29th December 2010

When Snow Falls and Sheep Float

psychicparrot gamesToday is the final day of PsychicParrot Game’s giveaway for their iPhone title Farm Jump, an Open-Feint farm jumpenabled game that features tilt and lean controls that enable you to capture some cows and jump on floating sheep, helping Farmer Will get his sheep back in their pens. The game also features donkeys, eggs bacon, plus the ability to dress Farmer Will in a variety of costumes.

Play by leaning the device left and right as Farmer Will bounces from sheep to sheep. Look out for roosters. Roosters will help him get higher with a boost. Cows are also Farmer Wills friends, so grab them when you can.

Lawyer Sean Kane, a member of the Intellectual Property practice and a member of the Social PillsburyMedia, Entertainment & Technology team at New York law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, has released a white paper titled A Guide to Business Incentives for Interactive Entertainment Production in Canada (PDF). While many of you may already be well-versed on the various programmes and contacts, I still recommend giving the document a read-through, just to see if it contains new information that may be of use to you or your projects. Mr. Kane has also published a white paper on incentives available in the United States (also PDF), which will definitely be of use for anyone pondering an expansion south of the 49th. **Note – it has been pointed out to me that the White Paper on Canadian Incentives has a few facts wrong in regards to the Canada Media Fund. Please be sure to check with each programme’s guidelines to be certain that you have current and correct information.**

snowseekersIt’s 7 a.m. and your alarm goes off, but it’s not that work alarm that most of us dread. This alarm is powder filled. SnowSeekers is stoked to release a free smartphone app filled with bells and whistles that will make iPhone-using snow seekers everywhere smile. The powder alarm takes feeds from your favorite ski and snowboard resorts and alerts you when your destination(s) of choice receives over five cm of snow overnight – just in time to get you out of bed and into the goods. The BlackBerry and Android versions are scheduled to launch later this month.

Over $150,000 has been invested by SnowSeekers in the past 12 months to bring snow seekers around the globe a smartphone application that unlocks the best of Western Canada’s winter destinations.

“Our focus groups told us they wanted all the bells and whistles in this app and that they wanted it for free. I am snowseekers-whistlerconfident we are delivering on their request,” said SnowSeekers President Jim Barr (aka Doc Pow).

“Last season our first app acted as a digital guidebook. This new 2.0 version is more of a digital concierge. It really takes you by the hand and directs you to where you need to go and what you need to do in order to maximize your time in Western Canada. And that goes for both local and international travellers.”

Major upgrades include:

* The guides are GPS-sensitive, delivering location-based information to the traveler when they are in X destination. It acts as a great pre-planner, too, as you can thumb through any of the destinations before even setting out.
* A digital coupon book filled with discounts, offers, and savings (think of an entertainment book, only digital). Based on what you choose to receive, push notifications that contain exclusive offers are delivered via the app.
* A real-time heat map allows travelers to check into their hot spot of choice. Each destination features a comprehensive list of pubs, clubs, and night spots. “One of the big requests we had from our focus groups was the app should unlock special events and the hot locations in town,” explains Barr. Check-in to the location you are at or the location you are going to be so other travellers can look at the map and know “what’s hot.”
* Comprehensive guidebook listings. “We’ve invested over 800 man hours to develop shopping, accommodations, après, nightlife and dining directories for the 19 destinations represented in the app,” said Barr. Includes Google Maps, descriptions, phone numbers, and web addresses.
* Other features include current weather supplied by The Weather Network, snow conditions, and a digital trail map.

Engine Digital announces the launch of an innovative mobile web strategy for client BC Hydro, featuring a mobile compatible web experience for on-the-go smartphone users. The Engine Digital designed BC Hydro mobile website offers instant access to relevant Power Smart content, safety tips, as well as a GPS-enabled power outage lookup feature. Mobile compatibility of web content is fast becoming a necessity for companies and Engine Digital is leading the pace in mobile web strategy, mobile marketing, and both design and development for the mobile screen.

Utilizing the Mobify platform, Engine Digital was able to integrate the mobile site for BC Hydro with existing web technologies and content, providing a single point of content management across both web and mobile channels. BC Hydro MobileThrough their mobile device, BC Hydro mobile website users are able to determine power outages in their area, including real-time estimates of power recovery. The mobile site caters to smartphone and feature phone users, with a focus on touch-based devices including iPhone and iPod touch, Android, and BlackBerry touch-devices.

With branded utility – brands creating useful experiences for their customers – becoming a common strategy for organizations wishing to create an unfair advantage within their category, many marketers are looking to mobile as the space where utility can be quickly delivered to both a location- and time-aware audience.

“As consumers increasingly access brands on their mobile device, there exists a growing expectation for both content and features to be formatted for the mobile space,” comments Stephen Beck, Partner and Creative Director at Engine Digital. “Pulling up a desktop website or a non-functioning Flash-based website inside of a mobile web browser is a broken brand experience that can result in frustration across the Smartphone user base. For BC Hydro, mobile provides a new opportunity to deliver outage data using location-based services via GPS to both mobile customers and technicians away from their desktop browser.”

The BC Hydro mobile site includes both content and functionality adapted from the corporate website including:

* Outage Data: up-to-date status on power outages available in map or list view format, along with planned outages, restoration history, expected timeline for the restoration of power and the number of households affected.
* Power Smart Green Guides: tips on saving energy and money for home and business through conservation of power.
* Electronics Guides: tips on choosing brands and products designed to conserve energy. Users can search and compare brands, products, and their power smart ratings on mobile devices while they shop.
* Safety Tips: tips for power related safety at home, in the workplace and during outages. In the event of an emergency, users have access to safety information and help contacts.
* Events Calendar: listing of upcoming events hosted by BC Hydro.

TekSystemsTEKsystems Global Services Canada today announced findings from its quarterly IT and Talent Survey among Canadian IT leaders. IT contracting in Canada is on the rise relative to other North American markets, with nearly 50% of Canadian respondents indicating increases in IT project needs and IT hiring over the next six months.

This is in contrast to 41% of the respondents citing the same in the United States. According to Executive Director of TEKsystems’ Montreal Solution Centre, Charlie Hall, “We are seeing a shift in that CIOs seem to be moving toward more variable-based or flexible workforce models to get work done. As we emerge from this recession, our clients are seeking the ability to ramp projects up and down quicker than ever as demands increase.”

Survey data shows IT workers will be in high demand to support the continuous flow of expected project needs moving into 2011. Of the most challenging projects, Enterprise Architecture tops the list with 55.9% of Canadian respondents rating the difficulty a seven or above, on a one to 10 scale. More than half of respondents also rated Business Process Engineering, Business Intelligence, Network Architecture and Database Administration a seven or higher in terms of difficulty to staff and manage. “Limited supply of certain technical professionals is just one factor that makes these projects a challenge for our clients,” shares Hall. “IT leaders are also challenged to find partners that possess applicable industry knowledge, a high degree of business acumen and have the chemistry to fit into their culture,” comments Hall.

Given the increased focus on IT initiatives to drive business value, IT leaders will need to conduct intense and proactive workforce planning exercises to ensure they can support business goals. However, according to the survey, 52.2% of Canadian respondents indicated feeling only “somewhat prepared” to handle an increasingly competitive labor market. “To obtain the right skill sets when and where they need them, many businesses are realizing the value of partnering with an IT services provider that can deliver project-based or outsourcing solutions with an underlying competency in attracting and retaining large numbers of quality IT resources,” said Hall.

IT leaders say they plan to maintain (50%) or increase (36.5%) their current level of IT outsourcing; and nearly 80% of respondents expect to maintain or increase offshore and near-shore IT services moving into 2011. “More often, we’re seeing IT leaders make the decision to outsource based on criteria that extends beyond cost benefits. They are thinking about the degree of complexity they want to maintain versus offload. They are also thinking about which providers can be a true partner, building customized solutions and delivering results through teams of qualified IT professionals,” said Hall.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 at 11:01 am and is filed under Business News, Casual, Digital Products, Everyone, Game Dev, Government, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Research Studies, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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