Study shows Gen-X to lead 2.1% decline in traditional media consumpion by 2019

PQ Media | 2019 Media Consumption Trends in Mobile, Digital Media

THIS ARTICLE PREVIOUS APPEARED ON EXAMINER ON FEBRUARY 2, 2016.

According to a Feb. 2nd disclosure by PQ Media, a leader in competitive intelligence and market research for some of today’s top media and technology organizations, traditional media consumption is declining and is predicted to be consumed 2.1 percent less by 2019.

We have already seen a 2.4 percent decline in 2015, leaving us consuming traditional media at a rate of 46.8 hours weekly – down 10 hours from 2009. Television makes up over 50.2% of this figure with 32.4 hours spent consuming media, weekly. This factor does not differentiate between smart TVs and traditional television sets.

Reflected through a 7.3 percent rise in digital media consumption for 2015, users were often engaged in customized, interactive experiences, leaving traditional media platforms less desirable and often kicked to the curb – literally.

Intelligence has been collected between the five consumer types, 15 leading global markets in three broad categories and within 22 specific media channels. Digital media usage accounts for 27.7% of our media consumption in the United States.

While Millennials are known for their dependence on technology and the impact on evolving business models, 2015 showed us that it is actually the Gen-X crowd that most heavily consumes digital media interests. In fact, they spend almost 25.3 hours a week on average in digital media consumption. Even the iGen crowd, the youngest group of media consumers, is only spending 39% of their time in front of an electronic device — and this is evenly spread amongst multiple digital media channels.

The Gen-X crowd is spending almost as much time consuming multiple digital media channels simultaneously, as the average hours are spent working a part-time job!

With 2016 birthing a plethora of technologies related to health and fitness, targeting baby boomers and the elderly, it is also expected that the average consumption of digital media will boost substantially, increasing the weekly average from 13.2 hours.

In 2015, as a whole, the average American spent 23.9 hours a week consuming digital media in some way, shape or form. Contributors include access and adoption of smartphones, tablets and wearable technologies. It is also reflected through launch consumption of new market gaming consoles, in additio to political and sporting events.

Despite controversy in the recording industry, surrounding digital music piracy and media consumption, it continues to be the fastest-growing outlet for digital media to date. In 2015, it has made up 33.5% of total media consumption in the US. Benefiting the Music Industry and advocating for the recording artist, this was achieved through a sharp increase in music subscription services.

Digital media music consumption often overlaps time spent on social media and collaborating online. This number does not depict consumption of digital downloads and solely reflects access through a connected device.

“Increasingly, online and mobile media usage is being driven by the digital brand extensions of traditional media, driving up overall media as more content is re-purposed for digital devices, such as internet and mobile video streaming of TV programs and movies; online radio stations; web-based multiplayer editions of console video games; and mobile newspaper and magazine apps,” said PQ Media President and COO, Patrick Quinn.

Combined digital media usage and traditional media consumption totaled 64.7 percent of hours consumed by the average American on a weekly basis. This number is expected to increase to 67 hours in 2019. Increased availability of user-generated content will replace traditional media and content produced in-studio.

Continue Reading

China Mobile Adopting NFV Solutions to Improve Telecommunications Structure

NFVZone, Network Functions Virtualization | TMC Net, Technology Marketing Corporation

Previously Published to TMC Net’s NFVZone

China Mobile is migrating systems into smarter and more agile networks. To do this, they are adopting the ZTE Corporation’s Network Function Virtualization (NFV), as their means in optimizing networks to allow for faster speeds and better connectivity to user devices.

Through this adoption, China Mobile will find that systems are easier to manage. A provider in a country with the highest world population, this seems to be a great move towards innovation and improved performance, where networks could easily become congested. 

This shift will be essential in ensuring high performance abilities during the workday rush.In addition to the network solutions being made available to China Mobile, ZTE is implementing smaller, more manageable stations to ensure connectivity and decongestion throughout the virtualized network. With such high populations, these small substations would be considered checkpoints to verify functionality.

“ZTE is committed to work with China Mobile to accelerate the deployment of integrated small base stations and build the highest-performance TD-LTE networks,” said Bai Yanmin, Vice President of ZTE. “ZTE’s products can enable operators to shorten response times to network malfunction, and make it faster to deploy new services for users.”

An NFV-based Gateway solution contributes to customer satisfaction by minimizing the need to deploy traditional wireless access devices. Software-based dashboards will allow customers to self-manage efforts in troubleshooting basic errors and resolving issues. This will also minimize waiting for a tech specialist to be dispatched to their home or office days later.  Operators will find decreased costs in operation through a decrease in hardware needs and much fewer instances of at-home repairs, saving the company thousands annually.

Utilizing already established x86-based servers, storage and switches; ZTE is helping carriers to integrate NFV solutions into their current systems. Of course, migrations are still necessary, but ZTE is making it easier to stay connected during the shift.

While tech groups are moving NFV solutions towards commercialization and open-source projects, the rapid adoption is what is most exciting. Heather Kirskey, blogger for Linux, recently pointed out that the NFV market will reach more than $11B by 2019 – already reflecting a rapid increase amongst tech communities and telecommunications. She recently outlined 5 Virtual Networking Predictions for 2016.

With ability comes innovation. With innovation comes adoption. Finally, with innovation, we find perfection. Improved performance and minimal disruption to service is sure to keep customers happy for China Mobile in 2016. 

Continue Reading

FTC Success Elusive In Enforcing National Do Not Call Registry

elemarketing software, telemarketing, software, software telemarketing, lead distribution, auto-dialing, auto dialing, branch scripting, call productivity, list-based sales, list based sales

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON TMCNet’s TELEMARKETING SOFTWARE SITE

Every two years, the FTC (NewsAlert) is required to report to Congress on the use of a National Do Not Call Registry. This includes complaints and utilization by both businesses and consumers. Gauging how well companies are adhering to guidelines and finding loopholes surrounding current laws, Congress will have a better understanding on which laws are working and which need to be amended in eliminating telephone spam and fraud.

The checks and balances system aims at bringing the average American a little more peace of mind at the start of their work day and when sitting at the dinner table.

Based on reports covering the last two years, as submitted on December 31, the lawmakers on Capitol Hill have given the thumbs up, as the FTC has demonstrated satisfactory efforts in enforcing telemarketing rules within the business world. Many of us may disagree, especially if we are continuously hounded by those companies texting and calling us at all hours of the night, telling us to “stop what you’re doing…” and trying to get us to spend more on student loan forgiveness programs than we would be going directly to Navient (formerly Sallie Mae) ourselves.

In contrast to those pirates that seem to break all the rules when it comes to telemarketing etiquette and compliance, the FTC has been taking a strong stance against illegal telemarketing practices and undertaking initiatives to combat technologies that allow these lawbreakers to hide their true identity. Robocalling has been a huge priority to the FTC in the most recent of years. The Federal Communications Commission has also adopted this concern as a major priority for enforcing ethical business practices in telecommunication.

Every five years, consumers and businesses must relist their most recent number into the registry database in adding protection to their “Do Not Call” requests. Within this time, callers won’t necessarily stop, but efforts to keep them from calling will keep them at bay. Because everyone does not play fairly, the FTC and FCC (NewsAlert) are consistently trying to combat offenders, while allowing telecommunications companies to operate within the boundaries of the law.

Timothy P. Tobin, a partner at law firm Hogan Lovells recently disclosed affirmations to DataGuidance, stating, “The real problem is where either the FTC or FCC, or private plaintiffs under the TCPA, go after legitimate businesses who are making good-faith efforts to comply with the law. For example, the FCC has made a total mess of the TCPA restriction on auto-dialed calls to cell phones with an overboard interpretation of what constitutes an autodialer and with unduly rigid consent requirements. This has had the effect of being extremely burdensome on many legitimate businesses, putting them at risk of multi-million dollar judgments and settlements for many types of calls and text messages that should not be restricted.”

Within each five year period, the FCC admits that they do scan phone numbers in prompting updated databases, ensuring newly listed numbers are adapted per request – and releasing those numbers that no longer belong to registered users. While it is easier having new numbers listed, because users tend to enforce this on their own, very few people are returning to the registry to remove their number once it is no longer theirs … prompting the five-year rule. After five years, numbers are automatically released from the registry.

Whether or not an uptick in unethical and illegal telecommunications practices subside, consumers are becoming more weary of answering telephones that are LAN line-based – if they even have one anymore. Consumers are also becoming weary of numbers that are not familiar and more hesitant to provide information on the Web that involves telephone number collection. This is one loophole that telemarketers have found in breaking the registry laws.

According to an undisclosed law firm, some of these numbers are hard to trace. And while many of them are able to be sued for upwards of $1500 a call, it may not be enforceable if you have filled out a form online and included your number for contact. Because filling in your number with a verified phone number is becoming increasingly required in submitting long, drawn-out forms. We are finding that even requesting a quote for a specific insurance company will return calls from multiple insurance companies that we have not permitted to solicit our phones.

Our data is being sold and the law is permitting it, because these unethical companies are asking our permission and requiring you to give up your rights to privacy in receiving information. While the FTC and FCC are doing a “good job” in enforcing the laws, the battle continues with these unethical companies. With new practices and the required two-year report, decision-makers in Congress will be able to find ways to continue helping our fight to enjoy dinner just one more day in peace.

Continue Reading

Smaller Devices and Motion Sensing: Is This the Future of Smartphones?

Information Technology, InfoTech, IT, Technology News, Tech Information, Application Performance Management, Defrag, Application Performance Monitoring, BPM Software, Cloud Communications,Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage,Data Center Network, Data Center Power, Environmental Montioring, Infrastructure as a Service, Load Balancer, Managed Networks, Network Access, Private Cloud, Projector Lamp, Virtual Tap

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S INFOTECH SITE

Every so many months, we see the release of the “newest, best phone on the market.” The only problem is that they are almost never better than the most popular phone on the market and they will cost some outrageous prices, additionally locking you into a 2-year contract with a major carrier.

Elliptic Labs is setting out to change the mobile marketplace with their new BEAUTY Ultrasound Proximity Software. Not only does this software aim to replace extra sensitive hardware-based sensors, but it will do so while causing the price of smartphone manufacture tot drop significantly. This would cause the pricing model of smartphones to change exponentially and marketplace competition to really get dirty.

An added value of this BEAUTY software is that it will also cause mobile devices to be much sleeker than they are at this point and allow manufacturers to add additional features to the internal guts of each smartphone device.

Many of our smartphones today include smart motion and motion gesture technologies. In fact, many of our devices – period – include this technology. This is a very similar to what the BEAUTY software actually powers.

One problem with most motion gesture technologies, however, is that so very often, they will drain our batteries very quickly and rarely capture motion at 180 degrees. What makes it worse is that actual proximity is in continuous need of calibration. And, when they go haywire, sometimes your phone finds itself “butt dialing” every body you haven’t spoke to for the last five years. 

In fact, hardware-based sensors have been designed to turn off touch functionality when a user holds a device to their ear to speak on the phone. But, very often this actually becomes more sensitive, allowing our “fat faces” (cheeks and ears) to attempt three-way calls and pull up apps that we rarely use. With so many apps allowing in-app calling, themselves, there’s no telling the damage that can be done with a hardware sensor that isn’t working properly.

With more accurate touchless gesturing, Elliptic has been working to create alternative methods for user navigation and how users access their content. Beaming in high-resolution and across several platforms, the BEAUTY product users operates under low power and is able to be integrated into anything from PCs to televisions to the latest wearables.

Focused not just on how the software operates, Elliptic also focuses on how this software makes an end product look. This ultrasound software eliminates the multiple sensors we have toted on our smartphones since inception, which means that our smartphones will not only be more attractive, but they will also be able to withstand more torture.

Those finding themselves constantly replacing that glass face on their smartphones will find that their sensors won’t take so badly to the change.

Elliptic’s software uses the earpiece and microphone from the smartphone to decide proximity based on sound, in addition to a plethora of other motion triggers and detection.  This means that software sensors are non-dependent of light and won’t rely on lighting to work.

One source speaks about this software’s ability to pick up notes made via paper and pen nearby the device. This almost tells us that this software will be able to sense 360 motion around the device. This is going to be interesting.

Optical sensor has been known to fail on devices, causing expensive smartphones to require repair. They are also unreliable in the cold or on rainy days. Much similar to the duraTOUCH technology in many of today’s top devices, Elliptic’s BEAUTY was also created to withstand certain weather conditions. Although one is all for touch, and the other is eliminating it, it would be interesting to see what the two companies could create in collaboration with one another.

Looking forward to adoption by many OEM manufacturers in 2016, we just may find ourselves holding a much more BEAUTY-ful device in the near future. Whether smartphones drop their price or not is something still to be said. Until then, we have something to be hopeful for. 

Continue Reading

Revolutionary Trends Shift the Customer Experience, Increasing Brand Loyalty for 2016

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S INSURANCE TECHNOLOGY SITE

As the year ended, multiple technologies and integrations signified that this is a great time to be a tech or customer service professional. We are now living in a time when you can read social media posts on the sides of your shoes, while simulating a walk on the moon. As a tech professional, you might be striding through your day, because in our lifetime, we have seen technology evolve from prehistoric to futuristic – and it isn’t anywhere close to stopping.

As businesses adopt newer technologies and are able to increase quality and productivity they are learning that, just like in traditional business models, the customer experience is everything. We now have a host of new innovations making our day just a little bit better. Think of how far AI and mobile has come in just the last five years – and little over a year ago, there were a lot of people still confused over what IoT actually was.

According to the Interactive Intelligence (NewsAlert) Group, Inc. There are five trends that we need to look out for in 2016. This cloud services group, diligently works to improve customer engagement, communications and collaboration for its many global clientele. They have done their research, and we’re here to give you the breakdown.

“It’s clear that companies are making customer interaction experiences a priority, and the trends we’ve identified will be critical if businesses want to stay competitive,” said Dr. Donald E. Brown, Interactive Intelligence founder and CEO. “Of note is that all these trends rely heavily on the cloud, analytics and big data. These now form the underpinnings of nearly all things customer experience-related and will continue to be key components of any successful customer engagement strategy.”

  • Customer-Centricity Breaks the Ice and Creates Unity

Focused on an optimized customer experience, there is no one department instrumental in the success of customer relations. In fact, everyone — from the contact center to the external stakeholder — is to be held accountable for the experience and satisfaction of each customer, individually. Customers need to find ease in using a product, and if they can’t they need to be able to find someone, who can explain it to them.

How customers interact with the brand is extremely important. Whichever method they choose for interaction will stand as the mouthpiece for that brand. For this, digital workstreams powered by integrated user engagement, communications and collaboration – most communications platforms will also be powered by cloud technologies.

This will encourage better cross-department and multidisciplinary communications – both inside the workplace and externally. Everyone will be brought up to speed at once; and everyone can gauge needs for improvement – immediately.

  • IoT will Continue to Expand the Omnichannel Experience

One-third of companies are reporting to use IoT within their 2016 operations planning. Using always-connected wireless technologies has brought a ton of efficiency to the workforce. But, in 2016, organizations are using them as an additional means to interact with customers, internal groups and partners.

Companies are using this technology, as coexisting with locational-based prompts. Many of these prompts will direct customers to one-on-one interaction with a live person, social media, documentation and exclusive offers. The customer will continue to the forefront of office place efficiency and continue to improve the customer experience in 2016.

  • We Will See Artificial Intelligence Like Never Before

As every day objects begin to take life, we are literally seeing teddy bear’s learning our every move and having full-blown conversations with a non-existent person. But, how can this help the customer experience? As machine learning hits its prime, advanced speech analytics are able to trigger alerts and specific messaging. Companies can further identify patterns and predict customer behavior.

Engaging with machines directly, the customer will experience better self service options than in the past, as AI can intelligently identify a customer’s need and break down methods of utilization, repair or expansion. Algorithms are leading AI to understand not just what a customer is saying – but also what they are not saying. In cases where after-hours leave no customer service agent available and where customer service agents are unnecessary, AI is becoming increasingly prominent. Many times, customers do not know the difference.

  • Sophisticated Do-It-Yourself Customer Service Empowers Customers

While this goes hand in hand with all other methods, “do-it-yourself “ customer service is becoming more convenient, timesaving and preferred, especially amongst the tech savvy millennial crowd. Brands are also learning that providing DIY methods saves the company on staffing costs and keeping wait times down in the contact or call centers… also benefiting traditional customer service methods in keeping customers satisfied, who do not want to be on hold for longer than average periods of time. Customers are empowered when they feel good about their ability to use your product effectively and save time  and money on repairs.

 Brand loyalty and niche networks are actually being built upon DIY platforms, this would obviously attract more finance to the company, as well. Web, mobile and SMS platforms are excellent ways to reach millennials, as they regularly search for content based on their direct needs. Not only will this be a larger trend in 2016, but it will also be a great tactic for many companies, who are including it into their overall marketing plan.

  • Every “Take-Out” Ready Through Mobile

With the traditional business structure broken and many more professionals are entering the work-from-home revolution, remote access to company infrastructures is proving more beneficial to the business structure than previous methods. Millennials, leading this movement, are always on the go. They want to spend more time traveling and with family.

Mobile technologies have allowed a complete office space to travel with us; cloud technologies allow us to access the office. Collaboration, communication and productivity, are again, improving. Mobile apps are going to be more mandatory in the past. Not having an app for your business may actually leave your organization in the dust.

Allowing customers to interact with the brand, especially live, is extremely beneficial to every organization, which instituted into their 2016 operations action plan. In fact, conference calling, white boards, tech support and other forms of customer and client interactions are at the forefront of 2016 and one of the most integrated technologies of the year.

In wrapping up the list, improving customer engagement and experiences should absolutely be at the forefront of concern this year. Restructuring the face of your customer service methods can be life or death for many companies. Interactive Intelligence holds a weekly live webinar that can help your organization gauge your current customer service methods, as well as show you how to integrate these growing customer engagement trends into your own business plan. Find out how to attend by visiting this page.

Continue Reading

Chic Sketch, Bridging Fashion and Technology Through Mobile Integrations

LTE, LTE Advanced, Wimax, Smart Phone, wireless backhaul, mobile Apps, Long term evolution, 3GPP, GPRS, EDGE, Edge evolution, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA, FOMA, 3G, 4G, 4G Wireless, Broadband wireless, 3GPP+, 3GPP, HSPA+, 1xRTT, ETSI, Fourth generation wireless, iBurst, wireless, HiperMAN, WiBRO, GAN, Ericcson, Qualcomm, MIMO, SDMA

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S MOBILITY TECHZONE

Appetizer Mobile is known for its array of interactive mobile apps development and marketing services. Chic Sketch, an innovative app under the Appetizer umbrella, is bringing personalization and design to the mobile forefront as it connects fashion brands directly to enthusiasts in a whole new way.  Like parent company, Appetizer Mobile, they are “creating a brand identity in the mobile space.”

As technology takes over our lives, the Fashion Industry has been finding an increased challenge in capitalizing on the mobile revolution that has been allowing other industries excel. After all, we want to touch and feel fabric. We want to see it in all of its vibrance. While we shop and watch runway shows on mobile, how can we interact with it? This is where Chic Sketch has found an “in.”

Fashionistas love this app, because they are able to snap a selfie of themselves, draped in their latest attire and can have a sketch mock up sent to them in minutes. Sketch mockups are created and sent directly to the user. These sketches are created much like the designs that our fashion experts sketch when developing a new collection or runway show. They are, literally, hand-drawn sketch, sent to you in minutes.

Although the app is free to browse and view other sketches, each sketch costs $9.99 with a few for expedition at an additional $4.99.

Like so much of today’s tech world, this app takes advantage of technology to get the job done. Utilizing cloud technologies, Chic Sketch relies heavily on connectivity and storage, allowing each sketch to be streamlined through a cloud-based infrastructure and to the user in under twenty minutes or less — with many sketches arriving much quicker than that. Communication is everything, especially to the illustrators that are working remotely. Photos must be delivered to the artist and back through the company’s cloud-platform for approval and delivery to the fashionista on the other end!

When asked where the inspiration for this chic mobile app came from, award-winning “Forbes 30 under 30” CEO Jordan Edelson said, “The initial inspiration came to me when I would see Emily Brickel Edelson (designer to the stars), Co-Founder, Head Illustrator, and Fashion Designer sketching on paper at different events we attended. When I traveled with her to different fashion events, I would assist and watch her. One of the things I noticed instantly was that as soon as people would receive their sketch, they would take a picture of it on their phone and share it on social media.”

Edelson continued, “Right around fashion week last year I connected the dots and thought it would be a great idea as an application to bring to the masses. People have a strong emotional connection to art, and Chic Sketch caters to that. It’s more than a novelty, its art desecrated by computers – synthetic art as I like to call it. Chic Sketch is a great combination of a digital platform with a human element, as each sketch is created by a real illustrator by hand.”

Edelson also explained how the app has evolved since its beginnings. For mobile applications, and technologies of any kind, it is extremely important to evolve in meeting the needs of growing audiences and to keep up with technology. This app started as simply a service. In its newer form and into a soon-to-be released Chic Sketch 2.0, the app will be more about discovery, social engagement and extended partnerships with other brands.

The app also sets out to be an inspiration to audiences. “We are interpreting fashion through other people’s eyes. It’s bringing life to designs other people have created. When users look at the sketches they can draw inspiration from them, and possibly create their own fashion lines.”

Continue Reading

What Can Businesses Learn About Omni-Channel Marketing from Signet’s Extensive Brands?

Mad Marketer, creative project management tools, marketing program management, marketing projects management, project management for marketing, project management marketing

Previously Published to The Mad Marketer

Earlier this month, Signet Jewelers acknowledged that omni-channel marketing was a major factor in increased sales for 2016 – and especially for end of year holiday shopping. In fact, they claim that it has, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Amazon-proofed” their endeavors. In the eight weeks leading up to Christmas, this Bermuda-based diamond retailer grew its sales by 5 percent in comparison to previous years.

This year, Signet Jewelers has racked in $1.95B, a sharp increase for any business of this caliber. Signet is also known as the umbrella operation for subsidiary group, Sterling, which includes Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Zale’s, Piercing Pagoda and regional brands, like JB Robinson, Marks & Morgan and Belden Jewelers.

Mall-based and outlet stores in the United States and Ernest Jones stores in the United Kingdom rose by 4.9 percent from 2014 to 2015, as opposed to the previous increase of 3.6 percent. This not only proves that people are still physically purchasing luxury items in a mall setting, but they are doing so at increasing rates.

Thanks to omni-channel marketing, however, more awareness is being created on the online forefront and drawing guests to physical, brick-and mortar locations. This is especially true with the future bride to be in search of the perfect ring that will brand her marriage for the rest of her life – or until “death do them part.”

While on the topic of online influence, it is interesting to note that online sales actually increased 10.9 percent, which also reflects at $13.7M, from a previous year’s $126M in earnings.

Subsidiaries are responsible for over 60-percent of these increases, showcasing exclusive and specialty items per location and creating demand. This is a great feat, considering regional brands have actually dropped 8.7 percent. These locations, where costs are most likely lower, based on local positioning, proved that people are willing to pay for the name, even if the quality is exactly the same.

A 2014 acquisition of Zale’s has reported mixed results, drawing in averages between 6 and 9 percent for each revenue stream under the Zale’s brand, including the more affordable Piercing Pagoda. Most Zale’s profits came from bridalware and gold jewelry. It seems that most of their subsidiary brands, have actually plummeted with differences as low as 16 to 18 percent – reflective in dollar amounts as high as $72M. This makes onlookers wonder if this is because there is going to be a complete merger in the future or if this is primarily due to a lack of omni-channel marketing in a very tech-savvy marketplace.

Companies who are not marketing themselves through digital platforms, whether participating in e-commerce or not, are continually seeing a decline in sales and adoption. Longtime loyalists are finding similar products elsewhere for a lower price. Many of these loyalist enjoy the convenience of a discreet purchase in the comfort of home or in transit to the workplace.

CEO of the Sterling branch of Signet, Mark Light, discusses the favorable 60% increase in adoption and sales through the brand storefronts and online shopping. He claims that this is attributed to the “execution of our product, marketing, and omni-channel selling strategies, as well as our superior customer experience. The implementation of store operations initiatives in the third quarter combined with investment in our recently launched innovative merchandising and marketing programs positioned Signet well for a strong fourth quarter and beyond.”

Although gold is far from a “wearable,” its value is known to put countries at odd and nations to be captured. As we enter digital and everything omni-channel, we have the power to capture cities through commerce, trading value for product without ever leaving the comforts of air conditioning. It only makes sense to include traditional jewelry brands into the digital mix – creating and perfecting the omni-channel mix for what has proven to be a multi-billion dollar industry.

In just eight weeks, Signet Jewelers have reached almost $2B in sales. It makes you wonder what they have done throughout the years. As much of their omni-channel strategy came prior to the holiday season, we almost wonder what the results would have been if it had been instituted sooner. Perhaps we will find out next year.

It’s this continuous adoption and evolution of technologies that bridges industries, both traditional and nontraditional, and keeps businesses booming better than ever before. If you aren’t using omni-channel methodologies in your marketing mix, perhaps you should develop a sure plan of attack now – before your competition beats you to it! 

Continue Reading

Cloud-based e-Discovery Creating Efficiencies for Law Firms

Cloud Computing, Cloud Computing magazine

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S CLOUD COMPUTING MAGAZINE

Bloomberg (NewsAlert) and many other news outlets are questioning whether or not 2016 is the “year of cloud-based e-discovery.” This makes sense, given that 2015 was the year cloud-based innovations erupted into the mainstream. Experts are predicting that e-discovery will soon adopt and completely immerse itself into the cloud universe.

Law firms especially have taken to hosting secure servers externally, eliminating security concerns by hosting on internal servers or breach of privacy in confidential information through access by local IT professionals, who might be tempted to manipulate files and change details in local cases.

External cloud servers have become unbiased custodians for cases that may last several years on end. Concerned with the security related to accessing clouds through the Internet, there are some law firms that are quickly realizing that external sources are indeed more secure than hosting in-house, although completely against the move in previous months. External sources are becoming more secure as technology is being strengthened to meet the growing concerns for secure portals.

In meeting cost efficiencies, legal teams are also finding that hosting on external servers is cheaper to maintain than hosting internal machines and hiring the operators to engineer them.  Firms are aligning with their exact needs by finding providers that can meet those exact needs, thus eliminating the need to create these needs in-house. They are also learning that external sources allow for a more concrete “uptime” than they have experienced through proprietary servers.

Lack of resources and a full staff of necessary professionals to operate systems under a set budget is one thing that sets internal servers apart from external clouds. They are now able to integrate programming and the ability to provide access to attorneys while out of the office. With increased security and lower costs for e-discovery systems, clients will also save in service prices, ensuring long-term relationships with clientele.  

Cloud-based e-discovery solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions to e-discovery tools for law firms, however. Some smaller law firms may realize that they don’t need such a complex server to meet their immediate needs. Likewise, larger firms, who have put a CISO, Chief Information Security Officer, in place to ensure security at all times, may also realize that they can efficiently do everything in-house, especially in the situation where their caseloads are enormous and that migrations would be extensive. This includes the need for large storage solutions.   They still face concern of internal data breach.

Larger firms, who may choose not to make e-discovery available through a cloud, may still institute a system that includes cloud technologies, whether through integration or through a separate system altogether. Because many enterprises are realizing the need for “always on” connectivity, remote access of the work environment continues to provide further documentation and control of cases from outside the office place. This benefits firms, whereas external contributors or remote personnel are associated with a specific case.

Through this they have systems in place to ensure proper communication, internal collaboration and – of course productivity… the ongoing theme of cloud innovations. 

Continue Reading

Linux Foundation Executive Details 5 Virtual Networking Predictions for 2016

NFV Essentials, Network Service Orchestration, Network Function Virtualization, NFV, Network Function Virtualization Management, Network Function Virtualization Management and Orchestration, Network Orchestration, NFV Orchestration, Session Border Controller, SBC, Virtualized Network Functions, VNF, VNF Managers, Applications Orchestrator, Converged Applications Server, Communications Services Gatekeeper,Virtual Infrastructure Managers, VIMs, Communications Policy Management, VoLTE, IMS, and Virtualization

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON TMCNET’S NFV ESSENTIALS SITE

Open source projects have always been in demand, but they have become even more so since our top technologies have allowed for more integration, as opposed to previous “as is” programming. That said, we are seeing one of the biggest growths for open source software development in the area of Networking. Here, network functions virtualization (NFV) is allowing networking to be transformed and is being impacted by open source projects at record speed.

As Heather Kirskey, Director of NFV for OPNFV, the Linux Foundation, in a recent blog provides five virtual networking trends to keep an eye on in 2016 as the pace of virtualization innovation really is accelerating.  In fact, Kirskey cites a recent report by the researchers at IHS Infonetics who are forecasting a fivefold increase in the NFV/SDN market by 2019 with more than $11B in revenue.

Plus, it is noted that when it comes to NFV, activities are moving beyond telecommunications. The Linux Foundation is deeply involved in accelerating NFV having created a collaborative project over a year ago to fan the innovation flames. They launched a “carrier-grated, integrated, open source platform” aimed at accelerating the innovation of new products and services from over 56 separate companies who have come together in the Open Platform for Network Functions Visualization (OPNFV) project. It plans a second, more evolved launch later this year with increased functionality, testing and interoperability.

Kirskey provided five predictions regarding this substantial infrastructure technology shift.

Her first prediction is that “containers become a key technology component in any NFV platform.” She sees it changing how we uses guest operations in virtual machines, because we will now be using applications instead of actual containers. This will provide easier to use – yet customizable – solutions to previous container features. This usually means that more will get done in a shorter amount of time. And, who doesn’t love productivity?

Next on the list is that “NFV” and “SDN” will be the top skill sets amongst telecom job seekers.” She feels that this shift in virtualization will not only impact how we use technology but also how we hire for technology. As explained, productivity is a key driver going forward.  Many organizations will most likely work to either integrate better virtual functions through networking, or they will simply switch over completely. This will mean expertise on how to optimize new capabilities will be at a premium.  

Third, Kirskey is looking at the first round of limited production deployments in OPNFVs beta stage tol go live. This is exciting on its own, because it is estimated that over 38 new products are getting ready for release. And, with implementation will come the use cases where ROIs become validated.

Fourth on the list is that with the new releases we are going to see the first non-telecommunications end users. And, OPNFV as a result will begin to see diversity in membership.

Finally, Kirskey predicts that an even higher caliber of NFV-related service outages will occur. This will be the “signaling of a turning point in adoption.” New issues will manifest, as several new audiences begin to access and manipulate the programming. These are what Kirskey characterizes as unfortunate but predictable “growing pains” which according to her are a “silver lining,” the logic being that any large scale outage signals that the technology is maturing.

The good news is that despite the last point about bumps on the road, realities are that the silver lining assessment is not off base.  NFV is maturing quickly, the results are going to become readily apparent in the not too distant future and open source solutions are going to be the fuel that keeps the engines of innovation and deployment running optimally.

Continue Reading

HTML5 Continues to Transform Traditional Print to Scalable Interactive Experiences

html, html5, html5 News, html5 gallery, showcase, html5 gallery, website gallery, webstandards, information, web development

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON TMCNET’S HTML5 REPORT

We have been seeing publishers, such as ISSUU, distributing independent magazines across platform via HTML5 since as early as 2010. But as PUB HTML5 crosses this threshold, it reminds us how important it is to create efficiency for our audiences. As mobile platforms continue to be our choice window into the outside world, it becomes ever so necessary to keep our media responsive in ensuring its consumption on the go.

Allowing magazines to be circulated within a global world, many publishers, such as PUB HTM5 and ISSUU are enjoying the potential that HTML5 can bring to their catalog of material – both commercial and independent, as they create “flipbooks,” magazines, catalogs and other publications.

Thanks to HTML5-based platforms, we are granted access to a plethora of devices, including smartphones, tablets and now wearables. We are able to deliver animated transitions, while keeping our content optimized to search engine visibility. We are further able to build large audiences that can now subscriber to push and e-mail notification once a new issue has been published.

Without the need for flash, companies such as PUB HTML5 have found ways to keep responsive content scalable in meeting visibility and aesthetic requirements of each deliverable. Publishers can now expand the potential of their published content by adding video, audio and slideshows. A traditional magazine now becomes an interactive experience.

For publishers, who have gained reputation through newsstand success and are now seeing a rapid decline in subscription and readership, there is hope – and even more opportunity than before. They are given wings and are able to directly engage their brand loyalists in amazingly new interactive instances. Instead of discussing a musician’s new album, they could, indeed, give access to exclusive tracks from that album to audiences all over the world.

The ability to shift our platforms and shift our content to suit our personal needs for consumption is almost spoiling.

Catering to our audiences through scalable media and browser responsiveness, we can ensure a positive, eye-catching – and addicting – experience every time. As we build mobile applications to supplement what the physical world can’t offer and our browsers to provide a means of access without the need for download, HTML5 continues to bring excitement and potential into the world of digital media content and delivery.

Brands are finally adopting the “content is king” mentality. But, we’ve been saying this for years. Taking that content and delivering it in new ways is what it will take to stay ahead of competition and gain in brand loyalty throughout the decades.

What PUB HTML5 and ISSUU are doing is giving brands a voice, whereas they would have lost it otherwise. Giving us delivery potential through their digital newsstand, we now have the opportunity to gain a new monetization strategy. Through their existence, we give our audiences new options… options that allow for online and offline consumptions through a mobile platform and the option to be printed in the physical form.  

Business are now given the potential to create packages for strategic partnerships and in delivering proposals in a new light. HTML5 has not just changed the face of how we present written materials, but it is slowly changing how we interact with documentation, marketing materials and educational platforms. The world is evolving – and so is our content. 

Continue Reading