Source: VantageWire Canada | June 4, 2013 | By The Bottom Line Report
If you have not followed the happenings at Intertainment Media (TSXV: INT.V) for a few months, you missed a flurry of activity.
The company completed the sale of its first-ever acquisition, Itibiti Systems Inc., which it helped evolve into a social media platform well beyond its initial scope. It rescued Poynt Corp. from near collapse and has already set it on a path to a greater future. And in the most exciting and fast-paced development of the last quarter, Intertainment spun off Yappn as a public company.
This is all in a day’s work for a firm that has served as an incubator for social media technology since 2006. But nobody at Intertainment is taking a break. The company can’t afford to relax because the world of social media, and the opportunities that come with it, change every day.
The last report detailed the sale of Itibiti to a private technology group. Intertainment has since closed on the $3.5 million deal. AdTaffy, a location-based click-to-call platform, was also part of the sale given AdTaffy’s dependence on the shared technology of Itibiti. The sale allows both products to potentially flourish under a combined and dedicated independent management team. “We had a great opportunity to partner with a private firm that had more industry experience than we did,” said David Lucatch, CEO of Intertainment.
Intertainment is maintaining close ties with Itibiti, taking back a note convertible to cash and retaining up to 40% of the firm and one board seat. Intertainment receives 30% of any subsequent exit up to $5 million, and then up to 40% thereafter. “So we have a two pronged exit event,” said Lucatch. “We get a bonus on an exit.”
As two members leave the incubator, another joins the family. Intertainment — in conjunction with another partner — placed a successful bid to purchase the assets of Poynt Corp., a free mobile search application. Intertainment, which had previously securely loaned money to finance Poynt Corp., made the bid after the company entered into bankruptcy. The move protected Intertainment’s position in Poynt Corp., and ultimately Intertainment’s shareholders.
Demonstrating Intertainment’s knack for quick improvement, Poynt’s technology was moved to a cloud format, made more efficient, and recently released on new platforms, including a BlackBerry 10 version. Much of the credit for Poynt’s turnaround goes to Intertainment’s President and COO Anthony R. Pearlman, a well-respected technologist appointed to head up the new entity, Poynt Inc. by Intertainment and its bidding partner in Poynt.
Even though Intertainment has sold its Itibiti and Ad Taffy properties, the door remains open for future Itibiti/Ad Taffy and Poynt integrated apps. Now the goal for Poynt Inc. is to continue getting it back into robust shape, then find an alternative to full ownership. Currently, Poynt Inc. is an investment of Intertainment and has little integration with Intertainment’s other properties.
Richmond Hill, ON-based Intertainment Media invests in and develops technology properties focused on Internet marketing and social media. Since forming through a reverse takeover, it has evolved into an acquisitive technology incubator, focused on nurturing talented companies with potential in the space. Initially it focused on complete acquisitions and the occasional in-house development, but it has lately acquired non-controlling stakes in companies that fit with its existing portfolio. To date it has invested in or started a total of 10 companies. It operates three divisions: Ortsbo, Magnum Fine Commercial Printing, and dealfrenzy. It is also continuing to develop its Sweet Card program.
Now there’s a new member of the family, as Intertainment Media has given birth to Yappn. Yappn is a multi-lingual discussion platform where people can meet, chat, engage and consume content, individually, in groups and by topic, regardless of the language they speak. Its mission is to improve the way users engage with each other and brands by focusing on the propensity toward common interests. Powered by Ortsbo, it removes the language barrier and allows the entire world to open up to an entirely new paradigm of communication.
Yappn is the brainchild of Lucatch, who surveyed the social media landscape and discovered a void. Whereas Facebook exists to connect friends, Twitter allows people to talk in the moment and Instagram unites people through pictures, “there’s nowhere in a modern social sense to really chat about things that you like, to others that have the same interest as you, with no language barrier,” said Lucatch.
Speed is a hallmark of Intertainment, and Yappn is no exception. Lucatch conceived the idea late last year and made it a product by the first quarter of this year. It’s nearly ready to go into full beta mode and is expected to launch in the summer of 2013. And despite its youth, Yappn has already been spun off into its own public company (OTCBB:YPPN).
Intertainment closed the deal in late March, forming the separate Yappn Corp., which is based in New York. Intertainment has received 70 million common shares of Yappn Corp., and the company will control a minimum of 60% of the received shares. The existing shareholders will control approximately 30 million shares.
Yappn is based on the same concept that has made Ortsbo a leader in social media. Ortsbo was originally designed to connect programmers around the world. It goes above and beyond traditional translation programs by understanding nuance and communication. Using patent-pending algorithms and artificial intelligence principles, the program fine tunes itself and learns as it goes. For example, it would eventually learn that the British word ‘kerb’ means the same as ‘curb’ in Canada and the U.S.
Whereas Ortsbo is focused on commercial opportunities, Yappn is a hybrid of consumer and commercial uses. Yappn will incorporate Intertainment Media’s FanTalk technology, creating the Yappn Global Feed platform. The FanTalk technology enables major social media like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and other applications to co-exist in one location in up to 70 languages. The Yappn Global Feed will provide Yappn users with a rolling ticker tape of the latest social media activity about specific discussion boards. This will create a single location for users to pick up all the latest information and discussion on virtually any topic in almost any language.
Yappn features a coin platform, which people use to start a discussion board. Users do not have the ability to open a topic board just because they want to, thus avoiding the common problem of orphaned message boards. Contributors pool their coins together to start one. This will encourage creators, founders and others with a vested interest in that board to stay engaged. People will continue talking and sharing, everyone having their own unique dashboard.
One of the advantages that Yappn will have over other social media platforms is the ability for corporations to maintain control of their brands. A company’s brand is often its most valuable asset, but in the wild west environment of social media, it’s difficult to maintain control of brand messaging. This puts companies at risk for suffering damage to brand reputation and brand equity.
Corporations and brands today want to be part of the dialogue while keeping some governance over how their brands are portrayed. Yappn essentially gives them a new home for their message. Yappn discussions can be private and campaign-based. They can even be run on a company’s own website.
Intertainment’s leadership realized early on that Yappn’s growth potential was stronger outside its incubator. Knowing that the U.S. is where social media is strongest, Intertainment explored making Yappn a U.S. firm. One of Intertainment’s U.S. investment groups heard about Yappn and proposed a takeover. In a mere 20 days, the company was spun off and listed on the U.S. over-the-counter bulletin board (OTCBB). “That’s generally unheard of,” said Lucatch. “And we are just getting started.”
Intertainment is also in the process of working to spin off Ortsbo. The pending sale is a prime example of Intertainment’s value proposition. The technology behind Ortsbo originally came to Intertainment through one of the latter’s shareholders. The parent company took that raw material and built a marketable product around it, and supported it with a comprehensive marketing scheme. But the sale won’t end Intertainment’s relationship with Ortsbo. Intertainment will retain a significant interest in Ortsbo and it will remain a part of the family through a licensing deal with Yappn.
Each of the companies and transactions mentioned demonstrate Intertainment’s knack for spotting technology opportunities and combining them to make a whole that is worth more than the sum of its parts.
“Sometimes developing new technologies is as easy as recombining elements of existing programs or as difficult as inventing solutions to new problems in the emerging social sphere,” said Lucatch. “It took Milton Hershey a number of tries before he invented his most famous and successful invention, the Hershey Bar. Sometimes you need to persevere through the minor accomplishments and failures before achieving your true goal.”
Source: Tech Talk | March 31, 2013 | by Marc Saltzman
Source: YES Network | March 28, 2013 | by YES Network
As part of our Ortsbo division’s partnership with the Barclays Center, the below link consists of a 5 minute compilation of all the different elements that Ortsbo receives during all of the Brooklyn Nets broadcasts on the YES network.
Source: Techvibes | March 8, 2013 | By Joseph Czikk
Hamilton-based startup OverAir won $25,000 worth of financial and in-kind services at the Dx3 Conference in Toronto after being selected as the winners of the Intertainment Media live pitch-off.
Founder Ethan Do gave his three-minute winning pitch after being selected along with four other finalists during the second day of the conference. Intertainment Media received over 40 applications from startups vying to be part of the competition.
Do said the victory validated his concept and that most of the funds will be used to improve the team’s model and business plan for venture capital.
“It means a lot and it means that we have a concept that people are believing in,” said Do. “I’m very fortunate that I have 14 volunteers right now who are donating time anywhere between 8 and 40 hours a week and now I can actually reward them.”
OverAir uses near field communication (NFC) technology to enable brands to engage customers by providing those customers with physical tags, similar to quick response (QR) codes. Do calls NFC technology, “QR codes on steroids.”
Customers simply “tap” a tag on their mobile device and it can allow for a change of phone settings, a text or email to be created and sent, an app to be launched, or any number of commands to be executed. OverAir’s web management portal provides brands with real-time analytics for a function and they enable function changes during campaigns. Do told the crowd about Kraft Canada’s pilot project with NFC tags, where they found 12 times more user engagement than with QR codes.
As one of the three judges, Intertainment president Anthony Pearlman said that the startups were evaluated on what stage their business was at and where the market was going. With NFC technology he said the possibilities in controlling functionality are “endless.”
“I looked at the ability to actually be able to manage and change the behavior of NFC tags through their web console and I found that very, very exciting,” he said. “Honestly, everyone that came up here had a really good solution, there was a lot of companies that tried to get in and it was very tough.”
Do said the company is currently one of the few businesses in Canada currently leveraging NFC technology and that the time is now to make the first large splash in Canada. The technology is predominant in the UK and the US, and OverAir has already been working on potential partnerships and white labeling.
The winning CEO also emphasized the quality of his four fellow finalists. “I think the competition was awesome. They have things that I never conceived,” he said. “I’m very thrilled to be in the company of really innovative people.”
That competition was as follows:
• Konrad Listwan-Ciesielski, CTO, Kira Talent: infuses video into the recruitment process to allow organizations meet their candidates via video. Organizations can record video questions and send them to candidates who can then respond via video using their webcam. Kira Talent helps organizations find the hidden gems in their talent applicant pool in an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform.
• Bijan Shahrokhi, Head Honcho,Virtual Next: allows merchants to offer mobile prepaid and loyalty cards to the customers using ophone, passbook and google wallet. Customers can use their auto-reload function, topping up their balance whenever it is low.
• Adam Jarczyn, CEO, HOVR.IT: makes it easy to find online retailers for the things you love! Simply hover over an image of a product, and using image recognition, we will find retailers offering you similar items.
• Laura Miller, CEO, DanTeb Enterprises: provides mobile battery charging stations in high traffic public places. These stations are outfitted with interactive digital media features that are sold to advertisers as a means to engage with customers in a unique, out-of-home environment.
Source: Cantech Letter | January 15, 2013 | By Cantech
Before bad became worse for beleaguered Calgary-based company Poynt, it borrowed $1.5-million at an 8% interest rate and issued six million non-transferable bonus warrants to Intertainment Media (TSXV:INT) at a price of 11.5 cents per share.
The move was largely overshadowed by the hope, not to say expectation, that Poynt would somehow recover. As late as October of last year, then Poynt CEO Andrew Osis told Cantech Letter he was working hard towards a solution. But it was not to be; just days later the company announced that its stay of proceedings had been terminated, and it had been assigned to bankruptcy.
Yesterday, it was revealed that one-time TSX Venture Exchange darling Intertainment Media was now the proud owner of half the assets of Poynt. Intertainment, along with privately held mobile mapping company Avenza Holdings Inc., will form a new 50/50 venture that will operate the asset.
In a press release yesterday Intertainment Media said Poynt has a strong user base and an emerging patent portfolio. The release said the new entity will focus on “geographic based localization opportunities for consumers and businesses”. It them went on to say the respective companies would bring “additional core functions and capabilities to the Poynt platform from their own respective company divisions and integrate new and strategic functionality across the products of all three organizations.”
Could Intertainment’s wildly popular translation platform Ortsbo be integrated to add functionality to Poynt’s GPS enabled location-based search application? The combination is intriguing, what with Poynt’s base of nearly 20 million unique international users. Find a restaurant in Milan and ask for the specials in Italian? Locate a dry cleaner in Bejing and tell them you want extra starch on your shirt, in Mandarin?
Of course executing on such a plan would require some acumen, if indeed it is part of the plan at all. But the combo might just be enough to breathe some new life into two once high flying Canadian tech juniors.
Source: The New York Times | November 10, 2012 | By Brooks Barnes
EVEN in an industry accustomed to madcap characters, Oliver Luckett cuts a “Who was that?” swath across Hollywood.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Luckett helped Disney manage its cartoon characters’ online presence. The Facebook page for Dory the fish of “Finding Nemo 3D.”
Raised in Mississippi and with the accent to prove it, Mr. Luckett, 38, is known for zooming around town in an Aston Martin — that is, when he’s not jetting off to places like Iceland, where he was last December to compete against Bjork in a gingerbread house-building contest. He lost, despite help from a buddy in Disneyland’s research and design lab.
With his new company — a social media start-up called theAudience — Mr. Luckett promises nothing short of rewiring celebrity economics, and he abruptly dismisses skeptics. “Get on my train,” he likes to say, his blue eyes blazing. “We’re leaving now.” Yet he can also be a big softy known for his striped-sock collection. During a business meeting not so long ago, he veered into an emotional story about coming out of the closet and started to weep.
Just another showy show-business personality? Some people think so. But many of the entertainment factory’s most powerful forces — William Morris Endeavor, Lionsgate, Universal Pictures — and one tech superstar, Sean Parker, are taking him very, very seriously.
About two years ago, Mr. Luckett left a senior position at Walt Disney, where he managed the social media presence of Cinderella and her cartoon friends, to do the same for actors and musicians. For each client, theAudience works to build a network of fans across the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus and to keep those followers engaged by posting a steady stream of catchy pictures, comments and videos.
THEAUDIENCE, part of a stampede of start-ups aiming to exploit the intersection of celebrity and social media, also sells its services directly to movie marketers, record labels and concert promoters. It did stealth work on behalf of the hit movie “Ted,” for instance, and the Coachella music festival. Mr. Luckett refuses to identify his clients, but he says theAudience publishes thousands of items a month on behalf of about 300 accounts, reaching a total of 800 million fans.
Movie and music executives say theAudience’s clients include Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Jack Black, Eddie Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Usher, Pitbull and LMFAO.
Celebrities seizing opportunities to promote themselves? As Captain Renault would say, “I’m shocked, shocked.” But theAudience illustrates something important about where Hollywood is headed. After largely ignoring social media — allowing fake Facebook pages to proliferate, sticking with tried-and-true publicity stops like “Entertainment Tonight” — stars and agents are realizing en masse that they need to get on that train.
There is intense downward pressure on artist salaries in all corners of entertainment. Movie attendance over the summer hit a 20-year low. The Web has decimated the music industry. DVRs are roiling television. William Morris Endeavor, a founding investor in theAudience, sees the assertive cultivation of social media networks as one way to shift power back to stars.
To agents, the metrics of theAudience offer crucial leverage: If you cast Ms. Theron in a movie, she comes with an ability to fill seats through her social network, and we can prove it with data. Oh, and she needs to be paid more because of that. The same leverage holds true for sealing endorsement deals, which is where celebrities, and their agency backers, increasingly make their real money.
“That is absolutely part of the conversation now,” says Ari Emanuel, the co-chief executive of William Morris Endeavor. “We all use all the tools we have.”
If you were wondering how Rihanna was cast in “Battleship,” it was lost on no one at Universal that she came with 26 million Twitter followers.
Ultimately, Mr. Emanuel and others look at social media networks as a new type of cable channel, and theAudience is helping celebrities to program theirs. Consider it as the Web equivalent of OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s channel; she maintains control of what goes on it, but she hires people to make it happen.
“The real value of these networks is in programming,” says Mr. Parker, the Napster founder who also played a big role in Facebook’s world domination. “If you can aggregate effectively, you can start to imagine social media a little bit more like traditional media.”
Mr. Luckett has a long history with start-ups, including Revver, a video sharing site that was precursor to YouTube. He says theAudience recently obtained $20 million in an additional round of financing from Guggenheim Partners; Intertainment Media; Participant Media; the Founders Fund, which is Mr. Parker’s investment company; and the Capricorn Investment Group, the investment arm of Jeffrey Skoll, the first president of eBay.
“A lot of celebrities are overwhelmed with the demands of social media, and theAudience, which has some extremely smart executives, is one of the companies filling the void,” said Danielle De Palma, senior vice president for digital marketing at Lionsgate, which hired Mr. Luckett to work on “The Hunger Games.”
THEAUDIENCE is far from the only start-up trying to convince studios and stars that they need its social media help. Some are founded by entertainment veterans, but others are backed by tech types trying to exploit a lack of understanding among senior studio executives about how Facebook and Twitter work, according to Ms. DePalma. She says she gets up to 10 pitches a day from companies trying to peddle social media wares.
Moviepilot, a young company based in Berlin, recently came to Hollywood, promising to use social media to connect fans to the moviemaking process as a way to get them excited about future releases. Fizziology monitors Facebook and Twitter on behalf of entertainment marketers to “spot trends, threats and opportunities.” Crowd Factory sells social media management, as does Digital Media Management. Thismoment focuses on managing “brand experiences” across social media platforms.
Zefr puts tens of thousands of film clips onto YouTube, with a goal of encouraging consumers to download or rent the whole movie. Zefr, which recently expanded into the TV, music and sports realms after securing $18.5 million in additional financing, also helps content owners identify and monetize clips posted on YouTube without permission.
Mr. Luckett’s most direct competition is probably WhoSay, largely because it is backed partly by Creative Artists Agency, the chief rival of William Morris Endeavor. WhoSay also allows clients — like Tom Hanks, Shakira, Sofia Vergara and Ellen DeGeneres — to manage their presence in the digital world.
TheAudience makes money by charging studios a fee for sponsored posts; Universal paid it to publish “Ted” materials via Mr. Wahlberg’s network. TheAudience also collects a portion of transactional revenue. When celebrity clients use their networks to sell something — download this app, buy this T-shirt — Mr. Luckett gets a cut. Celebrities are charged a per-month fee for theAudience’s services, starting at about $5,000.
Aside from competition, theAudience faces many challenges. Some traditional gatekeepers, like publicists, aren’t thrilled to cede control. Some of William Morris Endeavor’s agency rivals are ardently opposed to letting clients work with theAudience, worrying about giving Mr. Emanuel a poaching opportunity.
And there is the question of authenticity. Mr. Luckett’s enterprise is built on that precarious ledge: fans need to think they are getting material directly from a celebrity — that’s the magic of social media — and not a surrogate.
Mr. Luckett acknowledges all of those pesky matters, but says that none were particularly problematic.
He says theAudience isn’t looking for many more celebrity clients than it already has. As for authenticity, he points to its system of approvals; no item is published for a client without his or her blessing. That can be cumbersome but is necessary, he says. Of several A-list clients who were asked, none wanted to discuss their work with the company.
Studios, meanwhile, trying to hold down costs, complain about being strong-armed into hiring theAudience. “If we cast someone in a movie and they are an Audience client, we now have to pay an extra fee to access their fans?” says one studio marketer, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering Mr. Emanuel. “That should be free and many stars are happy to oblige,” the marketer says.
A lawyer at another studio says contracts are starting to be written so that actors are required to make their “best effort” to use social media to promote their work.
When told that some studios feel that they are being forced to hire theAudience, Mr. Luckett responds, “And they benefit greatly by doing so.”
He continues: “In no way are we trying to create a blockade. We’re trying to prevent bad marketing from happening — making sure that our artists don’t get hurt by studios force-feeding fans with marketing messages.”
SOME of Mr. Luckett’s previous start-ups have soared only to sputter, the biggest being Revver. (Its claim to fame was one of the first viral videos, “Diet Coke + Mentos.”) Mr. Luckett left Revver after clashing with investors over strategy.
More successful was Digisynd, a social media company of which he was a co-founder. It was acquired by Disney in 2008 as a way to manage cartoon characters online. Disney was shocked to learn that the No. 1 “liked” character was not Buzz Lightyear or Mickey Mouse but Dory the fish from “Finding Nemo.”
“The rules had reversed: the audience was telling us what it wanted,” Mr. Luckett says. (Disney is now deep in work on a “Finding Nemo” sequel.) Today, Disney has a total of about 400 million Facebook “likes,” up from about 400,000 in 2009.
It was Mr. Emanuel, whose assertiveness was parodied on “Entourage” on HBO, who got theAudience ball rolling at the advice of Mr. Parker. “Sean told us that all we should care about is social and for two years we tried to find the right person but couldn’t,” Mr. Emanuel says. “So I call up and scream at Sean, and he finally connects us to Oliver.”
At first, Mr. Luckett ignored Mr. Emanuel’s calls. “I was like, I’ve seen ‘Entourage.’ I don’t need an agent in my life,” Mr. Luckett says.
The two finally got together, and Mr. Luckett was intrigued to discover the degree to which celebrities were ceding control of their images on Facebook. A search turned up thousands of fake pages created by Facebook users for William Morris Endeavor clients alone, he says. (His opinion of Mr. Emanuel now? “I adore Ari. He picks me up when I’m down.”)
The concept behind theAudience was relatively simple, but the execution, at least the way Mr. Luckett and his partners wanted it done, was complex. TheAudience built software that allows employees — now more than 100 in London and Los Angeles — to track how posts are landing. How many followers are paying attention to posts, and how does theAudience use its software to learn what works and drive interest even higher?
Using the software, employees decide the optimum moment to post a Twitter message or Facebook picture. TheAudience also pays attention to things like decay, or how it takes for posts to lose their buoyancy.
“Amplification on these networks — slicing, dicing, cross-pollinating — takes a certain finesse,” Mr. Parker says.
Mr. Luckett contends that a celebrity’s number of fans is actually meaningless. “If you blast your 10 million fans with boring marketing messages, they turn on you very quickly,” he says. “The secret is giving them great content, and that’s what we do.”
The goal, explains Jeff Pressman, the chief operating officer of theAudience, is “to develop long-term emotional relationships.” He adds, “So when it does come time to ask something of these highly engaged fans — buy a ticket, click on a link — you have earned their trust and attention and they are willing to do it.”
Managing “content programming and production” for theAudience is its president, Kate McLean, formerly a top lieutenant to Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive. Ms. McLean may have an M.B.A. from Harvard, but she also has a fascination with celebrity. Mr. Iger used to become annoyed at her for reading US Weekly on the Disney corporate jet, she says.
“We’re dealing with pop culture, and it should be fun,” she says. Mr. Luckett, she adds, “has a tremendous love for art and artists — as we all do here — and that really inspires and invigorates the whole team.”
The British comedian Russell Brand says theAudience has helped him sell out shows “without any paid advertising”; the company also advises him on where to route tours, based on the geography of his fan base. “It’s a smart way to talk to my fans directly and in a bespoke manner,” Mr. Brand says.
Is he concerned about handing over his social media presence to outsiders? “Not at all,” he says, joking that he couldn’t do it himself if he tried: “You have to remember that I have no actual skills.”
The electronic dance musician Steve Aoki echoes Mr. Brand. “I need help making sure what I put out on Facebook or Twitter isn’t all jumbled up, that it has meaning and value and is viewed to the maximum,” he says. Mr. Aoki said he had 408,000 Facebook “likes,” or fans, before he hired theAudience; he now has 1.2 million.
Mr. Aoki says he plans two weeks’ worth of posts with Ms. McLean and her team in a sitting. “They also come to me with ideas, and I will adjust the idea so it makes sense to me,” he says. “I control everything.”
MR. LUCKETT is having a ball in Hollywood partly because it’s a long way from where he came from. Growing up gay in Mississippi wasn’t easy, and one way he coped was via computers. As a teenager, he taught himself how to write code and to plumb the depths of the Internet, recalling that one month he ran up a $700 phone bill in dial-up Internet service.
“It gave me a way out of the cotton field,” he says.
Still, let’s not go too far. His family was wealthy and employed one of Tina Turner’s cousins as its housekeeper. His father, Bill Luckett, who made an unsuccessful bid for governor last year, is a lawyer who is a co-owner of a restaurant and blues club in Clarksdale, Miss., with the actor Morgan Freeman.
Oliver Luckett graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1996 with a degree in French literature, and went to work at Qwest Communications, where he helped build its fiber optic network as chief I.P. services architect. Afterward, he took a two-and-a-half year hiatus, living on Majorca part of that time and consulting for the Declare Yourself voting campaign started by Norman Lear.
Despite his whirling dervishness, Mr. Luckett says he is tied to theAudience for the long haul. “This is not another flip-and-burn company,” he says. “TheAudience can have a lasting impact and change the entertainment industry fundamentally.”
He paused for dramatic effect before adding one of his sig-nature lines: “Period. End of story.”
Source: The Architechnologist | October 26, 2012 | By Olga Musayev
In our globalized age, it can seem bizarre that linguistic differences still pose a barrier to communication. The United Nations employs 120 interpreters to find out what world leaders are saying and travel agencies make a small fortune by promising tourists a secure enclave of English within a new country. A collection of applications from Ortsbo seeks to change all that by promising instant native-language communication using modern technology.
Ortsbo produces the One2One app, which translates messages into a selected language, allowing for instant, free-flowing communication that is easy as chatting between neighbors. The company also makes OrtsboTV, which allows for live streaming of television programs from another country with instant translation to local language. Perhaps the most exciting service is live event integration — an organization hosting an event can turn a local event into a global one by letting participants submit questions and hear the responses in their language of choice. Ortsbo’s Twitter plug-in performs much the same function, translating real-time between multiple languages to reach widely dispersed audiences.
All of these products are important for helping break down walls to understanding. The most intriguing possibility, however, is that these services could eventually extend to translating not just language, but dialect and style.
According to psychology research, people tend to like those whose behavior and mannerisms are similar to theirs. Marketers capitalize on this by presenting salespeople who look like their target demographic and politicians spend countless hours thinking about ways to seem more average.
If universal stylistic translation was in place, their jobs could become much easier. Aside from using particular phrases and slang words (a dangerous sounding “hook up” becomes the gentle “hanky panky”), translation could extend to pronoun use, which research shows is actually a more important marker for personality and happiness. A depressed person, who uses a lot of “I” pronouns, could receive gentler and more upbeat messages than someone who is most concerned with social status and the “royal we.” At the same time, if Twitter and email integration became commonplace, then individuals could talk any way they liked, confident that their message will be judged on substance rather than style.
In day to day life, the app could be touted as a relationship saver. Linguistic matching has been shown to predict relationship success, so with instant translation, married couples could become a little better at communication, and “speaking your kids language” could grow much simpler. On the opposite end, the tool could also be used to detect lying (liars tend to use fewer exclusive words and negations, while avoiding personal pronouns), providing a real time gauge of how honest the opposite person is being.
Google is already taking first steps into linguistic style translation. With the Chrome Extension “In My Words,” users can select words that annoy them and have the browser replace them with words they like. The app even suggests words for you, and it is possible that Google could allow the replacement to become automatic, such that users don’t even notice that what they’re hearing is different than what their friends are hearing.
The next natural step is take stylistic translation and turn it into the kind of products that Ortsbo is currently making. People could chat with each other in whatever style they liked, using swear words, slang, and favorite phrases, without worrying that they will be judged on style rather than substance. Language is just one barrier to communication, it’s about time that we start to bring down others.
Source: PR Web | November 1, 2012 |
Cap That (http://www.capthat.com), the first social merchandise technology to capture any video moment imaginable and transform it into a custom product, has launched to give Assassin’s Creed III players the power to choose images from select trailers and emblazon them on controllers, apparel, gadget cases and more. Ubisoft prides itself on innovative, market-first technologies for all its game franchises, and Cap That’s new personalized, community-driven merchandise platform provides just that for the legacy of Assassin’s Creed.
Creating a new category of merchandise discovery, Cap That transforms personalized products into a socially engaging experience for gamers and fans. Players can capture any moment from their favorite game, movie or video and immortalize it on the item of their choice, share that custom creation with friends to stir up envy and build out their Cap That network. Any creation shared in the Cap That showcase can also be purchased on-demand.
Users can choose from Cap That’s wide array of premium video content from partners including Ubisoft and upload any footage they choose via Facebook, Instagram, Viddy or their personal library to create custom-designed objects. Action scenes, victory shots, close-ups and other moments are memorialized in a one-of-a-kind, unique personal memento.
“We have created a playground that empowers users to interact with digital video like never before. Users have the ability to capture their favorite moments from video and turn them into truly unique products, which they then can easily share across their social networks or post to Cap That’s showroom for others to see and buy” said David Hibbard, CEO and Co-Founder of Cap That.
A unique, endless discovery portal laid out in mosaic style allows users to browse through their peers’ brilliant creations or create their own to share with the world. Content partners can discover how customers want to engage with their brands, and Cap That users enjoy unrestricted creative freedom to create, socially distribute and purchase virtually any custom product they can envision. Cap That brings a new approach to ancillary marketing for brands, giving its customers the power of creative freedom.
Geared up for more partnerships and brand integrations, Cap That launches today as a new way to memorialize, socialize and custom-create any kind of product imaginable. For our Assassin’s Creed III hub, please visit http://www.capthatac3.com.
About Cap That
Cap That is a Hollywood, California based company whose patent-pending technology empowers users to stop time and capture the most desired moments in film, television, music, sports, and home videos in order to create one of a kind posters, canvas prints, stickers, skins, apparel as well as virtual creations that can be easily shared across social networks. Visit http://www.capthat.com to learn more.
About Assassin’s Creed III
Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution in the late 18th century, Assassin’s Creed III introduces a new hero, Ratohnnhaké:ton, of Native American and English heritage. Adopting the name Connor, he becomes the new voice for justice in the ancient war between the Assassins and Templars. Gamers become an Assassin in the war for liberty against ruthless tyranny in the most stylized and fluid combat experiences in the franchise to date.
Assassin’s Creed III spans the Revolutionary War, taking gamers from the vibrant, untamed frontier and bustling colonial towns to the intense, chaotic battlefields where George Washington’s Continental Army clashed with the imposing British Army and the tumultuous high seas. Assassin’s Creed III will feature unprecedented scope and scale.
For more information on Assassin’s Creed III, please visit the Assassin’s Creed Official Website: http://www.assassinscreed.com
About Assassin’s Creed
Initially launched in 2007, the first four Assassin’s Creed games have sold more than 38 million units worldwide, and the franchise is now established as one of the best-selling series ever. Recognized for having some of the richest, most engrossing storytelling in the industry, Assassin’s Creed transcends video games, branching out into other entertainment experiences including comic books, Facebook games, novels, short films and more.
Source: Financial Post | October 18, 2012 | By Christine Dobby
As online music services from Spotify Ltd. to Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Music angle for the public’s ears, a U.S. startup is tracking impressive user growth in Canada with its offering of on-demand tunes organized into playlists based around mood, time of day or activity.
In a little more than two months, a million Canadians — just less than 3% of the population — have signed up for Songza Media Inc.’s streaming music service even as the company works out exactly how it’s going to pay artists’ royalties, keep the service free and still turn a profit.
The Long Island City, N.Y.-based startup said Thursday that more than one million Canadians have registered to use Songza online and through mobile applications in the 70 days since it launched in this country.
It was particularly popular on Apple Inc.’s iOS platform, with more than 900,000 Canadian installations of the app on iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices during that period (individual users can sign up once and then download Songza on more than one device).
Elias Roman, co-founder and chief executive, said the cultural overlap the U.S. shares with Canada, Songza’s first expansion market, along with a tech-savvy population with widespread Internet access and cellphone use, have contributed to its Canadian success.
Plus, he said, “You have a lot of options in Canada, but far fewer than, say, you have here [in the U.S.]. So relatively speaking, it’s a less noisy market.”
Songza does not sell audio advertising and while it does have display ads, Mr. Roman said he sees the biggest monetization opportunity in creating branded content — for example, a Mercedes-Benz fitness playlist created in conjunction with the luxury carmaker’s New York Fashion Week sponsorship, or a “clean and happy” playlist designed with biodegradeable cleaning supplies maker Method Products Inc.
“We’re basically taking lifestyle brands and working with them to create really interesting content on Songza that makes some specific part of their day happier,” he said, noting that he believes brands will pay to be associated with that happy time.
The company is also working with celebrities and artists — like Justin Bieber, who came up with a Canadian Pop Jams playlist — and looking to land business with uniquely Canadian consumer brands.
It’s still a relatively small endeavour, with 10 full-time employees and about 25 independent contractors who design the playlists, and US$1.5-million in outside funding (by way of convertible debt in a round led by Amazon.com Inc., Deep Fork Capital and Metamorphic in July).
While international streaming music players such as Pandora Media Inc. and Spotify have yet to arrive in Canada (Pandora was previously available but left the market in 2007 after a dispute over high royalty fees), Songza worked out a deal with Re:Sound Music Licensing Co., the not-for-profit agency that collects and distributes performance right royalties for recording artists and labels.
Songza and Re: Sound have not publicly disclosed the amount the company pays for the right to offer on-demand music.
Rather than pay royalties to Re:Sound (or its U.S. counterpart SoundExchange), other online music ventures — like Slacker Inc. and Rdio Inc., for example — have reached deals with record labels or artists themselves to pay for the right to use their music.
Richmond Hill, Ont.-based startup Tunezy Inc. is taking a stab at that model by working with independent artists not signed to a major label. But it’s not looking for subscription fees, advertising or branding deals to keep it afloat financially.
Chief executive and founder Derrick Fung said as the music industry as a whole scrambles to find a sustainable business model, he believes people are no longer interested in or willing to pay for music.
He plans to make money off his Web-based service with social reward elements — which is in a public beta testing mode with plans for a full launch in November — by offering artists a platform for selling all of the trappings that come along with the songs they create.
“We help musicians [make money off of] both exclusive products that they can offer to their fans and experiences,” Mr. Fung said, citing dinner with an artist before a concert, a backstage hangout and virtual concerts as examples.
Intertainment Media Inc. bought a 20% stake in the company in April and Mr. Fung has other angel investors, with plans to raise a larger round of funding next year, he said.
The company is working with about 500 artists, who can upload their music on to Tunezy’s platform, which is built on the SoundCloud and YouTube APIs to make the transfer straightforward.
The startup charges $5 per month to list an unlimited amount of merchandise and takes a cut of what artists charge for experiences and virtual concerts sold or hosted through the site.
Ortsbo partners with Daughtry, Fan Talk platform delivers a realtime community portal in 66 languages
Source: Pando Daily | October 10, 2012 | By Michael Carney
As much as any other vertical, the global consumption of entertainment content demonstrates the degree to which the world is shrinking. One of the last barriers in building truly flat, global fan communities is language. Having common language is important not only concerning the content itself, but in terms of social media, fan websites, and other forums for artists and fans to interact with one another and share common interests.
Real-time, global communication platform startup Ortsbo is solving this problem by creating what it calls Fan Talk, a system of social engagement hubs that dynamically translate into 66 different languages. A month ago, mega-rock band KISS was the first to launch on the platform, and today the company is announcing a partnership with Grammy-nominated and AMA-winning pop band Daughtry, which features “American Idol” alum Chris Daughtry.
Ortsbo combines multimedia, chat, and ecommerce, allowing users to share photos, video, text, Tweets, and links, as well as purchase merchandise within a single portal, in the language of their choice. The platform pulls in and translates tagged content and feeds from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google +, Flickr, Vevo, and more to create a single destination where fans can engage with one another around their favorite artists.
To see the power of such a platform, imagine fans in Europe, for example, reading reactions to a concert tour in America, before buying tickets for an upcoming date. In the same way, a personal message from an artist like Chris Daughtry, can immediately reach a massive audience without any limitations due to language. For KISS, the company close captioned the band’s “Hell or High Water” music video in 13 languages, offering fans more nuanced real-time understanding.
“Ortsbo and its global fan programs are giving our firm and clients the ability to accelerate worldwide communication and business opportunities creating greater awareness for our artists,” says Pearl Group Entertainment CEO Stirling Mcllwaine. “This is what artists need to create global opportunities and generate revenue in today’s world.”
Unlike Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social platforms where artists currently aggregate massive followings, on Ortsbo, they can own the relationship and the data that is generated. Artists will gain truly valuable insights into the interests and behaviors of their fans which they can then use to better engage them.
For artists and consumers alike, the idea of another social aggregation platform is long since played out. It’s no longer enough to simply mash up various content sources. To succeed in this vertical, companies must add new value that is not otherwise available. It would appear at first glance that Ortsbo does this with its multi-language support, but that’s certainly no guarantee of mass adoption.
The key to Ortsbo’s language solution is its ability to build in specific topical lexicons around “music” or in the case of future implementations, “movies” or “sports.” In casual conversation, the service achieves the same 70 to 80 percent accuracy as traditional machine translators, but on an artists site it is seeing “mid-nineties” percent accuracy, according to founder and CEO David Lucatch.
To explain this phenomenon, Lucatch offered the example of the statement “Kobe Bryant is traveling.” Outside of the context of a basketball fan page, that could have dual meanings, with one involving a plane and another involving a rules infraction. Adding in topical lexicons, has proven to dramatically increase translation accuracy.
Toronto-based Ortsbo, which is a subsidiary of technology incubator Intertainment Media, offers similar language translation technologies currently used by MSN, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo and has served “over 212 million unique users in over 170 countries and territories.” With each interaction, its language solutions improve incrementally.
Currently, Ortsbo is offering Fan Talk to artists on a free-of-charge, invitation-only basis, monetizing only on a share of ticket and merchandise sales. In the future, the company will likely offer a self-serve, SaaS based model to a wider range of musical acts and other entertainers.
“We want to dynamically globalize and change the music industry by creating a viable destination that fans can go to and engage however they want once they get there,” says Lucatch. “We’re thrilled to start by working with top artists, but it won’t stop here.”
Source: Common Sense Advisory Blogs | October 10, 2012 | By Donald A. DePalma
LinguaSys today announced that Mark Cuban, technology mogul and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, “acquired a significant position” in the company, producer of the Carabao machine translation software. He cited its role in helping large enterprises get “across language boundaries and conduct global business.”
Cuban joins some other well-known names in backing language technology companies. For example, actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher and investor/author Tim Ferriss took stakes in language learning startup DuoLingo. Salesforce founder Marc Benioff led the first round of funding for Cloudwords, a cloud-based translation platform. In 2011 Gene Simmons, a rock icon of KISS fame, signed on as a spokesperson and partner in Ortsbo, machine translation technology used in social media. Back in 2007, U2’s Bono bought into SDI Media through Elevation Partners. Babelverse, with its on-demand interpreting platform, secured funding through 500 Startups, with some familiar names on its list of mentors.
Why are these celebrities investing in such technology? It’s a combination of financial opportunity and global awareness:
Entrepreneurs such as Benioff see the opportunity to disrupt the language market with a cloud-based solution, much as he did with sales force automation. Kutcher has belied his onscreen persona with his technology savviness. Some coverage of these companies cites Common Sense Advisory’s market estimates of a US$33.5 billion market in language services and technology, a pot of money that interests venture capitalists, private equity groups, and angel investors such as these celebrities (see “The Language Services Market: 2012,” May12).
Performers such as Bono and Simmons have been spotlighted in the global arena and understand the value of communicating to their audiences. Furthermore, Bono has done extensive international work and relied on interpreters and translators. And while most people remember Simmons for just one tongue, he actually speaks several. Straddling technology and sports, Cuban’s comments underscore the importance of language to commerce (see “ROI Lifts the Long Tail of Languages in 2012,” Jun12).
Finally, it may be a question of these celebrities finding suitable investments for their wealth. Investors are scouting markets the world over for lucrative places to put their money. Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote in the New York Times that the private equity sector is sitting on “more money than they know what to do with.” He states that these firms have US$1 trillion in funds available, and that nearly 20% of that will have to be returned to investors in the next 12 months unless they find companies in which to invest. Actors such as Kutcher, who receives between US$800,000 and 900,000 for each episode of “Two and a Half Men,” must surely be looking for alternatives to today’s rate of 0.331% for a certificate of deposit at his local bank.
Will language technology be the next place where these celebrities make a name for themselves? The last big wave of investment in language software was in the late 1990s and early 2000s when mainstream venture capitalists such as Draper Fisher Jurvetson, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Sigma Partners invested in the likes of translation management system (TMS) developers GlobalSight (part of Welocalize) and Idiom (now part of SDL). While a valuable addition to the sector, TMS did not radically disrupt the market. These celebrities are hoping that this next wave of cloud-based translation, interpreting, and machine translation will reinvent the market. Our research shows that it’s time for a major rethink, with productivity levels stagnating and translation demand far outstripping the capacity of the industry as currently structured to deliver (see “Translation Future Shock,” Apr12).
Intertainment Media’s Partnership With Snipp Interactive Expands Mobile Marketing Services to the Middle East
Source:MarketWire | September 20, 2012 | By Snipp Interactive Inc.
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Sept. 20, 2012) – Snipp Interactive Inc. (www.snipp.com), an international provider of mobile marketing solutions listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX VENTURE:SPN), today announced its expansion into the Middle East.
Under a strategic sales agency agreement, Snipp has appointed Middle East digital marketing pioneer Aya Kabbara to spearhead its client-facing activities initially focusing on Kuwait. Ms. Kabbara serves as the Co-founder and Managing Director at Digitus Marketing. Digitus Marketing assists organizations develop full-cycle interactive and social media marketing solutions by providing a combination of agency side services and in house technology remedies. Earlier, she worked in the advertising and communications space at companies such as Leo Burnett, CNN and Alrai TV.
Snipp recently kicked off its Middle East commercial operations with two successful high-profile campaigns in Kuwait with Asnan Tower, the Biggest Dental Center in the Middle East. Snipp is currently in conversations with a range of regional media companies and marketing agencies looking to introduce innovative mobile solutions based on its proven globally deployable Mobilize Me technology platform. The platform allows advertisers to specify a rich set of actions that can occur with a user’s mobile phone – everything from receiving an email, video, voice response, to complete sales tactics including couponing, social media campaigns and loyalty programs.
With mobile phone subscriptions already exceeding 260 million, current growth in Middle East mobile subscribers outpaces North America and Europe combined according to Ericsson. Moreover, Nielsen sees total advertising spend in the Middle East increasing at double digits, while Deloitte expects digital advertising there to grow at an annual rate of 35% in the next three years.
Atul Sabbharwal, Co-founder and CEO of Snipp noted: “Kuwait is a bridgehead for us in the Middle East. Our market entry follows the strategy to expand Snipp’s footprint across the most dynamic advertising and mobile markets in the World with experienced regional partners. Such markets also include India and Mexico, in which we just entered in a strategic partnership with Virket, a marketing agency that serves high profile companies such as Seccion Amarilla, controlled by industry titan Carlos Slim. We are excited to benefit from Aya Kabbara’s extensive experience and industry network as we start scaling our services in the Middle East.”
Aya Kabbara, Co-founder and Managing Director of Digitus Marketing said, “In using Snipp’s Mobilize Me platform, we can marry offline and online marketing solutions we build for our clients across a range of industries in Kuwait and the Middle East. There is a big excitement surrounding mobile phones in our region and Snipp makes that excitement a marketing reality. Their creativity and ability to execute new campaigns within days will be key assets as we aim to play a leading role in shaping the mobile marketing industry in the Middle East.”
About Snipp Interactive Inc.
Snipp Interactive Inc. (www.snipp.com) provides print publishers, advertising agencies and corporate/consumer brands, including Fortune 500 companies, with a full suite of mobile marketing services in North America, and generates revenue by designing, constructing, implementing and managing these mobile marketing services for its customers. Snipp Interactive Inc. is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with international operations in Canada, Mexico and India.
Disclaimer for Forward-Looking Information
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By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or other future events, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
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Snipp Interactive Inc. cautions that the foregoing list of material factors is not exhaustive. When relying on Snipp Interactive Inc.’s forward-looking statements and information to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Snipp Interactive Inc. has also assumed that material factors will not cause any forward-looking statements and information to differ materially from actual results or events. However, the list of these factors is not exhaustive and is subject to change and there can be no assurance that such assumptions will reflect the actual outcome of such items or factors.
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Source:Reuters | September 10, 2012 | By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Israeli group Lexifone, which provides automated voice translation from any phone, expects to more than triple sales annually in its first few years of operation, its CEO said.
The company, which launched its service a few weeks ago, can transmit and translate calls to over 100 countries in 15 languages and dialects.
“Our original plan was for annual growth of 200 percent,” co-founder and CEO Ike Sagie told Reuters. “The way we see market acceptance and the way we see the market welcoming the technology I think we have the potential for growing faster than that. Some of the contracts we are negotiating now already have those numbers in one deal.”
While the company had expected sales of $1 million in its first year, Sagie now thinks the number will be much higher with the company breaking even in its first year.
“With this product we change the way people communicate. It is about people and not technology,” said Sagie, an expert in computational linguistics who used to work for IBM Research Labs.
Lexifone is already working with BT Group and Telefonica to offer its service to their customers, and is discussing a pilot with AT&T in Texas. It is also in talks with the United States government and will shortly launch in Mexico.
The firm buys up minutes of phone time from operators so customers using its service are billed only once, by Lexifone.
The service requires an access number that must be dialled but no Internet connection or software installation is needed. Callers say a sentence in their own language and this is translated and transmitted in the language chosen. Callers can also check that the right words were translated.
Sagie’s son Itay, vice president of sales, said for a business customer the translation is close to 100 percent accurate. For personal conversations, if someone uses a lot of slang the translation would be less accurate but there is a learning mechanism that improves accuracy over time.
The price including the call ranges from 25-40 cents per minute for those buying $10 worth of prepaid calls and drops to 15-20 cents for monthly packages of $20-$200, Itay Sagie said.
The human interpreter industry is estimated at $14 billion a year, with the cost running about $4 a minute, he said. The global market for outsourced translation technology will reach $33.5 billion in 2012, according to market research firm Common Sense Advisory.
Sagie, who took the company Attunity he co-founded public on Nasdaq in 1992, believes Lexifone could be of particular value to call centres. It could also be used in hotels to translate calls between guests and the reception.
Lexifone is backed by Intertainment Media of Canada, which paid $2 million for a 25 percent stake in the company and has an option to buy the rest for an undisclosed price.
“I believe we will have enough revenue to sustain ourselves but if we want to expand in a major way quickly we would need to raise more money,” Itay Sagie said.
Source: USA Today | August 14, 2012 | by Rick Hampson
NEW YORK – At the end of another disappointing season, Brooklyn Dodgers fans would console themselves with the refrain, “Wait ’til next year!” The team is long gone, but for Brooklyn, next year is here.
The arrival of the NBA Nets gives Brooklyn its first major league team since the Dodgers’ departure for Los Angeles in 1957, and something else: more evidence that, as its denizens claim, the borough that was once a punch line is now the coolest place in America, a land of rooftop farms and pop-up art galleries, of haircuts, eyeglasses, hats and body piercings so chic that even Parisians utter, “Très Brooklyn!”
“People I know from London don’t want to go to Manhattan,” says Kari Browne, 33, a former broadcast news producer who last month opened a cafe in the up-and-coming Victorian neighborhood of Ditmas Park. “They want to come to Brooklyn.”
As do art students from Iowa and tourists from Helsinki, urban farmers and suburban shoppers, Swarthmore and Oberlin seniors, do-it-yourselfers and indie rockers, German graffiti writers, vegans, surfers, Manhattan writers, NBA stars.
The New Jersey Nets’ relocation to the new Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn is a big reason why guard Deron Williams re-signed with the team and why the league’s best center, the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard, once tried to join him.
When the arena opens this fall with concerts by Jay-Z and Barbra Streisand and the first Nets’ game, it will cap one of the more remarkable reversals of fortune in U.S. urban history.
Barclays is part of a planned $5 billion high-rise residential-commercial complex that community groups have criticized for abusing the power of eminent domain, uprooting residents and ripping up the neighborhood fabric.
But to Fred Siegel, a New York writer and political activist, the project says: “Brooklyn is back.”
A burg with cachet
It’s more than back; it’s where it never was. The Brooklyn the Dodgers left was unsophisticated and unfashionable, the butt of the kind of jokes now directed at New Jersey. The Brooklyn after that, from roughly 1970 through 1995, was synonymous with crime, drugs and welfare. But the Brooklyn where Kari Browne has opened a business and plans to raise a family has been transformed into what she calls “a brand.”
It’s dangerous to generalize about a borough of 2.5 million (if it were a city, Brooklyn would be the nation’s fourth most populous) or to romanticize it. The government defines almost a quarter of the residents as poor, and although Brooklyn has fewer than a third of the city’s people, it accounts for about 40% of its murders. Most occur in troubled pockets such as Brownsville, East New York and East Flatbush.
This year, pastor Gilford Monrose of Mount Zion Church of God (Seventh-day) in East Flatbush has buried two murder victims in their 20s, one of whom was gunned down in front of his uncle’s fried-chicken restaurant. Monrose says getting a gun in the neighborhood “is as easy as going to the corner store.”
That said, Brooklyn at its best is Sesame Street: integrated playgrounds; small shops on tree-lined streets; artisanal pickles and home-made granola; bike lanes and occasional valet bike parking. Spike-haired, tattooed skateboarders zip past bearded Hassidic Jews in long black coats. Houseboats ply the once-fetid Gowanus Canal.
So many writers, actors, artists and chefs live here that borough President Marty Markowitz calls it “New York’s Left Bank.” Writer Malcolm Gladwell has observed that “intelligent thought is not dead in New York. It has simply moved to Brooklyn.”
Jerry Krase, a Brooklyn College sociologist, says the buzz stems from a contrast between what the world thought it knew about Brooklyn and what Brooklyn really is.
Old Brooklyn was a place you came from (including Aaron Copland, Woody Allen, Larry King, Wolfman Jack, Mike Tyson); New Brooklyn is a place to go to (as have Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Giamatti, Anne Hathaway, Björk.)
Kriss Roebling is a filmmaker, musician and descendant of the engineers who built the Brooklyn Bridge. After their apartment house was demolished for the Barclays Center, he and his family moved to Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a former warehouse and factory district.
They love it. “We’re two blocks from dropping a kayak in the river and 12 minutes on a bike from the East Village,” he says. In Brooklyn, he adds, “people are more apt to get together to create art scenes and events and parties. It has what Manhattan had in the ’70s and ’80s.” Including tourists. “Bus tours of Brooklyn!” marvels Krase, who was born in the borough in 1943. “It’s like we’re like the zoo. They’re waving at us out the window.”
Once, as native son and writer Pete Hamill has noted, nothing in Brooklyn ever seemed to change; now, change is a constant, as artists, homesteaders, hipsters and developers hopscotch across the borough in a process that Francis Morrone, an architectural historian who has studied city neighborhoods, calls “hyper-gentrification.”
Despite a national housing market collapse, this gentrification has attained a momentum rarely seen anywhere, he says. It jumped the East River from Manhattan about 20 years ago and surged into the neighborhoods of Dumbo, Williamsburg and Greenpoint, into Park Slope and Ditmas Park, and now to Red Hook and Bushwick, places once synonymous with urban dystopia. It’s stopped by nothing, not even the low-income housing projects that traditionally marked gentrification’s limits.
Once, pioneer artists in search of low rents and big work spaces with natural light moved into derelict or impoverished neighborhoods and slowly made them attractive to less intrepid settlers. Now, “the new places get overrun before they have a chance to develop an identity,” says Robert Anasi, a writer who lived in Williamsburg when it became the city’s hottest neighborhood.
How did this happen to a place known for its grating accent (“Fuhgeddaboudit!”), odd foods (knishes, lox), tacky
amusements (Coney Island) and cartoonish TV characters (The Honeymooners’ bombastic Ralph Kramden)?
Paradise, lost and found
An even better question: How did Bushwick become the new bohemia?
Wilson Meredith was 14 when the lights went out, when the looters tied ropes to car bumpers, pulled down the security gates from stores on Broadway and stole everything inside.
That was Bushwick in the citywide power blackout of 1977. Vandals torched 44 stores, including Woolworths, which burned to the ground.
It was just one in a series of plagues to hit Bushwick, in better days a hardworking place where German and Sicilian immigrants and an influx of Puerto Ricans (such as Meredith’s family) made everything from beer to glue to glass. Real estate agents panicked many white homeowners into selling quickly and cheaply with the rise of minorities. Mortgage brokers helped the newcomers buy homes they couldn’t afford. When they defaulted and home prices plunged, bankers red-lined the area against loans. Landlords torched devalued buildings for insurance money.
Then, things began to change:
• New York’s recovery from its 1975 fiscal crisis spurred development of new housing in Bushwick.
• The ever-rising price of Manhattan real estate forced artists east, where the austere beauty of Brooklyn’s semi-abandoned, post-industrial landscape of piers, warehouses, cement factories and textile mills proved irresistible.
• Crime dropped, starting in the early ’90s, in part because of more police and less tolerance for “quality of life” offenses.
• The rezoning of Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront touched off a residential land rush in neighborhoods such as Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Then, the eternal search for the $1,000-a-month one-bedroom apartment brought homesteaders all the way to Bushwick.
Today, Meredith, 49, has a good IT job in Manhattan. He still lives in Bushwick, which he barely recognizes as the place where he grew up.
There are more art galleries (16 and counting) than there ever were breweries (14), plus an ever-expanding number of performance spaces, restaurants, cafes and bars.
Meredith likes the safer, cleaner streets, and places like The Bodega, a wine bar started by two newcomers who wanted to recreate the ambiance of cafes they enjoyed while living in Spain.
He’s amused by some of the people he meets there, “young people from the Midwest. … It’s ghetto chic. They think, ‘I’m a pioneer.’ … They all want to come to Bushwick.” But he worries about those who have to leave.
In March 2011, Maria Marques, her husband and three children were forced out of their Bushwick apartment by a fire. They could find no place in the area for anything near the $600 a month they had paid for their rent-controlled apartment; the newcomers have bid two-bedroom market-rate units up to around $1,500 a month.
They wound up in the city shelter system in the South Bronx, an hour trip via three different subway lines. “She lived in this neighborhood for 20 years,” says Yolanda Coca, a tenants’ advocate at the Brooklyn Housing Independence Project. “How is she supposed to come home to Brooklyn?”
That also worries Nyssa Frank, 27, who moved to Bushwick four years ago from London. She grew up in the affluent Long Island community of East Hampton and majored in philosophy at UCal-Santa Barbara. With her blond hair swept long on one side and shaved close on the other, her nose ring, her tattooed arms and her cat-eye makeup, she looks like what Meredith would call a hipster.
Frank used to work in a gallery in Manhattan; now she runs her own in a former textile factory that backs onto a dump. The gallery shows the work of local artists — many of them Hispanic and not formally trained — and offers free art classes.
When hipsters first moved to the neighborhood, some said they lived in “East Williamsburg,” because they were embarrassed to say Bushwick. No more, Frank says: “It’s cool here; you can express yourself however you want” — open a gallery, start a community garden, paint a mural on an old factory wall. It’s a very hip, very self-contained world that one needn’t leave to find a meal or concert or gallery or anything, except an airport.
What Brooklynites still call “the city” is only a subway ride away, “but I never go to Manhattan now,” Frank says, “unless I have to.”
Source: Sync-Blog | August 5, 2012 | by Marc Saltzman
Click and learn a bit about Lenovo’s Ideapad and ThinkPad line-up (and a bit about ThinkPad’s long history), plus we talk with Toronto’s Ortsbo about their involvement with the rock band KISS, and more.
In this week’s Tech Talk radio show, we chat with Chetan Joshi, account executive for Lenovo‘s North American Distribution Retail division, about what to look for in your next ultrabook or laptop. We also connect with David Lucatch, CEO of Intertainment Media Inc., the parent company of Ortsbo, on how people can chat via IM in real-time with people who speak another language.
If you like, download the show to play offline, at a later time or copied over to a portable device. Simply right click here, choose “Save As” and select where you want it to go on your computer: Tech Talk – August 6, 2012
Source: USA Today | July 29, 2012 | by Marc Saltzman
Legendary rock group Kiss might open its shows with the classic Detroit Rock City, but you don’t need to be in the Motor City— or even from the USA— to chat with the band in your mother tongue.
Launched in conjunction with the band’s 40-city summer tour with Mötley Crüe, a new online tool called Kiss Social Hub (kissonline.com/socialhub) not only aggregates multiple social networks into one central platform (including Facebook, Twitter and Google+), but automatically translates text from 53 languages between fans and the band, in real time.
“For a group like us, an international audience is essential to continuing the growth and worldwide exposure of the rock experience we want to offer fans,” Kiss bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons tells USA TODAY. “Connecting with them in their own language and familiar social networks makes the fan experience personal and direct, with no barriers of translation.”
Kiss followers in Russia or China, for example, can write to the group at the Social Hub, but it instantly appears as English when viewed by band members and other fans. On the flip side, whatever Kiss writes back in English is viewed in the desired language a second or two later.
The band, which made its debut in makeup and platform boots 39 years and dozens of albums ago, says the ability to chat in real time with non-English-speaking followers wasn’t possible until now.
“The experience for the international fan has completely changed over the past few years, (where) a global audience can hear from their favorite group in their own tongue,” says guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley. “Now it’s a possibility for every member of the Kiss Army in the farthest reaches of the globe to reach us directly.”
Kiss Social Hub is powered by a technology called Ortsbo, a leading real-time communications platform used by more than 200 million people, according to its parent company Intertainment Media. The multilingual social-media chatting service is available on computers, Web browsers and mobile devices. A free Ortsbo app for Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) lets users chat live via Facebook with people in other languages. Coming soon is support for other social networks, including MSN, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk.
Kiss Social Hub will serve as the Web’s command center for the band throughout the tour, which wraps Sept. 23 in Hartford, Conn.
“Expect live updates from us from each performance,” Simmons says.
Simmons might not need this technology as much as the rest of the band, however, as his famously long tongue can speak five languages: English, Hebrew, Hungarian, German and some Japanese.
Source: Mashable | July 24, 2012 | by Christina Warren
Calling all members of the Kiss Army! Everyone’s favorite face-painted rockers are holding a digital scavenger hunt to unveil the cover of the band’s new album, Monster.
Starting now through July 30, a new piece of album art will appear online each day. Fans can collect each piece in an app that lives on the Kiss Facebook page.
“We wanted to offer fans a fun way to search and engage with the album art,” says Kiss frontman Gene Simmons. “We’re excited that so many great partners jumped at the chance to work with us on this. The Hunt for Monster is on!”
Here at Mashable, we’re doing our part to rock and roll all night and party every day by displaying the first piece of album art.
Kiss Keeps it Social and Digital
For a band that has been around since 1973, Kiss is incredibly plugged into the digital and social scenes. In addition to this Facebook promotion, the band is also taking social to a new level on its 40-city summer tour with Motley Crüe.
Kiss has teamed up with Ortsbo — a real-time communications technology company — to create a global social engagement platform.
What’s cool about the social hub is that it lets the band simultaneously connect with the Kiss Army in 53 languages across 17 social networks. This will allow the band to share and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vevo, Flickr, YouTube and more. The translation technology will also allow fans to communicate in real-time, across languages.
Kiss is currently on tour. Its next album, Monster will be released in October. Fans can pre-order the album through iTunes on July 31 and on Amazon now.
Do you think this is a great way for older acts like Kiss to engage with fans using technology? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Digital Media Wire | July 23, 2012 | by Chris Marlowe
Kiss is launching a social platform, timed to coordinate with its current tour with fellow rock icons Motley Crüe and to build buzz for the October release of Monster, the band’s 20th studio album.
What makes this initiative a little different from other fan platforms is that it incorporates Ortsbo’s real-time translation among up to 53 languages, as well as including integration with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Vevo and 12 additional social networks.
Ortsbo’s parent company Intertainment Media Inc. said the concept was to “effectively transform in-venue fan engagement during a live music performance into a global, social and merchandising experience.”
The Kiss Army social network also will collect a range of information about Kiss fans that may be made available to advertisers, marketers, merchandisers, licensees and other partners.
Kiss bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons is a spokesman for and investor in Ortsbo. Intertainment Media Inc. is headquartered near Toronto, Canada, and has offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Mateo, Calif.
“We’re giving our fans a more powerful and meaningful way to communicate and engage with us while on tour. Every member of the Kiss Army brings pride and power we share and with Ortsbo’s technology we can reach anyone, anywhere, in any language through one single place on the web,” said Paul Stanley, Kiss guitarist/vocalist. “No matter where our fans are or what native language they speak, now all of them can be part of the tour plus purchase tour merchandise through one easy platform.”
Source: Wired | July 20, 2012 | by Anton Olsen
Kiss has been rocking the world for almost 40 years, and while they struggled in the early years to sell albums to a diverse and difficult audience, it was ultimately their live album and fans that pulled them back from the brink of bankruptcy and launched one of the more successful rock franchises to emerge from the ’70s. In the interim they have utilized a number of new technologies, and methods of connecting with their fans, and they are launching something new for The Tour.
Teaming up with Ortsbo for a first in music and fan communications, Kiss is launching a multilingual social network aggregator, enabling the tour’s on-site team, concert-goers, Kiss members and fans worldwide to converse across language barriers, continents and all the top social networks. Built to transform the way audiences, musicians and staffers share live and static entertainment experiences, the new hub will serve as a global base for Kiss fans, tour attendees and viewers around the world.
“We’re giving our fans a more powerful and meaningful way to communicate and engage with us while on tour. Every member of the Kiss Army brings pride and power we share and with Ortsbo’s technology we can reach anyone, anywhere, in any language through one single place on the web,” said Paul Stanley of Kiss. “No matter where our fans are or what native language they speak, now all of them can be part of the tour plus purchase tour merchandise through one easy platform.”
Ortsbo supports 53 languages across more than a dozen social networks, and is also providing multi-lingual support for Live Nation Merchandise to bring the gambit of Kiss items to fans on a global scale.
I’ll be watching this closely. I think the concept is great, but it remains to be seen if Kiss and Ortsbo can pull it off in a way that is meaningful for the fans and the band. The first real public show of the tour is tonight in Bristow, Virginia, and I will be watching KissOnline.com to see how the fans interact with the network. They are making a stop in Dallas on August 4th, and I’ll be there, both for the show, and to see how the social network connects with the real world experience.
Find out more today on KissOnline.com.
Source: Cantech Letter | June 12, 2012 | by Cantech
Just a few years ago, the average person’s interaction with celebrities was similar to their parents.
Maybe you were in a fan club or attended the odd charity golf tournament, the way your dad once met Steve Gutenberg and got that picture that sits on the mantle to this day.
These days, Twitter, Facebook, even Reddit have changed all that. While you may stand as much chance of getting on Oprah as being retweeted by Oprah, social media has broken down the wall between celebrities and their fans forever. One of the offshoots of this is financial; social media stars have become actual stars, and actual stars have made money selling to their fan bases, which are now instantly accessible. Yesterday, Intertainment Media (TSXV:INT) announced it had developed a social media financial services program for celebrities and brands they expect will generate continuing loyalty and transactional fees. Cantech Letter caught up with Intertainment Media CEO David Lucatch to talk about the new service.
David, yesterday Intertainment introduced a new social media financial service
program, nicknamed Sweet Card. Can you tell us what is Sweet Card, exactly and where’s the push coming from for this product?
Sure. The Sweet Card is a “code name” for a group of social media enabled financial services. We have found that working with celebrities and specialty brands that they are looking for new ways to monetize their “fans” and advertising just doesn’t cut it. These groups have a lot of socially active constituents. The initial group we’re talking with has over 90 million Facebook, Twitter and other social “fans” in their networks. Over the past 6 months or so, we have been discussing with these individuals / brands, their management teams and consultants new ways to accomplish these goals. What we proposed was a way to capture revenue from everything a fan does, not just online and provide a great value proposition at the same time. The “Sweet Card” is the result, as it pairs an online mobile wallet with a conventional debit ViSA or Mastercard and combines a socially engaging, high value loyalty program, all customized for the celebrity/brand.
I know some celebrities are monetizing their social media presence already, with “sponsored tweets”. How is this different?
Sponsored tweets, emails or Facebook posts are one dimensional, that is to say, they give the celebrity or brand earning power from a single brand, product or event. The “Sweet Card” is way different, as it gives the celebrity or specialty brand earning power from all purchases, regardless of the branding, increasing the “universality” of their monetization program.
Endorsements and product placements are are part of how product gets paid for today, to a degree that might be surprising to most people. Is sweet card an extension of that?
Industries have and are changing dramatically as a result of the Internet and social media. Music is a prime example. Celebrities and specialty brands have to leverage their unique “value” to continue to increase their earning power, so they turn to endorsements and product placements. The “Sweet Card” is not really an extension of this, but of the power of the brand, as the loyalty aspects are prime components of the program. People want to get closer to their favorite celebrities and specialty brands, the “Sweet Card” program allows them to do this, online and offline.
How exactly does the mobile wallet you mentioned in today’s press release work?
Mobile Wallet technology is relatively new to most people and is emerging, given the billions smartphones in circulation, as a viable alternative to handling cash or traditional credit cards. Users install the technology and treat their smart phones as a secure “wallet” allowing them to transfer funds, make purchases and “beam” using a technology called Near Field Communications their requests from their phones to vending machines, bank machines, cash registers, etc. This may sound new to people in North America, but globally, the program is already taking hold. At Intertainment, we’re innovators, and we want to be ahead of the curve, so we’re engaging now.
Where is the push coming from on each side of this equation?
At Intertainment and our subsidiary brands like Ortsbo, KNCTR, we see that online advertising is a competitive, crowded market. In North America, the market is very mature, but in other global regions, the space is still relatively new, pricing is under pressure and volume of ads are very low. We don’t want to rely upon this space alone to build our revenues and our business. As I mentioned earlier, we’re innovators looking to be ahead of the curve. Some people may not initially see all the dots connected, as it might not be “linear” to them, but we spend a lot of time and energy researching, listening and understanding the emerging markets and this program is a result of those endeavors. We believe that this program potentially offers a new and innovative way to create value, revenue and social engagement.
How will Sweet Card work for brands, as opposed to individual celebrities?
Whether it is a celebrity or specialty brand, the value proposition is still to create value. They are very similar when you boil it down, as both want to reach and increase engagement with their audience and increase revenues by providing leveraged value to “fans”. The nuances may change for each celebrity and specialty brand, but for the most part, they need to be analyzed and treated essentially the same way. Our outreach, engagement and loyalty program components will be customized for each celebrity and / or brand, providing the best possible value based on their individual offerings and goals and will be fine tuned based on feedback from fans.
Source: The Globe and Mail | June 6, 2012 | by Grant Buckler
Online advertising is big business. A study by consulting firm Ernst and Young last fall projected a 16-per-cent increase in Canadian online ad sales in 2011, to $2.6 billion. But it’s a big business that small businesses can’t always get a piece of easily.
Buying online ads can be daunting for smaller companies, and serving those smaller customers is often time-consuming and unprofitable for online publishers. That’s the conundrum Shiny Inc., the Toronto-based operator of a service called Shiny Ads, set out to resolve.
While working at a small digital publisher, Shiny founder and chief executive Roy Pereira noticed a large number of first-time advertisers looking to buy small amounts of advertising. With customers who wanted to spend perhaps $100, though, it was hard to serve them and make money.
Smaller advertisers have thus been left on the sidelines, says Carmi Levy, an independent London, Ont.-based technology analyst. “It takes a fairly unique set of skills to leverage online advertising for business advantage, and these are skills that many smaller, less tech-savvy organizations simply do not have.”
What Mr. Pereira wanted was a self-serve interface to handle small-ad orders with a minimum of human intervention. The giants of online advertising – Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. – offer this. Most other websites don’t. Mr. Pereira looked for something that would allow others to do it, but in 2009 he couldn’t find anything, so he set up Shiny Ads to fill the gap.
While Shiny Ads is designed so those without a background in advertising can understand it – minimizing industry jargon such as “cost per impression,” for instance.
Before San Francisco-based CBS Interactive adopted Shiny Ads about a year ago, it was hard for the company to reach smaller advertisers, says David Chiang, vice-president of monetization.
“This self-serve tool allows these users to come on board, buy the inventory, take a look at it, see if it performs well for them,” he says. In many cases, he says, those buys are leading to closer relationships and bigger deals with those advertisers.
Like most of Shiny Ads’ customers, CBS Interactive “white labels” the product, meaning that while Shiny’s servers process the transactions, the process looks to the advertisers using it like part of CBS’ website.
Revenue comes from a straight percentage of ads sold – there are no setup fees and no monthly fees, Mr. Pereira says.
Shiny Ads’ customers, most of whom are in the United States, include advertising trade magazine AdWeek, CBS News, technology news publishers ZDNet and CNet, and Kijiji Canada, a unit of eBay Inc.
Mr. Pereira is no stranger to start-ups, having launched his first – a company making Internet server software before the Internet was big – straight out of university in the early 1990s. Having learned from that experience that he “really didn’t know what he was doing,” he worked for several other companies, including industry giant Cisco Systems Inc., before launching Shiny Ads.
For a company founded in the early part of the great recession, funding was the first big challenge. In 2009 the venture capital and angel investment scene in Toronto was essentially dead or dormant, he says, so Shiny Ads relied on consulting revenue to bootstrap product development.
When the company finally obtained about $500,000 from two angel groups – the Maple Leaf Angels and York Angel Investors – and some individual investors in March 2011, it was able to drop the consulting “cold turkey” and focus on the product, which Mr. Pereira says brought an immediate surge in sales. “All of a sudden doors opened that we didn’t even know were there,” he recalls.
At the beginning of this year Shiny Ads raised an additional $400,000 in a second funding round involving the original investors and Toronto-based Intertainment Media Inc., which develops technology for online marketing.
Funding has been overtaken as a challenge by staffing. With Web and mobile businesses doing well in Toronto, finding people with those skills has been tough. The company is fully staffed with eight employees at the moment, Mr. Pereira says, but “the next time we want to grow I know it’s going to take three or four months.”
While Mr. Pereira isn’t revealing revenue numbers, he will say that the company is bringing in about six times as much money each month as it was a year ago. It also plans to market other products to help online advertising buyers and sellers. The first two of these are almost ready and likely to be launched in the next month, the founder says.
Besides being a promising niche for the company, what Shiny Ads is doing should make online advertising more accessible to small businesses, Mr. Levy says. “It allows these previously under-served advertisers to compete more effectively against organizations of any size.”
Source: Tunezy Blog | April 10, 2012 | by Tunezy Team
Summary: Real-time translation service currently supports Windows Live, Google Talk and Facebook Chat services; a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook is also available.
It’s been an awesome three months here at Tunezy so far and today it’s about to get even awesomer (is that even a word?). Today we’re happy to announce that Intertainment Media has invested into Tunezy. Intertainment is a publicly traded company on the TSX Venture Exchange and has the mission to develop, nurture and invest in new technologies. We believe that there are many synergies between the two companies and Tunezy will benefit greatly from the experience and networks that the Intertainment executive team brings. You can check out the full press release here.
We will be working very closely with Intertainment Media – so closely that we’ve decided to move into their office in Richmond Hill. Intertainment will provide us with both operational and strategic support which will definitely help springboard Tunezy forward!
The past 3 months at Tunezy have been very exciting. We started off working in a living room and now we’re in an office and our team has doubled in size. Here are some highlights and also some things to look forward to in the near future:
1. We’re launching very, very soon! We are hoping to make Tunezy available privately in May – that’s coming up soon! If you’re interested in helping us test the product and providing us with feedback, simply sign-up for an invite on the main page.
2. We’ve had some good progress validating our idea. In March, we pitched Tunezy at the National Business & Technology Conference (NBTC). We were very excited to place first at the competition. Thanks to everyone for the support and encouragement.
3. We’ve built an awesome team and hope to continue to attract ambitious and driven people. At Tunezy, people are always number one. We truly value our culture and values – they keep the wheels turning and ambitions burning. There are some late nights we spend in the office, so it’s important that we foster a fun and engaging work environment. We’re always on the look out for great people to join our team. Check out our About Us page to learn more!
Make sure to sign up for an invite on Tunezy.com – thanks everyone for the support.
Source: ZDNet | March 21, 2012 | by Heather Clancy
Summary: Real-time translation service currently supports Windows Live, Google Talk and Facebook Chat services; a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook is also available.
Web sites have a way of making the world seem a lot bigger and a lot smaller simultaneously. The reality is that more and more cybercitizens do not speak English natively, which could be a challenge for small businesses from the United States that are hoping to make their products and services available more globally.
Some large companies address this issue by creating different versions of their Web sites in different languages, but most small businesses can’t support that sort of expense.
Enter Ortsbo, a Canadian company that has created technologies that offer real time translation services. The core service layers into chat and instant messaging applications; right now, Windows Live, Google Talk and Facebook Chat are supported. There is also a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook.
Once you sign up, the service helps you carry on conversations with someone typing in a different language. So, for example, Ortsbo might transfer your response into Arabic, translating the responses from that person back into English on your behalf.
You can easily envision customer service or sales conversations being supported by the technology. “Our whole situation is that we want to destroy the language barrier,” said Ortsbo President David Lucatch. The “we” in this instance also includes KISS frontman Gene Simmons, who happens to speak five languages and is an investor in the company.
Lucatch said that the service was originally designed for software programmers and developers who were working across different time zones and country borders. Now, the service boasts about 107 million unique users, about 75 percent of whom speak languages other than English and many of whom hail from Asian countries. The company is working on wikis that help small businesses grapple with tough-to-translate phrases and idioms that might not translate well from language to language.
The company is working on free mobile applications as well; right now, unifying those applications is a priority, Lucatch said. He tells the story of a customer service representative at a small bank who was able to help a Korean-speaking woman by using the Ortsbo mobile app on his Apple iPad.
“He was making an effort and that won him the business,” Lucatch said.
Source: Ubergizmo | March 21, 2012 | by Edwin Kee
Ortsbo.com – ever heard of the domain name before? Well, you might want to start taking note of it, as Ortsbo is the leader in real-time experiential communications, having announced that they have recently applied for U.S. patent protection for its new e-Reader translator application. This new app is currently available in closed Beta, where it intends to revolutionize the e-Reader industry by instantly translating the user’s choice of text or audible speech in real time, basically, any material which can be loaded onto majority of the popular e-Reader platforms out there. This new multi-language translation tool will play nice with just about any iOS, Android or Windows-based desktop, smartphone, mobile, tablet and portable computing device.
Currently, text-to-text and text-to-speech translation will be available in German, French and English, with the goal of supporting up to 53 languages in total at the end of the day. We do know that communicating well is one of the basics of any relationship, and also applies when it comes to understanding a particular book or article, so Ortsbo wants to fill this niche with their app.
Source: Crain’s New York Business | March 15, 2012 | by Ali Elkin
When Jay-Z throws his housewarming concert at the Barclays Center in September, fans around the world will get live updates about “99 Problems” in 53 languages.
It’s part of the arena’s owners’ plan to build a tricked-out corner of the Internet where the Brooklyn venue can connect with music and sports fans. They announced Thursday plans to partner with Ortsbo, a Toronto-based technology company that specializes in instantly translating text, often for Tweets, chats and live blogs. Ortsbo’s service will translate content on the Barclays Center website.
“We’ve now partnered with Barclays to create a global broadcasting center,” said Ortsbo CEO David Lucatch.
Ortsbo will lead Barclays Center’s global social media push by instantly translating spoken or written text on the arena’s website into more than 50 tongues. That way, users can view an international chat thread in their native languages.
Under the partnership, the arena will house the Ortsbo Media Center, where the Brooklyn Nets’ post-game press conferences and other events will be held. Ortsbo will have personnel at the arena who will generate content for the Barclays website, such as live chats with coaches or updates from concerts. Ortsbo will translate its own coverage, as well as any Twitter feeds or other fan-generated content on the Barclays Center site.
Ortsbo will not cover the Nets games and concerts themselves, Mr. Lucatch said. The company will instead seek to capture “the vibe” and share the audience experience. They will also focus on providing and translating exclusive content, like interviews with players and performers.
Ortsbo and Barclays Center marketers are still working out the specifics of what content will go on the site. Both companies expect the relationship to evolve as they come up with new ideas.
“I don’t think our contract is going to represent half of the crazy and out-of-the-box things that we’re going to be able to work on together,” said Chris Brahe, the Barclays Center’s senior vice president of partnership sales and marketing.
Ortsbo is less than 2 years old but had 107 million unique visitors to its site in its most recent monthly measurement, Mr. Lucatch said. The translation system relies mainly on an algorithm that addresses specific phrases. That’s different than the individual word searches that sites like Google Translate use.
“I’d like to say we have all these monkeys on typewriters, but no,” Mr. Lucatch said.
Source: ThePostGame | March 15, 2012 | by Karie Meltzer
It makes some New Yorkers cringe, but the phrase “Brooklyn is the new Manhattan” is gaining ground — and digital translation company Ortsbo has found one way to capitalize on New York’s booming borough.
As construction Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (soon-to-be home of the Nets and plenty of other sports and entertainment events) progresses, Ortsbo is creating an online world for global fans to engage with anything and everything happening at the arena. Barclays Center TV will offer pre- and postgame interviews by a multilingual host, plus two-way communication between fans anywhere in the world and those lucky enough to be sitting in the stands.
But what makes the social media experience unique is the ability for users to instantly translate interviews and other content into multiple languages. The arena opens Sept. 28.
“Imagine there’s a great concert or game at the Barclays Center,” says Ortsbo CEO David Lucatch. “We wouldn’t broadcast the entire event, but we’d broadcast interviews and other tidbits. Fans in the stands could interact with event staff to offer real-time engagement with online users, who can then press one button to change the language to their preference.”
Lucatch explains they’ll also offer real-time closed captioning in 53 languages. A user could engage with a chat board in almost any language.
“We’re living in a world where (Internet) speed and connectivity are less of a challenge, and language is becoming the real issue,” he says. “If a Nets player is from my country, and I want to hear an interview with him in our native language, I could do that by pressing one button.”
The multilingual project is the first of its kind for an entertainment arena, and Lucatch says Brooklyn and the Barclays Center are the perfect launch pad. Jay-Z, minority owner of the Nets, will be opening the center with a series of shows and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is holding boxing events this coming October. Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice and Andrea Bocelli are all slated for appearances, too.
“Brooklyn is so multicultural and New York is one of the coolest cities in the U.S.,” Lucatch says. “We’re really making the Nets a global team.”
Source: Cantech Letter | February 28, 2012 | by Cantech
Intertainment Media (TSXV:INT) today announced the details of a plan to spin off its real-time translation offering, Ortsbo.
As far back as November of last year, management said it felt Ortsbo’s growth would be accelerated as independently listed company, and that current Intertainment shareholders would benefit from the spin out should Intertainment maintain a significant stake in this new listing. Today, we have a lot more information about what form that entity will take.
Intertainment CEO David Lucatch clearly thinks Ortsbo deserves at least a mention in the same breath as US social media players such as popular user review site Yelp, which receives approximately 60 million unique visitors per month, social network game maker Zynga, which has 148 million, and online real estate company Zillow, which has 24.2 million. Intertainment has not announced monthly numbers on Ortsbo in some time, but it is safe to say the growth trajectory puts them well above the forty million unique monthly users they reported in October.
Cantech Letter caught up with David Lucatch by phone from Los Angeles this morning to talk about the spinoff of Ortsbo.
David, we now have details on how you plan to spin out Intertainment’s Ortsbo division. Why are you taking it public through a reverse take-over of a Capital Pool Corporation rather than an IPO?
Nick, we feel it is the most cost effective solution for shareholders at this time, and allows us the flexibility to move forward and grow the company quickly. The end result is the same as an IPO with what we believe is a significant savings in time and resources and gives Intertainment more control over the process than with an IPO.
Does this mean you won’t be seeking a more senior listing?
Quite the contrary, as we are focused on a senior listing, and again, this process, we believe, is a quicker route to that as we are intending to bypass the junior listing and go right to a senior listing and then look to list on a senior US Exchange.
A price of $7 a share on Ortsbo gives the company a $210 pre-financing valuation. When you look at the most immediate comparables, do you feel Ortsbo is worth that number?
We personally believe it is potentially worth significantly more in the long run. We have a US investment firm who that has indicated they will provide a lead order of $20 Million for the financing. This was announced some time ago and we feel that we should honor that commitment. As this financing will be open to accredited investors, we feel that the pre-financing value of $210 Million, while a discount to what we believe is the open market price for Ortsbo, that should, in our opinion, be best decided by the market when Ortsbo is listed as a separate company. If we are correct, the market should potentially view Ortsbo in the same light as our US counterparts and provide potentially parity of value.
What does this mean for current shareholders of Intertainment Media?
Well, before the spin out, current accounting rules simply prevented us from recognizing that Ortsbo had any value at all on our balance sheet. On the books we simply had to peg the value of this important asset at zero. The day that Ortsbo is effectively sold, our significant piece can be recognized on the balance sheet and can grow with the market value, increasing the overall value of Intertainment Media substantially. In addition, the market securities of Ortsbo can be used potentially for future dividends, investment into new and exciting technologies and other approved endeavors. We are also providing shareholders, as of the record date forthcoming with a distribution of 33% of the pre-financing value of $210 Million. I’m not sure I can recall a small –cap, TSX Venture listed technology company doing that in the recent past. We originally announced up to 20% and then up to 30%, but the cost savings from spin out allows us to provide additional distribution value to our loyal shareholders.
How much of Ortsbo will Intertatainment own?
Intertainment and the Ortsbo subsidiary will effectively retain 67% of newly listed Ortsbo, pre-financing. Again, the balance of the pre-financing value, being 33% is going right back to our shareholders.
What will the structure of this new independent entity look like? Are you going to remain involved?
The structure will be an independently publicly listed Company with its own management and board of directors. As we take Ortsbo through the public listing stage, I am going to remain on as CEO and we will see what happens beyond that. Patrick Bultema will continue his role; he is currently interim President of Ortsbo and we are eager to define that role further. Our other management members and the board will be announced shortly and I believe that shareholders will be very impressed with the team we are assembling. Ortsbo is going to continue to focus on growth and the development of new technologies with a strong view towards long term revenue, similar to the models of some of the major social media players in the US.
Source: Film-News | February 15, 2012 | by NewsDesk
Ortsbo Inc. and Variety has this weekend unofficially broken its world record in live broadcasting. At the prestigious BAFTA Awards, Variety Magazine powered by Ortsbo.com interviewed the stars of the big screen whilst taking questions and responding to them, in real time in 53 languages.
Ortsbo holds the Guinness World Record for The Most Nationalities In An Online Chat, previously recorded at 88 Countries. Today, unofficially, Ortsbo smashed that with a record of 161 countries participating in the BAFTA event.
Video highlights from the Variety Magazine powered by Orsbo broadcast is available now on Youtube. http://www.livestream.com/ortsbo/video?clipId=flv_6fa9657f-8892-4e22-a4d5-5f6e3735763b
The stars of the night lined up to speak with Variety, powered by Ortsbo. Amongst those interviewed were – George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Daniel Radcliffe, Viola Davis, Kenneth Branagh, Octavia Spencer, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth and Jim Broadbent. Also embracing Ortsbo’s international audience was Michel Hazanavicius, Berenice Bejo and Jean Dujardin.
Ortsbo was also priviledged to speak with top industry figures such as Variety’s Neil Stiles and legendary movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Following the red carpet, International Ortsbo viewers were also able to ask questions backstage in the winners room. Questions came in from multiple countries in multiple languages. Clooney took a question from one of the viewers in Italy and even Martin Scorcese answered fan questions from around the world as global viewers watched around the world in their native language with instant language translation.
In the next few days, Ortsbo will upload a full video with multi-language transcript allowing users to watch a recorded version of the event and select in any one of 53 languages.
Source: IZOD IndyCar Series News | February 13, 2012 | by Dave Lewandowski
New commercial partnerships, six IZOD IndyCar Series races on ABC, an NBC Sports Network feature series titled “INDYCAR 36,” and an extension of the Firestone tire contract through 2014 were among the major announcements during the second State of INDYCAR.
The event at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, which was open to the public, was streamed live to a global audience via indycar.com, Ortsbo.com and INDYCAR Mobile.
INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard, who noted gains of 28 percent in viewership and 9.8 percent in attendance in 2011 over the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season, outlined goals of 15 percent increases in both viewership and attendance for 2012.
“Our only goal every single day with INDYCAR is to better it and make it stronger,” Bernard told the audience. “We have fantastic drivers, we have outstanding teams, and partners willing to invest millions into the series in an effort to help this series thrive and ensure INDYCAR will be here for another century.
“I know when you tune into ABC and NBC Sports Network you’ll see what an incredible product we have. I’m confident that the strong staff at INDYCAR, along with the drivers, the teams, the sponsors, the promoters and all the fans can bring INDYCAR to a new height.
“So let’s sit back, buckle up and hold on tight because 2012 promises to be one helluva ride.”
INDYCAR has entered into multi-year agreements with Discover Network and First Bankcard, a division of the First National Bank of Omaha, to offer a credit card program designed to provide rewards to the sport’s fans.
Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka will be the Official Vodka of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka, the primary sponsor of the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing entry, will activate in all domestic race markets in 2012 and develop the signature cocktail of INDYCAR, which will be featured at all events.
Also, INDYCAR has entered into a multi-year agreement with Indianapolis-based LIDS Sports Group, in which their LIDS Clubhouse division will manage the online and trackside merchandising. The partnership will increase INDYCAR’s retail presence at-track at North American events, giving fans more opportunities and easier access to INDYCAR merchandise each race weekend. LIDS also will offer fans an opportunity to purchase the same merchandise online.
ABC will televise the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 25, along with the Indianapolis 500 and events at Detroit, Milwaukee, Toronto and Mid-Ohio. Races will be expanded to include live streaming of ABC’s onboard cameras on ESPN3.
The recently rebranded NBC Sports Network (formerly VERSUS) will broadcast the remainder of the 16 races. It will introduce “INDYCAR 36,” which will document 36 hours in the life of an IZOD IndyCar Series driver, taking viewers behind the scenes during select event weekends from the first practice through the checkered flag. Also, all Firestone Indy Lights races will be aired on the NBC Sports Network.
Firestone will remain the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Official Tire through at least 2014, with negotiations already underway to extend the IZOD IndyCar Series sponsorship and supply contract beyond 2014.
INDYCAR COO Marc Koretzky outlined technological objectives, including a relaunch of indycar.com and an INDYCAR Mobile app that will allow fans to watch a race on their Verizon mobile device as if they were on pit lane.
“Technology and innovation are two of the core brand attributes that differentiate our sport from others out there,” Koretzky said. “Telemetry takes a whole ‘nother level as we bring on Gravity Jack. It’s the leader in augmented reality. We’re the only sports property in the world to introduce this to you.”
Award winners from the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights season also were recognized, highlighted by the formal presentation of the Aster Trophy to Dario Franchitti and the Firestone Firehawk Cup to Josef Newgarden. Newgarden, who moved to the IZOD IndyCar Series with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing for 2012, also won the Greg Moore Legacy Award. James Hinchcliffe, the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, received the Tony Renna Rising Star Award.
“This is unbelievable,” Newgarden said. “Greg Moore, what a guy to look up to. There’s been a lot of great people in this sport, and certainly he’s at the top of the list. That’s very special.”
Source: Cantech Letter | February 8, 2012 | by Cantech
Last year’s M&A environment in Canadian tech seemed to be in hyperdrive. Canadian investors lost some of our best and brightest companies including Zarlink, March Networks, Bridgewater and MOSAID. And that was just Ottawa.
Earlier this year, Synchronica (TSXV:SYN) a company headquartered in the UK but listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (as well as London’s AIM Exchange) received an offer from Swiss-based Myriad AG. The proposed deal would have had Synchronica shareholders receive 4.67 newly issued Myriad shares for every 100 shares of Synchronica they held. Last week, Synchronica announced its board could not come to an agreement with Myriad AG and advised shareholders to take no action.
Today, a surprise, as Synchronica announced it has signed a Letter of Intent with Toronto’s Intertainment Media (TSXV:INT) to integrate Synchronica’s flagship messaging platform, Mobile Gateway, with Intertainment Media’s Ortsbo experiential language technology. As part of the transaction, Intertainment Media will also, subject to Synchronica shareholder approval, invest up to CDN $ 10 million in Synchronica, at a minimum price of GBP 0.16 per unit. The deal seems to signal that both companies will continue to innovate on Canadian soil for some time to come.
As the news broke, Cantech Letter’s Nick Waddell talked to Synchronica CEO Angus Dent and Intertainment Media CEO David Lucatch about the deal.
Angus, the board of Synchronica recently told shareholders it could not reach a deal with Myriad Group AG, who made an all share offer for Synchronica. Does this deal with Intertainment signal you are moving on?
DENT: I would characterize it as us are choosing a partner in Intertainment, rather than having a partner thrust upon us in the shape of Myriad.
David, how did this come about?
LUCATCH: Intertainment and Synchronica have been discussing opportunities for some time, but nothing of major significance. But now I feel that both parties feel the relationship with Intertainment is a stronger option than the one that has been presented to Synchronica. Is that fair Angus?
DENT: Yes, absolutely. It’s a stronger relationship and it’s a better relationship because Intertainment brings not just an investment, but intellectual property from which Synchronica can benefit, and it’s reciprocal as well. That’s a much stronger combination.
Angus, what do you see in Intertainment Media that made you want to do this?
DENT: In the short term we were particularly interested in the Ortsbo translation software and embedding that with Mobile Gateway, our flagship product. We’re intrigued by the ability to translate messages on the fly, from one language to another. That’s something that we will be able to demonstrate at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in late February. By the end of this month we will have a product ready at least for demonstration. For the longer term, the language translation software will continue to be an important integrated feature to our software and development curve. Intertainment has a lot of experience in advertising and marketing, generally. We need to push the Synchronica product forward and bring it to the forefront of the mobile market, particularly as we add new features such as geo-location chat. We believe Intertainment Media can really help us with these things.
Angus, for our readers who don’t know, could you explain to our readers what Mobile Gateway is and highlight some of Synchronica’s intellectual property?
DENT: Sure, Synchronica Mobile Gateway, as the name implies, is a gateway that allows carriers and device manufacturers to offer push email services, instant messaging services and, increasingly, social networking messages in both directions to devices. We came from the email space, added instant messaging as that became more popular, and now we’re focusing on the social networking side of things. We’re in the process of bringing out a unified inbox, so you can get all your messages, whatever the bearer of those messages may be, in one place, on your handset. Adding the geo-location services, so your device knows where you are. So if you land at an airport in Toronto, as I have just done, you want an Italian restaurant, your mobile will tell you that. That’s one application of geo-location. With Intertainment, it’s not just about finding a restaurant, it’s about being able to talk to that restaurant in their native language, if you are in Italy, for instance. Of course geo-location chat is the next wave that is hitting us now. Interestingly, I saw the other night that Facebook believes the next one hundred million of their users will be on mobile. That enablement of chat on mobile is something that Synchronica does, across the whole range of handsets, from the basic to the feature phones and smart phones.
David, what do you like about Synchronica?
LUCATCH: What we like is very simple, Nick. Synchronica has a stellar reputation for the development of carrier-grade technologies. That is something that Ortsbo could do down the road, but might take years to develop because of the lengthy approval process. Synchronica has over 100 mobile operators and device manufacturers within their partnership scheme. That gives us instant access to a global network, which means it gives us instant access to users within that global network. Ortsbo is developing a series of mobile applications that need homes, and we have other ideas for applications across operating platforms. So Synchronica provides those gateways. Synchronica also has the expertise to allow us to accelerate all our development programs. For us, it’s a very simple transaction. We have a best of breed partner in Synchronica that provides us carrier grade technologies, access to over 100 mobile operators and device manufacturers and the ability to scale our own technologies based on their development network and expertise they have in house.
One of the really interesting things about Synchronica’s technology is that it can enable a very large percentage of people on the planet who do not have a smartphone to experience smartphone like features…
DENT: That’s absolutely right, and that’s where our business started from. We were providing software that could take the most basic phone and put a push email service on it and an instant messaging service. These days we can continue to do that, as well as social networking and geo-location chat to come. That’s our roots and if you look at the customers we’ve got have a good spread of customers in North America, in fact it’s a veritable who’s who of the North American carriers. We also have the big Latin American carriers as customers, we have the two big Pan-African carriers as our customers, we have the four big carriers in Russia, and we have other carriers as you go into Asia. Yes, smartphones are penetrating those markets, and maybe they are into double digits as far as percentages now, but that still leaves a good 80% of the mobile users in those countries with basic or feature phones and that is a real sweet spot for us.
LUCATCH: I think Synchronica has features that, combined with Ortsbo and some of the other things we are working on will, ultimately, enhance revenue value for the carrier. I think we will ultimately create value for them because they will have these great products to offer to their end users. The next-generation of software that is going to be developed jointly under our new arrangement will be driven by secondary and tertiary opportunities for revenue, so the carrier can offer more features, but not have to charge for those features as they are supported by advertising and other revenue programs.
Angus, Synchronica is platform agnostic, correct?
DENT: Completely, we work literally from the most basic handsets and operating systems on the planet, right up to the latest Apple and RIM smartphones.
LUCATCH: It’s a very interesting situation, Nick. On the Intertainment side we’re doing the investment, on the Ortsbo side we’re engaging the operating agreements. It’s really important as we believe that our potential investment in Synchronica will provide Intertainment exceptional long term returns. And that value will be driven by the operating relationship with Ortsbo. We’re already developing products and programs and unified mobile suites. And Synchronica already has the carrier and the business relationships in place, so effectively, we are fast tracking everything we are doing at Ortsbo to accelerate way beyond what any other social-media group is doing.
Source: Marvel | January 27, 2012 | by Marvel
UPDATE 1/31: The Global Twitter Chat has concluded! Replay the entire conversation with Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, and director Joss Whedon now! Plus, watch a 10-second preview of the Super Bowl XLVI TV spot for “Marvel’s The Avengers”
Marvel Studios announced today that they will be sponsoring a Global Twitter Chat on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 11 a.m. PST with cast members and the director of their highly anticipated action-adventure “Marvel’s The Avengers,” opening in theaters on May 4, 2012. The 30-minute live tweeting event features writer/director Joss Whedon and cast members Tom Hiddleston and Clark Gregg.
Fans around the world will be able to participate in the Q&A on Twitter by using the @Avengers handle and the #Avengers hashtag. Participating fans will have the opportunity to see a 10-second tease of the 30-second Super Bowl spot that will air during Super Bowl XLVI on February 5 on NBC. They will also have a chance to answer “Avengers” trivia for a chance to win “Avengers” prize packs.
International fans will be able to submit questions for the talent in their native language through a global translation tool provided by Ortsbo.com. The chat will be moderated by Marvel’s @Agent_M.
“Marvel’s The Avengers” is the super hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson, and written and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since.
“Marvel’s The Avengers” is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures. The film is being produced by Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Jon Favreau, Louis D’Esposito, Patricia Whitcher, Victoria Alonso and Jeremy Latcham. The film is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
Follow @Avengers on Twitter for more details.
In addition to “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including “Iron Man 3″ on May 3, 2013.
Source: genConnect | January 27, 2012 | by Nancy Spears
Did you know that rock legend Gene Simmons speaks 5 languages? He showed off his multilingual skills for genConnect in Park City, Utah, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival as part of a live Q&A event with himself and pop culture icon Stan Lee. Watch as we discuss the importance of connecting through language:
KISS front-man and global entertainer Gene Simmons is lending his iconic personality to help spread the word about Ortsbo’s unique translator experience. During a live global event with comic book writer Stan Lee, the two icons showed off the translating chat service from Ortsbo.com, a tool that enables real-time conversational translation in over 50 languages. Simmons explained the global chat to genConnect:
“This was a global chat with potentially millions of Stan Lee fans around the world and it was streamed live in real time in any number of languages,” Simmons said. “Fans from Greece, Bulgaria, the Phillipines, would ask questions of Stan in their language, the question was then asked of Stan Lee in English, he would answer in English and in real time somebody in the Phillipines or Greece would get the answer in their language. Therein lies the magic of Ortsbo.com.”
As an immigrant himself, Simmons recalls his own difficulty learning English when he came to America and believes Ortsbo will be a pivitol point in our history. He encourages people to learn more about this powerful language tool.
“What tears people apart are our differences,” Simmons told genConnect, “and language is the biggest difference we have.”
Source: FoxNews.com | January 25, 2012 | by Hollie McKay
Who said Sundance was just for independent films?
Rock icon Gene Simmons was just one of the many stars plugging something of a different kind at the Park City, Utah-based film festival this year His venture is Ortsbo.com, a real-time experimental language translation platform, which enables folks from all the around the world to engage in conversation in their native language.
But technology and tunes aside, there is something else the “KISS” star likes to discuss – politics.
“I want a real political and economic debate. On the one hand, you’ve got President Obama, who I voted for, last minute. I wasn’t going to vote for him because he didn’t have a good resume. He only had two years of local political experience, he’s never run a company, he’d never been overseas, and he didn’t know any of the political leaders. I voted my conscience, based on some sort of – well, it’s the right time in history,” Simmons told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column prior to Tuesday’s Ortsbo-powered Live Q&A with comic book legend Stan Lee during the Sundance Film Festival. “But I want Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama to face off on the economic and political issues of our time. I want a real dialogue, and I, as a private citizen, want to be able to vote my conscience . More often than not, I want business men and business women in politics, not college professors.”
The rocker also gave his two cents on why the GOP primary seems to have become a fierce competition focused on more on morality than economic concerns.
“That’s because 50 percent of the population are women. They are interested in if the candidate is married, or not –I actually don’t care,” he continued. “I want government to become business, because countries aren’t businesses.”
And although Sundance founder Robert Redford last week vowed that the 34-year-old indie festival, at its heart, was for the “99 percent” and served to share their stories – Simmons found such a remark a little off-the-mark.
“Redford means well, he’s a great guy. But it’s a bit hypocritical, since he’s part of the one percent, to address the 99 percent. The truth is that Sundance represents America, period,” Simmons said. “Either we are all Americans, or you’re going to fall victim. This is the reason why the old Roman Empire died, it fell from within. Division from within is one of the stupidest things you can do. So demonstrate all you want, say ‘I don’t like this, I don’t like that’ – then basically shut up and vote; get somebody you like. If you like Mitt Romney, or President Obama, or Ron Paul – vote whoever it is you like, because that’s how you get power.”
Simmons added that his platform will help Americans to do so.
“Use Ortsbo to communicate your political message to anybody you’d like, equal access to everybody, that makes it 100 percent not 99 percent,” he added.”Ortsbo is the universal language of planet Earth – it’s the way people can communicate, without having any communication barriers.”
Source: KISSFAQ.com | January 19, 2012 | by TimStar87
Intertainment Media Inc. has announced that its social media/real time communications platform, Ortsbo.com is teaming up with two of pop culture’s legendary names Stan Lee and Gene Simmons for the Ortsbo Live And Global At The Sundance Film Festival.
As part of Ortsbo’s new platform, viewers can watch the Q&A live via an online broadcast video stream with multi-lingual closed captioning in the broadcast language of their choice. Fans and media alike can be a part of this worldwide event by logging on at Ortsbo.com and submitting questions to Lee and Simmons. Available in more than 50 languages, the live Q&A will be instantly translated by the Ortsbo service, to enable users from around the world to send and receive messages in their native language.
“Stan Lee is one of today’s most iconic creators, the characters and comic books he has been involved with are known around the world and have had a huge impact on society, he will make a perfect guest for our global event,” said Simmons. “Ortsbo is amazing technology, it breaks down the language barriers and allows us to chat with our families, business contacts and anyone we need to around the world without delay.”
The event will be live to audiences worldwide on Tuesday, January 24 from the Canyons Grand Summit Resort in Park City, Utah.