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Yo, the world’s simplest app, receives further funding

Published by on Jul 22nd, 2014, No Comments

Yo

A few weeks ago, we reported on what we thought could possibly be the world’s simplest app. Yo, the single-function app basically does exactly what it’s name suggests; it let’s you say ‘yo’ to your friends.

And while the app was considered rather strange by many critics and tech journalists, Yo has just gone and given the finger to all it’s naysayers after it received a second round of funding – to the tune of $1.5 million.

Betaworks, a seed-stage VP firm that is based in New York City is one of the investors along with Mashable founder and CEO, Pete Cashmore.

But just what is it about Yo that makes people want to invest large amounts of money into it? (more…)

Businesses Need to Build Digital Competence for New Era – Gartner

Published by on Jul 8th, 2014, No Comments

_ALP0435_5Gartner, Inc. estimates that by 2020, there will be 7.3 billion personal devices and 30 billion sensors in things ranging from jewellery to appliances – up from 1.6 billion personal devices and 0.9 billion sensors in 2009. These devices communicating, transacting, and even negotiating with each other, lead into a new world – the era of the digital business.

“The digital business is the coming together of possibilities in the physical and virtual worlds to create new business designs that can drive competitive advantage,” said Jeffrey Mann, Gartner research vice president.

“As the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart objects meet cloud, mobile, social and information, the IoT will create entirely new combinations of technology at accelerated speeds,” said Mr Mann. “This will disrupt existing business models, reshape entire industries and redefine the role of IT.”

Gartner projects that by 2020 the total economic value-add for the IoT will be $1.9 trillion in this digital industrial economy.

Mr Mann added that it’s not about using technology as an enabler, but as a source of innovation for what the business could do. “Businesses need to put technology at the heart of how they generate revenue, seize competitive advantage and produce value.”

This digitalisation will completely change business technology and information architecture, what it needs from vendors, and how it deals with cyber security and risk. It will also require every business leader to have digital leadership skills.

“Especially in South Africa there’s been a lot of emphasis on cutting budgets to the bone,” said Mr Mann. “A lot of the decisions that were made to ‘do more with less’ can hurt digital business efforts if there isn’t enough flexibility to react to and take advantage of new opportunities.”

This year’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa will focus on emerging technologies, defining strategy, what leaderships skills are going to be necessary, and what you have to be ready for in the new digital industrial economy. It will also look at the more practical short-term challenges of how to run the business better, like how to decide on a collaboration platform or how to design an application portfolio.

As part of the agenda, vice president and Gartner Fellow Mark Raskino’s 2015 digital business scenario will look at the most important digital business actions each senior executive must take. Principal research analyst, Will Hahn, will explain why you need 53 African Strategies for success on the continent. Research vice president Brian Burke will look at how gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things. In addition, research vice president Frank Buytendijk will explore digital ethics at the centre of the digital business.

“Businesses can’t rely on old practices, safe relationships, legacy technologies and known vendors anymore in the new digital era,” said Rene Jacobs, Gartner Africa managing director.

“They have to explore, adapt and adopt new digital realities,” said Mrs Jacobs Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2014, the foremost gathering of IT leaders on the continent, will equip and inspire senior executives with new digital knowledge from our specially crafted agenda, peer networking and one-on-one discussions with Gartner analysts.

The Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2014 will take place at the CTICC from 10-12 September. A team of 18 of Gartner‘s leading research analysts will spend three days sharing more than 50 presentations with new global research and in-depth studies. The ITxpo will also showcase some of the latest service provider offerings. For more information and a full agenda, please visit http://www.gartner.co.za.

(more…)

Uber valuation grows to $17 billion

Published by on Jul 2nd, 2014, No Comments

uber-family

Uber has quickly become a cash cow. They have just announced another round of incoming funding – this time to the tune of $1.2 billion – which means its valuation now stands at a whopping $17 billion. There has only been one startup that has raised funds quicker – Facebook.

The app is already four years old and operates in 37 cities around the world (in a total of 128 cities). The business needs new ideas to keep growing, of course, and plans to expand its product portfolio. (more…)

Amazon’s delivery drones aren’t taking flight any time soon

Published by on Jun 25th, 2014, 1 Comment

Amazon drones

In December of last year, Amazon made a big splash in the media with the announcement of PrimeAir - their all new delivery system that would see the company deliver packages to customers with the use of drones.

While the idea of drones delivering packages to people captured the imagination of many, some were impressed and others more skeptical (like this hilarious parody video proves).

However, whether you were pro PrimeAir or not, Amazon’s drones are not taking off anytime soon.

The US’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has basically concluded that delivering packages with drones is illegal – thus putting a cork in Amazon’s new age ideas.  (more…)

Apple opens third store in Tokyo

Published by on Jun 13th, 2014, No Comments

apple store tokyo

Apple is really getting big in Japan after it opened it’s ninth store in the tech savvy country.

Apple opened their latest store in Tokyo today, making it their third store in the capital alone. However, the new store is definitely the best looking one out of the three.

Located in the high-end shopping district of Omotesando, the new store looks to reach a younger, more hip demographic. The other two Tokyo Apple stores are located in the Shibuya and Ginza districts.

Apple’s new home shares a street with some impressive, luxury names, including the likes of Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and Dior. This is without a doubt another way for Apple to cement themselves as a ‘luxury’ brand, by aligning themselves with other, high-end designer brands.  (more…)

Google in talks to buy stake in Virgin Galactic

Published by on Jun 13th, 2014, No Comments

Farnborough International Airshow

Well, it seems Google is extremely interested in space. Just this week, we reported that Google has bought a satellite imaging company, and now news hit the internet that they also want to buy a stake in Virgin’s space business, Virgin Galactic.

Sky News reports that the search giant is in advanced talks to take a minority stake in Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic business with a view to getting its internet satellite project off the ground. (more…)

Google’s modular smartphone Project Ara Developer’s Conference (video)

Published by on Jun 6th, 2014, No Comments

phonebloks

Yesterday was day one of the Project Ara developers conference.

Imagine having a smartphone with modules that can all be swopped and replaced, allowing you to upgrade certain parts of your phone at will. You would be able to concentrate on what you find important in your device. If you like photography, install a better camera module; if you prefer more storage for all your music and apps you can rather include that. The concept is called Phonebloks.

This concept brought on Project Ara, which Google took control of after buying Motorola. Google are completely transparent with this idea, and has started with a developer’s conference to get as many people on board as early as possible. Check out their progress below: (more…)

Apple, Beats deal confirmed

Published by on May 29th, 2014, No Comments

Apple Beats

Finally! Tech journalists and industry watchers worldwide can breathe a sigh of relief as Apple has officially confirmed that they are, in fact, buying Beats electronics for $3 billion.

The company will acquire both Beats electronics and Beats Music, which will see Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine netting about $2.6 billion with a further $400 million that will vest over time.

Apple has confirmed that the Beats brand will stay separate from the Apple brand and that they (as Apple) will continue to offer Beats music streaming service as well as their popular headphones.

Dre and Iovine will now be joining Apple as a part of their team – no doubt being two of the most famous people to join the company since Steve Jobs.

When we first reported on the (then possible) Beats/Apple deal, we theorized that Apple was not only buying beats for it’s influence on the music industry, but for its design talent and resources as well.  (more…)

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