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AI-Powered Inventory Management: A Make-or-Break Tool for Retailers
March 22, 2019
Retail is facing battles on all fronts. Up against Amazon's streamlined operations on one side, and a higher demand for flawless customer service and experience on the other, it's either think or sink for many. However, AI has thrown some early adopters a lifeline. As Amazon has proven with its stranglehold on the retail industry, online shopping is unquestionably the future.
Phishers Bait Hooks for Netflix, Amex Users
March 22, 2019
Cybersecurity experts at Microsoft's Windows Defender Security Intelligence Team this week reported their discovery of two new email-based phishing campaigns. One targets Amex users while the other targets Netflix customers. Both campaigns reportedly are very well-crafted, featuring legitimate logos and even fill-in forms that closely mimic those on the respective company's own websites.
Oracle MCX
March 21, 2019
Oracle held its Modern Customer Experience conference in Las Vegas this week, and it was eye-opening. This is the fourth MCX conference and an important milestone for a company that came to the cloud later than its competition. No doubt about it, Oracle has done much in a short time to develop and deploy its customer experience vision, so it is now possible and fair to critique the company's progress.
Instagram Launches In-App Shopping Experiment
March 20, 2019
Instagram has introduced Checkout on Instagram -- an in-app purchasing tool -- as a closed beta for consumers in the U.S. Among the 20 participating brands are Adidas, Nike, Burberry, Dior, Huda Beauty, Prada and Michael Kors. "Users in the U.S. can buy from a majority of these brands starting today, with all of them coming on board over the coming weeks," said Instagram spokesperson Paige Cohen.
Apple Boosts Performance in New iPad Air and Mini
March 19, 2019
Apple has announced a new 10.5-inch iPad and a refresh of the iPad mini. The iPad Air, which will sell for $499, offers 64 gigabytes of solid state storage and WiFi support. It has Apple's latest mobile processor, the A12 Bionic chip, and supports Apple Pencil and the company's smart keyboard. The 7.9-inch iPad mini, which will sell at a base price of $399 with WiFi support also has an A12 chip.
How to Rein In Powerful Companies Without Ruining the US Tech Industry
March 18, 2019
Elizabeth Warren's desire to curtail Facebook, Amazon and other companies that have misused their massive power -- or may do so in the future -- is well founded. The U.S. appears to be trending toward civil war, and I'd place social media in general on the wrong side of this trend. However, we need a plan that will cure the problem without killing the patient.
How to Bring Relationships Back to CRM
March 16, 2019
Customer relationship management is a term you've likely heard if you have worked in the tech space. CRM software solutions have not always been as far-reaching as they are today. Over the last 40 years, CRM has evolved from a range of disparate business solutions developed for various customer needs. The earliest CRM tools were devices like Rolodexes, which you can hardly even find these days.
From Virtual to Value: Building Meaningful Experiences With Gamification
March 15, 2019
Amid shifting consumer habits and the digitization of everything, the retail landscape has undergone significant transformations over the past decade, and it continues to evolve as quickly as ever. These transformations bring about a slew of challenges and opportunities for retailers to improve the overall shopping experience. One technique for increasing engagement is gamification.
Can Facebook Solve Its Worsening Privacy Problem?
March 14, 2019
The good news is that of the many troubles Facebook has, privacy seems to be front and center for both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. The question is, will the actions they take to address the company's privacy issues be enough? If not, this is the kind of problem that can and will cause long-term damage to the Facebook brand. Its leaders need to come up with an immediate fix.
New Chrome Extension Aims to Make the Web Less Toxic
March 14, 2019
Jigsaw has released Tune, an experimental Chrome extension that lets users hide comments its algorithms identify as toxic. It is available for Mac, Windows, Linux and the Chrome OS. Tune builds on the same machine learning models that power Jigsaw's Perspective API to rate the toxicity of comments. Tune users can adjust the volume of comments from zero to anything goes.
Amazon Drops Lowest-Pricing Rule for Third-Party Sellers
March 13, 2019
Amazon reportedly has removed the price parity contract clause that barred third-party vendors on its platform from selling their products at a lower price elsewhere. The company long has been accused of anticompetitive behavior and has come under considerable political pressure because of its use of the price parity, also known as "most favored nation," restriction.
Millennial CRM
March 13, 2019
Trying to do business without also having a modern CRM system is like walking around naked. You can do it, at least for a little while, but people will begin to think you're weird -- and the trouble is, those people are all potential customers. CRM is essential today because, despite our reverence for the free market, it's really more like free markets -- plural.
US Government Forging Ahead With Airport Facial Recognition Plans
March 12, 2019
Plans to bring facial recognition to major U.S. airports by 2021 are on a fast flight path, despite concerns about the new technology's readiness. President Trump in 2017 issued an executive order expediting the deployment of biometric verification of the identities of all travelers crossing U.S. borders. It stipulates that facial recognition identification be used in the top 20 U.S. airports.
Warren Dons Tech-Buster Mantle
March 12, 2019
Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple would be broken up under a proposal from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "Today's big tech companies have too much power -- too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy," the Democratic presidential hopeful wrote in an online post. Warren has called for legislative remedies to address the problems.
A Lesson From Amazon: Alternative Revenue Streams Work
March 11, 2019
There's a reason that Amazon's stock skyrocketed 28 percent in 2018, a notable outlier amid the broader market trends. The behemoth retailer is bolstered by a few key differentiators when stacked against the competition -- but let's backtrack for a moment to examine the state of the current online marketplace. In truth, there's an expectation in the market that buying online is cheaper.
The Strange Tech Wars of 2019
March 11, 2019
The tech market is defined by its battles: Microsoft vs. IBM; Apple vs. Microsoft; Netscape vs. Microsoft; Google vs. Microsoft. If Microsoft were a person, it likely would have PTSD. Then there was Apple vs. Google, and now the big one is Apple vs. Qualcomm. The screwy thing for me is that Huawei represents a far greater threat to both companies than they represent to each other.
Is Your Site Mobile Perfect? How to Catch Buyers Who Never Stand Still
March 9, 2019
Mobile search and buying continue to grow as the chosen means for consumers' online shopping, with the market set to reach an estimated $218 billion in 2019. By 2021, it's estimated that 72.9 percent of online purchases will be made on a mobile device. If you factor in the Millennial and Generation Z demographics, virtually all sales soon will be mobile-generated.
Structural Shifts in Semiconductor Industry Spawn New Trends
March 8, 2019
Long-term trends in the technology segment are often the result of structural change. One such change in the semiconductor space was the shift to outsourcing specialized functions, including technology development in the form of intellectual property, chip design, fabrication, and packaging and test. That change has sparked a trend toward customization.
Augmented Reality and E-Commerce: Bridging the Physical-Digital Gap
March 8, 2019
I grew up thinking the Mall of America was an unbelievable epicenter of retail commerce. Touted as the biggest mall in the world -- even equipped with an amusement park -- the Minnesota complex boasted stores of all kinds: toys, clothing, furniture, home furnishings. Then this thing called "e-commerce" came along and basically made the Mall of America seem like Main Street in small-town America.
Modern Selling
March 7, 2019
Looking at the current assortment of CRM functionality, including AI, machine learning, voice recognition and chatbots, you might conclude that the tools are evolving to remove salespeople and others from direct customer contact -- and you wouldn't be wrong. What's surprising to me, though, is the amount of sales angst among senior people about the division of salespeople's time.
Target Hits the E-Commerce Bull's-Eye
March 6, 2019
Target has reported higher gains in last year's holiday sales, largely due to improved e-commerce strategies and store makeovers, and has offered an upbeat outlook. Its stores fulfilled nearly 75 percent of its fourth-quarter digital sales. Holiday sales increased 5.3 percent. Physical stores open for at least 12 months saw a sales jump of 2.9 percent. Online sales soared 31 percent.
Facebook's 2FA 'Security' Practices Violate User Privacy
March 5, 2019
Facebook has undermined privacy on its network by exposing mobile phone numbers provided to secure user accounts through two-factor authentication. That's because anyone can use the numbers to look up a user's account. One doesn't even have to be a Facebook member to do so. Moreover, there's no way to opt out of the setting, although it can be limited to "friends" only.
Learning Online: Getting Down to Business
March 4, 2019
Online learning platforms have made it easier than ever to offer workshops, courses and educational content of all kinds. In addition to the growth of online learning in traditional educational spheres, there's been growth in the business world. Companies increasingly have been using online learning platforms both to train employees and to educate customers.
Michael Cohen and the Creation of a Deep Learning AI Lie Detector
March 4, 2019
Like many of you I was fascinated by the Michael Cohen testimony last week in what was more performance art than fact-finding. It tends to be fascinating to watch disgruntled ex-employees testify, but they often aren't the most reliable witnesses. The personal nature of their termination tends to push them toward exaggeration, and many were fired for legitimate reasons.
Why Children Should Learn to Code
March 1, 2019
Learning to code, regardless of the path a child chooses to take, is crucial today. Research shows us that this knowledge will be important in any career. As both a female leader in technology and a mother of a 10-year old boy, I am acutely aware of its critical importance in both my professional and personal life. Coding is a necessary literacy in this technological age.
FTC's Fake Reviews Settlement May Spur E-Commerce Fairness Era
February 28, 2019
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement of its suit against a company accused of using fake paid reviews to boost sales of its health supplement product on Amazon. The settlement puts vendors and marketing firms on notice that the FTC is committed to rigorous enforcement of rules against fraudulent reviews on e-commerce platforms.
Google Taps ML to Boost Wind Farm Output
February 28, 2019
Predicting the power output of wind farms has been challenging, but it's becoming less so with the use of machine learning. Google and British AI company DeepMind have been using ML algorithms to improve predictions of the wind power output at Google's wind farms in the Midwest. The farms use the algorithms to predict wind power output 36 hours ahead of generation.
Microsoft Defends Jumping in AR Bed With Military
February 27, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has defended the company's $479 million contract with the U.S. military -- a commitment that some Microsoft employees strongly opposed. While pledging to engage with employees and consider Microsoft's role as a corporate citizen, Nadella said the company would not withhold technology from institutions in democracies elected to preserve the freedoms of their citizens.
Why You Should Source Foreign Talent for AI, IoT and ML
February 27, 2019
The artificial intelligence revolution has been going on for a while, but that does not mean all of software research and development is part of it. It is, nonetheless, an interesting example of what pushes the software industry forward. The ideas and techniques that brought machine learning into existence were developed over the span of several decades.
Salesforce Reflections
February 26, 2019
Salesforce will be celebrating its 20th birthday on March 8. Where did those decades go? "Time flies like an arrow," said Groucho. "Fruit flies like a banana." There it is. A respectable chunk of the analyst community that follows Salesforce converged last week in San Francisco inside the company's cavernous new headquarters to hear about its plans for the year ahead.
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Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Has technology made transportation more or less safe?
Traveling by all modes of transportation has become riskier with each passing year.
In general, transportation safety has been improving steadily, despite some failures.
Some modes of transportation have been improving while others have become less safe.
We may have reached a tipping point where more tech means less safety.
Don't blame the tech -- greedy companies haven't done adequate testing.
Government regulators have not been playing a strong enough oversight role.
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide