Tech News

Best phone for gaming 2019: the top 10 mobile game performers

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 13:10

The best gaming phones in 2019 have become a big surprise. We now have dedicated gaming phones with souped-up specs to help improve gaming experiences, while others in this best gaming phones list are just the outright best phones.

Beyond any fancy gamer features, the best gaming phone should have a powerful processor, bright and sharp display, and a beefy battery to keep your phone alive even during long gaming sessions. To get the most out of demanding games like Fortnite and PUBG Mobile, you'll want a phone that's strong in all of those respects.

We've picked out phones that offer just what you need, with all the power to play these games lag-free even at max settings, letting you take the most advantage of their high-resolution, bright displays. And, if you opt for some of the newer phones on this list, you can count on their performance lasting for some time to come, helping you stay prepared for the next big games yet to come.

Our recommendations consider processor and GPU speeds, RAM size and other odds and ends. It also considers the app ecosystem, which is the lead reason Apple's iPhones frequently top the list. They generally have access to more games than Android. and often get multi-platform titles them first. 

But there are newer "gaming phones" that have come out in the past year which are...actually pretty good, and we've inserted them into our list accordingly. If you want high specs AND 'gamer'-appealing perks like RGB lights, you no longer have to choose. 

We've examined all the options and chosen the best phones for gaming based on the factors above. Here's our top ten list:

The iPhone XS Max is the bigger, better brother of Apple's new flagship smartphone in a few key ways, but if you're picking either model for gaming, you might as well go with the best. The 6.5-inch screen on the iPhone XS Max is bigger than the one on its 5.8-inch sibling and its larger battery manages to stay working nearly a full hour longer than the standard iPhone XS. 

Those perks will give you more of an edge than with the iPhone XS, but both benefit from this Apple phone generation's true advantage: the A12 Bionic processor. We have high hopes that this chip will outperform the A11 Bionic found on last year's iPhone X since Apple claimed it is 40% more efficient and 50% more powerful than the older processor. In our tests, it loaded up Clash Royale and PUBG even faster, and speed is crucial in online gaming. All this in a Apple's sleek, modern look – though it's the most expensive mainstream phone on the market, even before including all the bells and whistles.

Read the full reviews: iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS

Image Credit: TechRadar

Don't be too surprised to see Samsung so high on the list. It's latest family of Galaxy S10 smartphones are the first to feature Qualcomm's powerful new Snapdragon 855 chipset, which quickly boosted them to the top of the pack in terms of sheer performance.

But, it's not just the chipset that makes these excellent gaming phones. They all have sharp Super AMOLED displays with support for high dynamic range, so you'll get excellent visuals in movies and games alike. The screen real estate is also expanded, so you have that much more game to look at. With these phones, you're getting both a killer phone and a powerful mobile gaming device in one.

Better still, VR fans can still make use of the new phones with existing Gear VR headsets, according to The Verge. Letting you enjoy the immersive game medium on the phones' crisp displays.

 Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review 

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

The Asus ROG Phone may "look like an irate Decepticon" as our reviewer put it, but outside its appearance, the device is a powerful phone with plenty of extras to entice gamers. It's also a decent phone in its own right, and it has notable advantages over the comparable Razer Phone 2.

Its specs are solidly advanced for phone released at the tail end of 2018: an 'overclocked' Snapdragon 845, 8GB of RAM and a 4,000mAh battery, as well as a 90hz refresh rate screen that pales only to the Razer Phone 2's 120hz. 

As for gaming, the phone's "AirTrigger" touch-sensitive buttons on the top-right and top-left of the phone (when held in landscape) are cool, customizable ways to play that your typical smartphone just doesn't have.

True to Asus' Republic of Gamers brand, you can buy a selection of accessories to augment your mobile game experience. These include a clamshell case with a bonus screen, a pair of controller halves that clip to either side and a docking platform that extends your phone to a big display, Nintendo Switch-style. There's even a simple clip-on fan to reduce device heat during games.

The ROG Phone's appeal lives or dies on its external design, and we wouldn't blame you for skipping it for something a bit more conservative. But its advances, especially the AirTriggers, shouldn't be overlooked when considering phones for serious gaming.

Read our full review: Asus ROG Phone

 Image Credit: TechRadar

 The first Razer Phone was a solid first effort to bring the gamer-specific brand to a mobile device, but it had a few shortcomings that dropped it further down our list. The second version has addressed some and come out with a stronger device for it, though it's still aimed primarily at gamers.

What does that mean? The camera and display aren't nearly as impressive as other phones that cost this much, so casual gamers might want to look elsewhere. But if you're more serious about mobile gaming and can afford it, this is a solid choice.

Outwardly, the Razer Phone 2 hasn't changed much from its predecessor, though it's upgraded to the Snapdragon 845 chip and switched to a glass back for Qi wireless charging. It's also added a slick vapor chamber to cool the device as you game.

At the end of the day, the phone's beefy chipset, 8GB RAM, great speakers, 120hz refresh rate screen and 4,000mAh battery, as well as extensive settings to tweak battery life and performance, make this a great choice for gaming.

Read the full review: Razer Phone 2

Image Credit: TechRadar

Huawei's P30 Pro may not be a phone on many people's radars, but it's an amazing Android phone from the Chinese manufacturers. Much of the attention the P30 Pro is getting comes from its impressive camera system, which has three rear cameras including one with a 5X zoom and a stunning dark mode.

But, the Huawei P30 Pro has plenty to offer gamers as well. The Kirin 980 chipset inside is plenty powerful for the latest Android games, and 8GB of RAM can keep everything running smooth even when you're switching back and forth from gaming and other activities.

The hefty 4,200mAh battery can ensure your gaming sessions aren't cut short. An improved heat pipe ad vapor cooling chamber inside the P30 Pro help it keep cool while gaming, so it can continue to play Fortnite, Real Racing 3, and PUBG without a hitch.

Read more: Huawei P30 Pro review

Image Credit: TechRadar

The LG G8 ThinQ is not the most exciting phone. The design isn't as dramatic a step forward as the new Samsung Galaxy S10 family, and it has a wobbly price that often lands too high to make it a real winner. But, there's still plenty to benefit gamers in this package.

The first big thing the LG G8 offers is the Snapdragon 855 chipset, which offers a considerable upgrade in terms of performance over the preceding Snapdragon 845. Then there's the display.

The LG G8 boasts a 6.1-inch OLED display with a 1440 x 3120 resolution. So, you'll get incredibly crisp visuals in everything you do on the phone. And, you can game even in some unfavorable conditions, as the display is plenty bright for sunny days, and the phone has an IP68 protection rating so you won't have to worry about a bit of rain. A little perk is the 3.5mm headphone jack, which will let you game on the LG G8 with your favorite wired headphones without the need for a dongle.

Read more: LG G8 review

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

If you want some serious gaming power but don't want to spend too much on a phone, the OnePlus 6T is a great option. It has the Snapdragon 845 chipset inside that powers some of the most capable smartphones, ensuring that it'll still be a gaming beast for some time to come.

The OnePlus 6T has a big, 6.41-inch OLED display that's plenty sharp without being too sharp. It has a resolution of 1080 x 2340, which isn't as high as some of the competition but is therefore easier for internals to drive. Add in the 3,700mAh battery, and you can game for a good while on this phone. 

Beyond gaming, you get some cool new tech as well. The OnePlus 6T has an in-screen fingerprint scanner, which allowed it to stretch the screen over even more of the front of the device without making the phone overly large.

Read more: OnePlus 6T review

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

While the iPhone XS has dethroned the year-old iPhone X as the top Apple smartphone, the latter is still a great choice with high-performing hardware. If you can find it for sale (it's no longer available on Apple's website), the iPhone X’s 5.8-inch OLED display will offer plenty of screen space for games along with incredible contrast ratios, making visuals pop when a scene has a dark and light contrast.

While other phones may slightly outperform the iPhone X, the biggest advantage of Apple phones for gaming is the App Store. Part of this is due to the love developers show it: iPhones almost always get the best games first, like Fortnite, which launched exclusively on iOS for some time. 

Apple is also on the forefront of delivering the first meaningful and mainstream AR experiences, including AR multiplayer gaming as one of the many iOS 12 features.

Check out our iPhone X review video below.

 Image Credit: TechRadar

There’s no getting around it: Apple phones are powerful and have a lot of great games. The same internals and App Store that earned the iPhone X a spot on this list earn the iPhone 8 Plus the a spot as well.

The iPhone 8 Plus has a less-showy Full HD display, but in our experience is still great for gaming. The 5.5-inch screen is plenty spacious. Apple’s A11 Bionic CPU and graphics make for a mean gaming experience, and ARkit offers up augmented reality games that give Apple’s iPhones more to offer gamers. 

This is the one to buy if you want a gaming phone with a home button and don't want to spend top dollar on the iPhone X or newer iPhones.

 Image Credit: TechRadar

We’ve lumped the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus into one spot, because they both offer nearly the same incredible smartphone gaming experience with only a minor difference in screen size. 

The Snapdragon 845, Adreno 630 graphics, and 4GB of RAM (6GB in the S9 Plus) make both of these phones incredible performers both in game and out. But, a powerful chipset isn’t all that earns the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus its ranking. The S9 has a plenty large and plenty sharp 1440 X 2960, 5.8-inch display, and the S9 Plus has an even larger 6.2-inch display with the same resolution. Both are Super AMOLED and support HDR10 for stunning visuals.

The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus also feature Samsung’s Game Tools, which can help with taking screenshots, recording gameplay, and keeping notifications out of the way. Let’s not forget that Samsung also has the impressive Gear VR headsets that offer super sharp virtual reality experiences with the Galaxy S9’s and S9 Plus’s pixel-dense displays.

Categories: Tech News

YouTube Music comes to Google Home speakers for free

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 12:31

YouTube has announced that it will now offer free music streaming on Google Home speakers with YouTube Music.

Streaming via YouTube Music on your Google Home, Google Home Max, Google Home Mini, or Google Home Hub used to require a subscription to YouTube Music Premium for $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.99 per month.

There's a catch though – the free service will be ad-supported, so you won't be able to listen to music uninterrupted without upgrading to a Premium subscription. This is similar to Spotify, which allows you to stream music for free in exchange for  more limited features and in-app adverts.

Limited features

It's likely that the functionality of this free version of YouTube Music will be limited compared to the paid version. In a press release sent to TechRadar and other outlets, YouTube says the that Music Premium users can "request specific albums, songs, artists, and playlists on-demand" as well as "unlimited skips and song replay."

These features will probably be unavailable to people using the free version of YouTube Music with their Google Home speakers.

Even so, the ability to listen to music "right out-of-the-box" without signing up to a paid streaming platform subscription, will probably be a welcome addition to anyone who's thinking of buying a Google Home speaker.

You can also get a 30-day free trial of YouTube Music Premium if you want to try the additional features before you buy.

To set up YouTube Music as your default music streaming platform, you need to head to the Account Settings section of your Google Home app. Go to Services, and then Music, where you can select YouTube Music from a list of providers. 

Categories: Tech News

These new, exclusive phone deals make the Google Pixel 3 even cheaper...again

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 12:30

Forget Easter Eggs...Google Pixel 3 deals are the gift that just keep giving. Since the November release of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, prices have steadily tumbled down. One look at our overall Pixel 3 deals page, and you'll see the kind of bargains that UK retailers are offering on contract - did nobody tell them that the Google Pixel 3a was coming?

And now the Carphone Warehouse-owned iD Mobile network - perhaps more famous for its cheap SIM only deals - has joined the discount smartphone party by coming up with a stonker of a bargain just in time for the long Easter weekend. Its all new lower prices are available only to TechRadar readers - you lucky so-and-so's.

So what has iD got to offer? In short it's a reduction on the network's 5GB tariffs on both handsets. You're looking at £30 or £50 upfront on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL respectively, and then £23.99 or £26.99 per month over the two-year contract.

You can see both of these offers below with their exact costs. Or if a Google device doesn't quite fulfil what you need from a phone (that bezel not doing it for you?), check out our guide to the best mobile phone deals.

These EXCLUSIVE Google Pixel 3 deals in full:

And iD's Pixel-particular bargains don't end there. Go for any of the retailer's other Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL tariffs, and it will throw in a 100GB data boost. That's a massive pot of data that you can fall back on in case you ever overshoot on your regular allowance. Worked out over two years, it amounts more than an extra 4GB of data per month on average.

What is iD Mobile?

iD Mobile is a sub-section of Carphone Warehouse so you can rest assured that it is a trustworthy source for your new phone deal. It piggybacks off the Three network's coverage, so pretty good for most parts of the UK. And you can use roaming in 50 destinations around the world.

Categories: Tech News

Time may be running out to get hold of a cheap OnePlus 6T deal

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 12:30

Update: We've been told that the 8GB RAM 'Thunder Purple' version of the OnePlus 6T (pictured above) is definitely not much longer for this world. So if that's the OnePlus 6T deal that you were most seduced by, then you definitely need to get in there quick. It's for sale at £529.99 at Amazon.

"What on Earth is a OnePlus?" - the question overwhelmingly most asked of OnePlus owners when they try showing off their brilliant smartphone to friends and family. Having quietly built up a reputation for producing fantastic smartphones as affordable prices, OnePlus 6T deals have steadily risen in popularity since release last year.

But the mobile - which TechRadar's OnePlus 6T review deemed "one of the best phones you can buy right now" - is now coming to the end of its shelf-life. The OnePlus 7 is expected to land within the next few weeks and, with it, the beginning of the end for the 6T.

That's because, unlike iPhone deals and Samsung phone deals, OnePlus doesn't tend to keep its older generation of mobiles hanging around when its latest, greatest flagship phone goes on sale. So once the OnePlus 7 lands, prepare for OnePlus 6T deals to quickly become tomorrow's fish and chip paper.

That means if you've been liking the look of OnePlus's smartphones and don't want to risk a price hike when the new one comes out, then you'd better get in there quickly. It's still being sold at a number of reputable retailers, and we've summarised the cheapest SIM-free prices on different models below:

Or if you want to go all out on your OnePlus 6T, you could always pick up the McLaren Speed Edition from Amazon for £649. It ups the RAM to 10GB for performance as fast as you'd want from that branding and comes with a very swanky orange trim.

What about OnePlus 6T deals on contract?

If you don't fancy splashing £500+ upfront on your phone, then you don't have to...that's what contract mobile phone deals were made for. And these are the three best OnePlus 6T deals you can get before they're cruelly ripped away...

Categories: Tech News

Amazon closing Chinese marketplace

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 12:21

Amazon is planning to close its online store in China after more than a decade of trying to gain a foothold in the country.

The ecommerce giant will shutter its domestic marketplace which allowed shoppers to buy from local sellers on its site. 

Chinese shoppers however will still be able to order products from Amazon's global store once its local store closes in July and the company will continue to operate its cloud business in China.

Despite its popularity in the West, Amazon has struggled to carve out a place for itself in China where it faces stiff competition from local rivals Alibaba and JD.com.

Image Credit: Amazon

Amazon.cn

The news that Amazon will close its domestic marketplace in China by mid-July was first reported by Reuters which revealed that the company would instead focus on the more lucrative businesses of selling overseas goods and cloud services in the region.

According to a company spokesperson, Amazon is currently “working closely with our sellers to ensure a smooth transition and to continue to deliver the best customer experience possible.”

The company's Chinese ambitions began back in 2004 when it purchased the local books, music and video retailer Joyo.com for $75m and then rebranded the site as Amazon.cn in 2007.

As Amazon has shifted its focus from China, the ecommerce giant has begun to invest heavily into its business in India. The company has committed to spend $5.5bn on ecommerce in India to better compete against its local rival there, Flipkart.

Via The BBC

Categories: Tech News

Exclusive cloud storage offer: save 80% on a massive 2TB backup from iDrive

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 12:05

We're just like you...we love a bargain. And not just any bargain - the discounts that impress us most are when they're on a particularly standout product or service (not just some old rubbish that Amazon is trying get rid of from their warehouse on Amazon Prime Day). And that goes equally to cloud storage a it does to phones, laptops and games consoles.

So when our top-rated best cloud storage provider gives us the opportunity to promote a massively reduced price that's available EXCLUSIVELY to TechRadar readers, we get really excited. And that's exactly what's happened with iDrive.

The faintly ridiculous 80% discount (and yes, you are reading that correctly) is available on iDrive's 2TB plan, bringing the price on all that cloud storage down to a mere $13.90 from almost $70. That's an astonishing saving on such a brilliant product - you can read more about iDrive's benefits below.

And don't be put off by the dollar pricing if you're reading this outside the US...iDrive only advertises its prices in US$, but you can still get hold of it from anywhere in the world.

TechRadar's exclusive iDrive cloud storage deal: What makes iDrive the best cloud storage provider?

Fast, easy to use and secure. The main pros of iDrive are very quick and straightforward to explain. Even if you're not that tech savvy, you'll find iDrive really simple to download, set up and operate.

Of course, you'd already expect all those things from the best cloud storage - so what makes iDrive stand out from the competition? It's the extra features, like facial recognition of your photos to help you organize them better, like the physical hard disk of files it will send you if you someohw lose all your stuff, like server backup offering a failsafe if you accidentally delete items you shouldn't have.

We've gone into much more detail in our full iDrive review - you can discover much more about this superb software there.

Categories: Tech News

Smart home sale at Amazon: limited-time savings on August smart locks

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 12:01

If you've wanted to beef up your home security, now is a great time with this
offer from August. Amazon has the August Smart Lock Pro and Connect on sale for $211.50. That's a $68 discount and the best price we've found for the smart home device. 

The Smart Lock Pro can be installed in minutes and attaches to your deadbolt on the inside of your door. You can download the compatible August app to control and monitor your smart lock from anywhere. You'll be able to grant keyless access to family and friends, lock and unlock your door, and keep track of who's coming and going all remotely with your smartphone. The August lock will even automatically unlock and lock when your coming and going so you never have to hassle with finding your keys. The August Pro includes the Connect Wifi Bridge which allows for voice control and is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant.

This is the perfect time to secure your home and snag a fantastic deal, so make sure to take advantage of this stellar sale while you can.

Amazon also has the August Smart lock with Connect on sale for $179. The August lock has all the features of the of the Pro, thanks to the Connect Wifi Bridge, but does lack smart home integrations with Apple HomeKit and Z-Wave Plus.

You can find more home security sales with the best cheap home security camera deals that are currently available.

You can also shop more smart home deals with the best cheap smart home devices and gadget deals.

Categories: Tech News

New HP Chromebook 15 laptop is a straightforward work machine

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 11:50

HP has a new Chromebook coming to sit atop its lineup of Chrome laptops in terms of size, at least. The new device is the HP Chromebook 15, and it will come starting at $449 (about £345, AU$630) in the US.

The new HP Chromebook 15 is a no-nonsense affair. It doesn't have any of the flourishes that some of HP's other Chromebooks do. No 360-degree hinge, like the HP Chromebook 14 x360, and no HP Active Pen support, like the HP Chromebook 12 x2.

Instead, the HP Chromebook 15 gets a classy design with metal lid and keyboard deck, a larger display with slim side bezels, a 17.9mm thin construction and a full keyboard with number pad and backlighting.

Into the specs

The 15-inch display has a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution and uses an IPS panel for wide viewing angles. The bezels around the display aren't as slim as we've seen on some premium laptops, but they're still beating the thick bezels many budget devices get. Above the screen, there's a wide-angle HD webcam as well.

In terms of inputs and outputs, the Chromebook 15 gets dual B&O-tuned speakers, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C ports, capable of 5Gbps data transfer and display connections, as well as one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port. There is also a microSD card reader, which can be handy for expanding the storage of your device affordably.

There are multiple configurations available, with the machine coming powered by either a dual-core Intel Pentium Gold 4417U processor and 4GB of DDR4 RAM or an 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor, but it's unclear which Core processor and how much RAM is included in that version. We're seeking further details.

The laptop's base storage is 64GB, and HP mentions it's available with up to 128GB of SSD storage. But, that's eMMC storage, which is flash storage, which is not on the same level as the kind of storage you might expect from an SSD. Simply put, you can think of eMMC as SSD lite.

All told, these are fairly high end specs for a Chromebook, as many feature low-power Intel Celeron processors and as little as 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage. To top it all off, HP is packing all of this into a 3.99-pound package with up to 13 hours of battery life and full access to Google Play's Android app ecosystem.

Categories: Tech News

Are flying cars the future of motorsport?

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:45

Formula One can be electrifying, but the sport has reached a period of marginal gains; designs and strategies are so refined, we're unlikely to see any major changes to cars or races in the foreseeable future. So what can you do to increase the thrill? 

Australian engineering company Alauda Racing believes it has an answer: taking races above the track with low-altitude aircraft that can tear around the circuit at up to 200kmph.

Alauda Racing has designed a manned craft that's part racing drone, part F1 car specifically for the new sport. The Airspeeder is fully electric, with a 500kW battery, a carbon-fiber chassis, and the ability to take off and land vertically.

Ready for takeoff

This isn't just a concept, either; the Airspeeder will be debuted at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July, and manned flights are beginning this year.

The Airspeeder World Championships are scheduled to launch in 2020, with five teams of two pilots competing for the grand prize.

“Transport is changing, and motoring is becoming more than two-dimensional," says Matt Pearson, founder of Alauda Racing. "Just like traditional motoring, flying cars need a forum to push the technology further. What better way to achieve this than by creating a global flying car series, the sport of this century, the future of motorsport.”  

Categories: Tech News

How Metroid and Wind Waker influenced the next Star Wars game

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:38

Respawn Entertainment finally revealed the first official Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer during this year's annual Star Wars Celebration event. And while the official reveal gave us a lucrative taste of Jedi: Fallen Order's storyline, Respawn was a bit sketchy on details surrounding the title's actual gameplay mechanics and how combat would work.

During the Jedi: Fallen Order panel, Respawn teased that the game would require "thoughtful combat", but what exactly does that mean? Well, thanks to a follow-up interview, we may have a better idea.

Speaking to Press Start, game director Stig Asmussen and director of franchise content and strategy for the Lucasfilm Story Group, Steve Blank revealed Jedi: Fallen Order's combat will require a bit more strategy and patience than your typical single-player title. 

"It means you really have to understand not only the enemy that you’re going up against, but the group of enemies, and they each have their own strengths, and they each have their own weaknesses," Asmussen told Press Start. "You have to figure out what tools that you have in your skill set to best take them down."

While this may conjure thoughts that Jedi: Fallen Order will be in the same vein as the Soulborne series (without the difficulty) - and those games did have an influence to some degree - Respawn found true inspiration from games such as Zelda and Metroid.

"If you look at a game like Zelda Wind Waker, as you get different abilities, each enemy is crafted in a certain way, or even Metroid," Asmussen continued. 

"The enemies are crafted in a certain way that once you upgrade, you can think about how you’re going to approach them differently, and maybe they aren’t as big a challenge as they were at one point."

So, we can expect a progressive system rather than a simple hack n' slash? That sounds like the Star Wars game we were looking for...

(Image credits: Respawn Entertainment)

Categories: Tech News

How has VAR changed the interpretation of wider video analysis

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:30

Technology for surveillance has always been hotly debated. Since the wider introduction of CCTV in the ‘70s, public surveillance has been reviewed with a mix of cynicism and positivity. Some feel that this technology is intruding on the privacy of day-to-day life, and value its effectiveness, whereas most recognise the advantages of this technology for preventing and following up on criminal activity.

However, in the years since Smart Video was rolled out, so has the innovative uses this technology is now providing. Smart video is now capable of producing invaluable insights and reports that allow for increased operational efficiency across all business types by measuring and optimising what we do and how we act in the real world. 

Video analytics role in sports

The evolution of smart video has not been confined to businesses and lifestyle. It has taken a front-row seat in the continuing development of numerous sports. Professional rugby, NFL and football have all used video analysis as a way of improving decision making, efficiency and results in training and in matches. Constructs such as Video Assisted Referees (mainly used in professional football) have changed perceptions through problem-solving and providing good, quantifiable value to fans. In its infancy, VAR was met with the same cynicism that the video security industry was met with. Perhaps technological change is always viewed with some degree of skepticism, until it shows its value.

However, due to the passion that football in Britain holds, many are starting to appreciate the improvements that tech can provide to ‘the beautiful game’. This is not to say that this is a common opinion. Some still question it’s place in the game, but it’s becoming respected.

This mixed feeling is mainly due to traditionalists who feel that the decisions of the referee should not be overruled by the use of technology, or by deferring to the VAR, can slow the momentum of a game. However, higher standards of football refereeing has put a bigger spotlight on mistakes when they do happen. Human error is not uncommon, yet these errors become exaggerated in high stakes situations e.g. an important football match, when an upheld error can have a financial impact on the clubs, or cause anguish at the injustice of the situation to both players and fans. 

Image Credit: Pixabay

The case for VAR

The Video Assisted Referee has felt a resurgence. Football fans have clamoured for its reintroduction after a number of high-profile events had a dramatic effect on European competitions. Instances such as those in the World Cup Final in 2010 would have been different should European football have had access to the Video Assisted Referee. 

More recently, the use of VAR has become more widespread due to the ongoing debate by pundits. VAR is on the verge of being rolled out across all major football leagues as of the 2019-20 season, which will see England’s highest-quality football league, The Premier League, and the Premium European competition, UEFA Champions League both set to have the technology throughout the competitions. There is now greater understanding that VAR can help the referees to make as accurate a decision as possible, which can only be good for the clubs, the players and their fans.

VAR is not the only benefit of using video analysis in the football industry. Used correctly, video analysis of athletes can provide an outside perspective of anything observable, repeatable and improvable with a player’s movement and technique. Clubs regularly use contracted professionals to use technology that will better help them pinpoint moments of disruption in their ongoing development. It can also enable managers to make tactical decisions based upon live data, such as how far someone has run, where on the pitch they have been playing, and how many passes they have made, during the game. The future of football might be one in which teams are picked and play in a certain way “because of what the data says”.

But how has this affected the wider community of video analytics in other industries? If it’s good enough for high-stakes, must-watch matches, there must be something of value for other industries to learn from...

Almost every industry in the UK has reaped the rewards of wider video analysis. This has included the use of video intelligence in retail, offices, warehouses and workspaces as well as across the travel, transport, leisure and education industries.

Image Credit: Pexels

Retail

Retail is the one industry that has benefited most from the use of video analysis. Smart video is so advanced that they have the ability to help retail outlets on almost every level by gaining a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour within stores.

Physical retailers, or retailers with a presence on the high street, are now able to understand their physical space and make it work better for them by getting unprecedented levels of insight and business intelligence that typically had been very hard to get. They can help analyse and gain actionable data on traffic flow, workforce management, store design and merchandising, supply, security and legal. This has helped retail businesses realign their targets for personnel and finances, with new evidence-based data affirming predictions of a downturn in footfall and an increase in overheads.

Health

It would be wrong to say that the wider adoption of VAR has led to an increase in the use of video in hospitals. However, it may have changed the public perception of it. Healthcare staff from surgeons to nurses can benefit from the use of smart video. Surgeons use video analytics as a way of seeing minute mistakes and better training by observing remote procedures. 

Similarly, hospitals are able to better the way they run due to regular insights into the processes undertaken by staff as they interact with the space, assets, people, and equipment. Incremental improvements could be essential to the health of patients, as does the awareness of senior management in the best practices and actions of hospital staff.

Education

The education industry is an area which relies on the continual innovation and adaptation of those who work in it. For this to happen, individuals must find new ways of learning about themselves and improve in a cycle of continuous professional development. 

Our work with the Aston University Engineering Academy has seen teachers become more self-aware and improve the way they present their lessons in order to engage, enthrall, and enhance the student experience and learning environment. The analysis allows experts to provide constructive feedback to even the most experienced teachers to keep improving and enjoy their calling.

Image Credit: Pexels

Transport

Transport is a necessity for a huge number of consumers in the UK. When transport bodies have issues, they’re widely impactful and publicised (and criticised). Due to that, it was only a matter of time before video analysis was integrated into the control and monitoring of various transport types. Rail travel, motoring, and interactions at transport hubs have been enhanced by the use of video analysis. 

For instance, video analysis combined with improved artificial intelligence has allowed an improvement in traffic flow management, reducing congestion and a better targeting of suspicious behaviour. Incidents of violence and threats to rail travel has also been massively reduced by the implementation of smart video in train stations, as well as further analysis of processes from rail providers on how their people and vehicles interact in shared spaces.

Impact of video analysis

In conclusion, video analysis has proved to be an effective tool in improving a number of industries across the UK. Seemingly, the re-introduction of VAR into British football may have correlated with a more positive perception of video analysis and could be one of the major reasons why sport has transformed from a game played for entertainment and leisure into an industry worth over 1.5 trillion US$ globally.

In the last year, statistics have shown a significant reduction in transport violence related to football. Many would suggest that this is down to better policing of the rail system, but there is no doubting that cameras are a deterrent to those looking to instigate or participate in crime.

Richard Morgans, CMO at ONVU Technologies

Categories: Tech News

How to build a data-driven remote team

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 06:30

Although it was once common for companies to rely on intuition when making important decisions, many have since shifted to a more data-centric approach. A report by McKinsey & Company found that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result. It’s no wonder companies are turning to data to make faster, more informed decisions.

It’s important for all teams to be data-driven, including those that work remotely. Although it may take some time for remote teams to adjust to a data mindset, the payoff is massive. Here’s how companies can enable remote teams to take a more data-centric approach.

Develop measurable goals

An extensive collection of data is meaningless unless companies know what they’re using it to measure or how it’s affecting company decisions overall. Before diving deep into data, it’s crucial to determine company-wide goals first as well as those specific to each department.

Companies should create a list of clearly defined goals, such as a revenue target, a growth metric, etc. Communicate these goals with the remote team to help ensure the entire company is on the same page. Consider how these goals align with the data being collected and how they may help shift priorities among the team.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Increase accountability

Shifting to a data-centric approach requires changes to the structure and organization of a remote team. The main idea behind a data-driven team is that all team members are accountable for the analytics related to their specific department. They must develop insight and actionable plans based on their data. For example, a digital marketer should be gathering data and analyzing metrics from their campaign performance to determine whether or not it’s working.

Update the responsibilities of each team member. Communication is key for remote teams to work effectively, so it’s imperative to spell out the responsibilities for each team member clearly. Schedule a call to discuss analytics tools and how this will impact each member of the team. This way, everyone knows what’s expected of them.

Moving to a data-centric approach does not mean making the remote team work certain hours. In fact, the opposite it true. Each team member is instead responsible for pushing the team towards a numeric goal. Remote team members usually have flexible work hours, which is fine, as long as they are accountable for their role in meeting goals.

Recognize contributions

Taking on a data-centric approach will lead to increased insights. Whether someone discovers a way to get more leads or finds a defect in the analytics system, find ways to recognize or reward team members.

For a remote team, company leaders can acknowledge contributions by sending out a special email or providing a spot bonus. Managers will have an easier time figuring out key players on the team, because the numbers will show it. Team leaders can then explain to the entire remote team how and why an employee stood out to encourage this type of work. While it may be easier to recognize a team member in-office, it’s vital to do so in a remote setting as well.

Encourage collaboration

Collaboration is a core value in data-driven companies. It’s critical to build a remote work culture that supports the ongoing sharing of information. Therefore, companies should make all appropriate data accessible to everyone on the team. Sharing data freely allows teams to rely on that data to make important decisions and increases performance at the individual and team level.

For example, many business decisions take place on Slack’s communication tool. Using Statsbot, an analytical bot that integrates with Slack, remote teams can work together and access data whenever they need it. Between these two tools, remote teams can find the information they need easily, and all team members can participate in the decision-making process. Remember to share data among the team safely. pCloud, for example, offers encrypted cloud storage for all files. Team members can also send secure messages using off-the-Record Messaging (OTR), a cryptographic protocol for instant messages.

It might be helpful to hold virtual meetings consistently where remote team members can share and discuss analytical findings, hypotheses they’ve tested, and insights. Sharing data and experiences can help other members on the team leverage valuable information in their own work. 

Image Credit: Pexels

Invest in the right tools and training

No matter how accessible the data is, it won’t be beneficial if team members don’t use it to make decisions or don’t understand it. Start by investing in the appropriate data tools. Companies should choose tools based on their goals and how easy it is for remote teams to use them to access, share, and analyze data. Consider data systems that integrate with existing business tools, such as Excel or Oracle.

Once the right data tools are in place, it’s important to invest in training. Make sure team members understand the basics of data analysis, transformation, and visualization. They must understand the capabilities of each tool. Provide training for remote teams, such as online courses or video-based tutorials, so they have a full understanding of how to use them.

Act on data

Companies that turn data into actionable insights, known as insights-driven businesses, are achieving 30% growth every year. Although it sounds intuitive to act on data, many teams often collect and analyze data without ever using it to make important decisions. To truly create a data-driven remote team, companies must develop a culture where team members act on data collected. If a particular strategy isn’t working, team members should discontinue based on their data and focus their efforts on areas that are getting better results. Not using data to make informed decisions can be detrimental.

Shifting a remote team to a data-centric approach will not happen overnight. Remember to start small and be flexible as the team is likely to experience a learning curve with this change. Companies with remote teams that focus on collecting, analyzing, and using data to make important decisions will have many competitive advantages.

David Lloyd, CEO of The Intern Group

Categories: Tech News

Volvos across Europe will warn each other about icy roads this winter

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 06:29

The weather in Europe is warming up, but Volvo is preparing for an icy winter ahead by rolling out a system that will let cars communicate and warn one another about slippery roads and other hazards.

Winters in Volvo's homeland Sweden can be harsh, with temperatures dropping as low as -30C, so it makes sense to prepare well in advance. 

Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert were first introduced to Volvo 90 series cars in Sweden and Norway in 2016, and proved so successful they're now being added to all new model cars in Europe from 2020 onwards, with retrofitting available for some older models.

The idea is that, by warning drivers in advance that the road ahead is likely to be slippery, the system will give them time to prepare and slow down.

"Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents," said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. "Volvo owners directly contribute to making roads safer for other drivers that enable the feature, while they also benefit from early warnings to potentially dangerous conditions ahead."

Sharing is caring

Hazard Light Alert is a simple idea, but effective: when a Volvo fitted with the system flips on its hazard lights, a signal is sent to all connected cars warning them of a potential danger on that stretch of road. 

Slippery Road Alert is more automated, collecting anonymous data on the condition of the road surface from cars further up the road, and warning those behind about any potential slick patches well in advance.

"The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become," said Ekholm. "We hope to establish more collaborations with partners who share our commitment to safety."

Categories: Tech News

This Nintendo Switch deal with Smash Bros is an Easter Sale winner

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 06:23

We're not messing about...stock is already running low on this superb Nintendo Switch deal. For just £260.10 you can get a brand new Nintendo Switch and a copy of Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

This is thanks to another stunning eBay voucher code that's knocking 10% off a huge range of items at select retailers. Even at the regular £289, this would be a great Nintendo Switch bundle with this still quite new game. But we'll happily take an even bigger discount.

The deal isn't from some randomer on eBay either. It's being sold by AO.com, an electronics specialist that we frequently recommend on a range of our deal pages. It's not unusual nowadays to find stores like AO, Currys and Argos promoting unique deals on eBay and when we can combine them with an eBay voucher code like this they're even better. 

Don't miss this Nintendo Switch deal
  • Voucher code: PRO10
  • Price: £289 £260.10
  • Where: AO.com's eBay store
  • Expires: Monday April 22 (or until stock sells out)

This voucher code can be used on a range of items, but there are a few caveats to consider. The main one is that it can only be used once per account. There's a minimum spend of £20 and the maximum discount you can get is £50. With stores like AO.com, Superdry, Music Magpie, Mountain Warehouse and more getting involved, you shouldn't have to look too hard for a new bargain. Check out the full eBay voucher code sale.

Categories: Tech News

Best phones with big display in India

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 06:12

Big screen smartphones have been the rage for a while now. Initially popularised by Samsung and other first tier smartphone makers, big screens quickly trickled down to the mid-range and then to the budget smartphone segment, with companies like Xiaomi, Motorola and others capitalising on the trend.

However, not all displays are created equal. If you are looking for a smartphone with a big, vivid display, we have compiled a list of the best big screen smartphones in India across different price segments.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a new Infinity-O display that has a laser-cut hole in the top right corner. While the smaller S10 has a circular hole in the display for the front camera, the S10 Plus has a capsule-like hole in order to reside two lenses.  

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus runs the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android 9 Pie, with a layer of Samsung's own OneUI on top. It is easy to navigate, feels smooth and allows a variety of customizations. The device features a powerful Exynos 9820 chipset with a minimum of 8GB RAM (12GB in the Ultimate Performance Edition) to provide plenty of grunt. The Galaxy S10 Plus is undoubtedly the most advanced and balanced phone by Samsung right now.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review

The latest flagship smartphone from Google is easily the best camera on a smartphone this year, but the Pixel 3 XL also comes with a modern design and a big 6.3-inch OLED display.

The Pixel 3 XL’s big high-resolution display is complemented by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and 4GB RAM which is good enough to binge watch Netflix or Hotstar occasionally and you get the cleanest UI experience.

Also Read: Google Pixel 3 XL review

Huawei has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and the P30 Pro is its most accomplished smartphone to date. The Huawei P30 Pro packs a sizable 6.47-inch OLED display with a 1080 x 2340 resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 398ppi pixel density.

The P30 Pro is capable of handling any app you throw at it, with swift load times and the ability to render graphically demanding games. There are small niggles in the look of the interface and the lower-resolution display compared to rivals, but its stand-out cameras, slick performance and premium design make this one of the best flagship smartphones around.

Read the full review: Huawei P30 Pro review

For all intents and purposes, the Galaxy Note 9 is a flawless device. In fact, it would not be wrong to call it a product of the best consumer-facing technologies that Samsung can offer. Featuring a stunning 6.3-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, the Galaxy Note 9 delivers on all fronts – it offers a stunning, vivid display, a powerful chipset, a dual camera setup and a minimal design that stays functional.

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review

Apple's biggest display on an iPhone ever, the XS Max is the perfect phone for gaming and watching TV shows or movies. If budget is not a constraint, the iPhone XS Max is the phone to go for as it brings a supersized experience to the table that is very user centric- a vivid screen that is backed by great audio output and the sheer power of the A12 Bionic.

Also Read: Apple iPhone XS Max review

OnePlus is the top smartphone maker in the premium smartphone segment in India. Their latest offering provides high-end specs at nearly half the price of other flagship smartphones. The OnePlus 6T features a 6.41-inch Full HD+ resolution display and weighs 185 grams. The all-metal unibody design lends the phone a premium look, and the curved back design makes it easier to grip the phone. The 19.5:9 aspect ratio of the waterdrop display is perfect for consuming content on the go. This, coupled with the Snapdragon 845 onboard makes for one beast of smartphone.

Also Read: OnePlus 6T review

Asus Zenfone 5z

Not the one to be left behind in the race of bezel-less phones with notch displays, Asus recently launched the Zenfone 5Z featuring a 6.2-inch display in India. The smartphone is powered by the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. At a price of Rs. 29,999, the Zenfone 5Z undercuts the new OnePlus 6 while offering flagship-grade specs.

Hands on: Asus Zenfone 5Z review

First showcased at Mobile World Congress 2018, the Nokia 7 Plus is the company's solution for buyers looking for a solid and complete mid-range phone. Priced at Rs 24,999, the phone is a well suited device for long-term users. The phone not just feels durable but also comes with stock Android Oreo under Android One Program, that ensures software updates for three consecutive years.

Out of all the new Nokia devices, this one has the largest display at 6-inches, and also has an 18:9 aspect ratio. 

Also Read: Nokia 7 Plus review

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Fold could launch in India by May 2019

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 06:06

Samsung's blue-eyed boy, the Galaxy Fold is perhaps the most exciting smartphones of 2019 and has been doing rounds of the internet as and when more people get access to the product. If a new report is to be believed, the Galaxy Fold is going to be available in India sometime in May this year. While the Fold will officially be available in the US starting April 26, the UK and Europe will only get it from May 3.

According to a report by BGR India which cites anonymous sources, Samsung is zeroing in on a date for the launch of Galaxy Fold in India. As of now, there's no official information regarding a possible launch date. Having said that, the launch of the Samsung foldable phone is confirmed as DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung Electronics revealed in an interview that Samsung will indeed launch their "newest technology innovation" in India.

The Galaxy Fold was unveiled in March and is Samsung's first foldable phone that is going to be available commercially very soon. The phone has three screens- a small 4.6-inch Super AMOLED display on the front and a large 7.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel when the phone is unfolded. Naturally, it is Samsung's most expensive phone ever and comes with a price tag of 1,980 USD which roughly translates to Rs 1,37,750. We expect Samsung to price it around the same mark when the Galaxy Fold launches in India.

Durability issues escalate on Galaxy Fold

With reviewers getting their hands on the Galaxy Fold just days back, various reports now indicate that the Galaxy Fold isn't as durable as it feels in the hand. Publications like The Verge, Android Central along with a bunch of YouTube video creators have revealed that the primary screen on their review units has stopped working and in one case, is continuously flickering.

Samsung has released a statement on the issue and promises to inspect the said review units for further details. "A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter," Samsung said in the statement.

It also added that the Galaxy Fold comes pre-installed with a protective film which, if removed, may cause damage to the primary display. Samsung assures that it will "ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers."

Categories: Tech News

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G could have a powerful difference from non-5G sibling

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 05:57

A 5G version of the Huawei Mate 20 X was announced at MWC 2019, and while we don't know an exact release date or price for it, leaked specs do show us one important difference it has with the Huawei Mate 20 X 4G model.

Leaked information on the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G suggests that while it'll have the same screen size as the Mate 20 X 4G, it'll actually have a smaller battery, despite 5G connectivity being a substantial battery drain. 

The 4,200mAh battery size suggested by the leak is still a respectable capacity, but for a device with a huge 7.2-inch screen that should be able to connect to 5G, the battery life itself could be a little on the short side.

However the leak does suggest the handset will have 40W SuperCharge, which the original Huawei Mate 20 X did not, and this could help to mitigate potential battery problems somewhat.

We can't verify the validity of the leak, however the downgrade would make sense, given that 5G antennae take up more space than 4G versions, and so Huawei could possibly downsize the battery to make room in a device of the same size.

While we don't know the release date of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G just yet, we're actually expecting the foldable 5G Huawei Mate X to release first, and that's slated for the second half of 2019, so it could be a while before we find out for sure the battery situation of the Mate 20 X 5G.

Categories: Tech News

Philips Hue and Google Assistant can now wake you with a simulated sunrise

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 05:38

Google Home devices have a new feature that will gently brighten your Philips Hue lights when it's time to wake up, and dim them when you're ready to start winding down for the night.

A simulated sunrise is a much gentler way to start your day than an alarm, but a good quality wake-up light can cost well over $100. If you have Philips Hue lights in your bedroom and a Google Home on your bedside cabinet, there's now no need for anything else.

The command "Hey Google, turn on Gentle Wakeup" will add light to your regular alarm, while "Hey Google, wake my lights" will create a simulated sunrise to rouse you without any noise.

When you're ready to settle down for the night, "Hey Google, sleep the lights" will gradually dim them to help you drift off.

Sleep tight

Gentle Wakeup is currently available in the US, UK, Australia, Singapore and India, and works in English only, but hopefully more languages and territories will be coming soon.

"For other ways to wind down at the end of the day, you can also tune out noises from street traffic or construction next door by saying, 'Hey Google, play white noise.'" suggests product manager Ashton Udall.

Alternatively, you could have Google Assistant read you (or your kids) a bedtime story from your audiobook library. Just say "Stop playing in 30 minutes" and the story will stop when it's time to get some shuteye. 

Categories: Tech News

Disrupt the search: why marketplaces could replace search engines

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 05:30

Internet searches can be broken into two categories - informational (news, Wikipedia, trivia questions) and commercial ones (products and services). While the internet is a key destination for commercial queries, the way people search is changing. On traditional search engines, a user has to perform some actions to get what they want: find a right option, call or email the provider, check the price and availability.  

At the same time, on-demand economy has set a new bar for the quality, speed and convenience of search. Users are no longer willing to wait, they simply look for a quickest way to solve their problem, rather than to merely browse search results. As a result, customers turn their eyes to the online marketplaces that bring together almost everything – from airline tickets and restaurants to brands and services – see a 300 percent growth per year, according to Stripe. 

Marketplaces have a potential to replace search engines as platforms of choice for commercial searches – and here is why.

Shift in behavior

Let’s face it – it’s already happening. More US internet users start product searches on Amazon (46.7 percent) compared to Google (34.6 percent). When it comes to buying, customers preferred to search and purchase the goods on Amazon (41 percent), or to search on Google and then to buy on Amazon (28 percent).

One reason for it is the data accumulated by the marketplaces. Extensive reviews, Q&As, pictures both from retailers and buyers, comparison options lure both online and offline shoppers to research product information. Multiple parameters also enable a greater search personalization.

That leads to another shift. Research shows that it takes a user longer to complete a purchase after a search on Amazon. An online marketplace becomes a preferred product research engine, while Google is used after a customer already knows what to buy. At the same time, according to Salesforce, online marketplaces tend to win a battle for the second purchase and customer loyalty.

Another change hits the restaurant market where the delivery-only “ghost” restaurants are working solely on aggregate marketplaces like Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Those virtual restaurants don’t have seating or storefront, however, they have more opportunity to experiment with menus based on what users search. According to Morgan Stanley, the food delivery market could grow to $220 billion by 2020 from $30 billion in 2017, and the opportunity to exist solely on a marketplace gives entrepreneurs a chance to develop business and cut costs of traditional restaurants. 

Key takeaway: businesses can no longer ignore placing their products on marketplaces – otherwise they risk not being noticed at the earlier stage of user journey. Commercial searches are the most obvious area where marketplaces can seamlessly overtake search engines, as they already do.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Post-search experience

Why is this shift in behavior happening? Unlike the traditional search engines, marketplaces seem to do a better job going beyond the list of relevant results and provide an actual solution to users’ search intent. That is true not only for product searches, but also for services -  Andrew Chen from Andreessen Horowitz actually predicts a new era of service marketplaces to emerge, including the ones providing access to contractor jobs. 

The gig economy is a growing trend worldwide – just in the U.S., it counts over 60 million workers, and by 2027 the majority of American people will work independently. Freelancer marketplaces like Upwork and YouDo not only help users to seamlessly find the best talent on the market, but also to use some functions to enhance the post-search experience.

For example, Upwork provides businesses access to collaboration and project management tools, invoicing and international payment processing, while freelancers can benefit from access to Microsoft Office tools. Facebook Marketplace has expanded into home services last year, powered by other three marketplaces - Handy, HomeAdvisor, and Porch. Users can search by reviews, location and other data points powered by the marketplaces, as well as to get a quote directly on Facebook and communicate to a chosen professional through Facebook Messenger. 

YouDo serves as a one stop shop for the day-to-day jobs like Ikea furniture assembling or roof maintenance, or some quirky tasks like helping with a marriage proposal. Interestingly enough, YouDo features a search bar powered by AI to recognize the request made in natural language and find the right professional to do the job. 

Key takeaway: marketplaces are a backbone of gig economy. Large databases ensure a quicker search for the talent, enhanced functionality enables greater personalization as well as a better post-search experience. As a result, on-demand marketplaces provide not just a better search option, but also allow businesses and consumers to save time.  

Image Credit: Pexels

From voice search to voice purchase

Voice search is a trend for both search engines and marketplaces. By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be done by voice, and 40 percent of millennials already use voice search before making a purchase online. Google and Amazon lead the adoption through voice-powered personal assistants (Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa), smart speakers (Google Home and Amazon Echo), and generic voice search functions onsite.

While the clear winner is yet to be determined, marketplaces are not giving up to search engines and continue to invest in better experiences. For example, Amazon has already patented a new technology to allow Alexa detect user’s emotions and feelings – if the assistant recognizes a cough, it might prompt the user to buy some medicine.

Key takeaway: voice search battle has just began, but marketplaces are effectively competing with search engines. Leveraging AI algorithms, improving voice recognition and adding extra functionality to help users find and buy what they want allow marketplaces to stay in line with customers’ needs.

Romi Kumar, Writer at HackerNoon

Categories: Tech News

Sony World Photography Awards 2019 winners revealed

Latest Tech News - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 05:05

Italian artist Federico Borella has been crowned the overall winner in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.

Borella's series Five Degrees, which documents male suicide in the farming community of Tamil Nadu, Southern India, was praised by the judges for its "sensitivity, technical excellence and artistry in bringing to light a global concern." 

He walked away with $25,000, together with photographic kit courtesy of the competition sponsor Sony.

Borella was one of 10 Professional competition category winners. The full list is as follows:

  • Architecture: Stephan Zirwes, Germany, for series Cut Outs - Pools 2018 
  • Brief: Rebecca Fertinel, Belgium, for series Ubuntu - I Am Because We Are 
  • Creative: Marinka Masséus, Netherlands, for the series Chosen [not] to be 
  • Discovery: Jean-Marc Caimi & Valentina Piccinni, Italy, for the series Güle Güle
  • Documentary: Federico Borella, Italy, for series Five Degrees  
  • Landscape: Yan Wang Preston, UK, for the series To the South of the Colourful Clouds 
  • Natural World & Wildlife: Jasper Doest, Netherlands, for the series Meet Bob
  • Portraiture: Álvaro Laiz, Spain, for the series The Edge 
  • Sport: Alessandro Grassani, Italy, for the series Boxing Against Violence: The Female Boxers Of Goma 
  • Still Life: Nicolas Gaspardel & Pauline Baert, France, for the series Yuck

Other winners include Hawaiian photographer Christy Lee Rogers, who scooped the Open Photographer of the Year prize for her work Harmony (pictured above), while 18-year-old photographer Zelle Westfall, based in the USA, won the Youth Photographer of the Year.

Spanish photographer Sergi Villanueva, meanwhile, walked away with the title of Student Photographer of the Year. Villanueva represented Universidad Jaume I and won €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for the university.

Nadav Kander, whose photographic career has seen him shoot everything from portraits of celebrities and presidents through to his Prix Pictet-winning series Yangtze - The Long River, was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize. Previous recipients of the accolade include Candida Höfer, Martin Parr, Eve Arnold and Elliot Erwitt.

Images from this year's winners, together with shortlisted and commended works, are now on display at the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London. The exhibition runs until May 6, before going on tour around the world. Images also feature in a book that accompanies the awards.

Now in its 12th year, the Sony World Photography Awards received a record-breaking 326,997 submissions from 195 countries this year. Next year's competition is open for submissions from 1 June 2019.  

Categories: Tech News

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