Among the latest technology headlines for September 2012: IBM Buys Kenexa, 2012 Serious Play Award Winners Announced, TrainingIndustry.com Announces 2012 Top 20 Portal Companies, BYOD Market Projected to Grow, and Forrester Finds Half of World's Population Will Be Online by 2017.

IBM Buys Kenexa

IBM is buying HR software company Kenexa Corp. for about $1.26 billion, adding to its stable of cloud-based software. The deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, IBM said in a statement.

The purchase bolsters IBM’s business-analytics software, which helps companies cull vast amounts of data to make decisions and study trends. Kenexa works with more than 8,900 customers, including Starbucks, General Electric, and Boeing, among others.  

"IBM has spent $16 billion on 30 analytics acquisitions in the past five years. The acquisition of Kenexa is expected to make IBM more competitive with other major players like Oracle and SAP," said Rick Sherlund of Nomura Equity Research in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article.  Oracle and SAP have both recently been buying "cloud computing" companies; SAP’s agreement in December to purchase SuccessFactors Inc. for $3.4 billion and Oracle’s $1.9 billion takeover of Taleo announced in February. Such technology allows businesses to run software remotely rather than installing software in-house. 

In a Forbes article on the deal, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Ted Schadler writes “The HR business executive is increasingly responsible for the technology to improve workforce productivity in addition to hiring, training, and compensation management. Systems that ‘empower people to take action in their moments of need’ are the future of software-based productivity improvements. We’ve automated the heck out of transaction and highly regular processes. Now we need to automate the ad hoc processes that limit human, hence business, productivity.” 

On his Business of Talent blog, industry analyst Josh Bersin adds, “This acquisition is all about IBM's move into the global talent management market.  IBM calls it building the ‘smarter workforce.’ CEO's tell us that their #1 challenge is developing stronger global talent, and this acquisition is all about IBM increasing its business in many areas of this huge market...Kenexa plays in the talent acquisition market (strategic recruiting), the employee engagement and retention market (keeping employees happy and monitoring when they're not), in the training market (maintaining and building skills), and in the performance management market (managing employee goals and performance).”  

According to Bersin, “The HR and talent management markets are just too big for a company like IBM to feel left out. Kenexa brings many strategic offerings to the company today, with much more to come. “

2012 Serious Play Award Winners Announced

DragonBox+, created by WeWantToKnow for At Home Learning was awarded Best of Show at the 2012 International Serious Play Awards, a program honoring exceptional examples of corporate, military, school/at home learning and games for good titles. The awards were announced during the 2012 Serious Play Conference.  

A panel of experts selected 18 serious games for recognition. This year’s entries included international submissions from Canada, Spain, India, Singapore, the Netherlands,  and Macedonia.

“We were pleased to see have so many awards submitted from around the world,” Clark Aldrich, conference director, said. “The quality overall was excellent, including games from students.” 

GOLD Medal Winners:

  • Mission US 2: “Flight to Freedom, THIRTEEN/WNET, Electric Funstuff and American Social History Productions (Education)
  • Guts and Bolts BrainPOP (Games for Good)
  • DragonBox+,  WeWantToKnow  (At Home Learning)
  • FLOW is Good Business, ALEAS Simulations (Corporate Game)
  • Family of Heroes, Kognito Interactive (Government/Military)
  • The Snowfield, MIT Gambit Games Lab Singapore (Student)

SILVER Medal Winners:

  • Strategic Innovation Simulation: Back Bay Battery V2, Forio Online Simulations (Education)
  • Past/Present, Center for New American Media Inc. (Games for Good)
  • Government in Action, Muzzy Lane Software (At Home Learning)
  • Vision, BreakAway, Ltd. (Corporate Game)
  • Agent Surefire, MAVI Interactive (Government/Military)
  • UV Radical Ray Rampage, University of California, Davis – Center for Biophonics Science and Technology (Student)

BRONZE Medal Winners:

  • Juf in a Box, Ranj Serious Games (Education)
  • Digital Passport, Mighty Play (Games for Good)
  • Reading Kingdom, Jonathan Blank (At Home Learning)
  • Gangs: PC 186.22 for Patrol, David Connor and Sam McFadden (Corporate Game)
  • Mission Senegal, Alelo (Government/Military)
  • A Closed World, Singapore – MIT GAMBET Games Lab (Student)

In addition to the medal winners, the following games were certified:

  • Mastering Management Coaching, Enspire Learning
  • SmartGate – The Game, Ijsfontein & BrandNewGame
  • USAFA-3D-Virtual Campus Tour, Designing Digitally & USAF
  • HD Supply – Lessons for Sales Success, Allen Interactions & HD Supply
  • Habitals,Handlelife
  • Human Aspects in Cybersecurity: Play a Day in the Life, Tata Interactive Systems and the University of Maryland

For more information on the awards competition, go to www.seriousplayconference.com.

TrainingIndustry.com Announces 2012 Top 20 Portal Companies

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 TrainingIndustry.com recently announced its 2012 Top 20 Learning Portal Companies list. “Our Top 20 Learning Portal Companies list represents the pioneers of technologies companies in the industry. These innovative companies integrate an array of technologies into their portals and serve multiple industries.” said Ken Taylor, chief operating officer of Training Industry, Inc. 

Selection of this year’s Top 20 Learning Portal Companies list was based on the following criteria: 

  • breadth of functionality and capabilities
  • commitment to the corporate training market
  • industry visibility, innovation and impact
  • number and strength of clients
  • geographic reach. 

In order to be considered for a nomination to a TrainingIndustry.com Top Companies List, participating companies must submit a comprehensive application survey and meet other Top Company List specific requirements. TrainingIndustry.com makes an effort to reach out to as many companies as possible within a given market segment. Due to the diversity of client need in the learning portal space, no attempt is made to rank the Top 20.  

The top 20 portals for 2012 (listed in alphabetical order):  

  • Absorb Anywhere
  • Biz Library
  • CGS – Computer Generated Solutions
  • Cross Knowledge
  • DuPont Sustainable Solutions
  • GP Strategies
  • Intrepid Learning
  • Learn Something
  • MOS-Mind on Site
  • Mzinga
  • Net Dimensions
  • Raytheon
  • Red Tray Solutions
  • Skillsoft
  • SumTotal
  • Technomedia
  • TEDS
  • Totara
  • Xerox
  • Xyleme 

“These companies offer a variety of learning portal services and present various levels of customization for their clients. There is also a strong focus on improving the ease of use through simple, innovative platforms and interfaces” said Doug Harward, chief executive officer of Training Industry, Inc.

BYOD Market Projected to Grow 

According to a new market research report, "Bring-your-own-device (BYOD), Consumerimization of IT and Enterprise Mobility Market - Global Advancements, Business Models, Market Forecasts & Analysis (2012-2017)", the total BYOD and Enterprise Mobility market is expected to reach $181.39 Billion by 2017. 

Published by MarketsandMarkets, the report finds that the BYOD  (bring your own device)and Enterprise Mobility concept is getting huge traction in the technology market. This is one of the hot topic in the market after cloud computing. The reason behind the market growth is that, enterprises are going mobile and they need to be in touch with their mobile workforce anytime anywhere. Companies are getting instant return in terms of visibility, time management, cost saving, and positive work environment. 

Employees are using their own devices such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops, for the official work to be connected with the enterprise network anytime, anywhere.  Thus Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon is entering enterprise IT, and will change the way users and organizations address the network security concerns. 

Employees want to use the device which they would like to use.  The organization is not forcing them to do so. BYOD and Enterprise Mobility is allowing them to use the same. There are software and security vendors which are helping the companies to provide an environment where employees can connect their devices to the enterprise network without having any security related issues and this is driving the growth of the BYOD and enterprise mobility market. 

Global BYOD & Enterprise Mobility Market is expected to grow from $67.21 billion in 2011 to $181.39 billion by 2017, at an estimated CAGR of 15.17% from 2012 to 2017. North America commanded the largest share, with 36.10 percent of the overall managed BYOD & Enterprise Mobility Market in 2011. 

In addition to market sizes and forecasts, the report also provides a detailed analysis of the market trends and factors influencing market growth, offering in-depth geographic analysis of the BYOD & Enterprise Mobility Market in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Middle East, and Africa.  

Forrester Finds Half of World's Population Will Be Online by 2017 

(eWeek) In 2012, about 2.4 billion people around the world are online, out of a global population of 7 billion. In just five more years, that will rise to about 3.5 billion online users, according to Forrester. 

The number of Internet users around the world is soaring and will total about 3.5 billion—or about half the Earth's estimated population of about 7.4 billion in 2017, according to a September  4, 2012, report from Forrester Research. That means that about 1.1 billion additional people around the world will be online in the next five years, up from about 2.4 billion people who are online in 2012.  

The report, Forrester Research World Online Population Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global), "found that 2.4 billion people across the world use the Internet on a regular basis—at least once a month—from home, school, work, or any other location via a PC or a non-PC (mobile) Internet access device," wrote Forrester analyst Jitender Miglani on his Forrester blog. The forecast looks at the growth of the Internet population in 56 countries across five regions. 

One of the drivers for this trend, he wrote, is the increase in mobile Internet users in emerging countries. "While higher PC penetration has driven the adoption of Internet in developed economies during the past two decades, faster mobile penetration in the emerging economies is helping increase the Internet population, thanks to 'mobile-only' Internet users." 

One year ago, an IDC report predicted that mobile Internet usage will top desktop usage by 2015. That report noted that the impact of smartphones and tablet computer adoption would be so great that the number of users accessing the Internet through PCs would first stagnate and then slowly decline. 

For more information, read the eWeek article.