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Tech Headlines for April 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

Headlines for April 2015: global edtech investments, on-the-job device trends,  Vector Capital’s acquisition of Saba, and Tin Can’s new recipe for Open Badges.

Global Edtech Investment Spikes to $1.09 Billion in Q1 2015

The investments made to learning technology companies across the globe in the first quarter of 2015 were the highest for a single quarter in the history of the learning technology industry. In the three month period between January and March 2015, $1.09 billion was invested in learning technology companies, according to the new whitepaper by Ambient Insight, "Q1 2015 Global Analysis of Learning Technology Investment Patterns."  

Ambient Insight tracks private investments made to learning technology suppliers via press releases, financial reports, investment firm sites, targeted searches, and publicdomain investment tracking sites including sites like CrunchBase, Ventures Africa, peHUB, Xconomy, VCCircle India, EducationInverstor (UK), China Money Network, SinoBeat, the Latin American Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (LAVCA), SeedTable, Asian Venture Capital Journal, and VentureBeat. 

Ambient Insight reports that in 2014, global investments made to learning technology companies reached $2.34 billion, up from the previous record of $1.64 billion set in 2013. This marks the sixth time in the last 16 years that investment totals exceeded the billion-dollar threshold and the first time in the history of learning technology that investment reached the $2 billion threshold. 

Ambient Insight’s chief research officer Sam Adkins explains that “the most significant investment pattern in the learning technology industry in the first quarter of 2015 was the spike in the funding of companies operating in China.” Ambient’s research found that investments in companies operating in China accounted for 40 percent ($451.7 million) of all investments made to learning technology companies in the first quarter of 2015. 

To put that in perspective, for the full year of 2014, a total of $634.4 million was invested in learning technology companies in China, which was just over 26 percent of all funding that went to learning technology suppliers across the globe in 2014. 

See more at http://www.ambientinsight.com/News/PublishedContent.aspx

Tablets Gaining Ground in Offices, But Desktops Still Rank Number 1 

U.S. employees still stick with the basics when it comes to on-the-job devices, based on a September 2014 study by TNS and Dell and Intel, which found that the desktop remained the most-used device for work. However, this may not last forever, as there was a noticeable drop in usage between 2011 and 2014, from 84 percent to 71 percent of U.S. employees.1 

Desktops’ smaller-screen counterparts—laptops—saw a tiny decline in usage, as did smartphones, somewhat surprising considering their ever-growing relevance in consumers’ day-to-day lives. However, the reason for this may be due to increased usage of another touchscreen device: tablets.


Though a meager 7 percent of respondents reported using tablets for work, they were the only device type that saw an increase in usage. Intel and Dell noted that desktops still ruled the work device scene as of now due to the fact that most U.S. employees still work in an office. 

Mobile business content may play a bigger role outside the workday, though, thanks to the blurring line between work life and personal life. A September 2014 study from CNBC found that business execs worldwide turned to their devices for a wide variety of information. 

Vector Capital Completes Acquisition of Saba Software 

Saba and Vector Capital announced March 31, 2015, that affiliates of Vector Capital have successfully completed the acquisition of Saba, a global leader in cloud-based intelligent talent management solutions. Under the terms of the merger agreement adopted by Saba stockholders on March 26, 2015, Saba stockholders will receive $9.00 per share in cash, which equates to an enterprise value of approximately $400 million. 

“We are very pleased to announce the completion of the acquisition of Saba,” said David Fishman, Managing Director and Head of the Private Equity Team at Vector Capital. “We are excited to deliver value to Saba’s impressive customer base and further invest in the leading cloud talent management platform. We look forward to working with Saba’s talented management team and employees to grow the business organically and through strategic acquisitions." 

Stockholders who hold shares through a bank or broker will not have to take any action to have their shares converted into cash, since these conversions will be handled by the bank or broker. Stockholders who hold certificates can exchange their certificates for $9.00 per share in cash, without interest, through the payment agent, Computershare. Computershare will be mailing out instructions to registered stockholders regarding specific actions they will need to take to exchange their shares for the cash consideration. 

Tin Can Releases Open Badges Recipe 

On the xAPI blog, freelance Tin Can API evangelist Andrew Downes announces the publication of an xAPI Open Badges recipe to the registry. This recipe is the work of the xAPI Open Badges working group, including people from both the Open Badges and Tin Can communities. “This is a real collaboration of both specification groups,” writes Downes. 

Downes explains that the recipe will solve the problem of transferring earned badges between systems. It enables “earned Open Badges to be stored in an LRS as a Tin Can statement. These can then be shared between LRSs like any other statement, meaning earned badges can be accessed by any system capable of retrieving statements. The baked badge image (an Open Badge image containing embedded metadata) is attached to the statement and all of the badge metadata is included within the statement, allowing for easy access without having to un-bake the badge.” 

In addition, the blog post announces that the xAPI Open Badges working group is turning its attention to the definition of Badge Classes with Tin Can. “This will enable one system to define a badge and transmit the definition to another system. This system can then compare criteria to learner records and award badges to learners as appropriate. A limited implementation of this will be included in the prototype,” writes Downes. 

See more at http://tincanapi.com/2015/03/31/open-can-tin-badges.


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About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at rellis@td.org. 

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