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MWC: Apple, Google, still most valuable tech brands

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As the world’s tech companies gathered this week in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, Brand Finance has released its annual review of the state of their brands, the Brand Finance Tech 100.

Key Findings:

  • Apple extends lead with record breaking US$145bn brand value
  • Galaxy S6 restores Samsung’s brand rating to AAA
  • Qualcomm takes brand value hit following Snapdragon 810 fiasco
  • Uber enters table with US$11bn brand value
  • WeChat grows brand value by 83%

Apple Not Rotten Yet

With a value of US$145, Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand. Despite annual predictions of a plateau or fall from grace, brand value is up 14%. Revenue for the last three months of 2015 was a record-breaking US$75.3 billion. Though there has been much disappointment about slowing growth, this must be seen in the context of an exceptional period at the end of 2014 following the release of the iPhone 6. To not just maintain but increase sales in a saturated market is encouraging and assertions that Apple has gone rotten are premature.

Snapdragon Leaves Qualcomm Red-Faced 

Qualcomm is one of this year’s biggest losers in the technology table, brand value has taken a 17% dip whilst the brand rating has been downgraded from AA+ to AA. This is largely due to the fact that the company’s flagship processor, the Snapdragon 810, was nothing short of a disaster. Qualcomm’s highly anticipated processor was found to overheat and malfunction when subjected to heavier workloads. The issue was so critical that Samsung dropped the Qualcomm processor from its extremely popular Galaxy line. Qualcomm lost a year’s worth of orders from one its biggest clients, and the consequent damage to brand value is clear.

S6 & S7 Restore Samsung’s Image

Samsung’s brand rating, which indicates the strength and future potential of the brand, has been restored to AAA this year thanks in part to the positive reception of the Galaxy S6. Critics raved about the significantly improved design, which also put the Galaxy S6 on the radar of voguish iPhone users. The recently unveiled Galaxy S7 looks to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor but adds features such as water resistance, extended battery life and the sorely missed expandable storage option. Revenues have also improved this year, most of them coming from Samsung’s semiconductor business which produces chips for most smartphone manufacturers, including, ironically, their fiercest rival, Apple.

Uber Starts Well but has a Tough Road Ahead

Uber has firmly established itself in the top end of this year’s technology table with an impressive brand value of US$11bn. This makes the ride hailing app’s brand more valuable than industry giants such as Panasonic, Dell and Sony. However challenging times could lie ahead. Uber launched its new logo with great fanfare this year, however the colourful geometric shapes that make up the new identity failed to impress. Critics were quick to label the new logo ’unattractive’ and ‘ambiguous’. The backlash resulted in Uber’s head of design stepping down only a day after the new identity was revealed. Uber continues to face regulatory challenges in the west, as the company is bombarded with protests and lawsuits from taxi unions and transport authorities while in the east, the company struggles to turn a profit. This is largely due to fierce competitors, such as Didi Kuaidi, which is the favoured low-cost ride hailing company in China.

WeChat Nearly Doubles

WeChat increased its brand value by 83% this year, making it one of the fastest growing brands in the technology table. The messaging app, which also offers a payment platform, has seen rapid growth, with registered users totalling at an astonishing 1.1bn, out of which 100m are based outside of China. Tencent, the holding company that owns and operates WeChat, recently announced that WeChat will start charging its users for payment transactions in March 2016, a move that could boost revenues even higher.

The World’s Most Valuable Tech Brands (Top 10):

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* Click on graph for an enlarged option.

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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