aware of the GDPR Compliance, privacy and security responsibilities– all this help to avoid falling prey to breach of the international laws.With the GDPR, an individual’s privacy rights are prioritized over a company’s right to access and use customer information. If a business relies on approaches like cold calls, or using cold mailing lists, it’s likely that company is not GDPR compliant, in the absence of gaining the explicit consent of the individual.As we approach the 1 year anniversary of the introduction of GDPR, it’s a good opportunity to review your data compliance policy and implementation of it, to ensure your company doesn’t find itself in breach of the ruling.Read More: Customer Experience 2020: Personalization is KeyHere are 3 key considerations when implementing a best-practice GDPR compliance strategy within your marketing teams:Set strong foundations in GDPR complianceThe GDPR demands significant accountability and obligation from companies, to the extent that the reversal of the burden of proof applies. This means companies are responsible for proving they are complying with the GDPR laws, rather than authorities providing evidence of infringements. As a result, its necessary to continuously monitor and improve all GDPR processes.Because of this it’s vital to have a data protection and management system that maps all business processes to ensure they’re GDPR compliantOrganizations should document all data around the company processes company-wide, alongside the legal reasons for each process.How can this be done?The best way to monitor and document your GDPR requirements is by setting up a privacy management system that maintains a central repository of processing activities. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a complex system, but should record and map the processing of all customer data. This system should be updated to ensure it aligns with legal regulations for processing data, but should also contain guidelines around responsibilities, an overview of how data is collected and stored, any tech or internal measures that need to be taken to contain this data, and a risk management system to protect and deal with any potential security issues.Deploying a business process management (BPM) tool is the most effective way to do this, especially those that are cloud based and can be customized to suit the business and its unique data.Many of our own customers have implemented Signavio’s BPM solution to create a data glossary, acting as both a register for various processes and data sets, as well as a dictionary for defining the GDPR category they relate to. Defining these processes and assets also allows them to easily check the legality of the processing of this data in accordance with GDPR, ensuring legal requirements are clear and staff aren’t guesstimating their responsibilities around data security.Understand the data you’re holding and how it’s used for GDPR complianceGDPR requires you to know and document the personal data your business holds, its origins and how it is shared. Establish an understanding of which data is collected, which data is stored, and where, as well as what responsibilities apply to each kind of data.Ensure responsibilities across your team are defined and documented in the process models, for example, identifying a compliance officer or other decision-makers for handling customer data.When you’ve established how data is collected and stored, you need to identify what kind of data it is and how you need to treat it. Thanks to technology advances, it’s easy to automate this process so decision makers can quickly evaluate and check that data is being processed in line with GDPR requirements.This is important because the GDPR requires a data protection impact assessment to be made wherever there is significant risk in the handling of sensitive data, which often, marketers deal with.If one does not already exist, creating a privacy statement that explains customers’ rights andthe business’ lawful responsibilities for processing information is a simple way to ensure companies are compliant with the requirements of the GDPR. A smarter approach would be to automate the way companies collect personal information, so that when a customer provides their data, companies can easily monitor when, how and the purpose for which it was supplied.Regularly and consistently monitoring this process is essential to stay afloat of compliance, and when automated, can be easily managed. The goal here is to achieve permanent GDPR compliance in a changing process landscape.Be cautious of consent obligations in GDPR complianceConsent is required to be explicit under the GDPR. Individuals need to opt-in to provide personal data to a company, using clear and unambiguous consent statements, specific to the information they are providing. This means blanket statements for general/ all data collection is not sufficient for GDPR compliance.Broader statements are enough when collecting non-sensitive data, however long, difficult to read terms and conditions, fine print and opt-out ticked boxes are no longer acceptable. Companies are also required to give individuals a simple way to withdraw consent at any time, along with instructions about how to do so.Because companies are required to maintain proof of consent, here are a few questions you should consider when developing your GDPR consent strategy: How can you build trust to encourage customers provide consent, as well as engage with your business offering? How do you request, manage, and store consent? 3 Simple Steps to Meet Current GDPR Compliance Gero DeckerMay 17, 2019, 10:35 pmMay 21, 2019 Are new policies or processes required? Is data being collected from individuals under the age of 16? If so, how will parental consent be obtained to collect and use children’s data? If you’re not currently doing this, what changes need to be made? How will these processes and systems be communicated to staff? Ensuring compliance officers and staff are equipped with answers to these questions is a good way to make sure they have a strong understanding of the GDPR requirements. Not only will this prevent organizational inefficiencies, it also enables staff to identify issues and act compliantly, protecting your organization from potential legal ramifications.Read More: Why Tone is Everything in Marketing! Business Process Managementcustomer datadata privacyGDPR ComplianceSignavio Previous ArticleAdoption of SymphonyRM’s AI-Powered “Next Best Actions” Soars as Company Doubles Revenue and Client Base and Raises $10 Million in Series A FinancingNext ArticleBiscuitville Chooses SiteZeus to Help fuel their Location Growth
MarTech Interview with Inbal Lavi, CEO at Webpals Group Sudipto GhoshJune 11, 2019, 2:30 pmJune 11, 2019 About InbalAbout Webpals GroupAbout Inbal The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick. “Marketing technology can enable financial app developers to enrich users’ experience, providing quick and simple management solutions for customer’s financial needs.” Webpals Group is a leader in performance Marketing with offices in New York, Tel Aviv, and Seoul. Our sub-brands, Webpals Finance, Webpals Tech & Webpals Mobile, have been maintaining their strong position in a wide variety of verticals for over a decade. With a complete understanding that data is the force driving the industry, we exclusively own and operate over 2,000 content-rich websites while leveraging our own, cutting-edge technologies, SEO, Media, and Mobile Advertising solutions to drive high-value users to global online businesses and mobile apps. Inbal Lavi has led Webpals Group since 2014. Inbal was responsible for leading all three of the company’s major acquisitions; Dau-Up, MarMar Media and ClicksMob. Her career spans over a decade in the Online Marketing industry, with expertise in Marketing Strategy, Operations, and P&L management. She holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. with honors in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University. About Webpals Group MarTech Interview Series Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What inspired you to be part of the Webpals Group? My journey started during my Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University, where I wrote my thesis about Machine learning and Data Mining. There weren’t many companies that offered jobs relevant to my academic background, but I always knew the right job opportunity would present itself.Before joining Webpals Group, I held several executive positions at 888 Holdings, leading 888’s business unit to ultimately become the second largest poker brand in the world. My first commercial position in the online world was in Data Mining at 888. With time, I moved into a Business Management position at the company and realized that it is the direction I wanted to follow.Later, when the opportunity arose to become the CEO of Webpals Group, I jumped at the chance. My vision was to build a company with a solid infrastructure, enabling scalable growth, both organically and through acquisitions, in various verticals. From a niche company operating in the Scandinavian market, I have led Webpals’ drastic expansion by branching out into new markets and verticals while successfully leading dozens of multi-million-dollar M and As.Equipped with 15 years of experience in the Online Marketing industry, I have been the CEO of Webpals Group, a world-leading performance Marketing company, since January 2014. Since taking the helm, I have transformed the company from a small startup into a mature organization. During my five years as CEO, the company has grown exponentially and multiplied its revenues.What is Webpals Group and how does it fit into a modern CMO’s Marketing Technology stack?Webpals Group is a Performance Marketing company, specializing in driving high-value users to online and mobile businesses. Utilizing proprietary technology, thousands of exclusively managed web assets in over 18 languages, and with over 400 employees hailing from around the world, Webpals works with partners on a performance basis which means the company only succeeds when our partners succeed. Webpals Group is wholly owned by XLMedia (AIM: XLM).Webpals’ technology enables the company to give its users the most practical advice and suggestions, guiding them towards the products and services they want to see – ultimately saving customers precious time and money in the search for the perfect product.It integrates into a modern CMO’s marketing tech stack by acting as the technology supporting Content Management, helping companies scale and shorten time-to-market. With an abundance of information available, the challenge is to provide the most accurate and relevant information in the friendliest way (e.g. video, tools, etc.). Advanced technology together with creativity enables us to drive a higher audience and more importantly, increase the engagement of returning visitors. As a woman in tech, what are the biggest growth factors in your business that you have managed to scale successfully? Under my guidance, Webpals has been able to set a strong foundation for our expansion activities, from both the organizational and business perspective. We have leveraged the company’s central technology and Online Marketing know-how to build successful business units that integrated their acquisitions and managed to grow them significantly.Webpals’ acquisition methodology has proven successful in the North American personal finance sector, with our portfolio including leading financial websites such as Moneyunder30, Greedyrates.ca, DoughRoller, and more.According to you, which businesses are fastest in adopting Marketing Technology platforms for personalized Customer Experience? Beyond the obvious fit of retail and e-commerce, we are seeing other industries integrating MarTech platforms to improve Customer Experience with great success. A few of the industries that have seen rapid adoption and great ROI are Gaming, Food Delivery, Travel, and Finance. Despite being vastly different from one another, each of these industries is customer-centric and sees the great potential for Personalization.While most of the banks are committed to providing Digital Solutions to meet their customers’ financial needs, there is considerable room for growth. Marketing technology can enable financial app developers to enrich users’ experience, providing quick and simple management solutions for customer’s financial needs.Which data points do you focus on to uncover true intent and preferences behind Consumer Search behavior? To what extent this Customer Behavior can be personalized? We focus on Consumer Behavior by monitoring indicators such as time on site, interaction within the site (using the tools, answering surveys, etc.), heatmap, conversion rates along the funnel, and a number of times consumers return to the site.Using these data points, we analyze user behavior and intentions, providing customers with unique and creative personalized offers and experiences.We also create unique content, manufactured to meet users’ needs, wherever and whenever possible. For example, on greedyrates.ca, we developed calculators and tools that enable users to find the perfect product – enabling us to segment audiences by profile. Our proprietary technology allows us to target users on various occasions or on different sites, offering complementary information to their previous searches. The results show an increase in engagement and returning visitors, as well as a 30% increase in revenue. We leverage mobile vs desktop to get the right content into the right hands. For example, blogs are easier to read on the go (mobile), whereas credit applications need attention and focus (desktop). And lastly, in order to personalize consumer’s online experiences, we build videos that resonate with the target audience, taking advantage of special events and utilizing relatable figures to present their own experiences with the product.How much has the Search Intelligence commerce changed since the time you first started in the tech industry? Search Intelligence commerce has changed drastically since I first began in the tech industry. In the early 90s, Internet-wide search was still in its infancy. Today, retailers understand they must innovate to survive, but rapidly changing technologies and tastes make it hard to decide which innovations are worth pursuing. For marketers seeking to navigate this ever-evolving space, always staying one step ahead can prove a challenge.Amidst the ever-changing Digital Search landscape, two unassuming technologies have quietly proven themselves useful for retailers and marketers alike: Voice and Visual search. The Visual search began as a novel Computer Science demo, but as mobile cameras improve and AI gets smarter, tech giants are increasingly throwing their weight behind this unique approach to search. Forward-thinking retailers are already implementing visual search to invigorate their online presence and deepen their connection with tech-savvy shoppers.Voice search, on the other hand, is more complex as some opt for their mobile devices over smart speakers; however, optimizing Voice search will be vital for businesses in the near future as more and more searches on mobile are being conducted orally.Understanding the nuances of Voice search is essential to help searchers find exactly what they’re looking for when searching by Voice – and, correspondingly, it’s also how marketers can direct audiences to relevant content and identify appropriate targets for outreach. Both Voice and Visual search will be an interesting space to watch as retailers and marketers turn to new venues for e-commerce and advertising. What are the major challenges/pain points for businesses that fail to leverage Mobile Marketing/Automation technologies? How does Webpals Group solve these?Developing the tools that will enable scalable growth in all verticals is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today. Webpals is a leader and innovator in the Online Marketing sector, which is a crowded and constantly evolving market. Today’s consumers are inundated with information and want access to highly-tailored content across all media channels- to stand out, companies must have a unique value. Therefore, we must always remain ahead of the curve to engage users through a wide variety of platforms and niche sites. In order to do so, we have utilized our know-how to expand into new territories and new verticals, like Personal Finance.Webpals’ advanced technology provides accurate targeting and segmentation of audiences, helping businesses tap into the most relevant users, ultimately enabling scalable growth. Lastly, as businesses often face a highly competitive environment, automation of campaign management is critical to gaining profits.Which markets and geographies are you currently catering to? We operate worldwide in the mobile, tech, finance, and gaming sectors, from the United States to Europe, MENA, and Asia.Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use in your current roles? We use in-house tools for Content Management and Data Extraction, Data Analysis and Conversion Optimization. Additionally, I use several tools to keep track of the internal and external affairs at Webpals. I start each morning looking at managerial dashboards and BI to keep up to speed with the performance of the various sectors of our business and to track our targets. Rank ranger is another useful tool for me to see what’s going on outside of the business, tracking changes and trends in the Google rankings of the sites we operate (over 2,000). What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI and Data Management technology on Marketing and Sales for 2019-2020? I believe the most impactful disruptions on AI and Data management technology will come from Blockchain Technology and Augmented Data Management. What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now? I’m currently keeping an eye on Gong.io and GivingWay; I think both start-ups will make a large impact in the technology industry in the near future.How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a MarTech Business leader?Events should be trackable, with user behavior being mapped and tracked, enabling us to granularly collect the data and analyze a customer’s journey, from beginning to end.Moreover, Statistics and Data Modeling experts should turn data into algorithms. Marketers and Content teams have the tools to understand user intent. Now, they must come up with content plans to fulfill those users’ needs. How do you inspire your people to work with technology? While I try to lead by example, my team at Webpals is truly remarkable. When I began my role at the company, it was important to me that we put together a group of people that are inclusive and gender-balanced, exemplifying the essence of our mission. Creating a team of diverse and talented experts pushes each member to show what they can bring to the table, constantly striving to improve our technology and customer services.One word that best describes how you work. Multitasking.What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Mobile apps: Facebook ads, Google ads, rank tracker (rank ranger) and email application of courseDesktop tools: Internal reporting tools with different management dashboards to present daily status and trendsWhat’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack? Looking ahead is always important to me, so one of the most helpful tools or ‘hacks’ is our bi-monthly roadmap reviews. These assessments allow me to understand what progress has been made so far, and plan for future technological developments, reprioritizing our projects when necessary. Internally, my business and corporate teams submit weekly and monthly reports regarding the progress of major tech projects, initiatives, and various business affairs. Each month my financial team submits a performance review, allowing me to understand where we are in relation to our budget; this enables our team to adjust our operations and targets accordingly. What are you currently reading? A book I highly recommend (from past reading) is ‘Predictably Irrational’ by Dan Ariely. This book forced me to look at my decision-making process and re-evaluate how and why we all make the decisions we do – a critical element to running a healthy organization. A Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Dan Ariely’s book changed the way I thought about thinking. By dissecting the science behind our decisions, Ariely exposes the emotions, expectations, and ethics we subconsciously refer to when making choices, in daily life and in business. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?You don’t get ahead without making mistakes. Something you do better than others – the secret of your success? Looking ahead.Every few months the heads of our business units present me with a quarterly business review to examine the previous quarter, highlighting key successes and challenges. This allows us to learn and grow from the past, taking those lessons into account when reviewing business plans for the next quarter.Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:I would love to read answers from Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, who led 100+ acquisitions when she took over as CEO. Or, from Mary T Barra, CEO of General Motors, who worked in every position possible at her company in order to relate to each employee and learn the ins and outs of her business.Thank you, Inbal! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon. AIaugmented dataBlockchain technologycontent managementInbal LaviinterviewsMarTech InterviewROIWebpals Group Previous ArticleMobiquity Technologies Releases AdTribute™ Real-Time Ad Effectiveness AttributionNext ArticleSalce-Garcia Brings 15 Years of Industry Experience in Customer Advocacy as Operative Extends Global Client Portfolio
customer loyaltyDigital Fraud PreventionEngage PeopleKountNewsRich Stuppy Previous ArticleAmazon Advertising Data Science Pioneer Teikametrics Introduces On-Demand eCommerce Analyst ServicesNext ArticleJetson Announces Launch of its Self-Service Voice Commerce Platform Leading Digital Fraud Prevention Provider Kount Partners With Engage People to Protect Customer Loyalty Redemption Programs Business WireJune 25, 2019, 10:30 pmJune 25, 2019 Kount, a leading digital fraud prevention provider, and Engage People, a global loyalty platform, announced a partnership that will protect customer loyalty programs from fraud.Customer accounts that store valuable information or currency, such as loyalty points, are frequent targets of fraud. Account takeover attacks have tripled over the last year, costing consumers more than $5.1 billion worldwide, according to the 2018 Identity Fraud Survey conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research. Engage People will help its clients counter this trend utilizing Kount’s advanced technology.Marketing Technology News: Top of Mind Networks Adds BombBomb Integration to Surefire CRMIn the age of the customer, consumers expect frictionless interaction when accessing loyalty accounts or they often take their business elsewhere. By partnering with Kount, Engage People creates a welcoming experience for legitimate customers and protects against individuals who would commit fraud. Kount utilizes advanced machine learning as well as device and account intelligence to analyze digital risk signals and empower informed decisions, whether frictionless authorization, reasonable challenge, or confident rejection.Engage People’s solutions enable businesses to deliver personalized, targeted loyalty campaigns with limitless redemption options on any white label ecommerce website or at point of sale, in any currency. By teaming with Kount, Engage People’s business and customer accounts are protected against fraudulent transactions and account takeovers.Marketing Technology News: Yext Study: 58% Of Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketers Say Their Marketing Management Strategy Needs Major Improvements“We are committed to offering our customers the highest level of security and iron-clad protection against fraud, and that is exactly what Kount enables us to deliver,” said Len Covello, CTO at Engage People. “With Kount, we have an ultra-secure technology platform that separates us from the competition and allows us to deliver better loyalty solutions. Kount is instrumental in helping us create a better experience for organizations and their valued members, while providing a frictionless experience for redeeming rewards.”“When businesses like Engage People proactively protect accounts against digital fraud and account takeover, they are investing in a top-notch customer experience,” said Rich Stuppy, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Kount. “Two elements – a frictionless experience plus one free from fraud – are required to build consumers’ trust and loyalty.”Marketing Technology News: PMG Launches Marketing Intelligence Platform — Meet Alli
Vista Cinema, the Global Leader in Cinema Management Software, Focuses on Transforming the Guest Experience for Cinema Exhibitors Business WireJune 17, 2019, 4:14 pmJune 17, 2019 The recent momentum displayed in the Vista Cinema product suite will continue unabated at CineEurope 2019 – following Vista’s February ’19 Customer Conference and the launch of its new products at CinemaConVista Entertainment Solutions (Vista Cinema), the leading provider of cinema management software for global cinema exhibition and the founding company of Vista Group International, announced an enhanced product suite in April this year. Just two months on, evidence-based showcasing of new Vista products will feature at CineEurope.Vista Horizon, MovieTeam’s Attendance Forecasting, Vista Digital, Paperless Tickets, and Film Manager are a snapshot of Vista Cinema’s innovation. Delivering new opportunities to meet the demands and challenges of exhibition, now they are market ready and part of the CineEurope line-up to be showcased.Vista Horizon is Vista’s response to exhibitor demand, unlocking the opportunities that lie within operational cinema data. Its three key components – Stream, Store, and Discover – together provide a next-level business intelligence experience, delivering real-time operational data insights and enabling cinemas to make informed decisions faster. Data can be streamed around a circuit in real-time revealing insights and enabling flash reporting to allow responding to trends as they unfold. Storing operational data in full detail in the cloud, exhibitors can discover new possibilities via the product’s dashboards and self-service analysis tools.Also optimised for mobile, Vista Cinema’s operational cinema data warehouse solution offers new and improved business outcomes; it is now in use with several Vista customers and is available for demonstration at Vista’s CineEurope hub.Marketing Technology News: MultiVu Launches Digital Marketing SuiteMovieTeam, Vista Cinema’s cloud-based staff scheduling solution was released to market in 2016 and continues to penetrate the cinema exhibition world at pace. The product’s latest feature ‘Attendance Forecasting’, boosted through joining forces with Vista Group company Cinema Intelligence – has already proven a winner with US-based cinema/brewery Flix Brewhouse by delivering impressive labour cost savings to the chain. Vista has prepared a Case Study documenting the Flix journey and the product will be available for demonstration at Vista’s booth #101.Let’s Talk Digital is an invitation Vista is extending to CineEurope exhibitor guests. Vista’s digital offering is based on a new customer partnership model that includes Web, Mobile, Kiosk, and Digital Signage and was unveiled at Vista’s February 2019 conference. Vista’s digital experts work with cinemas to design, build, and manage a consistent guest engagement experience based on a suite of highly functional omni-channel components.Focus is on crafting an experience that is unique to the cinema using brand and tailored configuration of sales touchpoints. Integration with the full suite of Vista Cinema software unlocks additional functionality that takes the offering to another level. “Talk Digital” with Vista’s experts at #101.Marketing Technology News: Live Data Is Now The Lifeblood For Telco Value CreationPaperless Tickets can evolve and adapt to the moviegoer: sending cloud hosted digital tickets to guests gives them an easy point of reference and one that can change and develop; Vista calls this the “the living ticket”. Aside from the obvious environmental and cost savings impacts, via the sharing of moviegoer contact information, digitally delivered tickets create the beginning – then track the continuation – of a customer journey that does not rely on Loyalty membership. When a customer’s journey is captured in this way, it becomes a powerful tool to support guest engagement – for example, by driving targeted content to the living ticket.Film Manager – built in 2018 in collaboration with a Vista Cinema customer – has proven life-changing for the Film Programmers who use it. That was exactly Vista’s goal when work began to enable film schedules to be created from a central hub for every cinema in an exhibitor’s circuit. Control; workflow; time saved; sessions policies, and real-time box office sales review (to support schedule adjustments and maximise circuit revenues), summarise the key benefits of this fantastic new product. Film Manager is intuitive, browser-based, and one system, which means centrally created schedules can be sent directly to cinemas and adjustments made collaboratively at cinema level.Integrations with Vista Group companies Cinema Intelligence (‘CI’) and Numero push the boundaries of Film Manager. CI enables film performance forecasting to automatically generate schedule recommendations and optimise guest attendance, whilst Numero enables access to film performance data at a national level to help guide a programmer’s decisions.Visit Vista Cinema at CineEurope Booth #101.Marketing Technology News: Actifio Announces Global Alliance with Tata Consultancy Services to Provide Multi-Cloud Copy Data Management Solutions for Data-Driven Enterprises Cinema IntelligenceGuest ExperienceMarketing TechnologyNewsNumeroVista Cinema Previous ArticleExperience Innovations with SIGN CHINA 2019 in ShanghaiNext ArticleIQIYI and Astro Set iQIYI Content Channel in Malaysia, Bringing in New Model of Content Distribution
The couple met in 2010 and dated for four years before tying the knot in a hush-hush ceremony in 2014. John’s previous relationship, with Bipasha Basu, which lasted about nine years, was one of the most publicised relationships in Bollywood.The New York actor made the revelation about his private wedding on Twitter with a New Year wish that read, “Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed 2014! May this year bring you love, good fortune and joy. Love, John and Priya Abraham.”On the work front, John was last seen in the thriller Romeo Akbar Walter. He will be next seen in Batla House, which will go on floors on August 15 this year. He was recently in the news for getting injured on the sets of Pagalpanti, his November 2019 film which also stars Anil Kapoor and Ileana D’cruz.Follow @News18Movies for more While a lot of Bollywood couples openly indulges in PDA on social media, John Abraham and his wife Priya Runchal have mostly stayed away from the limelight. The couple’s wedding was also a private affair, with just a social media post from John informing the world that he had tied the knot with Priya.On Thursday, Priya took to Instagram to share a throwback picture of the couple to celebrate their anniversary. It is unclear what kind of anniversary they are celebrating, as the couple got married on January 3, 2014. Alongwith the picture, where Priya can be seen kissing John on his nose while the couple is enjoying some coconut water, Priya wrote, “Three coconuts #happy anniversary.” Anil KapoorBatla HouseBipasha BasuIleana D’Cruz First Published: June 6, 2019, 5:35 PM IST
Bhushan KumarHoney Singh bookedHoney Singh MakhnaHoney Singh Mohali police case First Published: July 9, 2019, 12:40 PM IST Singer Yo Yo Honey Singh has again landed himself in the middle of controversy with yet another song. This time, it is his song Makhna, that released about six months back, which has invited the wrath of the Punjab Women Commission for its misogynistic lyrics and objectification of women. The matter has now reached the police, with the Mohali police registering a case against the rapper and Bhushan Kumar, the producer of the song from T-Series, at Mattaur police station this morning. Punjab DGP had handed over the case to the Mohali SSP to investigate after the matter was raised by the Women Commission, which had also sought an action-taken report from the state police by July 12. Singh has been booked under section 294 (punishment for obscene song and acts) and section 509 (punishment for word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC, Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Harcharan Singh Bhullar told PTI. He has also been charged under section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and relevant section of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, Bhullar said.Earlier, chairperson of the women panel Manisha Gulati had written to the state home secretary, the Punjab director general of police and the inspector general of police (crime), demanding appropriate action against the singer. “We have asked the police to register an FIR against the singer for using vulgar lyrics against women in his song Makhna,” Gulati had said.Read: Honey Singh Lands in Trouble for Using ‘Vulgar’ Words Against Women in New SongThe women panel had also asked the police to submit a status report in the matter by July 12. Gulati had said the song with the objectionable lyrics against women should be banned in the state.With inputs from PTI.Follow @News18Movies for more
West Bengal Lok Sabha Election Results 2019: In West Bengal, with the BJP leading in 15 seats at 10:30 am, the TMC at 24 seats and with the Congress clinging on to 2 seats – a key factor in the Narendra Modi-led BJP’s seemingly successful foray into Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal bastion is the fact that the Left is yet to open its account.A look at the seats where the BJP has been consistently leading gives insight into their tactics. In Purulia and adjacent Asansol for instance, both seats alongside Jharkhand and Bihar, the BJP had focused their aggressive Hindtuva on the large population of Hindi-speaking migrants, while stressing on TMC’s alleged Muslim appeasement. In seats like Maldah Uttar, the BJP appears to have benefitted from the divide in votes between the Left, the Congress and the TMC. While the break in the Dalit votes in south Bengal has aided it in seats like Bongaon. The presence of the RSS in south Bengal, which has been active in the area for decades and its growth in the past few years in north Bengal will be a crucual factor for the saffron party’s chances in the Lok Sabha results.During the polls, the entire state found itself divided, over religion, caste and, above all else, politics. While the TMC has formidable organisation on the ground, BJP’s gains in the state suggests that it was able to combat this with its social media team. The state, with its 42 Lok Sabha seats, has the third-largest share in Parliament after Uttar Pradesh (80) and Maharashtra (48). But unlike in the two states, the party’s presence here is scant, limited to two seats (Darjeeling and Asansol) and hence offers an opportunity to offset any potential losses in northern India. asansol-s25p40Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjeebiharbongaon First Published: May 23, 2019, 10:50 AM IST
Prakash Mathema/Getty ImagesIf you’ve been following the conversation about technological unemployment and the threat of robots and A.I. stealing jobs, you may have come across the prediction that 47% of current jobs in the U.S. are at risk of automation. That figure comes from a widely cited 2013 paper, titled “The Future of Employment.”One of that paper’s co-authors, Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey, has now expanded on the thesis in a new book. Frey is co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment at the U.K.’s prestigious Oxford University. His new book, The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation compares the age of artificial intelligence to past shifts in the labor market, such as the Industrial Revolution.Frey spoke with Digital Trends about the impacts of automation, changing attitudes, and what — if anything — we can do about the coming robot takeover.DT: There has been plenty of discussion of this topic over the past several years. What does your book add to the puzzle?CF: There is a very polarized debate surrounding automation. The one extreme is that robots will take all the jobs, we’ll all be left unemployed, and the only solution is a basic guaranteed income. The other is people pointing to history and saying that automation has worked out well in the past.I think that what the book does is to collect everything we know about the impact of automation. It gives an overview of the determinants of the pace of automation; taking in everything from the cost of capital relative to the cost of labor to attitudes to technological progress itself. Most importantly, it shows that everything didn’t always work out well for labor in the past. There were episodes when parts of the population faced declining wages for years — and even decades. And when people didn’t see technology improving their wages and conditions of living, they often opted against it.Paul Hennessy/Getty ImagesYour prediction that 47% of jobs could be automated within the coming decades was widely reported. Do you feel that your concerns and conclusions in this paper have been accurately reported?The paper received a wide variety of coverage. A lot of it has been good, but some of it has been less good. Overall, my impression is that few people actually read what we said in the paper. For example, we discuss how many determinants of technology adoption — like wages, legislation, culture, [and] resistance — can play into the pace of automation.The paper also makes quite clear that the headline figure merely refers to the potential automatability of jobs from a technological capabilities point of view. It doesn’t say that these jobs will be automated or anything like that. I think it’s sometimes been taken to suggest that 47% of jobs will disappear in a decade or two. That was not what [myself and co-author Michael A. Osborne] said.Do you think there is ever an argument for technological progress being halted on the basis that it will cause unemployment? In 1589, there’s a story about Queen Elizabeth I refusing a patent for a stocking frame knitting machine because it would put people out of work. In that scenario, permission was denied not on the inefficiency of the technology, but rather the impact that it would have. That seems difficult to imagine today.My own view is that people who think we should bring progress to a halt haven’t really thought it through. If you were to stop the technological clock in 1900, that would clearly have been a mistake. People are much better off today as a result of technological change — both in their capacity as producers and consumers. I definitely think that progress over the long run is a good thing.However, if you take the first Industrial Revolution, there were a lot of negative side effects for average people. Wages were stagnant, or even fell, for around seven decades. Not to mention the unhealthy working and living conditions in factory towns. The Luddites were essentially right to riot against the mechanized factory because they didn’t live to see its benefits from it. But future generations did. We can all be grateful that the Luddites didn’t succeed in bringing progress to a halt.Are there certain jobs you think we as a society should be morally compelled to eliminate, even if that means putting people out of work? The modern equivalent of child chimney-sweeps in Victorian England.I couldn’t give you one specific example of a job that we are morally obliged to automate. One of the more extraordinary things is how much of the hazardous work has already been eliminated, at least in the industrialized west. What we might deem hazardous work has fallen from around 60% to 10% over the past century. And much of the more routinized, boring work has disappeared as well.Walmart’s Robot Janitor Brain Corp./ WalmartIn the developing world, there are still lots of unpleasant factory jobs which could be automated away. But they also support the livelihood of those people who hold them during a critical stage of development.Are there jobs that you think are safe from automation not for reasons of technical bottlenecks, but because we as a society would not wish to hand them over to machines?I think priests and politicians are two such examples. We’re unlikely to automate those for cultural reasons.What has been the biggest surprise to you while researching this topic? Was there a trend you’ve observed, or a single piece of research, which has challenged your base assumptions on this topic?What is most intriguing to me is to read through popular perceptions of technology in history. You find that the debates we are having haven’t actually progressed very much at all since the early eighteenth century, whereas the technology has progressed enormously. If you look at debates on automation in the 1930s or 1960s they’re extraordinarily similar to those we are having in the present day.[Perhaps] the thing that surprised me the most is how much attitudes regarding what people think seem to matter for technology adoption. We assume that technology falls from the sky and we adopt it because it makes economic sense. But there are so many factors that play into this. One reason growth was so stagnant up until the Industrial Revolution — which could have happened much earlier because the technology was there — was that people didn’t see the introduction of replacing technologies as beneficial to them.Craft guilds, in particular, vehemently resisted any technologies they perceived threatened their members skills. And fearing social unrest, governments often introduced legislation to block new technologies. Such was the political economy of technological change for most of human history.Getty ImagesDo you see sufficient areas of job growth today to offset the number of jobs being destroyed or negatively impacted?I’m not concerned that we are not creating enough jobs. But I do think that we should be concerned about the fact that the wages of the unskilled have steadily fallen for three decades now. If we look at labor force participation rates, unskilled middle-aged men who used to work in the factories are now much less likely to have a job. I think this has a lot to do with the unevenness of job creation and job replacement.If you think about the Bay Area, there are lots of new high tech industries. On the flipside, if you look at places like Detroit, a lot of the technologies which have been developed in the Bay Area have replaced people in Detroit. As a result of this, we see the local economy of Detroit has taken a hit. That’s because manufacturing jobs also supported the incomes of other people there as they went grocery shopping, took taxis, or went to the hairdresser. Meanwhile, when tech jobs are created in the Bay Area, that also creates more low-skilled service jobs in the area. This has led the great divergence we are seeing between skilled cities and the rest.We’ve seen great correlation between technological advances and also a growing divide between rich and poor. Do you see causation here as well as correlation? Does technology necessitate this kind of hollowing out of the jobs market on one end of the spectrum and winner-takes-all hyper wealth on the other?When it comes to the hollowing out of the middle of the labor market, there is an abundance of research which shows that automation and globalization have been the prime drivers. It’s hard to distinguish between the two because ICT been the enabler of globalization. Technological change and globalization has probably also to some to some extent driven the rise in top incomes, as it allows innovators and superstars in various fields to reach the global market places. But it also has a lot to do with compensation in the financial sector.Another factor is housing. What is often overlooked is that almost the entire rise in wealth documented by Thomas Piketty has to do with housing. That, in turn, is related to structural changes in the economy. To return to the Detroit and Bay Area example, what happens is that when new tech jobs are created in the Bay Area, more people want to move in to tap into the local labor market.That will drive up the cost of housing unless supply keeps pace with demand. Because of zoning restrictions, however, it rarely does. It also means that fewer people are able to benefit from the growth being created there.People often talk about today’s technological revolution as fundamentally different to previous technological waves, particularly when it comes to employment. One reason for this is that we’re no longer simply seeing blue collar jobs replaced, but A.I. impacting on professional roles like lawyers and doctors as well. Do you view this as a difference?I think it’s true that A.I. will also transform many skilled jobs. Medical diagnostics is one field that is already being automated. Certain tasks that lawyers used to do, like document review, is another example. But I think that doctors and lawyers have been relatively safe from automation because they also involve other tasks which are harder to automate, such as complex social interactions or creativity.What our 2013 paper showed is that most skilled jobs are therefore not all that exposed to automation. The jobs that are much more exposed to A.I. are more in low-skilled sectors such as transportation, retail, logistics, construction. Although we will see A.I. moving into more professional services, I don’t think we will see much outright replacement there.What advice do you have for people starting out in the workforce now, or trying to re-skill to ensure their future?The good news is that the hardest things to automate are the things we enjoy, like social interactions and creativity. So it is not just about teaching digital skills. It is true that if you think that data is the new oil, then learning machine learning and statistics more broadly is a good idea. But I’m not a career advisor, and not an aspiring one either, so people are probably better off figuring out what they are good at themselves.Initiatives like Universal Basic Income, robot taxes, and micropayments for data have all been put forward as ways to help protect workers in a future of automation. Are there any solutions you personally view as particularly viable?I don’t think that there is one solution. But I do think that there are many things that we can do that, collectively, can make a big difference. Early childhood education is one such example. Deficits in math and reading, which emerge early in life, tend to be a bottleneck to further learning. People that lag behind early on are much less likely to go to college, meaning that is has significant impacts on their future earnings potential. Devoting resources to help people early on can make a really big difference.If you think about the unevenness of job creation and replacement geographically, connecting places could also be very helpful going forward. Close to where I grew up in southern Sweden, Malmö was a city which had specialized in building ships. When that industry went down in the 1980s, Malmö declined. But it was given a boost by the construction of the Øresund Bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen in Denmark.All of a sudden, people in Malmö had access to the labor market in Copenhagen. They could work there, but stay living in Malmö, where housing was relatively cheap, and spend their money locally, which boosted the local service economy. By connecting places that way, you can achieve quite a lot. There’s a currently a feasibility study looking at connecting Cleveland and Chicago using a Hyperloop. A six-hour commute would become 28 minutes, which would a feasible commute to work.There are many other things that can be done which I discuss in greater detail in the book.“The Technology Trap Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation” is published by Princeton University Press. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Ford’s Dr. Derriere makes your car seats comfy, no ifs, ands, or butts about it Free-to-start mobile game Dr. Mario World arrives early on iOS and Android Dr. Mario World gets downloaded 2 million times in first 72 hours after launch The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings Game companies are working developers hard. The pay isn’t worth it Editors’ Recommendations
As many folks continue to look skyward in expectation of drone delivery services, they’re missing the development of an increasingly popular delivery technology back on terra firma.Wheel-based delivery robots may not be quite as sexy as their flying counterparts, but with fewer regulatory hoops to jump through than drone services, the technology is likely to become more widely used sooner rather than later by companies looking to make their delivery operations more efficient.The latest outfit to join the race is U.S. startup Refraction A.I. with its autonomous Rev-1 machine.The brainchild of University of Michigan professors Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan, the Rev-1 tootles along on three wheels instead of the four or six that we see with most of the competition. The wheels and storage compartment mean the look of the Rev-1 is similar to efforts from dominant player Starship Technologies, as well as delivery robots from FedEx and Amazon. Meanwhile, more extreme variations include the Digit from Oregon-based Agility Robotics, which has created a bipedal robot capable of tackling steps and other obstacles that cause problems for most — though not all — wheel-based bots.The Rev-1 tips the scales at about 100 pounds and can reach a speed of up to 15 mph, making it 5 mph faster than Starship’s machine. Its storage compartment offers 16 cubic feet of space, which the company says is good for around four or five grocery bags.As with similar machines, when the Rev-1 arrives at its destination, the recipient can unlock the storage box by entering a one-time code into the robot’s keypad.The self-driving robot uses 12 cameras as its main sensor system though it receives extra situational data via radar and ultrasound sensors. Similar robots also use lidar and fewer cameras, but Johnson-Roberson said that its system is reliable enough to eliminate the need for pricey lidar technology — a decision that’s enabled it to keep costs down and price the Rev-1 at $5,000.Johnson-Roberson describes the Rev-1 as “lightweight, nimble, and fast enough to operate in the bike lane and on the roadway,” adding that it can also handle rough weather conditions that have the potential to slow down or hinder competing machines.Refraction A.I. says its first test application is with restaurant partners, with the company hoping to expand to other areas of last-mile delivery over time. Editors’ Recommendations Walmart Grocery challenges Amazon with a new $98-a-year delivery option Uber Eats’ drone delivery service could see Big Macs hit speeds of 70 mph This futuristic driverless pod will soon be delivering pizza in Texas Meatballs and pastries offered by Wing’s first European drone delivery service The rise and reign of Starship, the world’s first robotic delivery provider
A thin Moment case Julian Chokkattu/Digital TrendsThe Drone Anamorphic Lens uses a proprietary “Lock and Balance Mounting System,” which allows you to attach the lens over the drone’s camera, and add a counterweight to the other side so as to not impact the gimbal. It also makes sure the lens stays firmly in place, meaning you don’t need to worry about the lens falling off the drone in midair.Moment also has a set of filters you can buy for the camera on the DJI Mavic 2 Pro or Mavic 2 Zoom. You can use an ND (neutral-density) filter to help control exposure and achieve a “cinematic blur,” or a CPL (circular polarizer/linear) filter, which helps reduce glare and bounces light away in different angles. These filters are made with aerospace-grade aluminum, and Moment claims they are the lightest available for Mavic 2 drones. They also sport hydrophobic coatings, and have scratch-resistant glass and “shatter-proof construction.” You can buy them for the anamorphic lens or for the camera on the drones — the filters aren’t interchangeable, though, as the ones for the lens have a different mounting mechanism over the ones for the Mavic 2’s camera. Take to the skies with DJI’s best drone deals, including $120 off Mavic Air The best iPhone camera lenses The best drones of 2019 Moment’s new camera bags are small, but fashionable and functional Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM Art review Julian Chokkattu/Digital TrendsMoment, the company that makes high-quality lenses for smartphones, is expanding its expertise to drones — specifically the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. The platform is called Moment Air and it doesn’t just include lenses, but also filters, a new mounting system, as well as an iPhone case.The anamorphic lens returnsThere’s only one lens available at the moment, and it’s the Drone Anamorphic Lens. Moment released its cinematography-focused anamorphic lens for smartphones last year, which offers a cinema-wide aspect ratio as well as neat lens-flare effects. This lens delivers the same results, but it has been redesigned with “aerospace-grade composites and metals” — Moment is calling this “Featherlight” construction — to ensure it isn’t too heavy for the drone. Editors’ Recommendations Price and availabilityMoment’s launching Moment Air on Kickstarter, and it’s expecting the new products to ship by November — if the campaign has been successfully funded. The Drone Anamorphic Lens costs $300, but Kickstarter backers can grab it for $200. The Airlight Drone Filters will set you back $120, but it’s just $100 on Kickstarter. The Ultra Thin Photo Case costs $30, but it’s $25 on Kickstarter. Julian Chokkattu/Digital TrendsYou need a Moment case on your smartphone to be able to use Moment lenses, but they’ve usually been a little bulky. That means there’s better protection, but the downside is it can be tough to squeeze a phone into a drone controller, gimbal, or tripod without removing the case. The new Moment iPhone case resolves this, and it’s cheekily called the “fits in your drone controller iPhone case.”It’s only available for the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max at the moment, but it retains the same M-series mounting system so you can attach the latest Moment lenses to the case. It’s made of a polycarbonate composite and TPU material, and it’s only 0.75mm thick; it should be able to fit into any drone controller, gimbal, or mobile tripod without any issues. There’s even a wider cutout at the bottom so the case doesn’t interfere with any connected microphones.
Story TimelineTP-Link Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max are super thin smartphonesTP-Link Smart Plug Mini works with Amazon Alexa with no hub neededGoogle Home adds integrations with Wink, TP-Link, LIFX and many moreTP-Link Deco M5 WiFi system promises comprehensive security TP-Link has made a couple of big announcements, the first being new smart home integrations with IFTTT and Alexa. Joining those smart home integrations is TP-Link HomeCare, a product being delivered to some routers via a firmware update. With HomeCare, these select router owners get access to parental controls, as well as security via integrated malware protection and anti-virus control. HomeCare’s network security features are powered by Trend Micro, according to TP-Link, which says the software will protect all the devices on a network from things like malicious websites, hackers and more. The HomeCare feature is constantly scanning for virus patterns, the company explains, keeping them away before your computer and other items that can be infected. If a device ends up infected, it gets quarantined and the system alerts its owner to the problem.HomeCare also brings quality-of-service to routers that support it, including the Archer C5400 and Archer C3150, the Deco M5 Whole-Home WiFi System, and it’ll soon support the Archer C2300. This QoS feature, like the one found on other routers, works to prioritize and optimize traffic in a way that is best for your needs.The service is also giving parents access to parental controls for managing how kids can use the Internet. All of this is joined by support for Amazon Alexa and IFTTT. The Alexa skills will give Echo owners the ability to control the router using voice commands, while the IFTTT integration brings automation commands and custom recipes.The software update is available now.
Story TimelineEssential Phone camera tech explained, phone still missingEssential Phone release details in a week promised amid $300m raiseEssential Phone ship date: There’s good news and badEssential Phone ships next week: Here’s how to get one In that blog post, Essential states it plain: “Devices shouldn’t become outdated every year. They should evolve with you.” What does that mean for the Essential Phone? Among other things, it apparently means that the device will continue to receive Android updates for two years after launch.This is important, because not a lot of manufacturers are willing to make such a long-term commitment to keeping their devices up to date. Then, when promises like this are made, sometimes the manufacturer falls through. Should Essential actually intend to stand by this promise (there’s no reason to believe it won’t), it could be a major selling point, but there may not be a lot of Android users left who are willing to take that promise at its face value.Beyond the commitment to deliver Android updates for two years after launch, Essential also promised that its flagship device will receive security updates for three years. This, in some ways, could be even more important than Android updates – while it’s always nice to have the latest, most shiny version of Android running on your device, it’s better to have a phone that’s secured against the latest threats.Importantly, these promises mean that even if Essential falls into the same routine of releasing a new flagship phone every year, it won’t drop support for this year’s model as soon as the new one is available. Do these promises draw you more toward the Essential Phone? Head down to the comments section and let us know! Earlier today, the Essential Phone went up for pre-order at a number of different locations, including Sprint, Amazon, and Essential’s own store. That announcement was made in a rather long blog post that outlined what makes the Essential Phone special in a sea of other flagship devices. While some of that content is precisely what you’d expect to read when a new phone is being marketed, there were a few interesting promises being made that anyone considering the phone will want to pay attention to.
Given how Huawei was left in a terribly embarrassing situation at CES last month, it might be too easy to identify the Chinese OEM as the underdog. If it had played its cards right, it could have uses that to its advantage. Unfortunately, desperation might have gotten a hold of its senses instead and it was caught red-handed padding its Mate 10 Pro Best Buy product page with 5-star reviews from over a hundred exuberant owners, when the phone hasn’t even shipped yet. To be fair, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro might indeed be something worth getting excited about. Based on hands-on experiences and specs, it’s definitely one of the more commendable phones. Of late 2017, that is. And there might indeed be a few who have gotten their hands on a review unit or something similar. But what are the statistical odds that there’d be even close to a hundred of them, and all of them leaving glowing reviews?So how did this normally impossible feat happen? In the most dirty-handed way possible. Huawei apparently solicited “reviews” from prospective Mate 10 Pro “Beta” Testers on a private group on Facebook. The now deleted post explicitly instructed contestants to post “why you WANT to own the Mate 10 Pro” on the Best Buy’s review section for the phone. Of course, some of those have resulted in some rather hilarious and obviously contrived “reviews”.Huawei may have thought it could game Best Buy, who curiously hasn’t reacted yet to the exposé, but that’s harder to do in this day and age. Especially when you’ve just been put under a microscope. Unfortunately for Huawei, its little scheme might have cost it its credibility, with customer reviews now being held suspect. It might have also given its critics more ammo and proof of its shady business practices.
Alcatel has revealed five new Android smartphones and a pair of new tablets at MWC 2018 today, including the first to run Android Oreo Go Edition. The line-up – all of which focuses on the budget end of the market – plays mix and match with cameras and fingerprint sensors, with select models having twin cameras either on the front or the back. As for the tablets, they’re some of the cheapest ways to get Android 8.1 Oreo on a big screen that we’ve seen so far. Next comes the Alcatel 3 Series, of which there are in fact three models. All have an 18:9 aspect ratio display, fingerprint sensor, and Alcatel’s facial-recognition security system. The Alcatel 3V has the biggest screen of the bunch, a 6-inch 2160 x 1080 panel, while the Alcatel 3X gets a 5.7-inch 1440 x 720 screen. Finally, the Alcatel 3 is smallest of the trio, with a 5.5-inch 1440 x 720 panel.AdChoices广告The 3V packs a 12-megapixel camera with a secondary 2-megapixel sensor for portrait-style background blur shots, plus post-capture focus changes. The 3X and 3, meanwhile, get a 13-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel 120-degree super-wide-angle camera too. All have a 5-megapixel front camera with an LED flash. There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back and 5-megapixels on the front. Alcatel says that the 1X will come in multiple flavors, some of which will have a fingerprint sensor, too. However the key will be the pared-back OS, with Google targeting Go Edition phones at buyers on a budget who’ll have access to resource-sipping versions of apps like Google Maps and Gmail. What’s notable is that all of the Alcatel phones are aimed at the mid-range segment at most: indeed, the most expensive will top out at 229.99 euro, or the equivalent of $284, when it goes on sale in April. That’s likely a strategy by parent company TCL to better differentiate between Alcatel and BlackBerry, its two Android phone brands. By giving the low/mid-end to Alcatel, it leaves the upper tiers free for BlackBerry to play. As for the tablets, the Alcatel 1T 10 and 1T 7 each run Android 8.1 Pro with a 10.1-inch or 7-inch display, respectively. The 1T 10 tips the scales at 415 grams and has a 4,000 mAh battery for 8hrs of use. There’s 16 GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot, and an optional Bluetooth keyboard cover. It’ll be 99.99 euro ($123) when it goes on sale in Europe, Latin America, and Asia in Q2. Most affordable – but arguably most interesting – of the smartphones is the Alcatel 1 Series, and the Alcatel 1X specifically. It’s priced from 99.99 euro ($123) for the single-SIM version and ten euro more for the dual-SIM, and runs Android Oreo Go Edition on an MTK6580 processor with 1GB of RAM. Alcatel is making plenty of noise about it having an 18:9 aspect display, though the 5.3-inch panel only runs at 960 x 480 resolution. The Alcatel 3V is on sale now, priced at 189.99 euro ($234), in black, blue, and gold. The Alcatel 3X and Alcatel 3 each arrive next month, priced at 179.99 euro ($222) and 149.99 euro ($185) respectively. At the top of the tree is the Alcatel 5, a 5.7-inch 18:9 aspect smartphone with a brushed metallic unibody and 13-megapixel f/2.0 front-facing camera. Indeed, Alcatel even found space for a secondary 5-megapixel camera on the front, with a 120-degree super wide-angle lens and a dedicated LED flash. The Alcatel 5 automatically switches between the two when it spots more than one person in your selfie. The rear camera is 13-megapixels, and can capture 1080p video. There’s a fingerprint sensor and an MTK6650 oct-core processor with 3GB of memory; storage is 32GB, which can be doubled with a microSD card. It’s already arriving on shelves now, in black or gold, for 229.99 euro ($284). The Alcatel 1T 7, meanwhile, is even lighter: just 245 grams and 9.15 mm thick. It has a 2,580 mAh battery for 7 hours of use. It’ll go on sale at the same time as the larger model, priced at 69.99 euro ($86) and in the same regions.
Google already revealed it has big plans for the Google Assistant, and now we’re seeing how the AI will make Android apps and services even more streamlined – even if you don’t want to talk to it. The search giant announced last week that it was pushing the Assistant’s global availability, with the goal of more than 30 languages being supported by the end of the year. However, it also promised a more integrated experience thanks to deals with device-makers and carriers. Now, it’s the turn of third-party app makers to get in on the integration action. To do that, Google is opening up Actions to app developers, allowing them to deep-link into their software from Actions in the Assistant. As an example, Google highlights SpotHero, a parking app that can find nearby empty spaces, valet parking options, or lots. SpotHero already supported Assistant conversations – you could say, for instance, “Ask SpotHero to find parking for me” or “Ask SpotHero to buy parking” – across Android phones, Chromebooks, Google Home, and more. Now, though, it can deep link from the Assistant conversation to a specific point in the app.So, by hitting the “View Full Parking Pass” button within the SpotHero conversation, you’re taken not only to the app but to the specific pass being discussed. In the process, it further blurs the lines between Assistant functionality and standalone apps. Google says the new Action deep-linking will roll out over the next few weeks. AdChoices广告Meanwhile, there’s also a new tool for the Google Assistant to figure out location in conversations. A new “askForPlace” conversation helper grabs the user’s location from Google Maps – with permission first, of course – and then compares that with points of interest. In Google’s example, a ride-sharing app could use the new API to work out whereabouts a specific point of interest a user wanted to go would be. “The user is still speaking with Uber, but the Assistant handled all user inputs on the back end until a drop-off location was resolved,” Google explains.Finally, for those who are more familiar with using the Assistant, Google is cutting out some of the repetitive introduction. People who regularly use Actions in apps will start to see less preamble, based on the idea that they probably already know what they’re looking for. Actions now support seven new languages, too – Hindi, Thai, Indonesian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch – taking the total to sixteen.
Facebook Messenger is testing Dark Mode in the new UIpreviously: https://t.co/vT6WoKikPm pic.twitter.com/A6ETE45BPN— Jane “not Facebook Employee” Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) October 5, 2018 Dark and “night” modes have become increasingly popular, prompting companies like Microsoft, Twitter, and Reddit to launch dark color scheme options. These dark modes utilize grey and black colors to reduce the brightness of the product, reducing eye strain, making it easier to use the service in a dark environment, and, in some cases, helping reduce battery usage.Back in October, Jane Manchun Wong published a tweet containing multiple Facebook Messenger screenshots featuring a dark mode. Based on those images, the dark mode is truly dark…it has an entirely black background, black chat thread menu, with the only colors being grey text input bars and teal icons. As with Twitter, Reddit, and other services before it, Facebook is finally working on a dark mode for its messaging app. Earlier this year, a leak revealed that Facebook’s team was internally testing a Messenger dark mode, and now that same mode is showing up publicly as a test for some users. As the name suggests, the dark mode changes the appearance of Facebook Messenger to a dark color scheme. In a tweet published over New Year’s, Wong said that Facebook has started publicly testing dark mode in select countries “seemingly due to prolonged external nagging.” As with most public tests, only a small number of users are currently seeing the option available within Messenger.AdChoices广告It’s unclear at this time how many people — and in which countries — have access to the dark mode, and there’s no word on when Facebook plans to launch it as a standard feature for everyone. The presence of a public test hints that an upcoming final launch may happen in the near future, however. Story TimelineFacebook Messenger unsend feature starts rolling out to some usersMessenger Lite gets animated GIFs and file sharing supportFacebook Messenger gets a selfie portrait mode and Boomerang support
Heading into a corner, and through it, there’s a sense that the RS’ rear is keen to overtake the front. Ford’s drive mode system admonishes you to leave Track and Drift modes to closed circuits, and in Normal and Sport the tail-happy eagerness is left manageable but no less entertaining. Wet roads and the optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer track tires could’ve been a recipe for, if not disaster, then at least soiling of the Recaro sports seats, but they turned out to be grippy and predictable. It’s enough to make you overlook the cabin, which is a little too close to a rental car to have that “special” feeling. Ford Performance’s seats are figure-hugging enough to compound your Thanksgiving over-eating regrets, and there’s a row of extra gages for turbo boost and such – shared with the Focus ST – that run across the top of the dash, but the plastics and styling are dependable, not delightful. Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system is similarly serviceable, but lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. At least with four doors and a hatchback, it’s practical. Were it my name on the order sheet, I’d bypass the bright blue paint and opt for Ford’s fetching battleship gray. The “Nitrous Blue” finish may be traditional at this point, but it’s also catnip to competitive boy-racers and those with blue siren alike. Anyway, the RS has talents enough; it doesn’t need to shout about them. Indeed, I’d do as much as possible to keep the car to its $35,900 sticker price, including sacrificing the $2k 19-inch wheels you see here, and the $2,785 RS2 package with its heated front seats and steering wheel, and added navigation. What I love about the Focus RS is how it combines the best of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Ford’s rear differential isn’t shy about giving the car some swing at the back, but it’s a motion that’s playing with you not fighting you. In that sense, you get the reassurance of an AWD car, but without the somewhat earnest capability that can border on sensibleness. There’s no denying that, right now, the Civic Type R has captured some of the attention that was once, rightly, given to the Focus RS. Ford offers more power and AWD; Honda has a diabolically good chassis and front-wheel drive. Side by side, the feisty Civic’s styling is even more outlandish than the RS’ – whether that’s a good thing or not is in the eye of the beholder.Which is “best” is one of those discussions that could sustain gearheads for days. If you’re at all leaning toward the Ford, though, I’d suggest less talk and more time at the nearest dealership. The Focus RS’ run ends with the last few cars of the 2018 model year (which throw in a limited-slip front differential, too), making your window of opportunity short. I suspect it’ll end up a future classic, though you shouldn’t let that keep you from pounding the backroads whenever you get the chance. Factor in the firm but precise steering, and the result is a car that beckons you on to greater levels of (legal, I assure you mother) hooliganism as you grow to trust the engineering. Drift mode, as the number of crashed RS you can find in the classifieds underscores, is best saved for the track, as is hitting the track suspension button that cranks up the stiffness noticeably. That’s great if you’ve raceway-smooth asphalt to play on, but only amplifies the already-firm ride on public roads to the point of discomfort, not to mention leaving the Focus RS feeling off-puttingly skittish.Better, then, to forget your Ken Block aspirations – you’ll only end up in a ditch – and just focus (no pun intended) on good, partially-clean fun. The RS’ excesses make it a handy plaything on back roads, what its engine lacks in soundtrack being made up for with a usably-broad torque band and a silly but addictive shotgun “braAP” from the tailpipes on downshifts. Point, squirt the throttle, turn, and feel the Focus pivot first neatly and then building in a way that’s grin-inducing but which stops just short of unsettled oversteer. The magic isn’t so much in the engine as it is the way the power from that reaches the road. Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo isn’t short on grunt, certainly, with its matching 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque. Neither is the six-speed manual transmission anything to complain about. Its short-throw action and nicely weighted clutch aren’t as fast as a DCT auto would be, but they definitely make you feel more involved. Still, it’s the Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive System that stands out. Specifically it’s how the torque differential on the rear axle works, a complex and clever arrangement that can either lock up a 50/50 split between the wheels, or push up to 100-percent of the power to one side. The Focus RS isn’t shy in doing so, either, and the result is a uniquely distinctive driving style. Along came the third-generation Ford Focus RS, and all anybody could talk about was Drift mode. Seldom has a vehicle made going sideways such a priority, yet in all the “road-going rally car” furore the RS’ true talents were starting to get overlooked.
Android has always given users choice, Google says. To some extent that is true but most users seldom change the defaults that came with their phones. That’s the issue that the European Commission had with Google pre-installing its apps and services on Android phones. After losing that legal battle, Google is now rolling out an update that will give users a chance to install their web browser or search app of choice. Presuming they haven’t already or aren’t hooked into Google’s ecosystem anyway. It’s admittedly easy to install a different browser or search app on Android and make those the default. It’s definitely a lot easier than on iOS. But many users might not even know they exist or are barely aware you can change the default.With the update that’s rolling out, users will be presented with two screens that offer them the option to install a different search engine or web browser the next time they open Google Play Store. It lists five in each category, including those that you may have already installed. What appears depends on the apps’ popularity and are presented in random order.Fewer people will probably be aware that they can also change the search engine even for the Google Chrome web browser. Users will also see a notice if they want to change the default search engine, which is sometimes more involved than installing a new browser.These changes are rolling out in the coming weeks but are limited to users in Europe for both existing and new Android phones. Unless it is similarly compelled, Google is unlikely to make that same option available elsewhere.
Of all the car designs it could revive, Volkswagen chose the buggy partly based on popularity and partly based on parallelism. The dune buggy was based on the Beetle convertible chassis which also became the foundation of other bodies from other companies. In addition to providing inspiration, the Beetle also demonstrated how cars could be built and be profitable at low volumes or even as one-offs.Those are also the same points Volkswagen wants to make with its modular electric drive matrix or MEB. Already used for large-scale production models, the carmaker wants to prove that its fully electric platform can also be used to facilitate the development of low-volume niche vehicles as well.And thus the fully electric Dune Buggy concept was born, a marriage of old and new. Like the Dune Buggies that roamed the US in the 60s and 70s, the e-Buggy keeps the roofless design, large wheels, and off-road tires that give the car its iconic look. It is, as Volkswagen Head Designer Klaus Bischoff calls it, “vibrancy and energy on four wheels.”AdChoices广告A one of a kind concept car, the fully electric buggy will debut for the first time at the International Geneva Motor Show in March. Be sure to keep an eye on our coverage of the week-long event and an up-close look at this blast from the past. We live in an age when the old becomes new again. Some, like vinyl, have come back in their original form while others, like gaming consoles, have been miniaturized. Volkswagen is also jumping on the retro trend but with a modern twist. It is bringing back the legendary American dune buggies from the 60s and is turning them into a fully electric concept vehicle fit for modern times.