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Moving on: making every word and image count

Words will be words, images will be images. But the stories these tell will be of a new kind.

Starting in May, I will indeed be switching freelance journalism and analysis for new adventures in the fast-evolving world of digital corporate communication.

In my new position as Digital Communications and Content Manager at Invest Stockholm, the official investment promotion agency of the city of Stockholm, I will have the privilege to work with communication focusing on businesses established in Stockholm. Moving away from Tech altogether? Not so fast! Working for Stockholm, the unicorn factory and one of the most innovative regions in the world, ICT, startups and innovation will naturally be core components of my new role.

Say hi to Stockholm, the capital of Scandinavia!

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IIoT and 5G: A Lot of Ground to Cover

A look back at covering the industrial IoT (IIoT) and 5G for Enterprise IoT Insights.

Covering the Internet of Things (IoT) for a few years, I have witnessed connected objects grow from the darkest corner of the communications industry (read not investor-friendly techie stuff) to the most hyped trend at the convergence of mobile and network services. Has the IoT, and its enterprise sibling the industrial IoT (IIoT), now gone past the peak of its hype? Not quite just yet although the advent of 5G (did we say hype?) is set to accelerate IoT business model adoption going forward, promising ultra-low latency, low energy and improvements to massive machine-type communication. Already today, as 5G is being developed (or should we say assembled?), enterprise use cases are multiplying, consumer purchases of connected objects are increasing, and automation is already a reality. 

As a result, I have had plenty of ground to cover while reporting on the industrial IoT (IIoT) and 5G as lead contributor to Enterprise IoT Insights (formerly launched as Industrial IoT 5G Insights) by RCR Wireless. While my pet subjects are autonomous driving, artificial intelligence,smart cities (one of the most exciting area for the IIoT, not least in terms of potential sustainability gains), and enterprise IoT, there is also much to write about IoT security (or lack thereof), the smart home, Low Power Wide Area networks (LPWA) and indeed about the progress made in the IoT industry as a whole

Marlène Sellebråten

I have compiled here a list of articles I wrote for Enterprise IoT Insights, by topic:

Enterprise IoT/ Industry 4.0


Smart cities

Connected vehicles/Autonomous vehicles

IoT security

IoT industry watch


Big data/Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

Smart home

IoT & 5G event coverage

IoT Solutions World Congress

Huawei Connect

5G World

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Mobile Watch: WhatsApp Switches on End-to-End Encryption

Mobile Watch this week

  1. WhatsApp Switches on End-to-End Encryption
  2. Amazon Launches Global Payment Partner Program
  3. IKEA Launches VR Kitchen Experience
  4. News also worth checking out

WhatsApp Switches on End-to-End Encryption
Messaging provider WhatsApp has introduced full end-to-end encryption on all calls, messages, photos, videos, files, voice messages and group chats on its app.
Source: WhatsApp

Why it matters
WhatsApp has been working for quite some time on encrypting communication on its app and that work has now been completed. The update means user data is better protected against hackers, cybercriminals and governments. “No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us,” WhatsApp stated on its blog. WhatsApp has today over one billion users.

Amazon Launches Global Payment Partner Program
Soon could ”Pay with Amazon” become a familiar option on more e-commerce websites than today as Amazon announced it is expanding Amazon Payment beyond third-party websites, giving e-commerce websites access to Amazon’s user base.
Source: techcrunch  Amazon  

Why it matters
With its partner program, Amazon could well give payment service providers such as PayPal, Visa and Apple Pay a run for their money, because of its e-commerce-oriented user base. According to Reuters, quoted by Techcrunch, Amazon has today 285 million account holders. Among those, over 23 million have already used their accounts on non-Amazon websites.

IKEA Launches VR Kitchen Experience
IKEA is launching a pilot virtual reality (VR) kitchen experience for the HTC Vive VR headset. It will be running on game platform Steam. One of many clever features of Ikea’s first VR test app is the possibility for viewers to view the kitchen from a child’s or an adult’s perspective. “Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives,” said Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden and Range & Supply Manager at IKEA Group, in a comment on the announcement.
Source: The Verge IKEA

Why it matters
IKEA’s test app is the company’s first VR trial. IKEA’s self-stated ambition is to get user feedback in order to co-create VR experiences. The pilot provides evidence, if needed, that VR has potential beyond gaming, not least in the B2B space.


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17 Takeaways from Apple’s Keynote

A roundup of all that was presented at the Apple keynote on Monday 21 March.

Key statement

  • ”We have a responsibility to help you protect your data.” Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

New features and products

  • Apple launches 9.7-inch Ipad Pro with True Tone display. Goes after Windows users and replacement for Ipad users.
  • Apple launches biffed-up 4-inch Iphone SE. Going for first-time smartphone users and Android switchers.
  • Apple launches open-source framework CareKit. To empower people with their care.
  • Apple lowers Apple Watch’s starting price to USD 299, releases new bands and colors.
  • tvOS gets an update including app folders, text dictation, Siri for the App Store.
  • Apple launches IOS 9.3 with Nigh Shift, minimizing exposure to blue light.

Key figures

  • 1 billion Apple device users worldwide
  • 200M 9.7-inch Ipads sold
  • 3 million cards added to ApplePay in China in first 72 hours
  • 30 million 4-inch Iphones sold in 2015
  • Over 1 million apps designed for the Ipad on the App Store
  • 5,000 AppleTV apps on the App Store
  • 50 million use Apple’s News app
  • 93% of Apple operations worldwide are running on renewable energy.
  • 100% of Apple’s data centers are powered by renewable energy.

Can do better

  • Keynote speaker gender scorecard: men 4, woman 1.


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Mobile Watch: 75% of Smartphone Users Use Messaging Apps

Mobile Watch this week

  1. 1.4 Billion Used Messaging Apps in 2015
  2. Minecraft Becomes AI Testbed
  3. Ford Establishes Subsidiary Dedicated to Mobility
  4. Clothing Retailer Lindex Opens Shop on Instagram
  5. Online Shopping: Smartphones as Big as Tablets in Sweden
  6. Location-Based Marketing Spend to Grow in 2016

1.4 Billion Used Messaging Apps in 2015
We took a dive into eMarketer’s newly released data on internet usage around the globe, looking specifically at mobile metrics. It felt a bit like browsing in a well-assorted candy store. Here are a few valuable figures to keep on file.

  • Nearly 2.6 billion people will use the internet via a mobile phone regularly this year. By 2019, the number is forecast to grow to 3.22 billion, from 2.58 billion in 2016.
  • The number of mobile phone social network users will grow to 2.381 billion in 2019, from 1.865 billion in 2016.
  • 75 percent of all smartphone users, or 1.4 billion consumers, used mobile phone messaging apps at least once a month in 2015, an increase by 31.6 percent on 2014. By 2018, the number is set to reach 2 billion, or 80 percent of total smartphone users.

There is plenty more data to dive into in the report, which you can download here.
Source: eMarketer

Why it matters
Digital and mobile are becoming one and the same thing and these numbers tend to prove it. Companies that are still viewing mobile as just another channel to consumers and partners should reconsider their position. Mobile is THE digital channel.

Minecraft Becomes AI Testbed
As Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) program AlphaGo defeated Go world champion Lee Sedol 4-1, Microsoft revealed it would let computer scientists and amateurs (including kids) evaluate and develop AI software using Minecrafts virtual landscapes, starting in July, BBC reported.
Source: MicrosoftBBC

Why it matters
Users will only need to install an 
open-source software (AIX) to interact with the platform, minimizing the cost of experimenting with AI in Minecraft. Microsoft’s ”crowdsourced” approach to advancing AI research may draw a new crowd to the field.

Read also: The Verge’s ”A timeline of artificial intelligence victories, from 1997-3041”

Ford Establishes Subsidiary Dedicated to Mobility
Automotive group Ford Motor Company is executing on its stated plan to become a mobility company with the creation of a new subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility LLC. The new company will ”design, build, grow and invest” in emerging mobility services.
Source: Ford

Why it matters
Working under the Ford umbrella but operating as a subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility will get the ability to operate in a more agile way and ”
compete like a startup”, as Ford itself put it.

Clothing Retailer Lindex Opens Shop on Instagram
Lindex plans to integrate its sales channels and is now adding the possibility to shop clothes via its Instagram feed. The clothing chain has 140,000 followers on Instagram.
Source: Lindex

Why it matters
Instagram is yet again proving to be more than a brand engagement and inspiration channel.

Online Shopping: Smartphones as Big as Tablets in Sweden
Swedes are the most active e-shoppers in the Nordics, having spent SEK 61 billion on online purchases in 2015. E-commerce in the Nordic region generated in total SEK 161.6 billion in revenue for the period, according to a new report by Postnord. There were as many e-shoppers on smartphones as on tablets in Sweden, contrary to the rest of the Nordic region where tablet commerce had a larger share of wallet.
Source: Postnord

Why it matters
One in five Swedes shops via a mobile device on an average quarter and mobile commerce continues to grow.
Device sizes matter though and retailers should be aware of consumers’ preferences to match expectations.

Location-Based Marketing Spend to Grow in 2016
Around 75 percent of marketers say location-based marketing will be an important issue in 2016 and spend in this area is expected to growth by 3.3 percent this year, according to a report by Fresh Intelligence on behalf of the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA). Among location technologies, wifi is set to grow the most (with 63 percent of marketers planning to invest), followed by GPS (57 percent), NFC (46 percent) and Beacons (41 percent). A recent survey by Retail Me Not found instead that location-based services had fallen to the bottom of retailer priorities in 2016.
Source: The LBMA

Why it matters
As the report points out, verifying, standardizing and anonymizing location-based data to make it usable will be key to drive growth in location-based marketing.
High intent among global marketers tends to indicate there is demand for such services, despite shortcomings, in particular technological fragmentation.

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Business Sweden’s Recipe for Entering the US Market

Do your homework, adapt to the market, secure funding, secure local and cross-sea talent and use your US experience to grow globally. These are five success factors for expanding in the US and the global ICT marketplace Business Sweden identified in its newly released report ”Next generation Swedish unicorns”. The study includes some interesting facts about doing business in the US, Sweden’s ICT sector as well as Sweden’s business involvement in the US. We highlighted some below.

  • Increase in median US angel seed valuation in 2015: 33 percent
  • Share of VC funding taking place in the US in 2015: 68 percent
  • Sweden accounted for over 26 percent of billion dollar exits in the European Union in the past ten years.
  • Swedish foreign direct investment in the US: 56 billion USD
  • US jobs created by Swedish foreign direct investments: 330,000
  • The US is Sweden’s fourth largest export market.
  • Sweden is the 11th largest investor in the US.


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Mobile Watch: Investment in VR/AR Breaks New Record

Mobile Watch this week

  1. Investment in VR/AR Breaks New Record
  2. Google’s AlphaGo Defeats Human Go Champion
  3. The North Face to Launch Watson-Powered Shopping Assistant
  4. Larger Ad Spend in Mobile to be Expected In 2016
  5. Google’s Project Fi Goes Mainstream

Investment in VR/AR Breaks New Record

Digi-Capital-AR-VR-investment-Q1-2016-to-date-1024x576USD1.1 billion: this is the amount of money invested in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) since the beginning of the year, according to Digi CapitalThis is the first time that AR/VR investment has reached a billion dollars in any year, according to the analyst firm. The amount compares to USD700 million invested in all of 2015. Magic Leap accounts for USD800 million of the total USD1.1 billion invested so far this year. But even without Magic Leap, VR/AR investments were up 20 percent quarter on quarter. AR/VR is forecast to generate USD120 billion in revenue by 2020.
Source: Digi Capital

Why it matters
2016 has been heralded as the year VR would go mainstream. These investment numbers indicate we are only at the beginning of this revolution. As investments translate into new functions, products and services next year, this makes 2017 look like a potentially more interesting VR year than 2016.

Google’s AlphaGo Defeats Human Go Champion
The game of Go has been very difficult for computers to crack because of the huge amount of potential moves it involves. Google’s DeepMind Artificial Intelligence (AI) program AlphaGo defeated this week Lee Sedol, the best Go player in the world, in the first of five matches. You can follow all the matches here.
Source: Business Insider

Why it matters
Google’s AI victory over the world’s leading Go player is a major milestone for AI, not least because AlphaGo uses general machine learning techniques to figure out for itself how to win at Go.

The North Face to Launch Watson-Powered Shopping Assistant
Outdoor clothing retailer The North Face is to launch a Watson-powered mobile app in April. The personal shopping assistant will let users interact with IBM’s artificial intelligence computer, helping them to find exactly what they are looking for by asking them questions. The technology generated a 60 percent clickthrough rate to try product recommendations during its two-month testing period, according to VentureBeatIt took Oakland design agency Fluid 12 months to build the Watson-powered experience.
Source: Venturebeat

Why it matters
It is the first AI-powered mobile shopping assistant in retail, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Larger Ad Spend in Mobile to be Expected In 2016
In total 87 percent of marketing decision-makers say they intend to increase mobile budgets this year. They expect that on average 43 percent of their marketing budget will be spent on mobile channels in 2016, according to a survey conducted by Keiton Global on behalf of Retail Me Not. Offline and non-mobile digital budgets are  poised to decrease by 14 percent and 9 percent respectively. Yet, investment growth within location-based mobile services is almost at a stand still, even falling to the bottom of retailer priorities in 2016, the survey found. Two hundred marketing decision-makers were interviewed for this survey.
Source: Retail Me Not

Why it matters
Marketing decision-makers have said in years that return on investment (ROI) on digital marketing is higher than on traditional offline marketing, according to Retail Me Not. Now is the time for marketing decision-makers to put their  money where their mouth is. The question is whether ad spending is moving fast enough towards mobile to keep brands top-of-mind among consumers that are increasingly mobile. 

Google’s Project Fi Goes Mainstream
Ten months after introducing MVNO Project Fi, Google has now decided to open the programme to every US citizen. ”While Project Fi is still in its early stages, we’re excited to welcome our next wave of customers and look forward to growing and improving together,” said Simon Arscott, Product Manager, Project Fi in a blog post.

Here are some insights gathered by Google during the first ten months of the project:

  • More than 15 percent of Fi customers have used their plan abroad.
  • Over 50 percent of Fi customers connect to public hotspots using the service’s Wi-Fi Assistant on a weekly basis.
  • About 90 percent of Project Fi’s app users check out how much data they have used and on average they use 1.6 GB data per month.
  • People are using the data-only SIMs launched in December on multiple devices, including tablets and cars.
  • Project Fi customers prefer getting support via real live persons
    Source: Google

Why it matters
Google not only announced it would open up Project Fi to everyone in the US, but also announced a special offer combining sign-up with a Nexus 5X for $199 for a month, almost half its current price. Project Fi is therefore a great way for consumers to get their hands on the Nexus device at a bargain price while testing Google’s MVNO service. It could prove a good way to lure US customers away from Apple. Furthermore, while Fi may not compete directly on price with operators, it does use a new way of combining wireless network and wifi technology. Operators should pay attention.

Expect Single-digit Growth for Smartphones
The double-digit smartphone market growth is over, according to Kantar WorldPanel Comtech and IDCWith a mobile penetration of 91 percent in the US and Europe‘s Big Five Countries (EU5) and 97 percent in urban China, nearly everyone now has a mobile phone, states Kantar WorldPanel Comtech. Smartphone penetration is high too, at 65 percent in the US, 74 percent in Europe and 72 percent in urban China. And in mature markets, the profitable high end of the market is saturated, according to the analyst firm. But there is some hope left for smartphone vendors such as Samsung and Apple as nearly 50 percent of smartphone owners in the EU5 are actually planning to upgrade their smartphone over the coming 12 months. In the US, the number is 46 percent and in urban China 28 percent.
Source: Kantar WorldPanel ComTech

Why it matters
Looking back at Mobile World Congress 2016, nothing revolutionary was presented in the smartphone space making convincing existing smartphone users on specifications a tough sale. Vendors will have to persuade users to switch or upgrade through better (if not revolutionary) devices, the power of their brands and community. Or by adding a companion device just like Samsung does with its Gear VR.

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Trend Watch: Eight #MWC16 Trends

No doubt about it, Facebook’s founder and CEO Marc Zuckerberg’s surprise appearance at Samsung’s Unpacked launch event set the stage for Virtual Reality (VR) at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year. The Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G also ended up high on the agenda, bearing a promise of a brand new age of the machine.

On behalf of Berghs, with which I have entered a collaboration around all things Mobile and Wearables, I have put together a trend brief in which I outline eight trends that defined MWC 2016. VR, IoT and 5G emerge here as top trends and, together with new and better smartphones, companion devices and new connected platforms, they lay the foundation for new mobile services.

You can read the whole trend brief here (in Swedish).


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#MWC16: It’s a Wrap!

This year, I covered Mobile World Congress, and in particular its sister startup event 4YFN (Four Years From Now), for Mobile World Live’s Show Daily. Not a dull second for sure, alternating interviews, keynotes and panel sessions as 4YFN broke new attendance records.

Collaboration is the word that summarizes best my overall impression. It often requires multiple organizations and multiple skill sets, no to mention complementary mindsets, to satisfy the need of a specific market segment. Many of the startups I met were indeed much into B2B2C, trying to identify the right partner (often a larger enterprise or tech company) in order to break new grounds and scale quicker.

You can find the Show Daily’s coverage of MWC & 4YFN here or by edition below. 

See you at MWC next year!

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Report: The Internet of Things Set to Reshape E-Commerce

Every connected object in the future holds the potential to double into a commerce channel, a trend that is set to fundamentally reshape e-commerce, allowing it to stretch across the entire breadth of the customer journey, according to VisionMobile’s latest report ”The Commerce of Things”.

Evolving in parallel until now, the Internet of Things (IoT) and e-commerce, both fast-growing markets, are now set to share a common journey. This development entails opportunities for brand owners and consumers alike.

But while e-commerce is already the biggest revenue generator among mobile developers today, only a small minority have actually seized that opportunity, according to VisionMobile’s 9th Developer Economics survey of more than 13,000 software developers globally, conducted in May 2015. VisionMobile expects however that developers’ interest in e-commerce will grow, driven by off-the-shelf fulfillment and payment platforms.

The report also showcases a number of examples of frictionless e-commerce services including Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) and Pinterest’s buyable buttons.

The authors of the report:

Want to know more about VisionMobile’s latest report ”The Commerce of Things”?

Read the entire blog post here including a crisp infographics and download the complete report for free here

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