Archive for the ‘Telecommunications’ Category
Friday, August 2nd, 2013
Most retailers are expecting their upcoming holiday revenue to grow more than 10 percent, according to a survey by Baynote, a leading provider of personalized customer experience solutions;
Results from its inaugural 2013 Holiday Predictions Survey, conducted in partnership with the e-tailing group, found that retailers are cautiously optimistic, with 60% forecasting growth in excess of 10 percent for 2013 holiday season revenue, in line with industry forecasts.
Not surprisingly, retailers expect mobile to play an increased role in driving sales with minimal contributions from social media. The study surveyed 77 U.S. retailers with annual revenue ranging from less than $20 million to more than $5 billion.
For detailed analysis of the data and to view the associated infographic, visit: http://www.baynote.com/infographic/retail-perspectives-holiday-2013.
Retailers are cautiously optimistic this holiday season:
- Thirty-eight percent of respondents project an 11 to 20 percent year-over-year increase in sales, with 22 percent predicting an increase of 21 percent or more.
- The majority expect a slow start to the season with increased momentum throughout late November and December.
- Respondents predict that online will continue to steal market share from retail stores as the season progresses, but mobile’s influence will drive renewed store interest for omni-channel retailers.
Mobile will drive significant revenue while social continues to underwhelm:
- Fifty-three percent of respondents expect mobile transactions to account for a significant part of holiday revenue.
- Thirty-eight percent believe mobile will drive renewed in-store interest that will lead to increased revenue.
- Mobile’s momentum heading into the holiday season is in stark contrast to social media, which 84 percent of respondents see as having little or no impact on sales.
“The survey demonstrates that retailers are expecting to benefit from mobile investments made in the weeks and months leading up to the holiday season,” according to Darnell.
“By using mobile as a tool to drive discovery, in-store purchases and overall customer experience, retailers will increase customer connectivity and be able to provide information and incentives that will encourage customers to complete transactions and engage with the brand post-sale.”
Strategically timed promotions will lead to a promotion-centric season:
- Retailers plan to offer promotions, such as flash sales, buy-one-get-one free offers and free shipping, at selective times throughout the holiday season.
- Thirty percent of retailers will begin promotions prior to October 1; over 40 percent of retailers will wait until early November.
“While retailers have expressed cautious optimism for the 2013 holiday season, that optimism hinges on the ability to drive sales through strategically timed promotions in the fourth quarter,” said Lauren Freedman, president, e-tailing group. “Retailers have made aggressive yet realistic goals for the season, and as a result, all eyes will be on bottom-line performance.”
Focus on consumer experience is driving investment in SEO/SEM and eCommerce platforms:
- Forty-six percent of retailers continue to make significant investments in SEO and SEM technology.
- Nearly all retailers are investing in enhanced home, category and landing pages while 77 percent invest in enhanced site search capabilities.
- Eighty-one percent of retailers have dedicated resources to upgrade eCommerce platforms in anticipation of the season.
“Retailers are serious about customer experience this year,” said Darnell. “The data shows retailers recognize that next-generation eCommerce platforms with capabilities to drive a truly personalized and relevant experience will empower merchandisers to achieve increased engagement, revenue and ultimately lifetime value from improved relationships with customers.”
Monday, July 15th, 2013
While many new markets related to technology show slowing growth year over year, that is not the case with mobile advertising, according to new research from Mintel.
The Mintel study shows that three in four (76%) of mobile web users in the US have seen an ad in the past month, including 91% of 18-24-year-olds and 83% of those aged 25-34, a total audience of about half (49%) of all adults (when those without smartphones or Internet access are taken into consideration).
“Typically, nascent markets related to technology show slowing growth each year,” says Billy Hulkower, senior analyst, technology and media at Mintel. ”
However, in the case of mobile ads, consumers will still be acquiring their first smartphones and tablets through 2015, suggesting that sales growth deceleration will not occur at the same pace that would be seen for a hardware market—instead, sales may accelerate further as the audience for mobile media expands.”
As you might expect, the ads most commonly viewed are banners. About half of the 18-34 olds saw mobile display ads in an app, banner, or mobile game, and about four in 10 also saw a video ad or heard an Internet radio ad in the last month.
That actually sounds low to us. If you use a streaming digital radio service such as Pandora, you’re likely to hear an Internet radio ad every time you tune in. And many online videos run their ad roll before you can see what you came for, so they’re increasingly common.
Mobile: where the most desirable consumers are
“The majority of adults and teens now own a smartphone, including more than three-quarters of the youngest adults and highest-income groups. Advertisers may feel squeamish about the personal nature of the phone and its small screen size, but it is now where the most desirable consumer audiences lie.
“Growth is likely to continue rising rapidly as more consumers adopt both smartphones and tablets, with the late majority boarding these hardware platforms for the first time.” Billy Hulkower said.
Furthermore, it seems mobile couponing in particular presents a clear opportunity for driving sales via mobile ads. About one in six adults (18%) have redeemed a mobile coupon, including over 20% of respondents from households with more than $100K in annual income.
Want to increase mobile ad viewership? Mintel says giving mobile consumers free access to streaming media or apps that usually require a small fee can potentially boost ad viewing substantially. More than one in four (28%) mobile web users are willing to receive ads that support free usage of a mobile app, with this sentiment distributed somewhat evenly across age groups (albeit favoring 18-24-year-olds where the willingness increases to 34%).
Friday, July 12th, 2013
Online and mobile mergers and acquisition deals increased by 7 percent in the first half of 2013, but value decreased 29 percent, from $32.54 billion in the second half of 2012 to $23.16 billion.
The median revenue moved from 2.3x to 2.1x, while the median EBITDA multiple increased from 10.0x to 16.0x, according to the Berkery Noyes mid-market investment bank, for the first half 2013 mergers and acquisitions trend report
Yahoo!, with 13 transactions, was the industry’s most active acquirer in first half 2013. Aside from its $1.10 billion acquisition of Tumblr, Yahoo! has mainly focused on small, mobile-based transactions this year.
Tumblr was Yahoo!’s largest deal in the Online & Mobile Industry since 2003, when it acquired search and internet advertising company Overture Services for $1.63 billion.
SaaS & Cloud was the most active market segment and underwent a 15 percent increase in volume, totaling 291 transactions year-to-date. M&A activity in the Communications segment improved 22 percent since second half 2012, making it the sector with the largest half-to-half year increase. One notable Communications transaction in first half 2013 was Dropbox’s acquisition of mobile email application Mailbox.
Mobile a strong driver
In addition, acquirers are looking to add mobile solutions that aggregate relevant content in relation to individual users, as news is shared in real-time.
There were several deals over the past six months that focused on news summary and content sharing, such as LinkedIn’s acquisition of Pulse for $90 million, Google’s acquisition of Wavii for $30 million, and Yahoo!’s acquisition of Summly for $30 million.
“Mobile continues to be a strong driver of M&A activity in the information marketplace,” stated Mary Jo Zandy, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Content delivery methods are evolving, and acquirers in general are showing more interest in semantic technologies that improve the end-user experience.”
Friday, June 14th, 2013
The growth rate of app users has been 251 percent (CAGR) over the last 5 years. It has outpaced the growth of the stationary internet users worldwide by an astonishing factor of 15.
Stationary internet user base is still more than two times bigger than mobile app user base, but its growth rate (CAGR =16 percent) looks rather deplorable compared to mobile. There are 4 major implications every company has to deal with.
There are many reasons for the massive growth of the app user base.
Where does it all lead?
The wide range of Apps is one of the main drivers. Apps and smart mobile devices create a win-win alliance that goes beyond the software-PC alliance. Apps provide the intelligence for smart devices to be used as a tool for almost every daily activity.
The mobile device provides the technological basis but more important provides the context in which the app creates value for its user. There are no other mass market devices that users carry around 24/7, that are as personal and that provide location information at all times.
Where does it all lead to? We continue our discussion on the impact the app-eco system has on the industry by highlighting 4 consequences this rapid market growth will have.
1. The number of mobile app users will overtake stationary web users: This seems evident as there is no end in sight for the growth of mobile app users. Eventually a great part of today’s 7 bn (international Telecom Union) mobile subscribers will possess a capable device and will make use of apps.
The biggest challenge will be to tap into the developing countries with their 5.2 bn mobile subscribers. It will be only a matter of time until the industry will pour out cheap capable mobile devices for far less than 100 USD to allow monthly subscription plans with ARPUs of around 5 USD.
2. IT development will become mobile: If private and business users are mobile, IT solutions will have to follow. Mobile app development business has already become a multi-billion dollar business (see report: The Market for Mobile Application Development Services), but this is just the beginning.
Enterprises will mobilize their IT solutions to provide e.g. mobile access to company databases as well as to reach out to their customers for marketing, sales and service purposes.
Hundreds of thousands of IT developers will have to be trained in mobile programming languages as well as in GUI design and user flow. The IT service industry is about to realize these changes and the business opportunities this development will have in the next 10 years.
3. The mobile channel will become a key strategy element for every company: There is no industry that is not affected by the new mobile channel. It will be a challenging task to create, develop, maintain and manage hundreds of mobile services on an increasing number of platforms and for a diversity of internal and external user groups. This task is not being addressed properly in the majority of the company strategy and operation units at the moment.
4. M&A will become hot: Because of the speed the market developments and the time it takes to implement changes within an organization, companies will open their pockets and start to buy apps and mobile service companies to keep up with the pace of the market.
The first specialized service providers like Apptopia have jumped on the train and offer matching services for buyers and sellers of apps. Apple’s new App Transfer service also facilitates the ownership changes of an app business.
These market developments emphasize the importance of formulating a mobile strategy that is covering all app strategy dimensions from mobile use case definition, platform selection, target group prioritization, decision on the proximity to core services, selection of open or walled garden sourcing strategy to organizational implementation of mobile into the existing company structures.
Regardless of the time scale, this inevitability makes your mobile/app and web strategy in the long run more important than your PC/web strategy.
To get the stats behind these market changes, read research2guidance’s “The Smartphone App Monitor Vol. 10”, the comprehensive source of app market analysis.
Friday, June 14th, 2013
Mobile consumers are knocking at the door of small merchants, but many of those businesses are not ready for them, according to a newly released research report from TransFirst, a provider of transaction processing services and payment enabling technologies, and ControlScan, a payment security and compliance solution provider.
The mobile payment acceptance survey, Small Merchants and Mobile Payments: 2013 Survey on Technology Awareness and Adoption, examines the business impacts of widespread mobile device use and the accompanying sudden increase of mobile-friendly applications.
According to the survey, 82 percent of ecommerce merchants don’t know whether a purchase on their website comes from a mobile device or a PC — yet data from those who do indicates that mobile site visitors are representing a significantly increasing portion of online sales.
Another key finding of the survey shows 49 percent of ecommerce merchants know their websites are not currently optimized for mobile devices and an additional 17 percent say they don’t know or are unsure about their site’s current status — revealing that as many as two-thirds of these merchants may be putting up roadblocks to the growing number of mobile consumers.
A plan of action needed
Ten percent of respondents to last year’s benchmark Mobile Payment Acceptance Survey said they were using a smartphone or tablet to accept credit card payments. That number has almost doubled to 17 percent in less than one year’s time.
“The mobile consumer is knocking at the small merchant’s door,” said Craig Tieken, Director of Product at TransFirst. “Business owners who aren’t already up to speed with mobile payment acceptance need to have a viable plan of action to get there.”
“The mobile payment survey findings show that small merchants have a real business need to effectively adapt to mobile technology trends,” agreed Dave Abouchar, Sr. Director of Product Management for ControlScan.
Now is the time
“Now is the time for ISOs and acquirers to embrace these trends with innovative offerings that guide their merchants toward business growth and increased revenue.”
The survey was sent to small to mid-sized businesses representing service areas such as retail and consumer goods, healthcare and human services, personal and professional services, and restaurant and hospitality. Responses from more than 1650 merchants were collected from March 18 to April 18 of this year. Three-quarters of survey respondents’ businesses have 10 or fewer employees.
The full report is available now for download. In addition, Tieken and Abouchar will present an expert review of the survey’s findings in a June 27 Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) webinar entitled “Small Merchants and Mobile Payments: Measuring Current Technology Awareness and Adoption.“
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
According to a recent survey conducted by Intermec (NYSE:IN), transport and logistics companies around the world believe that arming their mobile workforce with new technology could cut both their pick-up times by 30% and delivery times by 29%, savings which could be crucial in boosting operational efficiency levels and meeting customer demands.
These are the principal findings of a survey by Intermec, which surveyed managers of transport and logistics firms in six countries around the world during April 2013.
“Investing the time to review current processes may seem to be a daunting task, but the benefits show this is more than worthwhile,” said Jeff Sibio, Intermec Industry Marketing Director for Transport and Logistics.
The study finds that 38% of US organizations view operational efficiency as the area of most strategic importance for their business.
Same-day delivery demanded
More than three quarters (77%) of organizations across UK, US, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand say their customers now demand same-day delivery services, and 92% of companies claim that meeting these expectations is placing significant challenges on their business to adjust.
Most feel that customer demand can best be made through automating key processes in the pick-up and delivery areas, and adopting new technology for drivers such as GPS, mobile and broadband communications. Companies anticipate that by adopting these technologies, the time taken for each pick-up and delivery can be cut by 2.68 and 2.41 minutes respectively1, providing a significant boost to the efficiency of the mobile worker.
Automate to innovate
- The survey respondents believe broadband mobile communications (60%), integrated vehicle telematics (44%) and RFID (38%) offer the most promising return on investment to their organization.
- The efficiency gains from new technology could extend to back office staff as well. The survey respondents report that they are receiving 6,677 calls per day from customers asking for order status updates.
- By providing proactive shipment updates, a process enabled by location-based and mobile technologies, these same companies believe they could eliminate 24% of these calls immediately.
- This equates to 1,602 calls per working day, a time saving that could then be used to better serve a wider range of customers.
The need to re-engineer
- 44% of companies feel that process re-engineering is the most effective means of improving operational efficiency levels.
- Overall, transport and logistics managers feel that a process re-engineering effort can improve efficiency levels by over 13%.
- Yet despite this, over a third (39%) have failed to complete a process re-engineering effort in the last year.
- Of these, nearly three quarters (72%) have not evaluated their existing processes for at least two years.
“Customer expectations in the industry are growing higher each day, putting increasing pressure on mobile workers to meet tighter deadlines,” said Sibio. “Our survey shows that the use of technology not only reduces call and pick up times for workers, it also offers customers the chance to make fewer calls.”
For more information, visit www.intermec.com
Monday, June 10th, 2013
As more consumers rely on mobile devices to pay for goods and services, watch videos, operate their intelligent homes, and more, mobile providers must expand digital offerings and maintain high-performing networks to attract and keep customers, according to Accenture’s Mobile Web Watch 2013 survey.
Accenture surveyed nearly 31,000 consumers in 26 countries to understand what communications service providers (CSPs) must do to address their well-connected-consumers’ desire for immediacy and increased control of their digital communication and entertainment options.
The global survey found that the speed of mobile Internet connections was most often cited by all consumers as the top CSP differentiator. Ninety-seven percent of all respondents cited speed as important, and 78 percent said there is some room for improvement.
Will pay for faster service
In addition, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of all respondents said they would pay additional monthly fees for mobile Internet service that would be 10 times faster than their current connection, indicating that providers’ investments in high-speed data networks, such as 4G, could reap benefits.
However, there are disparities in consumers’ willingness to pay for more speed. For example, in mature markets, the willingness to pay extra for 4G is lower (57 percent of all respondents in these markets), except in Italy (71 percent) and Finland (70 percent). In emerging markets, three-quarters (76 percent) of mobile Internet users would pay more for 4G; customers in Brazil and Russia (83 percent in each country) are willing to pay more.
In addition to the topic of transmission speeds, the survey also showed that providers must deliver an outstanding quality of service to satisfy customers. Almost all respondents (96 percent) said the quality of network is important, closely followed by its area of coverage (95 percent) and connection speed (95 percent). More surprisingly, 94 percent of respondents said the cost of data is slightly less important than quality, coverage, or connection speed, and even less, 89 percent, cited customer service as being important.
Every business is digital
“Mobility is not only driving convergence, but it is also accelerating consumers’ appetites for a high-quality, seamless experience on their mobile devices,” said Monte Hong, Accenture’s Managing Director – Global Communications Industry and Asia Pacific Communications Industry lead.
“These days, every business is a digital business, and consumers are looking for the kinds of personal relationships that were typical years ago, between shoppers and their neighborhood store. To stay in the game, providers must deliver the variety of services consumers and businesses want – on fast, reliable, secure networks – or they will struggle to keep up with competitors at every turn.”
A tug-of-war for consumers’ loyalty
The survey revealed that providers will continue to compete for customer loyalty, particularly from “non-traditional” competitors that include device manufacturers and financial institutions. When asked who they prefer to supply their “packaged” communications bundles encompassing audio and video calls, messaging, e-mails, and access to applications on their mobile devices, 31 percent of all consumers surveyed – and 42 percent in emerging markets – said they would turn to device manufacturers for all their communications needs.
Consumers surveyed in both mature and emerging markets were asked who they would choose as a provider if mobile payments were as widely accepted as credit cards.
With this caveat in mind, more than half (56 percent) of those surveyed would switch to a provider that offered mobile payments if their current carrier did not.
When consumers were asked to consider their top choices for mobile payments providers, banks scored the highest (89 percent), followed by payment card providers (81 percent) and mobile providers (77 percent).
Depending on the market, some customers are more flexible in their choice of mobile payments provider, the survey showed. In emerging markets 79 percent of those surveyed, versus 70 percent of customers in mature markets, would choose mobile network operators for mobile payments services.
Cloud capabilities wanted
Mobile device manufacturers were chosen by 69 percent of consumers in emerging markets, compared with 54 percent in mature markets, followed by web portals (68 percent emerging markets, and 46 percent mature markets) and social networks (64 percent emerging markets/41 percent mature markets).
For cloud services, almost half (46 percent) of all respondents – and 54 percent in emerging markets – would want their mobile provider to offer cloud-based capabilities. The survey showed that location-based services are also rising in importance with customers. Among those consumers surveyed who have access to the Internet via a smartphone or tablet, 72 percent would disclose their location on their mobile device. Nearly half would do so when searching for information on nearby shops or similar facilities, and 35 percent would disclose their location for discounts or coupons from retailers in their local area.
Smartphone proliferation drives Internet-based voice calls
When asked about using their smartphones to make phone calls over the Internet, 32 percent of all smartphone users in both mature and emerging markets regularly use their smartphones to make Internet-based calls.
However, 39 percent of those surveyed in emerging markets regularly do so, especially among those who own Apple iPhones (44 percent globally) and those already on 4G networks (41 percent globally). In addition, if network connection speed and quality improves, almost half (47 percent) of all respondents said they would use their mobile phone to make Internet calls, with 60 percent in emerging markets as the most likely.
A disruptive force
“There are certainly challenges for providers, especially in the face of technology developments – including mobility, analytics, cloud, digital services, and social networks – that are accelerating convergence.
As a disruptive force, convergence is a threat to the unprepared, but CSPs can compete by assuring quality of service as they address customers’ demands, manage new traffic patterns or reconsider the structure of data plans,” Hong said.
“There are also potential opportunities in mobile payment services – perhaps by collaborating with financial institutions. CSPs can also consider cloud-based and location-based services, using tools like analytics to help ensure deep insight into subscribers’ behavior, which will help CSPs deliver an innovative, consistent digital experience to their customers.”
Friday, June 7th, 2013
There is a gap between demand and availability of skilled mobile developers across various global locations including Silicon Valley, according to the findings of its latest study on “Global Mobile Talent.”
To address the gaps, companies are following a three-pronged approach – acquisitions, leveraging global talent hotspots by expanding their R&D footprint and vendor partnerships – to take advantage of available talent, the study found.
The Talent Neuron study revealed that the supply of talent is definitely not being able to keep pace with demand and while job postings for mobile developers have doubled over the past two years, the number of registered developers is increasing only by 13%, thereby creating a huge gap. This rate of growth is expected till 2015.
Among the measures that companies are taking to bridge the gap; several large organizations are leveraging global talent ‘hotspots’ such as India, China, Israel and Europe. The majority of mobile application talent is located in Europe, The Middle East, and Africa (EMEA, where 42% of the global top 25 cities for mobile development are located), with Finland, Tel Aviv and Moscow emerging as key locations.
Hotspot for talent
Interestingly, Asia Pacific (APAC) is a hotspot for talent that works on the Android platform, while iOS and Blackberry developers are less prevalent in the region. The study found tremendous demand for HTML 5 development skills, which witnessed a 149% increase in job postings in 2013. This was followed closely followed by job posts for Android app developers (increased by 146%) and iOS developers (132%).
Vijay Swami, Co-Founder and CEO, Talent Neuron, said, “There is an intense war for mobile development talent, fueled by low availability and the dynamic nature of the industry which requires constantly updated skill sets. Recruiters need to understand the underlying technology and requirements before writing job descriptions, and also understand location-specific trends.
Rather than waiting for the perfect candidate, companies should aggressively leverage global locations to expand their catchment area, analyze skills of niche mobile first organizations before M&A and opportunistically leverage partners for talent (Not cost)”.
Kings College London
However, while the US and EMEA have a matured mobile development ecosystem, with regions like the Bay Area, San Francisco,New York, London and Tel Aviv being hubs for developers who can take on high-end work, cities like Sydney, Tokyo, Munich, Sao Paolo are ‘challengers’ where talent predominantly works on testing and development. Emerging cities include Beijing, Bangalore,Shanghai, Dublin and Madrid, where the ecosystem is nascent.
The top 25 cities have close to 55% of mobile application talent, led by the Bay Area in the Americas, London in EMEA and Beijing in APAC. While the Americas have 45% of mobile development talent, this is followed by APAC with 30% and EMEA with 25%.
The study said that acquisitions are another method that companies are using to bridge the talent gap. Mobile M&A activity has increased significantly last year and is expected to maintain momentum in 2013. In fact, in 2011, the total value of the deals grew by 100% from 2010 and stood at USD $18.8 billion.
And last but not the least, it read that the increasing demand for mobile application development skills is now driving universities to offer courses on the subject.
These universities are located across the US and Canada (12), EMEA (nine in the United Kingdom, one each in Sweden and Finland), Australia (five) and India (one), the study revealed. An example of company-university partnership is the investment by Microsoft of $24 million in the three-year AppCampus app development program in Aalto University at Finland.
Thursday, June 6th, 2013
The majority of businesses (79%) had a mobile security incident in the past year, and the costs are substantial. The new report found mobile security incidents tallied up to over six figures for 42 percent of businesses, including 16 percent who put the cost at more than $500,000.
From smartphones to tablets, mobile devices continue to cause ongoing concern for IT teams responsible for information security. Sensitive corporate information can be easily transported, leaked, or lost while the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement has dramatically increased the number of expensive security incidents.
Even so, corporate information, including sensitive customer information, are increasingly stored on personal mobile devices and not managed by corporate IT.
Based on a survey of nearly 800 IT professionals, the report quantifies the dramatic growth of BYOD, exposes the frequency and cost of mobile security incidents, and identifies the main challenges faced by businesses of all sizes.
Key findings include:
- Surge in Personal Mobile Devices Connecting to the Corporate Network - Among companies that allow personal mobile devices, 96 percent say the number of personal devices connecting to their corporate networks is growing, and 45 percent have more than five times as many personal mobile devices as they had two years ago.
- Mobile Security Incidents Common and Costly for Businesses Large and Small - More than half (52%) of large businesses report mobile security incidents have amounted to more than $500,000 in the past year. Even for 45 percent of SMBs with less than 1000 employees, mobile security incidents exceeded $100,000 in the past year.
- Mobile Platform with the Greatest Perceived Security Risks - Android was cited by 49 percent of businesses as the platform with greatest perceived security risk (up from 30 percent last year), compared to Apple, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry
- Corporate Information Not Managed on Mobile Devices - Despite costly mobile incidents, 63 percent of businesses do not manage corporate information on personal devices, and 93 percent face challenges adopting BYOD policies.
- More Mobile Devices Store Sensitive Customer Information - More than half (53%) of all businesses surveyed report there is sensitive customer information on mobile devices, up from 47 percent last year.
“Without question, the explosion of BYOD, mobile apps, and cloud services, has created a herculean task to protect corporate information for businesses both large and small,” said Tomer Teller, security evangelist and researcher at Check Point Software Technologies.
“An effective mobile security strategy will focus on protecting corporate information on the multitude of devices and implementing proper secure access controls to information and applications on the go. Equally important is educating employees about best practices as majority of businesses are more concerned with careless employees than cybercriminals.”
For a full copy of the new report, The Impact of Mobile Devices on Information Security, please visit:
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
Year-over-year smartphone traffic for apparel, health and beauty and home goods brands saw huge increases in smartphone traffic and orders, according to Branding Brand, a mobile commerce platform to major retailers.
Compared to May 2012, the Branding Brand Mobile Commerce Index shows the following year-over-year gains for the 18 clients tracked during both periods:
- Smartphone visits increased 102%
- Smartphone orders increased 104%
- Smartphone revenue increased 103%
In May 2013, mobile devices generated one-third of total online visits (20% smartphones; 13% tablets) and 17% of all e-commerce revenue (4% smartphones; 13% tablets). iOS continued to dominate across all categories.
“Desktop’s piece of the e-commerce pie is shrinking,” said Chris Mason , Branding Brand co-founder and CEO. “We are excited about the implications these numbers have for our clients, not just online but also in-store. Traditional commerce models no longer apply.”
These figures also show that the mobile commerce sector has heated up much faster than the Internet alone did. Mobile provides considerable and increasing juice to ecommerce and digital marketing.
While many people still only occasionally use desktop and laptop computers, nearly everyone old enough to leave the house alone has a mobile device or two. Here at the TechJournal, we’ve seen a fair amount of evidence that tablets are even more shopping/marketing friendly and consumers are using them in growing numbers.
The complete report, along with accompanying images, is available at http://www.brandingbrand.com/data.
Thursday, May 30th, 2013
It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman: The way people use (or misuse) their mobile phones can really grate on your nerves.
A Microsoft Safer Online Facebook poll revealed that many smartphone users don’t mind their mobile manners — but men and women both find people who constantly check their mobile phones to be the most annoying.
Of course, the frustrations don’t stop there. The following are the agreed-upon top five pet peeves:
- Checking phones constantly
- Talking loudly
- Using or not silencing phones when appropriate
- Using phones during face-to-face conversation
- Delaying traffic by using phones
Other mobile annoyances included accidentally pocket-dialing someone and simply losing their phones, opening the door to potential digital damage.
Personally, we’re most annoyed by people talking on their phones while in traffic, often driving erratically because of it. We see that every single day despite warnings that it’s more dangerous than drunk driving.
The other habit we find most annoying is when people talk loudly on their phones on trains, planes, and in public places (restaurants, stores, events, movies).
Thirty-nine percent of respondents also agreed that they believe men and women equally practice mobile phone safety, but this may not be the reality.
“Although we’re all bothered by certain mobile phone behaviors, the more important point is knowing how to help protect one’s device and information from scammers, rogue software and the oversharing of digital details,” said Jacqueline Beauchere , chief online safety officer, Microsoft Corp. “We know from earlier research that men and women practice mobile safety very differently.”
So who does a better job protecting their personal information on mobile phones? According to the Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), men do a slightly better job using technical tools:
- Thirty-five percent use a PIN or password to lock their mobile device compared with 33 percent of women.
- Thirty-five percent use secured wireless networks versus 32 percent of women.
- Thirty-two percent keep their mobile devices up to date contrasted with 24 percent of women.
Yet, men seem to experience more mobile pitfalls, receiving more emails from strangers asking for personal information (70 percent versus 65 percent), more rogue antivirus popups (66 percent versus 58 percent), and more online impersonation experiences (31 percent versus 26 percent).
Women tend to be more protective of their online reputations, taking additional steps to limit personal information online (40 percent versus 37 percent) and what strangers can see on social networking sites (40 percent versus 32 percent), as well as being more selective about what they text (34 percent versus 31 percent).
As always, protecting yourself online is paramount in today’s online world.
Microsoft offers the following tips to help you stay safe when using your mobile devices — in turn, ensuring you don’t annoy your friends:
- Silence your mobile phone. Know when to put the phone away, and be present.
- Help protect your privacy online. Don’t overshare. Think before posting your whereabouts, and save vacation highlights and photos for your return.
- Use location-based services safely. Think carefully about turning on geotagging. Share your location only with people you trust. Pay attention to where and when you check in, and get permission before you check in your friends.
- Conduct financial transactions on a secure network. Don’t use “borrowed” or public Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Lock your mobile phone. Keep your info secret with a unique, four-digit PIN.
Take the Microsoft Safer Online Facebook poll, and find more information about the poll results and mobile phone safety athttp:/www.microsoft.com/security.
Friday, May 24th, 2013
Parker by Streetline, an award-winning real-time parking guidance app, was put to the test in several urban areas to see if – and by how much – real-time information is successful in reducing the time it takes to find that elusive parking spot.
A 2011 global survey of commuters in 20 international cities conducted by IBM found that in the past year, nearly six out of 10 drivers had abandoned their search for a parking space at least once and drivers have spent an average of nearly 20 minutes in pursuit of a coveted spot.
IBM also found that a 10% reduction in congestion could increase local GDP by 2%, and with 30% of city traffic being from people searching for parking, the potential economic impacts of Parker are substantial.
Additionally, vehicle emissions resulting from drivers looking for parking are so closely linked that a year-long study found that drivers in a 15 block district in Los Angeles drove in excess of 950,000 miles, produced 730 tons of carbon dioxide and used 47,000 gallons of gas searching for parking.
Tracking both time and mileage by GPS, drivers sought to find parking near the same address in areas which Parker offers real-time availability. Group A had access to real-time parking data via Parker by Streetline, while Group B relied on good-old-fashioned luck. After 28 GPS-tracked journeys, Parker was found to have significant benefits for motorists in all areas included in the test:
- Driving time was reduced by 43% from 6:26 minutes to 3:41 minutes
- Vehicle miles traveled dropped 21% from 0.91 to 0.72
- Average price of space per hour was lower by 22% from $2.68 to $2.10
Even more suggestive is the aggregate impact of this study if applied to a large user base. Using these results, if 100,000 motorists used Parker three times a week, the annual potential impact would be:
- 712,956 fewer vehicle hours on the road
- 3,021,964 fewer vehicle miles driven on city streets
- 177,763 fewer gallons of gasoline used
- 3,142,843 pounds of CO2 emissions reduced
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
The AT&T 4G LTE network has been ranked fastest for a second consecutive year by PCWorld/TechHive.
The tests in 20 U.S. markets including Ann Arbor, Mich. show AT&T wireless customers are benefiting from blazing-fast wireless Internet speeds.
AT&T has taken its share of criticism for various wireless connection issues over the years. Ours, however, has performed flawlessly. But then again, as a friend of mine who did have connection problems said, I seldom leave the Interstates.
The 2013 PCWorld/TechHive speed tests showed AT&T led all carriers tested in Ann Arbor, Mich. with an average upload speed of 6.7 mpbs and an average download speed of 15.2 mbps.
AT&T also outpaced the competition last year in PCWorld/TechHive’s 2012 wireless Internet speed tests, having delivered faster download speeds than any other national carrier in 13 cities tested.
Speed is the name of the game for mobile Internet service, as customers are taking advantage of smartphones and apps to help manage their busy lives. In this year’s PCWorld/TechHive report, AT&T led the speed tests with an average download speed of 13.15 mbps and an average upload speed of 6.45 mbps in the 20 U.S. markets tested.
“With consumer demand for wireless data continuing to grow rapidly, it’s more important than ever that U.S. wireless carriers not only keep pace with demand, but deliver network speeds fast enough to enable new mobile web experiences,” said Jason Snell , Editorial Director, PCWorld/TechHive.
AT&T launched 4G LTE** in Ann Arbor, Mich. in September of 2012, and it plans to expand its 4G LTE network to cover 300 million people nationwide by year-end 2014. Even as 4G LTE expands, customers can get 4G speeds outside of 4G LTE areas with our 4G HSPA+ technology.
The AT&T 4G LTE network has also been recognized for speed and performance by other third-party testing firms. AT&T 4G LTE is available in 228 markets and covers more than 200 million people. Improving the wireless network continues to be a priority for AT&T.
Here at the TechJournal, we’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with AT&T’s LTE service. Is it as fast as advertised?
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
Sprint (NYSE: S) is the most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all 47 industries studied, during the last five years, according to results from the 2013 American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Released today, the ACSI survey also ranks Sprint No. 1 in delivering the best value among national wireless carriers. Among the study’s customer experience benchmarks, Sprint also ranks highest in bill rating and data plan choice.
“To be recognized as the most improved U.S. company, period, during the last five years in the ACSI survey is validation that our relentless quest to provide the best customer experience is being noticed,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO.
In addition to ACSI, other independent third-parties have also recognized Sprint in customer service:
- In February, J.D. Power and Associates ranked Sprint Highest in Satisfaction with the Purchase Experience among Full-Service Wireless Providers for the fourth consecutive time.
- Also in February, Boost Mobile was ranked highest among non-contract providers in the same J.D. Power and Associates study.
- In March, ATLANTIC-ACM gave Sprint U.S. Long-Haul Wholesale Carrier Excellence awards for Customer Service, Network Performance, Brand and Voice Quality.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. The overall ACSI score factors in scores from more than 225 companies in 47 industries and from government agencies during the previous four quarters. The Index was founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is produced by ACSI LLC. ACSI can be found on the Web at www.theacsi.org.
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
The emergence of software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud, IT consumerization and mobile are expected to advance the future of the software industry, finds PwC U.S. in its annual Global 100 Software Leaders report. The report, in its fourth year of publication, highlights a deeper understanding of the underlying forces and trends that are influencing the industry.
The PwC study finds that the effects of globalization and consolidation are changing the landscape of the software sector and how companies develop, market, sell, distribute and support their products. Acquisitions are viewed as an R&D strategy as well as a key way to acquire talent and build SaaS capabilities more effectively and efficiently.
“Software companies and vendors are especially beginning to feel the effects of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology on their business models,” said Patrick Pugh , PwC’s U.S. software and Internet leader.
“Vendors need to continually evaluate both the changing priorities of customers and the industry because these evolving sentiments are causing deep structural changes and fundamentally shaping business models.”
SaaS racked up 40 percent of revenues
According to the report, SaaS revenue accounted for at least 40 percent of software revenue for 10 companies on the Global 100, in which nine of the top 10 are U.S.-based.
While U.S. companies lead revenue share on both the global and North American lists of software vendors, PwC finds that powerful newcomers, as well as companies from emerging markets, will increasingly challenge the dominance of the large North American vendors.
“To drive future growth, North American software vendors must prioritize transforming their business models to address the realities of the SaaS environment and incorporate social enterprise, IT consumerization and data analytics. Furthermore, U.S. companies can find new opportunities to expand globally by tailoring their software to specific vertical markets and geographic regions,” added PwC’s Pugh.
Key industry drivers include:
- Priority on pricing: Pricing is the paramount issue for the entire sector. With the rise of IT consumerization via low and no cost online platforms, software companies are already struggling to explain the difference in value between a low-cost mobile app and a full-strength, licensed enterprise software package.
- SaaS is gaining traction: Although SaaS represented only 4.9 percent of total software revenues in 2011, a consistent and significant shift towards SaaS is occurring. Roughly half of 800 North American organizations confirmed they evaluate cloud based solutions when buying software. Perpetual license revenue has been shrinking since 2004 while subscription revenue (including SaaS) is forecast to grow at a 17.5 percent compounded annual rate, reaching 24 percent of total software revenue by 2016. Software companies are now closely evaluating aspects of their business models, including delivery methods, pricing strategies and sales compensation options.
- Customer is king: With the adoption of intuitive cloud services, mobile devices and low-cost apps, CIOs are no longer the sole decision makers in the software purchasing process; end users must be satisfied in order to retain and grow enterprise sales. Additionally, customer perception of the value of software has changed dramatically. Vendors must develop strategies to counter the expectation that software should be free.
- Emerging hybrid models bring new challenges: There will be a range of business models, from traditional licensed software, to pure SaaS, to hybrid approaches, all of which will pose challenges for vendors in the foreseeable future.
- Vendors will need to identify and adopt new business models while trying to maintain revenues and profits during a time when overall industry pricing is under pressure. Industry executives also worry that the new subscription-based business models will increase dependency on renewals and risk of customer turnover.
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) has extended the focus of its third annual Mobile
Commerce Guide to help sectors such as retail, consumer products and utilities companies navigate the new market opportunities that mobile commerce technology and solutions can bring in both developed and emerging markets.
The Mobile Commerce Guide includes articles, case studies, key learnings, views on the competitive landscape and a look at the not too distant future, from over 40 industry leaders, innovators and analysts including the GSMA, Accenture, IDC, MasterCard, Cisco, PayPal, Dutch-Bangla Bank and RBS Citizens.
“Mobile has the power to trigger a fundamental shift in commerce because consumers already live their lives on mobile,” saidDiarmuid Mallon , Global Mobile Marketing Solutions and Programs, SAP. “The insights provided in this year’s Mobile Commerce Guide show how companies can harness mobile to deliver value and provide customers new visibility into the services they use and the payments they make.
Banks are encouraging the unbanked to use their mobile wallets as instruments that allow them to save money and plan their financial futures; mobile operators are sharing infrastructure and best practices to reach and educate customers faster; and as mobile commerce opportunities naturally extend into retail, consumer products and utilities sectors, this guide helps these sectors understand and include mobile in their customer engagement and loyalty initiatives.”
The first and second editions of the guide, released under SAP Mobile Services, a division of SAP, have closely followed the evolution of the mobile commerce business. In 2012, the guide focused on successful deployments of mobile commerce services and the impact of mobile commerce on consumer behavior. The 2011 edition placed greater significance on the transformation of commerce via the “fourth screen” concept of mobile devices.
Download the guide at: sap.com/mobile/commerceguide.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Pebble, maker of an e-paper smart watch that connects to iPhone and Android smartphones, received $15 million in Series A funding from Charles River Ventures. The funding will be used to grow the software engineering team, expand Pebble’s open development platform and scale to meet customer demand.
Pebble is a highly customizable device, enabling users to download watchapps ranging from creative watchfaces to activity tracker apps.
Pebble’s open approach to development is core to supporting a vast selection of apps that meet the unique needs and interests of users — or even enabling users to create something themselves. Pebble’s record-breaking launch on crowd funding site, Kickstarter, confirmed interest in this concept with over 68,000 backers pledging over $10 million to make Pebble a reality.
Personally, here at the TechJournal, we’re not big believers in the smart watch concept, but obviously, a whole lot of people are. We have enough trouble with the small screens on smartphones. Nevertheless, the idea appears to be catching on. We’ll see how they do in the marketplace.
“The tremendous response we received from Kickstarter backers validated our belief in the value of a smart watch as a wearable computer, but also in the value an open platform brings to truly personalizing the watch to their daily activities,” said Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s founder.
“This new investment will help us build out the Pebble development ecosystem and deliver on Pebble’s extraordinary potential.”
Development kits available
The Pebble Smart Watch with a running app.
Pebble released the first stage of its open software development kit (SDK) in April by enabling third party developers to create watchfaces and games for Pebble. Pebble’s enthusiastic developer community immediately went to work and created hundreds of new watchfaces in just a few weeks.
Pebbler supported sites like mypebblefaces.com, forums.getpebble.com and watchface-generator.de are focal points of the growing community. Over 8,000 developers have downloaded the Pebble SDK, resulting in more than 5,000 unique watchapps and 300,000 watchapp installs in just over a month.
Today Pebble released the next stage of the platform enabling two-way communication between Pebble and the smartphone at developer.getpebble.com.
Known as PebbleKit, the update enables third parties to develop watchapps that send and receive information from a connected smartphone.
Watchapps can now be built to receive weather or traffic information, act as remote controls for a phone or internet-connected device, or display bitcoin prices. The Pebble platform will continue improving over the course of this year and into the future.
Also launching today is the Pebble Sports API. RunKeeper, a GPS fitness-tracking app, announcedsupport for Pebble two weeks ago and now that same functionality is available for integration into any sports or fitness tracker app. Other sports apps like FreeCaddie, a GPS golf rangefinder, have also released Pebble-enabled apps.
Pebble’s smart watches have begun shipping to Kickstarter backers and are now available for pre-order at getpebble.com.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Mother’s Day online shopping grew 15 percent in the week leading up to Mother’s Day, compared to the same time period last year.
Spurred by mobile commerce, mobile percentage of sales reached 17 percent, according to IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Digital Analytics Benchmark, a cloud-based analysis of the online retail market.
Here at the TechJournal, we see this as more evidence that digital shopping – and particularly mobile – is the future of retail.
With the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimating Mother’s Day sales reaching $20 billion this year, retailers made it easier for consumers to buy for mom through their smartphones and tablets.
According to IBM’s Benchmark, mobile commerce led the way this Mother’s Day. In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, consumers flocked to their mobile devices, with mobile traffic reaching 25 percent, an increase of 43 percent year over year, with the Apple iPhone and iPad as the consumer shopping devices of choice.
As retailers are making it easier for mobile shoppers to browse and buy with a tap of a finger, customizing mobile apps and web sites for on-the-go consumers, the mobile customer experience has become a top priority for retailers looking to streamline the buying process.
In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, mobile shoppers browsed and completed purchases in three-and-a-half minutes, while desktop users took twice as long, more than six minutes, to complete their shopping session.
That three and a half minute shopping experience for mobile is an eye-opener. Does your mobile app let someone make a purchase that quickly and easily? The six-minute mark for desktop online shopping seems reasonable, although when we know what we’re looking for, it doesn’t take more than a minute at one-click sites such as Amazon.
As merchants continue to invest in upgrading support for digital shopping channels, retailers are designing for a MobileFirst market by simplifying the client experience and deepening connections to consumers.
Key findings from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark:
- In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, online shopping grew by 15 percent, with average order value reaching $209, representing a four percent increase compared to the same period last year.
- Department store sales grew by more than 20 percent in the week leading up to Mother’s Day compared to the same period last year. Retailers simplified the digital buying experience for customers, with iPad conversions increasing dramatically by more than 315 percent, with iPhone conversions increasing 184 percent.
- In the three weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, online jewelry sales steadily increased, nearly tripling with a 180.6 percent increase in that same period. In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, mobile traffic reached 42 percent, up almost 59 percent over 2012. Mobile sales reached 48 percent, an increase of 38 percent compared to 2012.
- Online sales of gifts including flowers and chocolates more than doubled the week just before Mother’s Day compared to the week before, an increase of 140 percent. Mobile percentage of sales was up 109 percent, reaching 28 percent and mobile site traffic was up 95 percent, reaching 34 percent, in the week leading up to Mother’s Day, compared to the same period last year.
- In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, health and beauty sales were up 40 percent compared to the same time last year, with similar mobile commerce gains. Mobile percentage of sales reached 18 percent, a gain of 16.4 percent, with mobile traffic reaching 27 percent, up 33 percent over last year.
By analyzing these trends, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), sales, e-commerce and customer loyalty executives can better understand and respond to the needs of customers in terms what and how they prefer to buy.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
A shortage of in-house expertise is among the the biggest reasons companies are outsourcing mobility projects, according to a staffing solutions firm TEKsystems.
The study conducted on behalf of the TEKsystems Mobility Services practice represents the perspectives of 232 IT and business leaders and found that most have yet to develop the mature strategies necessary to implement mobile technology within their organizations successfully.
For an infographic detailing the findings see: http://mms.businesswire.com/media/20130515006090/en/369366/5/MobilityMarketPulse_Infographic_20130501_FINAL.jpg
Key findings include:
Organizations Lack Mature Mobile Strategies
- Maturity: More than three-quarters (78 percent) of respondents ranked their mobility strategies at low to medium maturity, with 40 percent indicating that their organization’s mobility strategy was weak. A mere 22 percent ranked their mobile strategy as being mature.
- Centers of Excellence: More than three-quarters (81 percent) of respondents indicate their organizations do not have a mobility center of excellence (COE) designed to address the unique, rapidly evolving mobile environment, illustrating an absence of an enterprise-wide approach to developing in-house expertise and best practices.
Obstacles for In-House Mobile Application Development
- Skills: Forty-one percent of respondents struggle with finding and attracting the talent and skills required to handle mobility projects in-house. As a result, almost two-thirds (65 percent) say they are likely to partner with a technology- and platform-agnostic mobility vendor.
- Variety of Platforms: Nearly half (45 percent) of the respondents find that supporting the full range of popular mobile platforms is the most daunting aspect of mobile application development.
“Keeping pace with mobile technologies requires organizations to have various skill sets outside of traditional enterprise IT, which many organizations do not already have,” says TEKsystems Application Development Practice Director, Sam Malek. “Often, going outside of the organization provides the biggest bang for the buck because vendors with dedicated mobility practices can deliver the full suite of required talent and services.”
Outsourcing to Mobile Application Development Vendors
- Likelihood and Reasons: More than one-third (38 percent) of respondents have chosen to outsource the development of mobile applications. The top three reasons for outsourcing were:
- Better expertise than available in-house (67 percent)
- Lack of mobility development as a core competency in-house (56 percent)
- Faster time to completion (47 percent)
- Vendor Sourcing and Risk: On average, organizations partner with two external vendors for mobile support, with some partnering with as many as five. However, 65 percent of all respondents indicate that they would like to work with the same number of vendors or less.
- Needs: Sixty percent of respondents would like a vendor to focus more on application development, while more than half (53 percent) seek a vendor that can design and implement sound quality assurance. At least three-quarters of respondents cite developing and testing of mobile applications across different platforms, screen sizes and versions as being among the most important aspects of mobile application development. Thirty-eight percent are concerned with getting the UI and user experience right.
- Expectations: Fifty-seven percent expect their vendor to provide an innovative solution to their needs, including delivery models, tools and best practices. Eighty-one percent believe that it is important for their mobile vendor to handle end-to-end security requirements for mobile applications.
- Vendor Satisfaction: Sixty percent are looking for a better experience from their mobile vendors. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of respondents feel their projects have been put at risk due to their vendors’ unqualified resources and skill sets.
“Vendors offering mobility as a dedicated practice increase their appeal to potential clients by demonstrating that they have a specialized staff that is familiar with the tools, frameworks and unique skills required to deliver effective mobile applications across a number of mobile platforms,” says Malek. “From there, it’s critical to maintain a close relationship with the client so that they can course correct as necessary throughout the development process and deliver a final product that is satisfying for all involved.”
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