Alibaba-backed companies Paytm, AGTech form JV for online gaming

Paytm, run by One97 Communications Ltd, has agreed to set up an online gaming joint venture in India with Hong Kong-based lottery firm AGTech Media Holdings Ltd.

AGTech Media’s parent, AGTech Holdings Ltd, said in a regulatory filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange that it will hold a 45% stake in the joint venture while Paytm will hold the remaining.

AGTech Holdings is owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s Ali Fortune Investment Holding Ltd and Ant Financial. Also, Ant Financial holds a stake of more than 30% in One97 Communications, AGTech Holdings said in its filing.

As part of the agreement, Paytm will invest $8.8 million and AGTech $7.2 million in the new venture. The JV’s board will have five members; Paytm will nominate three and AGTech Media two.

“The joint venture will offer innovative mobile games and user engagement activities to Indian consumers by leveraging the group’s decade-long experience in creating mobile entertainment products and Paytm’s massive distribution network to develop mobile games in India,” AGTech said.

This venture marks AGTech’s first major overseas expansion. “International markets represent an untapped and enormous opportunity, and this joint venture is a significant breakthrough which lays the foundation for further international expansion in the future,” AGTech said.

Noida-based One97 has, in recent years, ventured beyond its traditional mobile wallet offering into the payments banking and e-commerce sectors.

Last year, Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led Paytm had created two separate entities, Paytm E-Commerce and Paytm Payments Bank Ltd, to run its e-commerce and banking services, respectively. In December, the company said it was merging its wallet business with the payments bank to comply with the Reserve Bank of India’s directions.

In March this year, Paytm E-commerce raised $200 million (Rs 1,334 crore) from Alibaba and existing investor SAIF Partners. The investment increased the stake of Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial (the parent company of Alipay) in Paytm E-Commerce from 40% to 62%.

In May, Paytm raised $1.4 billion (about Rs 9,000 crore) from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp in the largest funding round from a single investor in India.

[Source”timesofindia”]

6 Skills You Can Learn Online for a Lucrative and Productive 2017

6 Skills You Can Learn Online for a Lucrative and Productive 2017

I am so much in love with this era we are in — an era where there is so much information online for self-development. A focused and determined person can learn many skills online and use them to diversify his or her income. With all the advanced, digital technology in this world, no one should give excuses of not having one or two skills to remain relevant and competitive.

In the days of yore, skill acquisition and dissemination were limited to certain geographical locations because of the low level of technological know-how. However, the advent of sophisticated technology — which propelled the development of many apps, software and social media — has made skills and knowledge easily disseminated and accessible.

 

There are countless websites readily available for you to acquire valuable skills and knowledge for free or with little fee for a productive 2017. These skills are:

1. Web design and development.

Web design and development is a highly sought-after skill. This is because we are in a digital transformation age where every business — small, medium and large scale — is extremely interested in showcasing their products and services to the world through their websites.

There are lots of sites that can teach you how to design and develop a website. By acquiring these skills, one is adequately positioned to scramble for millions of small, medium and large scale businesses who are contemplating launching or updating their websites.

2. Statistical data analysis.

Statistical data analysis is another vital skill that is in high demand by companies, entrepreneurs and students. The knowledge of Mini-tab,  Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and E-view, just to name a few, makes a person highly desirable.

As a researcher, I have smiled all the way to the bank numerous times because I have some knowledge of statistical data analytical software. Most students in tertiary institutions need an expert data analyst — companies too, especially when sophisticated software is needed for forecasting market shares, profit and other vital results that will aid managerial decision making.

You can learn these data analytical tools online, and consult an expert for clarification should you encounter some difficulties trying to grasp the calculations and interpretation of results.

3. Fashion designing.

Humans are always in need of food, clothes and shelter. These are three basic necessities of life. Both rich and poor are in need of clothes. In our contemporary world where fashion is always a trending issue, everybody wants to look classic and beautiful. This has made fashion designers kings and queens in their profession.

There are sites that can teach you how to draw fashion or make fashion sketches, and there are lots of online videos that can teach you make dresses. The beauty of having this skill lies in the way customers flock around fashion designers within few hours of setting up an office.

Fashion designing is synonymous to a football match; there is never a dull moment from the blast of the whistle. What do I mean? Even at the apprentice stage, customers are already flocking around you.

 

4. Make-up.

Believe it or not, the makeup business is growing at an incredible rate. There are lots of online videos that can teach you the rudiment of make up. An interview with Ifeoma Agu, the CEO of Ivonmelda Makeova, shocked me. She is an expert in hairstyle but felt she needed a makeup skill to enhance her business growth.

However, since she couldn’t afford the training fees, she decided to download lots of YouTube videos on makeup. The rest is history. She is one of the most sought-after makeup artists in her state as a result of her quality service delivery. Remember, she learned this skill for free. You can do same.

5. Business research.

Many people want to venture into business while those who are already in business are seeking other businesses to invest in. Many companies and investors are actually seeking well-researched business ideas to invest in.

As a business researcher, you can work on your own terms. You decide whether to sell your business ideas or become a partner in the businesses. At the end of the day, you will be surprised to see that you are a co-owner of chains of businesses.

Acquiring this skill is not as difficult as you think. I am saying this because most people are indifferent when it comes to research. All you need is to be patient, focus and determined. Read online articles and journals or watch videos on business research. It’s also a good idea to consult an expert.

6. Own a blog.

You can actually learn how to create and run a blog online. By systematically following the step-by-step instructions on creating a blog, you’ll be acquiring the skill to create more blogs for prospective clients. You can create a blog for your web design and development business, statistical data analysis, fashion designing, makeup and business research businesses.

 

Successful bloggers today started by simply creating a blog. The rest is history. You too can join the leagues of successful bloggers by meticulously following their footsteps.

There is so much to be gained by acquiring one or more skills online. Big organizations looked for people with the talents and skills discussed above in 2016. And 2017 will not be different. Learn a skill online today for a productive year.

 

 

[Source:- Entrepreneur]

 

LinkedIn announces a new online platform

featured_linkedin

Hot on the heels of the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft this year and the redesign of the company’s iOS and Android apps last year, LinkedIn will be debuting a new desktop experience. In a recent press event, the company also unveiled LinkedIn Learning, a platform designed to help its users discover and develop various skills by way of a data-driven and personalized learning experience.

In a recent blog post, LinkedIn’s VP of Product, Ryan Roslansky, established that LinkedIn’s redesigned desktop interface will take inspiration from its flagship mobile app that came out with a new design last December. The app’s redesign was met with a generally positive response, so it makes sense for the company to try and duplicate what it did right with its mobile app for its desktop, too.

The redesigned desktop experience will rely on minimalistic touches to bring users a cleaner, more intuitive, and simpler approach for users to efficiently access their jobs, insights and info that they require. As a result, the user experience should see a noticeable boon as well: Thanks to the redesign, professionals can go into their daily meetings with better preparation or, alternately, easily learn more about a new business skill that they’re interested in mastering.

the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception

Roslansky is calling this desktop redesign “the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception,” so it will be interesting to see just how far the company will go to give users a better UX while still staying faithful to the LinkedIn brand.

In tandem with this, the company’s messaging feature gets an upgrade as well as it gets more intelligent and gets more consistent with the experience offered on the company’s redesigned mobile apps. How does this look on desktop? The revamped Messaging approach bears a remarkable resemblance to Facebook’s chat feature. LinkedIn also revealed the integration of a bot platform that could conceivably be utilized for various purposes, such as scheduling meetings.

LinkedIn also revealed the integration of a bot platform

As for the new online platform, LinkedIn Learning will bring together content from Lynda.com, which LinkedIn owns, and the company’s own professional network and rich data. LinkedIn is uniquely positioned to provide its users with this service designed to appeal to their thirst for continuing education and knowledge.

LinkedIn says that it can leverage its own knowledge of how jobs and skills evolve over a period of time to identify various skills that its users require and then offer expert-led courses that allow them to acquire said skills.

LinkedIn Learning is envisioned as a freemium service, yet all of the company’s users will have the chance to try the new service free for one month. LinkedIn will also continue with its goal to constantly keep enhancing the content on Lynda.com as part of its broader ambition to create opportunities in the global workforce. In the end, the launch of LinkedIn Learning is consistent with Microsoft’s (LinkedIn’s new owner) mission to empower professionals, businesses and organizations to achieve and earn more.

With the company’s desktop redesign and debut of its new learning platform, it’ll be interesting to see how well-received LinkedIn’s new look and features will be.

 

[Source:- webdesignerdepot.]

 

 

 

GTA Online Adds Stunt Race Creator, Entourage Mode

GTA Online Adds Stunt Race Creator, Entourage Mode

Rockstar announced a massive update to GTA Online, giving players the ability to create their own custom race tracks, as well as a new PVP combat mode called Entourage.

Grand Theft Auto Online’s latest DLC, Cunning Stunts, added 27 over the top stunt races to the game as well as a host of new vehicles for players to use. Rockstar has kept up a good track record of regularly adding new content to the online portion of Grand Theft Auto 5, adding several new races and vehicles to Cunning Stunts just two weeks ago.

While Rockstar seems keen on keeping players happy with new content, the publisher announced the release of a major update to Cunning Stunts earlier today. According to the press release, the update adds a number of new features to Cunning Stunts including a Stunt Race Creator, which will allow players to create their own custom races.

“Use Raised Tracks, Tubes, Loops and more to make massive ascents and breakneck plummets. With over 250 new Stunt Props now at your disposal, tracks can spiral through the skyscrapers of the Los Santos Skyline, dive through bridges and summit Mount Chiliad. Customize your creation with dangerous obstacles like flaming rings, speed boosts, oversized soccer balls, bowling pins and more.”

The ability to create their own custom races will not only please a large number of GTA Onlineplayers, it will undoubtedly spawn a number of funny and over the top gameplay videos. For GTA Online players who aren’t attracted by racing’s high octane thrills, Rockstar hasn’t left them out in the cold; the update also brings a new Adversary Mode to the game called Entourage mode.

The update also brings a brand new Adversary Mode for the combat-ready populace of Los Santos. Entourage requires tactical teamwork for Bodyguards to transport a well-armored and armed Target to a designated Extraction Point, all the while battling a team of Assassins attempting to take down the Target. The Extraction Point along with all Assassins are only visible to the Target on their radar – the Bodyguards must rely on communication to safely transport the Target and themselves to the goal.

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Rockstar seems dedicated to pushing out new content for GTA Online, as the online component for Grand Theft Auto 5 has been very profitable for the publisher. Even though all of GTA Online’s DLC is free, Rockstar is able to generate revenue through the sale of Shark Cards, which allow players to instantly amass large amounts of ingame currency in exchange for real world money.

As profitable as GTA Online has been for Rockstar, the microtransaction system has alienated many players who feel that many ingame items are prohibitively expensive, such as the million dollar gun case that was added in a previous update. Though Rockstar has previously stated that GTA Onlinewill come to an end at some point, it seems that the developer has shown no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

 

[Source: GR]

Are ‘chatbots’ the future of online business?

If the artificial intelligence "chatbot" trend catches on, it could transform the digital landscape by allowing smartp

An artificial intelligence “chatbot” from Taco Bell now lets you order a meal in a smartphone text exchange that might look something like this:

TacoBot: Hello there, I’m your TacoBot, I can help you order a meal for you or your team.

You: Can I order one soft taco with beef?

TacoBot: Sounds good… do you want to keep adding stuff? Maybe some bacon?

Brands like Taco Bell and tech companies large and small are betting that more and more people will start using this “conversational” way of interacting online instead of clicking through on-screen menus.

If the trend catches on—as firms like Facebook and Microsoft expect—it could transform the digital landscape by allowing smartphone users to find information or make purchases with simple text messages, bypassing apps and search engines.

Among the companies already developing or launching chatbots are the Wall Street Journal, CNN and retail giants Sephora and H&M.

“I believe we are headed to a shift where this becomes one of the primary means we interact with the digital world,” says Mark Beccue of Mark Beccue Consulting, who follows trends in the messaging market.

“The chat user interface is what makes sense for a mobile-first world. You can be more specific and be quicker.”

Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg discusses Messenger on April 12, 2016
Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg discusses Messenger on April 12, 2016

‘Bots the new apps’

Chatbots are already popular in China, where a system powered by Microsoft offers a variety of services for users of the popular messaging app WeChat.

Messaging services have become a natural place for chatbots to reside, since their usage is growing: at least 1.4 billion people used a messaging app last year, says research firm eMarketer. According to Business Insider Intelligence, the “big four” messaging apps have overtaken the largest four social networks.

Facebook this week also made a major push in this area, opening up its Messenger application—and its 900 million users—to “bot” developers.

“We think you should be able to text message a business like you would a friend, and get a quick response,” Facebook co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg said.

The idea is to create a seamless experience for end users, who can access services directly via a messaging app by chatting with a “bot,” which appears alongside their regular contacts.

Microsoft unveiled a similar effort last month, as CEO Satya Nadella described a push into “conversations as a platform.”

“Bots are the new apps,” Nadella told developers.

The messaging service Kik meanwhile launched its own “bot shop,” with partners including retailers, game developers and services such the Weather Channel.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates the digital personal assistant function Cortana on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco, Cali
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates the digital personal assistant function Cortana on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco, California

Kik said the move was a response to the trend of people using fewer apps and spending more time on chat platforms.

“There’s nothing to download, no new registration required, and you can use an interface you’re already familiar with: chat,” Kik said in a statement.

Simple or smart

Chatbots can be simple programs that provide answers to predetermined questions, or more complex ones powered by artificial intelligence.

“It’s a more natural extension of how consumers are used to doing things,” said Julie Ask at Forrester Research.

The intelligent chatbot movement suffered an embarrassing setback recently when Microsoft had to ground its “Tay” bot just a day after letting it loose on Twitter.

Internet users gamed the artificial intelligence—designed to improve the conversations—to cause Tay to spew out hateful and racist comments.

“‘Tay’ went from ‘humans are super cool’ to full nazi in <24 hrs and I’m not at all concerned about the future of AI,” quipped one user, @geraldmellor.

Analyst Mark Beccue said the Microsoft case was more of a science experiment “testing the boundaries of what artificial intelligence can do.”

“It was a case study they will learn from,” he said.

Future path

Some analysts remain skeptical however on chatbots as the wave of the future.

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research said the movement is largely driven by Microsoft and Facebook, two firms which would like a greater presence in mobile even though they don’t control the biggest smartphone operating systems.

For Facebook, which has invested heavily in AI, the “bot” movement—crucially—opens a door to monetizing its popular Messenger platform.

“There’s a lot of hype around chatbots but the reality is there are few interactions where a chat with artificial intelligence is going to be more efficient than using an app,” Dawson said.

Artificial intelligence has come a long way with systems like Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft Cortana, but still cannot deal with all possible situations, says Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates.

“There’s a kind of hubris that someone could expand the one-to-many communication method to every human interaction,” Kay said.

“Humans want to remain human and not a cog in someone’s machine.”

[Source:- Phys.org]

 

How to clean up your online reputation

AP Explains: How to clean up your online reputation

Messy party photos, offensive tweets, pepper spraying student protesters … sometimes, you just want a do-over when it comes to your online presence. And for a hefty price tag, you can.

The University of California, Davis is under fire for contracting consultants for at least $175,000 to clean up its online reputation after a November 2011 incident in which campus police pepper-sprayed peaceful protesters, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee. If that PR campaign worked at all, it’s now backfired. Here’s how this sort of reputation scrubbing is supposed to help—and some ways in which it might have the opposite effect.

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CALL THE PROS

Services such as Reputationdefender.com and Naymz.com offer to clean up your name, or, as the latter advertises, achieve your “professional and personal aspirations.” A company called ICMediaDirect advertises reputation control for $6,300, in which the service will try to “push down” your undesirable search results by populating Google with friendly links instead. These companies didn’t return messages seeking information about their services.

Instead of lawsuits, for example, the companies promise that search results will turn up your LinkedIn profile, business website or other sites that portray you in a more positive light. Of course, there’s no guarantee any of this will work; it’s awfully hard to delete anything permanently from the Internet.

___

OR JUST ASK, IF YOU’RE CONTINENTAL

If you happen to be in Europe, you can also exercise your “right to be forgotten.” This entails filling out a form that asks search engines like Google to remove certain links when people look up your name. Of course, this means nothing if someone Googles you in the U.S.

___

SOME THINGS JUST DON’T ERASE

Just ask Justine Sacco, the former IAC media relations representative who lost her job after an unfortunate tweet—one widely seen as racist, although Sacco said she was aiming for irony—raised the hackles of the Twitterverse. Three years later, the incident still turns up first when you search for her name on Google.

You also have to consider the possible blowback when and if your cleanup attempts see the light of day. That’s the pickle UC Davis is in now. Some California legislators have called for the resignation of university chancellor Linda Katehi, who approved the PR campaign.

___

GET OLD-FASHIONED, IF YOU HAVE CLOUT

For companies and public figures like celebrities and politicians, putting a positive spin on the negative can be as simple—or as complicated—as getting a friendly story in the news. Being proactive is key.

Terry Corbell, a business performance consultant, recommends “shameless self-promotion” as a way to build a positive online reputation before disasters happen. Be active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have a strong reputation to begin with, it’s easier to deal with the bad stuff if and when it happens. And if it does?

“If an organization is at fault, they need to come clean,” he says. “First is admission of guilt.” Katehi did apologize for the original pepper spraying—but so far hasn’t followed suit in the current controversy.

[Source:- Phys.org]

Metal Gear Solid Online will get a new Survival mode next week

Metal Gear Solid Online is getting a new patch next week, and it’ll introduce a game mode you might recognise from previous iterations of Metal Gear (assuming you owned a console, back then). Dubbed ‘Survival Mode’, it doesn’t involve chopping down trees, picking berries or anything like that: it’s a six player free-for-all with the objective of getting a win-streak of five or more matches.

Unless you own the Cloaked in Silence expansion, you’ll only get to play Survival mode ten times a week. For owners of that DLC pack access is unlimited. While those who haven’t forked out for that DLC will be able to “try out” the new maps in it, it’s clear that Konami wants you to buy the bloody DLC, okay?

The update is expected to hit on April 5. If you fancy having a read of some CQC stat mumbo-jumbo, click through to the official MGS website.

 

[Source:- PCgamer]

OYO Rooms partners with PayPal for online payments

OYO Rooms enters partnership with PayPal

OYO Rooms enters partnership with PayPal. Picture: PayPal Office [Representational Image]Getty Images

OYO Rooms, one of India’s largest networks of hotels, announced Tuesday its tie-up with PayPal, a leading global player in the open digital payments market, in order to enable its customers globally to pay for their bookings in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.

“Growth of new age businesses like OYO Rooms can be further accelerated if they are protected against online payment risks and frauds,” Hamish Moline, vice president, regional merchant services of PayPal Asia Pacific and China (APAC), said in a media release.

The Indian e-commerce sector is at a very crucial stage where it is growing at an exponential rate. However, this rapid pace also comes with its baggage of increased risk, Moline added.

“PayPal’s technology protects merchants such as OYO Rooms against unauthorised transactions and mitigates associated risks,” Moline said.

OYO Rooms was a disruption to the traditional legacy model which the hospitality industry was following, thereby creating new opportunities for itself.

“This tie-up with PayPal will assist us in delivering a seamless payment experience through reduced friction during payment process,” Abhinav Sinha, chief operating officer at OYO Rooms, said in a press release. PayPal’s position as a global leader in payments will be a major boost in enabling OYO Rooms to grow and strengthen its market, Sinha said.

OYO Rooms recently started operations in Malaysia.

PayPal said it has a global network of 179 million customers spread across 203 countries.

[Source:- IBtimes]