18th August 2011

CRTC Issues Report Highlighting Trends In The Communications Industry

CRTCThe Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has released Navigating Convergence II: Charting Canadian Communications Change and Regulatory Implications, a compilation of independent research and views obtained from CRTC stakeholders, including consumers, public-interest advocates and members of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors. The first edition of the report was published in February 2010. A PDF version of the latest report is also available.

According to the report, the development and adoption of new devices, products and services is accelerating in Canada. Canadians are rapidly embracing the global digital environment and making their choices and voices known. The evolving environment is also creating opportunities for the communications industry to provide services and content in new and innovative ways.

In 2010, 24% of anglophones and 20% of francophones watched some of their television programming online, including newscasts, sports clips and shows, which were offered by Canadian and foreign services. This trend is expected to continue as these services give consumers the flexibility to catch up on the television shows they have missed, at a time and on the device that is most convenient. As consumers access more online content and services, traffic over Canadian Internet networks is projected to quadruple from 2009 to 2014.

Canadians are also increasingly adopting mobile devices, which can connect to the Internet and deliver content, information and social media services. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of wireless subscribers is expected to rise from 25.8 million to nearly 30 million, with half of them owning a smartphone. At the same time, mobile Internet subscriptions in Canada are predicted to increase significantly from 5.5 million in 2011 to 14 million in 2015.

The report also notes that consolidation has increased in the communications industry. Despite this trend, the introduction of new services, such as those that deliver television programming online or through phone lines (known as Internet Protocol television), and the emergence of new service providers in the wireless market create competitive options for consumers.

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18th August 2011

Wipeout 2 Coming From Behaviour Interactive

behaviour interactiveBased on the ABC hit show Wipeout and continuing the tradition of wickedly entertaining family fun, Activision Publishing, Inc. and ABC Entertainment Group announced today at Gamescom that Wipeout 2, the latest release in the hit video game franchise will be coming this holiday season for the Nintendo DS™, Nintendo 3DS™, Wii™ from Nintendo, Kinect™ for Xbox 360®, and PlayStation®Move for Playstation®3.

Currently in development at Behaviour Interactive, Wipeout 2 will offer updated, outrageous course designs across all platforms with obstacles and effects taken straight from the show’s summer and winter seasons. Players must navigate around snow, ice, foam, and fan-favorite obstacles like the Sucker Punch Wall and Big Balls; whichWipeout 2 are making their triumphant returns alongside more than 50 others. Extended gameplay on all systems encourages even more interaction and participation with family and friends. Once again, all the wild and crazy action is narrated by the show’s hosts John Anderson and John Henson.

“I’m excited that the video game series is evolving just like our show,” said Matt Kunitz, Wipeout’s Creator and Executive Producer. “Players will experience all the fun of the new winter and summer courses without being sore in the morning!”

Particular attention is being paid to making every platform experience unique with ramped up excitement that engages gamers like never before. Freshly revised controls makes for intuitive and easy to use motion-based gameplay for Wii owners. The PlayStation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360 titles will offer gamers the ability to taunt and toss paintballs and snowballs at family and friends while they run the course.

Handheld gaming will finally become a communal experience with pass and play ‘Hot Seat’ participation for up to 4 players with Nintendo 3DS players also seeing their graphics taken to a whole new dimension. No matter how players choose to enjoy, the crazy and hilarious fun is taken to wild new heights with Wipeout 2.

“Working with ABC on the Wipeout titles has been a tremendous success,” said Nicole Armstrong, Activision Publishing. “Their integration of the game series into the show has been outstanding and their contributions to the game make it truly appealing for fans. We look forward to bringing more great Wipeout experiences to families.”

The Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS versions have been rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. The Wii, PlayStation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360 versions have been rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and older by the ESRB.

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18th August 2011

NetSupport DNA Mobile App Delivers Uninterrupted Access To IT Asset Data

netsupport canadaDesktop and Asset Management software specialist NetSupport has announced the immediate availability of the NetSupport DNA mobile console app – giving your IT support team and field engineers continuous access to essential customer PC data via their mobile devices.

Delivering a wealth of data for the target machine, NetSupport DNA is recognised as providing one of the most comprehensive and detailed hardware inventory modules available on the market today. Compatible with Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, the new DNA mobile app connects with your central DNA inventory database, giving you access to accurate, up-to-the-minute asset management data wherever you are.

Key features include the ability to instantly call up the current hardware inventory for the target machine; view a detailed list of any historical changes to the hardware and software, and assess the cause of any logged PC alerts.

Expanding on the latest release, NetSupport’s Development Director Rob Hawkins explains: “Knowing the inventory of your IT assets is essential to the successful day-to-day management of any IT infrastructure. By making this data available on the move with our new mobile console, support engineers can now provide a much more effective service to customers while improving their own productivity.”

The NetSupport DNA mobile console app can be downloaded for free from the Android Marketplace, the Apple iTunes App store, Ovi and will soon be available for BlackBerry. The NetSupport DNA mobile console app is for use in conjunction with the NetSupport DNA Asset Management suite. Net Support is a UK-based company with an office in Markham.

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18th August 2011

Xbox Canada Holiday Preview

Xbox 360Yesterday I dropped by the Muzik Night Club for the annual Microsoft Canada Xbox 360 Holiday Titles preview. I was somewhat disappointed in that not all of the games being showcased were playable with developer representatives present, but the anticipation of some exciting new games coming to the console this fall was palpable. Read the rest of this entry »

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18th August 2011

Destiny Media Technologies Joins OTCQX

destiny mediaOTC Markets Group Inc., operator of an electronic marketplace for broker-dealers to trade unlisted stocks, has announced that Vancouver’s Destiny Media Technologies, Inc. is now trading on the OTC market’s highest tier, OTCQX®.

Destiny Media began trading today on the OTC market’s prestigious tier, OTCQX U.S. Investors can find current financial disclosure and Real-Time Level 2 quotes for the Company on the otcqx and the otcmarkets sites.

“OTCQX companies demonstrate their commitment to providing superior information to investors and maintaining the highest quality standards,” said R. Cromwell Coulson, President and Chief Executive Officer of OTC Markets Group. “We are pleased to welcome Destiny Media to OTCQX.”

B. Riley & Co., LLC will serve as Destiny Media’s Designated Advisor for Disclosure (“DAD”) on OTCQX, responsible for providing guidance on OTCQX requirements.

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18th August 2011

Frima Acquires Volta

frima studioFrima Studio has acquired Volta, a visual development studio dedicated to the creation of high-end concept art for video games and film. Established in 2006, Volta has quickly become one of the most respected names in the industry. The acquisition expands Frima’s portfolio of services to high-end concept art capabilities for AAA games, film and television projects. Volta will remain an independent studio in its own Quebec City offices.

An international team of 20 experienced professionals; Volta’s expertise includes the production of concept art, visual development, storyboards, and marketing materials. Since 2006, they have delivered projects to major entertainment companies such as Sony, Disney, Microsoft, and Warner Bros. Recent AAA gaming projects include Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Deus Ex Human Revolution, F.E.A.R. 3, Mortal Kombat 9, Rage, and Red Faction Armageddon.volta demo screen

“The acquisition of Volta advantageously expands each of our three lines of business,” explains Frima CEO Steve Couture. “Volta’s services add to our robust client offerings, their expertise in AAA game art strengthens our capacity for Frima’s own upcoming original IP, and synergy between Frima FX and Volta will complement the development of concept art and 3D modelization for the movie/cinema market.”

Claude Bordeleau, CEO of Volta, explained their reasons for joining forces with Frima as a desire to harness Frima’s experience managing growth as well as create new opportunities between Frima’s partners and Volta’s areas of expertise. “Frima wanted to offer a new service with an existing, intact and fully functional team. We’re excited to explore the advantages of the new partnership while we continue to produce high quality work for our current clients.”

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17th August 2011

WiLAN Announces Intention to Make an All-Cash Takeover Offer for MOSAID Technologies

wilanWi-LAN Inc. has announced that it intends to make a formal all-cash offer to acquire all the outstanding common shares of MOSAID Technologies Incorporated for approximately C$480 million. Under the terms of the Offer, WiLAN proposes to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of MOSAID (the “MOSAID Shares”) for 100% cash consideration of C$38.00 in cash per MOSAID Share.

Excluding MOSAID’s cash from its balance sheet on a dollar-for-dollar basis from the MOSAID share price, the Offer represents a premium of approximately 31.1% over the closing price of the MOSAID Shares and a premium of approximately 38.2% over the volume-weighted average trading price of the MOSAID Shares on the TSX for the 10 trading days ending on August 16, 2011. Based on the closing price of the MOSAID Shares on the TSX on August 16, 2011, the implied premiums are 21.0% and 25.3%, respectively.

In conjunction with its intention to make a formal offer for the MOSAID Shares, WiLAN is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to sell on a bought deal basis, to a syndicate of underwriters led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and CIBC World Markets Inc., C$200,000,000 aggregate principal amount of extendible convertible unsecured subordinated debentures (the “Debentures”), to partially finance the Offer.  At this time, WiLAN expects that certain of its management will participate in the Debenture offering.  The Company has also granted the underwriters an option, exercisable in whole or in part at any time up to 30 days following closing of the Debenture offering, to purchase up to an additional C$30 million aggregate principal amount of Debentures on the same terms.

The initial maturity date of the Debentures will be January 31, 2012, which will be extended to September 30, 2016 upon the initial take-up of MOSAID Shares by the Company pursuant to the Offer. The initial maturity date may be extended to March 31, 2012 at the Company’s discretion.  The Debentures will have an interest rate of 6.00% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears on September 30 and March 31 in each year, with the first coupon paid on the third business day following the initial take-up of MOSAID Shares. Each C$1,000 principal amount of Debentures will be convertible into approximately 108.6957 common shares of the Company at any time following the initial take-up of the MOSAID Shares, at the option of the holder, representing a conversion price of C$9.20 per common share.

On or before August 23, 2011, the Company will file with the securities commissions or other similar regulatory authorities in each of the provinces of Canada (other than Quebec), a preliminary prospectus relating to the issuance of the Debentures. Closing of the Debenture offering is expected to occur on or about September 8, 2011, subject to TSX and other necessary regulatory approvals.

The securities being offered have not been and will not be registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and state securities laws. Accordingly, the securities may not be offered or sold to U.S. persons except pursuant to applicable exemptions from registration requirements.

Net proceeds from the Debenture offering will be used to partially fund the proposed all-cash acquisition of MOSAID and for general corporate purposes, including but not limited to transaction expenses.  The remainder of the Offer will be financed with existing cash on hand and through a C$110 million non-revolving bridge term facility from CIBC.  WiLAN intends to repay the non-revolving bridge term facility through cash on hand immediately after completion of the acquisition of MOSAID.

The MOSAID OFFER

Benefits of the Offer include:

  • Creation of a Stronger, More Valuable Global Licensing Company - The creation of a strong, licensing champion with the global scope, scale and expertise to compete more effectively in more global technology markets;
  • Aggregate Portfolio Value – Combining the patent portfolios will provide a more efficient and rapid path to establishing a larger and more valuable aggregate portfolio given the combined management team’s expertise and increased business scale;
  • Technology, Business and Geographic Diversification – The resulting expanded product, market and geographic coverage provides technology, business and geographic diversification, significantly de-risking the combined entity and presenting greater licensing opportunities.  The combined patent portfolio of more than 4,200 patents will apply to the wireless, wireline, consumer electronics and semiconductor technologies;
  • Greater Financial Strength - The combined company will have access to capital that will provide greater capacity to grow the business and demonstrate that the combined company has significant resources to enforce its patents through litigation if necessary;
  • Stronger Combined Team - Combining WiLAN and MOSAID will yield a stronger team with the technical, licensing and litigation capabilities necessary to manage and grow a global licensing business. With similar cultures and both teams located in Ottawa, Ontario, the integration risk is believed to be low;
  • Synergies – WiLAN anticipates retaining the vast majority of MOSAID staff but nonetheless believes there is potential for cost synergies from combining two public company infrastructures into one, as well as leveraging best practices.  These synergies are expected to total C$5 million to C$10 million per annum; and
  • Accretive – The transaction is expected to be accretive to WiLAN’s adjusted earnings per share and cash flow per share in fiscal 2012.

In addition, upon the successful acquisition of 100% of the outstanding MOSAID Shares, WiLAN intends to revisit its dividend policy, with a view to increasing its existing quarterly dividend from its current level of C$0.025 per WiLAN Share.  The amount of the increase will be considered by WiLAN’s Board of Directors upon its review of the Company’s Third Quarter fiscal 2011 financial results in November 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th August 2011

Radialpoint Expands Partner Program to Further Enhance Connected Home Services

radialpointMontreal’s Radialpoint has announced that Garlik, Trusted ID and Xooloo have joined Radialpoint’s partner program, expanding its ecosystem of digital home services. With these new additions, Radialpoint’s technology brand customers have a new suite of monitoring services that they can provide their customers in support of the Connected Home.

“We are committed to helping our customers monetize the Connected Home opportunity, and we are pleased to be working with the leading ID Theft Monitoring, Credit Score Monitoring and Parental Control firms to continue to bring our customers the services that end-users are spending billions of dollars on today,” said Michael Wexler, Vice President Business Development and Product Strategy at Radialpoint. “With our robust ecosystem and the unique delivery of our services, Radialpoint is further demonstrating how we differentiate our offering – by providing technology brands with value-added solutions to meet the consumer need.”

As consumers become more technologically sophisticated, electronics retailers, PC OEMs, MSOs and Telco’s are looking to drive a seamless experience for their customers that is more than just tech support. With an open SaaS platform, Radialpoint brings a rich line up of in-demand consumer services to their customers; services that help these customers to generate millions of dollars in consumer spend.

With losses from ID Theft reaching $37 Billion in 2010 (according to Javelin Strategy & Research July 2011), credit score monitoring technology emerging as a viable service category, and with an increase in demand for simple, yet functional, Parental Controls, Radialpoint offers its customers improved monitoring and protection options that they can in turn offer to their customers.

“We are extremely pleased to partner our identity protection service with Radialpoint,” said Andy Thomas, Managing Director at Garlik. “Now consumers have a robust and complete Connected Home solution that they can trust especially as more people are shopping, banking and sharing personal information online.”

“With the rapid growth of identity theft, protecting your credit and personal information both online and off is extremely important,” said Scott Mitic, CEO of TrustedID. “We are delighted to be working with Radialpoint to provide these key protections as part of the Radialpoint Connected Home solution.”

“The digital-life of kids is becoming one of the hardest challenges parents today have to face because they want to make sure that they are keeping their kids out of trouble while they are online, without hindering their independence,” said Gregory Veret, President of Xooloo. “We are excited about our relationship with Radialpoint and to be included in their award winning cloud based platform. Together we provide a strategic point of control giving parents peace of mind when their kids are online.”

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17th August 2011

Province of Ontario and Cisco Forge Alliance to Drive IT Innovation

OntarioEarlier today Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello and Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, along with Cisco Canada President Nitin Kawale pledged support for efforts to generate a long-term investment of expertise and technology for the Province of Ontario. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed today outlines Cisco’s and the Province’s intention to cooperate in developing initiatives that will help drive key economic development goals and support technology research and development (R&D).cisco

“Cisco is among the many global technology leaders who continue to recognize Ontario’s innovation and the talent of our highly skilled workforce,” said Minister Pupatello.  “Cisco already conducts R&D in the province in technologies critical to their success, and this investment and the MOU announced today are a vital part of our economic strategy to help Ontario turn the corner.”

Ontario and Cisco Canada intend to develop a collaborative framework to focus on key activities to help further the province’s transformational vision and increase productivity by driving innovation and sustainable economic development in strategic areas of health and wellness, energy, smart+connected communities, education and economic cluster development.

The collaboration with Cisco is the latest in Ontario’s ongoing initiatives to partner with private industry to facilitate solution innovation and commercialization, increase research and development and make better use of the province’s broadband capacity.

“Cisco and the Province of Ontario share a long and successful history. This MOU, only the third of its kind in Ontario’s history, is a next stage in our collaborative relationship focused on a shared vision of deploying transformational technology to help achieve sustainable and innovative goals,” stated Cisco Canada President Nitin Kawale. “There is enormous potential to build a solid R&D spring board in Ontario. Cisco is unique in our ability to draw upon the expertise, technology innovation and global best practices to further drive Ontario’s dynamic innovation engine.”

Ontario and Cisco also announced they intend to work together to invest in R&D-focused job development to drive skills development, economic competitiveness and product innovation. The new partnership will explore opportunities to advance strategic objectives including:

  • Health & Wellness:
    • Advance the state of telemedicine and help improve access to health and wellness services for remote, rural and First Nations communities
    • Improve the state of collaboration and education for clinicians, hospitals and administrators
    • Enhance the quality and operational excellence of health and wellness services
  • Energy:
    • Advance the innovative cluster of Ontario companies focused on increasing energy savings through converged solutions for security, building automation and IT services
    • Explore innovative solutions in energy management
    • Drive environmental sustainability through greater use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Smart+Connected Communities:
    • Promote the development of environmentally sustainable, smart+connected communities that generate economic growth and better opportunities for citizens who work and live in those intelligent communities
    • Develop innovative approaches to the cost-effective and sustainable delivery of Government services
    • Enhance opportunities for collaboration among Ontario companies through an intelligent community infrastructure
    • Identify opportunities to enhance network infrastructure to facilitate remote work and the virtual workforce
    • Utilize a living lab concept to showcase and pilot smart+connected community solutions and to encourage cities and communities in Ontario to launch similar initiatives
  • Education:
    • Increase the reach of higher education and enhance industry collaboration with universities
    • Increase high-skilled job market opportunities for recent post-secondary graduates
    • Utilize Cisco® Networking Academy® programs to bring new skills to First Nations communities
  • Economic Cluster Development:
    • Identify strategic partnership opportunities with economic development agencies
    • Facilitate industry collaboration on regional economic development strategies, particularly in northern communities
    • Identify opportunities to increase commercialization of early-stage ventures, and enhance funding opportunities for private enterprises
  • The Ontario IT Innovation Initiative:
    • Cisco today outlined an investment target of up to $455 million over the next five years to support R&D, focused on key strategic areas for Cisco, including core routing and switching, collaboration, data centre virtualization and cloud, and video
    • Ontario has committed $25 million to this project to support Ontario’s leadership as a global centre for the development of transformative communications technologies

Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers stated that “Ontario has long been globally recognized as a centre of excellence for IT innovation. Both the Province and Cisco share a dynamic vision for building on the substantial IT R&D capability resident here and we see a key opportunity to join forces to further Ontario’s innovation machine. This collaboration and co-investment is an excellent example of how governments can partner with industry to help drive innovative strategies.”

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17th August 2011

Government of Canada Encourages Youth to Discover Careers in Science and Tech

Government of Canada FedDev OntarioMore children in southern Ontario will be able to experience real-world scientific issues and innovations thanks to an investment in Actua announced by Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

“Our Government recognizes the importance of preparing young people for today’s high-tech economy,” said MP Braid. “By developing our next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, we can help drive innovation and keep the economy growing in southern Ontario for years to come.”

Actua, a national science, engineering and technology youth outreach network, will receive up to $1.25 million to enhance its customized programming designed to engage youth who are typically underrepresented and underserved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This includes Aboriginal youth, girls, underprivileged youth, at-risk youth and youth living in remote areas or inner-city neighbourhoods. The funding will help Actua create more spaces in southern Ontario for children to participate in summer camps, classroom workshops, clubs and community outreach activities. These are delivered by university undergraduate students in science, technology and engineering programs who are instructors for Actua network members.

“We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to grow our southern Ontario members’ capacities to deepen the impact and broaden the reach of our STEM programming, especially for youth who are underserved and underrepresented in STEM. This FedDev Ontario contribution will enhance Actua’s significant contributions to building the next generation of Ontario innovators!” said Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO of Actua.

The investment is provided through FedDev Ontario’s Youth STEM Initiative, aimed at encouraging students in kindergarten through grade 12 to pursue an education or career in the STEM fields. For more information about the program and Actua, please refer to the backgrounder.

FedDev Ontario was created as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan to support businesses and communities in southern Ontario. Now in its second year of operation, the Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to support businesses and other organizations through partnerships and investments in skills and training; innovation; research and development; and increased productivity. To learn more, please visit the web site or call 1-866-593-5505.

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