Uber and Hotels.com sign up on travelling

Hotels.com customers can now ride to their hotel at the touch of a button

hotels.comHotels.com has integrated Uber into its mobile app, enabling customers to book an Uber to take them directly to their hotel at the touch of a button.

This integration is powered by Button, the app discovery platform, so customers using the Hotels.com Android app can now book an Uber in 30 different languages and in all countries that Uber operates in.

Customers staying at any of the properties available through Hotels.com will see an Uber Button appear in their app on the day their hotel stay begins, both on the homepage and in the reservation section. When a user taps the ‘Ride there with Uber’ button, their current location and hotel address is automatically pre-populated within Uber’s application, making the entire experience seamless.

Hotels.com is a leading lodging expert and its best-in-class mobile app has more than 50 million downloads. Dan Craig, Senior Director of Mobile for Hotels.com brand explained.

“Like us, Uber are technology leaders in their field and together we’re making it easy for travelers to get to their hotel in a hassle-free way, so they can start their trip sooner. We’re always looking for ways to enhance our in-stay mobile offering”, he said.

Button is the marketplace behind the integration and offers a simple and efficient way to scalably build partnerships on mobile; that add complementary services and drive revenue, all with a great user experience.

Emerging markets are worth $70 billion to digital brands

The 2016 Developing Markets Mobile Commerce report says that tech brands need to address these markets strategically.

emerging

A new report has revealed that engaging consumers in high growth markets could offer a $70 billion revenue opportunity to digital services providers. The findings, however, also show that tech brands need to address the intricacies of each market and adjust their strategy accordingly.

The 2016 Developing Markets Mobile Commerce report, commissioned by Upstream, a leading mobile commerce accelerator in high growth markets, reveals that if cost wasn’t an issue, Netflix is the brand that consumers across the markets questioned would like to access most via their mobile device.

More than a quarter (26%) named Netflix, ahead of Apple Music (25%), BBC News (20%), Amazon Prime (17%) and Spotify (13%) as the biggest mobile brand. The report reveals that the top factors which influence the decision of consumers in emerging markets to purchase a digital mobile service are pricing adjusted to local currency (88%) and low data charges (87%).

The data also reveal that 61% of consumers in the markets questioned feel unsatisfied with their current mobile connection, with 25% stating it is unreliable and 36% stating it is slow. As a result, over a third of consumers (40%) want brands to provide ‘lite’ versions of their digital services.

The findings highlight that localisation of content is key for consumers in emerging markets; with more than 75% wanting the digital services they consume to have a substantial local feel. In Brazil, video services are used by 62% of consumers, with 92% of respondents requiring at least a balanced mix between local and international content in their preferred streaming services.

* The study was carried out in January 2016 by YouGov on behalf of Upstream and was based on 5,215 consumers in Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa. The survey sample was age and gender representative of each of the markets covered.

UK investment in FinTech up 35% to $901 million

UK investment for FinTech firms increased by 35% to $901million across 72 deals in 2015, according to Innovate Finance, the not-for-profit membership association for global FinTech.


In the UK, the FinTech industry is booming.

In the UK, the FinTech industry is booming.

The rise in UK investment was led by large funding rounds from Funding Circle, Transferwise, WorldRemit, eToro, RateSetter, Azimo, The Currency Cloud, MoneyFarm and Seedrs.

In 2015 global VC investment in the UK kept pace with 2014, with lower deal volume indicating a trend of larger deal sizes globally. There were 860 deals globally, attracting $12.5 billion in investment.

The UK attracted the highest volume of deals outside the US and third in terms of total investment behind US and China. Of the Top 20 global deals, two were from the UK – Atom Bank, which secured $125 million and Funding Circle, which raised $150 million.

The highest proportion of deals was in the $1-$5 million category globally. Funding Circle, Atom Bank, Ebury Partners, Transferwise and World Remit round up the Top 5 FinTech deals – all more than $50 million.

More than 60% of the UK VC investment in FinTech was in the peer-to-peer, alternative finance and payment and remittance segments, with challenger banks pushing investment volume to over 74%. The balance of investment was spread across Wealth Management (Robo-Advice), Capital Markets, Data Analytics, crowdfunding, and a number of emerging categories.

““One of the big trends in 2015 was investment in FinTech by financial institutions in incubators, accelerators, labs, talent, partnerships, digital M&A, and corporate venture funds. A couple of years ago, entrepreneurs in the community were looking for introductions to VCs. Last year, they were interested in introductions to institutions”, said Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance.

London’s history and tradition as the home of global banking is doubtlessly responsible for this influx of capital, but with other global cities innovating in peer-2-peer, this investment will need to continue if London is to stay ahead of that oft-mentioned curve.

Inflight Wi-Fi is five years old… the data is weird

Inflight Wi-Fi has not yet hit critical mass, but data from airline Norwegian reports that our mobile and online habits are no different in the air.

inflightFive years ago, Norwegian was the first European carrier to offer free Wi-Fi on all routes. Since pioneering the service in February 2011 more than 19 million passengers have logged in at 35,000ft and digital addictions remain the same airborne.

According to a study from Norwegian, more than a third of passengers log into social media within five minutes of a flight and just one in ten passengers said they take a break from social media during a flight.

The airline polled a representative selection of 1,000 passengers across Europe about their inflight surfing habits and combined it with data usage from more than 550,000 flights to reveal what people are browsing, sharing and tagging over Europe’s skies.

More than 18,000 passengers access Norwegian’s free Wi-Fi every day, with the biggest demand on routes to and from Spain. Since introducing the free service more than 500 terabytes of data have been consumed on board flights – the equivalent of streaming 1.2 million songs, receiving 170 million emails or watching 25,000 hours of Netflix.

The most popular websites visited by people from the UK are news sites including BBC, Guardian and Daily Mail, followed by Right Move and Amazon. Inflight Wi-Fi has contributed to new social media trends with half of 18-to 25- year-olds logging into Instagram to take a selfie or post a wing shot. To date #flyNorwegian has been tagged over 12,900 times on Instagram

Norwegian’s Wi-Fi works via an antenna fitted to each aircraft that communicates with a satellite mounted on the fuselage. Inside the aircraft, there are two separate networks, one that is open for passengers and one for pilots and cabin crew that to make their work in the air easier and more efficient.

Norwegian has continued its pioneering technological spirit by becoming the only airline to offer a ‘bring your own device’ inflight entertainment system across Europe, and becoming the first European carrier to introduce live television in November 2015.

Sumo Digital now in Pune, Sheffield… and Nottingham

I like the people at Sumo Digital after meeting them at a conference in Pune last quarter, a really smart independent games developer, currently working on a range of AAA titles such as Crackdown 3

sumoWhile Nottingham is not as glamorous as their office in Pune, choosing the city as the third location for its games studio is further proof of the company’s expansion. Opening in March 2016, Sumo Nottingham will work alongside the Sheffield and India studios on a mix of projects and R & D. Beginning with a select group of newly hired employees and staff from the Sheffield HQ, Sumo is actively recruiting to grow the Nottingham team to 50 people in the first 12 months
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“Opening the new Sumo studio proves how serious we are about extending our core capabilities to both better serve our AAA client base and reflect our ambition to explore new opportunities across console, PC, mobile and VR,” said Carl Cavers, Sumo Digital SEO.

Sumo Digital employs 280 staff developing games across all platforms and genres. Known for its versatility, proprietary technology, creativity and high Metacritic, Sumo Digital’s portfolio of games includes Little Big Planet 3, Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed, Forza Horizon 2 – Fast & Furious and Disney Infinity. The studio is also developing Crackdown 3 in collaboration with Reagent and Microsoft.

At the 2013 TIGA Game Awards, the company won Best Arcade Game (Large Studio) and Outstanding Leadership Awards and in 2015 won a prestigious DICE Award for ‘Best Family Game’ and 3 gongs at the TIGA Awards for ‘Best Social Game’ (Little Big Planet 3), UK Heritage Award and Outstanding Individual for CEO Carl Cavers.