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Toronto e-sports firm Enthusiast Gaming sees 40% traffic surge in wake of COVID-19

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As a growing number of people fight the COVID-19 pandemic by staying home, one of the winners in the new social-distancing economy could be Canadian e-sports firm Enthusiast Gaming.

The Toronto-based company, which owns YouTube channels and gaming websites that collectively attract 150 million monthly viewers, has seen a 40 per cent week-over-week increase in views on some of its larger sites.

“The early signals we’re getting from our user base is that they’re locking themselves up at home and playing more online,” said Menashe Kestenbaum, president of Enthusiast Gaming. “Now that kids are home there’s going to be a lot of extra downtime for them to play using their screens.” The company says it has also had an influx of requests from people who typically follow the NHL and NBA — both of whose seasons have been suspended — who are looking for e-sports tournaments to watch.

Enthusiast is hoping the surge will help it become a billion-dollar business, and one of the largest e-sports firms in a global industry that’s projected to be worth US$300 billion by 2025, and whose market value is already larger than those of both the music and movie industries combined.

It currently has a market cap of $105 million, graduating in January from the TSX Venture Exchange to the Toronto Stock Exchange. Its stock has dropped about 25 per cent since, trading at $1.46 Thursday close; the TSX as a whole has lost about 30 per cent over the same period.

Enthusiast says it’s well-capitalized, however, with about $10 million in cash, and could take advantage of plummeting stock markets to make acquisitions.

It’s also hoping that a growing interest in e-sports and an influx of advertisers trying to reach its audience — many of whom are young men — will help propel its growth.

“Forty-three per cent of American male[s] between 13 and 34 [visit] at least one of our sites per month,” said the firm’s CEO, Adrian Montgomery. Enthusiast is particularly hoping to grow in Europe and the U.S., and is in discussions with Democratic and Republican political action committees in the U.S. that are trying to reach that demographic via advertising.

“They’re falling all over themselves, trying to figure out how to find Gen Z to get them to vote,” said Montgomery. “We might be in a situation very soon where our biggest client is the U.S election cycle, which is really cool for a little Canadian company.”

Enthusiast’s plan is to build a portfolio of complementary businesses. Along with its channels and websites, it owns seven e-sports teams, including the Vancouver Titans Overwatch team — which plays at Rogers Arena, a 20,000-seat venue that’s also home to the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks — and the Seattle Surge Call of Duty team. On Wednesday, it announced it had signed an exclusive representation agreement with MCPE DL, one of the biggest online Minecraft communities in the world.

The firm also runs Canada’s largest video-gaming and e-sports expo, which attracted 30,000 in-person attendees last October, as well as seven million online viewers. It’s now looking to do more virtual events to capitalize on the influx of interest.

Up until recently, these businesses were relatively separate. In September 2019, Enthusiast Gaming Holdings arose out of a four-way merger of J55 Capital, Enthusiast Gaming Holdings, Luminosity Gaming and Aquilini GameCo. The mergers were spearheaded by Vancouver’s Aquilini family, which has a net worth of $3.3 billion and, as of 2018, was the 27th richest in Canada.

Its patriarch, Luigi Aquilini, has taken a particular interest in Enthusiast. In August 2018 the Aquilini-owned Rogers Arena hosted the Dota 2 world championships. The event sold out within an hour, with so many lined up around the building that Aquilini couldn’t access his office.

“You can imagine an 87-year-old seeing people dressed as medieval knights and carrying swords. So he called me and he was like, ‘What the hell is going on? What have you done with my building?’” said Montgomery.

“First he said, ‘How much money are you gonna make me?’ And I told him, and then he said, ‘This is the future.’ He said, ‘You’ve got to get my family all the way into it.’”

Gaming usage is up 75 per cent week-over-week in the U.S. and is surging in China, as well, where one popular game, Mahjong, has seen a 109 per cent increase in daily active users in the two months since February. This surge is building on significant existing interest. In 2018, for example, the League of Legends world championship finals attracted double the number of viewers as the Super Bowl.

Earlier this month, Paradigm Capital analyst Corey Hammill, who has a buy rating for Enthusiast, issued an update outlining why he thinks the firm is in a strong position to expand.

“Enthusiast Gaming Holdings (EGLX) is uniquely positioned as one of the largest public pure-play gaming-media and eSports companies,” said Hamill.

“The Enthusiast Gaming Properties segment holds one of the largest gaming-related media platforms in North America, while the eSports Luminosity segment brings direct exposure to the rapid growth of the eSports industry.”

Montgomery is similarly bullish.

“Six months ago, if you were the chief marketing officer of a Fortune 100 company, you could get away with not paying attention to gaming,” said Montgomery. “Today, you cannot do it anymore. And so from the business world, we’re seeing this shift that we’re giddy about because we’re going to take advantage of it.”

It’s not the only e-sports company hoping to capitalize on the surge of interest. There are at least a dozen firms with greater valuations than Enthusiast and two — Cloud9 and Team SoloMid — are valued at US$400 million each. But Montgomery argues Enthusiast has an advantage that none of its competitors do: the combination of its events and dedicated user base coming to its more than 1,000 websites and YouTube channels.

“No one has 150 million monthly viewers; nobody has 30 events around the world. And so when you’re going out to present yourself as a business, to a Procter & Gamble or to a Coca-Cola, and you can give them a diverse array of assets where they can play with tangible opportunities to see the results of it in terms of metrics and scale — nobody else has that,” he said.

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Robots in the Workplace: How Employees Can Work Safely With Them

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As businesses look for ways to remain in operation safely and minimize human contact in the workplace,  robots have emerged as a viable solution, taking over some of the roles previously carried out by human workers and, in some cases, working together with them. Walmart, America’s largest retailer, is already using robots to scrub floors, while the Royal Palace restaurant in the Netherlands has replaced human waiters with robots that greet customers, serve food, and clear the tables. There’s no doubt that  robots are the future of the workplace, but just like any other technology, they present a safety risk especially when working alongside human workers. While employers bear most of the responsibility of keeping the workplace safe when introducing robots, employees have a role to play as well. 
Knowing the risks 
There are various risks that employees must always be aware of  when working with robots. For example, impact or collision accidents may result from component malfunctions, unpredicted movements, or unpredicted changes to the robot’s arms or peripheral equipment. Crushing and trapping accidents may also happen when an employee’s body part is caught between the robot’s arm and other peripheral equipment. Mechanical part accidents can also lead to the release of robot parts, failure of end-effector tools, or failure of gripper mechanisms, all of which may lead to employee injuries. Accidents from arc flash, metal spatter, leaking high-pressure lines, and dust are also a possibility depending on the type of robot. 
How employees can stay safe 
Working with robots can be intimidating for employees, but by following safety guidelines to the letter, employees can ensure that there are no incidents. For starters, employees who operate, program, maintain, or repair robots and robot systems must get adequate safety training to ensure that they’re competent enough to perform their jobs safely. During the training, they can pinpoint any foreseeable hazards that may arise during operation and determine the appropriate functional safety controls to eliminate such hazards. When necessary, employees must also wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, face shields, respirators, hard hats, hearing protection, and safety glasses to provide a final layer of defense against injuries. 
What to do when injured 
Even after learning the risks and taking strong measures to mitigate them, employees may still get injured when working with robots. In fact, a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the  rate of employee injuries in Amazon’s robotic warehouses is higher than those warehouses in which robots are not yet in use. As such, employees must have a plan in the event of robot-related injury. Following an injury, the first thing an employee can do is make a worker’s compensation claim. However, in some cases, the employee may also need to hire a  personal injury lawyer after an accident, for instance, if the employer does not provide worker’s compensation insurance. A personal injury lawyer may also be necessary if the employee has a reason to believe that the employer did not take adequate measures to ensure that the robot is safe during installation. 
While robots are expected to deliver great efficiencies to the workplace in the near future, their complexities introduce serious workplace hazards; crushing, collisions, electrical shocks, and unexpected restarts, to name a few. It is up to employers and employees to work together to ensure robots operate safely whether they’re working alone or alongside their human colleagues.

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Top Technologies That Are Making Driving Safer

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he most  common causes of accidents in the U.S. are distracted driving, DUI, breaking speed limits, driving in poor weather, not stopping when the red light is on, and driving at night – as found in research conducted by insurance company, Cheap Quotes Auto Insurance. What many of these risk factors have in common is that  they can be avoided with the help of cutting-edge safety technology. If your job or personal life involves spending numerous hours on the road, what safety features should you be looking at when buying your next vehicle?

Safety Shield Systems
Over the past few years,  car safety features to attract buyers and lower road accident statistics have abounded in different models of cars. For instance,  automatic emergency stop assistance envisions a situation in which the driver suddenly feels so ill they cannot steer and brake the car. This system is far more complex than simple emergency braking. It works in various steps. First, it tries to warn the driver through visual and audible signs. It then sharply applies the brakes, then decelerates, turning on the hazard flashers and coming to a safe stop. This, combined with other technologies, such as driving assistance, forward-collision warnings with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, and even rear cross traffic warnings, are now part of safety shield systems or safety ‘packs’ that feature various systems working synergistically to reduce accident risks.

Low Light Pedestrian Detection
Pre-collision and pedestrian detection are excellent aids in avoiding crashes, but it is vital that  vehicles are able to detect pedestrians, cyclists, and animals on the road,  even in low light conditions. One system developed by researchers at the Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain, enables vehicles to detect pedestrians up to 40 meters away, thanks to images captured via far infrared technology. Two thermal cameras identify the presence of individuals, even if it is too dark for the drivers to do so. Other light-related features include intelligent high beam systems, which ensure clear night vision but dim lights to lower beams if the head or tail lights of another vehicle are detected.

New Speed Limit Technology
Cruise control (and adaptive cruise control, which allows the driver to set both a specific speed and the following distance from the vehicle in front) has been in existence for various years, but car manufacturers such as Volvo are taking things a bit further in two ways. The first is  through a special ‘care key’ that allows extra limits to be placed on speed before an inexperienced driver (e.g. a teen driver) is allowed behind the wheel. The second is the introduction of a 112mph speed cap for all its cars as part of a thorough safety plan to bring road deaths down to zero.

Car manufacturers are making driving safer every year, offering safety packages that include a medley of features – including cruise control, automatic braking, and declaration in emergency situations. They are also avoiding collisions through innovative lighting technology, which enables vehicles to avoid pedestrians and cyclists in poor lighting conditions. Finally, limiting speed enables manufacturers to eliminate one of the biggest risks for accidents: driving above the speed limit. The quest for safety is never-ending, however, and it will hopefully continue at this frenetic pace until deaths on the road are completely eliminated.

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The Benefits Of Being A Cam Girl

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When it comes to becoming a webcam model, many look at the potential to earn money and that alone. Would you be surprised however to learn that there are actually a plethora of benefits when it comes to being a webcam model?

Being a webcam model has never been more popular however with the right marketing and a strict business attitude toward your work, we guarantee you’ll start to see numerous benefits over time. Don’t believe us? Keep on reading…

The Potential To Earn Good Money

While competition is stiff, there’s huge potential to start earning some serious cash as a cam girl. All it takes is a little research. There are numerous niches and markets to aim for. Once you’ve established your demographic, it’s simply down to researching what they want to see and giving them exactly that. Throw in a little marketing on your own website, some social media posts and hey presto, you’ve got the perfect recipe to start earning more than you ever dreamed possible.

Expand Your Social Circle & Work With A Great Bunch

It’s always advisable to join social media communities within your industry. Not only will you gain a lot of support but you’ll actually get to meet some pretty great people. While webcam models do often work on their own, guest appearances are a common occurrence and help create incredible buzz. You’ll get to work with a great bunch and increase your social circle at the same time which is so important for people who spend their time working alone.

Gain A Lucrative Following

Work on your social media following. It won’t just lead to more traffic on your videos. It will lead to some pretty lucrative opportunities if you can increase your following into the thousands. This invites cash payments for posts or in the very least, some great freebies.

Gain Confidence

Ask any webcam model who’s made a successful career for themselves and we guarantee they’ll say one thing, ‘it’s increased my confidence massively’’. How can you not feel more confident as people tell you day in and day out how attractive you are?

Enjoy A Flexible Lifestyle

While your viewers will come to expect you at certain times, you will enjoy a certain level of flexibility especially as you become more familiar with the role. You’ll learn what you can and can’t do on the go and when you need to be in the studio, as well as which days you can give yourself more flexibility.

 

Contact Camiplay Today

Think life as a webcam model sounds like the perfect career choice for you? Then we suggest you take a look at camiplay.com, one of the freshest new webcam sites out there right now. Just head to their website and click ‘become a model’ to find out more.

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