Dazeinfo https://dazeinfo.com Amazing Insights of I.T. Sun, 26 Mar 2017 02:18:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 Apple To Manufacture Only iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE In India https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/24/apple-begin-manufacturing-iphones-india-apple-finally-taking-india-seriously/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/24/apple-begin-manufacturing-iphones-india-apple-finally-taking-india-seriously/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:21:40 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76179 In February officials from the Indian government had confirmed tech giant Apple’s plans to manufacture of select iPhone models in Bengaluru, India. Yesterday, government officials exposed more specific details about Apple’s plan stating that the Cupertino giant will manufacture iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE for now. This is an announcement that has been expected […]]]>

In February officials from the Indian government had confirmed tech giant Apple’s plans to manufacture of select iPhone models in Bengaluru, India. Yesterday, government officials exposed more specific details about Apple’s plan stating that the Cupertino giant will manufacture iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE for now. This is an announcement that has been expected ever since Apple CEO Tim Cook’s visit to India back in 2016. Apple supplier Wistron will be shouldering most of the manufacturing responsibilities. However, the announcement also states that Apple will start out manufacturing only the iPhone 6 and iPhone SE in India.

Apple has a history of achieving incredible success in most markets they enter. However, in this case, Apple face some unique challenges that they will need to overcome in order to tap into the Indian market’s vast potential.

Apple’s Growing Interest In India

In recent times, Apple has displayed a growing interest in the Indian smartphone market. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” pitch, Apple has shown a desire to set up a manufacturing hub in India. Apple currently holds only about 4% share of smartphone market in India. It can be said that until now, Apple has failed to make the most of the potential in the Indian market. However, while Apple was focusing on other fledgeling markets in the past, it can no longer afford to ignore India. Recent reports have suggested that iPhone sales in China are slowing down. Markets in the US and Europe have also saturated by now. As the third largest smartphone market in the world, and one of the fastest growing, India is a potential goldmine for Apple. In fact, Apple’s position in India has already started improving. During 2016, iPhone sales went up by 50% in India. Apple shipped a record 2.5 million iPhones from October 2015 to September 2016.

Why Start With the iPhone 6/SE?

Apple’s decision to start its manufacturing operations in India with the iPhone 6 and SE might appear odd at first. However, upon deeper analysis, this decision makes perfect sense from Apple’s perspective. India’s smartphone market is heavily budget and mid-range oriented. The high-end smartphones costing $300 and above only account 6% of the quarterly smartphone shipments in India. The average selling price of a smartphone in India is hovering $120, which is less than half of the average selling price of smartphone globally. This is primarily due to the fact that per capita income in India is quite low in spite of the fact that it’s estimated to cross $1,700 in 2017. In such a market environment, the lower-priced iPhone 6 and SE models are more likely to sell better. In India, about 45-50% of iPhone sales came from the iPhone 5S or lower in July-September 2016, said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint.

Moreover, Apple may be hoping to sort out the kinks of manufacturing in a new location and do a sort of “practice run” before they commit to manufacturing their premium flagship smartphones in India.

Significant Challenges Apple iPhone May Face

  • Pricing – The prices of iPhones have always been exorbitantly high. A recent report from Deutsche Bank notes that average iPhone prices in India were 31% more than in the US. This is especially egregious in a very price sensitive market like India. With Apple’s new manufacturing hub in India, CNBC believes iPhone prices in India can fall by up to $100. This will put it more in line with the US average.
  • Sub-par Brand Awareness – Fortune notes that Apple’s brand awareness in India ranks at 10th. This is below its rivals Samsung, Sony and even Blackberry. In fact, a Morgan Stanley survey found that nearly half respondents had never even heard of Apple. The opening of official Apple Stores and more advertising endeavours would help greatly in improving brand recognition.
  • No Contract System – The lack of any carrier-subsidized contract bound smartphones in India is a big blow to Apple. Apple has based their successful sales model in the US on selling cheaper iPhones under carrier contracts. To remedy this, Tim Cook reportedly met with Airtel and Vodafone executives to discuss possible tie-ups in the future.
  • Cash/Debit-Based Economy – A major part of Apple’s revenue stream comes from users invested in their ecosystem. However, Apple’s entire app purchase system is based on credit, which severely limits digital purchases on their platform in a country where credit cards are still not ubiquitous. Apple would do well to emulate Valve’s Steam digital distribution platform and introduce more amenable methods of payment such as net banking and mobile wallets.
  • Competition From Android – Android is by far the dominant smartphone platform in India, with Android smartphones accounting for an incredible 97% of the market share in Q2 2016. Apple has their work cut out if they want to push back Android in India.

Takeaways

  • Apple to manufacture their mid-range smartphones in India to reduce prices and tap into the lucrative budget/mid-range Indian market.
  • With growth in China slowing down, India represents the next big market for Apple.
  • Apple is lagging behind competitors when it comes to brand awareness in India.
  • With nearly 97% of the market share, Android remains the dominant force in India.
Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll. ]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/24/apple-begin-manufacturing-iphones-india-apple-finally-taking-india-seriously/feed/ 0
LinkedIn is Betting Big on Content by Introducing Trending Storylines https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/23/linkedin-trending-storylines-content/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/23/linkedin-trending-storylines-content/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:12:39 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76170 LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) announced on Wednesday, on their official blog, the launch of Trending Storylines. This new LinkedIn feature is where “daily curated interest-based feeds about the most important developing stories in your industry” will cluster and be accessible to users by way of a “Trending” tab. Ever since the big acquisition by Microsoft that made […]]]>

LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) announced on Wednesday, on their official blog, the launch of Trending Storylines. This new LinkedIn feature is where “daily curated interest-based feeds about the most important developing stories in your industry” will cluster and be accessible to users by way of a “Trending” tab.

Ever since the big acquisition by Microsoft that made waves last year, LinkedIn has been continually working on improvements and newer ways to engage its 465 million users on its site. LinkedIn is now no longer merely a place to look for jobs or make quick network exchanges but is part of bigger advertising and audience play. On that note, its newest Trending Storylines feature comes in as an enhanced feature on the site which keeps its users more engaged, and also places more prominence on the power of content.

The feature, which will be launched in the U.S. first, will include multiple perspectives for users to quickly access, follow, or join conversations. It will be personalised for each user by a combination of algorithms and by LinkedIn’s own editorial team. Following the launch, LinkedIn Trending Storylines will initially focus on stories in technology, finance, and healthcare. More regions and topics will be added down the line.

LinkedIn’s new feature could be of great benefit to all its users, considering the personalised nature of this feature. Users will be able to connect to the stories that matter most to them professionally on a daily basis, and will also be able to join conversations that interest them. Further, the entire LinkedIn Feed user-experience, which has been redesigned in the recent past, provides the user more control. Now with LinkedIn Trending Storylines, users will also have a highly customised storyline awaiting them every day. In the course of time, users will also be able to follow topics or people they find within storylines. Consequently, users will be able to reflect all their professional interests on their LinkedIn Feeds.

LinkedIn is no doubt, keen on delivering the most relevant information, news, and content to users, in the most efficient way possible. While Facebook has been focusing on something similar, it is important to note that LinkedIn has a user base consisting of mostly professionals. In what LinkedIn is terming as a “hybrid human-machine approach“, LinkedIn is keenly trying to help its vast member-base consisting of a large group of professionals, publishers, and editorial voices come together for a discussion on one platform.

Even though the new LinkedIn StoryLines feature strongly resembles Twitter’s ‘Twitter Moments’, or Facebook’s ‘Activity Feed’, we could say LinkedIn is being innovative on how it uses the content posted on its network to drive even more traffic. Right now, content posted on LinkedIn’s network does bring in a significant amount of traffic. Further, sponsored content is a prominent part of LinkedIn’s advertising strategy. This new LinkedIn Storylines feature may be just the thing LinkedIn needs to not just bring in much more traffic, but to keep its users engaged in conversation, debate, and discussion, and generate larger revenues from sponsored content.

It may seem like LinkedIn faces no serious competition, and in some manner of speaking, that might be true. Ever since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has been a dedicated network connecting millions of highly skilled employees, and has been an essential tool for corporate as well as agency recruiters. There have been no other platforms who even came close to being a serious threat to LinkedIn’s market position. However, it is evident that Facebook has been trying hard to muscle its way in on LinkedIn’s recruiting business with its experimentation with recruiting features on its page.

The recruitment business aside, LinkedIn and Facebook do seem to be fighting each other in terms of their content strategies. Until 2015, most of LinkedIn’s revenues came from selling access to information about its users to recruiters and sales professionals. After the acquisition by Microsoft, however, LinkedIn began focusing more on making the user experience seamless across both mobile and desktop platforms. This included newer interfaces and more focus on content.

With the brand new Storylines feature up its sleeve, LinkedIn may be onto something promising. While competition is not something LinkedIn has to worry about too much at the moment, Better Safe Than Sorry, seems to be LinkedIn’s cautious approach.

]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/23/linkedin-trending-storylines-content/feed/ 0
The “Internet of Things” Is Here: 12.5 Bln Connected Devices, $470 Bln Annual Revenue [REPORT] https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/22/internet-things-iot-market-revenue-growth-2021/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/22/internet-things-iot-market-revenue-growth-2021/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:50:39 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76155 Over the past few years, one of the hottest topics in the technology industry has been the phenomenon of the “Internet of Things”. With the advances in technology, the conversation has shifted from a theoretical model to actual physical implementations. It is the next phase in the Information Revolution. As more and more people realise […]]]>

Over the past few years, one of the hottest topics in the technology industry has been the phenomenon of the “Internet of Things”. With the advances in technology, the conversation has shifted from a theoretical model to actual physical implementations. It is the next phase in the Information Revolution. As more and more people realise the potential of this technology, the IoT phenomenon is truly about to explode in the industry and public consciousness.

The State Of The IoT Industrial Landscape

RFID tags are one of the key enablers in an IoT setup. Now, RFID technology is progressively becoming cheaper to mass produce. As a consequence, the IoT industry is predicted to experience tremendous growth and adoption over the following years. In fact, Bain forecast annual revenues upwards of $470 billion for IoT software and hardware vendors by 2020! In addition, data from Juniper Research depicts that nearly 12.5 billion business assets in retail sector will be connected to IoT platforms by 2021. The exploded adoption of IoT can be visualised with the fact that there would be 350% rise in the number of retail devices connected to IoT platform between 2016 and 2021.

The research firm also adds that, in retail, retail businesses will need to integrate the data collected from IoT assets with enterprise solutions to achieve next level of growth. Integration of enterprise solution with IoT assets in itself would be a big opportunity for IoT enablers. The spendings on software for ERP to integrate the data collected from IoT assets in the Retail sector is estimated to grow from $1.5 billion in 2017 to $11.3 billion annually by 2021.

This kind of growth is unprecedented. Business Insider estimates that IoT will become the largest device market in the world by 2019 at nearly double the size of the smartphone, PC, tablet, wearable and connected car market combined. From 2016 to 2021, the market size is estimated to grow to a staggering $661.74 billion at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 33.3%.

So what is the driving force behind the tremendous growth of the IoT industry? Let us have a look.

Key Growth Drivers

Advancements in hardware and lowering costs – Computer hardware and network technology has progressed at a tremendous rate over the past few decades. As predicted by Moore’s law, chips are getting smaller. Metcalfe’s law has seen network value increase with each additional network node, and Koomey’s Law has seen batteries getting smaller. With increasingly lower costs and mass availability of essential hardware like RFID tags, IoT enabled devices are primed for mass manufacture and consumer adoption.

Ubiquitous adoption of gateway devices – The IoT is completely reliant on control hubs or gateways for any sort of functional implementation. Personal devices such as smartphones and tablets are perfectly suited to this function. The almost universal presence and ever increasing adoption of these devices are the key enablers for the IoT.

Expanded wireless/broadband connectivity and the implementation of IPv6 protocols – The world is increasingly becoming more and more connected via the spread of the internet. The International Telecommunication Union reports that while 40% of the global population is connected to the internet as of today, this number is set to rise to 57% by 2019. Coupled with the advancements in wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, efficient device-to-device communication is becoming easier by the day.

Another big requirement for the implementation of IoT devices is the ability to differentiate each device. The implementation of Ipv6 protocols has helped immensely with this. Ipv6 supports 128-bit addresses, allowing each device to have its own distinct IP address.

Increased investment in the IoT – Corporations are beginning to realise the enormous potential of the IoT. Companies like Dell, IBM etc are investing heavily in IoT-based technology. General Electric forecast investment in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to cross $60 trillion in the next 15 years! This kind of investment and commitment is driving significant innovation and progress in the IoT industry.

Cloud Computing – As one would expect, mass scale implementation of IoT will generate an enormous amount of data. The storage and processing of this data is only feasible on the cloud computing model. We have made significant strides in cloud technology in the past decade. This will be essential to the growth and adoption of the IoT.

Hurdles

Despite its enormous potential, the IoT is still in its infancy. It lacks a common set of standards and technologies for compatibility. An effort needs to be made to standardise the IoT to enable interoperability and ease of use.

Other significant hurdles include issues around data management of such high volumes, security and consumer privacy. The IoT is based on big data, and the potential for abuse is very real.

Takeaways

  • The IoT is set to become the biggest device market in the world by 2019.
  • Business models will change to adapt to the IoT. This includes the rise of “Product as a Service” business models.
  • The fall in hardware and networking costs is the key driver enabling the IoT.
  • Security and privacy concerns are the biggest issues plaguing the IoT presently.
]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/22/internet-things-iot-market-revenue-growth-2021/feed/ 0
Samsung Bixby Will Intensify The War of AI Driven Virtual Digital Assistants https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/21/samsung-bixby-ai-virtual-assistannts-market/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/21/samsung-bixby-ai-virtual-assistannts-market/#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:44:33 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76127 Exciting news came out recently, with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (KRX:005930) announcing their new virtual digital assistant. Named “Bixby”, Samsung describes it as the “new intelligent interface” on all their devices. This marks the first time ever that Samsung has officially entered the market for AI (Artifical Intelligence) powered digital assistants. The industry for AI based […]]]>

Exciting news came out recently, with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (KRX:005930announcing their new virtual digital assistant. Named “Bixby”, Samsung describes it as the “new intelligent interface” on all their devices. This marks the first time ever that Samsung has officially entered the market for AI (Artifical Intelligence) powered digital assistants.

The industry for AI based virtual assistance is in a flux right now. There are many big players who are entering the field and scrambling for market share. Most importantly, everybody is constantly looking to innovate to keep their own digital assistance service relevant.

The State of the AI-powered Digital Assistant Industry

With so many behemoths of the tech world committing heavily to the creation of a truly functional AI assistant, it would seem that most believe that digital assistants are the next big thing. Samsung’s Bixby is only the latest big entry in the market, adding to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant.

The numbers seem to back up these companies’ faith in the potential for AI virtual assistance. According to a report by Research and Markets, the user base of consumer VDA (Virtual Digital Assistants) will grow from 390 million in 2016 to 1.8 billion by the end of 2021. This represents a growth of 361.54% in just over 6 years. Meanwhile, enterprise VDA users will grow from 155 million users to 843 million in the same time period.

Moreover, the revenue growth projections are even more lucrative. The report forecasts growth in VDA revenue from $1.6 billion in 2015 to $15.8 billion in 2021. This is a jaw dropping 887.5% growth in a period of 6 years!

The enormous potential of this type of technology is obvious. However, it remains to be seen who will take the best advantage of it.

The Parameters For Success

With increasing competition in the VDA marketplace, success is not guaranteed for anyone. While everyone wants to achieve a similar end goal, they are going about it in various different ways. Ultimately, these strategies and the manner of their execution will decide who will prevail. The conversation can be found to be centred upon the following major points:

Openness and Third Party Development – One of the biggest factors affecting most VDAs is their development model. The stark differences are especially obvious if we compare Siri and Alexa, two of the most popular VDAs currently. Amazon has opted for a more open source approach for Alexa, enlisting the aid of third party developers. This is done via the concept of “skills”, which are basically applications that enable specific functionality in Alexa. Needless to say, this allows Alexa much greater functionality across a wider spectrum.

On the other hand, Apple completely controls development and the flow of information in the case of Siri. This means that Siri has a very limited skillset compared to Alexa. However, the upside to this is that with strict control limits, the chance of unexpected interactions is greatly reduced. This provides for a more polished end user experience.

Google are also working on plans to involve third-party developers in the development of Google Assistant in a limited capacity using tools such as API.AI. Microsoft have outlined plans for a “proactive skill” based system, which would draw on existing their existing skills from Alexa.

Product Design and Humanization of AI – The technology powering VDAs are still in its infancy. We have found that most universal solutions are susceptible to a multitude of bugs, errors or misinformation. By narrowing the range of functions performed by a particular device, we can greatly improve the quality of the user experience. This amply demonstrated by the success of the Amazon Echo dot, which performs its admittedly limited functionality in a more satisfactory fashion. This segmentation of responsibility can help VDAs provide a more targeted and functional service. Notable examples of these are home automation, and sous vide tools which employ integrated VDAs.

Another vital factor I success could be the “humanization” of AI. Most AI machines of today seem very alien and robotic, with only rudimentary attempts to make them appear human. Making machines more adept at human interaction and encouraging natural conversation could be key for widescale adoption of VDAs.

Personalization and Customization – Learning more about the user and human mind, in general, can help expand and improve VDA functionality immeasurably. The quality of information will be greatly improved, with the ability to proved customised information tailored to the needs of specific users. This sort of artificial “memory” can also help reduce the frequency of redundant command requests. Whichever VDAs can provide a better-personalised experience are on a sure path to success.

However, this has given rise to a lot of privacy concerns from users, and it is imperative that companies be mindful of privacy and information abuse to ensure consumer goodwill.

Takeaways

  • Samsung announces their new digital assistant, “Bixby” which will provide competition to Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Google Assitant and Apple Siri.
  • The market for Virtual Digital Assistants is a potential goldmine, with a potential yearly revenue of $15.8 billion by 2021.
  • The consumer user-base for VDAs is also rapidly expanding, with the number of unique users to rise to 1.8 billion by 2021.
  • Personalization, third party development and “humanization” of AI are key factors in the success of VDAs.
]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/21/samsung-bixby-ai-virtual-assistannts-market/feed/ 0
2017 Sees More Billionaires Than Ever Before With A 13% Increase From 2016: Forbes https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/21/worlds-to-billionaire-list-2017/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/21/worlds-to-billionaire-list-2017/#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 05:32:12 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76123 The new Forbes 2017 Billionaires List suggests that the number of billionaires has risen from just 1,810 in 2016 to about 2,043 for the year 2017 – A whopping 13% increase in the number of billionaires in the world! This year’s list comes off as astounding for several other reasons- This is the first time ever […]]]>

The new Forbes 2017 Billionaires List suggests that the number of billionaires has risen from just 1,810 in 2016 to about 2,043 for the year 2017 – A whopping 13% increase in the number of billionaires in the world!

This year’s list comes off as astounding for several other reasons-

  • This is the first time ever that Forbes has been able to list out more than 2000 individuals whose net worth is in billions.
  • The total net worth of all billionaires put together rose to $7.67 trillion- an increase of about 18%- setting a record in Forbes’ Billionaire Lists.
  • There have been 233 names included to the list for 2017, which is the biggest rise in the number of billionaires Forbes has seen for the last 31 years of tracking billionaires globally.
  • Gainers since the 2016 list now outnumber the losers by more than 3-to-1.

The Forbes Billionaires List, which uses stock prices and exchange rates from around the world to calculate individual net worth, had its latest list released on February 17, 2017. It tracks and reflects changes that take place after adjustments in fluctuating stock prices and global exchange rates.

Coming off as no big surprise, Bill Gates continues to retain the #1 position, and for the fourth year now. He has featured on the billionaires’ list 18 times over the past 23 years. At #2 is the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, whose net worth jump of about $14.8 billion in just 12 months helped him grab #2 spot from Amancio Ortega, the founder of Zara.

Ortega, whose fortunes have increased by $4.3 billion since last year, still fell to the fourth position, unable to keep up with the likes of Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos.

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has undoubtedly had the best year than any other person on this list. He managed to move to position #3 on this list (up from #5), adding $27.6 billion to his fortune. He is now worth $72.8 billion.

The 2017 list featured 195 newcomers, Mainland China leading in this regard with the most new ten-figure fortunes at 76. Of the 195 newcomers are a sizeable number of young self-made billionaires, such as John Collison, who co-founded online payment portal Stripe with Patrick Collison. The number of billionaires on this list who are under the age 40, is at 56. Last year, however, this number was at 66.

The list of newcomers also includes 15 self-made women, with a majority of them coming from Asia Pacific. The first ever woman billionaire from Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, whose budget airline VietJet Air has been creating waves, went public in February 2017. With the inclusion of these 15 new women on the list, there are now 227 women who feature on Forbes’ list of billionaires for 2017.

Of course, the United States continues to dominate this list overall, with the most number of billionaires coming from this nation. While in 2016 the number of American billionaires stood at 540, this year it is at 565. China seems to be catching up, however, with about 319 billionaires making their way into Forbes’ list. Germany, with 114, followed not so distantly by India, with 101, take up the third and fourth place respectively in this regard.

Despite 78 individuals’ names being taken off the list for the year 2017, this year has seen a 13% jump in the number of people who feature on the list overall. This can be put into better perspective by looking at the past three years. In 2016, there were 1,810 billionaires who featured on the list. In fact, 2016 fared badly when compared to 2015, where the total net worth of individuals on the 2016 list was down to $6.48 trillion, from 2015’s $7.05 trillion. When you look at these past statistics, 2017 has not only been a better performing year so far, but has truly been conducive for aspiring billionaires who finally made Forbes’ list.

]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/21/worlds-to-billionaire-list-2017/feed/ 0
Time Spent In Messaging And Social Apps Grew By Whopping 394% in 2016 [REPORT] https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/20/mobile-apps-usage-messaging-social-media-report/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/20/mobile-apps-usage-messaging-social-media-report/#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:30:17 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76056 The future belongs to mobile. This is a fact that we have known for a while now. The landmark presentation “Mobile is Eating The World” by analyst Benedict Evans very aptly showcases how smartphones have infiltrated practically every aspect of our lives. For a while now, mobile has been replacing desktop as the premier method […]]]>

The future belongs to mobile. This is a fact that we have known for a while now. The landmark presentation “Mobile is Eating The World” by analyst Benedict Evans very aptly showcases how smartphones have infiltrated practically every aspect of our lives. For a while now, mobile has been replacing desktop as the premier method to access the internet. In fact, Google’s Android OS is set to overtake Microsoft’s Windows as the market leader in terms of internet usage. A recent study by Flurry Analytics confirms some expected trends, but also surprises us with some unexpected facts.

The State of Mobile Report by Flurry Analytics reports that the mobile app usage registered a growth of 11% YoY (sessions) in 2016. The growth, however, is much slower compared to the 58% YoY growth recorded in 2015. This is to be expected, as the market matures and reaches a saturation point.

On the other hand, as more and more people are getting used to smartphone and embracing mobile internet, people are spending more time in apps. It is clearly visible from the fact that the time spent in apps grew by 69% YoY in 2016. In a practical sense, this translated to nearly 5 hours of screen time daily for the average American consumer!

Predictably, the report also finds that apps dominate smartphone usage, with the mobile web only accounting for an 7% share. It is abundantly clear that we are gravitating towards a completely app-based ecosystem.

Dissecting The Trends

The report provides us with some interesting insights on user behaviour patterns, which are vital for any app development company. The salient points are:

The Massive Popularity of Messaging and Social Apps:  

Messaging and Social were the biggest drivers of the growth of mobile app usage. Together they registered a 44% growth in usage and whopping 394% growth in time spent in 2016.

The impressive growth in mobile app usage can be attributed mainly to few factors. First is the increasing prevalence of messaging and voice/video calling features on many social media platforms. The expanding feature set and versatility of these apps have led to increased adoption and usage by users.

mobile apps time spent 2016

The second factor involves the rise of the “communitainment“, which is basically communication for the sole purpose of entertainment. This is exemplified by the extraordinary popularity and growth of Snapchat. The unexpected contributor to the massive growth of these apps has been their popularity with 35-49 age demographic. According to the latest report by Nielsen the middle-aged demographic spend the most time on social media. People belonging to age group 35-39 years were found to spend nearly 7 hours per week on social media. This is more than the time spent on apps by any other age group.

The Dichotomy of Games on Mobile 

Games on mobile experienced a decline in app usage (sessions) for the second year running. According to the report, games depreciated by 15% in app usage. The time spent in games was also down by 4%.

Though the trend may suggest a fall in user interest in mobile games, but a deeper look paints a different picture. Newzoo reports that mobile gaming overtook PC as the premier gaming platform in 2016. Mobile Gaming generated a revenue of $36.9 billion, accounting for 37% of total gaming revenue. This hints to the fact that mobile users are more willing to spend money on their games than ever before. A lot of the “freemium” games on mobile allow users to pay to skip portions of the game, and this could explain increasing mobile game revenues in the face of decreasing user engagement.

Additionally, these findings can also be put down due to an anomalous year. Mobile gaming is a hit based industry, something which was lacking this year.

The Startling Decline of Personalization Apps

Another notable statistic was the fall in usage of personalization apps, which was down by a whopping 46%. As mobile operating systems and apps have matured, they have expanded their feature sets. Many of the features that required separate apps previously are now in-built. This has led to immensely reduced usage of dedicated personalization apps.

Mobile is Going After TV

Back in 2015, Bloomberg reported that time spent on mobile surpassed TV for the first time ever. The gulf between them has only grown since then. The on-demand nature and convenience of watching from anywhere has made mobile the preferred platform for watching videos. With major video streaming giants like Youtube and Hulu planning to offer OTT bundles to users, it looks like traditional TV is going to continue losing market share.

The Smartphone Software Wars Have Commenced

After years of astonishing growth across the board, mobile apps have started eating into their own. Social media and sports categories have experienced tremendous growth, while personalization apps have had a catastrophic fall. Wall Street Journal reports that handset shipment growth has only been a mere 0.6% in 2016. This suggests that the battlefield has shifted to the software side, with hardware having stagnated. This would mean that the mobile app industry is set to become more competitive than ever.

Takeaways

  • Mobile has become the preferred platform for media consumption at the expense of desktop and traditional media platforms such as TV.
  • The “Phablet” form factor is slowly becoming the de facto standard due to an increasing demand for larger screen sizes for media consumption.
  • Gaming on mobile continues to rake in big bucks even as user engagement declines.
  • With stagnating hardware growth, the mobile software market is becoming more and more competitive.
]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/20/mobile-apps-usage-messaging-social-media-report/feed/ 0
When Zynga Bought This Single Employee Startup For Whopping $42.5 Million https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/20/zynga-solitaire-card-acquisition-game-startup/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/20/zynga-solitaire-card-acquisition-game-startup/#respond Mon, 20 Mar 2017 06:50:37 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76092 Tim Oswald, the “one-man show” behind Harpan LLC games, is now $42.5 million richer. Zynga, the gaming app development company, has acquired the app developer’s Solitaire games, in what appears to be an all cash deal stated to have taken place on the 14th of February, 2017. While information on Harpan LLC and Tim Oswald is […]]]>

Tim Oswald, the “one-man show” behind Harpan LLC games, is now $42.5 million richer. Zynga, the gaming app development company, has acquired the app developer’s Solitaire games, in what appears to be an all cash deal stated to have taken place on the 14th of February, 2017.

While information on Harpan LLC and Tim Oswald is tough to lay hands on at the moment, what we do know is that Tim isn’t just the owner and CEO alone, he is also the only employee in his startup. The company made a name for itself after it produced its one game- Solitaire- for Android as well as iOS. Following the success of Solitaire, Oswald proceeded to create different versions such as FreeCell, Pyramid, and Spider Solitaire. As of date, there are over 150 million people who play Harpan LLC games, and Solitaire accounts for a majority of the users.

Why Did Zynga Want Solitaire?

The Harpan LLC acquisition is Zynga’s first acquisition for the year 2017. It comes as part of Zynga’s renewed focus on developing forever franchises while continuing to maintain strong live ops. Zynga CEO, Frank Gibeau, asserts that what the company needs right now is to invest in live ops. Whether spent on R&D or marketing, an investment in live ops should provide the company good returns on investment. Zynga has also been focusing on launching newer games, with the firm belief that the company needs to innovate to maintain long-term franchises continually.

With regard to Harpan and how it fits in with Zynga’s new strategy, Gibeau states that Harpan fits in perfectly considering it is a social card game company that is supported by advertising- Something Zynga is keen on generating more revenues from.

Going by what Seeking Alpha reports, the Harpan LLC acquisition by Zynga is all part of the latter’s FY16 10-K filing. While none of Harpan LLC’s games are blockbusters, their performance on Android and iOS App Stores is commendable. Given as Solitaire is currently one of the top 50 games on the Apple App Store download chart for the U.S., Zynga sees an opportunity to increase its revenues from in-game advertising by investing in the game. Further, Zynga had about $852 million in cash and equivalents as of 31 December 2016, meaning this particular investment is not exactly going to put a big dent in Zynga’s pockets.

The Fall and Rise of Zynga

Started as an American video game developer since 2007, Zynga rose to glory in the next three years and began trading on NASDAQ in 2011 with shared priced at $10. After reaching $14.5 per share in March 2012, however, Zynga began seeing a steady fall in share price. The company’s continued downfall invited attention from analysts and journalists who questioned its long-term prospects. Following that 2012 scare, however, Zynga has been taking steps to cut expenses and expand the business. It now operates in areas such as licensed board games, online gambling, Its gaming platform- Zynga.com, and mobile game apps.

The migration to mobile seems to be where the company struggles the most and consequently lost a lot of ground to competitors as well. To make it worse, the end of the partnership with Facebook really hit Zynga hard. Partnering with Facebook helped Zynga grow magnificently and even brought the company to the fore for an IPO of $1 billion.

Following the end of its Facebook partnership, Zynga was forced to launch games on separate platforms. Meanwhile, the mobile gaming market was taking off. Not only did Zynga fail to take notice of the opportunities that lay open for it on mobile gaming platforms, but it was also unable to tap into it immediately. This failure by Zynga to capitalise on the new-born and rapidly growing mobile gaming platform cost it a sizeable portion of revenue.

In May last year, Zynga’s valuation tumbled down below than market price of its own headquarter building. This was the time when few market analysts started visualising the beginning of the end of gaming behemoth Zynga.

Frank Gibeau, who replaced Mark Pincus as CEO of Zynga in 2016, has been able to slowly, but steadily, bring Zynga out of the troubled waters it has been sinking in. For one thing, Gibeau decided to let Facebook go entirely and began to focus all of Zynga’s attention on mobile. Further, Gibeau revised Zynga’s working model and revamped the company’s talent pool by hiring the right kind of people.

The growth of Zynga’s mobile-driven revenue is so significant that its FY2016 GAAP sales were up by 18% when compared to FY2015. In fact, as of Q4 2016, Zynga posted mobile revenues of $155 million, while EA mobile’s stood at $148 million, meaning that Zynga has now managed to generate more mobile game revenue than gaming giant EA.

]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/20/zynga-solitaire-card-acquisition-game-startup/feed/ 0
Could Amazon’s Alexa Coming To iOS Spell The Beginning Of The End For Siri https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/18/amazons-alexa-apple-siri-killer/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/18/amazons-alexa-apple-siri-killer/#respond Sat, 18 Mar 2017 07:57:42 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76082 Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have announced that they are bringing their AI digital assistant, Alexa to the iOS platform for the first time ever. Amazon declared that users will now be able to access Alexa from inside Amazon’s iOS app. This comes on the heels of Amazon also publishing the Alexa companion app for Android devices […]]]>

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have announced that they are bringing their AI digital assistant, Alexa to the iOS platform for the first time ever. Amazon declared that users will now be able to access Alexa from inside Amazon’s iOS app. This comes on the heels of Amazon also publishing the Alexa companion app for Android devices recently.

This, apparently, is a worrying development for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and their in-house digital assistant, Siri. The tech behemoth has been investing a lot on Siri for many years anticipating voice technology as the driver of future growth of computing. With Alexa offering similar functionality, and even better in many use cases, Siri has a strong contender in its own ecosystem.

Coming out of Amazon factory, Alexa could provide some stiff competition to Siri, and may harm Apple’s own ambitions towards their AI assistant. Lets dig deep into this recent development to analyse

  • What Alexa is upto?
  • Will Alexa prove to be Siri killer?
  • Will the development take the AI assistance to a whole new level?
  • Considering Apple’s rich history of innovation, how Alexa will have to keep reinventing itself.

Alexa: The New Player On The Block

In November 2014, Amazon announced Alexa along with their Echo Dot smart speaker. Touted as an intelligent personal assistant, Alexa launched without much hype or fanfare. However, its popularity has exploded since then. CES 2017 showcased the enormous potential of this technology, with many products integrated with Alexa. The market for digital assistants is expanding rapidly, with AI expected to become the basis for human interaction with various devices in the near future. Allied Market Research predicts the market for digital assistants to grow to $3.6 billion by 2020. Additionally, RBC Capital Markets predicts that Alexa could bring in as much as $10 billion in revenue for Amazon by 2020. With so much at stake, we can expect all the major players to pull out all the stops in the pursuit of this technology.

The Siri Killer?

The biggest, and most immediate consequence of Alexa’s launch on the iPhone will be felt by Siri. Developed by Apple themselves, Siri has been a mainstay in Apple devices since the launch of the iPhone 4S back in 2011. Unlike Amazon’s Alexa, Siri launched to immense hype and fanfare. Ultimately, Siri failed to live up to expectations and was relegated to only occasional novelty use by most users. However, a lot has changed since then. There have been significant improvements in voice recognition and AI technology. Competition from the likes of Microsoft, Google and Amazon has driven Apple to keep improving Siri, but will it be enough?

Alexa has some significant advantages over Siri, some of which could ultimately lead to Siri’s demise.

  • Amazon’s More Open Source Approach – One of the biggest leg ups that Alexa has over Siri is Amazon’s willingness to collaborate with third parties. The basis of Alexa’s functionality is “skills”. These are apps which enable new functionality for Alexa. Amazon’s decision to allow third party developers to create these “skills” is paying off big time. It has enabled in the rapid development and expansion of Alexa’s functionality. In contrast, Siri, which is a completely in-house project, is limited to only Apple provided functionality.
  • The Creation Of An AI Based Digital Ecosystem – While Apple’s Siri has been limited to Apple mobile devices till now, Amazon is making a huge push for Alexa integration in a multitude of devices, and not just limited to smartphones/tablets. Announcements at CES 2017 of collaboration with LG on their new refrigerator and  Huawei’s Mate 9 smartphone indicate Amazon’s massive ambitions for Alexa. Products like sous vide tools, intercoms, remote controls integrated with Alexa already exist. The Wemo insight Switch allows complete home automation using Alexa. As we move towards an AI based digital ecosystem and the rise of the “Internet of Things”, people may gravitate towards Alexa for a more seamless experience across various devices.
  • Amazon Integration – Alexa is directly integrated with Amazon’s e-commerce arm. Now shopping via Amazon has been made as easy as simply saying what you want. This represents a massively beneficial symbiotic relationship for Amazon. Alexa helps drive their e-commerce business, whereas the Amazon integration lures users towards Alexa. In fact, some reports predict that Alexa may bring in $10 billion in revenue for Amazon by 2020.
  • Alexa is based on more accomplished technology – While it is still early days in the AI digital assistant wars, it is safe to say that Alexa is leading the pack in terms of functionality and ease of use. A showdown by Tomsguide found Alexa to be superior to Siri in most categories. Alexa was found to have better voice recognition, faster response times and better availability. Alexa also had much better integration for shopping and music services. Additionally, Alexa was better at contextual conversations too.

All Is Not Lost For Siri

While Alexa’s introduction to iOS may put a significant dent in Siri’s user-base, it is by no means a death sentence. Apple have invested heavily in Siri, and it is not likely they will abandon it anytime soon. Siri still has a couple of big advantages. First is its deep integration in the iOS platform. Siri can be accessed directly in OS, from anywhere. In contrast, Alexa will only be accessed through the Amazon app. Secondly, with Apple’s immense financial muscle and commitment to AI, Siri can be expected to improve along with the competition.

Takeaways

  • The market for digital assistants in expanding at a rapid pace and will be worth $3.6 billion by 2020.
  • Alexa has been a hit for Amazon and is expected to rake in revenues worth $10 billion by 2020.
  • Amazon’s Alexa may seriously dent Siri’s user base on the iOS platform in the immediate future.
  • Alexa’s Amazon and “Internet of Things” integration, and “skill” based development model has given it a leg up over the competition.
]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/18/amazons-alexa-apple-siri-killer/feed/ 0
A Major Loophole in WhatsApp Allows Hackers to Take Over Your Account https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/17/whatsapp-tencent-hack-vulnerability/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/17/whatsapp-tencent-hack-vulnerability/#respond Fri, 17 Mar 2017 05:24:04 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76072 A recent finding by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. throws light on how susceptible messaging apps are to hacking and data theft. The discovery by Check Point, mentioning especially Whatsapp and Telegram, which contain a critical security flaw in their end-to-end message encryption process. This makes both their online platforms – WhatsApp Web and Telegram […]]]>

A recent finding by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. throws light on how susceptible messaging apps are to hacking and data theft. The discovery by Check Point, mentioning especially Whatsapp and Telegram, which contain a critical security flaw in their end-to-end message encryption process. This makes both their online platforms – WhatsApp Web and Telegram Web – vulnerable to outside access.

To make their point clear, Check Point designed a malicious, innocuous file to take full control over Whatsapp and Telegram user accounts. In order to gain access, all an attacker would have to do is fake a MIME type, by crafting the HTML file to display an image preview. Once the victim clicks on the HTML file, the attacker would gain access, and the victim’s account would be taken over by the attacker completely.

The alarming case-in-point here is that while most such attacks over either Whatsapp or Telegram will give attackers access to only tidbits of the users’ data, there is also the possibility for attackers to gain absolute control over the victim’s account.

Once a hacker has full control of the victim’s account, he/she will be able to download the victim’s previously shared photos, videos, contact information, and will also have access to the victim’s friends’ information. This means attackers would be able to post the victim’s photos online, message on the victim’s behalf, and would even be able to take over the victim’s friends’ accounts.

Concerns regarding user privacy over messaging apps was brought to the fore by the recent WikiLeaks publication, which talked about the possibility for government organisations to access Whatsapp, Telegram, or any other end-to-end encrypted chat app. Encryption is primarily designed to ensure that only the people communicating can read the messages. But since over Whatsapp and Telegram, messages are encrypted even before they were validated, it was easy for both chat applications to turn a blind eye towards the issue. The encryption had essentially made them unable to prevent any malicious content from being sent.

After Check Point having disclosed their alarming findings to both companies’ security teams, the security teams have acknowledged that there are security and data threat issues. Both companies have now developed a fix for their web clients. Both Whatsapp and Telegram are now validating content over their platforms before the encryption process itself, allowing them to block out any seemingly malicious files. It would, however, be safer to err on the side of caution as a user and avoid downloading any content and opening any links sent by unknown users. Additionally, periodically cleaning logged-in computers from the Whatsapp and Telegram log will allow you more control over the devices that have the option to host your account.

Meanwhile, cyber-security continues to remain an issue garnering growing concern and attention. The increasing number of internet-connected devices around us allows hackers to employ a broad range of tactics to pry into hapless victims’ lives. Further, the sheer large amount of data of personal/private/confidential nature that is exchanged over networks brings with it the risks of data leakage, data theft, and cyber attack by hackers.

Interestingly, Telegram, which accounted for about 87% of downloads worldwide in 2016, not only makes it the most downloaded messaging app in 2016, but is also what users considered the most secure. Even though Whatsapp also uses an end-to-end message encryption technology, users seem sceptical about the amount of security the app can really offer.

As of January 2017, however, Whatsapp, with over 1.2 billion monthly active users is the still most popular mobile messaging app, followed very closely by Facebook messenger. Telegram, with just about 100 million monthly active users is slowly gaining popularity and catching up with Whatsapp, thanks to the amount of security it provides.

With about $5.75 billion being the estimated size of the global mobile security market in 2019, one can only imagine the proportionate growth in security breaches and data thefts over the next three years. Let’s not forget the growing security concerns for mobile applications in general, and specifically to Instant messaging applications.

]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/17/whatsapp-tencent-hack-vulnerability/feed/ 0
Mobile Data Security: 28% Smartphone Owners Don’t Use Any Screen Lock [STUDY] https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/16/mobile-data-security-screen-lock/ https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/16/mobile-data-security-screen-lock/#respond Thu, 16 Mar 2017 13:44:10 +0000 https://dazeinfo.com/?p=76034 In the era of smartphone and technology, mobile security is a big issue. Recent Wikileaks claims of the C.I.A. hacking smartphones have once again brought the issue of mobile security to the forefront. In a time when smartphones are completely integral to our everyday activities, bad security habits can leave us vulnerable to all manner of […]]]>

In the era of smartphone and technology, mobile security is a big issue. Recent Wikileaks claims of the C.I.A. hacking smartphones have once again brought the issue of mobile security to the forefront. In a time when smartphones are completely integral to our everyday activities, bad security habits can leave us vulnerable to all manner of trouble. However, a recent report by Pew Research Center reveals some worrying issues.

According to the report, nearly 28% of smartphone users do not use a lock screen on their phones. This is the most basic form of security that should be used by everyone. Moreover, 40% of users only update their apps or operating system as per convenience, and some never update their apps (10%) or operating system (14%). This is highly inadvisable since regular updates help shore up security vulnerabilities and other issues.

As one would expect, elderly users are more prone to poor security habits. Users above the age of 65 are much less likely than users below 65 to use a screen lock and regularly update their apps and operating system (13% vs. 23%). They are also more than twice as likely to say that they do not take any actions to secure their phones (8% vs. 3%).

The result of this callous attitude towards mobile security is pretty clear. According to Pew Internet, 64% of Americans have been impacted by a data breach of some kind, with fraudulent credit card charges (41%) and leak of sensitive information (35%) being the most common.

The Need For Better Mobile Security

We are in the midst of a digital upheaval. The behavioural patterns of people are changing when it comes to how they conduct their digital tasks and activities. As we gravitate more and more towards a mobile-first digital ecosystem, we open ourselves to new threats. Some of the biggest reasons outlining the need for mobile security are:

1. Adoption Of The Mobile First Ecosystem – Gradually mobiles are replacing desktop computers for many of our everyday digital activities. As smartphones have become more and more advanced, they are becoming capable of performing tasks that were previously only possible on desktop computers.

According to a report by Pew Research Center, the most popular usage for smartphones in the US were for healthcare information (62%), online banking (57%), real estate listings (44%), job information (43%), government services information (40%), education (30%) and job applications (18%). Many corporate environments are also increasingly using smartphones to conduct their business. Security Softwares such as Antivirus, Firewalls, encryption have been a staple of desktop use for a while now. However, security options and practices on the mobile platform are not nearly as robust. This has made an increasingly large population of the world susceptible to hacking, phishing and other malicious digital attacks.


2. Expansion And Availability of Wireless networks And Public Wifi Hotspots – With advancement in wireless network technology and the spread of services such as 4G and the increasing availability of public WiFi hotspots, it has become possible to conduct a variety of jobs on our smartphones. People have started using their phones for a multitude of sensitive tasks. A survey found that 54% of internet users used public hotspots for various tasks. However, public WiFi hotspots are generally not very secure. Poor mobile security can leave us vulnerable to hacks, phishing and even identity theft.
3. Rise Of Mobile Wallet Payment Systems – One of the more headlining news in the world of smartphones has been the rise of cashless, mobile wallets over the past few years. This transaction model has immense benefits and can be essential in the creation of a truly cashless economy. However, it also means that we are literally keeping our money in our mobiles. This alone warrants the need to be mindful of security as mobiles become a rich target for hackers.
4. The Internet Of Things – The advent of “The Internet of Things” gives us an exciting glimpse into the future. More and more things are becoming internet-enabled, and subsequently controllable by our smartphones. However, poor security here can lead to some horror situations for us. This is aptly demonstrated by the recent hacking of an automated car’s control system to control braking and acceleration.

Recommended Smartphone Security Habits

We can reduce the risk of digital attacks and keep our smartphones secure by just following some basic security habits:

  1. Utilise password protection wherever possible. In case of an alphanumeric password, follow these guidelines to create an optimal password
  2. Avoid conducting any important business of public networks
  3. Keep your smartphone operating system and apps updated
  4. Never store your password or account information on your smartphone
  5. Avoid installing suspicious apps or clicking on suspicious email links
  6. Regularly backup your data
  7. Employ the use of a good mobile security software. Cyberscoop outlines a list of effective and ineffective security apps on Android-based on extensive testing
]]>
https://dazeinfo.com/2017/03/16/mobile-data-security-screen-lock/feed/ 0