As any gamer knows, E3 brings all the goodies. Focused on all things video gaming, E3 provides cross platform product information. As announced games are starting to be released, it’s time to look at what’s coming, what’s good, what’s great, and what’s been postponed.
Microsoft: Microsoft introduced a thinner Xbox One S, Sea of Thieves, We Happy Few, and a long list of ongoing franchise updates that includes Gears of War, Forza, Final Fantasy, and Witcher. For those hoping against hope for new Bioshock games, We Happy Few is bringing an acceptable stand-in garnering excellent reviews. Meanwhile, Gears of War 4 seems to have adequate reviews but nothing particularly new. The Microsoft Store shows that Forza Horizon is getting 4.8-5 stars and earning 9/10 on gamespot.com. Unfortunately, Cuphead, whose graphics draw on classic 1930’s style cartoons as well as the old school 1980’s games, has been postponed until mid-2017 since the developers decided to maintain the original creative idea instead of paring the game down to meet the original release date.
Microsoft HoloLens: Deserving of its own category, the HoloLens s more than the typical VR. It allows users to combine the real world with fictional visual information to create a fully augmented reality experience. With early reviews indicating that this could be the future of computing, the only questions are whether the price will offset its applicability to the average person and whether Microsoft can clean up a few bugs in the hardware and software.
Sony: Sony presented Playstation VR which had a US release in October, a new Resident Evil 7 (coming in January 2017 and fully playable in VR), Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. The Playstation VR provides a cost effective introduction to a VR experience making it a good fit for those who want to try VR without a huge up front investment. Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is seeing good reviews across the internet with 4 stars on Metacritic. Meanwhile, Horizon: Zero Dawn has a US release day of February 28, 2017 and European release date of March 3, 2017. Meanwhile, for people who need quick gratification, The Last Guardian, released at the end of October, has been good reviews across the internet.
Nintendo: Nintendo brought less to the table than Sony and Microsoft but its new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild exceeded gameplay expectations. Appearing to be less the traditional Nintendo Zelda easy-to-play game, Breath of the Wild takes on more realism that makes it similar to the harder edged games. In addition, Nintendo announced the Wario, Waluigi, Daisy, Rosalina, Boo, Donkey Kong, and Diddy Kong amiibo that launched on November 4th.
Ubisoft: Although announcing a new South Park game, Ubisoft focused primarily on new games instead of continuations to pre-existing franchises. The South Park game, which many are looking forward to, has had its release date delayed from December 2016 until first quarter 2017. Watch Dogs 2 early reviews are looking a bit mixed. Kotaku appears to enjoy the NPCs while Forbes and Time lament that its story is better than its broken gameplay. OF Ubisoft’s release announcements, the one inspiring the most excitement is clearly the VR experience for Assassin’s Creed. Despite continued disappointment in most of the games recently produced by the Assassin’s Creed franchise, it remains a popular staple of gamers. The VR experience received rave reviews from those who had the good fortune to be able to try it and seems to be something to look forward to use with the reasonably priced, for what it is, Playstation VR.
Overall, much of the excitement created by the E3 announcements back in June seem to be bearing fruit. For those that are not arriving on time, it appears that they will be worth the wait.
Groov-e Fusion headphones are one of the best musical accessories you will buy in 2016. We have seen some great products from Groov-e, but what really makes Fusion stand apart from rest of the headphones is its unique quality of being wired and wireless at the same time. You can use it on batteries or save them by connecting to a charging cable.
There are some high-end headphones in the market that offer similar features like Fusion, but they wear price tags that are not affordable for everyone. Groov-e brings Fusion stereo headphones so you can have a great bass experience without feeling light on your pocket.
Wireless or Wired stereo headphones
Groov-e Fusion is a unique headphone that can play back both wirelessly and with a wire. They come with a removable 3.5mm audio cable so you can connect it to your smartphone, car or wherever you find a headphone socket. But you are not limited to cables. If you have a Bluetooth audio streaming feature available on your smartphone or any other music player, you can stream songs wirelessly. Further, if your car has advanced infotainment system with Bluetooth streaming, the passenger on the third row can listen to the songs without leaning their heads forward.
10-12 Hours of Wireless Playback
The package includes a microUSB charging cable to charge the Fusion’s rechargeable batteries, which makes these headphones ideal for longer trips. Uninterrupted playback also means you can use them to watch up to 3-4 movies without worrying about losing the charge.
Fusion stereo headphones offer great noise isolation. Their soft ear pads not only act as a soft bedding for ears so you can listen to the music for hours without hurting your ears, but also provide an efficient noise canceling barriers. Don’t worry about the adjusting it on your head and ears because Groov-e’s Fusion headphones easily sit on anyone’s skull without let you feel that crushing feeling you get due to pressure from low-quality headphones. Swivel cups make sure your ear pinnae are completely covered.
Superb Bass Effect
Featuring 40MM driver for exceptional treble and bass response, you are going to be completely blown away by its powerful studio effect. If you didn’t know, “studio effect” means a musical experience so immersive you almost feel like sitting in a studio listing to the music playing life as it is created.
They boast a built-in microphone, which is amazingly hidden into its body. So the mic is not visible, but do not worry, your voice will reach them clearly when you are talking to your loved ones on Skype. Available in three eye-catching colors (Black, Gold, Silver), they are one of the best headphones you can buy in 2016 to meet the taste of your music with a powerful base.
At just £34.99, Groov-e Fusion headphones are incontrovertibly 2016’s gift to you. So don’t miss out, get them today on from Groov-e store.
Microsoft Xbox One S has finally been delivered, but does it really delivers the promise compared to PS4? Today we are going to review the changes that come with Microsoft’s latest console and whether you should upgrade to it or not.
Xbox One S Design
The most significant upgrade is that the One S is 40% smaller. This makes a huge difference to space-conscious people who like a neat arrangement of their personal space. Secondly, it is white: the controller, the console, and all of it. Now you also don’t have to deal with the big black box that served as a power source in Xbox One, because the latest console has dropped it completely with a sleeker new cable minus the adaptor. Included vertical stand also adds to its awesomeness.
Hardware and Specs.
Slightly powerful GPU, but in practice, it would be tough to spot the difference during the gameplay. So the hardware isn’t really a huge leap here. It comes with different storage varieties, but with its easy plugin & play, you can also use your old hard drive. Not surprisingly, it does not natively support Kinect. To use it, you have to buy the AC powered USB adaptor, which is quite of a junk of wires and will cost you $40 if you don’t already have it from Xbox One.
It is fair to say that your gaming experience will remain unchanged apart from the revitalized feeling of the new Xbox One S controller. Yes, it supports 4K gaming, but here is the catch: 4K games aren’t here yet and one or two titles may appear towards the end of 2016. And if you can wait this long that you should buy it. But your opinion might change by the time you have read our verdict.
Blue tooth support for easier pairing with PCs, phones, and tablets at a much greater range. Controller also has a headphone jack if you won’t want your neighbors to complain about the ‘noises’ in your room.
Xbox One S offers HDR 10, which is the new standard of high-quality videos that make dark colors appear dark and bright color much more bright, which really makes the videos stand out. Again, the problem is that you need to have a 4K capable TV to use HDR 10 standard, which is a new high even for the most recent and slimmest TVs. Other than that, the 4K Blu-Ray is discs are also supported and if you have a serious bandwidth, enjoy 4K on Netflix.
Graphic User Interface
A more dynamic users interface (UI) for quick access to games and videos. However initially setting it up takes time. Cortana has also been integrated and performs functions much flawlessly through the voice commands. All in all, the new interface has is of the best things about the One S compared to Xbox One.
With so much going on and bits of improvement, lesser space, an upgrade is not recommended because the difference is not really worth it. Microsoft has already announced Project Scorpio, which is a 2017 presentation that is being dubbed as “the most powerful gaming console ever!” Since we are already halfway through 2016, a little more patience can get you a much bigger deal. So save that money.
What is Ollie? It is a fantastic outdoor and indoor toy gadget that is a fully featured ‘rolling barrel.’ In today’s review, we will learn more about this cool gadget, its specifications, price, and more. But first, the defining question… what it is for?
The all-new Ollie is actually a racing robot remotely controlled by smartphones which is both iOS and android compatible. The rolling barrel-shaped gadget features two rubber wheels on its sides and a cylindrical body so it can roll on almost any terrain. Design-wise, we have never seen another gadget like this.
Ollie can speed up to 14mph, which is a lot for a gadget this size. Operated remotely by iPhone or android phone, it can perform incredible trick stunts like whirling around its axis, climb sharp inclines, make sharp turns and stops… well, how much can we say; the sky is the limit. You really have to see the video to see it in action.
The smartphone gadget is remotely controlled via Bluetooth LE with a maximum range of 100 feet. It is charged through USB connector and glows in many many colors; according to the Sphero, it ignites a million colors!
You can’t withstand the terrain power of this rolling barrel. It means it can move/roll easily across any surface whether it is desert sand, rocky mountains, grassy meadows or any other difficult-to-traverse surface where you can’t imagine driving a toy car without getting stuck in the mud or getting broken.
But Ollie is different. It bears a strong polycarbonate body which can take extreme environmental shocks and bumps. Go ahead, take control of your Ollie and bump it into another Ollie-owner without worrying about any kind of damage. There is no fun in the adventure if it is safe.
As mentioned, the latest smartphone gadget has colorful LED glow, which can also be customized through color settings. But will all that light drain its battery? On a single charge, this awesome gadget can last up to 1 hour, which is more than to quench your thirst for an outdoor action.
The developers have multiple driving apps, available both on Play Store and App Store as well. Most significantly Ollie and Draw N’ Drive. All meaning to employ that there are many types of driving controls available and you can prefer to either go with the steering wheel or use its built-in navigation system with GPS to move it to your tapped location.
The software side is pretty customizable. There are MacroLab and OrBasic as well. Now the function of these later two apps is not just to drive Ollie but program it as well. Programmability also means that tech geeks can introduce their own code to make it do things even developers missed out on.
Watching the video, you might think it must be heavy with all this hardware loaded inside it, especially the long lasting battery. Athwart, it is very lightweight at 8.5 ounces so it can jump and dance conveniently… all on the signal of your fingertips.
This adorable rolling barrel ‘Ollie” is priced at $99.99. Visit their official website to see what is included in the package.
Motorola recently launched its modular smartphone series Moto Z and Moto Z Force. We have known about Google’s project Ara, LG G5 for a quite some time now along with other highly anticipated modular phones, however, Moto Z surprisingly serves took the lead away as the first every fully functional modular phone with swappable components. So is it really the best?
Let’s look at some of the best features of the phone and what makes it is currently the champion of modular phones.
Best Features and prices
|Moto Z-Droid 32 GB||$624|
|Moto Z Force Droid 32 GB||$720|
|Moto Z-Droid 64 GB||$674|
|Moto Z Force Droid 64 GB||$770|
Moto Z Design
The first thing that we noticed in Moto Z series is that they were lacking headphone jacks, offering only Bluetooth-enabled headphone connectivity. Thankfully, Motorola was quick to learn its mistake because we cannot live without it. Next, the design is pretty gorgeous for a modular phone. In fact, this is the first in its category without weird looking attachments or dividers on its body.
Motorola has endowed both smartphones with 5.5” QHD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 32GB and 64GB (optional) internal storage with up to 2TB microSD support. Moto Z boasts a 2,600 mAh battery, Gorilla Glass 4, and 13MP camera while Moto Z Force has 3,500mAh, shatterproof glass (hence called Force), and 21MP camera. So for modular phones, these handsets possess a formidable firepower inside the body.
What makes Moto Z phones stand out is their snap on accessories that elegant fight on its back. Furthermore, they are universal which means a single accessory can work across all the present and future Moto Z phones. These modules include,
Back covers: Costing $13 each, the back covers virtually flatten otherwise a bulging camera on its backside and there are a variety of designs.
Speaker module: At $80, the module comes with a hinged stand that merges into its body, and are useful when you are out on a trip.
Moto Z projector: It the most advanced tech accessory that projects your phone’s screen to 70” display with a 480p resolution, but it isn’t very affordable at $300, which is half the price of the smartphone.
Power accessories: The prices range from $60-$80 based on how much charge they can hold, but none of the back modules fully charge the smartphone to 100%.
Motorola promises more accessories in the future which could mean many things, but for now, these accessories are enough to take off the Moto Z Hype.
Best modular phone?
It depends on how you measure it because it may be a modular phone but its modularity is restricted to basic elements which come as accessories. In comparison, modular phones like Fair Phone 2 offer deep hardware reconfigurations for RAM, camera, and more. Likewise, Google’s project Ara goes as far as replacing all the individual components, leaving the motherboard as hollow case and they can be swapped much easily.
I think Motorola leads the market because it is available and with not a very bad offer. At the same time the other modular phones are still passing through prototyping. Beautiful design, powerful cameras, range of high-tech snap on accessories, and especially the invincible screen of Moto Z Force add a strong sale life to the new Moto Z series.
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. What used to take decades to complete is now accomplished in less than a week. Human Genome Project is a significant example, which took billions of dollars and over 11 years to sequence the first human genome. Now it can be done in a matter of days at the expense of a few hundred dollars. So let’s have a look at the top 5 gadget technologies that are changing the world as we are watching it happen.
5. Google Tango
Google Tango technology uses GPS and cameras to track a user’s path and read his environment. It has given way to what we called an indoor navigation system. So basically, a Tango-enabled device learns about its surroundings and processes that information to guide you through complex buildings, keep a tag on objects or use the data in a fun way to make augmented games. This extreme innovation is soon coming to your smartphones as Lenovo Tab 2 Pro is going to be the pioneer cell phone to introduce the technology, but it will eventually find its way into other gadgets in the coming years.
4. 3D Holography
3D Holography is amazingly just as simple as extreme it sounds. Thankfully, science was quick to break it open for us and we are making amazing holography gadgets, but the technology itself still nascent and it is still trying to hit the perfect idea that is both marketable and practical. Of course, smartphones is the most efficient way to go. Takee claims to be bringing the world’s first holographic 3D smartphone. But the company is employing a state of the art eye tracking system using four cameras while a more refined form will be based on lesser sensors. Watch the DIY 3D Hologram phone video below to understand its simplicity.
3. Augmented Reality
Microsoft HoloLens is the first thing that comes to your mind when AR technology is under discussion. However since its arrival that have been Magic Leaps that take augmented reality to the next level. While the later company is still working under the hood to perfect its product, HoloLens is already being used by automakers like Volvo to create something called ‘Augmented Showrooms’ where cars and their different body parts are projected in an augmented version, which is pretty extreme and awesome too.
2. Bluetooth 5
What is Bluetooth 5? It is the same like Bluetooth (4.2) but with 2X speed, 2X coverage, and 2X more accurate. Yes, Bluetooth 5 is not only going to enhance the range of connectivity, it will also be more location-aware and thus will be used for more precise navigational uses in smartphones and other gadgets. We are adding it in our list because it will have a range of over 300 meters, virtually beating the Wifi systems.
1. 3D Printing
Designers and innovators are using 3D printing technology to prototype their products. It has become very scalable in a fairly short time and is being used to print out from tiny hardware components to objects as large as automobile monocoques and even entire houses. Although typical 3D printers available in the market are often criticized for their performance and output, but thanks to likes of extreme gadget makers like nuTech, Tiko is finally here for builders at home.
These top 5 extreme technologies for gadgets are going to change lives in the future just like touchscreen did when they first arrived. So let’s keep a close tag on them and see what happens. Hopefully, you enjoyed our selection.
There is tons of variety out there in the market when it comes to smartphone casings. You will find shiny ones, artistic ones with monstrous and scenic engravings, and so many other mainly focused on the design. However, the ‘smart’ smartphone casings do more just than show off. They serve an extra purpose and make themselves more useful while you are on the move. So here are top 3 smart casings for your cell phone. Let the countdown begin!
Here is a cup of tea for the gamers. Flitchio is an incredible gaming smartphone casing that upgrades your mobile gaming experience with physical buttons and joysticks. It includes two joysticks on the back and two shoulder buttons on the side for horizontal games. The advantage is that not only you enjoy a complete view of your phone’s screen (without interruption of fingers) but also get a measurable feedback from the physical buttons.
The gamepad-cum-casing stands out because it is pressure sensitive like iPhone’s 3D touch and connects wirelessly via NFC. The technology is completely open source and dozens of games have already been distributed for the platform.
Nexpac… we really like. It is a modular smartphone case that we would love to put on the top of this list, but rest assure the number one won’t disappoint you. As for Nexpac, it allows you a world of possibilities including adding modules like camera, laser, hotkeys, air quality detector, amplified speaker, extra battery, thermometer, USB flashlight, 32GB storage, SD card reader, and even a breathalyzer as well. It is currently available for Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6.
The best thing is you can change modules with friends and family and put on the only ones that you really need at a time. So you can make different module combinations for your holiday trip or office work. Even if you change the phone, you will only need to change the Nexpac case, all the modules are universal and transferable across all the Nexpac modular smartphone casings. No doubt, it is a complete upgrade package for your favorite smartphones.
This is our top pick because we haven’t seen anything quite like this. Alien Skin is the ultimate guardian of your smartphone and protects it from all sorts of environmental stresses. The cell phone casing is shockproof, shatterproof, water resistant, anti-bacterial, and even repels stains as ignorable as fingerprints. All that awesomeness without putting on more than few grams on the phone and with a transparent covering that you can barely notice.
The more you learn about amazing features of this smart casing, the more you wish you could get one for yourself too. It is also able to repair itself, blocks 95% of the sunlight from reaching the body inside, and offers all-around protection (full body cover). You can wrap it on just as easily as you can remove it. Last but not the least, it comes with Lifetime guarantee! The only setback is that it is for iPhones exclusively.
There you go, the top 3 smart cases for your smartphone. We will put out some more interesting gadgets, accessories, and collection so don’t forget to tune back in soon.
At Google’s recent I/O 2016 event where they unveil some of their latest technology and software endeavors, they stunned the crowd when they confirmed their plans to enter into the Virtual Reality (VR) realm. With many of the tech giants looking to create a berth within the emerging market, Google is the latest to hop on board with some exciting new product and software developments that are going to take the industry by storm.
Google unveiled a new mobile VR platform called Daydream. It is currently built on top of Android N, which happens to be Google’s current mobile platform on all of their devices. Daydream is going to push virtual reality into a different marketplace, so that it doesn’t have to compete with some of the current market leaders like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. Some developers are creating virtual reality backpacks, which require the user to carry around a compact PC to use, but it’s clear that Google wants to do even better than that. Daydream is Google’s platform that will allow creators and developers to build an ecosystem of applications and video games with virtual reality in mobile devices. Google has already taken the first step forward by creating special virtual reality versions of their applications like Google Photos, Google Movies, YouTube, and Street View from their Maps.
Some big companies have also jumped on board with Google’s new VR platform like entertainment companies HBO and Netflix, and gaming giants Ubisoft and Electronic Arts. Currently Google’s new VR platform will only work on new phones that are going to be released in the Fall of 2016 from phone makers HTC, LG, Samsung and Huawei.
In order to use Google’s new Daydream platform that will launch alongside some of the newest Fall 2016 phones, Google also announced their own version of a VR headset. There were previous rumors that they might do so, and it was confirmed at the event. They unveiled some mock designs that will utilize a headpiece along with a touchpad controller. Google is essentially providing developers with the idea of where their hardware is heading, and their software will provide the tools with which to get there. Google currently has plans to make the headset more affordable and readily available than the current VR headsets on the market like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.
The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are two of the most known virtual reality headsets to hit the marketplace, and now that Google is entering, the explosion of VR related software and applications is going to jump leaps and bounds. Google has its very own vast library of developers and creators that will help push virtual reality devices and connectivity into the future. With the large application network they have through their Google Play platform, Google will be able to adapt and create new application development opportunities that previously didn’t exist to such extent.
With Google’s open software platform, the possibilities of VR applications are endless. If Google’s venture is successful, no longer will virtual reality users be tethered to a large computer or gaming platform, they can do it all through their phone. Google will also be able to create multiple products from potential ideas that might spin off of their Daydream development community.
Only time will tell who will win the battle between some of the tech giants getting involved in the race. If the past is any indicator, the company who provides the most open source development and platform support will be the likely winner. With Google’s entry into the marketplace with their very own VR headset and mobile platform called Daydream, it is clear that the company is making virtual reality a priority for the future.
Marketers have undoubtedly delighted in the role of technology in transforming businesses in Nigeria. According to a recent study by Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4Ai), Nigeria is the second leading country of the African emerging economies with the highest internet access and are accurately so in offering internet services at affordable rates.
One of the prime drivers of affordable internet access globally as identified by the A4Ai is good efficient broadband services. According to the study, Nigeria emerged second only to Rwanda with an estimated broadband penetration rate of 10%. The study shown Nigerian government had invested in plans to increase the penetration rate to about 30% by 2018.
It also showed the Nigerian government had prioritized key drivers of affordability as; regulatory independence, transparent policies, and regulatory capacity. Of concern to marketers however is the fact despite of increased internet access and broadband penetration, a big part of the Nigerian population especially the poor and those living in the vast rural areas was still left out. Is there a ray of hope therefore for the marketers? My answer would be; we are yet to get there but sure ya!
According to MTN and the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the Nigerian broadband penetration rate is expected to take a sharp increase by the year 2017. A report by the two pointed out this would be based on implementation of the national broadband penetration plan by the government in collaboration with stakeholders. It further indicated the sharp increase would be a result of the program to rollout LTE technology coupled with an increased rollout of smartphones at affordable costs to the Nigerian populace by the stakeholders.
Despite the fact Africa has the lowest internet access and broadband penetration levels; Nigeria has an increasing dominance in both regional and the global internet race. Among the big coastal African nations, Nigeria (60 million), South Africa (47 million), Egypt (37 million), Algeria (31 million) and Morocco (24 million) had the biggest number of internet subscribers in the year 2008.
The next few years are however more critical for the corporate world. They are not less pivotal for the new African runners up. Technology has become an imperative tool for business growth in Nigeria. Production, access to, and the application of information while managing businesses and developing the human capital to support the same is of utmost concern of any marketer.
On a positive note the increasing adoption of technology by the Nigerian consumers has begun to have a toll on the radically growing Nigerian market, making it the fastest with the potential, and more room for expansion. Increased broadband connectivity is also set to boost home networking in the near future. This coupled with the aspect of Internet of Things (IoT) will lead to automated product and service market that will no doubt come along with a horde of new business prospects and challenges.
Technology driven macro and micro-enterprises, and the smart inter-connection of the same are not new concepts in Nigeria. Increased internet access, broadband home connectivity, augmented market growth, more sophisticated cloud based technologies, big data analytics, mobile apps, and network traffic all used in offering insights on real customer demands and improving the latter’s experience are however new.
Manufacturers are already catering to this new demand with IP-enabled devices. Marketers are challenged to adopt cutting edge internet based new generational technologies. Educationists too are growingly concerned. They are investing more in new internet based technology training programs for their students, actually the next face of marketing. Communication service providers are on the other hand giving the support and platforms required for the new innovative services and marketing techniques. For instance, they are increasingly lowering the cost of smart phones and internet access with new their day in day out competitive data internet bundle tariffs.
It should not be lost the new face of technology driven business growth in Nigeria entails; an increased internet access, an improved broadband access, an augmented market growth with more room for expansion, and a demanding digital market that requires sophisticated strategies, data analytics, top notch technology and skilled human resource but more so the following:
Marketing innovation therefore is set to “come out of the closet.” Indeed it has become a new face of technology driven business growth in Nigeria. This is backed by a strong investment in new technology, physical infrastructure, and human resource. In the recent past, investors have actually been setting aside slightly more than 9% of their budget for new marketing innovations.
About data use; you can actually confirm this. C’mon go ahead, do an operational research. Ask any growing Nigerian company about their success. A common answer you are likely to find in many of those is that they value data, at least slightly more than their local and global competitor Most often they have set aside some money in not just innovation, but also in acquiring data and analyzing the same for purposes of acting on it to improve not just their product/service delivery but also their client’s experience.
Laura McLellan supported the use of data analytics in businesses in her recent blog at Gartner saying collecting, managing, and making use of both internal and external data was the second leading area of expectations for CMOs by the CEOs. She further stressed on data synthesis saying marketers analyze less and synthesize more leading to more actionable conclusions. She said further dissemination of data is done to smaller units for more specific decision making. She concluded data analytics and analytics outsourcing will be more prevalent in the near future of the Nigerian data driven marketing strategies.
Even though this year’s edition of Africa’s largest startup event DEMO Africa has come and gone, memories of the impressive event still lingers on in my mind. I’m not just talking about the beautiful DEMO Africa stage, the impressive turnout of foreign investors or the new venue. In addition to these and many more, I still find myself thinking of the numerous impressive startups that pitched this year – they are the major reason why I said African startups now mean business.
This list is in no particular order and they got my attention because of the interesting market demand for them, peculiarities, ability to easy scale beyond their local market and global potential.
One of the startups that I saw at DEMO Africa is Bozza which is being pitched as Africa’s marketplace for the next generation of African talent selling directly to anyone on a connected device.
With approximately 60% of Africans under age 25; a deep culture of music and storytelling; and broad-scale, rising economic prosperity, young Africans represent one of the most promising consumer markets for entertainment today. The size of the formal Film, Music and Television industry across just Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa is estimated at over billion. Bozza allows for any musician, filmmaker, poet across Africa the ability to self publish and sell directly to their audience, globally. Currently Bozza covers over 3000 mobile devices and desktops.
Another interesting startup that pitched at DEMO Africa this year is Shield Finance which leverages on mobile money to offer unbanked staff affordable salary advances on phones.
The FinTech company uses proprietary technology while leveraging on mobile money to offer under banked employees affordable salary advances directly to their mobile phones.
Shield Finance targets about 3 million Kenyans in the formal sector employees, generating revenue on interest charged on salary advances. The company has a Pan Africa strategy. In their pitch at DEMO Africa 2015, the Shield Finance team said they were looking to raise US $215,000.
The third DEMO Africa 2015 startup that caught my attention is focusing on energy – if you live in Nigeria, a country where energy is still is still a major issue, you will be attentive and inquisitive when you hear of a startup that is focusing on tackling Africa’s energy problems. Moreover, the South African startup recently secured US$1 million funding.
The startup referred to as LiGE pitched their product,Eco-mc2, which is an alternative solution to conventional battery storage and can store energy that has been harnessed from renewable sources. This new stride in both technology and energy landed the local electrical storage solutions provider Leaper Innovate Green Energies (LIGE) an award, the 2015 World Wildlife Federation Climate Solver award for its Eco-mc2 compressed air energy storage technology.
Patents in South Africa and off and running with a 5 year contract for 90 storage systems per month – LiGE is now ready for substantial investment into manufacturing the Eco-mc2 Storage Systems from 40KWh to many MWh Systems. This contract translates to more than USD200 million. Needless to say the startup is on a league of its own.
InsureAfrika.com is another impressive startup, so impressive that I wasn’t surprised it made the cut by being named one of the top five startups at DEMO Africa and will be pitching at Silicon Valley in USA. From its name, the startup is into insurance for Africa and the platform enables users to compare insurance quotes across insurance categories.
The online comparison platform enables users to compare insurance quotes across insurance categories like car insurance, health insurance, travel insurance etc. from leading insurance providers in Kenya. During their pitch at DEMO Africa 2015, Gagan Hayer of InsureAfrika.com said that the company was looking for investors to bring in USD 1 million.
InsureAfrika.com allows users to see quotes within seconds by filling a simple form. Users can also select the quotes they prefer with a simple click of a button. Insurance providers then get in touch with the consumers to close the deal.
The startup founder noted that the insurance sector in Kenya is primarily driven by intermediaries, who dont pass accurate information to both consumers and the companies thereby disconnecting consumers from the insurance companies.
“Insurance sector in Kenya is targeting KShs 250 billion in premium revenues in 2015 and is growing at a very rapid pace. The commissions payable to intermediaries is 10-15% of the total premiums. This coupled with the growing marketing budgets for online medium, is the total market size that InsureAfrika.com can potentially tap into,” he said.
Before I mention the fifth startup that got my attention at DEMO Africa, I will like to give a bonus – a startup that is also worthy of mention. DEMO Africa 2015 saw the debut of a startup that call itself the continent’s first childcare technology company which aims to become the leading provider of childcare technology services in developing economies.
The team said they are working to deliver peace of mind to eliminate childcare concerns for parents. Pitching at DEMO Africa 2015, Molawi Adesuyi, founder of the company, said that mytoddler is out to make the lives of parents easier. The company is looking for USD 150K to sky-rocket their business.
The fifth African startup that got my attention at DEMO Africa 2015 is Ghana’s Flippy Campus. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), it was the first startup to be selected for Demo Africa 2015 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Flippy is a social application that improves campus experience by keeping students up to date on current campus happenings. On Flippy, students can get to know other people on their campus, department and halls, they can also discover trending hot topics as well as events happening on campus.
The startup won ‘A Tale of Ten Startups’ and went on to shine on the DEMO stage where the founders asked for USD500,000.
As the curtains were drawn on DEMO Africa 2015, I asked myself whether any of the startups could get the sum of money they asked for on DEMO Africa 2015 stage. A pessimistic voice in my head said no but then I remembered the golden advise that the continent’s startups were given by Candace Johnson, the President of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN).
She said, “To all entrepreneurs: don’t forget to think big!”
DEMO Africa 2015 is the second edition of the continental event that would be held in Nigeria. Coincidentally, it’s also the second one I would be attending – both in Lagos and on the island. Even though the caliber of startups that pitched last year were quite impressive, the class of 2015 took it to a new height and I can boldly say that as far as tech innovation is concerned, Africa is set – and the rest of the world is aware of this.
On Wednesday, the ABAN Investor Summit ushered in DEMO Africa with ABAN Investor Summit that was presented by the African Business Angel Network (ABAN), Lagos Angels Network (LAN), organizers of DEMO Africa and VC4Africa, with the theme The African Opportunity: Angel Investing in Africa.
The summit which was attended by more than 100 investors from across the world ended with stakeholders identifying non-availability of exit options as one of the major reasons why investors are not yet willing to invest large resources in potentially great African startups. One of the speakers was Candace Johnson, President of the Brussels-headquartered European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds, and other Early Stage Market Players (EBAN) who shared lessons from the European ecosystem with participants. She spoke on the potentials of the angel investment ecosystem in Africa focusing on lessons the playmakers can learn from the more advanced ecosystems of various countries in Europe.
In the hall where the sessions were going on, the interest to invest in Africa was written on the faces of most of the foreign guys that were in attendance – it was as if they all came with the goal of getting adequate information. Even at that, you couldn’t convincingly say who is willing to invest and who is just paying lip service. So I did what any serious tech journalist would do, I interacted with them on the sidelines.
The first person I spoke to was a guy from Dubai who said he has invested in several startups in UAE, Europe and USA. I first spoke to him on why he is yet to invest in Africa and he admitted he was reluctant to invest because of the numerous stereotypes about Africa as an impoverished continent that is in need of aids.
“But after interacting with those who are making money at DEMO Africa, I am going to look around, consult and see where I can be part of,” he said.
He added that the quality of startups that pitched at DEMO Africa this year are those that could scale globally if they get adequate support and access to bigger markets and opportunities.
Nigeria got the highest number of startups this year and someone from South Africa said there is a strong connection between the number of problems of a country and the number of available opportunities. Statistically, this seems to be true as Nigeria dominated the education category but not the finance and banking category.
It’s no news that Nigeria’s education sector needs serious and urgent intervention, several attempts had been made in the past, many are trying yet no solution had proven to be very effective yet thus creating a wide array of opportunities for startups to explore – and they certainly explored them, getting international applause in return, maybe some dollars too.
I saw several other non-educational startup from Nigeria that attempt to solve problems being faced by Lagos residents and citizens living in other cities. OgaVenue is one of such. They are making it easier for individuals and event organizers to get venues for their events. I was even surprised that no one had thought of that idea before – quite genius!
Nigeria’s flag was well flown this year at DEMO Africa and during her opening and closing remarks, Nigeria’s former Communication Technology Minister Omobola Johnson confirmed that the continent of Africa and Nigeria as a country are ready for investors in order to take entrepreneurship to the level of Silicon Valley and other globally revered ecosystems in the world.
Other countries are also impressed with the advancement in the ecosystem in Nigeria. I spoke to someone from mLab in South Africa and he described the shocking scenario over there – opportunities and support are abundant but the entrepreneurs over there are not hungry enough for success. This is not the case in Nigeria as the startups know that without ensuring the success of their companies, they may not be confident that they will be able to foot their bills. This is why ‘startup’ isn’t a fancy word to describe computer geeks in Nigeria, it is the only chance for survival for many aspiring young Nigerians who can develop solutions to the problems citizens face daily.
They are more serious than the rest and I wasn’t surprised when it was announced that SimbaPay, Zuvaa, InsureAfrica, CarPartsNigeria, BambaPOS – three out of the five selected startups are from Nigeria, Lagos to be specific.
My take home quote as I pack my stuff to leave the hall on the last day of DEMO Africa 2015 was by Omobolaji Johnson who described entrepreneurship as a long hard road.
She said, “Be flexible. Be open. Plan to fail.”
Efficient project managers are key to the success of any business – but do you need to hire one? With collaborative management app Trello, it seems you won’t have to.
While that might be stretching reality a bit too far, Trello does provide a simple and effective web-based application from which to operate. It also somehow makes managing your projects enjoyable.
Similar to the kanban method of progressive to-do’s, Trello offers users a ‘pinboard’ style project management platform. Basically, a system of lists containing lists, it’s useful to people or businesses that need to manage collaborative projects – whether day to day office tasks, a collection of remote employees, a content calendar or the next end of year party. By implementing powerful in-app functionalities and integration with both Google Drive and Dropbox, Trello moves above and beyond a simple visual organisation tool.
Apart from the more obvious functions one would expect from a pinboard style app, Trello offers a few that really facilitate communication and efficiency. The “@member” mention options allow users to discuss projects in context, with each comment appearing under the relevant card or list. While the option to add members and labels to specific cards and lists enables a user to quickly identify each and every area of responsibility they have been assigned to – I find this especially useful for small businesses, where staff often wear a hat or ten. When it comes to adding attachments, Trello has a drag and drop feature; add files and images straight from your desktop and other websites by pulling them straight onto the relevant card, or copy and paste them directly in from the source. This feature comes in handy when sharing and discussing screenshots, and works well with Evernote’s Chrome clipper extension – unfortunately, Chrome is currently the only browser that supports it.
Users can keep on top of their projects while on the go by utilizing the Trello mobile app, which offers the full functionality of the web version. Available for both Android and iOS, you really can keep your hands on your business at all times – as a freelancer who spends hours on buses commuting across London each week, the app allows me to turn potentially wasted time into productivity. The ability to work both in office and remotely, while ensuring access to clear communication, cohesive resources and mutual expectations across the board is something to be valued and desired – and Trello gives it to us for nothing. While technically a ‘freemium’ product, the core functionalities are all available within the free version. Unless you want to change the background image, there’s no real reason to upgrade to their paid packages, Business Class and Gold.
If there are any words I appreciate more within the tech community than ‘free breakfast”, they would be ‘efficient‘, ‘effective‘ and ‘easy to use‘. Trello embodies all those and more, and is an ideal solution for small business project management. Of course – it isn’t the only option for online project management.
If Trello doesn’t quite inspire your team or work with your business management style, other programs such as Asana, Insightly and Basecamp all offer alternative choices for your collaborative project solutions. While each have their specific strengths and appeal, either or all can be used to streamline your business and keep your projects on track.
reblogged from: http://www.lucidica.com/
There is quite a large choice on the market if you’re looking for a fitness tracker or something to give you a bit of encouragement to work out. New kinds of trackers are being developed all the time so watch this space for an update, but for now, here’s some of the best fitness trackers you can buy today.
This tracker has been available for a while now and it’s proven to be very popular and crucially – accurate. It tracks calories, steps, distance, sleep patterns and it’s waterproof. You can track all your stats on your phone where you can also set your daily goals. The little lights on the band light up to show how close you are to achieving them.
This one only works with Samsung Galaxy phones but it comes with a 1.8 AMOLED screen. It calculates all activities and has a heart rate monitor too. If you’re not feeling the colour, you can simply swap the bands.
The Gear 2 looks more like an actual watch but features all the same fitness trackers as the Gear Fit. Additionally, you can make phone calls, take photos, capture 720p HD video and control music. This is more of a smartwatch, but if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, it might be worth looking into.
This fitness tracker is slim and discreet. It tracks all activity, calories and distance but it also tracks your sleep and gently vibrates to wake you at the ideal time during your sleep cycle, so you don’t wake up groggy.
This fitness tracker is different to the others. It’s a little circle that you can clip on to your clothes, your shoes, wear as a necklace or as a watch. It tracks all your activity including cycling, swimming or other sports; and it monitors your sleep too. Just tap the circle to see your progress. All your stats are stored in the app and you never have to charge it either since it runs on a watch battery.
Like the Misfit Shine, this fitness tracker can be worn in different ways. It can be worn on the wrist, clipped on to your clothes or simply carried in your pocket. It measures steps, distance, calories, elevation and sleep. It can also tell you your heart rate and blood oxygen levels. Just swipe the screen and see results for the previous 10 days. Data is synced wirelessly to the app.
Google I/O is a conference for developers in which Google reveals its masterpieces to the developers for preview. Each year Google brings new and cool things like Google Glass and Self Driving Cars. This year, Google came up with an arsenal full of amazing products. Some of them are listed below.
The latest upgrade of Android after Kit Kat will be called Android L. Since iOS 8 is also announced, it seems the rivalry continues.
Google has updated its software very impressively by adding cool features like lock screen notifications, do-not-disturb mode and battery saving mode. Other than that they have improved the theme too and simplified some of the button functions by adding intuitive geometric shapes that resemble their tasks.
The best thing about this announcement of Smartwatches is that they will be available in the later part of this year. Some of the companies have even put the pre ordering already.
There are mainly 2 companies which are producing Google based Smartwatches, Samsung and LG. Their products are called LG G and Samsung Gear Live. They are already put on pre order on their websites. Google is also providing the SDK of the software of these Smartwatches for developers separately.
The idea of Android TV is simple. It just adds all the features of smartphones on TV’s. You can get to have the Play Store and install all the apps that you can on a smartphone and play all the games like in an Android based phone.
This thing allowed big electronics companies like Sony, Sharps and Phillips to come forward and have manufactured the TV’s in this platform.
The additional requirements for these TV’s are just the D pad and voice recognition.
The synchronization of mobile devices and PC is being brought up to the next level with the help of new features that Google has announced.
The Android based PC will now be able to receive all the notifications from your android handsets and also run applications directly from PC. This is really reducing the distance between laptops and smartphones. You can also get incoming calls and text messages on your Chromebook.
The idea of Android Auto is to interface your Android phone with the controls of your car. Everything that the buttons and knobs control, can be controlled by your phone. It even controls the touchscreen present in your car. The use of Google maps for navigation is now in front of us.
The biggest games show of the year, Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), came and went last week and a number of exciting things came out of it to tantalise even the most sporadic gaming thumbs.
Sony has come out on top in the sales war between the PS4 and Xbox One, and the Japanese giant may have just done it again at E3. However, underdog Nintendo may have just pulled the rug out from both of them in a surprise twist. So here are three reasons each why should buy these consoles.
A number of games are set for release later this year and Sony has bagged some exclusives including Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End, Littlebigplanet 3 and indie game No Man’s Sky, the latter proving to be a huge hit at the games expo.
Instead of having to purchase a game just to play it once, you will soon be able to rent or stream games to your PS4, PS3 and PS Vita. Currently it’s still in Beta mode but Sony plans to launch it in the US next month. The service will allow for users to pay for selected PlayStation games (Including PS One and PS2 games) either by pay-by-play or a subscription. It will also be available on selected Bravia TVs for those who don’t have a PlayStation console.
This little black box will let you stream PS4, Vita and legacy titles to any TV. It’s like a Google Chromecast but for gamers, and it’s reasonably priced too at $99. Sony also wants to produce original content much like Netflix does, and at E3 Sony announced ‘Powers’, a series based on Brian Michael Bendis’ graphic novel.
Sony may have some good exclusives but none really compete with what Microsoft has in store. New Halo 5: Guardians and Halo: The Masterchief Collection will bring all Halo titles to the Xbox One is glorious 1080p. Other exclusive games include Forza Horison 2 and Sunset Overdrive, which had a great response at E3.
Microsoft announced earlier in the year that it will no longer bundle Kinect with the Xbox One, meaning you don’t have to have it if you don’t want it. Notably, you probably don’t need it either, as their keynote at E3 all but abandoned it. Only two titles (Dance Central Spotlight and Disney’s Fantasia: Music Evolved) made use of the technology. What’s more, with Kinect gone, the Xbox One can take back the 10% of power it took up, making the console just that bit more powerful.
Microsoft has cut the price of the Xbox One to $399, making it the same as the PS4. So if price was putting you off the Xbox One when it launched, it shouldn’t now.
Nintendo’s sales of the Wii U have been abysmal, forcing the company to admit huge losses. But this other Japanese giant gave everyone a few reasons to buy a Wii U (at last) and suffice to say, they are very good reasons indeed. In fact, could this be Nintendo’s comeback?
Need we say more? This fan-favourite and one of the most loved Nintendo games is back in an open-world epic for the Wii U. Unfortunately the release date won’t be until late next year, but the screenshots look incredible and it should be worth the wait.
Nintendo’s sales of the Wii U have been abysmal, forcing the company to admit huge losses. But this other Japanese giant gave everyone a few reasons to buy a Wii U (at last) and suffice to say, they are very good reasons indeed. In fact, could this be Nintendo’s comeback?
Need we say more? This fan-favourite and one of the most loved Nintendo games is back in an open-world epic for the Wii U. Unfortunately the release date won’t be until late next year, but the screenshots look incredible and it should be worth the wait.
Sure to be a big hit, at least with Nintendo fans, this delightful game brings together all your favourite Nintendo characters like Diddy Kong, Zelda and Mario. Officially announced at E3 2013, more gameplay footage was shown at this year’s showcase and it looks to be an exciting new title.
Nintendo will be releasing figurines of Nintendo characters alongside the release of Super Smash Bros. But these aren’t just figurines. Touch the Amiibo to your Wii U gamepad and that character will appear in the game. You can play with it, battle against your friends’ Amiibos and customise their special moves. Their stats and abilities will increase each time you play. It’s like having a very unique, customisable game character that you can physically hold and place proudly on your shelf.