Sabtu, 07 Juni 2014

4 tech companies are paying a $325M fine for their illegal non-compete pact

4 tech companies are paying a $325M fine for their illegal non-compete pact - The settlement price for the tech industry salary-suppression lawsuit is confirmed: It’s $324.5 million. Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe will pony up that amount, which had previously been rumored but is now confirmed in settlement records filed Thursday in federal court. The settlement, which still needs to be approved by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Diego, avoids what could have been an embarrassing trial, scheduled to begin at the end of this month. Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intuit settled last year for $20 million. Judge Koh had merged various lawsuits going back to 2011 into one class-action suit. The plaintiffs included engineers, designers, artists, editors, sys admins and others who worked at the companies from 2005 to 2010. The workers contended that the named companies promised not to poach each others’ workers, an agreement that the plaintiffs said made the market for their skills uncompetitive and suppressed their salaries. As large as the figure appears at first glance, it is only a fraction the $3 billion sought by the lawsuit, which could have been tripled if antitrust had been proven. Each of over 64,000 plaintiffs are expected to receive between $2,000 and $8,000. More than $80 million of the settlement is expected to be paid out in legal fees. In 2010, six of the companies settled with U.S. Department of Justice because of these non-poaching agreements. That settlement, which involved no fine or cash payment, required the companies to abandon “no solicitation” recruiting agreements for five years. On its Public Policy Blog in 2010, Google echoed the other companies in saying that it believed it had done nothing wrong. “Our policy only impacted cold calling,” Google posted, “and we continued to recruit from these companies through LinkedIn, job fairs, employee referrals, or when candidates approached Google directly.” Additionally, the companies had contended that their agreements did not push down salaries, and they opposed the employees suing together in a class action. But the cooperative agreements about workers had been important enough to attract the attention of the top people at these legendary companies. In one document made public, for example, then-Google CEO Eric Schimidt emailed Apple chief executive Steve Jobs to report that a Google recruiter was about to be fired because he attempted to hire an Apple employee. Jobs’ reply: ” : ) “ In another, Schmidt told Google’s human resources director by email to share the companies’ no-cold-call agreements only verbally with competitors, so as not “to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later.” From the evidence revealed in this lawsuit, Jobs was totally behind the non-compete effort. Google co-founder Sergey Brin, for instance, reported to other executives in his company that the Apple co-founder had declared, “If you hire a single one of [Apple's] people, that means war.” via

Jumat, 06 Juni 2014

2K Games reveals new hunters to track, burn, and kill the creature in Evolve (hands-on preview)

2K Games reveals new hunters to track, burn, and kill the creature in Evolve (hands-on preview)

Take-Two Interactive’s 2K Games publishing label is unveiling more hunter characters in its 4-on-1 monster-hunting title Evolve today that show how diverse the gameplay can be. In advance of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, 2K Games and developer Turtle Rock Studios are showing more hands-on gameplay that makes me believe that this will be one of the year’s big titles when it ships on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on Oct. 21. This is one of the most entertaining new next-generation titles coming, with beautiful graphics and enthralling gameplay mechanics that inevitably lead to a lot of shouting among the nerve-racked players. Aside from the launch date, 2K Games is also announcing four new hunters that you can play in the game. They include Hyde, an assault class soldier with a flamethrower and a mini-gun; Maggie, a trapper who has a monster pet of her own named Daisy; Bucket, a mech-like machine who serves as a high-tech support soldier; and Lazarus, a medic who can actually bring characters back from the dead. In the cooperative multiplayer-only title, you can either play as one of four hunters or as a monster. It’s a twist on Left 4 Dead, the zombie-shooting game that Turtle Rock’s founders previously created for Valve. Cofounders Phil Robb and Chris Ashton started Turtle Rock in 2002. They did a lot of work with Valve, creating Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Counter-Strike: Source, and Left 4 Dead. The latter game was about four human players who teamed up together to fend off hordes of fast-running zombies. Robb said that game taught the developers a lot about cooperative multiplayer, including boss battles. Such battles are usually scripted and repetitive since they’re based on computer-controlled bosses. (See our interview with Robb and Ashton about the story here and their views on co-op games here). In this case, the monster is a badass known as Goliath. It wanders through a living, open world full of lush jungles and ambient animal life. Goliath tries to eat the smaller animals, so it can evolve into a stronger monster and beat off the hunters. But instead of being a dumb artificial intelligence character controlled by the computer, a more crafty human player controls Goliath. In Evolve, you can be the boss — one that is big enough to toss the characters around as if they were rag dolls. Above: Evolve’s huntersImage Credit: 2K Games But the world can betray Goliath. If it walks into a flock of birds, they may fly off and warn the hunters of Goliath’s location. Once the hunters trap Goliath, they can employ technologies such as a giant force field that will trap Goliath in a smaller, containment area. The hunters include trackers who can spot Goliath’s footprints, but the Goliath can erase footprints by walking in a slower stealth mode or by just walking into a stream. Based on my second hands-on preview of the game, I think that Evolve is an enormously fun cat-and-mouse game with infinite replayability. You can chase after Goliath in a forest on a planet called Shear, but 2K Games is also showing a desert environment at E3. Each environment has different types of wildlife, and you have to learn how to use that wildlife to your advantage. The game will have multiple monsters, hunters, and game modes and more than a dozen maps. Goliath gets a headstart on the ground, and can seek out a good hiding spot. But the world is not so huge that he can hide forever. Goliath has to aggressively seek out wildlife to eat and, at some point, has to go on the offensive to take out a big facility on the ground. At that point, the hunters become defenders. Before you enter a match, you get some points to spend on your character to customize his or her weapons or protections. Generally, you can focus on more mobility or more firepower. Above: Evolve hunter MaggieImage Credit: 2K Games In a couple of matches, I got to try out the new characters. In one match, I played Hyde. Once the trapper tracked down the monster, my job was to constantly attack with either my mini-gun or flamethrower. But I had to beware of Goliath’s charge, which can be activated by the monster player with a single button push. So I stayed close and stayed out of Goliath’s way. By and large, that worked, and I was able to bring it down with the help of my colleagues. In another match, I played Bucket, who can deploy auto turrets. Those auto turrets can wreak havoc on Goliath, adding multiple new shooters at a time when Goliath is trapped within a dome. In the map, there was a big new wildlife creature that is like a giant spider. The spider will attack the hunters if antagonized, and it is like a boss unto itself. But the spider will also compete with Goliath to eat smaller wildlife. Maggie’s Daisy, dubbed a Trapjaw, works a lot like a blood hound. She can find the Goliath more easily than the hunters can. But Goliath can attack Daisy too. Once we had Goliath tracked and trapped, I set up some robot auto turrets, which did a lot of damage to Goliath. But we really depended on the firepower from others to finish off the monster. Above: The Goliath monster can move in stealth.Image Credit: 2K Games When it became my chance to play the monster, I had a plan. I was able to quickly find some wildlife to eat. Once I ate three of the little critters, I was able to evolve to the next stage. That made me a lot stronger. I was looking for more things to eat when I got spotted by the trapper. I tried to turn and fight, but then the trapper sprung the dome over me, and I couldn’t escape. I tried to move around as much as possible and stay out of the crossfire of the different hunters. If a hunter was isolated on the edge, I would charge. But my powers didn’t last forever, and I had to wait for them to recharge. I bought some time by jumping up to a rock. The hunters couldn’t reach me, and they tried to snipe at me. But I just pulled back from the edge. Eventually, they used their jetpacks to fly up and dislodge me from the rock. After that, I didn’t last long. One of the minor problems I have with Evolve is that you have to pay attention to indicators like meters. If you don’t watch yourself, your Goliath’s health will drain away and you won’t realize just by looking at him. You’ll only know if he’s really hurt by looking at the small health meter. But in the middle of combat, when you’re being attacked from four sides, that’s not easy to do. Similarly, when you’re dealing out the blows, you won’t know if you’re really bringing down the hunters. They have meters, for sure, but you may smite them nine times and they might not die until the tenth blow, particularly if someone is actively healing them. Above: Evolve hunters, with Daisy on the right.Image Credit: 2K Games If you could really just smite a hunter and get a kill, that would be much better feedback. But it would make the game too easy for the Goliath. By the same token, if you have characters like Lazarus who are too powerful in bringing back characters from the dead, then it becomes too easy for the hunters. Turtle Rock is aware of that and is carefully balancing the strengths and weaknesses. Lazarus, for instance, can’t heal people as a medic. He has to wait until they are incapacitated or dead. Then he can revive them. That helps, because you then don’t have to wait a couple of minutes for a drop ship to bring you back in and respawn you. 2K Games announced today that everyone who preorders Evolve from retailers will receive the Monster Expansion Pack, which includes the Savage Goliath skin as well as a new monster character that will be available after the game is released. Over time, Turtle Rock will add refinements and new characters to the game. The game has been in the works for more than three years, but it looks beautiful because it is targeted at next-generation hardware. The forest has a lot of foliage where the monster can hide, thanks to the graphical horsepower of the PS4 and the Xbox One. Take-Two bought the rights to Evolve after now-defunct publisher THQ went under. It paid $10.8 million for Evolve, and right now, it’s looking like a bargain. Above: Evolve hunter HydeImage Credit: 2K Games      

4 tips to help you hire engineers in a world where devs hold all the cards

4 tips to help you hire engineers in a world where devs hold all the cards
If you’re an engineering hiring manager, chances are you have a list of technical questions that are your gold standard for evaluating potential hires, right? Technical ability is imperative, of course. But are you getting the talent you really need? I find that what is often overlooked in the hiring process is the people factor. Who is that person sitting in front of you, responding to your questions? The talent market is hot and candidates are the ones with the power these days. They decide which company best fits their needs and desires. You may think you’re interviewing them, but the reality is that candidates are interviewing companies and they choose the one that has the best experience, culture, flexibility, and potential for growth. Too often, companies do not realize this. And hiring managers make the mistake of leaving it up to HR or the CEO to keep tabs on the hiring landscape. You can’t afford to do that anymore. Know the hiring landscape.
 It’s absolutely essential that, as a hiring manager, you understand the hiring conditions in your market. As the boss of the people you hire, finding the right person to hire impacts you more than anyone else. It’s well worth your time to do a little research. Who else is posting for the same position? What are your competitors offering candidates? But most importantly, what do candidates want? Google the job posting and see what comes up. How are other companies positioning themselves? The landscape changes rapidly – sometimes on a weekly basis—which means you need to be able to adapt. If you do not find a way to make your company and the position stand out to candidates, you will lose them to a more attractive, alluring competitor. Up your game.
 How fast are you able to hire? If your competitors are hiring in five days, and it takes your company 15, you are going to lose the opportunity to hire top talent. Be aware that, like you, the best candidates are simultaneously interviewing more than one company. How can you condense your process so that you can make offers faster? Are you conducting multiple rounds of interviews? If so, can you get it down to one? You may want to consider extending one interview over a period of two to three hours, instead of 30 minutes, to allow all stakeholders to spend time with the candidate. Be sure, too, that each stakeholder who will interview the candidate asks different questions and has a unique agenda for the information they seek. Sell your company.
 No, you don’t have to be a salesperson; you do have to let your passion for your company shine through. Why do you love working for the company? Talk about it. What has enhanced your own career here the most? Candidates are looking for challenges they can thrive on. What are you offering that will do that? It’s important that you and everyone else who interviews the candidate to present the best image possible. Dress well. Discuss amongst yourselves ahead of time what key points need to be shared. Have stories you can tell about your projects and team’s successes. Coach interviewers to focus on responding to candidate’s questions with information that makes your company desirable. I had one candidate who turned down a position at a developer’s dream job because when he asked the hiring manager what was the most recent project he’d worked on, the manager replied that it was a maintenance project. Boring! This turned the candidate off and gave the impression that working at that company would not be challenging enough. The manager could have told him about several of the exciting projects he’d worked on over the last year or so, and would have, if someone had coached him to be mindful about the impact of his responses. Ditch the script.
 Many hiring managers use a well-worn script to conduct interviews. The reasoning is that it makes it easier to compare apples to apples if you ask the same questions of everyone. This used to work. Not anymore. Every interview is unique and situational. Toss your script and instead use a guided conversation. In fact, move the interview out of your office and go grab a cup of coffee with the candidate. Then talk. About your company, about your work, about the position, about projects you’re excited about, about growth, about career paths. And listen. Conversations are natural interviews. As you talk, the candidate will naturally discuss the work she’s done, her values, goals, and ask questions. You’ll have the chance to see what her energy is like and what type of challenges she finds energizing. You’ll still do your technical interview, but this part of the interview will yield the “people” information you need and will give the candidate a chance to truly connect with you and your company. It’s time engineering hiring mangers think outside the box to get the best talent on their teams. By adapting to a changing hiring environment and making a concentrated effort to demonstrate why your company is best, you’ll have the greatest chance of convincing top talent to come and work for you. Workbridge Associates is a professional recruitment and placement agency with operations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Orange County, CA. We specialize in technology hiring for both permanent and contract positions, and have made over 30,000 successful technology hires since 1989.     Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile user acquisition.    Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.

4 tools and 5 tips for making the most of native advertising

4 tools and 5 tips for making the most of native advertising

How can you leverage mobile to increase profitability for your company? Find out at MobileBeat, VentureBeat's 7th annual event on the future of mobile, on July 8-9 in San Francisco. Register now and save $400!    The movement to publish branded stories across destinations ranging from Facebook to The New York Times, also known as native advertising, is drawing a lot of attention and ad dollars. Market researcher BIA/Kelsey estimates U.S. native ad spending on social sites alone will reach $4.57 billion by 2017, almost triple the $1.6 billion spent in 2012.  Nearly 75 percent of U.S. online publishers now offer native advertising, according to the Online Publishers Association and Radar Research. It’s safe to say that native advertising is exploding. And rightfully so: When done well, it affords an enormous opportunity for brands to engage with audiences in an authentic way. As a result, the potential for brand marketers and their agencies — both PR and advertising — is huge. That’s because the next frontier of digital communications will be about compelling branded stories, distributed with the same levels of reach and performance metrics that ad exchanges have been delivering for years. But like anything new and unproven, such native advertising has a lot of skeptics who worry that the practice of advertising veiled as journalism faces a backlash for brands and publishers alike. My friend Eric Knorr, editor-in-chief of, cautions that brand-backed content must be completely transparent and above board to avoid consumer chafe. “Paid content masquerading as editorially driven content serves the interests of no one,” he says. My personal experience consuming sponsored content on major media sites is underwhelming, but I do believe it doesn’t need to be. With the adoption of best practices — more later on some specific suggestions —  the industry can move in the right direction. Winning marketers are meanwhile investing in their capacity to produce authoritative content — be it blogs, articles, studies, infographics, videos or ebooks — designed to engage audiences, acquire new users and establish thought leadership. If you build it, will they come? In a hyper-fragmented, hyper-competitive media landscape, if you create great content and no one reads it, what good is it? Great content is only half the equation. It’s no longer good enough for marketers to rely on earned editorial content wins (news coverage) and plus owned media (platforms they own, such as corporate blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts) for telling their stories. Who you get this content in front of is of equal importance. Over the past decade, the process of buying and placing ads online has shifted from analog to digital. Transactions are no longer brokered by a phone call or handshake like the days of Don Draper. Today, media buys and placements are automated via sophisticated algorithms and real-time bidding exchanges at unprecedented levels of speed, precision and scale. The same adtech infrastructure used by brands to power infinitely scalable paid search and display advertising campaigns is finally evolving to let marketers amplify their content in much the same way. But assuming you can get it in front of the right audience, a big advantage of great storytelling is that it outperforms display ads in terms of viral potential and social influence. These are some of the top tools and platforms we’re experimenting with right now to amplify client content: Paid content discovery networks Services such as Outbrain and Taboola can be thought of like Google Adwords for content. These content discovery networks allow brands to create an “ad” for their content at the bottom of related stories on major media sites. Operating under a cost-per-click model, any budget range can be set, starting at as low as $500 for between 1,500-2,500 views. Social and professional networks Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have their own ad exchanges that allow brands to target ads at specific groups of people and influencers. When people interact with ads, their friends may see the same ad, making it even more powerful. All of these social networks offer a unique way for brands to advertise and amplify their content, though each caters to a different audience.  LinkedIn, for example, is effective for reaching vast segments of professionals, whereas Facebook is better for reaching audiences when they are in a “consumer state of mind.” Retargeting Retargeting multiplies messaging opportunities. And it’s not just limited to ad network giants Facebook, Twitter, or Google. Services such as AdRoll let brands re-advertise to people who have visited their web site as they browse across the rest of the web. But retargeting isn’t just a great way to scale your display ads. Companies, including Tableau Software, are using retargeting to improve their demand-generation program by promoting educational and thought leadership posts related to someone’s topic or pain point of interest when they visited their site. (Disclosure: AdRoll is a client of my company, the Bateman Group.) Direct-to-publisher model News aggregators like TechMeme and major media sites like allow brands to customize sponsored content campaigns on their sites. These offerings are quite expensive, ranging from $7,000 per month on the low end to hundreds of thousands of dollars on the high end. A path towards native advertising excellence All of this is for nothing, of course, if marketer-driven storytelling violates consumer trust, as’s Knorr points out. If readers feel duped by content, they go away with “lasting resentment toward the publication and the sponsor,” he says. Expect the Federal Trade Commission and the Interactive Advertising Bureau to carry the torch in defining boundaries for native content. But as a Wild West of sponsored content unfolds, the industry needs to self-regulate by establishing some standards and best practices. For starters: 1) Earned media is king. While branded content is on the rise with no apex in site, nothing trumps the authoritative qualities and influence of earned media. With this rule in mind, marketers should look to amplify their top earned media via promoting this content across content discovery networks and social media. 2) Distribute quality storytelling. Not all content is created equal. With the rise in popularity of content discovery networks, expect to see many brands put a lot of spending behind sub-par content. As the saying goes, a pig with lipstick is still a pig. Prioritizing quality, journalist-grade content will lead to quality campaign performance. 3) Pick the right content network. Outbrain’s network boasts the third-highest traffic behind Google and Facebook, but not all traffic is created alike. The popular content discovery networks have lined up some amazing publishing partners, but brands must be careful to evaluate whether their desired audience can be effectively served through these networks. Trying to reach an IT storage administrator? Then putting an Outbrain widget on your content might not be a good idea. Vet your content network carefully. 4) Don’t put your eggs all in one basket. Just like your stock portfolio, your paid content program should be diversified with the right mix of media. Don’t go all-in on a single channel. Also, be sure to continually test and measure how each channel performs to optimize the impact of your investment. 5) Be transparent. As publishers look for new ways to monetize their inventory, they must be 100 percent transparent about whether content on their site is editorial or sponsored. Period. It’s early innings in native advertising, with plenty of learning ahead and best practices to establish. As a 20-year PR professional, I have never been more excited about the rapid innovation happening in the industry and where we will go from here. Indeed, there is a huge role for PR to play with the advertising and media industries in charting the path forward for paid content excellence.   Bill Bourdon is an owner and general manager at Bateman Group, a digital communications and content agency with offices in San Francisco and New York City.        We're studying B2B mobile marketing with Tim Rhodes, former director of market intelligence for Eloqua. Help us out by answering a few questions, and we'll help share the data.

Kamis, 05 Juni 2014

4 reasons bootstrapping can be smarter than raising capital

4 reasons bootstrapping can be smarter than raising capital - Virtually the only startups that get serious press are the ones that raise large rounds. As entertaining as it is to follow the rock-star fundraisers, what about the founders who bootstrap their way to success? This article is not a dig on people who raise money for their venture; it is also not meant to say that bootstrapping is definitely better than raising capital. Instead, these are four arguments for why not taking on early investors could also be a smart path to take. 1. Bootstrapping Forces You To Test Before You Double Down By definition, a startup is still attempting to prove its business model. To do so, the founders must empirically experiment with every aspect of their plan — pricing, distribution, partnerships, everything. More tests, performed faster, translate into more knowledge about what’s truly worth investing in. I recently asked Rachael Qualls, the founder of The Angel Capital Group, the largest network of angel groups in the United States, about this. “The best time to raise capital,” she said, “is once you have worked out a lot of the issues and you can easily say, ‘If you invest X, I can turn it into Y.’” You might be thinking, “Yeah, but if I get funding, I can afford to run more tests.” But once they’re funded, startups have a hard time resisting the temptation to gamble on unproven strategies before actually doing their homework first. Bootstrappers have no choice but to be smart about their bets. They’re forced to try things out on a small scale before serious money is added to the gas tank. 2. If You Misspend Your First Round, Getting a Second One Is Borderline Impossible As Brad Feld told me, it’s extremely important to be able to show a second round of investors how efficiently you spent your first. If you bootstrap the first phase, you’re less subject to heavy judgment during due diligence in the first formal round. The investors will be attracted to your financial efficiency and extrapolate your current traction with the dollars they bring. “The more important reason,” Brad said, “is that you want to make the most progress possible with the financing, and spending it efficiently and intelligently usually correlates with progress.” 3. Raising Money Is a Full-Time Job Ask any entrepreneur who has successfully completed a fundraising phase, and they’ll tell you that it monopolized their time for months — if not longer. I recently asked Ash Maurya, the founder of Spark59 and a prolific author on the topic, about the trade-offs entrepreneurs make when they decide to raise funds, instead of pursue customers. “Investors care about traction above everything else,” he said. “But traction is nothing more than engagement with your customers. Given that fundraising tends to be a full-time job, until you can demonstrate some initial traction, you are best served pursuing customers over investors.” 4. The More You Spend, the More You Waste The “shampoo theory” of economics is the most simplified psychological explanation for why a startup’s spending becomes more inefficient as its budget gets bigger. When you get a new bottle of shampoo, you’re more likely to use it every day, and more of it. You might even find yourself shampooing parts of your body other than your head. But when you get to the bottom of the bottle, you won’t use it every day, you use it in smaller portions, and it most assuredly gets used only where it was meant to be used. The same phenomenon happens to funded startups. Their newly inflated bank accounts change their spending decisions. It’s like Jeremy Smith, the former chief strategy officer for SecondMarket, told me: “Not sitting on a large pool of capital keeps you scared as $@#!―which makes you hungrier, more creative and more resourceful.” There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, an alternative route for your company that doesn’t involve selling a chunk of it off. In my humble opinion, the world needs more founders and less fundraisers.    Weston Bergmann is an active angel investor in Kansas City and an investor at startup incubator BetaBlox. He has acquired 5% of 70 startups in the last two years and is on track to own thousands before he hits 40.      We're studying B2B mobile marketing with Tim Rhodes, former director of market intelligence for Eloqua. Help us out by answering a few questions, and we'll help share the data.

5 teens from the White House Science Fair who’ll make you optimistic about the future

5 teens from the White House Science Fair who’ll make you optimistic about the future - The annual White House Science Fair with Bill Nye is always a delightful place to renew one’s faith in the future. Selected teens showcase world-class inventions at an age when most us spent our free time falling asleep in front of MTV. It’s nice to have some good news.  When 18-year-old Elana Simon (pictured above) contracted a rare cancer at the age of 12, she partnered with the surgeons treating her to construct a medical database of biological specimens from others suffering from the same illness. Her findings landed in one of the top academic journals, Science, and she’s redoubled her efforts in an new website, the Fibrolamellar Registry, to collect more data. 12-year-old Peyton Robertson designed a more efficient “sandless” sand bag to decrease the damage from salt-water flooding in his own South Florida community.   14-year-old Kavita Selva earned a finalist place in Google’s 2013 World Science fair for developing magnets that don’t depend on the dwindling supply of rare metals. Instead, the magnets are made with a mix of metal tape coated with superconductor material.   A trio of 15-year-olds (Jonathan Berman, Maya Flannery and Arjun Mahajian) developed a wrist device to help children with developmental disorders recognize socially isolating behaviors. Some children, especially with autism, display odd ritualistic movements called “stereotypies” that can cause friendship issues in the brutal social world that is K-12 education. The team developed a wrist device that automatically detects and alerts children to the movements, allowing them to consciously reduce the behavior in real time. Another trio aged 13 to 13 years old (Cassandra Baquero, Caitlyn Gonzolez, and Janessa Leija) designed an indoor navigation app for the visually impaired. The app, “Hello Navi,” gives customized directions of unfamiliar settings by taking into account the users stride and building blueprints. As the Science Fair, president Obama announced a handful of education initiatives, including a $35 million STEM teacher training program and the expansion of mentoring program in conjunction with AmeriCorps to teach STEM to 18,000 low-income students.

Rabu, 04 Juni 2014

5 industries that iBeacon will disrupt

5 industries that iBeacon will disrupt - In mid-2013, Apple introduced a new technology called iBeacon that enabled iOS-powered phones and tablets to communicate with nearby devices through Bluetooth Smart technology. iBeacon allows mobile apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from “beacons” broadcasting from other Bluetooth Smart powered devices and react accordingly. In short, your iOS device can alert an app when you approach or leave a location with an iBeacon. In addition to monitoring location, an app can estimate your proximity to an iBeacon (for example, a display or checkout counter in a retail store) and then adjust its behavior based on the iBeacon it discovered (for example, an iBeacon placed in the cookie aisle of a store could cause your favorite shopping app to display a promotion for Oreos). Normal GPS technology is accurate to within a few hundred meters, but iBeacon technology allows mobile apps to deliver contextual content to users within feet of their location. While much of the focus has been on how iBeacon can benefit retailers and enhance the in-store shopping experience, many more industries can benefit from its technology. Here’s a look at five of them. 1. Education An app called BeHere aimed at teachers uses the iBeacon technology to recognize students and automatically take attendance as they enter the classroom. In addition, the app can automatically give a teacher in a classroom the picture and profile of every student detected in the room via iBeacons. The app also has a great feature for the shy and quiet students who can tap a button to request help from a teacher. Here are some other ways the iBeacon technology could disrupt education:   Alert parents when their kids are not at school   Classrooms can have learning zones where different educational content is shown in each zone   Allow teachers and students to communicate through iBeacon-enabled messaging apps.   2. Dating Dating is an obvious use case, as research shows that proximity is a stronger predictor for marriage, more so than similarity in age, religion, marital status, ethnicity, and level of education. A dating app called Mingleton uses iBeacon technology to help you connect only with people in your immediate vicinity. The app leverages Core Bluetooth and Core Location technology in the iPhone to help its users find one another within a small space like a bar or restaurant. Not only that, iBeacon lets users see profile information about the people who might be around them. Other ways the iBeacon technology could disrupt the dating scene:   iBeacons around activities that show the profiles of those participating   Various ways to apply the technology to speed dating   A venue can use iBeacon to allow patrons to interact for dates, drive homes, or buying drinks   3. Home Electronics An app called Launch Here (formerly Placed) turns your iPhone into the smartest personal assistant that you’ll have at home. The app responds instantly to your environment, allowing you to launch other supported apps (or to a custom launch URL of your choosing). For example, you could place an iBeacon on your living room sofa and the app will send you a push notification to launch the Apple Remote app so you can enjoy Netflix on your Apple TV. But the possibilities don’t end there. Imagine a television that comes with an iBeacon and allows you to see TV listings or popular Netflix movies anytime you’re near it. Or a refrigerator that opens a grocery list app so you can easily add items to the shopping list. 4. Events The official app of this year’s SXSW festival used the iBeacon technology to help attendees pick up their badges faster and get more involved in the sessions they attend. One key feature of the app allowed for real-time audience interaction during sessions, where attendees can network with other attendees in that session, participate in a discussion forum, and answer live audience polls. Other use cases could include allowing sponsors to show content as attendees approach their booth or match attendees based on profile to make networking more efficient. 5. Sports Major League Baseball has installed iBeacons at 20 ballparks around the U.S. to offer iOS-using spectators a more engaging experience at the ballpark. With At The Ballpark version 3.0, fans can check-in to the ballpark and teams can push tailor-made notifications and relevant offers through the app. With HD televisions and rising gas prices, fans are starting to prefer the home viewing experience over the in-park experience. This move could help professional sports teams attract more fans to the ballpark. Other ways sports can leverage iBeacon include polls where fans can guess the next play and a feature that shows upgrade possibilities on available seats during the game (maybe a HotelTonight for game seats). Bobby Gill is the founder of Blue Label Labs, a mobile app development lab based in New York, and the editor of, an online resource for news, articles and tips for mobile app design and development.       We're studying B2B mobile marketing with Tim Rhodes, former director of market intelligence for Eloqua. Help us out by answering a few questions, and we'll help share the data.