Category Archives: Mobile

Nintendo shares slump before Tokyo regulators step in to stop decline

Pokemon GO 2Nintendo has released a statement in which the company outlined the limited impact Pokémon Go will have on its annual revenues. Following the news, around $6.7 billion was wiped from the company’s market capitalization.

While Pokémon Go has proved to be one of the most successful product launches in recent years, as its release broke numerous records in markets around the world. EE stated it saw 350,000 downloads in the UK even before the app was officially released as users found another means to download it, such as accessing the US app store via a VPN. The success of the app is not under question, though Nintendo has not altered its annual revenue forecasts due to the limited role it has in the app itself.

“Taking the current situation into consideration, the Company is not modifying the consolidated financial forecast for now,” the statement read. “The Company will make a timely disclosure when the Company needs to modify its financial forecasts.”

Niantic Labs is an American company spun out of Google, who license the rights to the game from The Pokémon Company, who in fact own the Pokémon franchise. Nintendo itself owns roughly 32% of the voting rights to The Pokémon Company and therefore only entitled to a modest slice of the revenues from the game itself. Analysts at investment firm Macquarie Group estimate Nintendo will only be entitled to roughly 13% of the revenue generated by the Pokémon Go app.

Although many organizations would have done due diligence surrounding the game, the relationship between Niantic Labs, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo, as well as the potential for profit, it would appear the news caught certain individuals off-guard, as a substantial proportion was wiped off Nintendo’s market capitalization.

The announcement was made following the close of the markets on Friday, though this has led to a busy morning following the weekend. 18%, or $6.7 billion, was wiped off the market capitalization of Nintendo, though this could have potentially been worse, as regulations in the Tokyo market prevented a larger drop, as the maximum single day move allowed by the market is 18%. How much the shares would have shrunk if trading had continued will remain unknown, though Nintendo is still showing a net gain of 15% since the launch of Pokémon Go two weeks ago.

“The Pokémon Company is the Company’s affiliated company, accounted for by using the equity method. Because of this accounting scheme, the income reflected on the Company’s consolidated business results is limited.”

While this would appear to have come as a shock to certain investors in the Nintendo business, there is still potential for growth and long-term wins. In-app purchasing in the Japanese market will likely grow over future weeks, and the game has not been launched in two of the worlds other prominent app markets, Korea and China. There could be some big wins in these two markets, though it would be worth noting both have restrictions on the Google Maps product, potentially offering challenges for the way the app operates, and its overall success.

Should the app launch in China and/or Korea, the story is likely to roll on for some time, though how large the ripples will be following Nintendo’s revelation will likely be seen sooner. The success of the Pokémon Go is not under question, though Nintendo’s brief taste of fame following the surge in share price over the last two weeks would appear to be coming to an end.

Are cyber attacks covering up server inadequacies at Pokémon Go?

Pokemon GO 2Pokémon Go users have continued to struggle as the app’s developer Niantic Labs recovers from hacker attacks and unprecedented demand for the game, reports

Claimed attacks from various hacker groups would have appeared to cover up server inadequacies at Niantec Labs, as the team seemingly struggles to meet capacity demands following the games launch in 27 countries worldwide.

Over the course of the weekend, various hacker groups including PoodleCorp and OurMine have claimed responsibility for a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, causing a slow and clunky experience for many players around the world. Although the Niantec Labs team has played down the incidents, disruptions have continued into Monday morning with the editorial team unable to access the game effectively. Whether this can be attributed to the claimed attacks or a lack of server capacity is unclear for the moment.

The hacker saga would have appeared to have started over the weekend, with OurMine stating on its website, “Today We will attack “Pokemon Go” Login Servers! so no one will be able to play this game till Pokemon Go contact us on our website to teach them how to protect it! We will attack it after 3-4 hours! Be ready! We will update you!” This was followed by another statement declaring the servers were down. PoodleCorp claimed the day before (June 16), it had caused an outage, though also said to expect a larger attack in the near future.

While both of these attacks have attracted headlines, it would also appear to have covered up shortcomings on the company’s infrastructure and its ability to deal with high demand. The launch of Pokémon Go has been well documented over the last few weeks as it has been lauded by numerous sources as the biggest mobile game in US history. Even before its official release in the UK, EE announced it saw 350,000 unique users of Pokémon GO on its network.

“This is the fastest take up of an app or game we’ve ever seen – and that’s before it’s officially launched! People across the country are going to be relying on a mobile data network that’s everywhere they go,” said Matt Stagg, EE head of video and content strategy.

Despite claims the server problems have been addressed, complaints have continued to be voiced. Server status tracking website Downdetector stated 39,013 complaints were registered at 22.00 (EST) on July 17. The Niantic Labs team are seemingly underestimating demand for Pokémon Go with each launch, which would be a nice problem to have.

While was unable to identify Niantic Labs specific cloud set-up, other reports have identified Google as the chosen platform. Although there are no specific announcements linking the two organizations, Niantec was spun out of Google in October last year, and currently has John Hanke at the helm, who was previous VP of Product Management for Google’s Geo division, which includes Google Earth, Google Maps and StreetView. A job vacancy is also on the company’s website which asks for experience in dealing with Google Cloud or AWS.

Although AWS has been listed on the job vacancy, it would be fair to assume it is not involved currently as CTO Werner Vogels couldn’t resist making a joke at the affair stating “Dear cool folks at @NianticLabs please let us know if there is anything we can do to help!” on his twitter account. This could imply some insider knowledge from Vogels as it would be most likely the company would take a swipe at its closest rivals in the public cloud market segment, namely Google or Microsoft Azure.

The claims of the DDoS attacks would appear to have come at an adequate time, as it has taken the heat off the cloud infrastructure inadequacies. According to Business Insider, Hanke said the international roll-out of the game would be “paused until we’re comfortable”, with relation to the server capacity issues. It would seem the company is prepared to ride the wave of demand, as well as complaints, and fix the server problem later, as launches and server issues continued following that interview.

Samsung acquires containers-cloud company Joyent

Money Tree, Currency, Growth.Samsung has agreed to buy San Francisco based cloud provider Joyent in an effort to diversify its product offering in declining markets, reports

Financial for the deal have not been disclosed, however the team stated the acquisition will build Samsung’s capabilities in the mobile and Internet of Things arenas, as well cloud-based software and services markets. The company’s traditional means of differentiating its products have been through increased marketing efforts and effective distribution channels, though the new expertise will add a new string to the bow.

“Samsung evaluated a wide range of potential companies in the public and private cloud infrastructure space with a focus on leading-edge scalable technology and talent,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications business at Samsung. “In Joyent, we saw an experienced management team with deep domain expertise and a robust cloud technology validated by some of the largest Fortune 500 customers.”

Joyent itself offers a relatively unique proposition in the cloud market as it runs its platform on containers, as opposed to traditional VM’s which the majority of other cloud platforms run on. The team reckons by using containers efficiency it notably improved, a claim which is generally supported by the industry. A recent poll run on Business Cloud News found 89% of readers found container run cloud platforms more attractive than those on VMs.

While smartphones would now be considered the norm in western societies, the industry has been taking a slight dip in recent months. Using data collected from public announcements and analyst firm Strategy Analytics, estimates showed the number of smartphones shipped in Q1 2016 fell to 334.6 million units from 345 million during the same period in 2015. The slowdown has been attributed to lucrative markets such as China becoming increasingly mature, as well as pessimistic outlook from consumers on the global economy.

As a means to differentiate the brand and tackle a challenging market, Samsung has been looking to software and services offerings, as creating a unique offering from hardware or platform perspective has become next to impossible. In terms of the hardware, the latest release of every smartphone contains pretty much the same features (high-performance camera, lighter than ever before etc.), and for the platform, the majority of the smartphone market operates on Android. Software and services has become the new battle ground for product differentiation.

Last month, the team launched its Artik Cloud Platform, an open data exchange platform designed to connect any data set from any connected device or cloud service. IoT is a market which has been targeted by numerous organizations and is seemingly the focus of a healthy proportion of product announcements. The launch of Artik Cloud puts Samsung in direct competition with the likes of Microsoft Azure and IBM Bluemix, as industry giants jostle for lead position in the IoT race, which has yet to be clarified. The inclusion of Joyent’s technology and engineers will give Samsung extra weight in the developing contest.

The purchase also offers Samsung the opportunity to scale its own scale its own cloud infrastructure. The Samsung team says it’s one of the world’s largest consumers of public cloud data and storage, and the inclusion of Joyent could offer the opportunity to move data in-house to decrease the dependency on third party cloud providers such as AWS.

As part of the agreement, CEO Scott Hammond, CTO Bryan Cantrill, and VP of Product Bill Fine, will join Samsung to work on company-wide initiatives. “We are excited to join the Samsung family,” said Hammond. “Samsung brings us the scale we need to grow our cloud and software business, an anchor tenant for our industry leading Triton container-as-a-service platform and Manta object storage technologies, and a partner for innovation in the emerging and fast growing areas of mobile and IoT, including smart homes and connected cars.”

Samsung and Oracle in mobile cloud development pact

mobile online datingSamsung and Oracle are to combine their respective device and cloud expertise in a pact to jointly create tools, apps and enterprise systems for the mobile world.

The two partners are working with systems integrators to help industries make use of their existing systems in the cloud, modernising them to take full advantage of the new mobile and cloud and create cost efficiencies. Another joint ambition is to create a wider set of Apache Cordova plug-ins and code samples to help customers modernize their enterprise applications.

The objective, according to Young Kim, VP of the Enterprise Business Team at Samsung Electronics, is to use the cloud to create better mobile user experiences out of their collective expertise in enterprise software, mobile cloud and device features.

Samsung and Oracle want to help developers and solution providers to create the next generation of mobile applications and services and drive ‘a new frontier of productivity’ according to Kim.

Samsung and Oracle have worked with systems integrators on new cloud based mobile and Internet of Things systems, which will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. These include an HCL Technologies-inspired predictive maintenance system for Samsung Gear S2, the Oracle IoT Cloud Service and the Oracle Service Cloud. This digests data and uses this intelligence so that enterprises can cut the costs of high value asset maintenance. Another invention, from Sofbang’s contracts management team, speeds the management and approval of contracts through notifications on Samsung Gear S wearables. The data is protected by Samsung’s cloud-based KNOX mobile security. Another system that combines wearable devices and the cloud is L&T Infotech’s, which hooks into the Oracle IoT Cloud Service using Samsung tablets, smartphones and wearables to increase asset operating life, decrease downtime and cater for proactive maintenance.

Samsung said it is beefing up its support of Apache Cordova with extra plugins for developers to use in the Oracle Mobile Application Framework and Oracle JavaScript Extension.

“The support and unique additions found in Samsung hardware helped us create differentiated end user experiences in weeks with Oracle Mobile Cloud Service,” said Mia Urman, CEO at development partner Auraplayer.

Salesforce would be more effective if it was more mobile, workers tell survey

Salesforce WearCustomer relationship management leader (CRM) Salesforce needs to improve the employee experience before its clients can get the most out of it, says a new report.

The advice comes in the fourth annual State of Salesforce report, from consultancy Bluewolf, a partner agency to world’s top CRM vendor. It suggests that while customers of companies that use Salesforce feel more connected, the users of the CRM system aren’t as happy. The main complaints are inconsistent data quality and a lack of mobile options. However, the majority of the survey sample plan to ramp up their investment in the system.

Based on the feedback from 1,500 Salesforce customers worldwide, the 2015-2016 report suggests that the concerns of employees should be the next priority for Salesforce as it seeks to fine tune its CRM software.

The demand for better mobility was made by 77 per cent of salespeople surveyed. Their most time-consuming task was identified as ‘opportunity management’ which, the report concludes, could be improved by better mobile applications. The study also says that employees were twice as likely to believe that Salesforce makes their job easier if it could be accessed from a mobile device.

Bluewolf’s report suggests that Salesforce’s priorities in 2016 should be to invest more three areas: the mobile workforce, predictive analytics and improving the sales team’s experience of using apps.

In the modern obsession with customer experience, it is easily forgotten that employees create the customer success, according to Bluewolf CEO Eric Berridge. “While innovation is essential to improving employee experiences, companies must combine it with data, design and an employee culture.”

However, the report does indicate that companies are happy with Salesforce, since 64 per cent plan to increase their budget. Half, 49 per cent, have at least two Salesforce clouds and 22 per cent have at least three. A significant minority, 11 per cent, say they are planning to spend at least half as much again next year on Salesforce services.
That investment is planned because 59 per cent of Salesforce users say the CRM system is much simpler to use than it was a year ago.

Meanwhile, many companies are taking the employee matter into their own hand, says the report. One in three companies has already invested in agent productivity apps and one in five is planning to invest.

Google unveils cloud-based testing lab to combat Android fragmentation

The scale of Android fragmentation as visualised by OpenSignal

The scale of Android fragmentation in 2014 as visualised by OpenSignal

Google unveiled a cloud-based testing service for Android apps it hopes will help combat fragmentation in the growing Android ecosystem.

The service, unveiled at Google’s annual I/O conference this week and based on Appurify’s technology – an acquisition it announced at the conference last year, allows developers to run their applications on simulated versions of thousands of different Android devices.

The company said much like other app testing services the Cloud Test Lab can record what happens just before an app crashes, and provides a crash log to help users debug their apps after having tested them on tons of different devices with a wide range of specs and capabilities.

“From nearly every brand, model and version of physical devices your users might be using, to an unlimited supply of virtual devices in every language, orientation and network condition around the world. You can get rid of that device closet—ours is bigger,” the company said.

“Out of the box, without any user-written tests, robot app crawlers know just what to look out for and will find crashes in your app for you. Augment this with user-written instrumentation tests to make sure that your most important user flows work perfectly.”

There has always been fragmentation in the Android world, and while it’s considered by some users to be one of the benefits of playing in Google’s ecosystem it’s also a major headache for app developers because building crash-proof apps for a range of devices can be quite time-consuming; not getting that right can as a result cause users grief (just check out a few reviews on the Google Play store).

With a wide range of low-cost Android devices flowing in from China, coupled with other large incumbents like Samsung, LG and Sony contributing to the heterogeneity themselves, fragmentation only seems to be increasing (OpenSignal has put together an impressive report detailing the scale of Android fragmentation – and how it compares with the iOS ecosystem). These testing services will also be critical for Google developers as the company looks to target the Internet of Things with a new OS and doubles down on Chromebooks, which are both based on Android.

Citrix pitches Workspace Cloud for hybrid cloud service delivery

Citrix is aiming its solutions at hybrid cloud users

Citrix is aiming its solutions at hybrid cloud users

Citrix has unveiled Workspace Cloud, a set of cloud-based tools aimed at bridging the application deployment and management gap between on-premise and cloud infrastructure.

The solution, based on XenApp, XenMobile and XenDesktop technology, is basically an integrated and consolidated set of existing Citrix tools used to stream virtual apps to and manage mobile devices, and share content across devices and services – whether that data is located on-premise or in a cloud platform.

The company is pitching it as a “new control pane” for data across any device, and any infrastructure.

“Citrix Workspace Cloud is the future of on-demand IT. People want access to all their apps and data, and this no longer equates to a desktop. Citrix has created the fastest and easiest way to deploy new resources, simplified infrastructure management, and provided freedom of choice in selecting the right hosting and delivery model,” said Jesse Lipson, vice president and general manager, cloud services at Citrix.

Scott Ottaway, vice president at 451 Research said Citrix’s move to consolidate and integrate it offerings comes at a time when enterprises are struggling to bridge this gap between securing and managing content between a combination of on-premise and cloud platforms.

“When it comes to end-user computing, Enterprise IT is at a cross-roads with multiple challenges around device management complexity, data and application security, and requirements to deliver consumer-like, consistent experiences across any device,” Ottaway said.

“And IT leaders have more pressure than ever to achieve rapid time to market with new IT services, especially new mobile applications,” he said, adding that ensuring infrastructure agnosticism and reducing vendor lock-in will be essential for solutions vendors like Citrix moving forward.

Nearly half of Brits find wearables in the enterprise intrusive – study

How will wearables impact privacy in the enterprise?

How will wearables impact privacy in the enterprise?

A recently published study by UK mobile app developer Apadmi suggests UKers are deeply concerned about the privacy implications of wearable IP-connected technology in the workplace.

The study, which surveyed 500 adults living and working in the UK, found that 42 per cent of people in the UK thought that wearable technology posed a risk to their privacy, with only 18 per cent of respondents saying they didn’t feel it was a danger.

But there seemed to be a significant portion of respondents (40 per cent) that did not know whether wearable tech would pose a threat to their privacy.

“It’s obvious from our investigations that privacy is a very real issue for the wearable technology industry, although it’s by no means insurmountable,” said Nick Black, co-founder and director at Apadmi

“A lot of commentators are flagging up the potential privacy implications of devices that can record and relay so much data about an individual. And consumers appear to be taking note, with quite a few admitting that these concerns weigh on their mind when considering whether or not to buy wearable technology.”

Wearables have started to gain favour with some larger enterprises in the US and UK, particularly when it comes to tracking health and fitness. Some private health insurers for instance monitor fitness data as a way to incentivise fitness activity, which reduces the risk of health issues and can lead to lower premiums.

But opinion on the privacy implications of mandating wearables in the workplace seems to be quite strong. When asked how they would feel if their employer required them to use wearable technology as part of their role 25 per cent of respondents said they would consider changing jobs, and a further 24 per cent replied they would be happy to do this.

“We also need to draw attention to the fact that a huge number of people still don’t have a firm grasp of how wearable technology might impact upon privacy in the first place, as demonstrated by the significant number of ‘don’t know’ respondents in our survey. People are naturally apprehensive about what they don’t understand. But it’s interesting that those who go on to purchase a device are overwhelmingly happy with their decision and the benefits it has brought to their lives,” Black explained.

“With this in mind, wearable tech businesses and app developers need to educate prospective customers around privacy concerns to alleviate these fears. Many people still don’t fully understand the privacy issues around wearable technology or appreciate its potential to dramatically improve lives in areas such as health and social care.”

Despite the potential privacy implications many believe use of wearables in the enterprise will rapidly increase over the next few years. Salesforce for instance claims use of wearables in the enterprise will more than triple in the next two years, with smartwatches emerging as a popular candidate to deliver sales and customer service improvements.

The company’s own survey of over 1,400 working adults shows 79 per cent of adopters agree wearables will be strategic to their company’s future success; 76 per cent report improvements in business performance since deploying wearables in the enterprise; and 86 per cent of adopters’ organisations plan to increase their wearables spend over the next 12 months.

CIO Focus Interview: David Chou

CIO focus interviewThis is the fourth installment of our CIO Focus Interview series. This time, I spoke with David Chou, the CIO of a large academic medical center. A recognized thought leader, David is on the Huffington Post’s 2015 list of the top 100 most social CIOs on Twitter, and I would definitely recommend following him. Enjoy!


Ben: Could you give us some background on your IT experience?

David: I was fortunate to be put on the IT fast track. I was your typical college student getting a BA in Computer Science, and somehow I landed an analyst job at a small community hospital in LA. This allowed me to get the opportunity to really understand the health care industry from an operational standpoint. From there, I focused on understanding operations and then finding the right technologies to fit in. I took the opposite approach than most IT professionals do. I dug deep into the operations model and then figured out which technologies worked well and matched them. That approach led to me getting exposure up the food chain that opened some doors for me. One thing I realized when talking to my counterparts who are successful is that you have to grasp opportunities, even if it means disrupting other aspects of your life.


Ben: What is your job like now?

David: Currently, I work at a large academic medical center. In bigger medical centers, there are typically CIOs across all three verticals – healthcare, research, and higher education. Oftentimes, this causes tension and barriers in terms of adoption. In my position, I have control over all three, which is a pretty unique model to have. In addition, we are a public center which also makes us unique in how we operate.


Ben: What are your main responsibilities?

David: Today, I manage day to day operations and an $82 million budget. Early in my career the CIO operated transactional data entry, maintaining mainframes, etc. Now it’s a lot more strategic. Technology should be at the core of every organization. The CIO has to be involved strategically. This means being a part of the executive team and having a seat at the table.

{Follow David on Twitter @dchou1107}

Ben: What areas of IT do you think are having the biggest impact on the industry?

David: Right now the focus is on the “4 pillars” of cloud, mobile, social and big data. Any executive that doesn’t have that vision is not going to be well off in the future. These are extremely important and strategic to me. I am trying to get the organization to adopt the cloud. Organizational culture plays a big role in this. Cloud can be an uncomfortable topic so that’s a barrier. I’m challenging that traditional mindset.

Mobile is also very big for us. Consumers in healthcare want to have personalized medicine. They want to shop for healthcare the same way they shop on Amazon. That’s where I believe healthcare is moving towards – a retail model. Whoever successfully pulls that off first is going to cause a huge disruption. We’re all trying to figure out how to utilize it. We want to be able to predict outcomes and provide the best customer experience possible.

I really believe in the importance of social media and the value of capturing consumer engagement and behavior. In my vertical, it has not been widely adopted yet. The big focus has been on cloud, mobile and big data.


Ben: How are you incorporating those technologies in your organization?

David: We’re in the process of incorporating a hybrid cloud model in our environment. From a budgetary and contractual perspective we’re all ready to go, we’re just getting the organization’s terms and conditions aligned with the cloud  providers. It’s a challenge for us to get public cloud providers to agree to our terms and conditions.

Our Electronic Medical Record system went live a year ago. Four years ago we had disparate systems that took a lot of manual upkeep. The first step to remedying this was moving from manual to digital. Now that we have that new format, we can take a controlled approach. We’ll look into some consumer friendly products that allow users to have access to data and have self-serving and provisioning capabilities. After this is implemented for a year, my goal is to take another look. We’ll have what we need to solve 80% of problems, so the question will be whether or not that extra 20% is worth a full blown BI platform for analytics?


Ben: What advice do you have for other CIOs starting out in the healthcare industry?

David: Take the time to build that relationship with the business. Learn the terms and lingo. Talking tech won’t work with most business executives so you need to adapt. Ultimately, you need to focus on understanding the needs of the customer and solving those needs.


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By Ben Stephenson, Emerging Media Specialist

Top 5 Reasons Your Brand Should Invest in SMS Marketing

As more customers access information on-the-go, SMS is increasingly becoming an important tool in multi-channel marketing. However, there are still a number of businesses that believe mobile marketing demands significantly large budgets and heavy investments in applications.

In truth, gaining access to mobile communications is easier than ever and engaging with mobile users is as simple as sending out personalized and targeted text messages. Initiating two-way SMS communication between a brand and a mobile user is not only convenient but also essential to make your brand a household name. 

Here are some key benefits of adopting SMS marketing as a promotional tool: 

1. Direct and Real-Time Communication

Text messaging is one of the most immediate channels for marketing communication. Statistics suggest that 97% of recipients will read your text within 15 minutes of its delivery. Time-critical messages work best using this tool. Studies also suggest that 45% of SMS campaigns generate successful ROI. These figures have the potential to go up to 50% when combined with other popular tools.

2. Building Databases and Simplifying Interactions

Encourage your customers to interact with you through SMS messaging services. Adding creative copy, short codes or keywords to your printing material and other marketing communications allows both existing and potential customers to easily respond to your message. When audiences can contact your brand easily, you may build databases of high-intent customers more efficiently.

3. Easy Integration with other Channels

While SMS is an excellent standalone channel, it also provides the ability to improve and support other media, including television ads, social media and e-mail. For instance, customers may use this tool to enter opinion polls and contests released on alternative platforms.

4. Learn More about your Customer

SMS is an excellent channel to receive feedback from your customers. Studies suggest that 31% of your target audience is likely to respond to an SMS-enabled survey. The average response time recorded is as short as 5 minutes. This means businesses can accumulate quick insights on the psyche of their target groups and use this information effectively for enhanced service delivery.

5. Increase Customer Engagement

Just imagine the number of ways in which SMS can help your brand improve engagement across the customer lifecycle! Especially for e-commerce businesses, this channel may be effectively used to introduce new product ranges, send order confirmations, delivery information and assistance for product returns and exchanges.

Finally, SMS services are best leveraged to track meaningful ROI, identify receptive customers, monitor delivery rates and use this information to improve business processes. A commonly believed myth that SMS is a difficult channel to track is being rapidly debunked; this tool is at least as effective as e-mail when it comes to customer engagement. By using analytics intelligently, businesses are able to create well-targeted and profit-making campaigns for their brands using SMS services.