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Federal Agencies Warming Up to Big Data
October 15, 2015
It just makes too much sense. Big government can function much better if government agencies take advantage of the benefits of big data technologies. Given the perception that governments operate on a bias favoring the status quo, it may come as a surprise that U.S. government agencies are slowly but surely embracing the adoption of big data innovations.
E-Commerce Firms Need to Wise Up to Cybercrime
October 15, 2015
Every business owner and executive must think long and hard about cybersecurity -- especially considering all the break-ins and data thefts during the last several years. Data breaches and security issues are in the headlines on a regular basis. One good source for getting a grip on some possible solutions to the problem is AT&T's new report, "What Every CEO Needs to Know About Cybersecurity."
Uber Rushes In as Same-Day Deliveries Ramp Up
October 14, 2015
Uber on Wednesday made its UberRush merchant delivery service a full-fledged division of the company, officially rolling it out in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. The announcement followed a soft launch earlier this year in NYC. Americans waste too much time and productivity by transporting things from one point to another, Uber reasoned.
Upvoted Tells the Story Behind Reddit's Best Stories
October 10, 2015
Reddit earlier this week announced the launch of Upvoted, a new publication featuring original content from a team of staff editors and writers. Reddit has more than 202 million monthly users. Its podcast have been downloaded more than 1.6 million times since January, and its newsletter has hundreds of thousands of subscribers, according to product manager Heath Black.
Amazon Casts Its Net on the Internet of Things
October 9, 2015
Amazon on Thursday leapt into the Internet of Things market with the announcement of its AWS IoT platform. AWS IoT lets devices -- ranging from cars and turbines to sensor grids and light bulbs -- connect to services from Amazon Web Services. That in turn allows companies to store, process, analyze and act on the mountains of data generated by connected devices.
Customer Engagement in the Age of the Silent Traveler
October 9, 2015
The rise of social media has given customers a new platform for interacting with travel and hospitality companies, from airlines to car rental agencies. Today's travel customers primarily use these digital technologies to coordinate logistics and log complaints; gone are the days of calling a reservation specialist to book flights or running through seating options at the check-in counter.
Handmade at Amazon Could Needle Etsy
October 9, 2015
Amazon has announced Handmade at Amazon, a new specialty site designed to sell original handcrafted wares to a unique set of customers in a market led by rival etailer Etsy. Etsy, in its 10th year of operation, put the retail industry on notice in April, when its share price rose to $31, up 88 percent from its initial public offering price of $16. However, its stock price recently has struggled.
Facebook Tests New Button-Pushing Plan
October 8, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced a pilot test of "Reactions," a way to respond to posts on the network in a more nuanced way than its Like button allows. The new feature is live in Spain and Ireland. CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously alluded to the eventual landing of a Like alternative, although he said it would not be a much-requested Dislike button. Facebook had good reasons to resist a Dislike button.
Many Product Searchers Skip Google, Go Directly to Amazon
October 7, 2015
Amazon has become the first stop for nearly half of online shoppers researching potential purchases, according to a report BloomReach released Tuesday. Nearly half -- 44 percent -- of some 2,000 survey participants said they go directly to Amazon to search for products. That's a substantial increase from a similar survey Forrester Research conducted in 2012.
Can Jack Dorsey Save Twitter?
October 5, 2015
Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, who has been running the company as interim CEO for the past three months, has taken the reins for good, the company revealed in a document filed with the SEC. Former CEO Dick Costolo has left Twitter's board of directors, and Adam Bain has stepped into the chief operating officer role. Dorsey will continue to lead Square, the mobile POS company he founded, as well.
Facebook, Eutelsat to Use Satellites to Spread Net Across Sub-Saharan Africa
October 5, 2015
Facebook and Eutelsat have entered a partnership to leverage satellite technology to provide Internet access to remote parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative, which includes a multiyear agreement with Spacecom, will utilize the entire broadband payload on the future AMOS-6 satellite as the backbone of a dedicated system that will include satellite capacity, gateways and terminals.
Amazon Flexes Its Muscles in Crowdsourced Delivery Space
September 30, 2015
Amazon has entered the on-demand delivery space in its hometown of Seattle, where independent workers are delivering orders within two hours or less. Under its new Amazon Flex program, the company pays workers between $18 and $25 per hour to deliver packages to Prime Now customers, said company spokesperson Kelly Cheeseman. The service is available only in Seattle for now.
Vertical Ventures
September 29, 2015
I'm always looking for emerging trends at Dreamforce, the kinds of things that are hiding in plain sight. They might never amount to much, but given that it's Dreamforce, many likely will bloom. A case in point is the emergence of vertical market CRM. Its time is now because application development tools have become so good, and because customers need fast, budget-friendly deployments.
Volkswagen's Fines - Billions; Lost Customer Loyalty - Incalculable
September 25, 2015
There's a rough road ahead for consumers strapped into Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars kitted out with software to fool emissions testing. Many of VW's loyal customers feel let down and even duped, said Agnes Huff, CEO of the Agnes Huff Communications Group. Many of them now question the brand's overall integrity. "Regaining customer trust will be an ongoing challenge."
Gmail Blocking Tools Narrow Email Marketing Channel
September 24, 2015
Google on Tuesday announced new block and unsubscribe features for Gmail that will make it easier for users to manage their in-boxes and harder for marketers to creep out of the spam folder. "Sometimes you get mail from someone who's really disruptive," said Sri Harsha Somanchi, product manager at Google. When that happens, "you should be able to say, 'Never see messages from this person again."
Groupon Rethinks Its Road Map
September 23, 2015
Groupon on Tuesday announced plans to cut 1,100 jobs and close operations in seven countries and said it has filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to that effect. The biggest cuts will hit its customer service and international deals centers, as the company regroups to leverage new efficiencies. The restructuring will be complete in about a year.
Amazon Fans Fire's Flames
September 21, 2015
Amazon last week confirmed and detailed the bare-bones Fire tablet, which will sell for just $49 -- and it announced five other Fire family additions while it was at it. Flanking the Fire tablet are the refreshed Fire HD, the Fire TV with 4K, the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote and the updated Fire Kids Edition. Amazon announced two flavors of the revisited Fire HD.
Court Bolsters FTC's Authority to Regulate Cybersecurity
September 16, 2015
Companies that experience data security breaches have a lot to worry about -- but their problems encompass much more than responding to irate consumers. The business community also has to worry about the U.S. government, which can penalize e-commerce companies for failing to provide adequate protection for consumers' personal data. A recent federal court ruling could give the FTC more muscle.
Salesforce IoT Cloud Makes Thunderous Debut
September 15, 2015
Salesforce has launched IoT Cloud, an Internet of Things offering designed to connect billions of events with Salesforce, which the company says will help its clients' bottom line. IoT Cloud is powered by Salesforce Thunder, the company's new massively scalable, real-time event processing engine. "Salesforce is turning the Internet of Things into the Internet of Customers," said CEO Marc Benioff.
Google, Twitter Forge Open Source Publishing Partnership
September 15, 2015
Google and Twitter reportedly are collaborating on an open source project that focuses on helping publishers bring instant articles to mobile phone subscribers. Facebook launched its Instant Articles feature earlier this year. Apple and Snapchat reportedly have similar tools in development. The Google and Twitter team-up "is a very important development," said Zebra Social CEO Jordani Sarreal.
When Data Breaks the News
September 15, 2015
Google is putting a new spin on the news. Instead of relying on journalists to gather facts and report events the old-fashioned way, the company's News Lab, launched earlier this year, aims to deliver news stories through data. Case in point: Who needs polls to reveal that Donald Trump is the most popular candidate in the Republican primary free-for-all?
The IoT's Data Prioritization Pearl
September 14, 2015
The era of digital transformation and the digital business, the customer experience as a key differentiator, and the movement toward smart machines are some of the common themes Gartner Distinguished Analyst Don Scheibenreif touched on in his keynote last week at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit in San Diego. These are all phenomena that have been on their way for a little while -- like a glacier.
Fear of Ad Blocking Could Lead to More Effective Advertising
September 10, 2015
Adblock Browser for Android re-emerged at the Google Play store on Wednesday, after more than two years of banishment. It is also available at the iTunes App Store. "The reason we were readmitted to the Play store is that this app is different than the one that was kicked out. This one is a browser. The previous one provided some blocking for in-app ads," said Eyeo's Ben Williams.
The Tyranny of Spreadsheets
September 10, 2015
As a former sales and marketing guy, I am more than familiar with spreadsheets as a not-so-good tool for managing the avalanche of data generated by the front office, even before the big data craze. Name a department or function in business and it's easy to find people using spreadsheets to manage it -- often poorly, but through no fault of their own.
An Insider Betrayed Ashley Madison - Go Figure
September 4, 2015
When the giant data breach at infidelity website Ashley Madison made headlines last month, the CEO of the site's owner was quick to claim the caper was an inside job. He had the attacker's profile and work credentials, Avid Life Media's CEO Noel Biderman told ace cybersecurity blogger Brian Krebs. Though not an employee, the individual had accessed the company's technical services.
SaaS' Next Wave: Customer Lifetime Value Management
September 4, 2015
Salesforce's latest quarter, along with the buzz surrounding its upcoming Dreamforce lovefest, have showcased CRM's rapid migration to the cloud. However, today's SaaS CRM solutions deliver limited value-add if the organizations that use them are unable to realize marketing and sales promises. This is especially true for those guiding prospective customers on an omnichannel journey.
Google's Rebuttal Against EU May Be in Vain
September 3, 2015
Google has responded to the EC's statement of objections regarding its search practices by rejecting outright the Europeans' argument that its innovations were anticompetitive. The SO, published in April, doesn't support the claim that the company's displays of paid ads diverted traffic away from shopping services, Google said. Nor does it counter major advantages to consumers and advertisers.
Playing Whac-a-Mole With Windows 10
September 3, 2015
Autumn is coming, and it's time for county fair fun with candy apples, fried dough and the midway. You remember the game whac-a-mole? As the moles popped up through holes on the table, it was your job to whack them before they disappeared. Now, every time another Windows 10 reminder pops up on my screen, all I want to do is grab a mallet and start whacking!
Sprint Goes Fishing for DirecTV Subscribers
September 1, 2015
Sprint last week announced it was celebrating the AT&T/DirecTV merger by extending a truly valuable offer to DirecTV customers. "The Sprint network is winning awards across the country for reliability and speed, and our customers have never been more satisfied," crowed Sprint spokesperson Kristin Wallace. "We are simply giving DirecTV customers a compelling reason to experience Sprint."
How the Windows Phone Could Rise Up and Dominate
August 31, 2015
Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of Windows 95. What people often forget about Windows 95 is that it not only kicked Apple's butt, but also kicked IBM's -- and it wasn't even a complete product. The thing was an operating system. It's especially hard to imagine now that these things typically are downloaded from the Web, and there's no need to stand in line.
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Should social media sites be held accountable for terrorists' communications?
Yes -- They are providing a platform to facilitate murder and mayhem.
Yes -- Everything must be done to protect society from danger.
Maybe -- I'm not sure they have the technological capability to stop them.
Maybe -- I'm not convinced terrorists are using them for serious plotting.
No -- Authorities should monitor social networks to gather intelligence.
No -- Social networks are no different than phone carriers or mail services.