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The Really Big Salesforce-Vlocity Deal
February 27, 2020
Salesforce just announced it would buy Vlocity -- a startup with all the markings of a unicorn including a billion-dollar valuation -- for $1.33 billion. Vlocity was cofounded and led by David Schmaier, who was executive vice president at Siebel Systems in its go-go years. When Oracle bought Siebel it made Schmaier a wealthy man. He promptly dropped out of the CRM business.
Amazon Goes Big With Automated Grocery Store
February 26, 2020
Amazon has opened its first large-scale fully automated Amazon Go grocery store. The 7,700 square foot store, located in Seattle, offers baked goods sourced locally, fresh seasonal produce, meat, seafood and ready-made meals, as well as beer, wine and spirits. There are no cashiers. To make purchases, shoppers need an Amazon account and the free Amazon Go app.
Sprint T-Mobile Merger Gets Green Light
February 13, 2020
A U.S. District judge has ruled that Sprint and T-Mobile, the nation's third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers, can go forward with a $25 billion merger. The deal will not close until the California Public Utilities Commission approves the transaction, but clearing this latest hurdle moves the two companies one step closer to a merger that has been years in the making.
Samsung Scores With 5G Galaxy S20's Camera Specs, New Z Flip
February 12, 2020
Samsung has refreshed its Galaxy smartphone line, introduced a new foldable phone, and upgraded its wireless earbuds offering. Its three new flagship phones are all 5G ready. The S20 is priced at $999, while the S20 Plus will sell for $1,199, and the S20 Ultra for $1,399. The S20 is smallest of the trio, with a 6.2-inch display. The Plus' display is 6.7 inches and the Ultra's is 6.9 inches.
Razr Reviews Raise $1500 Durability Question
February 11, 2020
Motorola's new foldable Razr phone has been garnering mediocre notices from early reviewers, who tended to find its performance underwhelming for a phone priced at $1,500. Still, it does have personality, which can go a long way in the smartphone market, noted Bob O'Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research. "We've reached an era where phones are incredibly personal."
Mobile App Crashes Iowa Caucuses
February 5, 2020
A coding error in an app used to count vote totals in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa has delayed the release of final tallies. Although the data collected by the app was sound, it was reporting only a portion of that data to party headquarters due a coding issue with its reporting system. After discovering inconsistencies, party staff implemented manual backup measures.
Consumers Like Augmented Reality More Than They Know
February 4, 2020
The augmented reality space continues to evolve. Device makers such as Bosch, Panasonic, Huawei and Pico are introducing significantly smaller and more powerful smart glasses and AR headsets, such as those demonstrated last month at CES 2020, one of the country's largest consumer technology conferences. What is augmented reality exactly? There's not really an easy answer.
From Personal to Planetary: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 4
January 30, 2020
We asked ECT News Network's roundtable of industry insiders to reflect on their own personal tech preferences, to speculate on what popular gadgets may vanish from use in the next decade, to consider the role of wearable health tools -- and then to expand the discussion to the health of the planet, tech advances in traveling on it, and the prospect of leaving it altogether.
Feds Seek Restraining Orders in Robocall Cases
January 30, 2020
The DoJ has filed complaints in two landmark cases calling for temporary restraining orders against five companies and three individuals alleged to have carried hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to American consumers. "This is the first time the DoJ is taking legal action against anyone for facilitating fraudulent robocalls," said Liz Miller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
DoubleTake App Turns Your iPhone Into a Multi-Cam Studio
January 29, 2020
A new iPhone app allows you to capture two high-quality video streams simultaneously from any of the mobile device's cameras. Called "DoubleTake," the free software is produced by FiLMiC, which also makes a pro style video capture and editing app for the iPhone. With DoubleTake, you can shoot two 1080p video streams at the same time, in either landscape or portrait mode.
With Foldable Razr, Motorola Makes Bid for Old Glory
January 28, 2020
Motorola is taking orders for its $1,499 Razr foldable smartphone, and units are expected to start shipping on Feb. 6. Motorola made its mark on the mobile handset business with the original Razr, introduced in 2004, which ushered in the era of flip phones. The new Razr is a flip phone, too. The 6.2-inch OLED screen folds in half to create a compact package that fits in a shirt pocket.
Report: FBI Got Apple to Roll Over on iCloud Encryption
January 23, 2020
Apple shelved plans to give iPhone users control over encrypted backups stored on the company's iCloud service over concerns raised by the FBI and internal sources, according to a report. The company made the decision to retain control over iCloud encryption around two years ago, but it came to light just recently. The plan would have removed Apple's ability to decrypt users' backups.
Uber Tests Plan to Let Drivers Set Their Own Fares
January 22, 2020
Uber has launched a pilot program in California that lets drivers in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento set their own fares for airport rides. Drivers can set a fare multiple on Uber's base, time, and distance rates for UberX and UberXL trips, according to the company. Drivers can increase the fare in 10 percent jumps up to five times Uber's base price.
Building E-Commerce Wave: Social Media Shopping
January 13, 2020
Consumers are on social media constantly, scrolling through posts. Many have begun clicking on brand posts and making purchases. "Social commerce is becoming increasingly popular for brands," noted Darin Archer, chief strategy officer at Elastic Path. "Even when the transaction itself may be happening outside the app, there's a much smaller gap between discovery and purchase."
Designing a Winning E-Commerce Customer Experience
January 11, 2020
An optimized customer experience can tip the balance toward gaining a purchase instead of losing a customer. Excellent CX has transitioned firmly from something nice to have to a business requirement. No matter how good a product or service is, the e-commerce Web and mobile design surrounding it will play a key role in maintaining engagement and ensuring consumers complete their shopping journey.
Tech Strides, Tech Worries and Tech Visions: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 1
January 8, 2020
If you're turned off by the mere thought of talking heads vying to speak the loudest or the longest in a TV "discussion" of some pressing issue of the day, read on for a refreshing dose of sanity. ECT News Network recruited five smart people with plenty to say about the state of technology, and we gave them plenty of time to say it. The result is a far-ranging intercourse.
Tech Firms Join Forces to Create Smart Home Connectivity Standard
December 19, 2019
Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance are teaming up on a new Internet Protocol-based standard for smart home device connectivity. Connected Home over IP will be an open source project. A working group will define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification. The goal is to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps and cloud services.
The Ever-Changing Face of E-Commerce: 1995-2020
December 12, 2019
E-commerce doesn't look the same today as it did in 1995. A company called "eBay" burst onto the scene that year, and Jeff Bezos shipped Amazon's first book order. That unleashed a flood of online shopping, and businesses and consumers never looked back. In the past two and a half decades, e-commerce revolutionized industries such as retail and supply chain.
Apple Feature Forces Change in Online Ad Industry
December 11, 2019
Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature has made it difficult for online advertisers to use cookies to target Safari users. Third-party cookies "serve as the foundation for almost all advertising use cases," noted Jordan Mitchell, head of consumer privacy, identity and data at the IAB Tech Lab. The blocking "negatively affects the ability for brands to target audiences."
How to Turn First-Time Holiday Shoppers Into Repeat Buyers
December 10, 2019
More shoppers. Increased sales. Larger orders. This year's five-day stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday left echoing "cha-chings" ringing through the retail atmosphere. A record 190 million Americans shopped during Thanksgiving weekend, and they're not done yet. This will be the first year that every day in November and December will surpass $1 billion in online sales.
A Secret Strategy That Could Be Apple's Fatal Self-Inflicted Blow
December 9, 2019
Both Intel and a bunch of professors connected to Apple and the FTC came out in support of the Judge Koh verdict against Qualcomm, even though it had been shown that the foundational evidence was manufactured contrary to the wishes of the DoJ, DoD and other major government agencies. That was well after Qualcomm was identified as a critical part of the U.S. defense against Huawei's 5G dominance.
For Some Sellers, Black Friday Was Beige
December 6, 2019
If Black Friday is the biggest sales day of the year, is it necessarily the best? For many small merchants, it seemed Black Friday was more beige than black. Black Friday is the biggest sales day of the year, but it's often dominated by massive merchants. For smaller businesses, there are other peak sales days that might be better suited to their unique positioning.
Small Etailers: It's Not Too Late to Protect Your Holiday Revenue
December 5, 2019
As consumers start to tackle their holiday shopping lists, retailers are scrambling to finish preparations for what's likely to be a record-breaking year. Total sales could break through the $1.1 trillion mark for the first time in history. Cyber Monday alone racked up an estimated $9.4 billion in sales. Most merchants understand how significant this time of year is.
SMBs Enjoy Online Surge on Small Business Saturday
December 3, 2019
While many retailers mull the takeaway from this year's Black Friday Cyber Monday shopping event, others may be more interested in the action that took place on Saturday. Online shoppers on Saturday spent $3.6 billion dollars at both large and small retailers, reflecting 18 percent year-over-year growth and setting a new sales record for the day, according to Adobe Analytics.
Demystifying 5G - It's Real and It's Here
November 26, 2019
Every decade the wireless industry transitions to a new cellular technology, and every generation there are doubts about it. This continues with 5G. I have heard from consumers and even people within the industry that there is "no need for 5G," "5G is only for businesses," "5G won't be available until 2025," "mmWave is only for fixed wireless access," and "radiation from mmWave is harmful."
4 Big 2020 Sales Enablement Predictions
November 23, 2019
Now is the time when growth-minded organizations and their sales leaders begin to evaluate this year while looking ahead to the next. It's a time to identify opportunities for improvement, anticipate industry changes, and solidify a sales strategy that will align with the evolving expectations of business-to-business buyers, emerging technologies, and the company's business goals.
How Safe Are Home Security Systems?
November 21, 2019
I have loved the story of Ring doorbells ever since seeing the CEO Jamie Siminoff on TV's Shark Tank several years ago. I also loved the SimpliSafe story with CEO Chad Laurans. Companies like these, including competitors Blink and Nest -- all started by creative entrepreneurs -- are changing the security industry. However, there are several problems users need to be aware of.
The Thorny Problem of 5G Security
November 15, 2019
A few years ago, putting the words "mobile telecoms security" in the title of an article would be a license to write whatever you wanted below, because no one was likely to read any of the words after the title. Sprinkling the magic ingredient 5G has changed this, and "5G security" is a hot topic now. What has changed? There is a geopolitical aspect to 5G security, but it is not the full story.
Voice Commerce: It's a Natural
November 5, 2019
Consumers increasingly are shopping by voice rather than typing on a keyboard or searching on a phone. People are growing more comfortable with voice assistants, as the tech becomes smarter and more conversational every day. "Consumers appreciate the simplicity of using voice to shop," said Shilp Agarwal, CEO of Blutag. "Users can express their purchasing intent much more quickly over voice."
Retailers: Prepare Now for Holiday Outages
November 4, 2019
In the age of fast shipping and one-click ordering, a single technical glitch can be detrimental to retail sales. A server outage during the holiday season could be a critical issue. Target is a prime example. Its in-store registers and online services were down for a few hours as recently as September. Target's payment-processing system was down for more than a day in June.
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