MasterCard and Samsung Extend Partnership for European Expansion

Samsung PaySamsung and MasterCard have announced an extension of their strategic partnership as the former prepares to launch its mobile payment system across Europe, enabling consumers with flagship Samsung mobile devices to make contactless payments in stores.

The expansion of Samsung Pay leverages the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES), which provides a tokenisation solution to ensure payments are secure and enable a quick scaling connection with bank partners.

Samsung Pay was announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, and makes use of Magnetic Secure Transmission technology developed by LoopPay to duplicate the effect of a credit card’s magnetic stripe, enabling the payment solution to be used on card readers that don’t include NFC technology.

Upon launch in Europe, card issuers will be able to connect to MDES and activate the Samsung Pay service. Once this has been done, individual cardholders can active their credit, debit or reloadable prepaid cards and use their mobile devices to make purchases.

“Samsung Pay is pleased to join forces with MasterCard to offer a simple and safe mobile payment experience enabled for wider merchant acceptance to MasterCard cardholders and issuers in Europe,” said Injong Rhee, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics and global head of Samsung Pay. “Both organisations are committed to ground breaking fintech innovations that will deliver on the promise of a true mobile wallet.”

“With the continued global growth and reliance on connected mobile devices, we are delighted to expand our relationship with Samsung by extending the reach of Samsung Pay and MDES to cardholders in Europe,” said Javier Perez, president of MasterCard Europe. “Europeans have been leading the way in the adoption of new ways to shop, buy and make a payment.

“Through our strong partnership with Samsung we look forward to continuing to drive innovation in mobile commerce by creating simple and secure digital payment experiences for consumers.”

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Groupon Launches ‘To Go’ Food Delivery Service

Takeaway food deliveryGroupon has launched a takeaway delivery service, Groupon To Go, in Chicago.

It’s no surprise to see Groupon entering this space, given its acquisition of food delivery business OrderUp earlier this month, but it is an increasingly crowded market.

Groupon To Go’s USP – in line with the principles that initially made Groupon a success – is an instant 10 per cent cashback offer on every order.

“Most people get delivery and takeout multiple times a month, and with Groupon To Go, we’re giving them an easy way to save money every time they do so,” said Sean Smyth, VP and GM of Groupon To Go. “Delivery and takeout is a natural extension of our local deals marketplace, adding hundreds of the best restaurants to Groupon, including many that haven’t offered online ordering until now.”

The company has partnered with over 500 restaurants in Chicago, ranging from national chains, such as Subway and Papa John’s, to local independent restaurants.

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Next Google Glass Model Already Being Distributed – to Enterprises Only

Active Ants Google GlassGoogle has reportedly already launched a enterprise version of Glass and is ‘quietly distributing’ it to healthcare, energy and manufacturing businesses, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Available exclusively to business customers, this version of Glass doesn’t come with a frame, but can be attached to existing glasses using a ‘button-and-hinge system’. This is presumably intended to make the device more flexible, as it can be used with goggles, masks or any other work equipment.

According to the WSJ’s sources, a new consumer version of Glass is also on its way, but is at least a year away.

We examined the enterprise use case for smart glasses in the June edition of our print magazine. You can read the online version of the feature here.

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Galaxy S6’s Poor Performance Causes 38 Per Cent Drop in Samsung Profits

Samsung Galaxy S6Samsung has reported a 37.6 per cent year-on-year drop in profits, down to 5.75 trillion South Korean won (£3.15bn) in its Q2 2015 earnings.

Following poor take-up for the Galaxy S6, the company’s mobile division saw profits fall from 4.42 trillion won, in Q2 2014, to 2.76 trillion won.

The company attributed this drop to low sales of older mid- and low-end devices, but the S6’s performance is certainly a contributing factor. Samsung confirmed it would be “adjusting” the price of its flagship handset, suggesting a major price cut is in the works, and the device’s market share speaks for itself.

According to device detection firm 51Degrees, the Galaxy S6 failed to achieve comparable traction to its predecessors in the first months of release (see graph below). After three months, the S6 held just a 1.6 per cent share of web traffic from Samsung devices. By the same point in their life cycles, the S4 and S5 attained a 6.2 per cent and 4.9 per cent share respectively.

51Degrees Samsung

 

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Integral Ad Science Raises $64m Funding

Integral Logo

Media quality measurement firm Integral Ad Science has completed a $27m (£17.3m) round of funding.

Led by Sapphire Ventures, the round also included Cross Creek Advisors and existing investors August Capital, Pelion Venture Partners and Atlas Venture.

Integral also received a debt facility of $40m from Silicon Valley Bank.

“It has been a tremendous year for Integral Ad Science, but our work is not finished,” said CEO Scott Knoll. “The expertise in marketing tech that Sapphire Ventures brings to the table makes this partnership especially exciting for us. This will undoubtedly help shape the future of Integral Ad Science and the impact we make on the industry as a whole.”

Integral’s doubled its headcount in 2014 and anticipates to double it again by the end of 2015, as it expands into new markets including France and Japan.

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Innovation Lab: Siri for Cities, AR Mountains and Robot Football

At Mobile Marketing we’re proud to help tech companies showcase their cutting-edge solutions, whether it’s on our website, in our magazine or at our Mobile Marketing Summits. Giving a platform to companies that are breaking new ground in their market brings audiences one step closer to the ideas and developments that will shape tomorrow.

In that spirit, our Innovation Lab feature takes a step beyond the world of apps, ads and handsets with slightly bigger screens, in order to share some of the tech world’s innovative ideas. They might be interesting, disruptive or just outright strange, but these are the stories that have caught our eye over the past week.

IBM Powers Voice Assistant for Canadian Citysurrey app comboThe city of Surrey, British Columbia in Canada has rolled out a new app for residents and visitors that aims to provide a variety of information on a variety of matters using a natural language voice assistant, powered by IBM’s famous Watson supercomputer.

Watson is best known as the computer that was able to autonomously defeat the world’s best players on the US game show Jeopardy in 2011, and has since been put to use by the health care, banking and retail industries to deal with natural language problems and sorting huge data sets.

The My Surrey app combines a number of apps already used by the city to aid residents, such as information tools for waste collection, animal control and parking enforcement, with new capabilities like listings for local facilities and jobs.

“IBM Watson’s learning abilities are such that the technology builds its knowledge and improves as citizens use it, much in the same way humans learn,” said Councillor Bruce Hayne, Chair of Innovation & Investment Committee for the City of Surrey. “This pilot is expected to enhance customer experience by increasing the accessibility of services, while providing the City with insight into opportunities for improvement and reduction to service delivery costs.”

AR Sandbox Lets You Carve Valleys by Hand

Thanks to advances like the Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens, virtual and augmented reality is grabbing attention like never before, and people are increasingly searching for ways to integrate the technology in ways that encourage user interaction.

Researchers from UC Davis and UCLA have combined AR tech with a projector, an Xbox Kinect sensor and an old-fashioned sandbox to create an interactive exhibit that enables users to get hands-on with topographical maps in a way never before possible.

As users sculpt the sand, the program reads the changes made and reacts to them in real time, projecting a topographical layout onto the sandbox that represents towering mountains, deep valleys and more. Users can even raise their hands above the sandbox to make it rain, watching as the water erodes the landscape and transforms valleys into pools and lakes.

The project aims to give students a better understanding of geography by enabling them to shape and influence the landscape as they please, getting a better grasp of the forces that can shape our world.

dot smartwatchBraille Smartwatch Aims to Bring Wearables to the Visually Impaired

The tiny screens on the Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches are hard enough to read for someone with perfect vision, and for someone with a visual impairment they can be virtually impossible to make out.

The Dot smartwatch aims to provide the visually impaired with a path into the world of wearables, with four sets of six Braille dots that can raise and lower at speeds anywhere between one and 100 times per second in order to produce characters.

The Dot can relay text messages to users, set alarms and read location directions as well as providing the time, a fairly standard set of features for a smartwatch but a revolutionary step forward for a group that would otherwise be locked out from the world of wearables.

The team behind Dot are also working on Braille e-book reading on the device, as well as Braille learning programs that will help new readers keep up their skills on the go. The device will be available for pre-order later this year, with a price point of around $300 (£192), compared to the $2,000 users can expect to pay out for E-Braille readers.

Japanese Team Wins 1-0 at RoboCup World Championships

The Brains Kids team from the Chiba Institute of Technology has won the final at the RoboCup World Championships with their child-sized football-playing humanoid robots, beating rival team ZJUDancer from Zhejian University in China.

The event, which took place in China, saw teams from over 40 countries compete in a variety of categories, including the University of Hertfordshire’s Bold Hearts, who were defeated 2-0 in the second round of the humanoid football play-offs by a French team.

While the event also saw non-humanoid robots compete in a separate competition (won by China’s Team Water), the humanoid league is seen as the most difficult due to the stability issues that bipedal robots face. The RoboCup has been running since 1997, and aims to hold a humans-versus-robots football match by 2050.

ogoHands-free Wheelchair Balances on Two Wheels

The Ogo wheelchair started life as a Segway scooter, but New Zealand inventor Kevin Halsall was inspired by the device’s design and control system to strip it down, refine it and develop a wheelchair that could be operated hands-free.

A traditional Segway is controlled by the position of the rider, with leaning forwards or back controlling the motion of the wheels, and steering controlled by a pair of handlebars. Halsall was able to add more responsive motion controls that eliminate the need for handlebars, however, with steering dictated by side-to-side movements from the user.

There’s only a single prototype in existence at the moment, and currently each unit would have to start life as a full-blown Segway, meaning there’s a considerable price tag, but the boost in mobility and freedom it represents for wheelchair users could see it become extremely popular once it becomes commercially available.

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Adobe Reveals New Marketer-focused Publishing Solution

DPS_Blog_Launch1Adobe has launched the next generation of its Digital Publishing Suite, which aims to pioneer new ways for brands to create engaging mobile apps and deliver high-impact content to them.

The suite enables marketers and designers to easily repurpose existing content and create consumer-ready apps without the need to write code, removing the barriers that prevent many advertisers from embracing mobile channels.

“The new Adobe DPS makes it easier and more cost-effective to deliver beautiful, compelling mobile apps – the kind of apps that stand out from the competition and move brands forward,” said Nick Bogarty, senior director and head of digital publishing for Adobe. “Now, the creation of mobile apps can be entrusted to marketers and designers, the people who know their brand the best.”

The DPS includes seamless control over content, and is fully integrated with Adobe’s other management systems such as Drupal and WordPress, as well as supporting InDesign CC-based workflows and HTML design tools.

The suite also offers built-in analytics access for marketers, powered by the Adobe Marketing Cloud, which captures online and offline data and delivers retention analysis, acquisition tracking, funnel conversion and more.

“By putting development in the hands of creatives, DPS empowers us to generate stunning, content-rich experiences quickly and easily something never possible with native development,” said Harry Segal, co-founder of marketing agency Segal Savad. “There is also tremendous comfort in using the flexible and intuitive tools we already know and trust from Adobe.”

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Target Aims to Improve Dorm Interior Design with Smartphone App

target college styler appUS retailer Target is looking to take advantage of the large number of students readying to head off to university with its new Made For U College Styler app, which connects with users’ social networks and analyses their personality to pull together a customised shopping list of back-to-college items.

The tool, created in collaboration with design studio Umbra and technology startup Betterific, taps into users’ Instagram and Facebook to analyse their style choices, before asking a number of questions aimed at assessing their needs and preferences.

The app then assigns users a profile based on their choices, and provides them with a shopping list chosen from over 400 products and split into essential and luxury items. The app even enables users to share their choices with roommates in order to prevent any style clashes, and has a checklist functionality that prevents doubling up on items.

Target has embraced mobile in unique ways before, with mobile games at Christmas aimed at driving footfall in stores, and in-store navigation for shoppers on Black Friday that integrated shopping lists to guide consumers straight to the products they wanted.

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Social Media the First App of the Day for US

Morning smartphone in bedThe first app most US mobile owners open in the morning is a social network, according to an Opera Mediaworks report.

So it’s perhaps no surprise, that social apps and sites were the clear leader for both traffic and revenue in Q2 2015, accounting for 31.5 per cent of all impressions and 17.7 per cent of revenue on the Mediaworks platform.

Overall, apps lead over mobile web for traffic (56 per cent) and account for the lion’s share of revenue (71 per cent).

After taking the biggest share of ad revenue for the first time last quarter, Android has maintained its lead in Q2, with 47.7 per cent of revenues, supported by a 63.7 per cent share of impressions.

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Mobile Shines in Facebook’s Q2 2015 Results

Facebook-Mark-Zuckerberg-f8-carouselFacebook has posted revenues of $4bn (£2.6bn) for Q2 2015, up 38.9 per cent year-on-year.

However, net profits fell by 9.1 per cent to $791m, due to the company spending $1.2bn on R&D during the quarter. “2015 is an investment year,” said CFO David Wehner on the earnings call.

Wehner said the company was “investing for the growth of both Facebook at its core and then also the additional services that we’re bringing on” – such as Oculus, the VR company Facebook acquired last year.

94.6 per cent of Facebook’s revenues came from advertising, as the rest of its revenues – which it refers to as ‘payments and other fees’ – shrank from $234m in Q2 2014 to $215m. This drop was “driven by a 19 per cent reduction in payments revenue related to games played on personal computers, offset primarily by the addition of other revenue related to acquisitions closed in the second half of 2014”, according to Wehner.

The star of Facebook’s earnings, as usual, was mobile. Mobile advertising brought in 76 per cent of advertising revenue during Q2, compared to 62 per cent a year earlier.

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