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CES 2016: Samsung, YouTube, Fitbit take stage

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Keynotes from the top executives at FitBit, NBCUniversal, Samsung and YouTube, along with tech policy sessions and top product awards rounded out Day Two and Three of CES 2016 last week.

Thursday morning kicked off with a keynote address from WP Hong, president of Solution Business Unit, Samsung SDS. During his address, Hong stated that the Internet of Things (IoT) is already here, but many companies need to collaborate to make it work. Samsung is laboring to ensure all of the devices the company produces connect to the Internet. The company is building IoT innovation that is in-sync with people’s daily lives by offering a new category of IoT home appliances that connect families and make life easier. Samsung showed its home appliance connected line including the Family Hub Refrigerator and the FlexDuo stove with Wi-Fi. “The age of the Internet of Things has begun,” Hong said. “It will be a success, but only if we get the fundamentals right: openness, interoperability and close industry collaborations.”

At Thursday’s C Space Keynote, presented by MediaLink, Stephen B. Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, discussed disruptive innovation and its impact on the television industry. Burke noted that television is still making money, but in different ways as revenue streams such as international syndication and subscription video on demand (SVOD) services evolve. “There’s more competition now than ever, which makes it harder to break through and have a TV show that’s a hit. But people watch as much TV today as they ever have. And the vast majority is watched on broadcast or cable.”

Next, a panel of leading media and marketing leaders took the stage to discuss the future of advertising in a mobile era. While television is still important for many brands, it’s only one piece of the marketing mix, according to Allison Lewis, global chief marketing officer for Johnson & Johnson. Mobile advertising platforms offer greater reach and precision, she said, adding that 50 percent of Johnson & Johnson’s web traffic comes from mobile. Kristin Lemkau, CMO of JP Morgan Chase added, “We want the ability to target and more ways to authentically integrate into programming – to get more creative in advertising.”

At Thursday afternoon’s keynote, Robert Kyncl, chief business officer, YouTube, noted that the last time he spoke on the CES keynote stage four years ago, he predicted that 90 percent of all Internet traffic would be video traffic by the year 2020. Cisco data now predicts that video will reach 90 percent of global Internet traffic by 2019, a full year ahead of schedule.

Kyncl discussed the top reasons video will ultimately win the decade, including the quality of video – data speeds are faster, sound is better and screens are bigger – and the increased diversity of content. Kyncl announced that YouTube’s premium subscription service, RED, will begin producing original content to follow suit with Netflix and Amazon. He added that new shows and movies will be available, as well as a music service. Kyncl also announced a partnership with GoPro to create the first commercial 3D/360 camera called Odyssey. Odyssey uses 16 GoPro cameras to capture VR video.

The annual Leaders in Technology (LIT) Dinner took place Thursday evening, honoring the policymakers and technologists that are instrumental in furthering tech innovation. Honored guests and speakers included Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry Emmanuel Macron, who noted that France brought a delegation of 190 entrepreneurs and 127 startups to CES 2016, calling them “the face of France.”

Fitbit CEO and Co-Founder James Park delivered the evening’s keynote address as a discussion with CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. Now a global brand providing fitness solutions to consumers around the world, Park noted how far Fitbit and fitness tech have come. “We essentially had to create the health and fitness category in 2009,” said Park. “I remember talking to Best Buy, and they didn’t even have a section to display it.” Fitbit unveiled its Fitbit Blaze at CES Press Day on Tuesday. The smart fitness watch creates a digital health platform – hardware and software – to help people reach their health goals. “People really want to work for a company that is mission-oriented,” Park noted. “And they want to work for a company that has profound benefits in society.”

In addition to powerful keynotes, Day Two and Three of CES 2016 featured compelling SuperSessions, tech policy discussions focused on furthering the next-generation of innovation and awards honoring the hottest products at the show.

During Thursday’s SuperSession: IoT Business Strategies: Partnerships for the Sharing Economy , leading industry service providers and manufacturers stressed the importance of strategic partnerships to accelerate the development of IoT. As an example of a successful partnership between IoT and the sharing economy ecosystem, the panelists pointed to   August Home’s integration with Airbnb, where Airbnb hosts can link their account with a keyless lock. This revolution has driven companies to move toward open source and standards to provide faster and better solutions to consumers.

Thursday’s C Space Storyteller series kicked off with Margo Georgiadis, president, Americas, Google leading an engaged discussion between Time Warner’s CMO Kristen O’Hara and Best Buy’s CMO Greg Revelle where they shared key insights, advising brands on the best ways to win over consumers. Following the “new rules” of marketing in today’s technology-driven, multi-device environment means that brands need to focus on the critical moments when consumers are actually receptive to them. In the following session, Yahoo’s Chief Revenue Officer Lisa Utzschneider led a talk with leading marketing minds from Subaru of America to analyze the intersection of data, content and technology and what that means for today’s consumer.

At the Forecasting the Future of Entrepreneurship SuperSession, Rebecca Jarvis, chief business and economics correspondent for ABC News led a discussion with disruptive innovators, Nick Woodman, founder and CEO, GoPro; Steve Case, chairman and CEO, Revolution and Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder, Slack. The group emphasized the importance of risk taking, strategic partnerships and picking a project you are truly passionate about. When asked about the future of entrepreneurship, they named major sectors such as food, healthcare and real estate, as well as consumer-generated content.

A mix of the world’s top movers and shakers in transportation solutions participated in the panel, Beyond Smart Cities: The Future of Urban Mobility, featuring Dr. Volkmar Denner CEO and CTO, Bosch; Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Department of Transportation; Stephen Mollenkopf, CEO, Qualcomm and Amnon Shashua, co-founder, CTO and chairman, Mobileye. Kent Larson, director, MIT Media Lab Changing Places Group moderated the discussion . With 90 percent of global population growth expected to take place in cities, panelists discussed how shared mobility, big data, practical business models and spectrum will be embedded in the smart cities of the future.

Business leaders and policy operators weighed in on the digital economy during Thursday’s Global Innovation SuperSession , featuring panelists Neelie Kroes, special envoy, StartupDelta; Emmanuel Macron, Minister, French Ministry of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs; Jeannine Sargent, president, Innovation & New Ventures, Flex and U.S. Senator Mark Warner. Alan Murray, editor, Fortune Magazine, moderated the session, asking panelists a series of questions, including what innovation-friendly environments are needed for businesses to succeed today; what single policies they are most focused on and where they see hope for creative policy making. Sargent noted that entrepreneurs and business people have a responsibility to help their government officials understand and be smart about making policy. For Kroes, she said it’s very important to have a government that doesn’t avoid risk.

It was a packed house for the always popular Last Gadget Standing, presented by Living in Digital Times. Founder of Yahoo Tech David Pogue kicked off the event, which featured 11 companies competing for the top crowd-pleasing gadget. The top two winners were chosen by a live applause meter and selected through an online audience. View the results here.

The Stars of CES Awards, presented by What Hi-Fi?, named the top ten hottest audio products of CES 2016, chosen by Simon Lucas, editor of What Hi-Fi magazine, and Joe Cox, editor of What Hi-Fi.com. The top prizes were awarded to these 10 products.

Yahoo Tech’s David Pogue led an audience through a Friday afternoon of friendly app competition during the Mobile Apps Showdown, presented by Living in Digital Times and sponsored by Lenovo.  More than 100,000 apps were submitted for consideration, with ten finalists selected for the main event and the winner selected by audience applause levels. The apps were designed to improve individual wellness, promote environmental sustainability, support small businesses and care for our pets. Results are available on the Mobile Apps Showdown website.

Friday afternoon’s Extreme Tech Challenge Semi-Finals consisted of 10 semi-finalists, picked by VC judges from a field of over 1,000 companies, pitched to a panel of judges – including CTA’s Shapiro – for a chance to pitch in the final round to Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island. View the results here.

The third day of CES 2016 concluded with Engadget’s presentation of the Best of CES Awards 2016. Pepper the robot co-hosted and introduced the different categories. Winners included:

Best Startup: Owlet

Best Digital Health & Fitness: OhMiBod LovelifeKrush

Best Wearable Technology: Recon Empire EVS

Best Automotive Technology: Chevy Bolt

Best Home Theater Product: Philips’ Fidelio E6

Best Connected Home Product: Cassia Hub

Best Innovation (disruptive tech): VW Budd-e fast charging technology

Best Mobile Device: Huawei Mate 8

Best TV Product: LG Oleg G6

Best Gaming Product: HTC’s Vive Chaperone

Best Offbeat Product: Ehang 184

Best Maker-Friendly Technology: LEGO Education Wedo 2.0

Best PC: Razer Blade Stealth

Best Robots or Drones: Typhoon H

Best of the Best Award : The Chevy Bolt

People’s Choice Award: The Razer Blade Stealth

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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