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IDG invests in mobile gaming company Playsimple through seed program

Your Story

IDG Ventures India has invested in PlaySimple, a mobile social gaming company through its seed fund programs. The company is focused on mobile games in the trivia, word and puzzle categories, co-funder Siddharth Jain said.

playsimple IDG invests in mobile gaming company Playsimple through seed program

Siddharth and his co-founders were earlier working for Zynga and were closely involved in games such as Mafia Wars and Bubble Safari and have worked on innovations around gameplay, engagement and analytics.

Yezdi Lashkari, a former executive, at Zynga, also participated as an angel investor as part of the round. Neither company disclosed the amount invested.

The money will be used to build a portfolio of mobile casual games targeting the global markets. Playsimple also plans to increase its team from six to 20 and is looking to hire game designers and UI experts, said Siddharth.

“We are targeting global markets, primarily the English speaking countries,” he added.

Besides Siddharth, the founding team comprises of Preeti Reddy, Suraj Nalin and Siddhanth Jain, who worked together at Zynga. The team has also previously worked at companies such as Bain, Walmart Labs & Yahoo.

“Globally, mobile gaming is a very large, growing market. Gaming is a hits business, but the ones that succeed do take off rapidly towards profitable growth in a short period of time,” Karthik Prabhakar of IDG Ventures India said.

 “The team at PlaySimple is young and highly experienced in building/scaling mobile games for the global markets,” he added

PlaySimple has already released a game title, GuessUp. With this funding, the company is targeting to release multiple games over the next few months in early 2015 before they look to raise their next round of capital.

IDG launched its seed program earlier this year to discover interesting investment opportunities at a very early stage. It has already invested in recruitment startup Mynoticeperiod.com and mobile ad retargeting firm SilverEdge through the program.

IDG’s USA fund has invested in 8-9 gaming firms, the most prominent of which was Funzio, which was acquired by Japanese gaming giant GREE in 2012.

Its China fund also has about six gaming and animation investments listed on the website. PlaySimple is IDG’s first mobile investment in India.

Several gaming companies have also raised money in recent months. In November, MadRat Games, a Bangalore based offline gaming company, raised $1 million from Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal.

Continue reading… 

2015 begins with publishers hoping for big improvements in digital subscription sales

Talking New Media

New Year starts, as always, with CES – but Macworld has been put on ‘hiatus’ and the value of big trade shows is being questioned by tech firms

Welcome to 2015! Here in Chicago it is -6F (-21C), here is hoping it is much more pleasant where you are!

CES2015 icon 2015 begins with publishers hoping for big improvements in digital subscription salesThe New Year means iTunes Connect is open and new and updated apps are being released into the App Store. It also means that CES is about to begin in Las Vegas. CES used to be an important event (it is still a big one) but many tech companies have long since learned that these early year trade shows may not be the best time to launch new products. Apple, for instance, pulled out of Macworld long ago and realized that if they are going to have a blow out fourth quarter of the year (their first quarter) they need to introduce new products in September.

CES isn’t the only big early year trade show, of course. Mobile World Congress is in early March (in Barcelona, of course).

But 2015 will be a year without Macworld as IDG announced last year that the show would go on ‘hiatus’.

“The show saw a remarkable 30 year run that changed the technology industry, provided an important forum for Apple developers to bring new companies and products to market, delivered world class professional development to Apple product enthusiasts, and fostered the development of one of the most dynamic professional communities in the tech marketplace,” the IDG World Expo wrote.

Macworld was hurt not only be Apple’s decision to pull out, but also by the decline overall of the personal computing business. IDG tried to adapt, of course, but the excitement of the PC business has gone, not to return.

The problem for these shows remains that trade shows often are scheduled for the early part of the year, no matter what industry you are talking about. As the publisher of a transportation construction magazine, January through March was the busy time for trade shows, generally held in Las Vegas, New Orleans or Orlando. There were (and are) trade shows later in the year, but they often feel more like conferences (such as Adobe MAX).

For those who write about digital publishing, there is really no trade show or event that can’t be missed. The year remains filled with breakfasts, lunches, and award events created by the trade publications in lieu of making a profit on their trade magazines. Publishing pros like to network, eat and drink, and so there is no stopping these things, I guess.

 Continue reading… 

11 – 94% of Business Emails go Missing – A Global Breakdown

IDG Connect

Email marketers have spent years building best-practice expertise to deliver the most effective email campaigns possible. However the age old challenge of not being able to reach subscribers’ inboxes continues to be a problem for marketers worldwide.

In 2013, 100.5 billion business emails were sent and received every day. The sheer volume of email traffic and the growing sophistication of spam tactics have contributed to the issue marketers now face to stay at the top of consumers’ inboxes.  We have already seen the impact of spam emails on high profile brands such as Apple and Dropbox, as well as authentic looking emails pandering to the concerns of the public off the back of topical news stories, in order to build trust and falsely obtain users personal credentials. Mailbox providers are therefore constantly redefining their filters to help prevent these kinds of messages getting through which in turn, forces legitimate email senders to become equally as sophisticated to improve their own inbox placement.

Recent research conducted by Return Path (Inbox Placement Report 2014) of more than 492 million commercial email messages sent across North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions, shows that one in six commercial messages do not reach the subscriber’s inbox. This is consistent with last year’s findings, which indicates that while marketers have a basic understanding of how to keep out of the junk folder, there is still more to learn on further maximising inbox placement.

According to the results, 11% of commercial messages simply go missing while 6% are marked as spam. This presents a significant problem for marketers who value and rely on the long-term customer relationship that email marketing can build. If messages go missing completely, businesses risk losing customers; failing to reach the inbox simply means failing to reach the customer. The financial impact here is great, for example, if 50% of messages are unsuccessfully delivered, that equates to 50% of the email marketing campaign budget being lost as well.

Return Path has discovered that being ranked as a ‘good sender’ by ISPs is no longer enough to guarantee inbox placement. We have seen that most countries across the globe are struggling to achieve at least 90% inbox placement rates, including developed markets such as the UK and US.

emailmarketing markeitng b2b email 11   94% of Business Emails go Missing – A Global Breakdown

Our research shows that Eastern European countries particularly struggle with messages going missing. Senders in Romania and Luxembourg are seeing 50% of their emails failing to reach the inbox, while in Poland this figure reaches a staggering 90%. This means that a significant portion of their audience doesn’t receive any intended commercial email. Email messages that go missing are harder to identify and diagnose, however, the first step in being able to correct the problem and boost inbox performance is knowing where the problem lies.

 

Continue reading… 

The Mobile Web Isn’t Dead, IAB Says

Wall Street Journal

Recent reports have suggested the Web is dying. That’s largely because data from analytics firms including comScore and Flurry say mobile device users now spend more than 85% of their time in apps instead of Web browsers.

But according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group for Web publishers, the relationship between mobile apps and the mobile Web isn’t that straightforward. It’s easy to look at comScore data and to reach the assumption the mobile Web is in decline, but what looks like app time may actually be mobile Web use in disguise, the online ad trade body said.

Many apps, including news aggregation and social media apps, include browser capabilities within them. If a user opens the Facebook FB -2.46% application and taps on a link, for example, they are technically operating within an application, but are actually consuming content from the mobile Web, too.

To understand users’ mobile Web habits better, the IAB commissioned Harris Poll to survey 2,030 adults in the U.S. in December, and found 52% of smartphone owners in that group said they click links within apps that take them to content on mobile websites. The research also found users actually value apps in part because they enable the discovery of webpages.

The IAB said it believes this type of mobile Web browsing inside non-browser applications represents a significant volume of traffic. In other words, mobile app use isn’t replacing mobile Web usage, it’s driving it.

Continue reading… 

Top Tips for Improving Your Business Through Social Selling

IDG Connect

 Top Tips for Improving Your Business Through Social Selling

Dale Roberts is VP of Professional Services at Artesian, the innovative developer of social intelligence software. He is also a keynote speaker, blogger and author of Decisions Sourcing: Organisational Decision Making for the Agile and Social Enterprise. Prior to joining Artesian, Dale worked with some of the largest European and US businesses to build analytic and performance management solutions in his role as European Services Director for market leader Cognos, now part of IBM.

Dale discusses his top tips for embracing social selling and explains why smart businesses are putting social insight at the heart of their sales strategies.

We are in the middle of an online and social revolution that has not only changed the way we buy a holiday or book air travel but how we buy for businesses too. Figures show that three quarters of business buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions. The wave of cultural change is being felt beyond consumers as business buyers connect on professional social platforms and check rating sites when considering a wide range of purchases from electronic goods or employer liability insurance to exhibition space.

The pace of change is dramatic, with typical business buyers opting to delay their first engagement with a seller until they are 57%[1] through their purchasing decision. What this means is that more than half of the sales process has now disappeared, taking with it the influence and control that professional sellers previously had.

Businesses must recognise this change and implement social strategies within their sales and marketing departments to transform the way they engage with customers.  To make this effective, sellers have to adopt new habits and the following tips will help them to stand out with the new connected buyer:

# 1 Spend your day more effectively

According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, sellers spend only 39% of their time carrying out role specific tasks, eg. selling. Other activities, such as reading and answering emails, searching for information and internal collaboration are pulling them away and whilst email is a valuable communications tool it can also slow progress towards closing a sale.  Sales people and managers can start by assessing how much time they are giving to direct communication and research and restructure their day to focus at least 60% of their day on selling.

#2 Use social tools to support sales effectiveness

Gathering information is a necessary activity, but it’s possible that too much time is being spent on this and not very effectively. Traditional sales intelligence focused on data about people and businesses is limited. Sellers must have access to topical, timely and, if possible, behavioural information, most usefully derived from user-generated content, social media and/or news. If customers are using social networks, sellers should be connected too, so they can communicate with them in the space they occupy and build credibility. Buyers are also more likely to engage with someone they recognise through social networks.

#3 Refine your social listening

The Internet is immeasurable and Google searching or casual browsing for relevant information is not only time-consuming, it is also like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. Social intelligence tools are designed to sharpen this process so sellers receive insight that they can use effectively, whether that’s product announcements or managerial shifts, legislation or the impact of political change. The tools tap into social and user-generated content in real-time, and deliver it instantly so that sales people can leverage it to engage with buyers intelligently and at the right moment.

Read all 5 tips… 

Best Business Gadgets of CES 2015

CITEworld

CES is mostly focused on consumer-oriented products, but with the lines between consumer and business devices blurring nowadays, many of the coolest products at CES could be of great interest to enterprise IT folks. Here are some of the hottest new CES products that business professionals could get a kick out of.

Screen Shot 2015 01 15 at 12.06.45 PM Best Business Gadgets of CES 2015

SMART kapp

Key features:  Make your conference room “SMART” with the kabb collaboration tool, which digitizes information written on it, capturing it and allowing it to be shared with meeting participants in any location. More info.

Screen Shot 2015 01 15 at 12.08.23 PM Best Business Gadgets of CES 2015

Boingo Wi-Fi subscription

Key features: PassPoint is an industry standard technology sometimes called “Hotspot 2.0” and/or “Next Generation Hotspot” backed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Broadband Alliance. It aims to make it easier to automatically connect to secure WiFi networks. Traditionally connecting to secure networks has required user authentication, but with PassPoint users can be automatically connected to these secure WiFi hotspots. More info.

Screen Shot 2015 01 15 at 12.09.37 PM Best Business Gadgets of CES 2015

Sulon Cortex

Key features:  The Cortex is a wearable, head mounted computing platform that provides developers with a spatial scanner and digital visor in a standalone headset package. Cortex sees businesses using this to help employees or developers virtualize a problem from a realistic perspective, or for precise simulation. More info.

View all 10 products

5 big data technology predictions for 2015

CITEworld

Big data technologies have evolved at a torrid pace that shows every sign of continuing in 2015. MapR CEO and co-founder John Schroeder predicts five major developments will dominate big data technology in the new year.

n just a few short years, big data technologies have gone from the realm of hype to one of the core disruptors of the new digital age. 2014 saw big data initiatives inside the enterprise increasingly move from test to production. In 2015, big data will push further into the enterprise with even more use cases — specifically real-time use cases — says John Schroeder, CEO and co-founder of Hadoopdistribution specialist MapR.

“This is the year that organizations move big data deployments beyond initial batch implementations and into real time,” Schroeder says. “This will be driven by the realization of the huge strides that existing industry leaders and soon-to-be new leaders have already made by incorporating new big data platforms into their analytics with “in-flight” data to impact business as it happens.” Schroeder says five major developments will dominate 2015.

1. Data Agility Emerges as a Top Focus

Data agility has been one of the big drivers behind the development of big data technologies, as the processes around legacy databases and data warehouses have proven too slow and inflexible for many business needs. In 2015, Schroeder says data agility will become even more central as organization shift their focus from simply capturing and managing data to actively using it.

“Legacy databases and date warehouses are so expensive that DBA resources are required to flatten summarize and fully structure the data,” he says. “Upfront DBA costs delay access to new data sources and the rigid structure is very difficult to alter over time. The net result is that legacy databases are not agile enough to meet the needs of most organizations today.”

“Initial big data projects focused on the storage of target data sources,” he adds. “Rather than focus on how much data is being managed, organizations will move their focus to measuring data agility. How does the ability to process and analyze data impact operations? How quickly can they adjust and respond to changes in customer preferences, market conditions, competitive actions and the status of operations? These questions will direct the investment and scope of big data projects in 2015.”

2. Organizations Move from Data Lakes to Processing Data Platforms

data lakes 100537348 large.idge 5 big data technology predictions for 2015Thinkstock

In some ways, 2014 was the year of the data lake (or data hub), an object-based storage repository that stores raw data in its native format — whether structured, unstructured or semi-structured — until it’s ready for use. Data lakes have a strong value proposition in that they represent a scalable infrastructure that’s economically attractive (with a reduced per-terabyte cost) and extremely agile.

Schroeder says that the data lake will continue to evolve in 2015 with the capability to bring multiple compute and execution engines to the data lake to process the data in-place. That’s not only more efficient, it creates a single point of governance and a single point of security.

Continue reading… 

 

2015 IDC Directions: Accelerating Innovation in the 3rd Platform Era

 2015 IDC Directions: Accelerating Innovation in the 3rd Platform Era

  • For nearly a decade, IDC has predicted, chronicled, and analyzed the industry’s remarkable shift to its 3rd Platform for innovation and growth, built on cloud, mobile, social, and Big Data and analytics technologies. Over 100% of IT spending growth and virtually all strategic new IT investments in the enterprise are already being built on 3rd Platform technologies and solutions.  Join us for Directions 2015, as our analysts set the groundwork and help guide your future as we enter the most critical period yet in the 3rd Platform era — the Innovation Stage. With such high stakes and the 3rd Platform’s ability to enable business model transformation, the disruption, opportunity, and risk will be intense in both established and emerging markets. Register today and engage IDC analysts, via sessions and intimate sit-down opportunities, as they continue to lead the way in understanding every dimension of the 3rd Platform era and its impact on your success.

  • Event Theme, Dates and Locations –
    Directions 2015
    Accelerating Innovation in the 3rd Platform Era
    March 4, 2015 • San Jose Convention Center • San Jose, California
    March 18, 2015 • John B. Hynes Convention Center • Boston, Massachusetts

  • Directions 2015 informational website:  www.idc.com/directions

    www.idc.com/directions/sanjose15
    www.idc.com/directions/boston15
  • Early bird rate is $495 through Feb 5, 2015… and the standard $895 after that
     2015 IDC Directions: Accelerating Innovation in the 3rd Platform Era

Infographic: What is Content Marketing?

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Infographic: What is Content Marketing?

If you looked away for a split second you may have missed the rise of Content Marketing from “buzz word” to “must have”. In fact, at the beginning of 2014 CMOs at the largest technology companies reported that “Building out content marketing as an organizational competency” was the 2nd most important initiative, only behind measuring ROI. Since then, they have responded by putting more budget, staff, and energy into the area, yet there is still confusion around the topic. What exactly is Content Marketing? Is it a type of marketing asset? Is it a process or a technique? Or something else?

IDC’s CMO Advisory Service, has seen this issue first hand and to help remedy the situation the group has  published a document, What Is Content Marketing? IDC Defines One of Marketing’s Most Critical New Competencies. Included within is a formal definition for Content Marketing.

 

Read more on clear guidelines and processes on how to execute new and exciting practices like Content Marketing
Marketing Assets Final Infographic: What is Content Marketing?

Best of CES 2015: In pictures

CITEworld

The best and most noteworthy products and technologies found at CES 2015.

View them here

For videos of CES coverage, click here

Screen Shot 2015 01 08 at 12.55.28 PM Best of CES 2015: In pictures