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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

State Farm sponsors popular Fortnite streamer DrLupo

DrLupo, one of the biggest names and most recognizable voices in Fortnite streaming, has closed a sponsorship deal with State Farm.

Bejanmin “DrLupo” Lupo has nearly 3 million Twitch followers and often plays with the world’s most popular streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Beloved for his talent and his personality alike, Lupo has also worked as a caster for various Fortnite tournaments and events. Last year, DrLupo held a charity stream for St. Jude’s Research Hospital and raised $1.3 million.

State Farm Marketing Director Ed Gold had this to say:

DrLupo is one of the world’s most followed Fortnite streamers. His philanthropic efforts and massive fanbase make him an ideal partner as we continue to amplify our esports programming and efforts with the gaming community.

This marks State Farm’s first sponsorship of an esports athlete. The sponsorship will include support of the stream through branded replays, live in-stream stunts and product integration (here’s me trying to imagine integrating insurance products into a video game stream), event-based remote streams, sponsored giveaways, and social content.

DrLupo announced the partnership on his stream, saying that he and his family have worked with State Farm for a long time and that he’s very thankful for the opportunity.

Sponsorships are certainly not new in the esports world — Newzoo reported that some $359 million would be spent in 2018 on esports sponsorships. That said, this does mark a grown-up shift in an industry whose sponsors have traditionally included energy drink brands, Taco Bell and Totinos Pizza Rolls.

Part of that has to do with the fact that both the viewership and the popular content creators, particularly in Fortnite, have grown up. DrLupo is married with a child, and his family frequently appears on his stream. If his viewers aren’t already age appropriate for insurance products, they soon will be.

But more importantly, the relationship DrLupo (or any other popular streamer) has with his audience is very different from the one Sofia Vergara has with Modern Family fans/Head & Shoulders customers. Streamers spend anywhere from six to twelve hours a day with their audience, often simply shooting the shit. Moreover, viewers can interact through the chat, having actual conversations with the creator.

The potential for brands to harness and translate that influence through esports sponsorships could be quite powerful, but streamers will have to remain diligent to stay authentic considering their audience is a generation that has become entirely numb to and/or incredulous toward advertising.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple partners with Aetna to launch health app leveraging Apple Watch data

In its clearest move yet to woo the healthcare industry, Apple has collaborated with the health insurance provider Aetna to launch a new app called Attain that uses Apple Watch data to provide a window into users’ health.

The launch stems from a 2016 collaboration between the insurer and Apple which saw 90% of participants in a study reported a health benefit from using their Apple Watch.

Both Apple and Google (through its parent company, Alphabet) have been making headway into personalized health using wearables. Earlier this month, Alphabet’s Verily business unit had its wearable device approved by the FDA for tracking heart health. Apple had received its approval from the FDA in September 2018 when it launched a new version of the Apple Watch.

“We believe that people should be able to play a more active role in managing their well-being. Every day, we receive emails and letters from people all over the world who have found great benefit by incorporating Apple Watch into their lives and daily routines,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “As we learn over time, the goal is to make more customized recommendations that will help members accomplish their goals and live healthier lives.”

Healthcare has been on Apple’s radar since at least 2016, when Tim Cook targeted it as an area the company was looking to pursue in an interview with Fast Company.

“We’ve gotten into the health arena and we started looking at wellness, that took us to pulling a string to thinking about research, pulling that string a little further took us to some patient-care stuff, and that pulled a string that’s taking us into some other stuff,” [Cook said at the time]. “When you look at most of the solutions, whether it’s devices, or things coming up out of Big Pharma, first and foremost, they are done to get the reimbursement [from an insurance provider]. Not thinking about what helps the patient. So if you don’t care about reimbursement, which we have the privilege of doing, that may even make the smartphone market look small.”

The new Attain app consists of four pillars divided into achieving activity goals; sustaining everyday health, personalized health notifications; and rewards for achievements.

The app determines personalized activity goals based on age, sex and weight, and includes a more varied array of potential activities than just steps taken — using the Apple Watch to measure swimming and yoga as potential activities.

Aetna’s app will also offer challenges where participants earn points for taking actions like getting more sleep, engaging in meditation activities and monitoring and improving their diet.

Attain will also recommend health actions based on the healthcare reports culled from the health records that Aetna’s patient populations shares through the app. Created alongside physicians the app uses doctor recommended clinical guidelines and will incorporate prompts for healthy actions like getting flu shots and vaccinations, refill medication prescriptions when they’re scheduled to run out; suggest visits to primary care physicians if checkups have lagged and prompt about lower-cost options for lab tests.

Finally, users can earn rewards — like points off the cost of their Apple Watch or gift cards to national stores. The app is available to Aetna members who have an iPhone 5s or later and an Apple Watch Series 1 or later.

“From fitness enthusiasts, to casual gym-goers, to parents who get all their exercise by keeping up with their kids – we designed Attain for everyone,” said Alan Lotvin, M.D., Executive Vice President of Transformation for CVS Health, in a statement. “We understand that you don’t need to be a personal trainer or work out several hours a day to be healthier. We’re designing Attain to be personalized and clinically relevant to where each individual is in their health journey. This is an ambitious challenge, and we will adapt and improve over time to create the best experience for our members.”

After users have signed up with the Attain app they can share data and health history with Apple, giving both companies access to data that can be used later for potential clinical trials or to make predictions abut population health… while the companies are pitching it as a way to get more personalized suggestions from the app.

According to a statement from the company all the health data is encrypted on the device, in transit and on Apple and Aetna’s servers where it is stored in a HIPAA compliant way.

The companies also say that the data won’t be used for underwriting, premium or coverage decisions.

In the future you could see Apple and Aetna collaborating to make Apple Watches an employee benefit — like computers — to track employee health and lower healthcare costs. It’d be a win-win for both.

But as Apple pushes deeper into collecting health records and data the company is setting a high bar for its security protocols at a time when the company is still cleaning up the mess from a bug that left Facetime users exposed.



Source: TechCrunch

Mozilla streamlines Firefox tracker blocking controls

Mozilla has rolled out what it bills as enhanced and simplified controls for Firefox users to manage how they block trackers.

An update to its browser software, released today, offers a redesigned interface which includes new controls that let users choose from ‘standard’, ‘strict’ or ‘custom’ settings to help them control online trackers.

Trackers refer to content embedded on websites that surreptitiously harvests information about visitors’ browsing activity — often for ad targeting purposes.

Using a tracker blocker is therefore one way to claw back a little online privacy. Although trackers can be used for lots of functions. Hence you may not want to block ’em all.

With the latest version of the Firefox browser the ‘strict’ level of tracker blocking is “for people who want a bit more protection and don’t mind if some sites break”, according to Mozilla. This mode also blocks trackers in all Windows.

Whereas ‘standard’ is summed up as a “set it and forget it” mode that blocks known trackers — but only when the user is using Private Browsing mode.

The standard mode will also block third party tracking cookies “in the future”. Though Mozilla looks to still be tweaking and testing that.

The third option is a custom tracker blocker mode which it says is “for those who want complete control to pick and choose what trackers and cookies they want to block”. This mode lets users choose whether or not to block trackers in all windows, or only in Private Browsing windows; and also to select different block lists.

On cookies, the custom option also lets users pick from blocking third-party trackers; cookies from unvisited websites; all third-party cookies (which Mozilla warns “may” cause websites to break); and all cookies (which it says will cause websites to break).

Mozilla has updated Firefox with a redesigned interface for tracker blocking

The redesigned tracker blocking interface follows an announcement from Mozilla last summer, when it said it would expand its approach to privacy by introducing default settings that block trackers, as well as “offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites” — flagging the “harms of unchecked data collection”.

Concern over behavioral advertising has generally been stepping up in recent years, fuelled by a string of data misuse and security scandals which have encouraged policymakers to take a closer interest in how personal data is collected and where it flows.

Rising concern over creepy ads has also encouraged a rise in activity in the tracker blocking space. So the latest tweaks to Firefox are part of a wider privacy trend.

“We initially announced in October that we would roll out Enhanced Tracking Protection off-by-default. This was just one of the many steps we took to help prepare users when we turn this on by default this year,” Mozilla writes today, teeing up the redesigned tracker blocking interface.

“We continue to experiment and share our journey to ensure we balance these new preferences with the experiences our users want and expect. Before we roll this feature out by default, we plan to run a few more experiments and users can expect to hear more from us about it.”

Firefox users can view the redesigned Content Blocking section via the Preferences menu, clicking on Privacy & Security — which will offer a Content Blocking section option. Or by clicking on the small “i” icon in the address bar, and then the small gear displayed next to Content Blocking.

A full list of changes in Firefox Release 65.0 can also be viewed here.

Among other listed improvements are a better pop-up blocker (“to prevent multiple pop-up windows from being opened by websites at the same time”); improved performance and web compatibility; and a better experience for multilingual users as also being among the updates.

Source: TechCrunch

Gmail on mobile gets a fresh coat of Material Design paint

Gmail on mobile will soon get a new look. Google today announced that its mobile email apps for iOS and Android are getting a redesign that is in line with the company’s recent Material Design updates to Gmail, Drive, Calendar and Docs and Site. Indeed, the new UI will look familiar to anybody who has ever used the Gmail web app, including that versions ability to select three different density styles. You’ll also see some new fonts and other visual tweaks. In terms of functionality, the mobile app is also getting a few new features that put it on par with the web version.

Like on the desktop, you can now choose between the default view, as well as a comfortable and compact style.  The default view features a generous amount of white space and the same attachment chips underneath the email preview as the web version. The comfortable view does away with those chips and the compact view removes a lot of the space between messages to show you more emails at a glance.

I’ve been testing the new app for a bit and quickly settled on the comfortable view since I never found the attachment chips all that useful in day-to-day use.

In line with Google’s Material Design guidelines, all the styles feature relatively subtle but welcome animations that don’t take a lot of time but give you a couple of extra visual cues about what’s going on as you work your way to Inbox Zero.

Google also notes that the new design makes it a bit easier to switch between accounts. I’m not sure I agree (I definitely find the implementation of this in Inbox, which is sadly going away soon, easier to use), but if you regularly use this feature, it’s still easy enough to use. The switcher is now part of the search bar, though, which is a bit confusing and took me a moment to find.

One nice addition to the mobile app is that the large red phishing and scam warning box from the web version now also appears in the mobile app.

Source: TechCrunch

The key number to look out for when Apple drops its Q1 earnings report later today

Apple, the company formerly known by its trillion-dollar market cap, will be reporting its holiday quarter Q1 2019 earnings today and it may just have the health of the global markets riding on how the financials look.

No pressure.

Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a letter to investors, slashing Q1 guidance from a range of between $89 billion and $93 billion to just $84 billion. Given that the company revised its guidance just a few weeks ago, there isn’t much of a reason to expect a major revenue miss from the company though things could still go awfully wrong if the company is pessimistic in its Q2 outlook or misses elsewhere.

Apple’s stock price cratered nearly 10 percent when Cook’s investor letter was released, a drop that represented the worst single day plunge for the company in more than five years. The stock has mostly recovered in the weeks since, but it is recovering from a 52-week low it reached earlier this month, a nearly 40 percent decline from its all-time-high in October.

Analysts are certainly going to be scouring the numbers today to get any sort of read into the health of the company’s mobile business moving forward, but they will have less data than ever to make these judgments off of.

During the company’s last investor call, Apple slid in an announcement that they would not be reporting unit sales in subsequent quarterly earnings reports, meaning that you won’t see any flashy “Apple sold XX.X iPhones this quarter” stories floating across your timeline. For the time being, revenue numbers are all we’re working with, though Apple contends that its financial success is growing less tightly correlated with unit sales, likely a result of the widening range of price points in its device categories and a general upward trend in these products’ average selling prices.

Despite the unit sales shift, a lot of analysts will be staring long and hard at a single number this quarter anyway: Greater China revenue.

In Cook’s investor letter, he detailed that “economic weakness in some emerging markets” had “turned out to have a significantly greater impact than we had projected.” India and China have been two incredibly difficult markets for Apple to crack, while the company has definitely made healthy inroads with the iPhone in China, it seems growth is slowing there with Cook going as far to say that the bulk of the company’s guidance reduction was a result of iPhone revenue declines in Greater China.

Investors are going to be left having to judge whether revenue declines are a result of weariness surrounding ongoing U.S./China trade negotiations, a general slowing in China’s economic growth rate, or whether — perhaps most frightening to investors — Apple has just begun to lost its grip to Chinese consumer tech companies. It’s obviously most likely a combination, but you can expect Apple to point to external factors wherever possible.

Q1 2019 was also the first full quarter of sales for Apple’s three newest smartphone models, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, so we’ll likely get our best look at how the new models are faring and whether existing users are upgrading in developed markets. Cook seemed to hedge bets in his investment letter, noting that a number of macroeconomic trends and more dialed-in factors like consumers taking advantage of Apple’s $29 battery replacement program, impacted iPhone upgrades.

The iPhone’s ability to keep plugging along in its key markets is obviously going to be pretty critical for Apple. The headlines surrounding Apple’s transition to a services company has always been predicated by the fact that iPhone revenues were still climbing, it’s just that Services revenue was climbing even faster. If there prove to be some key heat sinks for Apple in its bread-and-butter hardware verticals, it’s apparent these trends would keep some downward pressure on the stock.

We’ll see how the Cupertino consumer tech giant does when it reports earnings after the bell today, check back here to see how Apple fares.

Source: TechCrunch

Razer Blade Stealth gets glamorous with new Quartz Pink edition

Launching alongside a refreshed lineup of Quartz Pink accessories, the latest addition to the Razer family seeks to win over the hearts of anyone looking for a versatile and stylish laptop for gaming and work.

The post Razer Blade Stealth gets glamorous with new Quartz Pink edition appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

FanAI buys Waypoint Media to better track fan engagement for streaming monetization

FanAI, an audience analysis platform for eSports and streaming, is buying New York-based Waypoint Media to improve its analytics tools for eSports players and streamers.

The deal means that Waypoint’s Twitch Middleware API and the “Raven” tracking and URL shortener will be added to FanAI’s product portfolio. The middleware tech has the ability to track every unique registered Twitch viewer so streamers can monitor average watch time, median watch time, and channel engagement.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but a person with knowledge of the deal called the acquisition a significant all-cash transaction. That likely means a nice outcome for Waypoint’s backers, the New York-based investment firm Grand Central Tech.

FanAI Founder and CEO Johannes Waldstein said of the acquisition, “The way they are able to turn billions of data points into workable information is like nothing else available on the market. We will be able to provide a deeper look at audiences with the new tools and having someone like Kevin join us will cement the FanAI services at the top of the industry.”

Using the Raven URL shortener, FanAI customers can follow the ways in which users browse on online platforms, the company said in a statement.

As part of the acquisition, Waypoint’s Chief Product Officer, Kevin Hsu, joins FanAI as Head of Engineering, the company said.

“Combining forces with FanAI is a perfect fit; we work with the same client base and have complementary solutions to the same problem. Traditionally, FanAI has focused on more static information including social and purchasing data, while Waypoint worked to gather digital movements of the audience. Combined, we can provide the best service by giving access to even more detailed and actionable data for clients,” said Hsu, in a statement.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple makes its first Sundance buy with coming-of-age film ‘Hala’ from Jada Pinkett Smith

Amazon made its first deal at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on Monday, with its acquisition of the global rights to a coming-of-age drama, Hala. The film, written and directed by Minhal Baig, and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, tells the story of a 17-year old girl, Hala, raised in a conservative Muslim household, who develops feelings for a classmate that puts her at odds with her traditional upbringing.

The girl, played by Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers), will also find herself grappling with the knowledge of secret that threatens to unravel her family, according to a description of the film’s plot.

Other cast members include love interest Jesse (Jack Kilmer, Palo Alto); mother, Eram (Purbi Joshi); father, Zahid (Azad Khan); Gabriel Luna (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.); and Anna Chlumsky (Veep).

The movie itself is an expansion on a short film Baig made back in 2016, which was named to the 2016 Black List.

Baig herself hails from Chicago, and was chosen in 2017 as a directing mentee for Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative – Director Mentorship Program. She previously worked as a story editor on Bojack Horseman, and as a staff writer on the Hulu comedy, Untitled Ramy Youssef Project. She also worked on several shorts, including the precursor to Hala, After Sophie, and Pretext, as well as on music videos.

Of note, during production of the new movie, an inclusion rider was applied to bring women into many department head positions, and to 75 percent of critical below-the-line roles.

The film was co-financed and sold by Endeavor Content and produced by Overbrook Entertainment. Hala producers include Clarence Hammond, Jamal Watson and Minhal Baig, and executive producers Jada Pinkett Smith, Jana Babatunde-Bey, Marsha Swinton, James Lassiter, Caleeb Pinkett, Ari Lubet and Aaron Carr.

Apple has steadily been building up a slate of content for its forthcoming streaming service, set to launch this year. However, many of its deals to date have focused on TV series, not films.

It now has a long lineup of shows, including: a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Storiesa Reese Witherspoon- and Jennifer Anniston-starring series set in the world of morning TV (which just added Steve Carell), an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, a thriller starring Octavia Spencer, another Witherspoon comedy (now minus Kristen Wiig), a Kevin Durant-inspired scripted basketball show, a documentary about extraordinary homes, a series from La La Land’s director, a series about Emily Dickinson, a new Peanuts, a comedy from the It’s Always Sunny gang, Oprah stuff, kids content from Sesame Workshop, an M. Night Shymalan thriller, a sci-fi series from Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore, and many more.

But Apple has also started to pick up films.

It made first feature film buy last year, with the documentary The Elephant Queen, and more recently, it did a deal for a Sophia Coppola-directed movie starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.

Image credit: Sundance Institute 

Source: TechCrunch

Huawei ‘disappointed,’ denies charges

The long-simmering battle between the U.S. government and Huawei heated up last night when the U.S. DOJ announced that it is pursuing criminal charges against the Chinese hardware maker.

Huawei has, unsurprisingly, denied all wrongdoing, issuing a statement to the press that wonders aloud why it wasn’t given the opportunity to help clear itself of charges following the arrest of its CFO in Vancouver.

The company writes,

Huawei is disappointed to learn of the charges brought against the company today. company  After Ms. Meng’s arrest, the Company sought an opportunity to discuss the Eastern District of New York investigation with the Justice Department, but the request was rejected without explanation. The allegations in the Western District of Washington trade secret indictment were already the subject of a civil suit that was settled by the parties after a Seattle jury found neither damages nor willful and malicious conduct on the trade secret claim. The Company denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations of U.S. law set forth in each of the indictments, is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng, and believes the U.S. courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion.

The Chinese government has also been quick to come to the embattled tech giant’s defense.

“For some time now, the United States has deployed its state power to smear and crack down on targeted Chinese companies in an attempt to kill their normal and legal business operations,” Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said in a statement. “We strongly urge the US to stop its unreasonable crackdown on Chinese companies, including Huawei, and treat Chinese companies objectively and fairly.”

Huawei (and to a lesser extent ZTE) has long been targeted by the U.S. over its alleged ties to the Chinese government. Tensions have made it all but impossible for the rapidly growing company to conquer the North American market.

Source: TechCrunch

Regulatory demands for better data governance push Collibra’s valuation above $1 billion

What could Google’s parent company Alphabet, and the wealth management office of the likes of Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, understand better than the need for a service to manage all the data their companies are collecting?

As regulations in Europe begin to take effect (and European regulators show their teeth), companies like Collibra, which just raised $100 million at a valuation of over $1 billion from new investor CapitalG (the growth equity investment fund from Alphabet) and returning backers like Iconiq (the family office of Dorsey, Zuckerberg, et al.), are only going to become more important.

Indeed, the recent $57 million fine from France’s data protection watchdog is only a taste of what could be in store for companies like Facebook and Google for non-compliance with new privacy laws. Companies like Colibra and its competitors like Alation, Adaptive Insights, Datum and Informatica are reaping the benefits of this by providing software to oversee how the data that companies are collecting is handled.

The company got its first big boost back in 2008 in the wake of the financial crisis when big banks were confronted with a whole new slew of regulations. Collibra is used to track what data is stored where and how and to ensure that the data is being processed in ways that align with laws on the books.

Colibra’s new round is something of a victory lap for the company — which is coming off a record revenue year, according to a statement.

The company said it would use the new funding to add new products and push sales and marketing.

“Collibra is putting organizations back in control of their data, helping them comply with changing legislation, embrace emerging technologies and capture the information that will enable them to design services and solutions built for the future,” said Derek Zanutto of CapitalG. “We look forward to partnering with Collibra and marrying Google and Alphabet’s machine learning and AI expertise with Collibra’s leadership in data collaboration, workflow management and risk management.”

 Colibra says it has more than 300 customers across industries like financial services, healthcare, retail and technology.

Source: TechCrunch