Tech Headlines for October 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Two new reports from industry analyst Ambient Insight finds that mobile learning is in boom phases around the globe. According to “The 2012-2017 Africa Mobile Learning Market" the five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the mobile learning market in Africa is 38.9 percent, the highest in the world. Revenues will grow more than five times to reach $530.1 million by 2017, up from the $102.4 million reached in 2012.

Meanwhile, "The 2012-2017 Middle East Mobile Learning Market" reports that revenues for mobile learning products in the Middle East reached $88.3 million in 2012 and are expected to more than double to $205.4 million by 2017, with a five-year CAGR for the region at 18.4 percent.

Forecasts for 14 countries are included in the Africa regional report, including Algeria, Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. "Seven of the fourteen countries analyzed in this region have growth rates above the 38.9 percent aggregate rate," reports Sam S. Adkins, chief research officer for Ambient Insight. "We have identified major catalysts driving the mobile learning market in Africa. Combined, these catalysts have made Africa the most vibrant mobile learning market on the planet."

Mobile devices are now the primary computing devices used by consumers in many countries in Africa. Accessing the web on an Internet-enabled feature phone or a smartphone is often a user's first Internet experience, in what is often referred to as a Post-PC experience. For many people in the Africa region, Mobile Learning is their primary learning technology and they may never be exposed to other learning products.

"In the developed economies, Mobile Learning is often seen as a disruptive learning technology, particularly in the consumer and academic segments. It is ostensibly disrupting the legacy PC-based e-learning industry. This is referred to as 'product substitution' in market research," adds Adkins. "Buyers in Africa are not substituting Mobile Learning for Self-paced eLearning, they are leapfrogging eLearning altogether."

Forecasts for 12 countries are included in the Middle East regional report, including: Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen. "Nine of these 12 countries have significantly higher growth rates than the aggregate growth rate of 18.4 percent for the region. Six countries even have growth rates more than 50 percent," reports Adkins.

"Packaged mobile learning content will generate the highest revenues in the Middle East throughout the forecast period," comments Ambient Insight CEO Tyson Greer. "What's interesting is the difference in demand for educational apps from country to country, particularly in countries with large foreign guest worker and expatriate populations. This report identifies the types of mobile learning apps and edugames that generate the highest revenues in each country."

Ambient Insight has identified four major catalysts in the booming Middle East Mobile Learning market: consumer demand for Mobile Learning apps and Mobile Learning VAS products, large-scale deployments of tablets in the academic segments, countrywide content digitization efforts across the primary and secondary school systems, and the rapid adoption of Mobile Learning in the higher education segments.

"These catalysts have not only created a massive demand for packaged content, but also a substantial demand for custom content development services in the academic segments," explains Adkins. "For example, the five-year growth rate for custom content development services in the Middle East is 39.9 percent, which is the highest growth rate for custom services for any region in the world. Revenues for custom content development services in the region will triple by 2017."

To learn more, visit

Runnable—New Library of Source Code

Many software programmers rely on code and tools they don’t develop themselves, including open source software that’s freely shared with the world at large, as well as application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide hooks into online services across the web. Instead of searching for code and reading through pages and pages of documentation/wikis/blogs, the newly launched Runnable offers a library for finding and using all the software “building blocks” that are freely available across the web.  

Developed by ex-Amazon engineer Yash Kumar, Runnable allows programmers to search for code, see how it runs, make changes, and run it again--without having to set up a dedicated test environment.

Here’s how Kumar explains the service to Forbes: “Just like a picture is worth a thousand words, being able to run code instantly can save developers hours each day as they build new software from existing parts.”

And it’s important to note that this isn’t code for full-fledged software applications. It’s smaller chunks of code that do specific things. For instance, programmers can grab a snippet of code that can fetch a list of the latest videos from the TED website and embeds those videos in a webpage.


Kumar tells Forbes: “[Runnable] aims to make all the code in the world runnable, and bring it to one central location much like YouTube did for the disjointed world of online video.”

Read more at Wired ( and Forbes (

eWEEK Report: “Internet of Things Will Change the Way We Work”

Researchers at IDC estimate that in 2020 there will be 26 times more connected things than people. Earlier this year, Wikibon forecast that, by 2020, $154 billion will be spent on a business version of the IoT called the "Industrial Internet." Today, IoT affects our day-to-day work in terms of how we interact with things around us. In the future, we can expect IoT to generate entirely new job roles and titles and to modify the way we commute, communicate and collaborate.

In response to this data, a special report from eWEEK and Puneet Pandit, CEO and founder of Glassbeam, a cloud-based analytics provider, offer a Top 10 list to describe how the IoT will continue to affect the future of work by blurring the lines of communication between humans and machines.

Prominent on the list is how IoT affects “Productivity at Work.” eWEEK reports: “The rise of social media has given way to a new age of communications and team collaboration. Valuable tools from the likes of Box, Skype, Jive and Facebook have captured the attention of the next-generation workforce. Video collaboration and imaging will take hold as Millennials and digital natives rely on text messaging, FaceTime and Google Hangouts for true integrative communication at work, saving time and blurring social tools with modern collaborative work systems.

See more at

Insights from the Enterprise Gamification Forum

Industry leaders converged at the Enterprise Gamification Forum held in New York City, September 24-25, 2013.  Topics covered included gamification for employees, consumers, B2B communications, and education and training. Gamification Co. reports common themes emerged that individuals interested in gamification should heed.

1. Gamification is not just about 1 game mechanic. “Arguably the most persistent and notorious myth of gamification systems is that it only involves points, badges, and leaderboards to drive engagement. On the contrary, immersive gamified infrastructures are built upon objective processes, which include having clear strategic goals, defined metrics and constant reiteration among many others.”

2. Define your goals and objectives. “Ask yourself key questions in order to articulate the problems you are trying to resolve. Why are you utilizing gamification? What are your trying to accomplish? The evaluations can be expedited more effectively when an organization actively supports and guide the thought process.”

3. Understand the cost. “As the gamification design becomes more complex, the cost of money, technology, and time needed to support the infrastructure increases alongside it. Nonetheless, this does not mean gamification system is impossible to implement without major allocation of resources.”

4. Cater the language to your audience. “Discussion on the varied types of gamers, each with their own likes and dislikes draws parallels to the people who are being pitched on gamification….the key to engaging your audience is to customize your language to suit their understanding. While a younger workforce may be familiar with gaming concepts to convince, older personnel would perhaps be more familiar with enterprise terms. Without having to use the term “gamification,” one could still use the relevant terminologies that will sync with your target group to achieve the organization’s end goals.”

5. Design and deployment involves everyone. “Depending on the target scope and subject of the gamification system, the involvement of various individuals and departments in the implementation process would vary accordingly.  Scheduling a consistent meet-up not only enables immediate updates, it allows for discussion and follow up action to be documented for full transparency.”  

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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 

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