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Big Data Can Help Save Our Planet #pollution #cities

Big Data Can Help Save Our Planet

Big data analytics company and ETH Zurich spin-off Teralytics, Telefónica NEXT and sustainability solution provider South Pole Group conducted a study in Nuremberg, Germany that reveals the analysis of mobile network data as an effective way to estimate CO2 and NOX emissions in urban areas at very low cost. To achieve this, Teralytics examined aggregated and anonymised data, which is generated when mobile devices communicate with Telefónica’s mobile communication cells while users make calls, send texts or browse the internet. Teralytics was able to refine this raw data into human mobility patterns to understand how the different modes of transport, for instance trains or cars, are frequented. Combining this information with data on the emissions of the different transport modes, the three entities were able to estimate air pollution and GHG emissions in the city.

New study leverages mobile network data to estimate levels of carbon emissions and air pollution in cities, an approach that could substantially reduce the cost of implementing the Paris Agreement.

As each form of transportation produces a unique amount of CO2 and NOX emissions, understanding urban mobility patterns is vital to understand the source of emissions. The study in Nuremberg used this information to estimate with up to 77 per cent accuracy the concentration of air pollutants in the city. These findings encourage further exploration of how big data can be used to understand and ultimately solve environmental issues such as air pollution in cities across the world. This is particularly interesting with regards to the lower cost of analysing and interpreting data compared to the higher cost of production and maintenance of elaborate measuring stations. The novel approach could thus allow an ongoing analysis on a nationwide scale.

“While our contemporary urban lifestyles result in the generation of harmful greenhouse gasses, it also generates large amounts of behavioural data. Our mission at Teralytics is to use this data for the benefit of society,” says Georg Polzer, CEO of Teralytics. “Our findings from Nuremberg showed that this data can be used to give city planners insights into how human mobility contributes to pollution. This is a vital part to efficiently design and implement clean air and low carbon strategies. We are looking forward to further exploring this opportunity.”

Using a three-level process, the fully anonymised and aggregated data was first transformed into movement flows by the data scientists at Teralytics, identifying over 1.2 million transportation routes during the analysed time period, as depicted in Figure 2. The sustainability solution expert South Pole Group then used an atmospheric model to estimate air pollution levels caused by the usage of the different modes of transportation, taking into account meteorological data and information on the respective traffic carriers’ emission levels from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB). In the third step, the accuracy of the method was examined by comparing the findings with existing data from air pollution measuring stations. The values measured at these stations were found to correlate up to 77 per cent with those from the Teralytics’ calculations (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Correlation between measured NOx concentrations and NOx concentration calculated by Teralytics. This approach shows high correlations between values, in some cases up to 77 per cent.

The results of this pilot study in Nuremberg constitute a sound basis to further develop the methodology. Following its success, the consortium was able to secure financial support from Climate KIC’s Low Carbon City Lab (LoCaL), an initiative that brings together cities, business, academia and NGO’s to deliver high environmental and societal impact. With this backing, the research partnership will expand and improve the methodology, focusing on short travel routes and taking into account local emission factors like airports, large-scale events, and types of vehicles on the road (i.e. electric cars and SUVs). Moreover, the influence of factors such as traffic jams and red lights will be taken into account in order to make even more accurate estimations of the air pollution levels in a city.

“The results from this pilot study exceed our expectations,” says Maximilian Groth, responsible for Business Development & Partnerships at Teralytics. “We are confident that we will soon be able to scale this product to cities worldwide to support urban planners in making our air cleaner and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement at the lowest possible cost.”

This research follows other successful studies on usage of mobile network data, including a smart data analysis for transport in Stuttgart by Teralytics, Telefónica Germany, and Fraunhofer IAO.

Additional comments on the topic:

“Approximately 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are generated in cities, meaning that they play a key role in climate protection. We see great potential in the use of continuously generated data, such as mobile network data, to measure and reduce pollution levels in cities.” States Renat Heuberger, CEO of South Pole Group.

Florian Marquart, Managing Director of Telefónica NEXT for Advanced Data Analytics: “The pilot project in Nuremberg has clearly shown the specific added value of anonymised mobile network data for the environment. This is data from people for people. We see great potential in the results and will start the next phase of our research. The goal is to develop a product that German cities, German states and the German federal government can use to better face the challenges of emissions pollution”.

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About Teralytics: Teralytics is the trusted data analytics partner for some of the largest telecom operators in North America, Europe and Asia. Using technology built for operators by data scientists, we have perfected the ingestion, modelling and transformation of raw signals from subscriber actions and movements on operator networks to deliver meaningful and actionable insights, that delivers new value to our mobile operator partners. By unlocking and processing a massive scale of device movement and consumer intelligence data from location and behavioural signals, we can analyse people, places and things and offer actual insights to help city planners, venue owners, retailers, NGOs and media companies make informed decisions, optimize operations and maximize ROI. Headquartered in Zurich, Teralytics has offices in New York, and Singapore.

South Pole Group is a leading provider of global sustainability solutions and services. The company has delivered climate-proven solutions to a wide range of public, private and civil society organisations for over a decade. The Group’s expertise covers key areas of corporate climate action, investment climate risks, sustainable supply chains, green finance, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency. A pioneer in emission reduction and renewable energy projects, South Pole Group has been consistently rated by Environmental Finance’s Voluntary Carbon Market Survey as one of the most successful carbon market service providers in the world. www.thesouthpolegroup.com

Within Telefónica Germany NEXT GmbH based in Berlin, Telefónica Deutschland has bundled its digital growth areas “Advanced Data Analytics” and “Internet of Things”. The new company acts as an independent entrepreneur on the market and develops digital products and services under CEO Nicolaus Gollwitzer. As a partner to other industries, Telefónica NEXT enables companies to make better use of the growth opportunities provided by digitalisation. With “Advanced Data Analytics”, Telefónica NEXT focuses on the social and economic advantage that can be obtained from analysing large volumes of data. In addition, Telefónica NEXT is working on solutions for the Internet of Things. The new software platform geeny.io helps companies to offer connected solutions for end users. Telefónica NEXT imposes strict data protection standards on all products and applications, and often goes even further, because people should be able to retain control over their data and shape their digital lives as they choose.

Climate-KIC is the largest European innovation initiative for climate-friendly technologies. Launched as EU program 2010, Climate-KIC supports with offices in 15 European countries innovation projects, start-ups and young innovators. Numerous partners from industry and commerce, science, public sector and civil society work in Climate-KIC on ground-breaking, scalable innovations to fight climate changes.

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Ricky Sutton: ricky@abcd.agency

CVR 2017, Canada’s Biggest Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Conference is Coming to Vancouver from May 5th-7th

CVR is the premier event to experience groundbreaking new virtual and augmented reality technology
The Virtual and Augmented Reality community will descend on Vancouver during the month of May as today Archiact announced CVR 2017. The three-day event, which goes from May 5-7, will showcase a world-class selection of top industry experts, the latest technologies, and hands-on demonstrations of the latest products.  The event will be open to industry professionals on Friday and the general public for two days over the weekend.
“We are excited to bring back CVR to Vancouver for another fantastic virtual reality show,” said Anne-Marie Enns, Executive Producer of CVR. “This really is a collection of the best and the brightest products in virtual, augmented and mixed reality – all under one roof. CVR is the biggest AR/VR conference in the Pacific Northwest and it will allow the general public to try out the newest, cutting-edge products right here in Vancouver.”
CVR 2017 is sponsored by BCLC, Creative BC, VEC, Microsoft, YDeams and Cloudhead Games among others, and will feature speakers from some of the biggest companies in the world including NASA, Ford, Delta Airlines and Super Ventures. Representatives from these companies will speak about topics such as solving problems in outer space with VR, designing the future of Virtual Humans, and featuring the latest evolution in entertainment.
“I’m very excited to be presenting at the CVR 2017, the Canadian’s premier VR/AR/MR conference,” said Evelyn Miralles, Lead VR Innovator, NASA, “VR’s a technology that has been with us at NASA for several decades used for astronaut space training. But the technology has now come of age and it’ll be changing the way we interact with people and the environment around us.”
In addition to the VR/AR companies participating, the industry event will be kicked off by welcome remarks from Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.
CVR 2017 will be held May 5-7th, 2017 in West Exhibition Hall A of the Vancouver Convention Centre.  The show hours are as follows:
Friday, May 5 (Industry Only): 9:00am-6:00pm
Saturday, May 6 (Expo Days): 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, May 7 (Expo Days): 10:00am-4:00pm
 
For more information on CVR 2017, such as ticket or specific show programming information, please visit: www.cvr2017.com.
About Archiact
Archiact is a premium virtual and augmented reality studio headquartered in Vancouver, Canada with an additional office located in Shanghai, China. Archiact specializes in virtual reality game development, publishing, and custom business solutions. As the host of CVR, North America’s first consumer-facing VR/AR/MR conference and expo, Archiact actively powers the growth of the virtual reality industry for both businesses and customers alike. Founded in 2013, Archiact is now one of the world’s largest dedicated immersive reality studios.

The Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality

VR developer coder

The virtual reality (VR) industry is now expected to boom in the coming years, with projections noting a market potential exceeding $30 billion by 2020, along with 500 million VR headsets sold by 2025. A major cause of the reignited excitement over VR comes from industry experts having discovered the assistance that VR can provide a number of professions, including journalism, education and healthcare.

As demand for VR and AR products increases, employment growth in specific fields is expected to grow as well. Designers, developers, modelers, animators, project managers and videographers alike can apply their skills in this exciting new field. Enthusiasts should take advantage of educational resources as a way to gain a competitive edge in the job market.


Context

Roku Ends Milestone Year with 1 Billion Monthly Streaming Hours

Roku 3

Roku Inc., the leading TV streaming platform announced that 13.4 million active accounts streamed a record 1 billion hours of video and music in December 2016 and that Roku customers streamed a total of 9 billion hours in all of 2016. According to Nielsen, in December 2016, Roku accounted for 48 percent of active streaming players in the U.S. For the full year of 2016, the company experienced record growth resulting in nearly $400 million dollars in revenue. The Media and Licensing segment which includes content consumption and promotion, licensing, and advertising sales on the platform exceeded $100 million in high-margin revenue in 2016.roku

“Our strategy to grow accounts, engage our audience, and increase monetization is clearly working with 46 percent year-over-year growth in active accounts, 70 percent year-over-year growth in streaming hours and 100+ percent year-over-year growth in media and licensing revenues,” said Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood. “The investments we are making in our platform to enable advertisers and content publishers to reach our rapidly growing audience are paying off, and we are still in the early stages of our capabilities.”

Roku continues to outpace other steaming players and smart TVs and is on pace to become the most popular TV operating system in the U.S. Roku offers consumers a highly engaging collection of 4,500+ paid and free ad-supported video streaming channels including 450,000 movies and TV shows. According to IHS, in 2016, Roku TV models accounted for 13% of all smart TV sales in the U.S., only two years into the program.

About Roku, Inc.

Roku pioneered streaming for the TV and aspires to power every TV in the world. As of Dec. 2016 the Roku OS powered TV streaming for 13+ million monthly active accounts. Roku is known for streaming innovation and high customer engagement, offering content providers and video advertisers the best way to reach streaming audiences. Roku customers streamed 9+ billion hours of video and music in 2016. Roku streaming players and Roku TV models are available in 10 countries through direct retail sales and licensing arrangements with TV OEMs and service operators. The company was founded by Anthony Wood, inventor of the DVR. Roku is privately held and headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif. U.S.A.

Vancouver Gadgets reviewed the Roku 3 streaming box in 2015. The review can be found here.

Second-Gen Apple TV Updates Are No More Apple Ends Tech Support Declares Device Obsolete

The second-generation Apple TV is the latest Apple device to be retired. Apple has added the digital media player to its retired products page and will no longer provide most product support for the device, according to a report from AppleInsider.

Apple TV HDMI connection
image courtesy of http://www.apple.com/ca/appletv/what-is/

Coverage is still available in Turkey and California, because the Apple TV is classified as a vintage product — meaning that it has “not been manufactured for more than 5 and less than 7 years ago” — but for everywhere else, Apple has classified the Apple TV as an obsolete device.

The second-generation Apple TV was notable for taking a different approach compared to the original Apple TV when it launched in 2010, dropping the device’s internal hard drive for media storage and relying much more on streaming and remote applications.

It also introduced the compact black box form factor found in subsequent Apple TV models. After it was discontinued in 2012, the second-generation Apple TV was replaced with an incremental update in the third-generation Apple TV, which itself was discontinued in 2016. As AppleInsider notes, the third-generation Apple TV has seen minimal updates within the past year.

As of late, Apple has taken a stronger focus on apps for the home electronics space. The latest fourth-gen Apple TV, which was released in late 2015, is built with bolstered internal specifications and Apple introduced an Apple TV-specific App Store that has games and apps from outlets like Facebook. While a long-rumored actual Apple home TV is far down the road, Apple expects to rely on the Apple TV to maintain a presence on your own TV.

The original article can be found on IBT. Please find it here.

ZTE Unveils ZTE Gigabit Phone with Download Speeds Reaching up to 1Gbps

ZTE Gigabit Phone

ZTE Gigabit PhoneZTE, a leading global mobile device maker is returning to Barcelona for the 13th time, unveil the Gigabit Phone, the world’s first smartphone with download speeds reaching up to 1Gbps. Thanks to ZTE’s independently developed Pre5G Giga+ MBB solution and smart devices, onsite visitors saw a successful test of download speeds reaching up to 1Gbps on the Gigabit Phone, an indicator of ZTE’s technology strength in the upcoming “5uper Generation”.

Achieving 1Gbps Through an Advanced System & Terminal Device

The ZTE Gigabit Phone, powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 mobile platform with an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, uses a combination of carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO antenna technology, and 256-QAM modulation to achieve LTE download speeds that are up to 10x faster than first generation LTE devices.

Thanks to ZTE’s technology strength in 5G and Pre5G Giga+ MBB solutions, the ZTE Gigabit Phone is three times as powerful at improving data processing capability in the current network. It is the cornerstone of ZTE introducing 5G to 4G networks and providing worldwide carriers with Pre 5G solutions.

In the future, with download speeds up to 1Gbps as a standard and ZTE’s technology strength in 5G systems and networks, the mobile experience on smart devices will be enhanced to an unimaginable level.

Up to 1Gbps Download Speeds Changes Human Life Forever

The Gigabit phone will challenge world limits and transform the ultimate pursuit of human senses. The unimaginable speed of up to 1Gbps will improve users’ lifestyles by allowing for 360° panoramic VR video, instant cloud storage, entertainment upgrades and fast cache of ultra Hi-Fi music and movies, and instant APP, which removes the need for download or installation of applications.

The introduction of ZTE’s Gigabit-class mobile phone marks an important cornerstone for the 5G mobile era. This phone is not only revolutionizing communication, but also revolutionizing human connectivity with a new standard of speed, bringing a qualitative leap to a new world of mobile experience.

“We are thrilled to introduce the world’s first smartphone with download speeds up to 1Gbps. With the new device, the way people stay connected will be changed forever.” said a ZTE spokesperson.  “Focusing on 5G technologies will be one of the key priorities of ZTE’s global development. ZTE will be very glad to leverage its technology strength and experience in 5G to cooperate with government and business partners to discuss and facilitate the upcoming 5G era.”

About ZTE Mobile Devices

ZTE Mobile Devices is a division of ZTE Corporation, a global telecommunications equipment, networks and mobile devices company headquartered in Shenzhen, China. ZTE is a publicly traded company listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

ZTE has partnered with 231 major carriers, including the world’s top 50 carriers around the globe. ZTE has ranked No.3 for six consecutive years in terms of the number of PCT international patents applied for since 2011.

As one of the world’s leading smart devices makers, ZTE has been engaged in the research, development and manufacturing of mobile phones since 1998, with 19 years of history. ZTE is doing business in more than 160 countries and regions globally. For more information, please visit: www.ztedevice.com/

About ZTE CANADA

ZTE Canada Inc. (www.ztedevices.ca), headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, a global provider of mobile devices, telecommunication systems and enterprise solutions. Operating since March 2005, ZTE Canada is dedicated to making cost-efficient, quality communication technology accessible to all. In North America, ZTE is the fourth-largest supplier of smartphones and handset vendors and is the second largest vendor in the pre-paid market. ZTE is one of the top rated high tech enterprises in the world, developing and producing 2G, 3G and 4G handsets and mobile devices in over 150 countries. Founded in 1985, ZTE Corporation is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges and is China’s largest listed telecom equipment company.

LG G6 OFFERS ULTIMATE USER CONVENIENCE AND ENHANCED PRODUCTIVITY WITH FULLVISION DISPLAY

LG Electronics (LG) will feature its new mobile UX 6.0 in its upcoming G6 smartphone specifically lg-k10smallcustomized to maximize the advantages of the device’s expansive FullVision® display. LG G6 will feature a QHD+ FullVision display with an 18:9 screen aspect ratio that almost entirely fills the front of the smartphone. The dimensions of the phone are ergonomically designed to ensure maximum comfort and compatibility with existing and upcoming digital content.

The new UX maximizes the benefits of the FullVision display, providing the user with our ultimate user experience and convenience, including the following features:

  • Differentiated experience for watching video clips, webpage browsing, texting, and gaming
  • Camera UX that maximizes the 18:9 format display
  • Smartly designed GUI (Graphical User Interface) that enables the opening of two square windows side by side, delivering a better multitasking experience

A Differentiated Experience

The FullVision display in the LG G6 allows users to view information when surfing the web, reading e-books, and provides an immersive experience when watching videos or playing games.

The LG G6 is expected to kick off an era of premium smartphones with 18:9 screen aspect ratios, which is why such a variety of films, apps, and games tailored to the 18:9 aspect ratio is sharply rising. The smartphone includes a feature that allows users to view existing 16:9 ratio content easily in 18:9 format.

Camera UX

LG UX 6.0 provides a Square Camera feature which divides the 18:9 display into two squares. The larger screen enables users to take and check photos simultaneously. Users can shoot images in 1:1 format – a popular format on social media apps such as Instagram – and review them in the adjacent window. There is also new shooting mode called Food Mode that delivers high colour quality and saturation ideal for capturing images of food. Users can also create GIF files by combining anywhere from 2 and 100 pictures in a loop.

Advanced Multi-tasking

The 18:9 display on the LG G6 is ideal for multi-tasking. A user can open a call reception window next to a contact window or open the photo gallery at the same time as the music player. Multiple square photographs can be combined and viewed as a Collage Wallpaper on the lock screen. Users can also type a memo on one side of the screen while surfing the web on the other. While in the calendar app, a user can turn the G6 horizontally to display the calendar in the left window and a detailed schedule will appear on the right.

“The LG G6 with FullVision was designed to optimally display the newest content being filmed today in 18:9 and give the best solution for viewing both old and new cinematic content,” said Juno Cho, president, and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Users will appreciate the many ways in which the LG G6 smartphone’s 18:9 aspect ratio can be used.”

About LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company

LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company is a global leader and trend setter in the mobile and wearable industry with breakthrough technologies and innovative designs. By continually developing highly competitive core technologies in the areas of display, battery, camera optics and LTE technology, LG creates handsets and wearables that fit the lifestyles of a range of people all over the world. LG is seeking to give a playful mobile experience that extends beyond the scope of traditional smartphones. For more information, please visit www.LG.com.

About LG Electronics Canada

The LG brand was established in 1995. The company is a global leader in electronics, information and communications products, with more than 117 operations around the world, and annual worldwide revenues of more than US $49 billion. LG Canada is comprised of five business units – Mobile Communications, Home Appliance, Home Entertainment, Business Solutions and Commercial Air Conditioning. The company has offices in Toronto and Vancouver. LG Canada is focused on delivering award-winning products known for blending style and technology. These innovative products include cell phones, flat screen TVs, laptop computers and home appliances. For more information, please visit http://www.LG.com.

Last year we posted a review and attended an event on the LG G5. Read it here

Whatever happened to Google Glass?

google glass broadcasting

In 2012 Google Glass launched and like everyone else in the tech world we were glued to social media networks and online mentions of the technology. Wearable tech has always been a thing but Glass seemed to make it so real that everyone was going to have one.

The wearable tech scene and industry probably warrants an entire blog in itself and in our quest to cover all things gadget we hunted high and low trying to test out a pair or have someone lend us one for a while.

It didn’t turn out that way and while we bought into the hype like everyone else it was quickly scuttled by Google and just like that the party was over.

Google Glasses
Credit: Google

This New York Times article from 2015 outlines Glass’ rise and abrupt cancellation. It did however make history and probably inspired many companies I think, ahem Apple, to see what they could do in the wearable tech space. The Apple Watch springs to mind and while I have not used one seems to be doing fairly well for Apple and consumers.

It’s interesting to note that with tech hype and that kind of huge marketing generated by such products seem also built into its DNA. There is good reason for that but as many of us found using the actual product was quite different.

I had the chance to try it once and I thought it was so so. I mean how could it live up to what I had seen online or as a huge consumer of science fiction movies and novels imagined that it might be. It didn’t. In fact it made me more weary of wearable tech and less likely to buy any such products for at least five years.

There is also a danger here for wearable tech users and producers here too in that marketing and hype don’t always match expectations when using a product. We are a long way away from wearable tech that will be small lightweight and as powerful as we think it should be. Many scientists, developers and engineers will also tell us that the future is bright with this kind of technology nicely placed in our back pockets. The reality however is somewhat different.

PayPal to Acquire TIO Networks

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: PYPL) and TIO Networks Corp. (TSXV: TNC), a cloud-based multi-channel bill payment processing and receivables management company, today announced a definitive agreement under which PayPal will acquire TIO for $3.35 CAD ($2.56 USD) per share in cash or an approximate $304 million CAD ($233 million USD) equity value. The purchase price represents a premium of 25.2% to TIO’s 90-trading day volume-weighted average price as of February 13, 2017, and 22.6% to the 20-trading day volume-weighted average price as of January 9, 2017, the trading day immediately preceding the date TIO entered into exclusive negotiations with PayPal.

TIO is a leading multi-channel bill payment processor in North America and processed more than $7 billion USD in consumer bill payments in fiscal 2016. TIO serves 14 million consumer bill pay accounts* and offers convenient solutions for expedited bill payment services to financially underserved consumers. The company has more than 10,000 supported billers and numerous direct relationships with billers, which enable TIO to quickly process telecom, wireless, cable and utility bill payments for TIO’s customers. Using TIO’s approximately 900 operated self-service kiosks, approximately 65,000 retail walk-in locations, and mobile and web solutions, customers can conveniently pay their bills while avoiding the service interruptions and financial penalties associated with missed payment deadlines.

Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal, said, “By acquiring TIO and integrating bill payment into our global payments platform, PayPal adds another key service in our efforts to become a part of a consumer’s everyday financial life. Worldwide, more than 2 billion** people do not have affordable access to basic financial services, making it difficult and expensive for consumers to carry out basic financial tasks, including bill payment. TIO’s digital platform, and physical network of agent locations make paying bills simpler, faster, and more affordable. We are excited by the opportunity to extend this valuable service to our existing customers and welcome new billers and customers to PayPal.”

Hamed Shahbazi, Chairman and CEO of TIO, remarked, “We founded TIO to make speed and access part of the bill payment experience for the underserved, and we believe that we have created affordable products to serve the needs of all customers. Our mission fits perfectly with PayPal’s vision to democratize money. As part of the PayPal team, we believe we will accelerate our growth through expanded distribution and continue increasing access to more billers and services.”

Expected Strategic Benefits of the TIO Acquisition

  • Aligned with PayPal’s Vision: TIO supports PayPal’s vision of democratizing money by giving consumers more convenient and affordable ways to pay their bills.
  • Expands Market Opportunity: TIO accelerates PayPal’s entry into bill payments with 14 million consumer bill pay accounts*, approximately 60 million transactions processed in TIO’s fiscal 2016 and a processing network that includes more than 10,000 billers.
  • Extends Consumer Value Proposition: PayPal’s intention is to offer TIO’s valuable service to PayPal’s customers within its online and mobile experiences.

Upon closing of the acquisition, TIO will operate as a service within PayPal.

Financial Highlights of Acquisition

PayPal intends to fund the transaction with cash on its balance sheet. There will be no change to PayPal’s previously communicated fiscal 2017 guidance and three-year outlook based on the acquisition of TIO. For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2016, TIO generated $74.7 million CAD in revenue ($57.1 million USD) and $10.6 million CAD in adjusted EBITDA ($8.1 million USD). TIO defines EBITDA as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization and adjusted EBITDA as EBITDA plus stock-based compensation, non-recurring transaction and restructuring expenses.

Transaction Details

The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2017, and will be completed by way of a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia).

The completion of the transaction will be subject to the approval of at least two-thirds of the votes cast at a special meeting of TIO shareholders and optionholders present in person or represented by proxy at the meeting, by: (i) TIO shareholders; (ii) by TIO shareholders and optionholders, voting together as a single class; and (iii) a majority of the votes cast by TIO shareholders present in person or represented by proxy at the meeting, excluding for this purpose votes attached to the TIO common shares held by persons described in items (a) through (d) of Section 8.1(2) of Multilateral Instrument 61-101 – Take-Over Bids and Special Transactions.

The meeting of shareholders and optionholders is expected to take place in April, 2017. In addition to TIO securityholder approvals, the transaction is also subject to other closing conditions, including the receipt of approvals relating to TIO’s money transmitter licenses, the expiration or early termination of the applicable pre-merger waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and court approval in British Columbia, Canada.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of each of TIO and PayPal, and the TIO Board recommends that TIO shareholders and optionholders vote in favor of the Arrangement. The recommendation of the TIO Board was based on the recommendation of a special committee of independent directors of TIO. The financial advisor to TIO, Raymond James Ltd., has provided a fairness opinion to the special committee and board of directors of TIO that, subject to the assumptions, limitations and qualifications set out in such fairness opinion, the consideration to be received by TIO shareholders pursuant to the plan of arrangement is fair, from a financial point of view, to the TIO shareholders.

In addition, TIO shareholders, directors and officers, including funds managed by Core Innovation Capital, Napier Park Financial Partners, Edison Partners, Inter-Atlantic Advisors and Inductive Capital, representing approximately 50.4% of the issued and outstanding common shares have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the transaction. The transaction includes customary deal protection provisions, including non-solicitation of an alternative transaction and a termination fee payable to PayPal under certain circumstances.

Further information regarding the transaction will be contained in the management information circular which is expected to be mailed to TIO shareholders in March in connection with the special meeting of TIO shareholders to be held to consider the transaction. Copies of the definitive agreement and the management information circular will also be available under TIO’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. In addition, free copies of the documents may be obtained from TIO’s investor relations website at http://corporate.tionetworks.com/ or by contacting TIO investor relations at investor@tio.com. All TIO shareholders are urged to read the management information circular as it will contain additional important information concerning the transaction.

About PayPal

Fueled by a fundamental belief that having access to financial services creates opportunity, PayPal (Nasdaq: PYPL) is committed to democratizing financial services and empowering people and businesses to join and thrive in the global economy. Our open digital payments platform gives PayPal’s nearly 200 million active account holders the confidence to connect and transact in new and powerful ways, whether they are online, on a mobile device, in an app, or in person. Through a combination of technological innovation and strategic partnerships, PayPal creates better ways to manage and move money, and offers choice and flexibility when sending payments, paying or getting paid. Available in more than 200 markets around the world, the PayPal platform, including Braintree, Venmo and Xoom, enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds in 56 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 25 currencies. For more information on PayPal, visit https://www.paypal.com/about. For PYPL financial information, visit https://investor.PayPal-corp.com.

About TIO Networks

TIO is a cloud-based multi-channel bill payment processing and receivables management provider, serving the largest telecom, wireless, cable, and utility bill issuers in North America. TIO integrates with the back office of billing systems to accept, validate, and collect payments via self-service kiosk, retail walk-in, mobile, and web solutions. With approximately 60 million transactions processed in fiscal 2016 and a processing network that serves more than 10,000 billers, TIO symbolizes fast, convenient, and secure access to expedited bill payment services.

Visit www.tionetworks.com or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

This article was originally posted on Business Wire. Please check the original article out here.

Internet Tax Widely Opposed By Canadians, But GST On Netflix Not So Bad

Canadians are opposed to the federal Liberals instituting a new tax on Internet and mobile services to pay for Canadian content, but a plurality would be okay with paying sales tax on their Netflix service, a new poll finds.

The poll from IRG, carried out for consumer advocacy group OpenMedia, found 70 per cent of respondents were opposed to a new tax on internet and cellphone bills, with 51 per cent strongly opposed. Only 14 per cent backed it.internet

During consultations last fall, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly heard from media industry representatives who argued for a tax on the Internet to cover the cost of funding Canadian content. Revenue for CanCon is drying up in an era when traditional Canadian media is competing in a global Internet.

A majority of Canadians back the idea that the federal government should create a new source of revenue to pay for CanCon, the IRG poll found. Fifty-three per cent agreed, with 20 per cent opposed.

Canadians are more responsive to the idea of extending GST/PST or HST sales taxes to streaming services such as Netflix. Forty-seven per cent say they would agree to this, with 29 per cent opposed.

Foreign-based streaming services are technically subject to sales tax on their Canadian sales, but no system has ever been established to collect the tax.

A briefing prepared for Heritage Minister Melanie Joly last month suggested expanding the sales tax to cover Netflix. It argued that not charging a sales tax on foreign content services like U.S.-based Netflix is unfair because it places domestic competitors at a disadvantage.

It also “represents a significant loss of potential tax revenue for government,” the briefing stated.

Joly held consultations last fall where she heard from media industry representatives who argued, among other things, for an Internet tax or at least a sales tax on streaming.

But the Department of Finance has been adamant that no such taxes are in the works. A spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau told HuffPost Canada last month that expanding the GST to Netflix “is not part of our plan.”

Speaking before the Canadian Media Producers Association last week, Joly said she heard from Canadians that they want all media providers to be treated equally, but they don’t want to see their Internet bills go up.

“We have to bear in mind that Canadians are anxious about their cost of living,” Joly said, as quoted by the CBC.

This article was original posted on the Huffington Post Canada Website. Please read it here.

11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2017

Next Big Tech Corridor? Between Seattle and Vancouver, Planners Hope

Last year, I wrote an article about the 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2016, which highlighted tech companies of all sizes in Canada that were ready to make headlines over the following 12 months. The great part about most predictions is that people tend to forget about them by the time your prognostication should have matured. My friends at BetaKit didn’t let me off that easy, though. You can read my assessment of last year’s predictions here to see how my crystal ball stacked up.

For 2017, I wanted to avoid simply pointing out those who will drive headlines in the coming year, but rather focus on a handful of companies that I feel will make significant strides in 2017 (and hopefully well past that!). Once again, I couldn’t find a way to whittle the list down to 10, so here are the 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2017:


League

League is a new digital alternative to traditional health insurance that connects employers and employees to a comprehensive network of health services and benefits, giving them unparalleled choice, convenience, and value.

2016 was a busy and productive year for League, which raised an impressive $25 million USD Series A (in addition to their previous $4 million seed) and launched a partnership with RBC to expand on insurance offerings.

Mike Serbinis, CEO of League, announced his master plan at the end of 2016 to turn League into a billion-dollar company by 2018 and that he would be raising more funds for League in 2017. There’s only going to be a small handful of “insurtech” companies that succeed, but those that prevail are going to do so in remarkable fashion. I would not be surprised if Serbinis reaches his three comma goal.

Thalmic Labs

Creators of the Myo armband, Thalmic Labs had an incredibly productive 2016. They raised $158 million CAD for their series B financing to “reimagine human-computer interaction for its Myo armband.”

CEO Stephen Lake also announced that it’ll be opening a 50,000 square foot factory in Waterloo and employing over 100 people. I’m going to keep a keen eye on anything that can get civilization closer to the gestural controls utilized by Tom Cruise as he manoevered content around glass computer screens in Minority Report. (In reality, Myo can already do much cooler things.)

Zoocasa

There are certain industries where technology is just starting to scratch the surface of disruption, and real estate is one of them. Since taking over the online real estate brokerage from Rogers Communications, and raising $1.35 million, Zoocasa has hit the ground running.

While Zoocasa’s current business model is using technology to improve the home buying experience, they are not completely removing the human broker. This puts them in a great position to build traction in an industry that’s still trying to figure out what the future will mean for availability of data. One thing I am confident in: this team is a safe bet for building a successful business around Canadian real estate. Just look at what they’ve done with RateHub and Scholarhood!

Top Hat

Top Hat’s cloud educational platform leverages mobile technology to turn classrooms into interactive learning experiences. As one of Canada’s fastest growing companies, Top Hat was listed at number 18 in Deloitte’s Fast 50, growing its revenue by a gigantic 607 percent in 2016.

The company hired its first chief marketing officer at the end of 2016, recruiting Nick Stein (former VP of marketing at Vision Critical) into its leadership team.

2017 looks to be another year of strong growth for Top Hat as it expands its platform into more classrooms and universities across the country and the world.

Influitive

Influitive helps companies mobilize their advocates to produce massive increases in referral leads, reference calls, social media participation, and more.

With the swarm of capital pouring into startups beginning to die down, this change in focus from rapid growth to profitability will fuel Influitive’s success in 2017.

In 2016, they led an additional Series B funding round of $8.2 million, topping their total investments to nearly $50 million. They also acquired Ironark and TriggerFox to strengthen their team and technology offerings. Influitive hit their speed bump in the summer of 2016, laying off 13 percent of their staff to focus on sustainability.

With the swarm of capital pouring into startups beginning to die down, I think this change in focus from rapid growth to profitability will fuel their success in 2017 with a sharper focus than ever.

Eventbase

Eventbase is a world-leader in event technology and apps. From Sundance to the Olympics, Eventbase technology and staff powers many of the world’s biggest events. In 2016, they announced they were hiring 100 new employees in Vancouver. They raised an $8 million Series B at the end of 2015, led by Seattle-based venture capital firm Madrona Ventures.

Already in 2017, one of the biggest technology focused events in the world, CES, has used Eventbase to help their attendees make the most of their conference experience.

360insights

From Whitby, Ontario, 360insights is the originator of the channel success platform, the first truly integrated software-as-a-service platform to enable brands to optimize their partner marketing and consumer incentive spend.

They recently announced a $30 million funding round led by US venture capital firm Sageview to accelerate its growth operations. Its dedication to creating great culture at a growing company outside of the typical Canadian tech hubs, and its ability to harness analytics to improve the incentive and rebate industry will make 360insights worth talking about throughout 2017.

Askuity

Askuity is a retail analytics platform from Toronto. They raised a $2 million Series A round led by dunnhumby Ventures in early 2016. As the blend of offline and online retail converges, and analytics continues to play an incredibly big role in shopping, Askuity is bound to meet huge growth and opportunities in 2017.

Drop

Drop founder Derrick Fung, who is most well known for his venture Tunezy, launched a Canadian FinTech company in Toronto to focus on customer loyalty. He raised nearly $1 million to date and has already formed partnerships with companies such as Wealthsimple, Foodora, Chefs Plate, Urbery, Thirstie, Carnivore Club, and FanXchange. Given Fung’s recent success at starting, growing, and exiting a startup, I imagine Drop is going to waste no time in asserting itself in the Canadian startup landscape.

Bench

Bench Accounting helps small to medium-sized businesses with all of their accounting operations. Bench raised a $20 million series B led by Bain Capital Ventures and more than doubled its team to over 230 in Vancouver in 2016.

Bench recently announced an integration with Canadian ecommerce company Shopify to help merchants with online bookkeeping. This exemplifies the two things I like seeing most from Canadian startups: punching above their weight on an international scale, and teaming up with fellow Canadian startups.

Hopper

Montreal-based Hopper, a mobile app that analyzes and predicts airfare, has secured an $82 million Series C in 2016.

Over 18 million trips have been booked with Hopper and the company plans using its recent funding to increase its employee count from 40 to 120 in Montreal and Cambridge. As Hopper continues to grow in 2017 by helping people save money on their airfare, their investments from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Brightspark Ventures, Accomplice, OMERS, Investment Québec, and BDC Capital will serve as a great example of the impact being made by Canadian institutions (government and pensions) in fueling Canadian tech.

The article was originally written by Kevin Sandhu. His information is below. We have shared this article because we thought it was relevant to our audience.

Kevin Sandhu

Founder and CEO of @PoweredByGrow, a Canadian FinTech company that is improving people’s financial wellbeing using technology and data. Also an occasional road cyclist, amateur cook and general misfit.

ZTE Canada launches Axon 7 Mini

Axon 7 Mini

Axon 7 MiniThis week ZTE, the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in North America, announced that the Axon 7 Mini, will be available January 27, 2017 on Virgin Mobile. The Axon 7 Mini is the more svelte version of the flagship Axon 7 smartphone and winner of the IDG 2016 IFA Product Technical Innovation award for “Breakthrough Smartphone Audio Innovation.” The Axon 7 Mini at Virgin Mobile will retail for $49 on a gold two-year term or $399 with no term.
“At ZTE, we know consumers want the best value possible when considering their next smartphone purchase. We have proven our affordable premium strategy in North America so far and the Axon 7 Mini solidifies this,” said Denson Xu, CEO of ZTE Canada. “By listening to our consumers we’ve managed to build a beautifully designed smartphone that delivers the best audio experience of any device in Canada, all at an affordable price.”

From its ground breaking audio experience served up from its dedicated audio chipset for Hi-Fi playback and recording, dual front-facing speakers, Qualcomm Snadragon octa-core processor, to its vibrant 16 megapixel camera and an beautiful AMOLED capacitive touch screen, the Axon 7 Mini delivers incredible value that packs many of the same premium features consumers love in the Axon 7 with a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Premium Features, Mini Price

  • A 5.2 inch AMOLED display with soft key navigation allows you to beautifully render all your favourite content, yet is small enough to fit in your back pocket
  • Dual front-facing speakers, dedicated sound and playback technology, and Dolby Atmos® provide an immersive HiFi audio experience that is ground-breaking and unlike any other
  • A 16-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera capture high-quality images during the day and at night
  • All-metal body and standout design deliver premium feel, but at a lower price than competitors
  • Comes with one of the industry’s best warranty and protection plans in the Axon Passport Program, which features a 2-year warranty, unlimited out of warranty repairs, upgrade assistance, replacement assistance and more

For full list of phone specifications and features visit ztedevices.ca.

About ZTE CANADA

ZTE Canada Inc., headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, a global provider of mobile devices, telecommunication systems and enterprise solutions. Operating since March 2005, ZTE Canada is dedicated to making cost-efficient, quality communication technology accessible to all. In North America, ZTE is the fourth-largest supplier of smartphones and handset vendors and is the second largest vendor in the pre-paid market. ZTE is one of the top rated high tech enterprises in the world, developing and producing 2G, 3G and 4G handsets and mobile devices in over 150 countries. Founded in 1985, ZTE Corporation is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges and is China’s largest listed telecom equipment company.

Visit ZTE Canada at http://www.ztedevices.ca/ on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ZteCanada and on Twitter https://twitter.com/zte_canada.