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Technology’s biggest challenge is how to connect with people

South China Morning Post

The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) will extend the sphere of IT even further into everyday life

The word “technology” leaves many people cold, but its pervasive presence in daily life is only going to make it even more important.

Individuals, businesses, governments and countries are completely dependent on information technology to drive greater productivity and efficiencies.

The challenge for the information technology industry is how to make this dependence more enjoyable and intuitive for users to access content and applications.

This is imperative because in 2015, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) will extend the sphere of IT even further into everyday life. The premise for IoT is that devices of any nature can now be interconnected and used to communicate with each other or with humans in real-time, enabling a raft of new possibilities around data, new ways of interacting and new services.

IoT will be big in 2015, with research firm Gartner predicting 4.9 billion “connected things” to be in use, up 30 per cent from 2014.

Every possible device imaginable is being connected in some way, from Bluetooth-enabled toothbrushes to medical devices, cameras, printers and of course the many wearables that are hitting the market. The reality of a hyper-connected world is here today.

In the business world, Gartner predicts IoT will digitize everything and enable any industry to manage, monetize, operate and extend products, services and data.

Researchers at IDC make similar predictions, forecasting rapid expansion of the traditional IT industry into areas not typically viewed as within IT’s universe.

The whole electronics industry, city-wide infrastructure, auto and transport systems as well as the home, are just a few examples of where IoT is disrupting operations today.

IDC predicts that IoT spending will exceed US$1.7 trillion in 2015, up 14 per cent from 2014, and will hit US$3 trillion by 2020. One-third of spending for intelligent embedded devices will come from outside of the IT and telecom industries.

“This amounts to a dramatic expansion of what we would consider IT,” said Frank Gens, chief analyst at IDC.

This implies a fundamental commitment to innovate and explore new applications of technology with the potential to transform how we live and work – whether through the rapid rise of mobile applications, or the increasingly myriad interactions between machines and human users.

 

Continue Reading…

Your Digital Strategy Shouldn’t Be About Attention

Harvard Business Review

re they talking about your brand? Around the clock? From Facefriend to Tweeter to Instapal?

Pssst.  

That’s probably not the right question.

Today, too many strategists believe that a clever plan to win the internet’s attention is a good digital strategy.

It’s not. Why? The painful truth is: attention itself isn’t worth as much as today’s marketers, boardrooms, and beancounters think. It’s not just that there’s good and bad attention — awe versus scorn, for example. Attention is a fickle, fleeting thing on which to build a business model, let alone a business, let alone an institution. Hence, attention without relation is like revenue without profit: malinvestment.

Institutions and leaders, obedient students of modern marketing, obsessively ask, “How do we get people to be loyal to us?” Meanwhile, they’re often (let’s be honest with each other for a painful moment) busy gleefully plotting to betray them at every turn. Hide the fees! Shrink the fine print! Why give customers cheese when you can sell them “cheese-like product”? Most “digital business models” are similarly sneaky — track their data! Make the terms and conditions impossible to understand! Why take the time to get to know your customers … as long as you can get them to use the corporate hashtag.

The real question — the one that counts for leaders and institutions today — isn’t “How loyal can we compel, seduce, or trick our customers into being?” It’s: “How loyal are we to our customers? Do we truly care about them?” Not just as targets consumers, or fans. But as people. Human beings. What every institution needs  —  and what every leader needs to develop  —  before a “digital strategy” is a human strategy. If you want to matter to people, you must do more than merely win their fickle, fleeting, frenzied attention. You must help them develop into the people they were meant to be. When you do, maybe, just maybe, they’ll reward you. With something greater than their grudging, wearied attention. Their lasting respect, enduring trust, and undying gratitude.

So here are my top four mistakes of digital strategy — and how not to make them.

Titillating, not educating. It’s easy to win “clicks” by titillating people with Kim Kardashian’s naked behind or a list of the world’s cutest human-cat baby unicorn fairies. And it might lend a dreary day a moment of relieved escapism. But it won’thelp anyone. To do that, you must educate. Not in the awful, misused corporate sense of the term: dully lecturing them about “product benefits.” But helping them develop the capabilities and skills they’re going to need to live better lives. What will your “digital strategy” help them become better at? Does it have apoint? Skiing, dating, cooking, coding, creating, building? If the answer is no, you don’t have a strategy. You have a vaudeville show.

Continue reading… 

IDG invests in mobile gaming company Playsimple through seed program

Your Story

IDG Ventures India has invested in PlaySimple, a mobile social gaming company through its seed fund programs. The company is focused on mobile games in the trivia, word and puzzle categories, co-funder Siddharth Jain said.

playsimple IDG invests in mobile gaming company Playsimple through seed program

Siddharth and his co-founders were earlier working for Zynga and were closely involved in games such as Mafia Wars and Bubble Safari and have worked on innovations around gameplay, engagement and analytics.

Yezdi Lashkari, a former executive, at Zynga, also participated as an angel investor as part of the round. Neither company disclosed the amount invested.

The money will be used to build a portfolio of mobile casual games targeting the global markets. Playsimple also plans to increase its team from six to 20 and is looking to hire game designers and UI experts, said Siddharth.

“We are targeting global markets, primarily the English speaking countries,” he added.

Besides Siddharth, the founding team comprises of Preeti Reddy, Suraj Nalin and Siddhanth Jain, who worked together at Zynga. The team has also previously worked at companies such as Bain, Walmart Labs & Yahoo.

“Globally, mobile gaming is a very large, growing market. Gaming is a hits business, but the ones that succeed do take off rapidly towards profitable growth in a short period of time,” Karthik Prabhakar of IDG Ventures India said.

 “The team at PlaySimple is young and highly experienced in building/scaling mobile games for the global markets,” he added

PlaySimple has already released a game title, GuessUp. With this funding, the company is targeting to release multiple games over the next few months in early 2015 before they look to raise their next round of capital.

IDG launched its seed program earlier this year to discover interesting investment opportunities at a very early stage. It has already invested in recruitment startup Mynoticeperiod.com and mobile ad retargeting firm SilverEdge through the program.

IDG’s USA fund has invested in 8-9 gaming firms, the most prominent of which was Funzio, which was acquired by Japanese gaming giant GREE in 2012.

Its China fund also has about six gaming and animation investments listed on the website. PlaySimple is IDG’s first mobile investment in India.

Several gaming companies have also raised money in recent months. In November, MadRat Games, a Bangalore based offline gaming company, raised $1 million from Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal.

Continue reading… 

2015 begins with publishers hoping for big improvements in digital subscription sales

Talking New Media

New Year starts, as always, with CES – but Macworld has been put on ‘hiatus’ and the value of big trade shows is being questioned by tech firms

Welcome to 2015! Here in Chicago it is -6F (-21C), here is hoping it is much more pleasant where you are!

CES2015 icon 2015 begins with publishers hoping for big improvements in digital subscription salesThe New Year means iTunes Connect is open and new and updated apps are being released into the App Store. It also means that CES is about to begin in Las Vegas. CES used to be an important event (it is still a big one) but many tech companies have long since learned that these early year trade shows may not be the best time to launch new products. Apple, for instance, pulled out of Macworld long ago and realized that if they are going to have a blow out fourth quarter of the year (their first quarter) they need to introduce new products in September.

CES isn’t the only big early year trade show, of course. Mobile World Congress is in early March (in Barcelona, of course).

But 2015 will be a year without Macworld as IDG announced last year that the show would go on ‘hiatus’.

“The show saw a remarkable 30 year run that changed the technology industry, provided an important forum for Apple developers to bring new companies and products to market, delivered world class professional development to Apple product enthusiasts, and fostered the development of one of the most dynamic professional communities in the tech marketplace,” the IDG World Expo wrote.

Macworld was hurt not only be Apple’s decision to pull out, but also by the decline overall of the personal computing business. IDG tried to adapt, of course, but the excitement of the PC business has gone, not to return.

The problem for these shows remains that trade shows often are scheduled for the early part of the year, no matter what industry you are talking about. As the publisher of a transportation construction magazine, January through March was the busy time for trade shows, generally held in Las Vegas, New Orleans or Orlando. There were (and are) trade shows later in the year, but they often feel more like conferences (such as Adobe MAX).

For those who write about digital publishing, there is really no trade show or event that can’t be missed. The year remains filled with breakfasts, lunches, and award events created by the trade publications in lieu of making a profit on their trade magazines. Publishing pros like to network, eat and drink, and so there is no stopping these things, I guess.

 Continue reading… 

Best Business Gadgets of CES 2015

CITEworld

CES is mostly focused on consumer-oriented products, but with the lines between consumer and business devices blurring nowadays, many of the coolest products at CES could be of great interest to enterprise IT folks. Here are some of the hottest new CES products that business professionals could get a kick out of.

Screen Shot 2015 01 15 at 12.06.45 PM Best Business Gadgets of CES 2015

SMART kapp

Key features:  Make your conference room “SMART” with the kabb collaboration tool, which digitizes information written on it, capturing it and allowing it to be shared with meeting participants in any location. More info.

Screen Shot 2015 01 15 at 12.08.23 PM Best Business Gadgets of CES 2015

Boingo Wi-Fi subscription

Key features: PassPoint is an industry standard technology sometimes called “Hotspot 2.0” and/or “Next Generation Hotspot” backed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Broadband Alliance. It aims to make it easier to automatically connect to secure WiFi networks. Traditionally connecting to secure networks has required user authentication, but with PassPoint users can be automatically connected to these secure WiFi hotspots. More info.

Screen Shot 2015 01 15 at 12.09.37 PM Best Business Gadgets of CES 2015

Sulon Cortex

Key features:  The Cortex is a wearable, head mounted computing platform that provides developers with a spatial scanner and digital visor in a standalone headset package. Cortex sees businesses using this to help employees or developers virtualize a problem from a realistic perspective, or for precise simulation. More info.

View all 10 products

5 big data technology predictions for 2015

CITEworld

Big data technologies have evolved at a torrid pace that shows every sign of continuing in 2015. MapR CEO and co-founder John Schroeder predicts five major developments will dominate big data technology in the new year.

n just a few short years, big data technologies have gone from the realm of hype to one of the core disruptors of the new digital age. 2014 saw big data initiatives inside the enterprise increasingly move from test to production. In 2015, big data will push further into the enterprise with even more use cases — specifically real-time use cases — says John Schroeder, CEO and co-founder of Hadoopdistribution specialist MapR.

“This is the year that organizations move big data deployments beyond initial batch implementations and into real time,” Schroeder says. “This will be driven by the realization of the huge strides that existing industry leaders and soon-to-be new leaders have already made by incorporating new big data platforms into their analytics with “in-flight” data to impact business as it happens.” Schroeder says five major developments will dominate 2015.

1. Data Agility Emerges as a Top Focus

Data agility has been one of the big drivers behind the development of big data technologies, as the processes around legacy databases and data warehouses have proven too slow and inflexible for many business needs. In 2015, Schroeder says data agility will become even more central as organization shift their focus from simply capturing and managing data to actively using it.

“Legacy databases and date warehouses are so expensive that DBA resources are required to flatten summarize and fully structure the data,” he says. “Upfront DBA costs delay access to new data sources and the rigid structure is very difficult to alter over time. The net result is that legacy databases are not agile enough to meet the needs of most organizations today.”

“Initial big data projects focused on the storage of target data sources,” he adds. “Rather than focus on how much data is being managed, organizations will move their focus to measuring data agility. How does the ability to process and analyze data impact operations? How quickly can they adjust and respond to changes in customer preferences, market conditions, competitive actions and the status of operations? These questions will direct the investment and scope of big data projects in 2015.”

2. Organizations Move from Data Lakes to Processing Data Platforms

data lakes 100537348 large.idge 5 big data technology predictions for 2015Thinkstock

In some ways, 2014 was the year of the data lake (or data hub), an object-based storage repository that stores raw data in its native format — whether structured, unstructured or semi-structured — until it’s ready for use. Data lakes have a strong value proposition in that they represent a scalable infrastructure that’s economically attractive (with a reduced per-terabyte cost) and extremely agile.

Schroeder says that the data lake will continue to evolve in 2015 with the capability to bring multiple compute and execution engines to the data lake to process the data in-place. That’s not only more efficient, it creates a single point of governance and a single point of security.

Continue reading… 

 

2015 IDC Directions: Accelerating Innovation in the 3rd Platform Era

 2015 IDC Directions: Accelerating Innovation in the 3rd Platform Era

  • For nearly a decade, IDC has predicted, chronicled, and analyzed the industry’s remarkable shift to its 3rd Platform for innovation and growth, built on cloud, mobile, social, and Big Data and analytics technologies. Over 100% of IT spending growth and virtually all strategic new IT investments in the enterprise are already being built on 3rd Platform technologies and solutions.  Join us for Directions 2015, as our analysts set the groundwork and help guide your future as we enter the most critical period yet in the 3rd Platform era — the Innovation Stage. With such high stakes and the 3rd Platform’s ability to enable business model transformation, the disruption, opportunity, and risk will be intense in both established and emerging markets. Register today and engage IDC analysts, via sessions and intimate sit-down opportunities, as they continue to lead the way in understanding every dimension of the 3rd Platform era and its impact on your success.

  • Event Theme, Dates and Locations –
    Directions 2015
    Accelerating Innovation in the 3rd Platform Era
    March 4, 2015 • San Jose Convention Center • San Jose, California
    March 18, 2015 • John B. Hynes Convention Center • Boston, Massachusetts

  • Directions 2015 informational website:  www.idc.com/directions

    www.idc.com/directions/sanjose15
    www.idc.com/directions/boston15
  • Early bird rate is $495 through Feb 5, 2015… and the standard $895 after that
     2015 IDC Directions: Accelerating Innovation in the 3rd Platform Era

The High Tech at CES: Wearing, Monitoring & Paying

MediaPost

Fitness trackers, mobile payments, drones and electronic gadgets for every conceivable use are being pitched to the media and soon to those who would sell them to consumers.

We just finished the first of the two-day, pre-CES show before the mega convention opens later this week and based on what we’ve seen so far, this is another year of, at the very least, technological innovations hoping to resonate with a large enough number of consumers in solving problems to drive a viable business.

Just as at last year’s International CES (AKA the Consumer Electronics Show), Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research of the Consumer Electronics Association, which runs CES, opened the official pre-show with a presentation on the state of tech trends.

In a big nod to IoT (the Internet of Things), DuBravac detailed the current evolution of transferring analog activity to digital and back to the physical world. He cited as one example drones that are digitizing physical air space, noting that 100 types of drones may be seen at this year’s CES, which officially opens on Tuesday.

“We’re moving the internet from 2 billion smartphones to 50 billion objects,” DuBravac said to a standing-room-only crowd of journalists.

But the always-awaited event of the first pre-show day is CES Unveiled, where a large number of startups and established players stand at tables in a cavernous room and show to more than 1,000 media members from around the world what they’ve got.

On Sunday, there were high-tech hearing aids (Bluetooth enabled, of course) that run in the $5,000 to $7,000 range, as a starting point.

As last year, several vendors showed various versions of keyless home entry devices (formerly called door locks), some working via the cloud and others just by Bluetooth, from smartphone to door lock.

Wrist wearables were shown that did everything from monitoring detailed aspects of exercise to measuring sleep patterns and cameras that could automatically record your children’s soccer moves, as long as they wore the “wrist tag.”

From a mobile commerce standpoint, the hottest spot in the hall was at the table of LoopPay, where journalists and bloggers waited in line to see the payment technology at work and grab a word with the founders.

Continue reading… 

2015 Programmatic Predictions

MediaPost

The programmatic ad industry’s 2014 predictions were hit or miss, and it’s time to once again break out the crystal ball and peer into the new year. From ad fraud and viewability to programmatic TV and private marketplaces, these predictions touch on some of the most popular topics today. 

M&As will continue to trump IPOs. I took this space yesterday to note how mergers and acquisitions in the ad tech space trumped IPOs in 2014 — especially over the back half of the year — and it’s a trend that will continue in 2015. That’s not to say there will be no notable IPOs in the programmatic space next year, but more companies will find their “exit” in buyers rather than public offerings.

Ad fraud will remain a major issue. Marketers are relatively split on whether ad fraud will decrease or increase; The 614 Group and AdMonsters found that 58% of marketers believe ad fraud will decrease next year, while 42% believe it won’t.

Count me as one that doesn’t believe ad fraud will decrease next year. In fact, “ad fraud” is a relatively new phrase.

Other than a few scattered mentions between 2002 and 2012, the term “ad fraud” rarely appeared in MediaPost, Adweek orAdvertising Age articles until midway through 2013.

Some form or another of fraud has existed for years (see “click fraud”), but programmatic technologies have ushered in “ad fraud.” And now “ad fraud” is the second-biggest concernmarketers have heading into 2015, thanks to the fact that it threatens to cost marketers worldwide $6.3 billion next year.

There will be two ad tech players that will rise above the rest by the end of 2015 with a full compliment of offerings. The frontrunners must be Google, AOL, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter, but perhaps new major players will emerge rapidly — including Apple. Each of these companies made strides to better their programmatic offerings in 2014, although those plans may not come to full fruition until 2015.

Yahoo and Facebook both bought video ad platforms in the second half of 2014, AOL has a multichannel ad platform prepped for launch in early 2015, Apple has geared itself for a programmatic push and Google continues to have a hand across the board. The “data and tech” arms race will never truly cease, but with 2014 serving as a major prep-for-the-future year, 2015 is when we can expect to see most of those plans in motion.

Viewability will rise, but not to 70%. The IAB wants marketers to aim for 70% viewability in 2015, but the programmatic ad market sputtered through 2014 just trying to crack 50%. 2015 has been dubbed a “transition” year for viewability, and while I think a renewed interest in ad quality will help rates rise, color me 70% skeptical that the goal will be met.

Continue reading… 

Infographic: Top Challenges & Attributes for Tech Marketers

ResearchLogoBLACK no 2nd IDG Infographic: Top Challenges & Attributes for Tech Marketers

IDG’s Tech Marketing Priorities Survey was conducted from 200+ senior marketing leaders around the globe to provide better insight into the state of marketing among technology marketers. This infographic focuses on the top challenges facing tech marketers and how media companies can better serve their needs.

For more infographics and marketing resources, click here

3 challenges marketers face FINAL Infographic: Top Challenges & Attributes for Tech Marketers