Archive for the ‘sk telecom’ tag
United Online, the holding company for a school-themed portfolio of websites, has just acquired schoolFeed, a Facebook app that’s been growing like a weed over the past several months.
SchoolFeed acts as a connection-finding tool for current and former high school students. As of today, the app counts around 19 million members, with 100,000 new registrations added daily.
In other words, it was starting to take a significant chunk of business (or at least end-user eyeballs) away from Classmates. And for a one-year-old startup (schoolFeed was founded in July 2011), that was no mean feat. For United Online, it was easier to buy and integrate the company than continue trying to fight the app and contend with its rapidly growing popularity.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we do know that schoolFeed will now be owned by Memory Lane, the new brand name for Classmates.com and a subsidiary of United Online.
Also, the schoolFeed team, which includes former RockYou co-founder Lance Tokuda, will join the Memory Lane staff.
“We expect the acquisition of schoolFeed by Memory Lane to solidify our Classmates service as the premier high school social media platform in the U.S.,” said United Online chair Mark R. Goldston in a statement the company released today.
“We anticipate that the addition of schoolFeed’s installed base… will create an opportunity for Classmates to have a leading position on Facebook. It should also provide an opportunity for both schoolFeed members and Classmates.com members to reconnect and interact with an even larger number of people from their high schools.”
SchoolFeed took a small round of funding in Februrary 2012, totaling $1.75 million from First Round Capital, Crosslink Capital, InterWest Partners, and SK Telecom Ventures.
In addition to its stable of “online nostalgia products and services” (their words, not ours), United Online also controls FTD, the floral service, ISP Juno, and a few other companies.
Filed under: deals
Most business owners are already aware of the benefits of having a user-friendly website that is easily viewed and accessed by smartphones and tablets. Now, many of these same companies are finding fresh and unexpected ways to use tablets in stores, while helping to broaden the boundaries of what a brick-and-mortar store is capable of. Yes, the tablet revolution has finally reached retail, proving itself to be an essential tool in a new way of doing business.
Recent research indicates that by 2014, more than one in three American Internet users will have a tablet device, and that 52 percent of tablet owners prefer to shop online using their tablets. However, this data isn’t discouraging retail-store owners, who more and more are seeing the advantages of working with tablets to enhance their brick-and-mortar businesses.
For example, at the ‘Gas Station of the Future” in Rio de Janeiro, a Cisco Cius tablet is available to connect customers to specialists in real-time, and can also use videoconferencing to gather information on maintenance specials offered by the station, as well as show addresses across the city. Over at the the Shanghai Lotus Supermarket in China, SK Telecom has started a trial of its Smart Cart — a WiFi-enabled tablet PC mounted to a shopping cart (pictured above). While walking through the aisles, the customers can use Smart Cart to find product and discount information linked to their current location. It can even be synched to a companion smartphone app.
A recent survey of retailers done by RISNews.comRISNews.com showed 31 percent had plans to begin testing tablets in stores this year, 22 percent had already begun such testing and six percent had fully deployed tablets within stores. Tablets have already proven themselves to be extraordinarily adaptable and flexible at a variety of uses.
With the adaptation of Square and VeriFone point-of-sale (POS) services, there is an emergence of the concept of ‘t-commerce’ or tablet-commerce. And indeed, retail-business owners are beginning to understand the advantages of having a tablet with POS capabilities.
NYC-based Saturdays Surf uses the iPad with LightSpeed software to show merchandise to customers, order out-of-stock products, and complete sales. Putting tablets into the hands of sales associates is a smart move for a variety of reasons; using a tablet as an additional POS device helps free up floor space for merchandise, and customers no longer need to wait long check out lines for a cash register. Not only that, but studies show consumers who have been to stores where tables are being used feel that those stores are more innovative. Sixty four percent of businesses with tablets found their employees to be more helpful when assisting customers if they had a tablet.
An employee with a tablet in hand is at an advantage to help the average customers, who are more and more likely to have access to information on their smartphone or have researched their purchase on a tablet before entering a store.
Likewise, more and more retailers are catching on to the trend of using tablets. Here are some other great examples:
- Disney Stores and Urban Outfitters allow employees to ring up a customers purchase (and email their receipts) from an iPod Touch.
- Sears, Converse, Puma and Burberry have all rolled out tests of in-store tablets.
- Gucci and JC Penny are experimenting with ways to incorporate tablets into their stores.
- Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s both have tablet devices available at specific store locations to assist customers in researching a product, or to shop from a variety of styles.
- Nordstrom is rolling out 5,000 mobile checkout devices at 116 full-line stores in preparation for its Anniversary Sale in July.
With so much potential, and such quick adaptation, don’t be surprised to see tablets start showing up in stores near you.
When Samsung (among others) was called out for taking part in a mobile price-fixing scheme last week I expected the company to pony up the 14.2 billion won and keep their collective heads down for a while. That would’ve been the smart move: pay up, show remorse, move on, etc.
A few Samsung execs had a different idea though. According to the Korea JoongAng Daily, they instead obstructed an official investigation by the country’s Fair Trade Commission shortly thereafter, which netted the company another 400 million won ($356,000) in fines.
The fine may not sound like much — especially in comparison to the one they were hit with last week — but it’s the largest that the Korean Fair Trade Commission has ever meted out for obstructing an investigation. That should give you an idea of how seriously the Korean government seems to be taking this situation, but what exactly did those Samsung employees do?
The extent to which Samsung employees tried to cover up the company’s misdeeds was pretty astounding. A small group of Samsung security guards attempted to bar a team of investigators from entering the premises, even going so far as to say that President Lee Myung-Bak wouldn’t be able to enter without an appointment. While they ran interference, a “high-level executive in the wireless department” ordered employees to get ride of related data and replace computers to cover their tracks.
And that’s not all. The Korea Herald reports that Samsung occasionally provided the FTC with falsified information intended to throw off the commission’s investigation.
One unnamed Samsung executive was particularly tricky — he not only lied about attending a meeting in Seoul on the day of the investigation, he was also found to have completely wiped his PC’s hard drive. He later admitted that his computer contained information about their deals with carrier SK Telecom, who received the lion’s share of fines (20.2 billion won, or $17.9 million) doled out by the FTC last week.
You have to wonder what was going though these guys’ heads; did they honestly thought a quick-and-dirty coverup would be enough to stymie investigators? The whole thing seems very brazen to me, though I suppose I can see where fear and panic would take hold of these execs and drive them (and their employees by extension) to do some ridiculous things.
De Koreaanse ‘NMa’ (Fair Trade Commission) heeft Samsung, LG, Pantech en een aantal telco’s beboet vanwege illegale prijsafspraken. De drie fabrikanten hebben samen met SK Telecom, KT en LG Uplus de prijs van hun producten en diensten……
South Korean sales for Apple’s new iPhone 4S reached 200,000 units in one day as mobile carriers KT and SK telecom opened pre-orders for the device.
The new direct-deals mobile advertising marketplace Chartboost is announcing today that it has raised $2 million in Series A funding, after having just launched at the beginning of the October. Investors in this rounded included TransLink Capital, SK Telecom Ventures and XG Ventures, the latter a former investor in Tapulous before its Disney acquisition.
Chartboost, too, has a Tapulous connection, given that it was created by former Tapulous employees, Maria Alegre, now Chartboost CEO, and Sean Fannan, CTO.
The service they built is not just another ad network but a technology platform providing free ad-serving technology. Developers use the Chartboost SDK to serve ads promoting other publishers’ apps – ads which were typically set up as direct deals. But instead of mediating these direct deals through an ad network, Chartboost publishers get a 100% revenue share on the ads.
Chartboost itself operates under a freemium model: the ad-server technology is free when used for direct deals or internal cross-promotion, but the opt-in ad network offers revenue sharing with publishers. The network allows publishers to maximize the unsold direct-deals ad inventory.
Notable Chartboost publishers currently include TinyCo, Storm8, Pocket Gems, Gameview Studios, The Playforge, Funzio, OMGPOP, Com2us, Fluik Entertainment, Sunstorm Interactive, Ace Viral, Camigo Media, Neon Play, Lakoo and Devsisters.
Alegre says that the new funding will help Chartboost to scale and reach more publishers worldwide, but the company is already profitable.
There seems to be no end to the innovations designed to improve the grocery shopping experience. Not long ago we spotted an effort enabling class="unbold" href="http://www.springwise.com/retail/homeplus/">grocery shopping by smartphone in South Korean subways, for example, and now — from the very same country — href="http://www.sktelecom.com/">SK Telecom is testing a Smart Cart service in China that synchronizes tablet-equipped shopping carts with consumers’ smartphones to offer a wide array of position-relevant information in real-time.
SK Telecom’s Smart Cart is the world’s first shopping cart service to use smartphones to deliver in-store information using indoor positioning technology, the company says. There have already been RFID-based cart services, of course, but SK Telecom’s Smart Cart goes a step further to provide a wide variety of shopping tips, product information and coupons in real-time based on the consumer’s position in the store. Shoppers begin by downloading the Smart Cart application to their smartphones. Next, they can search for product information and store coupons and draw up a shopping list. Then, once they’re at a participating retail store, the customer’s smartphone is automatically synchronized with a tablet PC installed in the shopping cart. After that, as they move about the store, shoppers receive a variety of product information and coupons relevant to their specific location in the aisles. The system’s indoor positioning technology uses both UWB and Zigbee to offer location information that’s accurate within one meter, SK Telecom says, and delivered to the shopping cart’s tablet via wifi. Once they arrive at the checkout counter, the tablet screen on their cart shows the list of purchased items, membership points and available coupons.
Following its pilot tests in China, SK Telecom plans a similar testing phase in Korea later this year. Ultimately, the company expects to further integrate consumers’ shopping history into the service for personalized product recommendations and individualized target marketing, it says. Retailers and brands alike: one to get involved in early?
Spotted by: Florent Lesauvage