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Computing

Instagram expands Sensitive Content Control feature

Instagram is letting its users have more control over the content they see in search results and in content recommendations from the popular photo and video sharing app.

On Monday, Instagram announced that starting today, it would be updating and expanding its current Sensitive Content Control feature to allow its users to have more control over how much sensitive content they see in various sections of the app, such as: Explore, Search, Reels, Accounts You Might Follow, Hashtag Pages, and feed recommendations.

Instagram

The updated version of the Sensitive Content Control feature is expected to “be available to everyone in the coming weeks.” According to screenshots provided in Instagram’s announcement, the new version of this feature only filters out content from accounts you’re not following and still allows you to see all content from those you choose to follow. In terms of what “sensitive content” is, some examples that Instagram offers include “topics like drugs or firearms.”

The newly expanded feature will also offer three control options: More, Standard, and Less. More has less content restrictions and so you’ll likely see *more* sensitive content. Standard is the middle ground option that permits some sensitive content. And Less, has more content restrictions which means you’ll likely see *less* sensitive content. Users under the age of 18 won’t be able to enable the More option.

When the expanded Sensitive Content Control feature becomes available to you, here’s how to access it:

Open the Instagram mobile app. Select the Profile icon > Select the Menu icon in the top right > Select Settings > Select Account > Choose Sensitive Content Control.

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AI

Agora rebrands to Kojo as it expands construction procurement

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Digital construction procurement platform, Agora, has rebranded as Kojo as it expands to support new construction trades. In addition, it is also launching new products to help customers manage warehouse inventory, track project spending and reconcile invoices.

The construction sector is expected to grow from what was valued at $10 trillion in 2017 to $14 trillion in 2025, according to McKinsey. The firm predicts that about $1.6 trillion in additional value could be created through higher productivity using tools like construction digital twins and procurement automation. Kojo tools reduce the time for placing complex orders, optimize delivery schedules and reduce the need for onsite inventory. 

The company has grown annual recurring revenues four times over the last year by helping to bring automation to the construction sector. This growth has been driven by the construction industry’s unprecedented material procurement challenges. 

“Materials prices skyrocketed and supply chain shortages made it difficult for contractors across the country to get the materials they needed to get their jobs done,” Maria Rioumine, CEO and cofounder of Kojo, told VentureBeat,

Minimizing waste

Kojo is a term derived from lean manufacturing that suggests maximizing productivity while minimizing waste. The company claims to decrease the time superintendents spend managing materials by up to 38%, representing an average of $173,888 in productivity gains per year. Kojo claims its tool also streamlines procurement-related office tasks by 75%, saving construction sites an average of $124,000 per year. In addition, it can allow teams to solicit more quotes and automate the process of placing larger orders to help save an average of 3-5% on materials per order. 

With Kojo, field teams can access the Kojo mobile app and have real-time visibility into existing orders, material storage and delivery status. The app also makes it easy to reorder materials from previous jobs, create pre-approved materials lists and reduce all the time previously spent going back and forth with purchasing agents to clarify which materials are needed.

New features that automate requests for quotes (RFQ) help construction firms solicit quotes from more vendors to reduce material costs. The software can also help lock in prices in advance and manage larger buys. 

Expanding into new trades

In general, the construction industry has been a digital laggard compared to others. Getting buy-in requires simplifying the user experience and streamlining the workflow for construction workers, managers and office teams. However, workflows can vary widely across trades. 

So, they decided to focus specifically on the electrical trade to ensure the software solved their procurement pains. This success helped expand into other domains. Now the company has expanded into all major trades, including mechanical, concrete, drywall, roofing, flooring and self-perform general contractors. 

“Our process for expanding to a new market or building a new tool always starts with on the ground research,” Rioumine said. “We physically go out to the offices and job sites of our customers to learn first-hand how they operate their business so that we can ensure we’re building a solution that will solve their biggest pain points.”

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Categories
Game

Netflix Games portal expands to iOS: How to play on iPhone and iPad

As promised, Netflix has expanded its mobile games to iOS devices, enabling iPhone and iPad owners to play the same handful of titles previously launched on Android devices. The expansion brings the Netflix Games portal to the company’s apps on iPhone and iPad, as well as each standalone game with its own listing in the App Store.

Netflix Games explained

Netflix Games is a relatively new addition to the streaming company’s portfolio. The mobile titles are based on Netflix’s original content, giving the company a new way to engage with customers and, on the flip side, giving fans new opportunities to explore the worlds presented in some movies and TV shows.

Netflix includes the games as part of its streaming plans, meaning players won’t have to pay anything extra for the titles nor will they see advertisements and other annoying monetization schemes. This provides an experience similar to what mobile gamers get from Apple Arcade and Google’s Play Pass subscriptions.

How it works

The Netflix mobile apps on Android and iOS have been updated with a new “Games” section that makes it easy for subscribers to see the entire catalog of available titles. Tapping one of the titles takes the user to their respective platform store (Google Play or App Store) to download the offerings as standalone games.

If your Netflix app doesn’t include a “Games” section in the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, close the app and then update it to the latest version. The new “Games” section should appear in the navigation bar upon relaunching the app post-update.

Alternatively, assuming you already know which titles you want, simply head into the App Store (for iPhone and iPad) or Google Play Store (for Android) and search for the game. Each title is available to manually download from the app stores; the Netflix app portal simply makes it easier to find them without searching.

Which games are available?

As of the date of this article, Netflix Games is home to a total of five mobile titles:

– Stranger Things 3: The Game (Android | iOS)
– Stranger Things: 1984 (Android | iOS)
– Shooting Hoops (Android | iOS)
– Card Blast (Android | iOS)
– Teeter (Up) (Android | iOS)

Netflix notes that its mobile games default to English if the user doesn’t have a language set in their profile; however, many of the languages supported by Netflix are also supported by its games.

Multiple users can play Netflix Games titles on the same account under their respective profiles. However, Kids Profiles do not include the “Games” category, and, assuming a PIN is set up, Netflix says users will need to enter the code before they can play games on the device.

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Game

Fortnite x Street Fighter crossover expands with two new character skins

Back in February, Epic Games released two skins based on the characters Ryu and Chun Li in its hit battle royale game Fortnite. The company has expanded this crossover with another two characters from the hit game franchise, this time adding Guile and Cammy. The two new skins will be available in the game’s Item Shop soon, but the images of them are already live.

The two skins are faithful recreations of the Street Fighter characters, including Guiles’ ridiculously long high-top haircut. Cammy, meanwhile, sports her long braids and red hat. Both skins have a variant that decks them out in their own versions of tactical gear.

The Guile variant looks more like the character is planning to keep an eye on swimmers than fight on the battle royale island, though Cammy looks ready to battle with her skin variant. The Guile outfit will include the KO Back Bling, while the Cammy skin includes the Borealis Backer Back Bling.

The two new characters are part of the Street Fighter series in Fortnite, bringing the total number of skins up to four (so far). Guile and Cammy join the huge roster of third-party characters who have become playable characters in the battle royale game, joining everything from the Predator to Ariana Grande.

Epic will make both skins available in a Cammy & Guile Bundle that’ll include both outfits, their variants, and the Back Blings for each skin; the bundle will also include a bonus Round 2 loading screen. The two skins will be available in the Fortnite Item Shop on August 7 starting at 8 PM ET.

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Categories
Game

Microsoft expands ‘Designed for Xbox’ program to include HDMI 2.1 gaming monitors and TVs

Buying a display that has all the features you need to play Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 games at their best is a . In addition to 120Hz support, you also need to look out if it supports variable refresh rates and HDR, among other features. Thankfully, Microsoft is taking some of the guesswork involved in buying a display to go along with your new console.

Gaming features for Xbox

Microsoft

The company is expanding its “Designed for Xbox” program to include gaming monitors. Starting this summer, you’ll start to see some displays with a “Gaming Features for Xbox” badge. At a glance, the branding will tell you that a monitor includes an HDMI 2.1 connection and support for features like HDR and a 120Hz refresh rate.

Some of the first displays that will carry the branding include the $1,399 43-inch from ASUS and $950 28-inch , with more to come. Notably one of the products included in the launch lineup is the Philips Momentum 559M1RYV, a 55-inch monitor Microsoft describes as “a TV and soundbar in one,” so the types of panel that end up shipping with the badge may be more expansive than the “gaming monitor” moniker suggests.   

While mostly a branding exercise on Microsoft’s part, it’s still something that should help those in the market for a new display. Monitor manufacturers have been to their products, and the port is necessary if you want to output a 4K image at 120Hz.

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Categories
AI

G2 expands software research categories to address data boom

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Earlier this week, software marketplace G2 released results from its summer 2021 research project, which invites enterprises to compare aggregated software review scores and discover solutions. In total, the research includes a whooping 7,000 reports and market grids across 2,000 categories. The company also announced it had raised $157 million in funding.

In addition to traditional topics like analytics, customer service, and IT management, this quarter’s research includes 32 new categories. The company says the new categories are largely driven by travel and digital marketing software, including CMS tools, ecommerce tools, and event stream processing. Additional fast-growing verticals included for the first time include revenue operations, hybrid cloud storage, and conversational support.

“This is the largest number of new reports since our fall 2020 reports, which signals strong growth and reflects what we’re seeing in the market. Companies are investing in digital transformation and software tools that enable nimble growth in the post-pandemic age,” G2 market research manager Emily Malis told VentureBeat.

The reports evaluate software based on customer satisfaction and market presence, providing scores for each, as well as a “G2 score.” Based on these factors, the evaluated offerings are also compared to each other for a view of each category’s competitive landscape. Products described as “leaders,” for example, are rated highly by G2 users and show a substantial market presence. There are also “high-performing” products, which have high customer satisfaction but low market presence compared to competitors. “Contender” products, on the other hand, may have positive reviews but not enough total reviews to validate the ratings. G2 also considers “niche” products, which have low satisfaction and market presence scores.

CMS tools

G2 said total visits to the CRM tools category on its platform increased 38% between June 2020 and June 2021, showing strong growth. Additionally, the number of unique visits increased 48%.

The research in this category shows WeTransfer is a clear leader, with more than 4 times the number of reviews as its competitors. The company, which provides file-sharing tools, achieved near-perfect scores in both customer satisfaction and market presence — 98 and 99, respectively. G2’s report also lists Beyond Compare, Patreon, and Tube Buddy as leaders in the CMS tools category, though most of their scores were significantly lower than WeTransfer’s.

While several additional CMS tool providers scored well in customer satisfaction, they generally demonstrated low market share. Overall, the findings indicate that We Transfer is edging out competitors, even those with satisfied users.

Revenue operations software

In the revenue operations software report, the landscape looks much more distributed, with Clari, InsightSquared, Gong, and Aviso emerging as leaders. And while Clari ranks highest — as the only one with a G2 score above 90 — the others aren’t far behind. Tableau CRM, formerly Einstein Analytics, is the only company currently considered a contender. BoostUp.ai and Boost showed high market presence, while Gainsight, TopOPPS, and SalesDirector.ai came in as “niche.”

G2 told VentureBeat it considers software categories robust enough for a grid report when they have six or more products with more than 10 reviews on a platform. Additionally, the category as a whole must have at least 150 reviews. G2 just added revenue operations to its platform last month, so the fact that the category was already eligible for inclusion speaks to its growth.

“We believe this category will continue to expand as revenue operations software continues to grow in popularity,” said Malis, who added that the category’s boost stems from a need for better alignment with customer data across departments involved with revenue. Customer success, marketing, and sales teams have long operated in silos, but revenue software can combine customer data across various tech stacks into one unified platform and allow businesses to improve efficiency, drive revenue predictability, and achieve higher revenue growth.

G2 said monthly Google search volumes for the term “revenue operations” have increased over 500% since May of 2018, according to data from Ahrefs. What’s more, over 25% of the revenue operations vendors on G2 have secured additional funding rounds in the last two years.

AI and data

The pandemic “turbocharged” digital transformation, so it’s not surprising to see interest spiking in AI and data-related solutions.

“Established companies ended up scrambling for software to ensure business continuity during the past year, and SMB companies struggled to stay afloat. Many companies realized they had tons of unstructured data but no plan or strategy on how to use or manage it,” Malis said.

She added that G2 has seen an influx in buyer interest in new data-related categories and has recently added categories like data fabric software to meet that demand. Soon it will launch additional data-related categories, including DataOps platforms and data warehouses.

Along with the rise in interest, G2 has observed changes in the data marketplace, including an increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Malis said since February 2021 G2 has addressed over 100 M&As, and the company is seeing an increase in consolidation in various software markets. Predictably, the tech giants of the world, including Amazon, Google, and Alibaba, are getting bigger, due to acquisitions and the rewards of the cloud boom. G2 has also seen established companies become more entrenched by launching new products or partnering with other vendors. For example, Mailchimp moved into the ecommerce space, and Celonis announced a partnership with IBM to sell its process mining software. But G2 says even small and medium-sized businesses are focusing on data more than ever.

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Game

Stadia gets sporty as game streaming expands to Android TV

There has been several new computer hardware announced lately, some of them geared towards gaming. Of course, one doesn’t always need the most powerful and most expensive hardware, especially with the budding game streaming market now available to many gamers. Of course, each comes with its limitations, especially in the titles available and compatible devices. This week, Stadia is expanding both lists with some sports-centric titles as it paves the way for its Android TV debut.

A game streaming service is only as strong as the titles available for it, and, naturally, Stadia needs to catch up with the hundreds of games already available for PCs. At the same time, it is also a show of a platform’s strength if a new title will be available for it on day one. Fortunately for Stadia subscribers, they can pre-order Madden NFL 22 for $59.99 before it officially launches on August 22 on last-gen consoles, PC, and, of course, Stadia.

Madden isn’t the only sports title that’s coming to Google’s game streaming platform. Building up the excitement for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Official Video Game is being made available for streaming for $39.99. More than that, the game also supports Stadia’s Crowd Play beta, allowing streamers to play with their viewers for a more engaging experience.

Stadia’s availability has always been one of its weaker points, but it is trying to change that perception quickly. In addition to Chromecast with Google TV, Stadia is also landing on some Android TV devices. If you have an Android phone, the mobile Chrome browser will also offer an alternative way to play games on mobile.

Stadia is also announcing the second Battle Pass for Crayta, Stadia’s first-ever exclusive. The Mechanical Revolution expansion is available for $9.99 on the Stadia Store. Stadia Pro subscribers will also be able to play Borderlands 3 for free from 9 AM PT Thursday, June 24, all the way to 9 AM PT Monday, June 28.

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Game

Overwatch young adult novel series expands with Deadlock Rebels

Scholastic imprint Away From Keyboard (AFK) has released the second installment in Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch novel series for young adults. The new book is titled Deadlock Rebels and it revolves around the player-favorite character Jesse McCree, as well as the novel’s protagonist Elizabeth Caledonia Ashe and B.O.B., her omnic butler.

Deadlock Rebels is set in the American Southwest where main character Elizabeth Ashe repeatedly gets herself into trouble. After being arrested ahead of her high school graduation, Ashe loses her family’s support and is cut off from her share of the future inheritance.

Not content with this, Ashe plans to steal the wealth from her old-money family. The character teams up with young Jesse McCree who sets out with Ashe and B.O.B in a variety of old west-style heists. The novel comes with a lesson about choosing your own family, not to mention building upon the vast Overwatch universe established by the hit video game.

This is the second title in the Overwatch young adult novel series, with this book focusing on the origins of the Deadlock Gang. The book is available now in paperback for $10 and on Kindle for $7. The book follows novel #1 in the series titled The Hero of Numbani.

The name refers to the futuristic African city Numbani where protagonist Efi Oladele develops Orisa to help fight against Doomfist. Both titles are rated as appropriate for readers ages 12 and older. Likewise, both books have a print length of 304 pages. The book is available from Amazon and other retailers now.

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Categories
AI

SAP expands portfolio with a slew of business transformation tools

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During its online Sapphire Now conference, SAP revealed it has extended the reach of its analytics cloud platform and rolled out additional managed digital transformation services.

SAP is also delivering on a promise to integrate the process analytics platform it gained with the acquisition of Signavio earlier this year. Now dubbed SAP Process Insight, the platform adds the ability to identify inefficient business processes using data collected from SAP applications and databases. SAP has also integrated its robotic process automation (RPA) platform with SAP Process insights, in addition to allowing users to capture and automate processes involving both end users and machines.

The company is also adding machine learning algorithms to its Concur travel expense management offering — delivered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform — to better enable organizations to identify anomalies and other issues via a Verify module. And it has made available a unified trading partner portal that aggregates data from platforms such as the Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network, and SAP Asset Intelligence Network.

Finally, SAP has added a suite of offerings to address a range of sustainability issues, including SAP Product Footprint Management; SAP Responsible Design and Production; Sustainability Reporting and Steering; SAP S/4HANA for Product Compliance; and SAP S/4HANA for Environment, Health & Safety.

The SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is at the core of the company’s efforts to enable organizations to consistently apply analytics across the breadth of the SAP portfolio. The platform is now integrated with SAP SuccessFactors, a workforce optimization application also delivered via a SaaS platform and the supply chain software it makes available as part of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) portfolio. An SAP Analytics Cloud for planning processes will be available later this year.

SAP is also adding a data marketplace to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to make it simpler for customers and partners to consume data created by others.

Scale and speed

At the core of SAC is a new model that promises 3 times faster data transformation and a tenfold increase in the volume of data that can be imported at any one time. Additional application programming interfaces (APIs) will make it easier for developers to automate a wider range of data integration tasks and workflows. SAP via SAC then makes it possible to employ machine learning and statistical analysis to enable predictive planning and forecasting.

SAP is also employing SAC within the context of a range of turnkey managed RISE digital business transformation services based on its cloud platform. These were launched at the beginning of the year. The managed services arrived during the pandemic, as many organizations needed to find a way to shift a range of enterprise applications to the cloud, SAP Cloud president Brian Duffy said. “The timing for it was really great,” he added.

Those services are now being extended to make it simpler for organizations to add additional modular capabilities. In addition, SAP is now extending the scope of the RISE services it offers to address the requirements of specific industries, such as automotive and retail, in addition to adding an offering for human resources departments.

For several years now, SAP has been trying to achieve three primary goals. The first is to encourage organizations that have standardized on its ERP portfolio to consume additional cloud services, many of which the company has gained via acquisitions. The second is to migrate customers that deploy SAP software in an on-premises environment to the cloud. Many of those organizations that have deployed SAP software on-premises are several software releases behind, which increases SAP’s overall support costs. The third strategic initiative is to extend SAP’s overall traction in the midmarket by, for example, extending the reach of a no-code SAP Upscale Commerce platform.

In its most recent quarter, SAP noted that despite the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on usage of its Concur travel management platform, revenue from cloud offerings reached €2.14 billion ($2.6 billion), up 7% year over year. The current cloud backlog stands at €7.63 billion ($9.3 billion), a 15% increase. Overall, software license revenue reached €48 million ($58.5 million), up 7% year over year. Cloud and software revenue combined reached €5.43 billion ($6.6 billion), a 1% increase.

SAP clearly still has a long way to go before it achieves its strategic goals. However, the more organizations accelerate digital business transformation initiatives, the more likely it is they will employ one or more SAP cloud services in the months and years ahead.

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Categories
Game

Acer Predator desktop gaming expands with RTX 30 and massive monitors

A set of new gigantic monitors and an updated set of gaming desktop machines were announced this week by Acer. In the display department, three new Acer Predator monitors came in at 28-inches (with 155Hz refresh rate overclocked), 37.5-inches (overclocked at 175Hz), and a whopping 42.5-inches. Acer’s Predator Orion 3000 and Nitro 50 gaming desktop lines were given a refresh, too, with 11th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (or AMD Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors) and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs.

Acer gaming desktops for 2021

The Acer Predator Orion 3000 line (shown above) is the higher-end of the two desktop lineups we’re looking at today. The Nitro 50 (shown below) has a starting price approximately $250 cheaper than the Orion 3000 due to its slightly different intended audience.

Both lines have available 11th Gen Intel Core desktop processors OR AMD Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors. Both lines also have available NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs. Given the prices of these desktop machines, this might be your easiest path to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series GPU at release – we shall see!

The Predator Orion 3000 series will be made available with up to 64GB of 3200MHz DDR4 memory and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU. The Nitro 50 N50-620 series will have up to 64GB of 3200MHz DDR4 memory and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti series graphics card. f

Acer Predator monitors for 2021

The Acer Predator X28 was revealed with a 28-inch UHD IPS LCD panel with an overclocked refresh rate at 155Hz. This monitor works with NVIDIA G-Sync and works with the NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyzer.

The Acer Predator X38 S is a 37.5-inch 2300R curved monitor with UWQHD+ resolution. This panel has the NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyzer and NVIDIA G-Sync ULTIMATE. This panel has an overclocked refresh rate at 175Hz and Agile-Splendor IPS tech (the X28 is also an Agile-Splendor IPS display).

The beast is the Acer Predator CG437K S, with its 42.5-inch UHD panel with 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms VRB response time. This monitor has a built-in KVM switch and a set of ports to allow multiple devices to be connected at once. There are 2 HDMI 2.1 ports (that support PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X), and a USB hub with 1x USB-B, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, and 1x USB-C (PD30W). This largest monitor also has RGB lighting strips Acer ColorSense, Acer ProxiSense, and NVIDIA G-SYNC.

Prices and Release Dates

Pricing on the Acer Predator Orion 3000 (P03-630) will begin at around $1200 USD, and this refreshed line will be available in North America starting in July of 2021. The Acer Nitro 50 (N50-620) line will be available in North America starting in July as well, with prices starting at around $949 USD.

The Acer Predator X28 monitor will be released in North America in August of 2021 with a starting price at around $1300 USD. The Predator X38 S will be released in North America starting in September for a price around $2k. There’ll be a release of the Predator CG437K S in North America in around November for a price at approximately $1800 USD.

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