Strathcona: A Vancouver neighbourhood ready for a comeback

On June 30th I was invited to a tour of Strathcona a long standing Vancouver neighbourhood that’s ready for a comeback. The goal is to make the neighbourhood and East Hastings the most walkable street in Vancouver by 2021. For more information on Strathcona check out the Strathcona Business Improvement Association website.

The goal is an ambitious one but when you dive into the neighbourhood and tour around, you recognize both its potential and admire it’s history.

The Heatley Restaurant a popular live music spot in the neighbourhood is on the corner of the historic Heatley Block building built in 1931. The Heatley has been everything from a druggist, confectionary, burger bar, ice cream parlour, paint and hardware store. It has breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as DJ’s and live music almost every night of the week.

Strathcona is currently a home to some of Vancouver’s most popular craft breweries a hot commodity right now. StrathconaThese include Luppolo Brewing, Postmark Brewing and Strathcona Brewing where we dined on pizza and beer made at the brewery. It’s also home to Pat’s Pub, a popular live music venue which I have played and promoted many shows at. Pat’s will be promoting its Hastings Mill Brewing Company as well now and its beer is very good.

Art is a big focus of the neighbourhood with galleries as well as decorated tree planters and street murals. The street murals in Strathcona are nothing short of spectacular and while it’s tempting to think of them as graffiti they are actually designed to enhance the neighbourhood and combat taggers. My favourite was one that contains several characters from the original Transformers cartoon tv series from the 1980’s.

Over the summer, 4 pop up shops will be in Strathcona between June 23 and July 16. The one that caught our attention was the XCAPE VR Gaming pop up shop. We had a chance to try one game with the XCAPE team and we were sold. We’ll be doing a followup post with the XCAPE people regarding their virtual reality gaming.

Canadian Compass: Adventures in Every Direction a VR exhibit

With Canada 150 happening this weekend be sure to check out Canadian Compass: Adventures in Every Direction a VR exhibit that takes you on a cross-country adventure.

Located at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby the exhibit was unveiled June 12 in conjunction with a Canadian Citizenship Ceremony held at Metrotown. It runs until Monday July 3, 2017.

Commissioned to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, I had chance to visit it on June 26 and thought it was great experience. I was particularly interested in the dog sledding and train ride through the Rockies. My interest in this exhibit stems from the fact that it was a VR experience.

The booth has stations with Samsung Galaxy S phones attached to an Oculus VR headset and headphones. With a series of 2-minute VR journey’s, it’s a bit cumbersome to wear both the headset and headphones but the 360 experience is awesome. I often forgot to look completely around me to get the 360 effect. There is definitely a feeling of really being immersed at Niagara Falls. B.C. gets a great mention here too with a viewing of a dolphin super pod.

My only wish would have been to a hockey VR experience or a Tragically Hip concert. This exhibit focuses on the natural beauty of Canada and I would never take anything away from that but this would be another way to make this a uniquely Canadian experience.

There is also plenty of opportunities to receive free Canada 150 giveaways and snap selfies with Canada’s iconic landscapes. Visitors can donate and print digital postcards on the spot at Metropolis’ photo booth, with all proceeds being donated to Burnaby Community Services (http://www.bbyservices.ca/). In addition, all proceeds from the Metropolis Express train will be donated to Burnaby charities.

Time is running out to check this great exhibit so we recommend heading to Metrotown in Burnaby to do so. It’s a great way to get your Canada Day weekend started.

The videos are provided by the following organizations:
Niagara Falls Tourism – http://www.niagarafallstourism.com
Travel Alberta – http://www.travelalberta.com
Destination British Columbia – http://www.destinationbc.ca
Aurora Borealis – Perspective Films – http://perspectivefilms.ca

Cut the cord part 4

I posted around Christmas 2016 that I was cutting the cord and getting ride of my cable with Telus. In January I ordered the Leelbox M9S Android TV Box from Amazon and could not be happier with it.

The device itself was an easy setup with the HDMI Cable and space left on my console from my Telus TV box to slot the Leelbox into. The remote they sent with the device was horrible so I downloaded apps for my iPhone to allow me to control the box via my iPhone. I do not recommend ever using this remote.

There has been a learning curve for sure but I love to learn especially new tech stuff and this has been a great experience. It has also been an adjustment since I now am not able to turn on my TV with ease and get the channels I want.

There are however benefits. I’m paying Telus 73$ plus tax for High Speed Internet 25 and that’s it. No extra charges for TV or channels I do not use. I’ve adapted to missing news and sports by using Twitter and Facebook. I listen to live sports such as hockey and football using the radio on the internet.

I am missing the opportunity to get live sports, which is the main reason why I watch TV. I did try the Sportsnet monthly subscription for January and February. You do get a 7 day trial for free. My main reason was to get Canuck games. I found it intermittent and it would often stall while I was streaming games. I suspect my internet speed may not be high enough but with the 24.99 monthly cost I did not think it was worth it.

During the Stanley Cup Playoffs I was able to get regular hockey programming using a number of apps for the Leelbox specifically Kodi. Kodi allows you to stream live TV and sports among other things. I used an app called ProSport for Kodi and was able to find good NHL streams for most of the games. I did have to search for a bit within the NHL category to get consistently good streams. My next project is to get good CFL streams for the CFL season.

I’ve also discovered a number of other good programs using the Video Add ons within Kodi. One is called Exodus which has good quality HD Movies. Often there will be rips of movies straight from the theatre but quality is poor. I wait until a title is released digitally or on Blu Ray and DVD and you’ll get near perfect copies on Exodus. I also rent as many Blu Ray titles as I can from my local library.

I’m also a Netflix subscriber and have been over the past 5 years. Netflix has always provide me with good movies and programs. I don’t VPN into the U.S. Netflix to get more movies and titles.

All in all cutting the cable cord has been a good move for me. While there have been some challenges getting the programs I want, I have been able to adapt and am glad to be saving money on cable TV programs.

 

Apple launches new iPad Pro 10.5 inch

iPad Pro

iPad ProApple has launched a new iPad Pro last week and according to the tech giant it’s their best yet. Apple’s also been circulating its message that tablets are soon to replace desktops as the go to device for work and play. While we don’t believe this will happen anytime soon the iPad Pro 10.5 tablet is an impressive piece of machinery.

A new 10.5‑inch display.

The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro comes with a screen nearly 20 percent larger than the 9.7-inch model, so you get more room to do more. It also delivers a full-size onscreen keyboard, yet it’s just as portable as ever. The 12inch iPad Pro is also still available.

More powerful than most PC laptops.

It offers far more power than most PC laptops, yet is delightfully simple to use. The redesigned Retina display is as stunning to look at as it is to touch. And it all comes together with iOS, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. iPad Pro. Everything you want modern computing to be. Now even, well, better.

iOS 11 A monumental leap for iPad.

iOS 11 brings iPad to life as never before. New features and capabilities fundamentally improve the way you do things, making your iPad experience even more powerful and personal. Do with it what you will. Because now you can.

iPad has always offered the ultimate Multi-Touch experience. The redesigned Retina display on iPad Pro sets a whole new standard. It’s not just brighter and less reflective, it’s far more responsive than anything that’s come before. Whether you’re scrolling through pages in Safari or playing an intense 3D game, everything feels utterly smooth, fast, and immersive.

Multitasking. Redesigned from the swipe up.

Doing more than ever will soon be easier than ever. In iOS 11, an all-new Dock makes it simple to open recently used apps and files. And when you use Slide Over or Split View, both apps will stay active so you can work with them simultaneously. So edit an image in Adobe Photoshop Fix while creating a web page. Or use Safari to plan your next vacation while confirming dates in Calendar. iPad Pro and iOS 11 are perfect for doing everything you want to do — at once.

Learn more about what’s coming with iOS 11

The A10X Fusion chip with 64‑bit architecture and six cores puts incredible power in your hands. So you can edit a 4K video on the go. Render an elaborate 3D model. Or create and mark up complex documents and presentations. Easily. All on a device that still delivers all‑day battery life.1

The increased refresh rate of the new iPad Pro display makes Apple Pencil2 feel even more responsive and natural. No other digital pencil lets you write, mark up, and draw with such pixel-perfect precision.
Learn more about Apple Pencil

Dock

The all-new Dock makes it easier to find your favorite and recently used apps and files. It’s especially useful for multitasking or navigating through apps.

Files

The new Files app brings all your files together. Not just the ones on your iPad, but also those in apps, in iCloud, and across other services like Dropbox and Box.

Drag and Drop

Drag and Drop gives you a new way to move things around. With just a finger, you can simply and smoothly move text, photos, and files from one app to another, anywhere on the screen.

App Switcher

The redesigned App Switcher makes changing apps as quick as a swipe. It even remembers the combinations of apps you’ve multitasked with previously.

Multitasking

Not only has multitasking been redesigned, but both apps now stay active in Slide Over and Split View.

Apple Pencil

iOS 11 makes Apple Pencil even more useful. Easily sketch, draw, or write directly alongside text in Notes. You can even write a note instantly by tapping on your iPad lock screen with Apple Pencil.

Design Barely a pound. 
Tons of capability.

Even though it’s packed with amazing performance, an advanced display, two cameras, ultrafast wireless, and all-day battery life,1 iPad Pro is still sleek and compact. So you can go just about anywhere and do just about anything.
10.5”6.1 mm thin
1 pound
12.9”

6.9 mm thin
1.5 pounds

Cameras

iPad Pro features the same great cameras as iPhone 7. Advanced optical image stabilization and an ƒ/1.8 aperture make it even better for taking amazing photos and videos in low light. And wider color capture makes every selfie worthy of a gallery.
12MP camera
7MP FaceTime HD camera

Touch ID

Touch ID uses an advanced fingerprint sensor that lets you unlock your iPad instantly and secure private data in apps. You can also use it to make purchases with Apple Pay within apps and on the web.
2x faster than previous generation

Smart Keyboard

Simply unfold the full-size Smart Keyboard2 — available for both the 10.5‑inch and 12.9‑inch iPad Pro — when you need it. Fold it to create a lightweight yet durable cover when you don’t. It’s as easy to use as it is to take with you.
New 10.5” full-size keyboard
Learn more about the Smart Keyboard

iPad

• 9.7‑inch Retina display
• Up to 10‑hour battery life1
• Up to 128GB storage
• Learn more about iPad

iPad Pro

• 10.5‑ or 12.9‑inch Retina display
• Up to 10‑hour battery life1
• Up to 512GB storage
• Compatible with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard

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”.

####

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

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.

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.

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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.