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Can we talk? Internet of Things vendors face a communications ‘mess’

Computerworld

Vendors will tell you that the Internet of Things (IoT) is here today. We’re here to tell you that it isn’t.

This is your warning label. It’s the small print on the prescription that outlines all the nasty complications.

The first thing to realize is that many wireless communications protocols that allow home devices to exchange information aren’t interoperable.

Second, installing a home automation system will likely require investments in bridges, which are separate pieces of hardware that connect with home routers. But in time, this may be an unnecessary expense.

Third, the market is filled with vendors taking shots at one another’s wireless technology. There will likely be some disruption as protocols are sorted out and settled on.

Behind the scenes, groups and vendors are promoting a range of machine-to-machine wireless communication protocols, including Z-Wave, ZigBee, Insteon, Bluetooth Low Energy and new arrivals such as the Weightless standard. These are protocols that enable devices, light bulbs, thermostats, door locks, wireless speakers, security systems, lawn sprinklers and sensors of all kinds to talk with one another.

Features these wireless protocols all have in common are low energy and low bandwidth requirements, the goal being to extend battery life for as long as years. Most use mesh networks that enable devices to pass signals to one another, extending network range, reliability and redundancy. Wi-Fi is a big part of this, too, and cellular technology will be as well. Each has role to play in connecting things.

Continue reading…

We are drowning in data about readers and attention, but which metrics really matter? You won’t like the answer

Gigaom

Thanks to the web and real-time measurement tools, the media industry has gone from having virtually no hard data on readers and attention to an embarrassment of riches — not only can we measure what people click on, but we can measure how far down the page they got when they were reading, whether they posted a comment, which social networks they came from, and a hundred other pieces of data. The only problem is that this is very much a double-edged sword.

New York Times media writer David Carr recently looked at some examples of media companies that are rewarding their writers based on traffic statistics and other measurements, including The Oregonian — whose efforts I wrote about here. But is paying your journalists based on pageviews or other metrics a smart way to align their incentives with your goals as a business, or does it poison the well when it comes to enhancing or encouraging creativity?

This fear of well-poisoning has even led some outlets — including The Verge and MIT’s Technology Review — to deny their journalists access to the statistics about readers and attention, because they’re concerned that it might distort their judgement about which stories to cover or how much time to devote to them. But then how do writers know whether their work is reaching an audience?

Be careful what kind of incentives you use

In a piece he wrote for the American Journalism Review this week, Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile (who is also an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia) looked at both sides of the data sword. One danger of using the wrong metrics to reward your journalists, he noted — as I also tried to point out in a recent post — is that you wind up incentivizing the wrong thing, and that can take your site far away from what its original goals were:

Read more…

Reminder: Nobody Has a Clue How Many Wearable Devices Will Sell in 2018

Time.com

Even more than with most gadgets, this category’s future is shrouded in mystery

Jason Snell of Macworld thinks that the pundits who think it’s absolutely vital that Apple dive into the smartwatch market–such as analyst Trip Chowdhry, who predicts doom if the company doesn’t make a move by next month (!!!)–are a tad overexcited. Referencinganother post by iMore’s Rene Ritchie, Jason argues that smartphones are going to remain by far the biggest, most profitable category of gadget for years to come, even if they aren’t as much fun to talk about as a nascent field like wearables.

Jason and Rene are two of the smartest people who write about tech, and both of their pieces are well worth reading. I agree with most of what they say. But in his piece, Jason buttresses his skepticism by quoting some stats from research firm IDC, which is part of my former employer IDG:

IDC reported that in 2013, one billion smartphones were shipped, up 38 percent from the previous year. That’s a fast-growing market worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Meanwhile, on Thursday IDC predicted that the wearables market will reach 112 million units in 2018.

In other words, in four years the wearables market might grow to be one-tenth the size of today’s smartphone market—in units shipped. Presumably the average selling price of wearable items will be a fraction of that of smartphones, meaning the dollar value of the wearables market is even more minuscule compared to the smartphone market.

Continue reading…

IDG Connect Buyer Research Proves Irrelevant Digital Content Impacts B2B Vendors’ Bottom Line

IDG Connect 0811 IDG Connect Buyer Research Proves Irrelevant Digital Content Impacts B2B Vendors’ Bottom Line

IDG Connect’s survey of over 200 enterprise technology decision makers within organizations of 1,000 or more employees shows that vendors are not creating content that is relevant to their needs when making purchase decisions:

“A strong potential ROI case can be made for attaining a sufficient level of relevance”

  • 66% of technology buyers feel that digital content needs to be more aligned with organizational objectives and relevant to the decision making process.
  • 79% of buyers said that vendors’ level of relevant content affects their likelihood to make the shortlist.
  • Vendors are 25% less likely to make the shortlist if their content does not meet a minimum level of relevance.

This highlights an urgent need for vendors to understand the full buying process and the various content types and formats buyers need at different stages of the journey.

“If vendors do not improve their understanding of what makes content relevant, they will continue to frustrate buyers,” explains Bob Johnson, principal analyst and VP at IDG Connect.

Johnson adds, “Vendors need to realize the impact that their digital content has on not just filling the funnel with leads but in moving buyers through the funnel. A lack of alignment with organizational needs and relevance to the individual buying team member will cause vendors to lose opportunities before they come into view. This will impact their bottom line.”

“A strong potential ROI case can be made for attaining a sufficient level of relevance,” he concludes. “Now lines-of-business exert even more power over technology-related investment decisions; the requirement is more complicated but also has never been more important.”

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Cloud Infographic: Big Data Investments

CloudTweaks

We have covered the evolution of Big Data several times over the years and have more recently discussed new areas of interest such as big data in filmsadvertising and even sports. With the growing interest in this area there is certain to be considerable interest and investments being made. Included as an excellent infographic provided by the team at BigData-Startups which jumps right into the topic of investments.

View infographic

Connect business results to employee engagement in 4 steps

Ragan

Organizations struggle to quantify the impact engaged employees have on business results. Intuitively, it’s a no-brainer—engaged employees cost less and produce more. It’s that simple.

Many studies and reports support this hunch: Engaged companies have stronger levels of profitability and retain their employees.

So, why do most organizations have difficulty quantifying this? It’s primarily because of the process. Here is how we (unfortunately) see an employee engagement survey process play out in many organizations:

An organization conducts an employee engagement survey. The corporate communications or HR team presents the results to the executive team. The executive team asks, “How does this tie to our business results?” (Say this in your best CFO voice.) The communications/HR team scrambles to find data and metrics to make comparisons. The team realizes the process was not designed to make effective comparisons. The team can’t share any comparisons.

This is certainly not the best return on your survey investment.

There are many reasons why comparing employee engagement survey data to business metrics is difficult. Here are four ways to overcome these difficulties to show valid comparisons:

Read more…

Windows XP Migration and Commercial Spending Helped Offset Weak Consumer PC Demand in the First Quarter of 2014, According to IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion  Windows XP Migration and Commercial Spending Helped Offset Weak Consumer PC Demand in the First Quarter of 2014, According to IDC

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 73.4 million units in the first quarter of 2014 (1Q14), a decline of -4.4% year on year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Although still in decline and with continuing weakness in consumer and emerging market segments, the preliminary results are slightly better than a projected decline of -5.3%.

Similar to the latter part of 2013, the upside in the first quarter arose primarily from demand in mature commercial markets. Commercial refresh projects, which had already been protracted, received a last push from the impending end of Windows XP support, particularly in Japan. In addition, slowing demand for tablets seems to have helped constrain previously drastic cutbacks in notebooks. Nevertheless, emerging regions continued to post weak results, with growth in Latin America and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) falling even faster than recent declines as both economic conditions and continued tablet penetration stifled PC shipments.

“Worldwide PC shipments have now declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of shifting technology usage and competition (notably with tablets & smartphones) as well as economic pressures (including high unemployment, slow growth & investment, tight credit, and currency fluctuations) related to the Great Recession, sovereign debt crises, and their related impact on international trade,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers. “The economic front seems to be gradually stabilizing and/or improving. However, this has been a slow process, and it is unlikely that sovereign debt issues will be resolved soon or that growth in emerging markets like China will return to prior levels. On the technology front, the transition to more mobile devices and usage modes is unlikely to stop, although the short term impact on PC shipments may slow as tablet penetration rises – as we’ve begun to see in some mature regions. The net result remains consistent with our past forecasts – in particular, that there is potential for PC shipments to stabilize, but not much opportunity for growth.”

“PC shipment growth in the United States remained slightly faster than most other regions in the first quarter. However, the passing boost from XP replacements, constrained consumer demand, and no clear driver of a market rebound are expected to keep growth below zero going forward,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, Personal Computing. “A rebound in consumer or a continuation of accelerated commercial upgrades could boost growth slightly, but low demand for upgrades in general combined with competition from tablets and 2-in-1 systems limit the growth potential.”

Continue reading…

Report: Digital Transformation and the New Customer Experience

Brian Solis

We’re under attack! Social, mobile, real-time, cloud, big data…it’s coming at us all at once! Rather than miss out, many brands are jumping from trend to trend as a way of staying relevant in an increasingly digital market.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest…we’re covered. We have and had a strategy for a while now.

Mobile. Yep, we’ve got an app for that…plus we’ve got adaptive and responsive web design that makes old sites new again!

Snapchat…our brilliant strategy vanishes in 5,4,3,2,1.

Jelly? We’ve got the answer.

Whisper, Secret…shhh, don’t tell anyone, but we’re already marketing there.

There’s a difference though between marketing AT people in new channels and learning about their behavior, values, and expectations to optimize their digital experiences and introduce mutually-beneficial outcomes.

Social, mobile, and real-time strategies are not enough. These disruptive technologies are merely just the beginning of a still shaping era of connected consumerism.

Each in its own right is significant affecting how business is done. But customer behavior and expectations, and that of employees for that matter, continue to evolve. And, the list of disruptive technologies that’s pushing business leaders and processes out of their respective comfort zones is far more exhaustive and constant.

Continue reading…

World Tech Update- April 17, 2014

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU this week Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace, NHK shows off 8K television and we go inside the world’s most powerful X-ray laser.

 

Welcome to the Connected Age

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Welcome to the Connected Age

An IDC study present’s the first forecast and analysis of the cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) market in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), or APEJ. The total number of cellular M2M connections in APEJ will grow from 26.8 million connections in 2012 to 72.4 million in 2017, a 22% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). M2M spending will grow from US$3 billion in 2012 to US$6.7 billion in 2017, a CAGR of 17.3%.

Another IDC study analyzes the worldwide opportunity for the burgeoning “Internet of Things” (IoT) market. It provides a market outlook for 2013–2020 and sets the forecast within the context of the IoT ecosystem including intelligent systems, connectivity services, platforms, analytics, and vertical applications in addition to the security and professional services required to build out a complete picture. The study discusses the key market trends contributing to the growth of the IoT on a worldwide basis. A forecast of installed “things” and revenue is included.

More IDC infographics can be viewed here.

welcome to connected age Welcome to the Connected Age