Archive | February, 2014

The Price of Relevance

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The Price of Relevance

Last week, Facebook sent shock waves to the tech world when it announced that it acquired WhatsApp, a fast-growing five-year-old social messaging app company, for a jaw-dropping $19 billion in cash and stock. The purchase is Facebook’s biggest acquisition ever, dwarfing the $1 billion it paid for Instagram in 2012.

WhatsApp’s expensive price tag buys Facebook 450 million loyal users, with 1 million new users being added daily. Analysts considered the deal as Mark Zuckerberg’s attempt to protect his company’s turf as the top social networking site in the world. It’s no secret that Facebook has struggled in the field of mobile messaging and has been losing teen users in the US as millions have migrated to using social messaging apps. Clearly, the acquisition was Facebook’s way of crushing competition and the easiest route for the company to become relevant in the mobile messaging space.

Crowdfunding fuels Olympic dreams

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Crowdfunding fuels Olympic dreams

What does it take to pursue an Olympic dream? It takes perseverance, commitment to excellence, discipline and lots of cash. The truth is, the cost of joining the Olympics is quite high. Athletes have to pay for training, equipment, travel, physiotherapy and daily living expenses. To get funding, most athletes rely heavily on sponsorship money in order to train. The more enterprising ones go to the Internet for support, specifically to crowdfunding websites to seek the much-needed funds.

There is a growing trend of crowdfunding sites that allow people and startups in need of cash to raise funds from a large pool of donors. It’s no secret that the 2-man Jamaican bobsled team has raised more than $115,000 from crowdfunding platforms Crowdtilt.com and Indiegogo.com. Canada’s Alpine skier Larissa Yurkiw used crowdfunding platform Pursu.it.com and raised $22,476 from more than 2,000 fans. In the US, ski jumper Lindsey Van raised over $20,000 via RallyMe.com, a crowdfunding site specifically focused on sports.

Given the funding success of these athletes, crowdfunding could play a bigger role in future Olympic games.

Are you ready for the Internet of Things?

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Are you ready for the Internet of Things

Picture this: your alarm clock tells you to wake up at 6 am and instructs your coffee machine to make you a fresh cup of coffee. The coffee machine then tells your toaster to make you a nice piece of toast. While you eat breakfast, your TV switches on to your pre-programmed news channel. While you dress up for work, your shirt will measure your heart rate and blood pressure. As you leave the house, your car revs up and informs you that it needs an oil change soon. This a possible scenario when the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes an everyday reality. Also known as machine-to-machine communication, Internet of Things is the network of wifi-enabled gadgets that are capable of communicating with each other or interacting with the environment. What’s fascinating is, this technology is already upon us.

IoT took centre stage in this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as dozens of companies presented connected technology, ranging from smart cars to heart monitors to smart watches to clothes with built-in sensors. Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, GE and IBM are all investing serious money in IoT technology and patents. Investors like Intel Capital, True Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Cisco Investments are all joining the funding fray. In the coming months, we expect to see a stronger interest in the home automation space, and the more general Internet of Things.

Google Reshapes its Mobile Division

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Google Reshapes its Mobile Division

Last week, Google sold Motorola Mobility to Chinese PC vendor Lenovo for $2.91 billion after acquiring it in 2012 for $12.5 billion. At first glance, the deal looked like a massive loss for Google and another win for Lenovo. But taking another look, Google has unloaded itself of a losing brand and yet kept all important patents that can be used to fortify its entire Android ecosystem. By cutting itself loose from Motorola, Google is no longer in competition with its Android customers. Now the company can focus on its relationship with Samsung, which uses Google’s Android OS in majority of its smartphone and tablet devices. Lenovo, on the other hand, will gain an established global brand.