News Scan: Retailers are sold on IoT; Google buys mobile messaing app Emu;

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>> Retailers are sold on IoT investment

Almost 10 percent of total investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) was made by retailers last year, according to the latest stats from IDC. The research firm expects annual IoT investment by retailers to approach $500 million by 2017. "Consumer demand for convenience, product availability, and personalized and contextualized interactions will drive retailers to adopt multiple IoT technologies," says Leslie Hand, research director for supply chain, merchandising and demand management strategies at IDC. Read more

[More on IoT: Repent, IoT is near | Security strategies needed to cover future IoT, BYOD culture]

>> Google buys mobile messaging app Emu

Google acquired mobile messaging app Emu, which uses a Siri-like virtual assistant to automate tasks based on conversations with the user, reports TechCrunch. The virtual assistant enables users to schedule appointments, set reminders and make reservations at a restaurant using voice commands. So far, Emu has raised $1.5 million in VC funding. As a result of the acquisition, Emu will shut down its standalone app. Read more

[More on Google: Google Sprints into the enterprise | A brief history of the Internet of Things]

>> China to clamp down on mobile messaging

China is clamping down on mobile messaging services with new regs that limit their ability to spread news, IDG News Service reports. The rules target "public accounts" that users set up to reach a wide audience. Going forward only news agencies and other officially approved groups can publish information using public accounts, the report notes. Read more

[More on China: Xiaomi overtakes Samsung in China | Bison offers to buy troubled MQ Mobile]

>> Policy engagement to drive mobile service evolution

Policy engagement will drive mobile service evolution, providing personalization and control to smartphone users on devices, judges Strategy Analytics. Mobile operators are positioned to improve markets through extending network intelligence, policy control and charging and analytics to the device to  improve consumer experience. "With 'policy engagement', operators have an opportunity to become a partner with their customers as a value added provider of a curated, customized experience that puts the user in control," comments Sue Rudd, director of service provider analysis at Strategy Analytics. Read more

[More on smartphones: Hilton trains its employees the mobile way | Smartphone shipments jump 23%]

>> Facebook hires former Blackberry BBM chief

Facebook hired Andrew Bocking, the former chief of Blackberry's BBM, to run its new Internet.org mobile app, reports Re/code. Bocking will be product manager for Internet.org, which seeks to provide free Internet services to underserved areas through its mobile app. Mobile users in Zambia are the first country with access to the program. Read more

[More on Facebook: Facebook faces increased mobile ad competition | Mobile to spur highest US ad spending jump in a decade]