“Turkish startup Recontact turns London into gaming scene - Daily Sabah” plus 1 more

“Turkish startup Recontact turns London into gaming scene - Daily Sabah” plus 1 more


Turkish startup Recontact turns London into gaming scene - Daily Sabah

Posted: 21 Feb 2020 10:14 AM PST

Cinematographic mobile game series, Recontact, which was named the best mobile game in Turkey by Apple and introduced in the "Most Innovative Game" category in 153 countries, sets out on a global journey from London in the latest coup for the group.

British actor Ross Mullan, who played a White Walker in the world-famous "Game of Thrones" series, stars in the leading role in Recontact:London, the third game of the series that has won awards worldwide and reached an audience of millions.

Established by Simay Dinç and Eray Dinç, Recontact offers gamers a different experience with cinematographic images, combining the entrepreneurial spirit of Simay Dinç, one of Turkey's most successful female entrepreneurs, and her brother's artistic perspective. The Dinç siblings are rather excited about the game, which first appeared on the Apple iOS platform on Feb. 20 in 12 languages.

Detective in London

Simay Dinç, the founder of Recontact and producer of the game, stated that they learned a lot from the first two episodes of the series, namely Recontact:Istanbul and Recontact:Istanbul Eyes of Sky.

"We aim to reach mobile gamers who want to become cyber detectives and try to solve the mystery in London," she said. "To provide an innovative experience, we developed five different game dynamics and Photogometric AR within the cinematographic structure. For the first time, the game application was offered to the market on the iOS platform. We see the App Store like an art gallery. Our work is exhibited as a work of art."

Dinç also spoke of the angel investment they had received. "We took important steps with the support we received from our angel investors Erdem Yurdanur, Akın Babayiğit and Hande Enes," she continued. "Moreover, we did not receive a single penny of marketing support until this point. However, we have had the chance to invest a little more in the new game. We are committed to working with more professionals in the production process. We gained significant experience in the first two episodes of the series, which we preferred to finish like a movie rather than the continuity of the game. Now we have worked with a different game setting."

British Museum closed for shooting

Recontact:London, trying to capture a new narrative language by combining the artistry of technology with the art of cinema in the gaming world, closed the British Museum for the shootings. It is made up of images from security cameras in London, which is the city with some of the most surveillance cameras in the world.

Dinç further stressed that London Municipality is constantly helping with the shooting because of its contribution to the promotion of the city.

Soundtrack performed by Moscow Symphony Orchestra

An artist can see all the details, which the entrepreneur regards as a worthwhile cost, as indispensable. "Eray knows that I will always provide the best conditions. We have to position the game top quality, aesthetically. The game has a high loyalty audience. The original soundtrack of the cinematographic mobile game was performed by the best Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, which includes 60 musicians," she noted.

Dinc also emphasized that Recontact:Istanbul and Recontact:Istanbul Eyes of Sky had received the most downloads in China, Russia, Turkey and the U.S. "Now we expect more attention in 12 languages," she added.

Art and engineering hand in hand

Eray Dinç underlined that the digital game industry was the hardest to crack of all the creative sectors.

"The excessive details we need to calculate and the compatibility of both artistic and engineering are the most destructive processes," Dinç said."Recontact:London integrates all branches of audiovisual art, from cinema to photography, video art, music and literature, all in one game. A 1.5-year production process, hundreds of shots in London, software stages, tests and localization prove that a game does not actually have a very enjoyable development process. However, when the game meets the players and you get their appreciation, all the exhaustion is forgotten."

He further explained the motivation behind Reconnect:London. "In fact, as a director, I wanted to use new methods and technologies in the narrative. In doing so, the passion to search for a cinematic understanding that was adapted to mobile devices and designed for them came forward. I say give Recontact:London, a cyber-adventure full of secrets that appeal to actors and cinema lovers of all ages, a try," Dinç added.

Türk Telekom breaths life into new generation ideas

The first phase of Türk Telekom's "Next Generation Future" project has been completed with the "Smart Technologies IoT Hackathon."

The competition attracted a great deal of attention and the winners received TL 15,000. It focused on environmental, Internet of Things (IoT) and disaster issues.

Activities that will help young people gain entrepreneurship experience in IoT are becoming popular. Türk Telekom, Turkey's leading information and communication technologies company, continues to support young entrepreneurs to develop an entrepreneurial culture outside its PİLOT venture acceleration program.

Accordingly, the first phase of the "Next Generation Future" project, which involved theoretical and practical training – on subjects like IoT, programming and cloud computing – for vocational high schools and high school students, has been completed.

Türk Telekom completed the first part of the project with Habitat. The "Smart Technologies IoT Hackathon," brought together several young teams, who trust their ideas, for a 48-hour workshop to develop useful, digital and innovative solutions using the IoT.

At the end of the workshop, a project that aims to prevent poisoning caused by the use of dirty water, by analyzing the water resources, came out on top. Another program that enables noncoders to develop IoT came second. It was followed by a project that looks to determine the location of victims stack under debris, came third.

Solution to global problems

"As our possibilities rapidly increase with technology, keeping up with and managing the change plays an important role for us," Türk Telekom Technology Assistant General Manager Yusuf Kıra said in his speech at the award ceremony.

"Türk Telekom works diligently and determinedly in the responsibility of leading the process of Turkey's digitization. We are aware that young people are the biggest component of our effort. We find the "Next Generation Future" project very valuable in this respect. We have evaluated 15 different projects in the Smart Technologies IoT Hackathon and awarded the top three. With our Hackathon, we aim to offer smart technological solutions to global problems and reveal projects that will facilitate human life. However, whether they have received a reward or not, all the young people who have been with us on this platform have proven that they have great virtues that will shape the world of the future. On behalf of Türk Telekom, I thank each of them separately," Kıra noted.

352 students, 88 projects from different departments

Contestants between the ages of 15 and 30 attended the "Smart Technologies IoT Hackathon." They were evaluated in teams of four, presenting their projects to the judges 48 hours after the pre-selection had taken place.

The top three projects won a technology check worth TL 15,000, TL 10,000 and TL 5,000, respectively.

*Water Tracking System: Team FuBang's project aims to prevent poisoning caused by the use of polluted water by analyzing water resources, won the top prize of TL 15,000.

*IoT Simple, a project of the YönTeam enables non-coding people to develop IoT solutions won the second prize of TL 10,000.

*Search Band, E-Karem team's project to determine the locations of the victims stuck under debris won the third prize of TL 5,000.

Teknogirişim GSYF starts 2020 with two new investments

Visiomex, which manufactures artificial vision-based quality control products and Oo-Kuma, which produces 3D printers and consumables, has received investments from the Teknogirişim Venture Capital Investment Fund (GSYF), managed by KT Portföy.

Institutional investment funds are moving along swiftly as of the start of 2020. Banks and Holdings stand out in terms of investment and it is said that Sabancı Holding and Eczacıbaşı are about to make statements regarding the Corporate Venture Capital funds.

Serving the establishment and management of investment funds as a 100% subsidiary of Kuveyt Türk, one of the participation financing institutions of Turkey, KT Portfolio Management continues to invest in technology-oriented ventures with the GSYF, which was established to invest in technology-oriented companies in the early stage.

In this context, Teknogirişim GSYF invested in Visiomex, which manufactures artificial vision-based quality control products, and Oo-Kuma startups that produce 3D printers and consumables. An investment contract was signed between the companies at the ceremony, which was held with the participation of KT Portföy officials as well as Visiomex and Oo-Kuma entrepreneurs.

Global market is the target

Visiomex, one of the first ventures of Teknogirişim GSYF's ongoing investments in 2020, develops artificial vision-based quality control products, which are the subtitles of artificial intelligence (AI) science for the manufacturing industry.

Visiomex's management team includes Hüseyin Alemdar, Adem Alemdar and Kağan Tonyukuk Fikri. Visiomex has products that produce high-precision controls such as visual controls, asset-absence control, geometric measurements, color separation and positioning of parts produced by the main industry and sub-industry, especially in the automotive and white goods market.

Furthermore, Visiomex, thanks to various products, including smart desks, smart kiosks, plastic injection mold protection systems and screen-printing controls, appeals to both local and global markets to serve a range of uses. Visiomex will use the investment from Teknogirişim GSYF to increase its product range and open up to new markets.

3D printer

Oo-Kuma produces high quality, reliable machines, materials and software with a wide product range that serves the world market for 3D printer technologies.

It is managed by Arda Kocaman and Gökhan Gönültaş. Continuing its research and development activities within ITÜ Teknokent and growing with its qualified team, Oo-Kuma produces its solutions in series at its own production facility and delivers it to its users.

It aims to be the main player in the sector and continues its investments to meet all kinds of user needs in 3D printer technologies. Oo-Kuma will also use the investment from Teknogirişim GSYF to develop its product range and open up to new markets.

Huawei to provide TL 50 million in support to software developers

Meeting with companies and developers at the Huawei Developer Day (HDD) event, held for the first time in Turkey, Chinese tech giant Huawei announced that it would invest TL 50 million toward the development of Huawei Mobile Services (HMS).

Huawei announced special support programs for software developers to help develop Huawei Mobile Services in the local market to sell phones in which Google Maps, Youtube, Google Search, Google Mobile Services, Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter were not installed.

Having experienced difficulties after the decision of Google following the U.S. government's sanction decision in May of last year, Huawei announced that it would support software developers in Turkey with TL 50 million to go toward mobile services.

Phones such as the Mate 30, launched by the Chinese company, present just a camera and a simple phone, without popular apps. The company cannot explain how it will work to install popular applications on the phones, however, these models, which have problems with installing updates, have received operator support to sell more than 1 million units by the end of the year.

Camera without apps

The company is likely to encounter a variety of issues, including the product return rights of users who cannot install popular applications on Huawei phones that they have bought. The fact that the most popular applications are not installed and cannot be installed without technical support makes the device only a smart camera and a simple phone device.

Amid the participation of many developers and content providers, Turkcell, DenizBank, Netmera, and Mobiscus, which are some of Turkey's biggest companies, have shared their experiences about the HMS process at HDD. There the appropriations, bonuses and awards allocated to Turkish developers were also announced. But even on the phones sold, problems remain.

HMS is a topic that concerns consumers, software developers and content providers. Increasing the use of Huawei Mobile Services among native application developers is among the company's 2020 strategic goals. Huawei Turkey's budget to promote HMS among developers and consumers, marked one of the important topics of the day.

Banks, fintech startups clash over 'the new oil' — your data - Politico

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 12:00 AM PST

The ability to maintain access to that data is so valuable that the powerful middlemen, which work on behalf of thousands of financial apps, are doing something that companies almost never do: asking the government for more oversight to prove that they are responsible handlers of sensitive data.

"Data is the new oil," said Linda Jeng, a senior fellow at the Georgetown Institute of International Economic Law and a former Federal Reserve official. "If you have access to data, then you have the ingredients to build better services."

The conflict is part of the existential challenge that the fintech upstarts are posing to banks and their record profits as they increase the speed and convenience of transferring money or getting mortgages approved. Much of the battle is over information, and it has escalated in the absence of government rules establishing that customers themselves control their own personal data, as in the European Union.

The dispute, brewing for some time, is now spilling out in the open. JPMorgan Chase is making moves to cut off the ability of data aggregators to obtain customer data without the bank's consent.

The middlemen — called "screen-scrapers" because of the way they get the data — include Plaid and Yodlee, which most payment app users might not even know exist. They use a consumer's bank username and password to pull account information, a right that people sign over to the digital payments companies when they do business with them, giving the aggregators the ability to grab more data whenever they like.

The aggregators have access to any data that the customer can see when they log on to their bank's website — account balances, transaction data, mortgage information.

JPMorgan wants to require companies to negotiate a standardized set of data fields that they can request. In December, it reached a deal with Yodlee to that end and has previously struck agreements with other aggregators. "We want to protect our customers' financial data while giving them more visibility and control when using the financial apps," said Paul LaRusso, managing director of digital platforms at JPMorgan Chase.

Meanwhile, PNC has already started restricting the information that aggregators like Plaid can get using customer-provided login information.

"PNC's goal is to accommodate our customers' choice to connect to the fintech apps they want to use while also ensuring that those connections are made safely and securely," said Karen Larrimer, PNC's head of retail banking.

"Based on a recent increase in fraud, where we were able to trace back a connection to fintech apps powered by data aggregators, PNC is requiring additional security steps," she added, which might force customers to provide information directly to some apps.

The Pittsburgh-based bank, in tweets in October, encouraged customers who had been cut off from Venmo to instead use Zelle, a Venmo competitor owned by multiple banks — including PNC.

Aggregators, in an effort to increase their leverage in the tug of war with banks, are asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to step in and supervise their operations to certify that they're using data appropriately; right now, the data held by aggregators are subject to few privacy-related restrictions. That has given them the opening to sell the information to third parties, fueling more calls that they be reined in.

Yodlee in particular has been under fire from lawmakers like Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) for not adequately notifying consumers that it's selling their information to third parties. The company, owned by Envestnet, says individual customers cannot be identified within the aggregated data it sells.

Plaid says it does not sell customer data.

"One of the key tenets of an open finance ecosystem is oversight of all participants," said Steve Boms, executive director of FDATA North America, which represents aggregators that provide services for roughly 100 million consumers and small businesses. "At a minimum, oversight of these third parties [by the CFPB] we think would be a key foundational element of open banking," or financial data sharing.

In exchange for more oversight, aggregators can be trusted with a broad scope of data, Boms said.

Other major aggregators include Intuit, which uses screen scraping for internal products like TurboTax and Mint, and MX, which also allows fintech apps to hook into data from multiple aggregators.

In other jurisdictions like the EU, government policy around open banking is much more settled. Experts say the U.S. is kind of a Wild West, where it has been up to the companies involved to determine how to handle the data.

"We think bank account data can be used for helpful purposes and want to see safe methods of sharing that data," said Lauren Saunders, associate director at the National Consumer Law Center. "But we are concerned about overbroad uses of consumer data and security issues."

Bank regulators like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency don't have the same ability to oversee aggregators as they would over companies specifically contracted by banks to perform an outside function because the banks usually don't have a formal relationship with those aggregators.

But there's a legal gray area as banks have a responsibility to protect their customers' data and may worry about liability in case a customer's bank account information is stolen from an aggregator.

"It's not clear who would be responsible for making the customer whole," said Jeng, the former Fed official. "It should be the data aggregator that suffered the breach, but they are not required by law to provide financial remedies and may not have the resources to do so either."

Ken Blanco, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau of the Treasury, underscored the danger in a September speech.

"FinCEN has also seen a high amount of fraud ... enabled through the use of synthetic identities and through account takeovers via fintech platforms," Blanco said. "In some cases, cybercriminals appear to be using fintech data aggregators and integrators to facilitate account takeovers and fraudulent wires."

"By using stolen data to create fraudulent accounts on fintech platforms, cybercriminals are able to exploit the platforms' integration with various financial services to initiate seemingly legitimate financial activity," he added.

The CFPB has not made a move to further regulate this area since putting out a basic set of principles in 2017, although the agency will hold a Feb. 26 symposium on "Consumer Access to Financial Records." Regardless, even the CFPB might have limited authority to put in place sweeping rules on data privacy in the absence of more guidance from Congress.

A large private-sector development could shake up the competitive dynamics of the fight: Visa's pending acquisition of Plaid for $5.3 billion, a move that would give the payment card company an even heftier chunk of data. Under the terms of the deal, Plaid is supposed to operate independently within Visa.

For now, both sides have been tussling behind the scenes; occasionally banks will break aggregators' connections, disrupting customer access to associated apps.

"Banks monitor the traffic and the screen scraping that's occurring," said Heather Hogsett, senior vice president for technology and risk strategy at the Bank Policy Institute, a trade group for large lenders. "Sometimes, if the source can't be identified or if it looks like a malicious actor or cyberattack, they will cut it off to protect their customers."

In an effort to resolve the disagreements, a wide range of financial industry participants have formed a group called Financial Data Exchange. Its aim is to negotiate "application programming interfaces" — a standardized set of data fields for a given purpose — something that would no longer require apps to ask customers for their login information or for aggregators to "scrape" the information from an account.

The Clearing House, a payments company owned by big banks, has also put out a model agreement that the industry can use to reach data-sharing agreements.

But it could take a long time for the entire financial industry to reach a point where APIs are so widespread that screen scraping is obsolete.

"We all realize this is the future," said Don Cardinal, managing director at FDX. But "if we rush to an artificial deadline, when you're dealing with people's data and privacy, that's usually not a good combination."

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