The telecommunications industry, specifically mobile communications, is converging in Barcelona this week. Even before Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off today, two companies have fired the first salvo with something old, something new.
When WhatsApp was down for a few hours last Friday (November 3), Facebook timelines were filled with panic posts by people unable to communicate on WhatsApp. Snapchat is reported to be down at the point of writing and again, there is frenzy over the outage. Continue reading “5 things to do when your social media platform is down”
It’s become something of a daily routine. Friend requests are coming from people we don’t know on Facebook.
Ever sent a WhatsApp message only to wish that you could delete it later? Or have you ever sent a message to a wrong chat? Well, it looks like you’re not alone because WhatsApp has introduced a delete function that lets users delete messages within seven minutes of sending.
This seven-minute grace could be a face- or even life-saver for those moments when we hit sent too quickly.
Delete only works if both the sender and recipient are using the latest version of WhatsApp for Android, iPhone or Windows Phone.
Greater internet and mobile device accessibility are driving e-commerce growth in Southeast Asia.
According to ABI Research, Smart Retail has gone through revolutionary changes in the past 10 years and will exponentially continue to do so going forward. Brick and mortar stores are no longer the only option for consumers across the globe to make their everyday purchases, due to significant advancements in technology, both in-store and online.
Key players include Senion, who implements some of the world’s largest Indoor Positioning System (IPS) solutions to enhance in-store experiences, and AisleLabs who provides shopper traffic behavior analytics to help retailers optimise store layouts. Leading POS software vendors, Shopkeep and Square are allowing retailers to sell across multi-channels from a single platform. These and other key vendors are paving paths to making the offline and online worlds seamless experiences.
Google has launched the Backup and Sync tool for users to easily back up practically all files on their computer. This new tool will replace the Google Photos desktop app and the Google Drive client applications for both Mac and PC.
According to a Google blog post, “Backup and Sync is an app for Mac and PC that backs up files and photos safely in Google Drive and Google Photos, so they’re no longer trapped on your computer and other devices”.
Backing up is done by simply clicking on the desired folders. Once done, these folders are automatically backed up and synced across all devices.
As if we don’t already have enough of ads. Facebook has announced that it will start rolling out ads to Messenger. With 1.2 billion users, the social media giant does have immense appeal for advertisers.
It seems that Facebook has completed test runs in Australia and Thailand and are ready to unleash ads on the rest of the world in the coming weeks.
The thing is that Messenger was literally forced onto mobile users when Facebook unbundled it from its mobile app. Users did not have a choice. Of course, there’s always browser access — it’s a little cumbersome but still an option for those resisting the move.
The keynote address at Google I/O yesterday showed that Google is much more than just a search company. It is becoming more artificial intelligence (AI). Google is specifically using deep learning to help in many areas of everyday life.
Here are some as shared on Google’s blog post:
Google Assistant can help answer your questions and find information—but it can also help you get all kinds of useful things done. Today we’re adding a few more:
- Schedule new calendar appointments and create reminders. Starting today on Google Home, you can schedule appointments and soon you’ll also be able to add reminders. Since it’s the same Google Assistant across devices, you’ll be able to get a reminder at home or on the go.
- Make your home smarter. We now have 70+ smart home partners supporting the Google Assistant across Google Home and Android phones, including August locks, TP-Link, Honeywell, Logitech, and LG.
Facebook is developing new artificial intelligent (AI) systems to help manage the vast amount of information — such as text, images and videos — generated daily so people can better understand the world and communicate more effectively, even as the volume of information increases.
It has worked with NVIDIA on Caffe2, a new AI deep learning framework that allows developers and researchers to create large-scale distributed training scenarios and build machine learning applications for edge devices.
Providing AI-powered services on mobile is a complex data processing task that must happen within the blink of an eye. Increasingly, the processing of lightning-fast AI services requires GPU-accelerated computing, such as that offered by Facebook’s Big Basin servers, as well as highly optimised deep learning software that can leverage the full capability of the accelerated hardware.
One billion hours! That’s a lot of time to spend watching video online. And did we say that it’s one billion hours per day. And for just one site. Of course, it helps that that site is Youtube.
The Google-owned video streaming site has hit this landmark, which is a 1,000-percent increase in under just four years. It uses algorithms generated by artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend videos to viewers around the world.
It is no wonder then that cable television is struggling to keep subscribers and free-to-air television is rapidly losing viewership.
Advances in various technologies will drive users to interact with their smartphones in more intuitive ways, said Gartner. It expect that, by 2019, 20 percent of all user interactions with the smartphone will take place via virtual personal assistants (VPAs).
“The role of interactions will intensify through the growing popularity of VPAs among smartphone users and conversations made with smart machines,” said Annette Zimmermann, Research Director of Gartner.
Gartner’s annual mobile apps survey conducted in Q4 among 3,021 consumers across three countries (US, UK and China) found that 42 percent of respondents in the US and 32 percent in the UK used VPAs on their smartphones in the last three months. More than 37 percent of respondents (average across US and UK) used a VPA at least one or more times a day.
In the age of the Internet, it is widely believed that content is king.
However, US strategist and serial entreprenuer Richard Nash (above) thinks otherwise. He believes that the 21st century will be about sorting demand and culture is king, not content.
At his keynote address at StoryDrive Asia, Nash said the book publishing industry should start modelling itself as a service, rather than a manufacturing business.
Last year, WhatsApp added voice to its messaging application. This year, it’s taking it one step further with video calls.
WhatsApp video calling is on the way for more than one billion users on Android, iPhone and Windows devices.
“We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough. There’s no substitute for watching your grandchild take her first steps, or seeing your daughter’s face while she’s studying abroad. And we want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones or live in countries with the best cellular networks,” said WhatsApp’s official press statement.
Facebook now has more than four million active advertisers, with more than 70 percent coming from outside of the United States.
The fastest-growing region is South East Asia, led by Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.
In terms of year-on-year growth of advertisers from 2015 to 2016, Vietnam ranks among the top five in the world.
Computex will introduce InnoVEX, a platform to showcase infocomm technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) innovators. Around 170 startups from 17 countries have already signed up to showcase their latest innovative products and services.
At InnoVEX, along with out-of-the-box, open booths and networking spaces, a wide range of events designed to maximise innovative, technological, and investment exchanges to help startups succeed, including forums, demos, matchmaking, networking events, and pitch contests with a cash prize of US$30,000.
The show will be held at Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) Exhibition Hall 3 from May 31 to June 2. Diverse activities such as keynote speech, forums, demo, pitch contest, and networking parties will be held throughout the show.
WhatsApp has just scored points for extending its group chat mute feature from one week to one year. This would certainly help those who want to be part of a WhatsApp group chat but don’t want to be bugged by every notification in a highly active group.
While notifications are good, they can be a source of irritation if the phone keeps buzzing, especially if a person is part of numerous chat groups.
The mute feature helps to bring respite — albeit for only a week previously. Users need to reactivate the feature if they want to continue muting that chat group.
Messaging on Facebook will become a little more inconvenient as Messenger will become a separate app from Facebook app. This means that messaging will no longer be possible with the Facebook app.
Here’s what Facebook just sent:
We wanted to let you know that messages are moving out of the Facebook app to our Messenger app, a free app that’s faster and more reliable for everyday messaging. Messenger also includes new ways to send photos and videos, voice calls, stickers, group conversations and more.
Contrary to speculation, Facebook is still hot with teens. Instead of seeing a mass exodus, Facebook is used by 78 percent of US youth at least once a month, with another 28 percent using the site “all the time,” according to a Forrester survey of more than 4,500 youth aged 12 to 17.
And, 57 percent of those surveyed use Facebook more than any other social site. Teen usage is higher on Facebook than on Instagram and WhatsApp combined, with 52 percent and 20 percent, respectively, using these social networks at least once a month.
“Every site experiences churn, and Facebook is no exception. But just as many young users say they’ve increased the time they spend on Facebook as say they’ve decreased usage. And promisingly for Facebook, the youngest users in our survey were the most likely to say they’re spending more time on the site,” noted Nate Elliott, Vice President and Principal Analyst of Forrester.
GSMA and Facebook have announced a joint initiative to connect billions of men and women globally who currently have no access to Internet-based communications services. The initiative will focus on reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile, given that mobile will be the enabling technology for the vast majority of people in developing markets.
The activities undertaken by GSMA and Facebook will entail working with governments in developing markets to address key factors that have an impact on affordability and availability. The partnership will focus on creating a sustainable environment to incentivise mobile infrastructure investment and usage, as well as eliminating or reducing existing mobile-specific taxation or refraining from imposing new such tax regimes.
Together, GSMA and Facebook will address a range of other issues that will improve affordability and help to connect the world’s population to the Internet, such as maximising the availability of harmonised spectrum to drive mobile broadband adoption; evaluating the establishment of local Internet Exchange Points; fostering the development of local Internet content; and examining the effectiveness of Universal Service Funds.
The Baby Boomer generation is unlike any other. More technologically advanced, savvy and adaptable, they have been blessed with a slew of technologies and are not afraid to use them — for work and play.
Such is their influence that Gartner has note that silver surfers represent a more important technology market than Generation X and Generation Y.
Gartner Vice President and Fellow David Furlonger pointed out that with an aging population in many mature and emerging markets, technologists, designers and marketers must refocus to seize this crucial opportunity.
Tata Sky, one of India’s leading direct-to-home service provider, has become the first in Asia to deploy Cisco’s Videoscape Video Everywhere solution, to enable multi-screen experiences beyond the set-top box. Rolled out first on iOS and soon to be on Android platforms, this live streaming service can be enjoyed on many mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets such as iPads.
The Videoscape Video Everywhere solution is a part of Cisco Videoscape Unity, a platform that delivers and monetises a new generation of compelling, differentiated video experiences, which are personalised, synchronised, and social.
“Our subscribers’ will be able to take the video experience with them on the move; thereby transforming their handheld device into a fully-functional TV screen with an interface which is clean, simple and easy to navigate,” said Vikram Mehra, Chief Commercial Officer of Tata Sky.
3D printing, personal cloud, the Internet of Everything — these buzzwords today are expected to be among the top 10 strategic technology trends next year, according to Gartner.
Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.
A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses. It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. These technologies impact the organisation’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives.
Android’s smartphone mobile app revenues are projected to reach almost US$6.8 billion by the end of 2013, nearly doubling its revenues from the previous year, according to ABI Research.
The Android platform has some way to go before catching iOS’s smartphone revenues but the smartphone app market will be Android’s most fruitful hunting ground compared to other devices.
ABI Research estimates that Android smartphone app revenues will increase from 59.1 percent to 65.9 percent when compared to iOS smartphone app revenues over the next 12 months.
WeChat has surpassed the 100 million registered user account milestone. That’s remarkable considering the strong competition it is up against.
In the last three months, it doubled its registered user account base reaching the 100 million milestone shortly after an independent survey found that the platform was the fifth most used smartphone app worldwide.
Since its international debut, WeChat has been well received in Asia, quickly becoming the most popular mobile social app in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia across multiple smartphone OS platforms, where the user base has recently gained tremendous growth.
Gartner has adjusted its worldwide IT spending forecast for 2013 downwards to US$3.7 trillion in 2013. Last quarter, the research firm predicted a 4,1 percent increase compared to 2012 but that projection has been sliced by half to 2 percent. This reduction takes into account the impact of recent fluctuations in US dollar exchange rates.
The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the a leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have been using these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognise market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.
“Exchange rate movements, and a reduction in our 2013 forecast for devices, account for the bulk of the downward revision of the 2013 growth,” said Richard Gordon, Managing Vice President at Gartner.
Combined shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones are projected to reach 2.35 billion units in 2013, a 5.9 percent increase from 2012, according to Gartner. The market is being driven by sales in tablets, smartphones and to a lesser extent, ultramobiles, as PC shipments are on the decline.
Worldwide traditional PC (desk-based and notebook) shipments are forecast to total 305 million units in 2013, a 10.6 percent decline from 2012 , while the PC market including ultramobiles is forecast to decline 7.3 percent in 2013. Tablet shipments are expected to grow 67.9 percent, with shipments reaching 202 million units, while the mobile phone market will grow 4.3 percent, with volume of more than 1.8 billion units.
The sharp decline in PC sales recorded in Q1 was the result in a change in preferences in consumers’ wants and needs, but also an adjustment in the channel to make room for new products hitting the market in the second half of 2013.
When Samsung launched the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note in October 2011, critics scorned at the size of the phablet and wondered if people would actually buy the product. In under two years, the Galaxy Note has not only proven to be a success but has become the trailblazer to bigger-screen phones.
The latest iteration is the Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue, which sports a 7-inch display, aluminum unibody and quad-core processor.
“We’re delighted to introduce the MediaPad 7 Vogue, our call-enabled tablet with world-class entertainment capabilities and long-lasting battery power,” said Richard Yu, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Consumer Business Group.
Visitors to Mobile Asia Expo 2013 in Shanghai will get to delve in a new Connected City experience. They will be able to stroll down a city street of the future and experience the Connected Life powered by intelligent mobile connections.
The Connected City will build on the success of the Connected City at this year’s Mobile World Congress and draw on developments that have put Asia at the forefront of connected device and service uptake.
In partnership with China Mobile, Cisco, Ford Motor Company, Huawei, KT Corp. and SAP, the Connected City will be a life-like urban environment where attendees will experience how these companies are making homes smarter, motoring more intelligent, shopping easier and city living safer in the largest and most forward-thinking mobile market in the world. Each area will bring together the latest in cutting-edge products and services to demonstrate how a connected future, driven by mobile, will simplify and enhance people’s everyday lives.
The launch of new 3G data plans by all three Thai mobile operators will introduce broad changes to the competitive dynamics among mobile operators, particularly in how they deal with the mass market segment.
IDC issued this warning after a review of the price plans and potential market share of the three mobile operators after the release of their 3G service plans.
IDC believes the industry is set for a slew of promotional and pricing competitive pressures in the next six months, possibly resulting in significant churn among the customer base if one of the telco operators does not keep its defenses up.