Follow your Dreams: how the future of playing video games is making them | Games – Blog – 10 minute

We’re living in an age of mass, democratised creativity – or at least that’s what the technology industry likes to tell us. You can shoot a movie or record an album on a smartphone, you can become a household name with a webcam and a YouTube channel, and you can download any of a dozen applications and build a video game from nothing.
But the latter is an intimidating notion. Games are ultimately complex mechanisms, constructed from code, involving physics, narrative, animation and audio. There has been a deliberate effort within the industry to make creative tools more accessible, arguably spearheaded by Unity, a technology that both powers games and lets users create them – and yet, designing and constructing a game can feel overwhelming. Even the first step, having confidence in your ideas, is a difficult one. It’s also where Media Molecule’s ambitious new PlayStation 4 release Dreams comes in.
Dreams isn’t just a game with a level building mode and it certainly isn’t a traditional game development tool like Unity. What its creators say is that, although you can use Dreams to play games, actually making a game in Dreams is the defining way to play it.

Dreams on PS4 … a snapshot of some of its creative tools. Photograph: Media Molecule/Sony
“When you make something you don’t have to make for a reason, you can make it for the experience,” says Media Molecule co-founder and creative director Mark Healey, pondering the idea that so many people shy away from creativity due to insecurities about having a clear vision for any final output. “When I play guitar, I love playing and I’ll sit at home and I just play. I don’t record myself every time, or put it on YouTube. I just enjoy doing it because when you’re in the midst of doing it, to me, that’s what the word ‘art’ means.”
Healey and his colleagues often compare Dreams to a notepad for doodling or a toy box in which you can tinker for the sheer joy of it. But you can release completed creations out into the world via the game’s community. In fact, a rather sterile term best defines Dreams. It is a platform: a place where you can build games using simple, surprisingly instinctive tools. Or you can use it to craft an animated scene that isn’t a game, paint in 3D, or just compose music.
Dreams’ lineage actually goes back to the series of platform games that first brought Media Molecule fame. The LittleBigPlanet titles always put user-generated content at the centre of the experience, providing a wealth of simple tools to get players making their own levels.
The studio’s latest release ups the ambition by allowing a vast amount of creative freedom. With an early build of Dreams available to some players since April 2019, many have simply chosen to create content that other users can place in their creations: models of trees or even office furniture. That’s something Media Molecule actively fosters, in fact. Recognising that games are commonly made through numerous contributions by different individuals, Dreams is deeply informed by remix culture and the idea of creative collaboration. Yet Media Molecule’s platform has also been used to create some very impressive things, from the strikingly polished to the daringly original.
SlidEout 3019, for example, is a loving homage to the Wipeout racing series that has stunned even the lead Dreams team, and enjoyed considerable viral success.

“Someone was saying to the guy that made it: ‘Well, why didn’t you do this in Unity? Why didn’t you use a professional game engine?’,” remembers Alex Evans, Media Molecule co-founder and technical director. “He gave some really interesting answers. He had previously had no idea he could have made what he made. He only made it because I stumbled into it after he picked up Dreams. He was messing around and suddenly, you know, he was putting a lot of effort into it, and he made a popular game. It was brilliant, and that’s somebody who probably would never have thought to have tried to make such an ambitious game.”
And that is the aim with Dreams. The Media Molecule team are equally quick to add that it will suit people with a clear, ambitious idea for a game. But encouraging creativity and shooing away imposter syndrome are core to what Dreams is. Indeed, the included campaign mode game Art’s Story tells the studio’s own tale of creative self-doubt and discovery.
“I really hope it’s a bridge for people to get into zones that they have dreamed about getting into really, so people can end up getting into maybe the games industry or another creative role,” says Healey. “But what I really hope is that someone makes a game in Dreams that is so good we have to put on the PSN store as a standalone game, and then it sells more than Dreams. That’s what I would really want to see; sort of our greatest achievement.”

Evans has an even grander vision. “I’d want someone to go and collect an Oscar and say: ‘I’m doing this now because I picked up a video game 10 years ago called Dreams’,” he reveals. “I’d love for that to happen, and I think it will, or could. On a smaller scale we’re hiring people from this community already, so it’s almost already happening.”
One of those people is Jamie Breeze, a former teacher turned Dreams community content creator, who now works at Media Molecule, having fallen for his new employer’s output early in the LittleBigPlanet series. “As a kid, I always wanted to be in games eventually, but that’s not very realistic, is it? I just thought I’m going to try something that’s a bit more down-to-earth. So I went for teaching and I enjoyed it. Of course, it’s a brilliant contribution to the world. But with Dreams I feel like I’ve got a wider sort of audience since I can inspire more people by doing this. I was limited as a teacher, in a way.”
Teaching remains a vital societal contribution; there’s little doubt about that. But Dreams makes one thing clear: there are other ways to inspire and motivate creativity.

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Telstra warns future mobile blackspots too costly to fix – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Telstra may take a backseat on future rounds of the federal mobile blackspots program, arguing new tower builds don’t make sense even when the government pays half of the upfront costs.
The telco – which has dominated the first four rounds of the program, nabbing “over 75 percent of sites” – suggested the program is “in part” a victim of its own success, with new towers progressively servicing fewer and fewer people.
“From rounds one to four, we have seen an 85 percent decline in the average number of customers receiving new outdoor coverage per site,” Telstra said.
“The declining numbers of customers per site means the revenues a carrier can earn from each blackspot are low, and we are now at a point where revenues are insufficient to offset the operational costs of the sites, particularly in NBN satellite areas.”
There are still two rounds to go in the blackspots scheme. 
Sites in the fifth round are currently under review, while a sixth round with $80m of funding available is yet to open.
Based on Telstra’s commentary, the government could find it harder to attract proposals from telcos, particularly for blackspots in the final round.
In addition, with the government set to fund a new regional connectivity program to the tune of $53 million, it may need to put even more on the table to secure proposals from telcos.
Telstra wants the government to uncap its contribution, and also to consider contributing to the operating expenses (OpEx) cost of the towers over 10 years to make addressing blackspots more attractive again.
“Whilst the current contribution approaches taken by federal and state governments has made the delivery of some remote sites possible, the viability of these projects is diminishing under current government contribution models,” Telstra said.
“It is our assessment that we have reached a point where the share of federal, state and third-party contributions relative to carriers’ will need to be higher in order to maintain the momentum seen in previous regional co-investment programs. 
“Addressing this challenge will require the government to exercise the flexibility to increase its contribution beyond the 50 percent cap, especially where projects provide substantial benefits to communities but cannot attract funding from sources beyond the carriers. 
“We therefore recommend that the federal government does not set a cap on its contribution.”
Optus, meanwhile, believed the government could offer “limited in-kind contributions” in addition to cash in any future co-contribution schemes targeting telecommunications infrastructure for regional areas.
“These contributions can have the added benefit of accelerated solution delivery (for example access to tower space, or zero land rental fees),” Optus said.
“Similarly, non-traditional contributions (such as free power connection) should be considered.”

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Future of Work | Economic risk factors multiplying too fast- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Now that we’re a couple of months into the “new” year, we’re starting to get a global view of 2019, as well as firmer ideas of what 2020 holds.
We ended 2019 on a more optimistic note than we started it. A year ago, the word “recession” was on everyone’s lips. At year’s end, it wasn’t. But it hasn’t taken long for those concerns to come back.
I’ve decided here to share data, views, and a few perspectives on what I forecast for the first two quarters of 2020 in the tech and digital sector. My intention is to start a conversation with you – bosses in the tech and digital sector – about the new risks and new opportunities of 2020.
I don’t want to spend too much time discussing the obvious: the coronavirus outbreak, or Brexit, for example. But we do need to at least take a glance at them.

To make sense of all of this, I want to zero in, starting with some observations and some indicators, both inside and outside Pentalog.
More specifically, I have ‘outside’ information available to anyone. For example:

Foxconn, Apple’s house manufacturer in Taiwan, is converting factories to make surgical face masks rather than, say, telephones. Yet factories in France, Thailand, South Africa, and the USA are receiving record orders from China for – surgical face masks!

With Brexit looming, 275 banking and finance firms have already moved staff, asset base, or operations out of the UK, many to the EU. But nobody in the EU is hiring, yet – they’re waiting to see what France does with its new 5 billion euro investment fund for Fintech startups.

Tourism, particularly where it concerns Chinese nationals, is deep in the red –in often surprising locations like Turkmenistan or Vietnam. In 2019, 150 million Chinese went on vacation outside China, but the Chinese government has suspended almost all flights abroad. The rest of the world has reciprocated, with the list of interdicted countries growing longer by the day. This collapse is going to and touch a surprising number of places and take a long time to work through. The tourist island of Bali has 20,000 canceled hotel bookings – without a single confirmed Indonesian coronavirus patient. Italy, favorite European destination for 3.5 million annual Chinese tourists, has watched reservations collapse by 30% – so far. For the first time ever, Macau, the richest gambling market in the world, has closed its casino doors, locking out even the gambling-mad Chinese.

Orders to French luxury industries have literally plummeted in the past few weeks, due to the coronavirus, with the last few days approaching catastrophe. As a critical sector in digital marketing, as you know. Intermediaries would like to lower stocks but they can’t. Major brands are helpless witnesses of the cancellation of long-standing secure orders in Asia. Advertisers are clearly looking for budget cuts.

But I also have first-hand, inside information of interest in the tech and digital sector.

Since Q4 2019, companies and agencies in the digital outsourcing and consulting sector have been applying the brakes to their recruitment efforts. The numbers I’m providing here may be a nasty surprise… In a secret compartment, I keep a list of the best European companies (head of the class in agile practice –best clients in the portfolio). In those companies, recruitment dropped by 37% between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019 – down 50% between January 2019 and January 2020. And if we only consider the giants, we drop 75%. That does not necessarily mean recession, but it does testify to much more cautious expectations, with stagnant income for some and cuts in growth by at least half for others. Are these companies wrong? I don’t really believe that. If I’m right, the first profit warnings will come in Q2 – or just maybe, Q3 if a resumption in orders does not interrupt the downward slide.

From my inside point of view, all of this is visible on our websites… On those sites, as usual at the start of phases where anxiety is going up, the outsourcing pages are showing a sharp increase in consultation. Companies are thinking about how they can meet their requirements without expanding their payroll. But all this is still just curiosity. We’re generating more leads than usual, but confirmations are protracted.

Meanwhile, the funds and the analysts are all saying the same thing: end of (business) cycle. Weak global auto sales, continuing trade conflict between the US and China, and the probability of a disorderly Brexit made 2019 a sickly year. The coronavirus outbreak means that the economy won’t start 2020 in better shape. A new study from MIT and State Street finds a 70% chance of recession in the next six months.

When startups are, well, starting up, entrepreneurs need to stay very practical, maintaining precise risk logs and carefully observing payment deadlines. In a new-risk minefield, they need to stay pennywise while still innovating and attracting customers. Their best defenses are a good product and good marketing. The day they fall back on their ‘legacy’, it’s over.
I would appreciate the chance to meet with digital and software entrepreneurs to talk about ways of more closely integrating remote work, freelancing, and outsourcing in the digital production mix.
All of this brings us to the often-mentioned “future of work“, where these various solutions are combined in an agile, end-to-end framework – the only framework capable of attracting the best, internally or externally. I’ve been doing this job for 20 years, with consultants in the US, France and Germany, teams in Mexico, Eastern Europe and Vietnam, and freelancers throughout Europe.
This is the third time that I have experienced the end of the business cycle. Pentalog, which put these frameworks into practice, has known only one negative exercise in its lifespan (the first one). Our customers benefit initially from our technological experience, but also from our ability to anticipate production methods, costs, slowdowns and accelerations, ROI, market and team expectations.
The future of work? It’s the future of your company.

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Dalmia Cement digitizes Procurement Landscape with leading solution `VENDX’ – The Future of Procurement’.- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Termed as the “Project प्रGATI” – Towards Overall Efficiency, this project is a journey to Standardize the Procurement Process through Digitization to Reduce Transaction Time, Cost Saving, Building Transparency, Accountability in Decision-Making & Ease in Audit Process. VENDX, will add significant value to the Procurement function at Dalmia by improving Information Intelligence with its Embedded Analytics and ensuring significant reduction in transactional efforts through end to end digitization of the entire sourcing process to achieve highest compliance in this sensitive business function.

By adopting VENDX, as a tool for Procurement Digitization, Dalmia Bharat Group is paving a path for Cement companies to adopt Digitization. VENDX is arguably the only E-Procurement Solution that can seamlessly Integrate with leading ERPs including SAP (all versions including HANA), Oracle & Infor and facilitates centralized and decentralized sourcing function across multiple Plants, Categories & Projects for materials & services.
The Agile Implementation & product team of MavenVista Technologies Pvt. Ltd. carried out the implementation of one-of-its-kind VENDX PR to PO Landscape, seamlessly integrated with SAP S/4 HANA at all the 13 Cement Plants of Dalmia Cement Limited in shortest possible time.
Team MavenVista Technologies Pvt. Ltd. took complete Ownership of the Project, to ensure standardization of the entire sourcing process based on best prevalent practices to consistently ensure speed, optimum price discovery & best compliance. 
On 16th January 2020, the E-Procurement Solution VENDX went live across all the plants of Dalmia in India, facilitating Dalmia Management with complete Visibility of the entire Sourcing process from a single point, 24*7, from any part of the world.

In picture Mr. Puneet Dalmia, Managing Director – Dalmia Bharat Group (on TV), Mr. Mahendra Singhi, the Managing Director and CEO of Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited (on TV), Mr. Suhrid Shah, CEO – MavenVista Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Saurabh Palsania President Commercial and representatives/stakeholders from all the 13 plants across 9 geographical states.
Before selecting MavenVista Technologies Pvt. Ltd. as their Technology Partner, Dalmia Bharat Group did an extensive evaluation of various Indian as well as leading Global Procurement Solution Providers. After running Proof of Concept (POC) to ensure practical evaluation of all the desired parameters, Dalmia Bharat Group found VENDX as the most suitable Procurement solution to most effectively meet their organizational objectives and for its ease of adoption.
The Procurement Team of Dalmia Bharat Group also won the Award of Best Procurement Transformation of the Year 2019, for their various initiatives for improvement of procurement function at the reputed Express Logistics & Supply Chain (ELSC) Conclave 2019, held at Mumbai on 7th and 8th October.
Established in the year 2000, MavenVista Technologies Pvt. Ltd., an ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2015 Certified Company has evolved this award winning procurement solution, VENDX, which has begged many coveted awards over the years like Best Procurement Solution of the Year 2019, Best Procurement Service Provider of the Year 2018, CIO Choice, Most Innovative SME, Best E-Procurement solution & many others. VENDX, today claims to have the highest number of successfully ERP integrated installations in India across geography & industries.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: back to the folding flip phone future | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: back to the folding flip phone future | Technology – Blog –

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It’s not often something comes along to genuinely change the game, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip does just that, bringing foldable displays closer to the mainstream and reinventing the flip phone for 2020 in the process.
Screens that literally fold in half finally arrived last year with the Galaxy Fold, which was originally plagued by durability issues causing a delay and a reworking of the device.
The £1,300 Galaxy Z Flip is therefore Samsung’s crucial second bite at the cherry. And it’s a very impressive one at that.

Opening and closing the Galaxy Z Flip is a smooth and addictive experience.
Instead of a tall smartphone opening out into a square tablet, the Galaxy Z Flip is a tall smartphone that folds in half like mid-2000s flip-phones. I won’t beat about the bush: folding and unfolding the Galaxy Z Flip is a tremendous experience.
The hinge opens and will hold the screen at any angle, similar to a laptop hinge. It’s smooth and reassuringly solid. What you can’t easily do is flip it open with one finger, but you probably shouldn’t even if you could because the screen is fairly fragile – more on that later.
Closed, the phone is a compact wedge shape with little rubber feet and magnets holding the two ends together. You’ll be able to fit it in most pockets, including the often useless-for-phones tiny pockets women are burdened with.

The cover screen shows the time and other useful bits when tapped. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
There’s a small 1.1in oblong screen on the lid of the device adjacent to the main camera. It shows the time, the battery charge and a little notification dot if there’s something waiting for you. Double tap to light it up, swipe left for music controls and right for notification icons, which you can tap and see a little bit with scrolling text. It’s useful when you want it, but also easy to ignore, freeing you somewhat from the burden of notifications.
Open it out and the 6.7in is remarkable. It looks and feels just like one of Samsung’s regular super-sized smartphones, which is a very good thing, apart from one caveat: there’s a crease in the middle. You can feel it, and get a reflection on the screen and you can see it.

You can see the crease in light reflections on the screen, but is generally invisible when viewing bright content and videos. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
What feels weird at first under your thumb immediately becomes normal. It’s more visible when the screen is black, which makes the Galaxy Z Flip the first phone that looks worse in dark mode. You can’t see it while browsing a white web page or similar.
The crease is one of the compromises of having a massive screen that rivals the very biggest smartphones available today, but that folds down into a small, pocketable package. I think it’s a worthy trade-off for now.
The power button doubles as a fast and accurate fingerprint scanner, mounted below the volume buttons on the upper half of the phone.
Durability concerns

The screen has T-shaped caps at the sides of the fold that help stop dirt getting in behind the display. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The screen works, looks great and the hinge feels sturdy. It’s rated for more than 200,000 folds, which is 100 openings a day for 5.5 years. It has nylon fibres in the hinge to literally sweep dust and dirt away as you open and close it, while the edges of the folding part have plastic T-shaped caps to try to block dirt from getting in that way.
But there’s a massive question mark over the screen’s durability. It comes with care instructions wrapped around it in the box, including advice not to press hard on the screen with hard objects, such as your fingernail; don’t fold something else in when closing the phone; the phone isn’t dust or water resistant; don’t put stickers or screen protectors on it; and keep the phone away from credit cards as it has magnets in it. You can’t say you haven’t been warned.
I was only given three working days to test the device and in that time it worked perfectly. Others haven’t been so lucky. Realistically you need at least several months of daily use to truly know if it will stand the test of time.

Hidden in the hinge is a set of nylon fibres that help stop dust getting into the back of the device. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Then there’s the scratch resistance of the glass screen: basically there isn’t any. It uses ultra-thin glass that can fold, which is remarkable, but it’s covered in a plastic layer and is so thin it’s easy to poke holes in. The screen is fairly well protected when closed, but it’s possible to get grit in between the two halves, while pushing hard with your fingernail could damage it.
Samsung is offering a one-time £99/$119 display repair service, but after that you’re looking at a hefty cost in the region of £400.
All in you have to treat it with the respect deserving of a £1,300 device, and even then you might run into trouble. If you’re at all blasé with the way you treat your smartphone, this isn’t for you.

Main screen: 6.7in FHD+ AMOLED Infinity Flex Display (425ppi)

Cover screen: 1.1in AMOLED (303ppi)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+


Storage: 256GB (UFS 3.0)

Operating system: One UI 2.1 based on Android 10

Camera: dual rear camera: 12MP wide angle, 12MP ultra-wide angle, 10MP front-facing camera

Connectivity: 4G, nano sim + esim, Wi-Fiac, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS

Folded dimensions: 87.4 x 73.6 x 17.3-15.4mm

Unfolded dimensions: 167.3 x 73.6 x 7.2-6.9mm

Weight: 183g

Solid performance, about a day’s battery

Other than wireless charging, the Galaxy Z Flip uses USB-C power just like any other modern Android phone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The Galaxy Z Flip has Qualcomm’s top-of-the-range chip from late 2020, the Snapdragon 855+, not this year’s top chip, the Snapdragon 865. It also has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which isn’t expandable with microSD.
Performance all-round was good. Snappy, fast and smooth, similar to the Galaxy Note 10+, but not as rapid as the best, the OnePlus 7T Pro despite having the same chipset. If you’re into hardcore mobile gaming this isn’t the phone for you.
Battery life was solid but not quite up to the standards set by the very best last year. The Galaxy Z Flip lasted about 27 hours between charges of medium to heavy usage.
That was while using the phone as my primary device, lots of email, messages and push notifications, a couple of hours browsing, five hours of Spotify via Bluetooth headphones, 45 minutes of Netflix and about 10 photos.
The Galaxy Z Flip has relatively slow 15W charging, taking close to two hours for a full charge, but has wireless charging and wireless powersharing to wirelessly charge something else from the phone’s back, such as a set of earbuds or a smartwatch.
One UI 2

One UI 2 makes the most of the long screen, which together with improved gesture control makes it easier to manage. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Samsung’s version of Android 10 is called One UI 2, which itself is an evolution of One UI launched on the Galaxy S10 last year.
One UI 2 treats the phone’s screen differently to most other versions of Android. Broadly speaking the top half is for displaying information, while the bottom half is used for bits you have to touch and interact with. It’s a clever use of space helping you reach the bits you have to tap (with the exception of the notification bar), which is useful for a screen as long as the Galaxy Z Flip’s.
As too are Android 10’s gestures: swipe up from the bottom for recently used apps, or across the bottom to switch the last used apps. Swipe in from either side for back. It’s simple, fast and easy to use on big-screen phones.
Samsung has also made great strides in the speed of Android updates over recent years, bringing One UI 2 based on Android 10 as an update to the Galaxy S10 line in around three months from its release by Google.
Overall, One UI 2 is a pleasing form of Android to use, with useful additions and, importantly, the full Google suite of apps and services, from which competitor Huawei is barred from using due to US trade sanctions.

The standard, flat camera app is just one way of shooting photos with the Galaxy Z Flip. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The Galaxy Z Flip has two 12-megapixel cameras on the back, one normal and one ultra-wide, and one 10-megapixel selfie camera peeking through a small hole in the top of the screen.
The rear cameras are good but not class leading. The main camera shoots excellent pictures in good lighting, deals relatively well with high-contrast scenes with the addition of an HDR mode, but starts to struggle in middling light conditions. Images shot in the foyer of a theatre suffered from a bit of grain and noise.
Likewise, the camera doesn’t have the best low-light performance, although the automatic Night Mode helps. The ultrawide works great in good light, but the lack of a telephoto camera is disappointing.
The selfie camera is reasonable, shooting detailed images in good lighting, but again struggles in middling light, unexpectedly producing some blurry pictures. I got better results closing the phone, double-pressing the power button to bring up the main camera, which shows a small preview in the cover display.

Prop up the Galaxy Z Flip, turn on the selfie camera and shoot away showing the camera your hand to start a countdown timer, no awkward arm angles required. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Samsung’s camera app has a load of tricks. One of the most interesting is the “single take” mode. Press the shutter button and let it run until you think you have enough. The camera shoots photos, videos and produces gifs all at once, showing you a portfolio of content at the end from which you can pick and choose the best. If you’re not sure what will work best, this mode is for you.
You can also prop the phone up by closing it part way and use either the selfie camera or the main camera, which works as a makeshift tripod producing some interesting results.
Overall the Galaxy Z Flip is a fun camera to use, but won’t win any awards. It’s good enough, just not the best – but that’s not what you’re paying for here.

Video is best watched with the screen flat, but you can prop up the phone with a slight bend for watching hands-free on a table or desk. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Galaxy Z Flip is not water or dust resistant at all, in contrast to most modern smartphones

There’s no headphone socket

You can feel a dip in the screen where the selfie camera pokes through

There’s just one speaker in the bottom of the phone

The glass backs have small gaps between them and the frame of the phone that trap dust and hairs

Call quality was excellent on both ends of the call on EE’s 4G network

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip costs £1,300 and is available in either black or purple.
A special colour version is available as part of the Thom Browne Edition, which includes Galaxy Buds+, a Galaxy Watch Active2 and other parts for £2,280.
For comparison, the Galaxy Fold costs £1,900 and the Motorola Razr is available exclusively through EE on plans starting at £94 a month. Samsung’s non-folding Galaxy Note 10+ costs £999.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is a tantalising, desirable look at one possible future of the smartphone.
A big phone that folds into a compact square is surprisingly pleasing to use, much easier to pocket and has the side benefit of adding a bit of distance between you and your phone. Unfolding it and unlocking it is much more of a deliberate act than it is to glance at a traditional flat phone, potentially helping you avoid notification overload.
It looks great, makes you stand out and feels solid, like the premium, cutting-edge product that it is. It’s exciting, different and delightfully tactile. But only having had three working days with it, I just can’t tell you whether it’ll go the distance. Months of daily use is the only thing that will really test the Galaxy Z Flip’s durability.
Buy the £1,300 Galaxy Z Flip if you want something different, but only if you can stomach the uncertainty surrounding its durability. You might get three years of problem-free use out of it, but then you might not. Only time will tell. But looking at the sea of boring metal and glass slabs, many of which are similar in price to the Galaxy Z Flip, I want one, and maybe you do too.

Pros: a screen that folds in half, big screen made pocketable, stands on its own, good camera, day+ battery life, exciting and different, One UI 2, good gestures, wireless charging and powersharing, nano sim and esim
Cons: durability unknowns, no dust or water resistance, high cost, no headphone socket, no telephoto camera, no expandable storage

The power button doubles as a fast and accurate fingerprint scanner, which is better than Samsung’s ultrasonic in-display scanners in last year’s S10 and Note 10 phones. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
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Top four technology trends that will shape the future of data centers- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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By Vimal Kaw, Associate Vice President, Products & Services, NTT Com – Netmagic
While the year 2019 was exciting, the years ahead promise to be even more exciting for the data center space.
Looking at the rapid technological developments, we believe the following technology trends will shape the future of data centers:
#1 Hyperscale Data CentersHyperscale refers to the capability of an IT system or architecture to scale exponentially and rapidly to respond to demand that is increasingly heavily. A report by Markets & Markets estimates the hyperscale data center market to grow from USD 25.08 billion in 2017 to USD 80.65 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 26.32%. Cisco estimates that by 2021, traffic within hyperscale data centers will quadruple, and hyperscale data centers will account for 55% of all data center traffic by 2021.
In the case of a hyperscale data center, enterprises can replace individual physical components compared to the traditional approach of replacing the entire server, which not only increases costs, but also increases the downtime. This approach also gives extreme flexibility in scaling at the physical level, as components can be added modularly. For example, in case a server fails, an application can be moved from one server to another server, without downtime. Hyperscale data centers are expected to change every aspect to the data center—fromthe way hardware components are sourced to the way they are designed.
# 2 Artificial IntelligenceEver since Google published research that it used AI in the data center to improve the power efficiency of its data center, many firms have followed suit to explore the transformational potential of AI. For example, in a span of just 18 months, Google used its AI powered Google DeepMind system to bring about a 40% reduction in the amount of energy required for cooling, which is equivalent to a 15% reduction in overall PUE overheads.
Hiring people with the right skill sets is a massive challenge in the digital era. Gartner, for instance, predicts that by 2020, 75% of organizations will experience visible business disruptions due to I&O skills gaps (an increase from less than 20% in 2016). AI can play a big role in automating many of the tasks that human agents do today. Similarly, AI can be used with great impact in a SOC in a data center. AI can complement current Security Incidents and Event Management (SIEM) systems, by analyzing incidents and inputs from multiple systems, and devising an appropriate incident response system. AI-based systems can improve the security operations centre monitoring and basic L1 jobs can be reduced. For example, when more than 10,000 events per second are logged, it becomes difficult for human beings to monitor these events. AI-based systems can help in identifying the malicious traffic from the false positives and help data center administrators handle cyber security threats more efficiently.
Researchers from MIT found that AI can help data center owners save millions by automating scheduling of data-processing operations across thousands of servers. The AI system developed by the researchers’ system completes jobs about 20-30% faster, and twice as fast during high traffic.
# 3 Edge Computing We live in a connected world, and every connected device produces data. As more devices get connected, it will increasingly become economically unviable to transfer data consistently to a centralized location. A Gartner study for example, forecasts that 14.2 billion connected things will be in use in 2019, and that this total will reach 25 billion by 2021, producing immense volume of data. A McKinsey study claims that 127 new IoT devices connect to the internet every second. The rise in the number of connected devices calls for building localized data centers or edge data centers to process local traffic.
Gartner defines Edge Computing as an approach that enables and optimizes extreme decentralization, placing nodes as close as possible to the sources of data and content. Unlike the traditional approach which adopts a centralized approach and sends every bit of data to the cloud,edge data centers keep the heaviest traffic and data close to end-user applications.In the future, expect more adoption of edge data centers as IoT devices grow exponentially.
Gartner, for instance, predicts that while currently around 10% of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud, by 2025, this figure will reach 75%. An IDC FutureScape report states that by 2022, 40% of enterprises will have doubled their IT asset spending in edge locations. IDC also believes that 45% of all data created by IoT devices will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to or at the edge of a network by 2020.
# 4 Security at the chip levelWith attacks growing in scale and complexity against data centers, global firms such as Google are trying to embed security at the chip level. Called OpenTitan, the project is a collaborative open-source chip design project that is designed to build trustworthy chip designs for use in data centers and other components. Google believes that security at the chip level will help in ensuring that the hardware infrastructure and the software that runs on it remain in their intended, trustworthy state by verifying that the critical system components boot securely using authorized and verifiable code. This can ensure that a server or a device boots with the correct firmware and has not been infected by a low-level malware.
While there have been similar attempts in the past (Intel – Software Guard Extensions, Arm – TrustZone, AMD – Secure Encrypted Virtualization), Google’s initiative is the only one today that is not proprietary. By deciding to go the open source route, Google is hoping to build a foundation for building secure chips.

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INTERVIEW: The future of work in cybersecurity – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Behind technology, there are always humans, so any technology or cybersecurity tool used in business is impossible to apply without professionals. And there is no denying that a shortage of talent is a constant challenge in cybersecurity, with a gap of almost three million positions in the industry workforce globally.
Andrey Evdokimov, Head of Information Security at Kaspersky, believes this means that the problem isn’t necessarily a lack of talent or promising young people who are aspiring to work in cybersecurity. Instead, a lot of the roles that need new talent are in areas that remain unseen and therefore under-employed.
Speaking to Andrey, ITNA’s Jenna Delport finds out how those looking to have a career in cybersecurity can seize the moment, uncover which specialisation to choose and what skills to develop.
When it comes to the cybersecurity industry, do you think there’s a shortage of talent?
Research shows that despite there being an estimated 2.8 million cybersecurity professionals globally, an additional four million trained personnel in these areas are required to close the skills gap. Additionally, 65% of those organisations surveyed reported that they have a shortage of cybersecurity staff, generally.
This is only expected to increase given how digital transformation has become a business priority in recent years. Companies can no longer only rely on security software and hardware to keep sensitive data safe and networks running optimally.
Instead, they need to invest in relevant professionals capable of integrating cybersecurity solutions effectively across all organisational touchpoints. There is a clear need for cybersecurity talent, yet it is difficult to come by.
With the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing, more devices will connect to the corporate back end. As such, companies must do more to keep the devices secure while ensuring the integrity of data collected and processed at the edge is not compromised.
For this, they need dedicated cybersecurity human resources able to adapt to the rapidly evolving digital requirements of the business, irrespective of its size or industry sector.
What kind of role does digitalisation play in creating a skills gap?
With more organisations becoming digital and the arrival of multi-national data centres in South Africa seeing a shift towards multi-cloud environments, companies are embracing a new way of doing business.
Digitalisation has become the cornerstone of not only being competitive in the always-on world, but to differentiate from others that include not only incumbents but more agile start-ups across fintech, insurtech, and other industry sectors.
However, as systems evolve and become more sophisticated, so too do the threat actors and the tools available to them to compromise networks and data. This puts even more pressure on companies to keep up with what is happening on the cybersecurity side.
Things such as the cloud, IoT software-defined networking, machine learning, and other elements mean the business (and threat) landscape is continually changing and with that the skills set required to manage this change grows.
It stands to reason that more traditional cybersecurity tools and strategies are no longer adequate to protect the business. But even the most sophisticated solutions cannot operate effectively without human intervention. And this is where the rapid expansion of the digital workforce becomes essential.
On the one hand, there are more jobs available for cybersecurity professionals than the current supply can meet. And on the other, universities and corporates cannot create skilled personnel fast enough for the evolving digital world.
What are some of the key areas that people looking to start a career in cybersecurity should develop?
It all starts with the foundational technology skills developed through studies and graduate programmes. These include how servers, clients, and networks work as well as getting comfortable in cloud environments. Furthermore, traditional cybersecurity education is also important to give the person an understanding of how firewalls and exploits work in addition to more sophisticated attacks such as ransomware and identity theft.
But much like any ICT skill, the person must be willing to constantly re-evaluate their skills and keep up to date with innovations. As cybersecurity threats evolve, so too must their knowledge of them as well as the hardware and software required to effectively protect systems.
In this regard, certifications become critically important as it supplements more traditional learning programmes. These certifications, when combined with practical experience, build on the core message of putting people first aided by the latest technological innovation.
Furthermore, as technical skills improve, professionals will get the opportunity to explore such dynamic areas as cybersecurity management, forensic analysis, cloud migration, and others.
There is no single way of becoming a cybersecurity professional. Instead, it is about combining elements across the ICT offering with people development. Self-education becomes instrumental as is getting upskilling opportunities from a corporate level.
How do you think the industry will change over the course of 2020?
As countries and businesses become more dependent on technology to become smarter and more efficient, cybersecurity roles will continue to grow in importance. Having awareness of the skills gap that exists is one thing, but the industry will need to bridge the gap as a priority during 2020. This will also result in the creation of new career options which were previously unimaginable.
For example, a cybercity analyst is likely to become vital in bridging the link between the government’s digital initiatives and how to implement the best technological innovation to safeguard it. This role is expected to be an interface for businesses running inside smart cities, while from a government side, it will be separated into multiple roles in the future as city technologies and responsibilities are highly diverse.
But in addition to new job roles, cybersecurity will increasingly become integrated with data science to provide more proactive ways to combat against attacks. Already, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been utilised to continually monitor networks and automatically plug any holes that might exist (or occur with new threats).
Cybersecurity will also become a critical building block in ensuring the mobile strategies of companies not only focus on data generation but protection as well. As phishing and other social engineering attacks become even more sophisticated, education initiatives must evolve and not be limited to only cybersecurity professionals.

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The Future of Tech: Gaming Consoles, the Xbox and PlayStation of Tomorrow – Blog – 10 minute

Consoles have come a very long way since the arrival of first-generation machines from Atari and Coleco in the seventies. Even the original PlayStation (1994) and Xbox (2001) look dated compared to the 4K/HDR-capable machines of today, and that divide will grow even larger once the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X arrive at the end of 2020.
But what about the future?
More than once console makers have tried to break new ground, by focusing on functionality beyond gaming, but for the most part those attempts have failed. Nintendo has found the most success with specialized hardware that still focuses on games first, while Sony and Microsoft have seemingly understood that building powerful general purpose machines that are akin to PCs is their best and safest bet. Not unlike PCs, it’s that fast hardware that has let them update their consoles accordingly to the times, adapting and adding features via software updates throughout the consoles’ lifecycle.
So, how much more advanced will the next-next-gen consoles look next to the upcoming machines from Sony and Microsoft? In the second of our “Future of Tech” series, we predict what hardware the PS6 and Xbox series Z (placeholder names) might sport.
The processor: 3nm or smaller?

AMD is providing the computational and graphical power for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Sony and Microsoft have confirmed their consoles will feature a custom, eight-core CPU based on the 7nm Zen 2 architecture. The Xbox Series X promises performance four times that of the Xbox One X, so expect something similar from the PS5.
Looking to the future, the main question is whether console makers will stick with AMD or turn to Nvidia or Intel for their processors. Judging from recent history, Team Red will likely remain the manufacturer of choice when it comes to providing the hardware.
AMD is rumored to launch its Zen 4 consumer processors in 2021 or 2022 — it’s said to be one of the first three companies locked in by TSMC for the manufacturer’s 5nm process. And while AMD hasn’t revealed any long-term roadmaps, TSMC has already started to focus on manufacturing 3nm process nodes and beyond — the Taiwan firm has started construction on its $19.5 billion fab that will manufacture 3nm chips, which are scheduled for mass production in 2023.
While there will doubtlessly be problems to overcome when going so small, expect the technology to appear in future PCs, mobile devices, and consoles, bringing with it high-efficiency performance and low power draw. With console generations lasting between five and eight years, 3nm could be the standard by the time the next generation of consoles arrive.
A dedicated discrete GPU, faster refresh rates as the norm

Xbox Series X and PS5 come with GPUs from the Radeon Navi family, with Sony’s machine said to feature 36 compute units running at 2,000MHz, while its rival reportedly has 56 units at 1,700MHz. Despite technological advancements, many console games are still locked at 30 fps — something PC gamers won’t stand for. With the next-gen machines, we’re promised 120 fps at 4K, 8K support, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate (VRR).
While more TVs support 120 fps+ and VRR, these are still a relatively new addition to home televisions, and the number of 8K sets owned by consumers is minimal owing to their very high price and lack of content. The PS5 and Xbox Series X will likely encourage more people to invest in high-end TVs, but will everyone eventually follow?
4K televisions are only just becoming the standard in most countries. Technology moves fast, but it’s hard to imagine that in, say, 10 years, 8K will be as popular as 4K TVs are today, yet tomorrow’s consoles may offer 8K at refresh rates higher than 60 fps.
The machines may even support 16K — a resolution Sony already offers in its Crystal LED display system and is supported by DisplayPort 2.0 (at 60 fps). This will obviously require a monstrously powerful graphics processor and could even result in the first console to have a dedicated GPU.
Custom graphics options, PC-style

One of the biggest advantages PC gamers have always had over their console cousins is the slew of graphical options offered by games. Resolutions, textures, aspect ratios, effects, frame rate caps, they can all be altered in the majority of PC titles, but with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, it’s usually a choice between ‘Performance’ or ‘Quality.’ That, however, could change.
Samsung has confirmed it is “pushing” Microsoft for the Xbox to support widescreen monitors, which are becoming increasingly popular among PC gamers. It might arrive as a feature of the Xbox Series X, but if not, expect it, and many other settings, to be part of the machine’s successor, especially as Microsoft strives to make its consoles more like PCs.
The main reason for having graphics settings on PCs is because of the differences in each system, meaning those with beastly rigs can set everything to max, while potato-owners can drop things to Minecraft-style levels (without the ray tracing). So why include them in consoles? It could allow for much higher frame rates. Those who want 60 fps+ at 8K on the console of the future can lower the textures. Or maybe they’ll be happy dropping to [email protected] fps with full effects enabled. Whatever happens, more ample options are always a good thing.
Fast storage = Shorter loading times

Loading times have been one of the worst elements of modern consoles, but this year they’ll feature a big upgrade to PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives. It’s difficult to predict what the future will hold in this area, but we can at least expect to see capacity and speeds improve over the coming years as hardware costs drop.
As we wrote in our Future of Tech: The Desktop PC feature, it’s also possible that the consoles of the future may rely on the cloud for their storage needs — the machines do often follow in the footsteps of their PC counterparts, after all.
As multi-gigabit internet plans start to become the norm, we might see the next-next-gen consoles storing most of their content in the cloud, while featuring smaller capacity but super-fast local storage. They could even use universal storage such as UltraRAM, which combines the best aspects of flash storage and DRAM into one.
Virtual reality accessories. Sony: Yes. Microsoft: Who knows.

Virtual reality has been a relative success on Sony’s current console, thanks to its popular PSVR, and that commitment will continue with the PS5 where a PSVR 2 release is expected. Conversely, Microsoft has said VR won’t be a focus for the Xbox Series X — Phil Spencer, the software giant’s VP of Gaming believes “nobody is asking for virtual reality.”
After some stagnation, VR headsets have improved drastically in recent times, with cutting-edge units such as the Valve Index, Oculus Rift S, and HTC Vive Cosmos. We can expect to see the technology to keep improving with per-eye resolutions of 4K and above, 165Hz+ refresh rates, and better controllers that offer more interaction. But the most compelling feature will be for these headsets to connect to a console wirelessly — a technical challenge, but it could be a game-changer for the industry. It’s rumored that the PSVR 2 will have this ability, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Whether Microsoft does finally embrace VR on its consoles remains to be seen — it could all depend on whether headsets experience a surge in popularity and some must-have games are made. But one thing’s for certain: the prospect of ultra-immersive VR gaming is certainly something to look forward to.
Will there still be physical copies of games?

It’s long been said that physical games will disappear completely, replaced with their digital versions. It’s almost happened on the PC, so shouldn’t consoles go down the same path in a few years?
Microsoft has tried this already with the disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition (above), which omits the standard 4K Blu-ray drive, relying on digital downloads only. While it’s $50 cheaper than a regular Xbox One S, it hasn’t set the world on fire. Many believe its price should be lower, especially as it removes the option of buying cheaper, second-hand games from stores.
While not everyone is a fan of disc-free consoles, it’s appears to be the direction the industry is going. Games-on-demand subscription services such as the Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now are gaining popularity, companies are pouring millions into their streaming services, and more console owners are purchasing games digitally rather than going out and buying a physical copy. The same thing is happening with digital TV shows and movies, which are eroding the DVD and Blu-ray market rapidly.
In 2018, a few analysts predicted that all games would be digital by 2022. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will ship with disc drives though, so that’s not going to happen, but it’s not unrealistic to think that discs and cartridges will have gone the way of the VHS tape by the time 2030 rolls around. If they are still with us, perhaps an 8K disk drive will have become the standard for consoles.
Controllers & add-ons: Bring back the lightguns!

Nintendo has been the major driver of innovation here for the past couple of generations, but in the case of Sony and Microsoft’s console controllers, other than some minor changes and a few extra bells and whistles, they are not very different from their predecessors — and we’ll likely find the same thing in the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
A drastic design change for future consoles is unlikely. We can expect to see certain improvements such as better connections, improved battery life, and a few new features, but they’ll still be recognizable as a PlayStation/Xbox controller.
What we’ll probably get, however, are some new accessories. Remember when Guitar Hero ruled the world before the genre faded away? Advancing technology will mean new, innovative products of the same ilk. How about full bodysuit controllers that work in conjunction with VR?
A gaming chair that can simulate G-Force (like a more practical version of this)? And, it might not be innovative, but we’d like to see the return of lightguns — imagine how technically advanced they could be, while sitting in front of today’s inexpensive 70-plus-inch TVs. And yet, many console owners would probably settle for better mouse and keyboard support.
Design and looks

The design of consoles tends to be influenced by their hardware. We know the Xbox Series X looks like a small form factor PC, but we’ve only seen the PS5’s alleged dev kit, and those often differ vastly from the final product.
The Xbox Series X’s size is almost double the volume of the Xbox One X, and it’s said to pack the largest console processor ever made at around 405mm, which is about 11 percent larger than the one found in the Xbox One X. Microsoft’s upcoming console is hefty, but high-end hardware needs high-end cooling — the company doesn’t want another Red Ring of Death horror show.
Historically, consoles had been considered smaller and more discreet than PCs, but with increasingly small form-factor computers packing the likes of RTX 2080 Ti cards, that’s no longer the case. So, will future consoles get even bigger?
With Microsoft’s years-long quest to close the gap between console and PC, it’s likely that a future version of the Xbox will be slightly larger, especially if — as mentioned in the previous section — a dedicated discrete GPU is finally introduced. We could, however, see Microsoft repeat what it did with the Xbox One and introduce later iterations that are smaller (Xbox One S/Xbox One X).

Future PlayStation designs are harder to predict, especially if the PS5 dev kit does bear any resemblance to the console’s final design. Barring the original PlayStation, the console has always maintained a similar rectangular shape. It’s likely that Sony will keep with that style rather than going the PC-esque route; if the PlayStation 5 logo is anything to go by, the company’s not one for major design changes.
Additionally, Sony has released “slim” versions of its consoles since the PS2, so don’t be surprised to see that trend continue.
Game streaming… the future?

Most game streaming services are in their infancy, which means we’re still seeing plenty of teething problems, but we can expect the industry to grow and improve as internet speeds and the technology powering the likes of Google Stadia improve.
But will consoles go the same way? A few years back there were rumors that part of Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox lineup would include a streaming-only version of the console, one that was less powerful but a lot cheaper than the Xbox Series X. Phil Spencer put those rumors to rest in 2019, but perhaps there will be a streaming-only option offered alongside a future machine — assuming the game streaming industry doesn’t collapse.
It’s certainly interesting to think how streaming will influence machines of the future. In our PC feature, we predicted the rise of a desktop PC as a dumb machine with limited capabilities, the heavy processing work being carried out in the cloud and streamed back to the machine — which could mean cheap PCs that perform better than what we have today.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in 2018 said that within the next ten years, game streaming would replace all platforms, eliminating the need for distinct gaming hardware. That does seem highly unlikely, and right now developers are focusing much more on next-gen consoles than streaming services, but then many people thought video streaming wouldn’t kill off much of the physical media market — and look what happened there.
Masthead credit: Concept Creator

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Socialbakers CEO Weighs in on GDPR and the Future for CMOs – Blog – 10 minute

Privacy, and specifically the EU’s GDPR, has changed the game for marketers. It’s a different landscape now, and Socialbakers CEO Yuval Ben-Itzhak says that it’s up to the marketers to take the regulation into account and adjust accordingly.
One year after the GDPR was implemented, we’re seeing US-based companies follow similar guidelines as consumers have made it known that they value privacy.
That means that “GDPR-safe marketing is the way forward,” Yuval says, and the methods to personalize content within those guidelines requires a complete solution that works in tandem with social media networks.
We caught up with Yuval after his keynote at Engage Paris 2019 to discuss GDPR’s impact on content marketing and what it means for the future:
What is GDPR’s impact one year later? And what’s next?
In the beginning it was a great success for the consumer, someone finally protecting them, but no one really realized how that was going to impact marketers.
Today, following the announcements from Google, from Mozilla, from Apple about changes in the browsers and basically blocking cookies to track consumers across different sites, that means a lot for marketers.
Think about your retargeting, think about your attribution model, think about your RTB and the profile that you’re sharing on these exchanges. It means a lot.
GDPR-safe marketing is the way forward to think and focus not about individual, focus about your audience, about their interests, about the demographics, and let the social media networks do the personalization and serve that relevant content to the individual.
A US marketer should not go into that privacy line and should instead focus on creating the content that resonates with the audience the best.
How do you personalize content in compliance with GDPR?
Doing content personalization at a time of GDPR is a bit different.
You no longer need to create content to target the individual, you need to inspire your content creators on the particular marketing persona you want to go after and once they’re creating that content hand it to the social networks and they will deal with the last mile of personalization.
GDPR-safe marketing means understanding your audience, not the individuals, but creating and selecting the right marketing persona for each of the products or each of the campaigns that you want to promote.

What should CMOs be preparing for?
In the last five years, CMOs were focusing on bringing on board more and more marketing tech.
However, we ended up with over 7,000 tools out there, each operating in a silo, each require different skills of people to operate and really understand how to get the best out of this.
Today the complexity and the lack of talent pose a completely different challenge for CMOs, so the way forward in the future is more about a unified marketing platform where the use cases are implemented end to end and this is an operational system with a similar data-set where everything is connected together.
So you no longer need to operate each tool in a silo. You no longer need to plug the data from one system into another just to understand what’s going on.
In a unified marketing platform environment, everything is already there.
You need to focus on the operation, you need to focus on productivity, and of course focus on the results and the platform will provide you everything you need for a seamless experience. It’s smart and it’s very impactful for your campaign.
To get more insights on the current state of content marketing and what’s coming in the future, check out our interviews with authors Nathalie Nahai and Ben M. Roberts.

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Insights on Future of Sports and Entertainment Marketing – Blog – 10 minute

With experience both in content marketing and as a professional athlete, Adam Holt has seen the sports world from many different angles. As Socialbakers’ Global Head of Sports, Entertainment & Media, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge about the ever-changing landscape of sports and entertainment marketing.
In a recent Q&A session, Adam shared his thoughts on which sports leagues are doing the best work on social media, the effects of the second-screen experience, and examples of some successful social media campaigns.
How do you go about building a unique content strategy?
It is key to create engaging and unique content that resonates with your current audience or target audience. This strategy can’t simply be 1 piece of content that you publish across all social channels. It has to be unique for each platform based on the optimal formats for each platform.
For example, IG Stories are currently leading the way in terms of engagement because they give that snapshot view of what is happening vs. YouTube or FB Live, where longer content or live streams are some of the fastest-growing content types. The likes of Bleacher Report and the NBA have seemed to really grasp the concept of a multi-channel social media approach and their numbers are consistently growing.

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The NBA is a league that has effectively created a calendar with no offseason. For other leagues or teams, how do you go about providing fans with a steady stream of content when it’s the offseason?
The NBA as a business is structured in a way that there is always excitement. This starts in the regular season where the players are allowed to wear anything they want pregame, which allows them to express their fashion/style, and then in the offseason the flexibility around salary caps allows there to be a frenzy every year as teams pitch for superstars.
This process allows the NBA to stay relevant even though a basketball isn’t being shot. It just happens that all of this is now documented on social media and published across the globe – especially in the Far East, where the NBA has an ever-growing footprint.
Which sports leagues have the best social media strategies? What can others learn from them?
The NBA is leading the way in terms of their social media approach – they have a really good understanding of their audience, what content they want, and where they want it. This multifaceted understanding allows the NBA to continue to grow its audience both in North America and the rest of the world. Related to this, they allow their athletes to be personalities and content creators, which helps to provide unique and engaging content.

The second screen experience is now very common. How do you see technology changing the way people consume sport’s content in the future?
Technology and real-time capabilities mean that individuals no longer need to be sitting in front of their TV to catch the game or highlights. You can now see the key plays on Twitter within seconds of them happening. I recently wrote an article along similar lines.
What are some recent examples of successful social media campaigns? What do you think made them stand out from campaigns that weren’t as impactful?
The USWNT has done a really good job recently at the World Cup leveraging the teams on-field success with the off-field personalities of their players. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have helped to spearhead this both as individuals and as a team.
The questions now raised are the disparity in the pay gap between the men’s and women’s sports. Outside of the USWNT, brands have used social campaigns to challenge the status quo with Adidas x Parley (clean ocean) and Nike (women’s rights) helping to change the world through sport and social. The success of these campaigns can be measured by engagement, impressions, reach, or social impact. For me, success varies from company to company depending on their goals but having accurate data is paving the way for consistency.
What’s it like to work with star athletes? How do you strategize with players about what they post on social media?
Each athlete is different; some like to be actively involved in the process (creating posts/text) while others want to be highly directed. It is all about understanding their personality and ensuring the content is tailored authentically. If an athlete is naturally humorous, use that personality trait to make them relatable.

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Fans often say they want to hear real thoughts from athletes until they hear ones that they don’t like or agree with. What’s the right balance for an athlete to promote herself on social media without having to do an apology tour?
There is always going to be controversy when dealing with individuals especially around high profile/stress events, like right after a match. It is the athlete’s responsibility to understand that they are an influencer and a brand within themselves and need to act accordingly to continue to build their brand. Being successful at that comes down to authenticity – followers want to understand what makes the athletes tick, what life is like for them and how they go about their days.

What are some of the best methods to get an audience to move beyond seeing the content and to start engaging with it?
Calls to action are an obvious example, like asking them to like/share/comment. However, I don’t think you can force the engagements. If someone genuinely likes a piece of content they are highly likely to react to it, that is just the nature of social media.
Big events bring a lot of extra attention, and scrutiny. What are some examples of well-run campaigns for major events? Can their success be replicated?
AS Roma’s transfer window and Tim Hortons’ Kenyan Hockey Team are a couple that jump out to me. There are 100s every year that are successful and achieve their goals (or even more). 100% success can be replicated – it starts with understanding WHY the campaign was successful and from there using those pieces to create your own authentic content.

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