Zoom Whiteboard, the Collaboration Canvas for Hybrid Teams, Now Available
Zoom Announces Platform Innovations to Elevate the Total Customer Experience
Zoom Announces New Education Features, Enhancing Hybrid Learning Experience for Educators and Students
AccuWeather Network Special April Programming Focuses on Safety, Climate Change
Omnichannel Engagement Is Becoming a Centerpiece of Customer Experience Strategy for Many Organizations, According to Dash Research
imimobile and SMARTY Partner to Bring End-to-End Personalised Communication to Its Growing Customer Base
Survey reveals investors predict Africa's internet economy is set to boom
SINGAPORE COURT ORDERS LARGEST BLOCK OF ILLEGAL STREAMING SITES IN SINGAPORE
Redbox Adds AccuWeather NOW Live Streaming Service to its Lineup
Zoom Introduces Category-Redefining Contact Center Solution
Simplifying Social Media for Small Business Owners: Tips on How Local Businesses Can Stand Out in 2022
Small business owners have already had to get creative in so many ways in the past few years. According to a survey from Adobe, 74% of small business owners are facing creative burnout. One way to reset and refresh their business is by improving their social media presence. For a small business owner who may already be feeling stretched creatively, social media can seem daunting or time intensive. Natalie Zfat partnered with Adobe Creative Cloud Express on a media campaign to provide small business owners with helpful tips to better reach customers and get their business back on its feet. No matter their budget or confidence level for graphic design, here are some of the tips she shared to easily create standout graphics, photos, and videos in no time: 1. Inspiration can strike at the oddest times. Creative Cloud Express allows you to create quick, easy content on the fly – with thousands of high-quality templates to customize your Instagram Stories, video cover slides, timeline carousels and more. 2. Carousels outperform single-image Instagram posts. According to research by SocialInsider, the average engagement rate increases by 2% when using all 10 carousel slides, and carousels with a mix of video and images see the highest engagement rate per post at 2.33%. Filling the carousel with gorgeous content is easy when you use Creative Cloud Express, which lets you easily search through Adobe Stock images and leverage more than 20,000 fonts. 3. Did you know that social media posts with video have 48% more views? Creative Cloud Express makes it super easy to edit and customize videos (even if video editing isn't your forté). 4. It's no secret that social media users scroll quickly, and it can be tricky to stand out. 82% of small business owners know that a creative design will drive business, but 45% cite that they don’t have either the time, tools or skills to bring their ideas to life. One way to “stop the scroll” is with compelling animation and imagery. Creative Cloud Express lets you incorporate animated elements easily and create beautiful, thumb-stopping imagery that will catch your audience's eye. Something as simple as a colorful, animated shape layered behind text - or a funny GIF or sticker - will help your message stand out and allow you to inject more of your personality. And the best part: You don’t have to be a designer to get it done. Use “Quick Actions” powered by Adobe Sensei to remove backgrounds from photos, trim and merge videos, convert videos to GIF, and more. 5. Integrate your brand's aesthetic across multiple platforms for a cohesive experience. Creative Cloud Express allows you to build your brand by uploading logos, colors and more. This makes it easy to seamlessly adapt your brand creative for social media, email marketing, website and more. The Shared Libraries feature in particular makes it easy for anyone and everyone on your team to work from a cohesive bank of templates to achieve that brand consistency. 6. The Instagram algorithm is ever-changing, but we know that content that inspires shares and saves does particularly well, especially when that content is in video form. 74% of small business owners acknowledge that they are facing major hindrances to their creativity right now. To maximize engagement, aim for content that is beautiful, funny or educational. Infographics and video tutorials (“How To’s”) are a great way to do this - and Creative Cloud Express offers stunning, customizable graphs, charts and other great visuals that lend themselves to shareable content. 7. Think of your social media profile as your storefront. 55% of small business owners say their online presence is more critical to their success than a physical store. Is your bio fully fleshed out? Is it clear what you're offering your audience? Creative Cloud Express allows you to create beautiful, robust profiles, with thousands of high quality templates for banner images, profile photos, Instagram Highlight covers and more – all customizable with your brand colors and typography. Don't have a brand book (yet)? Dip into Creative Cloud Express’ Stock and Fonts database for thousands of unique, stunning imagery and font styles for marketing materials like logos, flyers, banners, and more. To learn more about Creative Cloud Express and its different graphic design features go to: adobe.com/express
Bluepeak Has Arrived to Push the Boundaries of Possibility for Communities
Bluepeak, an innovative fiber internet provider known today as Vast Broadband in its South Dakota and Minnesota markets, announced its plan today to transition to its new brand name across all its markets this summer. The rebrand was the result of months of market research, gathering employee feedback and the new journey the company embarked upon since beginning expansion to new markets. More than a name change, the new Bluepeak brand represents: 1. The foundation of the values, work and achievements of the Vast Broadband team. 2. The path to growth the company has charted, including ongoing expansion into markets in Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Dakota and more. 3. The Bluepeak vision which is to be relentlessly for customers and bring cutting edge technology to places that have lacked access to it without the things that get in the way of great service, like red tape, hidden fees, and long wait times. “Bluepeak is more than a name to us. It’s who we are and speaks to the impact we aim to have in our communities,” said Rich Fish, CEO of Bluepeak. “This is a great day for our teams and customers. Bluepeak’s purpose is to push the boundaries of possibility for communities by providing big-city broadband with small-town service and future-proof fiber internet for how customers live their lives.” Existing customers may notice a seamless transition – from the Vast Broadband brand currently operating in South Dakota and western Minnesota to Bluepeak – of everything from product package offerings, bill statements and advertisements, retail location signs, employee uniforms, company vehicles and more, in the near future. The transition to the new Bluepeak brand will happen over the coming months and be complete in June of this year. The new Bluepeak brand is anchored in a simple, blue logo and gold, orange and blue color pallete. Current and new customers can also still count on Bluepeak to offer speedy broadband, safe connections and more innovation alongside its dependable neighborly service. Current customers will not experience any disruptions in their service. Bluepeak is hiring for several roles as the company grows in South Dakota, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Colorado. Current openings can be found online on the Bluepeak Careers page.
No End to Metaverse Hype, Yet Many Fear Digital Parallel World - Concern Greatest Among Young Adults
Metaverse is a hot topic right now, as reflected in media and corporate presentations, as well as in a sharp increase in Google searches. Many citizens see enormous potential in Metaverse applications, while at the same time many are afraid of digital parallel worlds, as shown in a new infographic from Block-Builders.de. The Google Trends Score for the term "Metaverse" currently stands at 98, with a value of 100 representing the highest possible relative search volume. The score was still in the single digits late last summer, but the renaming of Facebook to Meta has led to a hype that is still going strong. Meanwhile, more and more German citizens are searching on Google for VR glasses, which are considered a gateway to the Metaverse. About 17% of Germans already use VR glasses now and then. Just under one in two Germans can imagine using such devices in the future. But if you think that this optimism and belief in technology is unanimous, you are mistaken. Across all age groups, 15% of Germans are afraid of digital parallel worlds. What's particularly interesting is that the figure is as high as 35.3% among 18- to 29-year-olds. Despite all the sceptics, at this point in time there is much to suggest that Metaverse is more than just a short-lived trend, but is instead a topic that will actually continue to grow in importance over the next few years. Savvy investors can in turn take advantage of the momentum. In particular, Metaverse cryptocurrencies - different currencies that function as a means of payment in some already existing metaverses - have been able to increase enormously in value, including Decentraland and The Sandbox. Of course, this comes at a high risk, as it is still far from clear which project will be able to establish itself in the long term. The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics: https://block-builders.net/no-end-to-metaverse-hype-yet-many-fear-digital-parallel-world-concern-greatest-among-young-adults/
As Schools Confront Half-Empty Classrooms, eGlass Reduces Price to Enable Virtual and In-Class Engagement
As teachers around the U.S. confront classrooms where student absenteeism is at an all-time high due to COVID-19 exposure, the reality of another pandemic-induced year of disruption is sinking in with school and government authorities. To help schools alleviate widespread learning interruption across all grades and communities, Pathway Innovations, Inc., an innovative technology leader in the education and enterprise markets and manufacturer of eGlass lightboards, Pilot digital podiums, and HoverCam document cameras, has announced it is reducing the price of eGlass, an illuminated glass writing board and communications tool featuring a built-in camera and adjustable LED lighting. The all-in-one device merges the presenter's face and writing, along with presentation media, into a single picture for in-person or remote collaboration. - No Disruption to Learning With eGlass The only hardware technology winner in all three categories of Tech & Learning's Awards of Excellence: Best of 2021 (Higher Education, Primary Education, and Secondary Education), eGlass was developed as a tool to eliminate the disengagement that occurs when students are learning at home or in a hybrid school setting. A transparent lightboard with a built-in camera, eGlass frames the teacher's face in the same picture as their glowing-ink writing, then flips the image so the writing appears correctly for students. Projected onto a screen in class or connected to the school's chosen videoconference platforms such as Zoom, eGlass allows teachers to face their students while they write, bolstering Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) by allowing students to see their teacher's facial expressions and nonverbal cues as they teach — a benefit often lost when teachers regularly turn their backs to write. eGlass also assists teachers in providing an equitable learning experience in hybrid teaching environments, simultaneously providing at-home students with the same engaging, one-to-one learning experience that in-class students receive. As Suzanne Capasso, education specialist, says, "eGlass is my new favorite piece of educational technology. It's great for in-person and online instruction." - eGlass Price Reduction : Effective Immediately Pathway has been working tirelessly to reduce costs since eGlass was launched at the end of last year. Thanks to a series of innovations and new production efficiencies, the company has succeeded and is passing those savings to schools. The company has reduced the price of eGlass by nearly 50%, enabling more rapid district-level purchase approvals in the face of the disruption. K-12 schools may now purchase the 35-inch eGlass for as low as $1,299 and the 50-inch eGlass for as low as $1,599 plus shipping through participating dealers. "Classroom technology is creating resilient learning environments where teachers and students can adapt quickly to evolving situations without any loss of learning," said Bayley Pierson, eGlass director of marketing. "eGlass has shown to be a critical bridge in aiding educators engage in any setting, whether students are joining virtually or in the classroom. With this price reduction, we're taking another step in fulfilling our mission to close the learning gap while facilitating teacher-student connection and amplifying the learning possibilities in and out of the physical classroom." Available in 35-inch and 50-inch models, eGlass is easy to set up and use by connecting to a PC, Mac, or Chromebook with a single USB cable. It comes with intuitive software that allows almost any digital content to be imported seamlessly into the camera window, enabling the presenter to markup the content with glowing annotations after automatic background removal is applied. As presenters write on its glass, eGlass' integrated camera captures their faces, writing, drawings, and annotations, while displaying media from a computer in any format. eGlass also integrates seamlessly with classroom interactive displays, allowing students and teachers to interact with content from the eGlass itself, or from the interactive display. It offers one-button image capture and video recording features and is compatible with Zoom, Teams, and other virtual meeting platforms. LEDs embedded in the unit's frame intensify the physical pen ink with an eye-catching glow that is highly visible on-screen and in-person. With the ability to add meeting notes, training exercises, brainstorming ideas, or engineering diagrams, it is ideal for in-person, remote, or hybrid meetings of all types in both higher education and enterprise applications. In addition to lower pricing on eGlass, Pathway announced an affordably priced bundle that combines eGlass with a 75-inch interactive touch panel for as little as $3,049 through participating resellers. And to provide access to high-quality document cameras, Pathway also announced a lower price point on its HoverCam Spark II USB document camera. Now, schools looking for a low-cost document camera option will be able to purchase Spark II for as low as $199 through participating dealers. Educators and administrators will have the opportunity to experience eGlass and HoverCam in person at FETC 2022, Jan. 25-28, in Orlando and TCEA 2022, Feb. 7-10, in Dallas. More information on eGlass is available at eGlass.io
QXC Communications Launches Advanced Streaming Service to Meet Consumer Demand and Increase Subscriber Base
NAGRA, a Kudelski Group (SIX:KUD.S) company and the world's leading independent provider of content protection and multiscreen television solutions, today announced that QXC Communications Inc., a Florida-based service provider serving Home Owners Associations (HOAs), Condo Owners Associations (COAs) and residential communities, selected NAGRA’s U.S. Streaming Solution to enable the replacement of its legacy video offering with a new fully-featured streaming service for the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) market. With NAGRA’s experience, partnerships and technical capabilities, QXC was able to dramatically decrease its time-to-market to quickly launch an advanced OTT service set to increase consumer engagement, improve customer retention and expand QXC’s subscriber base. With the speed in which the service was made available, QXC is now able to meet aggressive plans to grow its subscribers based in Florida, as well as other U.S. resort/coastline regions and military bases across the country. “We are a company that puts relationships first, which is why Quality of Service is a key business performance cornerstone to our continued success. With NAGRA’s unique solution, QXC is now able to offer subscribers what they demand - an incredible level of service,” said John Von Stein, QXC Communications CEO. “In searching for a partner, we demanded flexibility, speed and quality. NAGRA has delivered on all three, going above and beyond at every turn and we look forward to future opportunities to partner, innovate and expand.” Powered by the NAGRA OpenTV Video Platform and working with partners such as Broadpeak for video packaging and CDN capabilities, the streaming solution enables QXC to deliver to its subscribers' audio and video services via QXC’s secure network infrastructure using its own headend. In doing so, NAGRA provides QXC with flexibility for standard and hybrid cloud deployment options from a trusted industry solution provider. With a low-touch market entry proposition, this turn-key solution is designed to deliver the benefits of a tier-one solution without the hefty price tag, while enabling QXC to optimize the customer experience delivering both BYOD streaming and traditional linear programming. “NAGRA is pleased to extend the capabilities of its US Streaming Solution to offer QXC Communications the high quality, hybrid/cloud deployment needed to serve their subscribers now and, in the future,” said Nancy Goldberg, Executive Vice President at NAGRA. “The deployment represents yet another example of the decreased time to market, cost-effectiveness and flexibility operators are looking for in offering an advanced OTT streaming solution. As we support both legacy cable operators and suppliers to the MDU market, our goal is to increase consumer engagement, improve customer retention, and help operators expand their subscriber base.” For more information about NAGRA’s US Streaming Solution visit the solution’s web page, download our datasheet or contact NAGRA directly.
AccuWeather Network: Our Changing World
From historic floods to devastating wildfires, our rapidly warming planet is disrupting lives and communities at a relentless pace. AccuWeather’s series, "Our Changing World" looks at the far-reaching, often destructive, impact of climate change and how each of us can be inspired to do more to protect our planet for future generations. All week starting Monday, January 17th AccuWeather experts examine the issues and bring you the facts to learn how all of us can make a difference. This January edition will focus on what homes and businesses can do now to future proof against climate changes and provide a window into actionable solutions for climate issues and concerns. AccuWeather Network is available 24/7 on DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream, AT&T TV, Fios, Frontier, Spectrum, Fubotv, Philo or you can stream AccuWeather NOW on Roku, XUMO, Plex, STIRR, LG and any supported devices.
New ‘Comcast RISE Business Directory’ Lists Nearly 300 California Small Businesses Owned by People of Color
Comcast California today unveiled a new RISE Business Directory for laptops and mobile phones, highlighting nearly 300 California small, diverse-owned businesses that have received grants, marketing and technology services from the Comcast RISE program. This new, interactive directory makes it easy to support California’s small businesses owned by people of color that have been hardest hit during the pandemic. Last year, Comcast launched Comcast RISE, a national effort to uplift and support local small businesses hardest hit by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic — focusing primarily on small businesses owned by people of color. The RISE program was created to invest in the success of these diverse small businesses by providing them with the tools and resources they need to help them thrive. Comcast’s new RISE business directory is a user-friendly digital map for laptops and mobile phones that collates and presents key information about local businesses throughout Northern and Central California who have benefited from the Comcast RISE program. Having an easy-to-use business directory will provide local consumers with the information they need to become aware of, locate and contact these small businesses owned by people of color. “This new business directory is another key example of Comcast’s commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs of color and contributing to our economic success,” said Tamika Miller, Oakland native, owner of Cuticles Nails Spa, and two-time RISE recipient. “My business was deeply impacted by the pandemic and through the technology makeover, the $10,000 grant from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund and now this new RISE directory have all helped me not only to keep my business afloat but to thrive.” “As the holidays grow closer, now is a critical time to support our small businesses and local entrepreneurs of color,” said Kristee Cominiello, Vice President, Comcast Business, Comcast California. “With the launch of this Comcast RISE business directory, we’re providing consumers with the resources they need to find and support local businesses and lend a hand in helping these small businesses recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.” Comcast RISE is currently open to all eligible business owners who can apply now for the services. Additionally, starting on January 16th, the program will expand eligibility to all women-owned small businesses as well, regardless of race or ethnicity. This expansion recognizes and seeks to help address the persistent inequities women continue to face in accessing the resources and funding that are critical to success. Comcast RISE, which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment, is part of Project UP, Comcast’s comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help provide underrepresented small business owners with access to the digital tools and funding they need to thrive. Over the next 10 years, Comcast has committed $1 billion to programs and partnerships that will reach an estimated 50 million people with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world. In the year since its inception, Comcast RISE has awarded more than $60 million in grants, marketing, and technology services to more than 6,700 small businesses owned by people of color — including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. With the upcoming expansion to all women-owned small businesses, the Comcast RISE program is on track to support 13,000 businesses by the end of 2022, either through the grant program or from the resources provided through Effectv and Comcast Business. In addition to the financial and business support services provided, a key part of the program is ensuring the long-term sustainability of small businesses. To help address this, Comcast invests in and partners with organizations such as Ureeka to provide ongoing mentorship and resources to help small businesses succeed over the long-term. For more information and the applications to apply for either the grant program or marketing and technology services are available at www.ComcastRISE.com
Issuer Pixel Launches B2B Video Sharing and Networking Platform
Issuer Pixel, a new video-centric B2B sharing and networking platform built on patented technology, took a major leap forward today by officially launching its video and audio 1-Click sharing features. With today's launch, companies of all sizes can now join the Issuer Pixel platform and begin providing their content publicly, gaining exposure to partners, customers, suppliers, suitors, investors and media worldwide. "On behalf of the entire Issuer Pixel team, I am thrilled to announce this significant milestone in our company's growth," said Issuer Pixel CEO David N. Baker. "This is a major step for our company and our investors. More importantly, going live means our corporate customers can begin taking advantage of our platform and seeing the benefits immediately." The announcement comes on the heels of other key events for the company, which earlier this year received official patent approval for its first patent, from the U.S. Patent Trademark Office. "We already have one patent approved, two patents pending, and five more being prepared to be filed," Baker said. "We believe building a strong patent portfolio will provide us with a defensible position in the market place and add tremendous value to Issuer Pixel." Even though most companies do not have a structure to organize their external facing video and audio content, including Fortune 500 companies, the demand for such structure to organize their content has skyrocketed in recent years. Issuer Pixel was created to fulfill that growing demand, while also providing companies a platform to efficiently find video/audio content by industry, sector, or granular product/service level for the first time. To learn more about Issuer Pixel, visit us at: https://issuerpixel.com
CSG Delivers Disruptive Marketplace Platform for TalkTalk, Powering the UK’s First Netflix Over Fibre Launch
CSG® (NASDAQ: CSGS) empowers today’s leading companies with future-ready technologies that drive agile, dynamic customer experiences and modernise their infrastructure to evolve with shifting customer needs. Most recently, CSG’s cloud-based, end-to-end software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform enabled TalkTalk, the UK’s leading value for money connectivity provider, to launch the country’s first-ever Netflix subscription outside of traditional TV bundling. With CSG's marketplace solution at the heart of its entertainment operations, TalkTalk has the scalability to add new content providers and evolve its offering at pace with ever-changing consumer demands. “Our mission at TalkTalk is to provide connectivity and entertainment that is affordable, reliable and accessible for everyone,” said Asanga Gunatillaka, commercial director of TalkTalk consumer and direct business. “CSG is a trusted partner of ours and their expertise and commitment to our success enabled us to go live on time.” CSG’s marketplace solution empowers operators to integrate third-party content providers in a unified platform that injects flexibility and agility to deliver seamless, personalised, omnichannel experiences. The cloud-based, SaaS platform helps some of the world's most innovative companies to launch, learn from, and scale digital service offerings to compete and thrive in the digital economy. The platform also helps leading telco providers build brand loyalty and maintain an enduring customer base in B2C, B2B and B2B2X environments. “The fibre to home rollout in the UK is pushing operators, like TalkTalk, to mature into epicentres for digital content delivery,” said James Kirby, head of CSG’s EMEA business. “This paradigm shift has demonstrated time and again why companies continue to trust CSG to drive their transformation into thriving ecosystem players. Our proven technologies and agile solutions for delivering exceptional customer experiences have powered TalkTalk’s TV platform for many years now, and its success is a testament to why they came to us for support with their Netflix launch. We look forward to continuing our decade long relationship and helping them innovate their content offering and meet their mission of delivering better value and accessibility to their consumers.” CSG’s cloud-based, end-to-end SaaS platform supports leading global brands with the efficient, flexible, and scalable solutions they need to monetise and digitally enable extraordinary customer experiences. Recognised as an industry leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Integrated Revenue and Customer Management for CSPs, CSG delivers game-changing solutions that put the customer first and help them solve their toughest business challenges.
Crowd Supply Launches Teardown Sessions via Livestream, Showcasing Open Source Hardware Innovators
Crowd Supply, the leading product development platform connecting hardware creators with early adopters and enthusiastic backers, announces The Teardown Sessions, an informative new series of livestreamed interviews and hands-on learning sessions with Crowd Supply creators, staff and special guests. Crowd Supply’s Teardown Sessions go live on YouTube every Friday at noon Pacific Standard Time. Join in to ask questions of guests and get a chance to win a weekly prize box of mystery hardware and cool swag. Find all the upcoming Teardown Sessions on the Crowd Supply YouTube channel, or catch up on recent episodes on the Teardown Sessions playlist. Previous episodes cover topics such as small-scale electronics manufacturing, open source community building and management and the open hardware movement. - Helen Leigh Teardown Sessions Join host Helen Leigh at 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, for a special episode of the Teardown Sessions to discuss the Precursor project with its creators, Andrew “bunnie” Huang and Sean “xobs” Cross. Precursor is a unique mobile computing device designed from the ground up with security and privacy in mind. At its heart is a low-power Xilinx Spartan-7 FPGA that runs a RISC-V core. It’s been about a year since bunnie’s and xobs’ Crowd Supply campaign concluded successfully, and they are hard at work preparing for delivery. However, they’re taking a quick break to chat with Crowd Supply’s Helen Leigh about the latest and greatest Precursor developments. We’ll also be giving away a free Precursor to one lucky winner! To learn more, visit https://www.crowdsupply.com/xilinx/fpga-playground Andrew “bunnie” Huang is an engineer, designer, author, and hacker. He’s the founder of bunnie studios and Sutajio Kosaqi, and the former lead hardware engineer at Chumby. bunnie holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has contributed to many open source hardware projects as well as authoring numerous books, including The Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen and The Hardware Hacker. Frequent collaborator Sean “xobs” Cross is a hardware/software designer and developer who specializes in firmware hacking. A former firmware engineer at Chumby, he has worked with bunnie on a long list of successfully launched open source projects. Upcoming Teardown Sessions include Alvaro Prieto from the Reverse Engineering Podcast, Darian Johnson from the Newt campaign, and Lixie Labs from the Pixie Chroma campaign. Recent stream highlights: Helen sits down with Ben Hencke, LED wizard and creator of the much beloved LED controller, Pixelblaze. Much blinkenlight mayhem ensues. Helen talks open source hardware with Alicia Gibb, open hardware advocate, and Javier Serrano, who leads a team at CERN. They discuss open hardware movements, best practices, and the importance of open hardware for science and engineering. Helen chats with Lukas F. Hartmann, CEO of MNT Research and lead designer of the open source hardware laptop, MNT Reform. Catch up on all the past episodes on the Teardown Sessions playlist.
Hype Surrounding Virtual Real Estate: Houses Change Hands for Millions, Fashion Designers, Casinos and Retailers Smell Big Business
Just recently, a property in the virtual world of Decentraland changed hands for US$2.4 million. Virtual real estate securitised via NFTs is growing in popularity and attracting the attention of investors with a lot of capital. A new infographic from Block-Builders.de takes a look at what this is all about and which projects in particular are benefiting from it. The properties cannot be physically visited, but are instead forgery-proof certificates stored on the blockchain - and yet people are willing to spend hundreds of thousands or even millions on them. Virtual real estate has been sold for some time now. Since the renaming of Facebook to Meta, however, the topic has increasingly come into focus - with effects on various Metaverse games and corresponding cryptocurrencies. The said purchase for the equivalent of US$2.4 million (settled in MANA, the digital currency of the game Decentraland) is the highest transaction on the platform to date. The property is located in the "Fashion Street" area, and the buyer announced that the land will be used for digital fashion events and the sale of virtual clothing for avatars. A look at Google search engine data reveals that public interest has only been sparked in the last few days and weeks. Search volume has shot up within a very short time. Properties in the worlds of Axie Infinity, Decentraland and The Sandbox are particularly popular. The prices of the projects' corresponding cryptocurrencies have recently risen significantly. In the case of The Sandbox (SAND), the monthly increase was 504%. It is not only commercial providers who are discovering these virtual worlds. Barbados was the first country in the world to establish its own embassy in the Decentraland metaverse. It remains to be seen whether and to what extent the hype will continue - but at the moment the gold rush looks unlikely to slow.
Expo 2020 Dubai Enters The Metaverse World Connecting Millions Across The Physical & Digital Globally
From today, anyone anywhere can experience the magic of Expo 2020 Dubai with friends and family. The World Expo has teamed up with Magnopus to offer an enriching digital experience for millions of on-site and remote visitors from around the world. Expo Dubai Xplorer sets a new standard for accessibility and inclusivity to large events and expands the World Expo’s vision of ‘Connecting Minds and Creating the Future’ into the virtual world of Metaverse. The multi-player experience is available on iOS and Android powered by cloud-hosted services developed by Magnopus. Unique features include: Real-time connectivity between on-site and remote users across the physical and digital divide. One of the largest deployments in the world of persistent Cloud Anchors which allow millions of on-site visitors to experience AR spectacles aligned accurately to real world locations. A social, interactive digital twin of the 4.38km² Expo site—a living world built from the architectural files of the site and enriched with content and experiences. [Uniting The Physical & Digital] Users can customize their own AI-powered avatar and connect with others in real-time across the physical and digital divide. Standing on the Expo site, a visitor may see a friend from the other side of the world (viewed through the lens of their phone) as an avatar they can share experiences with, and communicate with via group creation and messaging. On-site hardware will also link the physical and digital worlds. Smart screens called “Digital World Viewers” show views of digital content to enhance the physical landscape for visitors. The desktop application is designed to mimic the capabilities of the mobile applications by connecting to the same cloud services for local content and avatar display. [Augmented Reality Aligned To Real World Locations] By using ARCore Cloud Anchors by Google for hundreds of location-specific activations around the site, visitors will experience entertaining and educational AR content relevant to wherever they are at Expo 2020 Dubai. AR activations including mysterious portals to far-off places, treasure hunts through history, and magical creature encounters are all aligned to real world locations with centimeter accuracy. This is currently one of the largest deployments of ARCore Cloud Anchors in the world. Geospatial authoring interfaces and global content delivery networks for updating and publishing new content in real-time enable designers to release new interactive AR experiences anywhere on the site during the run of Expo 2020 Dubai. Powered by a set of cloud-hosted services, content is automatically streamed down to the user's device when they approach a location or interact with an experience, without impacting the application’s install size. This enables users to experience any number of magical AR moments, all from a relatively small application on their device, and new or updated experiences can be pushed while the visitor is still in the app. Remote visitors can access the same AR content and experiences, over a connected digital twin of the site, via an interface similar to popular mobile games like Fortnite or Roblox. [A Live, Social Digital Twin] The digital twin of the Expo site covers more than 200 buildings from the world’s leading architects across a huge 4.38km2 site, including 192 unique country pavilions. Hundreds of artists working around the world spent more than two years creating the living digital replica, enhancing it with dynamic lighting, art installations, animated experiences, and stunning spectacles. Virtual reality was used to collaboratively develop the designs and experiences so they could be tested before the physical site was even built. The visitor experience geolocates content on the site in real-time, so the digital twin has been built to a high degree of accuracy, at 1:1 scale from the architect’s CAD files, and confirmed with “as-builts”. Due to the size and detail of the site, it can’t be stored on visitor’s devices in its entirety and is streamed to visitors based on their location and proximity. The system also accounts for the performance capabilities of the visitor’s device to deliver the highest quality representation possible. Ben Grossmann, CEO of Magnopus, says, “This is the biggest space to date, connected across the physical and digital worlds. These ‘connected spaces’ are the building blocks of the new immersive web, or Metaverse. We’ve been working on these kinds of experiences and technologies for many years, and it was thrilling to take things to the next level to bring this grand vision to life with the Innovation and Future Technologies team at Expo 2020 Dubai." Rehan Asad, Chief Program Officer for Expo 2020 Dubai, says, “The Virtual Expo is an important part of delivering Expo 2020 Dubai’s promise and purpose—‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. In 2013, Expo 2020 Dubai promised the world to host not only the best ever physical Expo but also the very best virtual Expo. That commitment and COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to find innovative ways to share the Expo experience and content of our once-in-a-lifetime World Expo with a larger global audience who may not be able to travel from around the world. Magnopus and the wider team have unified the most innovative technologies into one integrated experience that truly brings Expo 2020’s creative vision to life in the digital and virtual world.” Daisy Leak, the project’s Executive Producer, says, “The global pandemic has affirmed that events can no longer be purely physical, or with only a perfunctory video streaming presence. By uniting 200 countries in a common experience, and making that experience available to visitors both on-site in Dubai and around the world, in an engaging and spatial context, we hope to serve as an example of what the future offers to unite people and places in a better way.” The multiplayer experience has been in development for nearly three years with world-class partners including Google, Unity Technologies, and Amazon Web Services with key contributions from: REWIND (experience design and platform development) Virtuos (3D asset development) Hexagram (quest narrative design and technology) Pinscreen (avatar technology with AI-driven face synthesis) Dog Studio (web development for Virtual Expo connected to content databases) VIM (BIM conversion technology) Terahard (activation development) Activated Realities (activation development) Source Sound (audio design and development) Expo Dubai Xplorer is available to download now on iOS and Android.
Boatyard Launches New Version of Award-Winning Service Platform
Boatyard, the first customer experience platform designed for the marine industry, announced today the launch of a new suite of tools for its best-in-class customer experience software. Boatyard’s newest features includes photo and video sharing, one-click status updates, integration with Outlook and Google Calendar and a fully-integrated web application to enable boat owners to place service requests 24/7 from any of its customers’ websites. “Our goal is to eliminate unnecessary administrative work for service teams, while creating remarkable customer experiences for boat owners,” says Nathan Heber, CEO of Boatyard, “The release of our new dashboard and web app is the next step on our mission to transform the boat service experience.” During Boatyard’s successful private beta, early users of the new platform saved an average of ten minutes per service order. Boat owners can now request service appointments, share scheduling preferences, securely submit payment info and upload photos and videos directly from the website of any boat dealer or marine businesses. The web app is fully-integrated with Boatyard’s customer experience platform, so team members are immediately notified when a new service request is received. From there, it only takes a couple of clicks to send status updates, chat with a customer, share photos and videos, schedule service, assign jobs to team members, or process payments. “Boatyard’s new platform has a lot of added functions that make our jobs easier and more profitable,” says Andrew Armao, Parts and Service Director for MarineMax Miami, “It has instant status updates, which take less than two seconds to send, and the upload capability of photos and videos. And the messaging capabilities of this new platform are amazing. Use it, no excuses!” Boatyard is offering a special Innovators Circle rate during the official platform unveiling at Dealer Week, The MRAA Conference and Expo next week.
Artificial Intelligence Capabilities Are Quickly Becoming Essential for Customer Experience Initiatives, According to Dash Research
Dash Research’s report, “Artificial Intelligence for CX Applications”, focuses on the market drivers and barriers surrounding the adoption and use of AI in CX platforms, applications, and programs, the general use case categories for AI, and several representative case studies detailing the use of AI to improve CX. The report also details current AI regulations, which generally focus on the proper collection and use of personal information. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website. Artificial intelligence (AI) has become nearly ubiquitous across a range of industries and use cases. The customer experience (CX) discipline is no different, according to a new report from Dash Research; AI is being used across both customer-facing functions and in back-office systems and processes. This AI functionality is being integrated or incorporated into CX platforms and applications, with low- or no-code interfaces that allow CX, marketing, and sales professionals with little data science or computer coding experience to manipulate data and tune algorithms to support several different functions. According to Dash Research principal analyst Keith Kirkpatrick, the use of AI within CX can be classified under five broad categories: intelligent insights, predictions, preferences, recommendations, and automation. “Each step in the AI/CX continuum represents a progression of AI maturity and sophistication,” says Kirkpatrick. “As AI maturity increases, so does the required depth of integration of data sources within an organization, which can encompass customer and account data, product and service data, billing and fulfillment data, and service interaction data.” Dash Research analysis indicates that there are four key market drivers spurring the adoption and use of AI within CX initiatives: Increasing demand for customer-facing automation and assistants Higher demand for backend automation and intelligent analysis Growing appetite for data-led insights and customer journeys More value seen with deeper customer engagement However, while AI is becoming part of the very fabric of CX platforms, like any technology or approach, there are technical and operational barriers to complete market adoption. Dash Research finds that the key remaining market development barriers include: Limited scope or quality of data Lack of alignment between CX challenges and AI solutions Limited data governance policies and privacy concerns [Regulatory issues] Dash Research’s report, “Artificial Intelligence for CX Applications”, focuses on the market drivers and barriers surrounding the adoption and use of AI in CX platforms, applications, and programs, the general use case categories for AI, and several representative case studies detailing the use of AI to improve CX. The report also details current AI regulations, which generally focus on the proper collection and use of personal information. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the https://www.dashnetwork.com/research/artificial-intelligence-for-cx-applications
ASMBLE launches powerful micro-community platform for brands, influencers, and their superfans
Micro-community network ASMBLE has today announced the public launch of its platform for brands, creators, influencers, and superfans. Brands are using ASMBLE to build communities of influencers, creators, and superfans to identify and develop direct relationships with these powerful creators. These brand-owned micro-communities serve as a launchpad enabling content co-creation, influencer campaigns, focus groups, and customer insights. Following a year of beta testing with 2000 influencers and a range of brands in the US, ASMBLE is now accessible globally for all creators, influencers, and brands to join. ASMBLE was launched to help brands with creator-powered marketing while also addressing major underlying problems faced by the average semi-pro creator. Over 35 million semi-pro creators report burnout, isolation, and negative outcomes stemming from social media. In addition to financially rewarding creators through brand communities, ASMBLE’s creator-led communities provide creators with in-app tools, educational content, and peer support around topics of interest. Micro-communities from TikTokTips, to BlackParenting, to MindSet Matters - and dozens of other micro-communities - provide valuable industry insight and support that creators can’t find anywhere else. Nadeem Mazen, CEO and Co-Founder of ASMBLE commented: “The creator economy is today worth $100B every year and growing. Creators and influencers are the future of advertising because they wield authenticity and unprecedented audience trust, while the ground is shifting under traditional digital tracking and digital ads. Everything from streaming studio content wars to Big Tech acquisitions hinges on creators. Creators - as technologists, as producers, as trend-setters, and as subject-matter experts - are the fulcrum on which enormous industries tip. Trillions are at stake.” [How ASMBLE works] Brands purchase a seat to spin up one or more micro-communities in ASMBLE A dedicated community-building consultant is assigned to each brand. Brands and community-building consultants populate their micro-communities by inviting influencers, creators, superfans, or customers with whom they have an existing relationship. Brands invite influencers and superfans to their micro-community from other relevant micro-communities in ASMBLE, in order to grow their base and extend their creative capacity or reach. Brands create conversations, contests, focus-groups, live in-app events, and paying influencer marketing projects within their micro-community to learn from members or leverage their valuable skills. All micro-community members see when the brand responds to any given community-member - whether that is approval for a project idea, feedback on co-created content, or instant payment from the brand. Each community member learns from feedback that any other community member receives, creating a race to the top in ideation, collaboration, and quality content. Regarding the problem that ASMBLE has set out to solve, Nadeem Mazen said: “The creator economy is naive in its current state - almost every corner of this brave new world is messy, painful, stressful, and unsustainable for stakeholders on all sides. Marketplaces are lackluster, brands are skeptical, influencers get squeezed, and new creator business models fail to capture enough influencer buy-in to really scale. Both long-standing influencer marketplaces and new business models implicitly rely on creator trust and wellbeing in order to scale - yet explicitly treat popular creators as disposable and interchangeable. ASMBLE addresses these problems by addressing creators’ needs: creators are our partners and our fuel. By committing deeply to collective creator community and individual creator wellbeing - something largely missing across the social internet - we assemble a foundation of creator trust, retention, and activity that brands can leverage for their campaigns and strategic imperatives.” Looking ahead Nadeem Mazen added: “ASMBLE creators takes the opposite approach of the industry at present. Instead of focusing on how to woo paying brands, we offer influencers access to real, substantive emotional, professional, and creative support. The core of what we do is offer influencers and creators a safe space where they can talk about their work - which is seen as a cake walk from the outside, but is actually one of the highest pressure jobs” “ASMBLE will become the Y-Combinator for creators - an entire ecosystem of entrepreneurship curriculum, peer and mentor support, and even direct investment where we take a stake in content development and other financial growth.”
UScellular Now Offering Synchronoss’s Content Transfer Solution to Expedite In-Store Device Activation
Anticipating a busy holiday season for new mobile phone sales, UScellular, the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, is now offering Synchronoss Content Transfer, a solution that gives UScellular store associates the ability to easily and quickly move content from a customer’s old mobile device to a new one at no cost to the customer. Content Transfer from Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNCR), a global leader and innovator of cloud, messaging and digital solutions, is designed to streamline the onboarding of new devices by providing a means for digital content – including photos, videos, contacts, call logs, music, documents, messages and settings – to be effortlessly transferred between mobile phones and tablets. Chris Hill, Chief Commercial Officer for Synchronoss, said that always-on access to digital content is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have” as consumers increasingly integrate mobile devices into their day-to-day lives. “Consumers have two expectations when purchasing a new device: One is that they will not lose any of their important digital data when switching hardware. The second is that they will have access to their data as soon as the new mobile device is connected to the network. Our cross-platform application satisfies both of those needs by making new device activation practically seamless for subscribers,” he said. The Content Transfer solution is an easy-to-use application that spans devices and operating systems and replaces the need for in-store equipment. It can also significantly reduce the amount of time a customer spends in a store when activating a new device. “As we continually seek new ways to enhance our customer experience, we see the Synchronoss solution as an important addition to our customer service toolbox,” said Eric Jagher, Senior Vice President of Consumer Sales and Operations at UScellular. “Content Transfer provides a quick and easy way to ensure customers can keep their important photos, videos and other data when buying a new phone, leading to less time spent in-store and more time spent with their friends and families during this holiday season.” Hill added that analyst predictions for a jump in year-over-year holiday spending in combination with the lure of new smartphone models released this year is one reason UScellular turned to Synchronoss to help store associates ensure they can easily and quickly transfer customer content to new devices. “The addition of our Content Transfer solution to UScellular’s customer service resources will help it continue to deliver an excellent in-store experience,” he said. Content transfer is one of a group of Synchronoss onboardX solutions – a set of tools that allow mobile operators to provide the customer experience that subscribers want and drive service adoption. Additional onboardX solutions include Backup & Restore, a cloud service that gives subscribers a safe place to backup, view and restore content across operating systems and devices; Out of Box Experience (OOBE), a solution that streamlines the activation of new subscribers, services and devices; and Digital Experience Platform (DXP), which simplifies the creation, orchestration and management of online experiences and journeys. The Synchronoss website provides additional information about Content Transfer and other Synchronoss onboardX tools that allow mobile operators to drive service adoption and deliver the customer experience that subscribers want.
Lexion Launches Email-First Contract Workflows for Rapid, Easy Adoption
Lexion, an AI-powered contract management system, today announced Lexion Workflow, a new module that accelerates the in-house legal contracting process. Lexion’s Workflow spans the entire end-to-end contracting lifecycle from intake, drafts, and negotiation, to approvals and signature. Unlike other contract management systems, stakeholders can work with Lexion’s Workflow entirely via email, eliminating the need for complex configuration and training. “Incredibly easy is our key focus,” said Gaurav Oberoi, co-founder and CEO of Lexion. “In-house legal teams are tired of CLMs that over-promise and under-deliver. The root cause of that frustration is nearly always tied to organization-wide change management requirements and lengthy implementations. After speaking with more than 50 in-house counsel, it was clear to us that the key to unlocking value was to give legal teams an intuitive dashboard to manage intake and tasks, while letting the rest of the company simply email in requests, redlines, approvals, and follow-up questions.” “With Lexion, anyone in our company can simply send an email asking for a contract review, and it turns the request into a task on a dashboard,” said Michael Leman, Deputy General Counsel at Fox Factory (NASDAQ: FOXF). “I can then manage the entire process in one place, while my internal clients can remain in email. Unlike the prior CLM system we used, Lexion has made company-wide adoption painless, and given our legal team tools to clearly communicate status, measure performance KPIs, and accelerate contracting.” According to Gartner, legal departments will increase their technology spend 300 percent by 2025, and yet only realize 30 percent of the potential benefit of their CLM investments because of the complexities of requirements gathering, change management, and user adoption. Lexion is positioned to capture this demand by offering a pragmatic platform that delivers on the promise of speeding up contract review and eliminating legal busywork. Lexion will accomplish this with a focus on ease of use and AI-powered automation as key drivers. “Many of our clients are interested in improving the contracting process,” said David Wang, Chief Innovation Officer at Wilson Sonsini. “However, they are wary of the cost of implementation, and the difficulty of getting the entire organization to adopt elaborate systems. Lexion’s novel, email-centric approach, is a game changer in that it addresses the chief barriers to adoption and dramatically increases the chance that the business will realize the benefits of the system.” With the addition of Workflow to Lexion’s AI-powered Repository, Lexion now offers an end-to-end contract management solution for in-house legal teams that helps them capture key metrics and accelerate deals while using AI and automation to help them scale.