Online gambling has morphed into an unstoppable industry, and it appears that nothing will slow down its rise anytime soon. In 2019, the global gaming sector pulled in estimated revenues of $58.9 billion. That number rose by $8 billion in 2020, and current projections say it will hit $93 in 2023. The worldwide market is growing at a rate of 11.4% per year. Europe, one of its more developed regions, should see an annual expansion progression of 7.5%. On the other side of the world, the US, a somewhat embryonic internet betting territory, should experience a compound annual growth of 17.34% in the next four years. Among the reasons listed for the mushrooming of this sphere is the evolution of blockchain technology and its wide adoption.
Cryptocurrencies got birthed in 2009 with the invention of Bitcoin. It took two years (2011) for the first gambling websites that accept digital coins to debut on the internet. These were primitive dice platforms featuring provably fair algorithms. Around 2014, Curacao master license holder Antillephone N.V. began licensing crypto casinos, and the industry opened up to new possibilities for operators and players. In 2016, the UKGC announced that it equates cryptos to fiat money, and crypto gambling in Britain took off.
Today, hundreds of gaming platforms allow crypto bets, and interactive gaming providers are inescapably becoming more flexible and innovative to meet the needs of an ever-changing market. While, in the past, provably fair algorithms incorporated into simple products like hi-lo, Plinko, dice, and crash ruled the crypto wagering landscape, now, things have gotten more advanced. These days, everyone can bet on slots and live dealer casino games with digital money on a wide range of platforms. The Malta-based software provider BGaming, which has Belarusian roots, was the first to offer a randomness verification system for online slots. They are now working on a package of dice provably fair titles that they hope will meet market tendencies.
BGaming’s latest crash-based game, Space XY, may prove to cause ripples in the industry and act as a game-changer. Due to its simple yet eye-catching design, it classifies as an uncomplicated product featuring multiplayer mechanics, something that many believe is the new horizon for the gaming sector. Hyper-casual games have their fans because they are fast to load and convenient to play on any device. Moreover, the multiplier dimension in Space XY adds a greater sense of dynamism to its gameplay and helps proliferate elements standard for regular video games into the interactive gaming arena. Undoubtedly, gamification concepts are spreading like wildfire to online gambling platforms as of late and are an essential tool to capture younger demographics.
What no one can also argue against is that interest in playing games of chance and betting on sports over the internet has sky-rocketed amidst the global health crisis, beginning in early-2020 when retail wagering shops and casinos started closing down or operating with a limited capacity. Going by a May 2021 University of Bristol study, frequent gamblers were six times more likely to bet online after the pandemic than before it.
Cryptocurrencies and eSports betting also saw a spike in popularity in 2021. Cryptos reached an all-time market high by exceeding $2 trillion in 2021. Per data from Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs, around 4% of all online gambling searches are now crypto-oriented. That may not seem like much, but it should get noted that this percentage only represents the entire search volume of this gaming genre and not the revenues it generates.
More and more online gamblers are gravitating toward using cryptos for their betting hobby than ever before. Per Google Trends, interest in Bitcoin casinos increased four-fold from June 2019 to early-2021, and there are no signs that this trend is on the decline. That is so, despite virtually all forms of digital money experiencing a price plunge recently as news broke that the US Federal Reserve may introduce a series of increased interest rates which should ripple through multiple markets, causing investors to panic.
The appeal of crypto casinos lies in that they offer fast transfer speeds and anonymity. However, the latter is an aspect of cryptocurrency betting that has become less established due to regulators mandating that operators implement Know Your Customer policies. These require that players identify themselves by providing personal documents. Government starting to take crypto regulation more seriously also disrupted the secrecy linked with crypto betting. Hence, some players have migrated to playing at metaverse gaming establishments, which is this sphere’s latest fad.
Metaverses are virtual shared spaces that have made substantial noise over the past two years. In October 2021, Facebook announced that it is undergoing a rebrand and shifting its focus to expand into this new craze. In short, metaverses are 3D environments that users can freely roam. They can interact and transact in these open worlds with others and even run businesses. Most currently active metaverses have Etherum-powered economies, utilizing native ERC-20 tokens. Decentraland, the most famous metaverse running today, has its MANA token, which acts as its digital money equivalent. This virtual world is home to several metaverse casinos that accept the mentioned token and many others for betting fun. Two notable gaming venues in Decentraland are the Tominoya casino and the Atari one.
Metaverse gaming also appeals to a niche demographic and is not something that boasts a ton of mainstream intrigue at the moment. Perhaps, in the years to come, as the user pool of these virtual shared spaces swells, so will the fascination with these digitally simulated locales that offer authentic gambling fun, complete with different levels of interaction. Still, metaverses are definitely gaining traction. Axie Infinity, a popular crypto-based game produced by Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese game studio, accounted for a crypto trading volume of $2.5 billion in September 2021 alone. Play-to-earn games are a thing that appeals to many, and there is an apparent gambling expansion occurring within the NFT space right now.
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APPLE DISCONTINUES IPOD AFTER 20 YEARS, AVAILABLE ‘WHILE SUPPLIES LAST’
Apple has announced that it’s discontinuing the iPod Touch, and said that the product would be available ‘while supplies last.’
Confirming the announcement in a news post on Tuesday, the company said, “the spirit of iPod lives on” in all of its devices that play music, such as the iPhone, iPad, and HomePod Mini. The halt in sales of the last remaining model in Apple’s lineup of portable music players marks the end of an era.
First introduced 20 years ago, the original FireWire-equipped iPod model acted as just a portable music player, and Apple made models that were pretty much exclusively for listening to audio up until 2017, when it discontinued the iPod Nano and Shuffle.
While the iPod Touch has been embraced by some iPod enthusiasts as the new classic music player, it also found a following for those who wanted an iPhone-like experience but didn’t actually need a phone, reports The Verge.
Tony Fadell, one of the developers of the original iPod, mentioned in an interview with The Verge that the iPod team knew the iPhone could end up overtaking music players.
“It became very clear to us that there was a real threat from mobile phones, feature phones. They were starting to add music, MP3 playing, to the cell phones that they were shipping at the time,” he said.
The original iPod touch was released in 2007, the same year when the first iPhone had also released.
It has mostly the same hardware and software as the original iPhone, except for the calling features.
With Apple giving up on its iPod line, the tech giant is eager to direct its market audience toward its other products that offer music playback.
The halt in sales of the last remaining model in Apple’s lineup of portable music players marks the end of an era.
BABY S-CLASS: NEW-GENERATION MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS ARRIVES IN INDIA
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is big on luxury, comfort and tech, and its prices start from Rs 55 lakh.
The C-Class has been an extremely successful car for Mercedes-Benz in India and has contributed significantly to the growth of the luxury car brand in the country. More than 37,000 units of the car have been already sold in our market till now and that is a big number for a luxury vehicle. Now the German carmaker has launched a new generation of the luxury car in India, one that it says it much more advanced than earlier in many ways. In fact, according to Mercedes the C-Class now in many ways is a “baby S-Class”.
Interior of the carThe New C Class
The new car clearly looks like the most stylish and exclusive C-Class ever. It follows the brand’s design philosophy of ‘Sensual Purity’ which also adds a bit of sportiness. There 2 are styling trims offer – Avant-Garde and AMG, the latter being available only on the top-of-the-line C 300d. This variant also exclusively gets Digital Light which has a light module with three extremely powerful LEDs in each headlamp, whose light is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors. The resolution is, therefore, more than 2.6 million pixels per vehicle. The C 300d also gets 18-inch, AMG 5-spoke light-alloy wheels while the other two variants – C 200 and C 220d get one size lesser wheels. All variants get Obsidian Black, Opalite White Bright and Cavansite Blue colour options while Mojave Silver, High-Tech Silver and Selenite Grey are available with C 200 and C 220d only. The car is now longer and wider than before while the wheelbase has also gone up which would mean more space in the cabin.
The cabin is where you realise just how close has the C-Class come to the S-class. The 11.9-inch touchscreen is loaded with features and is also tilted towards the driver by 6°– 7°. The car is equipped with NTG7, the latest generation MBUX that now gets more connect features and a “Hey Mercedes” voice command system. The C 300d exclusively gets a Burmester 3D to surround sound system. The car also gets Wireless smartphone integration and over-the-air updates where the software is always kept up-to-date. Then there is biometric authentication which helps the car remember your settings for seats, music, climate, etc. Car to X Communication technology has been adopted from S-Class, which is a ‘social network’ for Mercedes-Benz cars, where cars can talk to each other, ensuring more safety in real-time. In total there are 5 different hazard warnings that Mercedes-Benz cars capture and transmit within the network – rains, skidding, general warning, accident and winds. Mercedes is claiming more legroom, headroom, shoulder and elbow room for rear passengers on the new C-Class.
The new C-Class has been launched in three variants: C 200 (Petrol), C220d (Diesel) and C300d (Diesel). While the Petrol is a 1496 cc motor that makes 240 hp and 300 Nm, the C220d has a 1993 cc engine that churns out 200 hp and 440 Nm. On the C300d, the same engine makes 265 hp and 550 Nm and all the engines are paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The car also uses a 48V Integrated Starter Generator that helps in getting more power and torque along with better fuel efficiency. While the C 200 returns 16.9 kmpl, the C220d gives an impressive 23 kmpl. The C300d also isn’t too far behind at 20.37 kmpl.
The price for the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class starts from Rs. 55 lakhs for the C 200 while the C 200d will set you back by Rs. 56 lakhs. The C300d with its AMG line and some extra features has been priced at Rs. 61 lakhs (ex-showroom). Finance plans for the car starts from Rs. 60,000 per month with the flexible end of term options while service packages start from Rs. 85,000 for 3 years and unlimited km. The brand is claiming overwhelming customer response with more than 1000 confirmed bookings coming in even before the launch, the highest ever for a single Mercedes model in India. According to them the current waiting period on the car already extends to 2-3 months.
The author is a senior editor at carandbike.com
In total there are 5 different hazard warnings that Mercedes-Benz cars capture and transmit within the network: rains, skidding, general warning, accident and winds. Mercedes is claiming more legroom, headroom, shoulder and elbow room for rear passengers on the new C-Class.
Find out how to become a social media manager
Many brands try to grow their online presence, so they work closely with social media managers. You can consider working as a social media manager if you like social media. This job entails creating and maintaining the social media presence of a particular brand.
It is an exciting job that lets you work from anywhere, including remotely. To succeed in the job, you must first understand your duties and responsibilities. It is a tasking job that involves a lot. Also, try to implement the following.
Understand how to use the different social media channels
You should have enough experience creating content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or TikTok. You should also understand the role of social media in the brand you are representing.
Once a particular company hires you for the position, you should assess how social media fits the business strategy. You should learn how to generate shares and likes on different social media platforms.
If, for instance, the brand is marketing itself on TikTok for the first time, you can help it buy cheap TikTok likes to start gaining followers within no time. Your duties entail maintaining engagement on different social media platforms and posting content that the target audience enjoys.
Set realistic goals
Has the company you are working for been using social media but has not realized much success? If yes, you should identify the challenges it has been facing and help it set realistic goals. Some of the issues it could face include lack of follower or customer retention, poor traffic, or a bad reputation.
You can help the company work on these issues and turn things around. Come up with realistic goals and focus on working on one problem at a time. If, for instance, the company has weak brand awareness, you can look for ways to change this, such as improving the quality of the content it posts on social media to boost visibility.
Curiosity is also a good trait that social media managers should have. As you immerse yourself in social media, you should always be curious and open to different ideas. Experiment with different social media marketing strategies to help the brand you represent.
You should also keep abreast of the latest development on different social media platforms. If, for instance, Instagram or TikTok has introduced a new feature, find out how it works, and assess ways it can benefit the brand you are working for. Since social media keeps on changing rapidly, being curious can help you succeed in this line of work. As a social media manager, you should never stop learning new things or adapting to different situations.
Have good community management skills
When a brand starts marketing itself on social media platforms, it considers this an extension of its customer service line. When you work for such a company as the social media manager, you must have excellent community management skills to represent it well.
You should always be available online as you respond to any complaints that the company’s customers may raise on social media. Having such skills can also help you address most issues and as you escalate different requests to the right channels in the company.
Learn how to manage your time well to avoid disappointing the company. Utilizing scheduling tools is also important since they can make your tasks more manageable as you use different social media platforms.
Find a mentor
Even if you understand how to use different social media platforms, you can always learn from others. Consider getting a mentor who has more experience in this field. This person can give you more guidance as you work with different brands.
You can even become part of a support group if you work at home. This opportunity can help you meet and interact with other social media managers with similar interests.
Being a social media manager can seem like a complicated job, but you can succeed in this career path if you love it. It is a job that will not only help you make money but also help numerous brands over time. Pay attention to the tips above to succeed in it.
Digital transformation: Three driving trends for 2022
The Covid-19 crisis has spurred the need for business agility, which has accelerated the need for digital technologies to play a new role—that of delivering organisation resilience. Increasingly, organisations are adopting more technologies to stay relevant and competitive, as they emerge from the effects of the pandemic, which has accelerated the pace of digital transformation across the world.
Digital transformation involves the upgrading of IT infrastructures and processes to improve speed and responsiveness, to support critical business needs. Earlier, building and implementing a technology-driven strategy and processes would take years. However, the impact of Covid-19 on businesses has spurred digital adoption, to equip employees for new ways of working and to achieve key organisational goals. Companies that have embraced this trend following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 have not only succeeded in enhancing their customer experience but have also strengthened their security and agility.
Below, we discuss three major technological trends that will drive digital transformation across organisations:
Democratisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Across the world, organisations are rapidly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to automate processes and drive value by making smarter business decisions, increase revenues and sales, and enhance inventory and parts optimisation. This is also creating a reference framework for organisations to follow as they continue along the path to further automation and digital transformation.
AI-driven automation is ongoing, and it will not only continue to bring substantial benefits to businesses and change the way daily work activities of every sector are undertaken, but will also present many new possibilities for growth.
Currently, this technology needs a deeper knowledge base. For accelerated digital transformation, AI democratisation is needed, which involves making data available to every person in organisations of every scale, even without any technical expertise. This can be facilitated by providing user-friendly resources and support, such as pre-built algorithms, intuitive interfaces, and high-performance cloud computing platforms.
India is witnessing accelerated 5G infrastructure deployment, both in urban and rural parts of the country. This development, which is fuelled by the rising adoption of modern technologies, will, in turn, lead to increased adoption of advanced ones such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, across sectors. Aided by 5G, these technologies will augment operations and, thereby, improve the profitability of businesses.
By the year 2025, 5G networks are expected to cover one-third of the world’s population, opening unlimited technological possibilities through better connectivity, more reliable networks, enhanced customer experiences and quicker processes. Reap the full benefits of 5G, companies will need to invest more in network infrastructure, especially cloud service providers.
Security at the core of digital transformation
It is undeniable that incorporating digital technologies in all aspects of a company can led to significant improvements in how it operates and delivers value to customers. As organisations implement digitalisation, they are also discovering the vast potential of data, however, it can only be exploited after assessing and comprehending the full extent of its ramifications.
Digital transformations are being launched in high gear. As businesses rush to implement these technologies, security concerns may often be overlooked. In the race to achieve digital transformation, it is important for companies to build a robust security framework.
As digital transformation gains further momentum, it is vital for organisations to evaluate their security infrastructure. Safeguarding and protecting data privacy is easier to achieve when security is at the core of every aspect of digital transformation. This starts with security specialists understanding business priorities, and managers realising the role of security and its importance for the success of the business. Security should be viewed as an integral component of a company’s digital infrastructure.
As companies re-evaluate their business strategies for the upcoming fiscal year, it is important to keep up with digital transformation trends, which will assist them in developing improved and more efficient digital strategies. Lastly, organisations need to keep in mind that digital transformation is not just about selecting technologies and putting them to use, it is about aligning technologies to the company’s goals and adopting agile solutions that allow its employees to better adapt to the evolving markets. Only then will companies be able to deliver value consistently for all its stakeholders.
The writer is Head of Strategic Programs, Fujitsu’s Asia Global Delivery Centres.
SAMSUNG A52S NOW WITH A NEW CHIPSET
Over the past few years, Samsung has changed its approach finely. Spoiling you with options in whatever segment you look at, whatever price or specs, you will find a Samsung alternative. They have been trying to outdo their own devices with a better model. Samsung A52s is also one such addition. A mid-segment smartphone with a better chipset. Let’s find out.
DESIGN & DISPLAY
With the Samsung A52s, I would have expected a better build quality than what I received. It seemed a lot like the A52. It is clean and doesn’t have too many elements to talk about which might look neat to many, a few might find it bland. The device is light and can be easily used single-handedly. The bezel around is a bit thicker than what we have usually seen. You get a plastic back which does get your finger marks quickly so would suggest using a back cover on the phone. The phone is available in four colours: black, white, purple, and mint.
To power off the phone, you must press the dedicated Bixby button and the volume button at the same time. The A52s has a USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Getting an IP57 rating is something great for a device at this price range.
Samsung A52s gets an attractive 6.5 inch Super AMOLED Full HD screen, with a 120Hz refresh rate, and 800 nits max brightness. It’s also protected by Gorilla Glass 5. This means you get a bright and responsive display. The top gets a small ‘waterdrop’ for the front-facing camera. The display is flat and not curved. The display is good for viewing and you will get enough of all the content without any trouble.
PERFORMANCE & SOFTWARE
One of the biggest differences between this model and the A52 is the upgraded chipset. In the performance aspect, there is nothing to complain about at all. You can multi-task, watch videos, and feel no lag at all. The chipset is the biggest high point for this device. This might not be a go-to device for gamers. You can play games but it might not be the best experience.
I received the device with Android 11 with Samsung’s One UI 3.1. However, my review unit got the Android 12 with One UI 4.0 and 4.1 upgrades during testing. Samsung does include some pre-installed app bloat like booking.com and Samsung Global Goals though you can uninstall these if you want.
Samsung Galaxy A52s features a quad-camera set-up, which comprises a 64MP main lens, a 12MP ultrawide lens, a 5MP macro lens, and a 5MP depth lens.
The main lens gives some impressive images with great colour and contrast. You will enjoy the result when you see it. It doesn’t look like a mid-segment device result which is a plus.
The ultrawide might not be the best in class neither is the macro lens what you will enjoy is the depth sensor. It helps you keep the bokeh in control both before and after shooting.
The front camera will leave you impressed like the main sensor. You get yourself a 32 MP which helps you click in a wide-angle mode, and you too can get a good portrait mode. The dark mode might not be as impressive, but the front and main lens will leave you happy. Samsung Galaxy A52s can shoot video in 4K up to 30fps.
Samsung Galaxy A52s has a 4500mAh battery. You would be expecting a better battery life with an improved chipset which is the case. The only disappointment is the slow charging. In terms of the device’s battery life, I don’t have much to complain about.
Samsung A52s is a mid-segment device with a good display great performance and an above-average rear camera, you would have wanted fast charging and liked a fancier design. All in all, this smartphone is a go-to device for someone who is looking for a simple mid-segment device and is a Samsung Loyalist and since the A53 is off the shelves you might want to purchase this.
HONDA CITY E:HEV HYBRID MOST FUEL EFFICIENT CAR IN THE SEGMENT
Honda’s latest hybrid sedan arrives in India, gets many segment-first features and advanced safety.
The latest offering from Japanese car maker Honda in the Indian market is a hybrid. The City e:HEV isn’t the first Honda hybrid in our country but is certainly the most technologically advanced as it gets a host of connectivity features apart from getting equipped with level 2 advanced driver assistance systems. It is based on the top ZX trim of the sedan and comes loaded with all the features. The car is the only hybrid in the segment and gets a self-charging and 2 motor electric hybrid system connected to a 1.5-litre Atkinson-Cycle DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine. Due to this Honda is promising a fuel efficiency of 26.5 kmpl which is the best in the segment by some distance.
The City e:HEV looks largely like the Petrol version of the car but there are subtle differences too. You get a signature blue H-mark logo in front and rear, new claw-type fog light garnish, an e:HEV emblem on the rear, new black painted diamond-cut alloy wheels, new trunk lip spoiler, and new rear bumper diffuser with carbon finish. Full LED headlamps with 9 array inline shell remain the same, and so do the Integrated LED DRLs, L shaped LED turn indicators and Z shaped 3D wrap around LED tail lamps. Just like the Petrol version, there are five colours to choose from on the City hybrid. These are radiant red metallic, platinum white pearl, meteoroid grey metallic, golden brown metallic and lunar silver metallic.
The cabin of the City hybrid gets a new two-tone ivory & black interior colour theme. An Electric Parking Brake (EPB) with Auto Brake Hold means that the centre console has been utilised more effectively for placing small items. The new 17.7 cm instrument cluster has been designed specifically for this hybrid and displays multi-information including e:HEV power flow meters along with various alerts and warnings. Then there’s the 20.3 cm touchscreen system that works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The car also gets a one-touch electric sunroof, LED interior room lamps and ambient lighting. The New City e:HEV gets 37 Honda Connect features and it now also works with smartwatch devices in addition to already existing integration with Alexa and OK Google.
The hybrid system on the car ensures a combined maximum power of 126 PS and gives a peak torque of 253 Nm @ 0 – 3,000 rpm. Due to the hybrid system, fuel efficiency is a highlight of the City hybrid. Honda is claiming 26.5 kmpl on the car which is around 40% more than the pure petrol version. The e:HEV system uses three driving modes – EV drive mode, Hybrid drive mode, and Engine drive mode, along with Regeneration mode when decelerating. Based on speeds and driving style, the car automatically switches between three modes. Electric regenerative braking in the car combines with hydraulic braking self-charge Lithium-Ion battery pack.
Honda City e:HEV comes with safety features like 6 Airbags, honda lane-watch, multi-angle rearview camera, tyre pressure monitoring system with deflation warning, vehicle stability assist with agile handling assist, hill start assist, ISOFIX compatible rear side seats with lower anchorage & top tether etc. Then there is the Honda Sensing system which offers features like collision mitigation braking system, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, lane-keeping assist system and auto high-beam.
Honda City e:HEV has been priced at Rs 19.49 lakh (ex-showroom) which makes it around Rs 4.5 lakh more expensive than the Petrol version. Honda is offering a three-year unlimited km warranty as standard on the car while the customers can also opt for an extended warranty up to five years and anytime Warranty up to 10 years from the date of car purchase. The warranty available on lithium-ion Battery will be eight-year or 1,60,000 km (whichever comes first) from the date of car purchase.
The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com
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