Caterpillar Venture Capital Invests in Energy Solutions Provider Powerhive

Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., announced that the company has made an equity investment in Powerhive, an energy solutions provider for emerging market Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., announced that the company has made an equity investment in Powerhive, an energy solutions provider for emerging markets. Caterpillar Ventures is one of eight investors in a $20M Series A round, which was led by Prelude Ventures and also includes First Solar, Total Energy Ventures and Tao Capital Partners.

Huawei P9 sports dual camera lenses in alleged leak

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Images purporting to be Huawei’s next major flagship, the Huawei P9, have leaked courtesy of a popular Weibo user (via MyDrivers.com). When asked whether the images represented the upcoming handset, a person who has seen the device gave a qualified affirmation.

Most striking about the renders, which feature heavy doses of Huawei design language, is the two-lens configuration on the back — a feature VentureBeat reported on last month in relation to an alleged premium P9 variant.

The person who has seen the P9 and its higher-end namesake said that they both feature the dual-lens, dual 12-megapixel sensor camera configuration.

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As expected, P9 also features Huawei’s trademark rear-mounted fingerprint reader. According to MyDrivers, a homegrown Kirin 955 processor powers the 5.2-inch, FHD P9, supplemented by 4GB of RAM and a 2900mAh battery.

According to the person with knowledge of its design, while these renders are representative of the flagship device overall, they appear to have been manipulated such that the phone’s aspect ratio seems misleading. They told VentureBeat that the real handset is taller, narrower, and overall less squat than this imagery suggests.










The U.S. reportedly planned a major cyber attack on Iran if diplomacy failed

A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files

(Reuters) — The United States had a plan for an extensive cyber attack on Iran in case diplomatic attempts to curtail its nuclear program failed, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing a forthcoming documentary and military and intelligence officials.

Code-named Nitro Zeus, the plan was aimed at crippling Iran’s air defenses, communications systems and key parts of its electrical power grid, but was put on hold after a nuclear deal was reached last year, the Times said.

The plan developed by the Pentagon was intended to assure President Barack Obama that he had alternatives to war if Iran moved against the United States or its regional allies, and at one point involved thousands of U.S. military and intelligence personnel, the report said. It also called for spending tens of millions of dollars and putting electronic devices in Iran’s computer networks, the Times said.

U.S. intelligence agencies at the same time developed a separate plan for a covert cyberattack to disable Iran’s Fordo nuclear enrichment site inside a mountain near the city of Qom, the report said.

The existence of Nitro Zeus was revealed during reporting on a documentary film called “Zero Days” to be shown on Wednesday at the Berlin Film Festival, the Times said. The film describes rising tensions between Iran and the West in the years before the nuclear agreement, the discovery of the Stuxnet cyberattack on the Natanz uranium enrichment plant, and debates in the Pentagon over the use of such tactics, the paper reported.

The Times said it conducted separate interviews to confirm the outlines of the program, but that the White House, the Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence all declined to comment, saying that they do not discuss planning for military contingencies.

There was no immediate response to a request by Reuters for comment from the Pentagon.

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Chris Reese)










Instagram Finally Adds Two-Factor Authentication To Fight Hackers

Instagram Two Factor Authorization Instagram accounts are worth stealing. Now at 400 million users including celebrities, brands, and artists making a living, it’s time to add another lock to its doors. In November I wrote that “Seriously, Instagram Needs Two-Factor Authentication”, and a tipster just told me they’ve spotted it in testing. Today, Instagram confirmed to me that it’s beginning to… Read More

Think like a CMO: Allocating budget and resources across the buyer’s journey (webinar)

shutterstock_217605766

Top CMOs come together for a one-hour candid look at the best way to nail the key components of the customer journey — from which KPIs to watch to how best to budget across every stage of the journey.

Register here for free.


All great stories have humble beginnings and the same holds true for a customer’s journey. From their initial contact on, a customer’s journey tracks all the essential moments that transform them from a tentative onlooker to an avid brand loyalist. Nailing how you do this should be the bedrock of your marketing strategy. But where do you put what resources? How do you spread them out from brand awareness and acquisition through all the stages of a customer’s lifetime?

These are key questions that every marketing professional wrestles with in building a customer journey map. Of course, it starts with pinpointing the who, what, when, where, and why of all touchpoints in order to duplicate success. From there, you have to consider how all your business components — advertising, social media, in store, online, customer support, etc. — played a role, and measure it all. That means establishing the most important KPIs to track success to know where and how to allocate resources and budget.

Plus, it’s important to emphasize that a customer’s journey is not a one-and-done deal. After all, it is a “journey,” meaning you’re in it for the long haul. Not recognizing opportunities to further engage with your customers may push them away from your company and into the arms of the competition. Treating them as individuals with their own preferences is the only way you’ll get them coming back to your brand.

With all that said, it’s not always easy plotting out an effective customer journey. It’s why we’ve brought together a star lineup of CMOs who will leave you with insights that may change your own journey.

Learn how to think like a top-performing CMO and create a customer’s journey map to success.


Don’t miss out.

Register here for free.


After this webinar, you’ll:

  • Gain CMO perspectives on KPIs, team structure, and resource allocation
  • Learn how CMO’s are measuring marketing results
  • Get tips and advice on setting your organization up for success

Speakers:

Jeffrey Rohrs, Chief Marketing Officer, Yext

Chip House, Chief Marketing Officer, Four51

Ramon Chen, Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing & Product Management, Reltio

Kevin Bobowski, Chief Marketing Officer, Act-On Software

Moderator:

Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat


This webinar is sponsored by Act-On Software.










Think like a CMO: Allocating budget and resources across the buyer’s journey (webinar)

shutterstock_217605766

Top CMOs come together for a one-hour candid look at the best way to nail the key components of the customer journey — from which KPIs to watch to how best to budget across every stage of the journey.

Register here for free.


All great stories have humble beginnings and the same holds true for a customer’s journey. From their initial contact on, a customer’s journey tracks all the essential moments that transform them from a tentative onlooker to an avid brand loyalist. Nailing how you do this should be the bedrock of your marketing strategy. But where do you put what resources? How do you spread them out from brand awareness and acquisition through all the stages of a customer’s lifetime?

These are key questions that every marketing professional wrestles with in building a customer journey map. Of course, it starts with pinpointing the who, what, when, where, and why of all touchpoints in order to duplicate success. From there, you have to consider how all your business components — advertising, social media, in store, online, customer support, etc. — played a role, and measure it all. That means establishing the most important KPIs to track success to know where and how to allocate resources and budget.

Plus, it’s important to emphasize that a customer’s journey is not a one-and-done deal. After all, it is a “journey,” meaning you’re in it for the long haul. Not recognizing opportunities to further engage with your customers may push them away from your company and into the arms of the competition. Treating them as individuals with their own preferences is the only way you’ll get them coming back to your brand.

With all that said, it’s not always easy plotting out an effective customer journey. It’s why we’ve brought together a star lineup of CMOs who will leave you with insights that may change your own journey.

Learn how to think like a top-performing CMO and create a customer’s journey map to success.


Don’t miss out.

Register here for free.


After this webinar, you’ll:

  • Gain CMO perspectives on KPIs, team structure, and resource allocation
  • Learn how CMO’s are measuring marketing results
  • Get tips and advice on setting your organization up for success

Speakers:

Jeffrey Rohrs, Chief Marketing Officer, Yext

Chip House, Chief Marketing Officer, Four51

Ramon Chen, Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing & Product Management, Reltio

Kevin Bobowski, Chief Marketing Officer, Act-On Software

Moderator:

Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat


This webinar is sponsored by Act-On Software.










How simple design helped Tinder dominate online dating (Mobile Summit)

Cavallo Point

We’re pleased to introduce Jonathan Badeen as one of our speakers at the sixth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit on April 4-5.

The event focuses on strategies business leaders are using to drive significant mobile growth. Executives will discuss the best practices around acquiring, engaging and nurturing users.

Jonathan Badeen, co-founder of Tinder

Above: Jonathan Badeen, cofounder of Tinder

Image Credit: EventRebels

One of the basics, of course, is simple, compelling design. That’s what is driving the explosive growth of Tinder, the dating app, founded just more than three years ago — where it now dominates 18 Western nations as the top app for dating traffic. That’s a phenomenal accomplishment given the existence of many older, accomplished dating sites.

Tinder continues to emphasize design innovation, even as it finds ways to monetize its huge traffic. There’s an estimated $2.2 billion-plus online dating industry, according to various estimates.

Badeen is the guy who invented the “swipe right” action in the app, credited as the leading engagement force within Tinder’s app. At the Summit, Badeen will talk about how he sees design conventions and best practices in user experience developing over the next year.

Late last month, Tinder released a slew of new messaging features, including letting you easily add humorous GIFs to the messages you send to your prospective dates (by integrating a search feature with Giphy). In September, it added a “Super Like” feature, where users can now swipe up on a person’s picture to let them know they’re more interested in that one person than anyone else they’ve swiped on. Until then, Tinder has had two main functionalities: swipe right to initiate a match, and swipe left to indicate that you’re not interested.

Another reason why Tinder is instructive to other companies is because its core audience is the Millennial, the generation of young users many companies are hoping to attract. Half of Tinder’s users are aged 18-24, which makes up a big portion of the 19-34 Millennial cohort.

Tinder is independently run, but was incubated within the Match Group, and is still a property held by that $2.5 billion publicly traded company.

Other speakers at Mobile Summit include leading executives from Facebook, Pandora, GrubHub, Touch of Modern, and Freshdesk, which we’ll be announcing shortly. The event will take place at the scenic Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, California.

We invite only 180 executives to the Summit (you can apply to attend here). The Summit is designed to be an intimate experience where executives exchange strategies around some of the hottest trends around mobile traction. The goal is to make the Summit the best insider event, and an independent one free from influence from specific vendors or platform owners. Leading vendors will be there, but we try to invite brands and other independent app owners to create the best mix possible. Working sessions go into depth on specific topic areas, and cocktail receptions make sure the networking juices flow.

Topics include the following:

  • User acquisition
  • Designing the user experience
  • Messaging and video
  • Mobile marketing automation
  • Targeting your marketing
  • How to build your mobile marketing team
  • How to orient entire organization around mobile
  • M-commerce and online-offline convergence
  • Nurturing existing users
  • Harnessing data for mobile engagement
  • Mobile advertising attribution
  • Predicting and measuring

Call for sponsors

If you’d like to sponsor, please send a message to [email protected]










How simple design helped Tinder dominate online dating (Mobile Summit)

Cavallo Point

We’re pleased to introduce Jonathan Badeen as one of our speakers at the sixth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit on April 4-5.

The event focuses on strategies business leaders are using to drive significant mobile growth. Executives will discuss the best practices around acquiring, engaging and nurturing users.

Jonathan Badeen, co-founder of Tinder

Above: Jonathan Badeen, cofounder of Tinder

Image Credit: EventRebels

One of the basics, of course, is simple, compelling design. That’s what is driving the explosive growth of Tinder, the dating app, founded just more than three years ago — where it now dominates 18 Western nations as the top app for dating traffic. That’s a phenomenal accomplishment given the existence of many older, accomplished dating sites.

Tinder continues to emphasize design innovation, even as it finds ways to monetize its huge traffic. There’s an estimated $2.2 billion-plus online dating industry, according to various estimates.

Badeen is the guy who invented the “swipe right” action in the app, credited as the leading engagement force within Tinder’s app. At the Summit, Badeen will talk about how he sees design conventions and best practices in user experience developing over the next year.

Late last month, Tinder released a slew of new messaging features, including letting you easily add humorous GIFs to the messages you send to your prospective dates (by integrating a search feature with Giphy). In September, it added a “Super Like” feature, where users can now swipe up on a person’s picture to let them know they’re more interested in that one person than anyone else they’ve swiped on. Until then, Tinder has had two main functionalities: swipe right to initiate a match, and swipe left to indicate that you’re not interested.

Another reason why Tinder is instructive to other companies is because its core audience is the Millennial, the generation of young users many companies are hoping to attract. Half of Tinder’s users are aged 18-24, which makes up a big portion of the 19-34 Millennial cohort.

Tinder is independently run, but was incubated within the Match Group, and is still a property held by that $2.5 billion publicly traded company.

Other speakers at Mobile Summit include leading executives from Facebook, Pandora, GrubHub, Touch of Modern, and Freshdesk, which we’ll be announcing shortly. The event will take place at the scenic Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, California.

We invite only 180 executives to the Summit (you can apply to attend here). The Summit is designed to be an intimate experience where executives exchange strategies around some of the hottest trends around mobile traction. The goal is to make the Summit the best insider event, and an independent one free from influence from specific vendors or platform owners. Leading vendors will be there, but we try to invite brands and other independent app owners to create the best mix possible. Working sessions go into depth on specific topic areas, and cocktail receptions make sure the networking juices flow.

Topics include the following:

  • User acquisition
  • Designing the user experience
  • Messaging and video
  • Mobile marketing automation
  • Targeting your marketing
  • How to build your mobile marketing team
  • How to orient entire organization around mobile
  • M-commerce and online-offline convergence
  • Nurturing existing users
  • Harnessing data for mobile engagement
  • Mobile advertising attribution
  • Predicting and measuring

Call for sponsors

If you’d like to sponsor, please send a message to [email protected]










On Chatbots

robotheart Chatbots, historically maligned as “weak AI,” are finally transforming from ugly duckling to beautiful swan. According to recent predictions, chatbots (#ConvComm!) will be big. Like, Google-killing big, heralding the end of apps and search as we know it — or so proclaimed Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. Read More

Blizzard’s 25 years built bonds and friendships as well as iconic games

Frank Pearce (left) with fans at BlizzCon.

Blizzard Entertainment just celebrated a historic milestone — its 25th anniversary. From humble beginnings as a company porting games to the Amiga to developing some of the world’s most popular real-time strategy, massively multiplayer online, and collectible card games, Blizzard has grown into an iconic cornerstone of the entire gaming industry today.

How successful is Blizzard? It has over 4,000 employees, and it generated $1.6 billion in the 12 months that ended September 30 — with $592 million in profit. It is one of the crown jewels of the American game business, and its StarCraft, Warcraft, and Diablo brands are known throughout the world.

GamesBeat talked with Mike Morhaime (CEO), Chris Metzen (VP , creative development), and Frank Pearce (senior VP) to ask them about Blizzard’s 1991 roots, some of the tremendous successes along the way, and where they see themselves headed as they continue to grow.

But I really wanted to talk to these three about something a little closer to home — the incredible communities that have grown around Blizzard’s games and, subsequently, the phenomenal position it is in to further diversify its reach with esports.

Blizzard and me

A little backstory: I grew up on Blizzard’s games. From the original Warcraft: Orcs and Humans on, one (or more!) of Blizzard’s games has been my go-to choice for my free time for 20-plus years. My intense interest in the games that Blizzard has produced over the years has led me to surreal opportunities — a World of Warcraft community that has since become the basis of dozens of my most meaningful friendships, a career in esports, and even the chance to man the desk as a caster for Blizzard’s Hearthstone esports scene.

When I talk to Blizzard staff now, they’re people I share a common goal with — we all want the games, the communities, and the competitive scenes to succeed. We’re all working toward the same objectives, just from different angles. So to talk to these three about not only how far Blizzard has come, but how much further they want to go, was cool — but I really wanted to know more about the why than the how.

Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, in 2011.

Above: Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, in 2011.

Making people happy

While everyone had their own perspective on the subject, the thing that stuck with me the most was what Morhaime had to say when I first got to sneak the subject of esports:

“One of the challenges [in esports] is to really humanize it and get to know the players more– that’s where you really start forming an attachment and have people to root for,” Morhaime said. He draws the comparison to the Olympics, where despite including many sports or events that aren’t necessarily tremendously popular outside of the Olympics themselves, the human stories that are being told really help give players and teams an identity.

Morhaime’s been vocal in the past about wanting to see gaming become a more positive space — he even took a hard-line on harassment during his opening remarks at BlizzCon 2014. In every conversation I’ve ever had with him, he always seems genuinely excited to see people be happy, whether by enjoying a game his company has made, following its competitive esports scene, or meeting someone through one of their many communities.

About a beer. …

Pearce had a lot to say about the importance of a name: Blizzard Entertainment. It wasn’t the Blizzard part he emphasized, though.

“When we chose to name the company Blizzard Entertainment after we’d gone through other choices that didn’t work out as well. The choice to say ‘Entertainment’ was conscious,” Pearce told us emphatically. “Not ‘Studios’ or ‘Games.’ Even way back then, before we had shipped [WarCraft] Orcs and Humans, we believed that we were going to be creating franchises that would be leveraged for far more than just games.”

I really “met” Pearce at BlizzCon 2014. He was waiting in line to buy one of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft 10th Anniversary Thunderbrew Brown Ales (I still have one — hanging on to it for a special occasion!). It didn’t seem many of the people there recognized him, but I did — and offered to buy him that beer. We talked for quite a while about the company and all of the wonderful memories they’ve been able to create, and listening to him tell the story above about choosing the name made me feel like somehow, deep down, they’ve always known what a powerful effect their games could have on people’s lives.

(We alluded to this story in our interview with Pearce, because I told the other GamesBeat folks about it before we got him on the phone, but I sadly didn’t get to tell it again in our brief time with him. Frank, if you see this — that beer was worth every penny.)

Metzen as touchstone

If the culture Blizzard wants to build has a personality all its own, it’s either Chris Metzen, or it’s written and voice-acted by Chris Metzen. The guy oozes pure svelte geek, and he’s the consummate representative of the raw excitement and chemistry that permeates Blizzard’s culture.

He compares Blizzard’s ups-and-downs to being part of a band — an allusion that is perhaps more allegorical than he realizes. “In a weird way, we are like a giant, giant rock band,” he says. “If we stumble, or have blown it, or are forced to cancel a game, it’s because we aren’t feeling it.” Nothing about these setbacks phases him. “We are a strong team. We pull together, and we hit it out of the park on the next one.”

I dig his theory. Then again, I do have the band’s whole discography.

One of the last things he said goes down as quotable quote of the day, though: “We want everyone to come to this weird, big, geeky pool party.”

BlizzCon is one of the biggest community events in gaming.

Above: BlizzCon is one of the biggest community events in gaming.

Image Credit: Blizzard

Community building

We talked about lots of things — the cool community influencer summits Blizzard holds, the changing landscape of cool gaming tech, and more. My job, such as it is, was to try to eke out some nugget of information — get the “scoop,” as it were.

From my perspective, this was a rare opportunity to just show some appreciation for the phenomenal, life-changing scope of what these men — and Blizzard as a whole — have accomplished. Gaming has shaped an entire generation, and this company has grown from three guys doing their thing in a space the size of a bedroom to the fifth largest game publisher (as Activision Blizzard) over these 25 short years. (If you discount Tencent as a “holdings company” and remove hardware developers, they’re the biggest development company in the industry.)

The impact, though, isn’t necessarily about revenue streams or stock values. These matter in a board room, certainly, but when you talk to Morhaime, or Pearce, or Metzen, you don’t hear that stuff — you hear how proud they are of the community they’ve built. They’re trying to run a business, but I think there’s still a heart at the middle of all of this that pulses purely for the sake of making something that will be shared by families, friends, and friends you just haven’t met yet.

I attended my first BlizzCon because I was trying to find something to do with my sister before she left for university, and playing Blizzard games — especially World of Warcraft — was one of the things that we had most in common. We have long-running family jokes based on a macro I made to demand she Innervate my Priest in back in 2005.

I have a network of friends that spans the whole world from World of Warcraft communities like the old Elitist Jerks forums. I’ve met people that I’ve shared unparalleled experiences with attending StarCraft tournaments. These aren’t “avatars” or “toons” — they’re real people that encourage, support, and love each other, but would never have crossed paths were it not for a Blizzard game.

My experience is not unique. Thousands, if not millions, of people worldwide can tell their versions of the same stories. Guild get-togethers; beautiful marriages; friendships that span the globe; these are all dreams made possible by the dreams of a punk rock game band laying down tracks in their garage.

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