A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news Irish e-payments player 3V has partnered with UK mobile network operator Orange to launch ‘Orange Cash’.
3V drives rollout of smartphone-loaded Orange Cash in Spain
Irish e-payments player 3V has joined forces with UK mobile network operator Orange to launch Orange Cash, a MasterCard reloadable prepaid account available for Apple iOS and Android smartphones on any mobile carrier in Spain.
Orange Cash is the first commercial launch of 3V’s instant-issuing Moneybutton payments technology service, where virtual accounts can be created in real-time for anyone on demand.
Customers don’t need a bank account, the accounts are free and the MasterCard number in the app can be topped up with cash, debit and credit cards or by bank transfers.
Oneview Healthcare lands deal to deploy tech at three San Francisco hospitals
Irish med-tech company Oneview Healthcare has been selected by UCSF Medical Center, part of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), to manage the patient empowerment programme at its three new hospitals in San Francisco.
To support the UCSF project, which involves the implementation of an Interactive Patient Care Solution for 289 beds, Oneview Healthcare has opened a new office in San Francisco, expanding its existing network of offices in Dublin, Dubai, Atlanta and Sydney.
Oneview Healthcare delivers a software solution that integrates a hospital’s IT systems onto one platform. It provides point-of-care access to those systems across all end-user devices, including bedside terminal, TV, tablet and smartphone.
Belfast big data firm closes stg£1m funding round
Analytics Engines, a Queen’s University Belfast spin-out specialising in accelerating applications for databases and big data, closed a funding round worth more than stg£1m this past week.
Analytics Engines’ products are designed to offer significant benefits to companies that need to run faster, more accurate analytics on large volumes of data – such as those in the finance, genomics, utilities and database sectors.
Led by venture-capital fund Crescent Capital, the more than stg£1m investment will be used to speed up the production and exploitation of IP, diversify current offerings into new sectors, support the product development road map, and expand the company’s global footprint.
Dropbox raises US$350m – now worth US$10bn
Dropbox has successfully raised US$350m in a funding round that values the cloud storage player at an estimated US$10bn.
This is more than double the last valuation of US$4bn, when Dropbox raised funding in 2011. The company had so far raised more than US$257m in total.
Key investors in the latest round are Fidelity, BlackRock, and T. Rowe Price.
WhatsApp to launch calling service in Q2 this year
Only a matter of days after its US$16bn acquisition by Facebook, messaging service WhatsApp revealed it will add a voice communication option, expected to come into operation in the second quarter of this year.
WhatsApp has previously delved into voice communication, when it rolled out its service that would allow users to send short voice clips back and forth between one another. Now the company wants to allow people to have actual conversations.
This move is also putting WhatsApp in competition with other messaging and voice communications apps, such as Viber, BBM and Line.
Global smartphone growth to slow to single digits – prices to tumble
While annual smartphone volume in 2013 surpassed 1bn phones for the first time, accounting for 39.2pc growth over 2012, worldwide smartphone shipments will slow to 8.3pc annual growth in 2017 and 6.2pc in 2018, IDC predicts.
In the coming year, IDC expects mature markets like Europe and North America to drop to single digits, and Japan might contract slightly.
“In North America, we see more than 200m smartphones in active use, not to mention the number of feature phones still being used," said Ryan Reith, programme director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "(The year) 2014 will be an enormous transition year for the smartphone market. Not only will growth decline more than ever before, but the driving forces behind smartphone adoption are changing. New markets for growth bring different rules to play by and ‘premium’ will not be a major factor in the regions driving overall market growth."
M-commerce image via Shutterstock
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