Advertising & Marketing Events
|04/27/2014 - 04/29/2014||Nashville TN|
|05/07/2014 - 05/09/2014||Salt Lake CIty Utah|
|05/14/2014 - 05/16/2014||New Orleans LA|
|05/19/2014 - 05/25/2014||New York NY|
|06/24/2014 - 06/26/2014||Vail CO|
|09/08/2014 - 09/11/2014||Cleveland OH|
The quest for sponsor-underwritten calling and data plans has been with us as long as have outrageous cellular bills and especially cash-strapped youth. There have been three or four schemes I have covered over the year that sought to trade ad views for minutes and megabytes. Some even more ambitious projects like the early 3G, video-centric MVNO Ampd had advertising baked into the model. And arguably we have already seen the ad-supported communications model flourish in VoIP services and the messaging apps.
But as 4G networks get many of us addicted to rich media and speed, the text message or email about nearing your data limit has become all too familiar to many of us. In a survey of 1,000 U.S. smartphone users by Wakefield Research on behalf of Citrix, 82% say they are aware of and fear that their app usage impacts the monthly data limit and have avoided using an app because of this. iPhone owners are even more concerned than Android owners.
For video consumers the caps are real, with a clear majority of those who have viewed at least one mobile stream in a month saying they have passed their monthly package. Only 36% of those who watch fewer than a clip a month have exceeded their limit. Still, that latter figure is perhaps even more revealing. If even more than a third of non-video users are being charged overages, then the issue is a greater quiet concern than many of us expect.
The traditional walled-garden approach to IT simply won’t work in a world where any user can sign up for a free Dropbox account or put an Amazon Web Services server instance on her credit card. But IT managers will still get fired for embarrassing data leaks. So what can a modern IT department do?
David Hoff, the cofounder and CTO of cloud integration providers Cloud Sherpasand a speaker at the upcoming CITE Conference, says the key is to stop fighting the shadow and establish clear lines of communication with business owners.
“The more walls you put up, the more difficult it is to enforce them,” he told CITEworld. “Take an advisory role. That way the business will come to you and say ‘I need a storage solution, I need something that works from my iPad,’ rather than thinking ‘If I talk to IT they’re going to limit me.’”
Hoff says the most common services used without IT permission are collaboration and file-sharing solutions like Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, and Google Drivem, but he also says it’s “common” for sales and marketing departments to go rogue with products like Salesforce or web hosting services for public-facing web sites. “It goes on the marketing guy’s credit card and nobody’s the wiser until there are integration needs.”
The same goes for departmental iPad apps that go through some API to interact with corporate data. Even developers are getting into the act.
“In some organizations, developers will go start building on Amazon.com because of frustration levels in their own departments with getting the resources they need. Even though they’re in the IT department, a lot of times still gets put on a personal credit card and expensed.”
Bret Taylor got the idea for a mobile-first word processor back when he was the CTO at Facebook, and launched the result, Quip, last summer. But that was before Microsoft really got into the game with a full-featured, touch-first version of Office for the iPad. So does that eliminate the need for products like Quip?
Not at all — the startup says it hasn’t seen any effect on demand at all. “It reflects the fact that people are less interested in typesetting words on a piece of 8.5 by 11 paper,” Taylor told CITEworld. “They did quite a good job on the software, it’s quite well crafted in my opinion. But it doesn’t change collaboration. You can’t have two people edit the same thing at the same time, you still have to go to email to edit anything. They brought PC software to a tablet but didn’t solve the fundamental problem people wanted to solve, which is more effective communications and collaboration.”
That’s the whole design principle behind Quip — it’s not just a word processor, it’s a new way of working with documents that takes full advantage of the way people work with mobile devices.
For example, explains Taylor, “When you share a Quip document, the first time they open it, you get a push notification on your phone.” Then you can open the same document and comment on it with them in real time; the comment stream appears in the left hand side of the app, right next to the document itself. “It’s like walked to the person’s desk and walked through it with them, you’re reading with them, they’re asking question. It changes dynamic. It’s much more informal.”
Taylor says that a lot of early Quip users have said it’s “faster” than using other word processors. “Not faster performance in a technical sense, but because they can expect a response immediately.”
I have been writing about second screen before and the definition of what the first screen is and what it can do. Obviously, this topic becomes more interesting to me, now that I work for a company offering the sync between TV and 2nd screen, or TV and digital if you like. But this isn’t a sales pitch, rather an evaluation of what’s happening in the market.
Emarketer’s recent report confirms what many studies have shown over the past few months: our engagement with TV, particularly during the ad breaks, is moving from the TV screen to the mobile, tablet, laptop screens or even portable gaming devices. Interesting enough, though, this particular reports says, the engagement is primarily on the TV screen and not the mobile screen.
Again, this is the chicken-and-egg situation, as most things in digital, whether the main screen is the TV or the mobile one. I use the mobile screen as a synonym for “portable” screens. The study further suggests that when using predominately smartphones we are engaging more on searching the web than on social media. And of social media, sites like Facebook and Twitter seem to be on top, and it could be non-related to what’s happening on TV at all, e.g., no hashtag or show following or liking.
In many discussions, I found out that everyone knows of a correlation between TV and mobile screens. No one knows exactly what and how but, of course, knows there is one. I am not disclosing my secrets here if I say that those screens go hand in hand. We as a nation, as humans, engage more and more with our mobile devices. We use them to check our bank statements, our social status, our text messages, emails, forums, or search for ideas, order books or toys or groceries. The mobile is our daily device with wearable tech usage and usability growing to become connected to mobiles and monitoring us 24/7.
Can anyone in your business have the bright idea that becomes your next big thing? Can they find out what’s going on and get enough detail to understand why and then decide what to do to fix the problem or take advantage of the opportunity? Can they do that without drowning in the stream of tweets and emails and reports? Oh, and can they do it without having to turn into a data scientist who can spin up a Hadoop cluster over lunch?
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks about getting insights out of the “data exhaust,” which is apt given how easy it is getting to choke on information; big data is no help when it’s too big to keep up with.
What Nadella calls “ambient intelligence” is about being able to use all the data in your environment, but it has to be easy to work with if it’s going to be accessible. When he talks about “everyone in the organisation having curiosity and trying to get insight and take action” he talks about it in terms of Office rather than MapReduce queries and SQL Server stored procedures and data warehouses; the information has to come from there and half a dozen more places besides, but the people who need to ask questions aren’t the ones who know how to use all the different data services where information lives today.
Microsoft’s Power BI service and even Excel are great interfaces for data. Today Excel is a BI tool as much as it’s a calculation tool; you can build a formula and then colour-code the results with conditional formatting that makes it obvious that one building is using a lot more power than the rest of your offices.
The Q and A feature in Power BI turns that into asking questions in everyday English so you can check if that building uses more power because it has twice as many people in as your other buildings or because the heating has been on even when the sun is shining. Is it bad that your travel costs are going up or good that your sales team is travelling to meetings where they sell more products? At least when the information is in an interactive set of charts rather than buried in hundreds of pages of Excel and PowerPoint slides, you can realize you need to ask that question.
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.
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:
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.
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: