First Look: IAB Tech Lab Releases ‘Guidelines for Identifier for Advertising (IFA) on OTT Platforms’ for Public Comment

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The IAB Technology Laboratory has released new “Guidelines for Identifier for Advertising on OTT Platforms” with recommendations on how to maintain a high-quality advertising experience within over-the-top television (OTT) environments—advocating that stakeholders manage advertising-related activities through an identifier for advertising (IFA).

Available for public comment through May 3, 2018, the technical guidelines provide instructions on best practices for delivering targeted ads, as well as controlling ad frequency and rotation across a wide variety of disparate smart TVs, connected devices, and other OTT systems.

In order to be compliant with these guidelines, devices and apps must store and send the following parameters as part of any ad request:

  • An identifier for advertising (IFA) – required, unless the user has opted in to limit ad tracking, an IFA must be a unique value that is completely disconnected from a hardware ID, MAC address, IMEI, or IP address
  • An associated IFA type – identifying the source of the IFA, whether device-generated, publisher-provided, or temporary
  • Limit ad tracking (LAT) – an opt-out mechanism to respect the user’s privacy choices

The guidelines also feature specific advice and intelligence for consumer electronics manufacturers, OTT app publishers, and ad/measurement platforms to address the needs of each of these stakeholder groups.

“After linear TV, more Americans watch video content on OTT than on VOD or DVR, and the medium is skyrocketing,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “The traditional semi-persistent cookie we are accustomed to using as an identifier on browsers isn’t at play across OTT systems, so we need to deploy other types of identifiers to ensure that ad experiences are optimal for consumers. These guidelines will direct stakeholders down the path of best practices to allow OTT to grow and evolve as a significant advertising platform.”

“Between smart TVs, connected devices, and other OTT systems out in the marketplace—all with varied approaches to identification—we’re looking at a ‘Tower of Babel’ challenge,” said J. Allen Dove, CTO, SpotX, and member of the IAB Tech Lab OTT Technical Working Group. “The new IAB Tech Lab guidelines solve these challenges and improve overall user experience. We are hoping that others in the industry also contribute their input to make these recommendations even more effective.”

After public comment concludes, the IAB Tech Lab OTT Technical Working Group will evaluate and incorporate the feedback received and release a final version. To review the proposed guidelines, click here.

The post First Look: IAB Tech Lab Releases ‘Guidelines for Identifier for Advertising (IFA) on OTT Platforms’ for Public Comment appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.


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Warning: macOS 10.13.4 May Break 3rd-Party Display Platforms

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Apple’s latest update for macOS is causing critical issues for users of third-party display products, including two popular screen extender platforms. Reportedly, macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 breaks support for popular third-party display products and platforms. The problems are not isolated, either. According to reports, “critical bugs” within macOS 10.13.4 are just rendering certain features of […]
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These two indie platforms are partnering to help authors produce audiobooks at affordable prices

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Indie authors who publish through platforms like Amazon or CreateSpace usually don’t have the resources to publish an audiobook, which can be an expensive endeavor with production costs that self-published or first-time authors cannot afford. Now, self-publishing platform and ebook distributor Smashwords has teamed up with production platform and audiobook distributor Findaway Voices to give these indie authors a cheaper way to make audiobooks.

In an announcement, Smashwords CEO Mark Coker said today the deal would give “greater control over pricing and distribution” to authors and publishers, making it more “economically feasible” to get into audiobook production even with short or cheaper books. By using Findaway, Smashwords’ authors…

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Jack Tretton’s post-Sony career has changed his view of game platforms

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Last week, former Sony U.S. games chief Jack Tretton announced he had started a new venture capital fund, Interactive Gaming Ventures, to invest money in promising indie developers. That means the world looks different to Tretton now. After spending 28 years — mostly at Sony’s PlayStation business — in the games business, he stepp…Read More
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Are you too invested in an ecosystem to switch platforms?

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Google Pixel 2 XL

Recently, the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners put out a report that indicated Android’s user base is very loyal to the platform. The major takeaway for the majority of coverage was that while Apple might tout its own customer satisfaction on a semi-regular basis (which is admittedly very high!), in this particular report reflecting the smartphone adoption of 500 individuals, Android customer retention is even better than iOS.

The reality is that both Android and iOS customers appear to be very happy with the devices they are buying.

For Google and Apple, though, it indicates a tougher battle for each platform moving forward. CIRP’s data shows us what we already knew: Android and iOS are the two options in the smartphone market these days, which means Apple doesn’t need to convince Windows Phone users that iOS is a better option, and Android doesn’t need to try and sway BlackBerry device owners that they can get more out of their phones by making the jump.

What I found most interesting from the report, though, wasn’t so much the customer retention numbers — the sample size was only 500 people, after all. It wasn’t the fact that CIRP notes that Android customers might be more loyal to the platform because they can try so many different devices from so many different manufacturers without abandoning the Android platform altogether, either.

What grabbed my attention and got me curious was another seemingly obvious observation: These customers are investing themselves into an ecosystem of devices and software, which makes jumping ship to a competing option a far less tempting consideration. The ecosystems are one of the leading factors in making sure people don’t switch platforms. It isn’t just about the phone anymore.

Which certainly makes sense. It feels like forever ago that when we were talking about switching from one platform to another it was just about the phone. And then, eventually, it was about apps, and how you might have to buy all of those apps you bought on iOS for Android again, because you decided to switch. Now, all these years later and with so many devices out there, the ecosystems are more complicated.

They are also time- and money-sinks, which can be hard to break away from.

The money is probably the most difficult thing to come to terms with. If you are wholly invested in the Apple ecosystem, which Apple has designed to work best (and sometimes, only) with its own products, then jumping ship to Android means you need to replace basically everything to make sure it all works like it should. Of course, if you’re switching from Android to iOS you might not have that hard of a time, because Android is designed to work with so many different things and technologies, and apps are typically universal in their outreach to accessories beyond the phone.

I’ve given the idea of switching from a Mac to a Windows PC before, even as recently as the end of last year, but ultimately I don’t want to make the switch. Some has to do with hardware (but this has weakened, thanks to some top-tier hardware choices in Windows Land), but most of it comes down to the ecosystem. I don’t want to lose some apps I use every day, and the alternatives I’ve found on Windows don’t entice me at all. And using an iPhone with a Mac is great, and if I want that same functionality, or close to it, I’ll need to switch to an Android smartphone for my daily driver with that Windows PC.

I switch to Android often enough, though, that the app situation isn’t that bad. The disparity between the two platforms is pretty minimal, in terms of apps owned on each, so that particular reasoning wouldn’t hold for long.

I want to hear from you all. Are you so invested in your current platform choice that you would never consider switching to another? Or do you find yourself frequently moving from one platform to another? Let me know!

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The Finale Episode of Telltale’s ‘Batman: The Enemy Within’ Launches on March 27th Across All Platforms

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I only recently played the first season of Batman – The Telltale Series [Free] on the Switch after dabbling into it on iOS a while back. I quite like it and it maybe my favourite thing from Telltale after The Wolf Among Us. Batman: The Enemy Within [Free] is quite nice like the first season with a lovely atmosphere and more. The Enemy Within will conclude on March 27th. This finale episode will launch on all platforms at the same time and you can expect two finales from it. It is good to see Telltale release the finale at the same time on all platforms unlike some of the previous episodes in some of their games.

Batman: The Enemy Within’s Season Finale premieres on March 27th and the episode is titled ‘Same Stitch’. This will have two different finales with two possible Jokers in the single finale episode. Before you ask, you can absolutely play The Enemy Within without playing the first season but I’d recommend playing it anyway if you can.

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‘Shin Hayarigami’, the Horror Adventure Game That Was Only Released on Playstation Platforms in Japan Is Coming to Mobile in English on March 15th

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Localizing visual novels and visual novel like adventure games is always a huge ask for localization studios because of the volume of text that needs to be translated and edited. It took too long for Steins;Gate to be released in English just on PC before it eventually made its way to PlayStation platforms in English and finally iOS. There are some situations where a visual novel gets released in Japan on a console and it only releases outside on PC platforms in English despite having mobile and console versions in Japan already. Today, i-PLAY announced not just a localization of Shin Hayarigami but one that is iOS and Android only for now. Shin Hayarigami is a Japanese horror adventure visual novel developed by NIS game that is one of the rare games in Japan to have a CERO Z (18+) rating for violence and horror. Watch the announcement trailer for the PlayStation version below:

Shin Hayarigami is making its way to iOS and Android devices in English as Urban Legend : Shin Hayarigami – Blind Man. There are multiple endings and the developer promises a horror experience with stunning graphics that hasn’t been done on mobile before. I’ve always been curious about this game but the problem with visual novels is without understanding the language for the text, there isn’t much point in experiencing them. There will also be a high score system that will reward you with more story content if you cross a certain threshold it seems.

I’ve imported a ton of games on PS4 and Vita that can be played with no Japanese knowledge since they are mostly action or gameplay focussed. It is good to see a title that has been unlocalized for a long time not just get localized but get localized on the best platform for visual novels. As of now, there are no details on pricing but Urban Legend : Shin Hayarigami – Blind Man will release on March 15th for both iOS and Android. The developer will be posting updates on this Twitter account. Check out the forum thread for it here.

TouchArcade

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Vulkan graphics will enable faster games and apps on Apple platforms


The Khronos Group, a consortium of hardware and software companies, has announced that the Vulkan graphics technology has been ported to Apple’s platforms, allowing games and apps to run at faster performance levels on Macs and iOS devices.

That’s a small victory for open platforms, and it should make a lot of Apple consumers happy. The Vulkan working group’s portability initiative has been working with Khronos members Valve, LunarG and The Brenwill Workshop to enable Vulkan applications to be ported to Apple platforms.

The portability group has provided a collection of open source tools, software development kits (SDKs), and runtime libraries to enable Vulkan development on MacOS and deployment on MacOS and iOS platforms. Valve has ported Dota 2 using the Vulkan tools on MacOS to achieve significantly higher performance than native OpenGL drivers.

Above: Porting Vulkan to Apple.

Image Credit: Khronos Group

“We have been running substantial production loads through the Vulkan tools on Mac, including Dota 2 which is now running faster than the native OpenGL version,” said Pierre-Loup Griffais at Valve, in a statement. “These efforts are aimed toward reducing development and porting costs for any developer supporting multiple platforms.”

The Khronos Vulkan Portability Initiative continues to refine and define a universally portable subset of Vulkan 1.0 that can be run at native performance levels over Metal and DirectX 12 drivers.

Above: The drive for universal portability for Vulkan.

Image Credit: Khronos Group

Released into open source today is the MoltenVK library from The Brenwill Workshop, which translates calls within the Vulkan portable subset to underlying Metal calls on MacOS and iOS. MoltenVK uses the open source SPIRV-Cross cross-compiler to translate Vulkan shaders into underlying native code formats.

“With MoltenVK, we’ve worked hard to bring a consistent Vulkan-based API to macOS and iOS while maintaining the performance improvements required by modern game developers,” said Bill Hollings, president of The Brenwill Workshop, in a statement.

Also available today is the open source LunarG Vulkan SDK for macOS on LunarXchange, which enables developers to build, run, and debug their Vulkan applications on the Apple Mac platform. The LunarG SDK for macOS provides loader and validation layers, which allows programmers to check their code for correct API usage. LunarG will continue to evolve the macOS SDK to add additional tools and features.

Above: Vulkan supporters

Image Credit: Khronos Group

“Running Vulkan applications on Apple platforms has been the number one request from developers and today’s release of the MoltenVK runtime and LunarG macOS SDK brings that capability to life,” said Neil Trevett, vice president at Nvidia and Khronos Group president, in a statement. “Developers are invited to download the open source Vulkan Portability tools today and provide feedback via Vulkan Ecosystem GitHub Issue. The Vulkan Portability Initiative will continue to strengthen the infrastructure and tooling around bringing Vulkan capabilities to multiple Metal and DX12 platforms – our long-term goal is to enable portable Vulkan code to be executed on any platform that developers care about.”

In an email, Trevett said, “Efficient access to graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration is increasingly essential, not just for 3D rendering in games, augmented reality and virtual reality but also for computing and neural network acceleration. Many applications deploy across multiple platforms, and if they are forced to use multiple GPU applications programming interfaces (APIs) it significantly increases porting costs and adds friction to innovation. Vulkan is already portable across mobile, desktop and cloud, but these tools bring Vulkan applications to MacOS and iOS to fulfill the number one portability request from developers. Enabling Vulkan applications on Apple platforms brings Vulkan closer to being a universally portable API available on all GPU-enabled platforms.”

Apple – VentureBeat

Qualcomm AI Engine with support for existing Snapdragon mobile platforms announced

Qualcomm today announced the new Artificial Intelligence engine consisting of several hardware and software components to accelerate on-device AI-enabled user experiences. The new AI engine will be supported on Snapdragon 845, 835, 820 and 660 mobile platforms, and the latest Snapdragon 845 with on-device AI processing. Qualcomm details the key benefits of on-device AI include real-time responsiveness, improved privacy, and enhanced reliability. The AI engine gets its support from Snapdragon core hardware architectures like the Qualcomm Hexagon Vector Processor, Adreno GPU and Kryo CPU that are designed to run AI applications quickly and efficiently on-device. This approach gives developers and OEMs the ability to optimize AI user experiences on smartphones and other edge devices. Key features of the Qualcomm AI Engine include Snapdragon neural processing engine which is designed to make it easy for developers to choose the optimal Snapdragon core for the desired user experience including the Hexagon Vector Processor, Adreno GPU, and Kryo CPU and perfect their AI user experiences on the device. It also supports Tensorflow, Caffe and Caffe2 frameworks, in addition to the Open Neural Network Exchange. It also offers support for the Android Neural Networks API which was first made available with Android Oreo giving developers access to Snapdragon platforms directly through …
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