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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.
Fresh Funds Brighten Faire Marketplace
October 31, 2019
Faire has raised $150 million in venture capital, which it will use to expand into new markets, improve the Faire marketplace, and build more tools for its customers. The latest round brings Faire's total funding to date to $266 million and gives the company a valuation of $1 billion. Faire is an online wholesale marketplace that lets retailers shop for new products to carry.
5 Things Retailers Can Do Now to Avoid a Cyber Monday Disaster
October 29, 2019
We may just be turning the calendar to November, but if you're like most retailers, you're already deep into planning for the gift-giving season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are circled and starred as you anticipate, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, the spike in sales and massive increase in traffic to your website and mobile app -- with good reason.
The Ultimate E-Commerce Guide to Black Friday
October 28, 2019
The shopping season is fast approaching. Black Friday -- the kickoff of Christmas consumerism -- falls on November 29 this year, six days later than last year. However, e-commerce stores easily will compensate for this shorter shopping season: Last year consumers broke records with $6.22 billion spent online, but this year Black Friday is set to surpass $12 billion in online sales.
Microsoft Takes Another Stab at Wireless
October 24, 2019
Microsoft once again is making a move in wireless with its new foldable smartphone called "Surface Duo." The company tried and failed to break into wireless several times over the last couple decades before finally pulling the plug. Now it is back. Will the Surface Duo give Microsoft a chance to succeed in wireless at last? I am sensing this might be the right time.
Ring! Ring! Your Presentation Is Calling, and It Wants an Update
October 22, 2019
Mobile phones have come a long way since Zack Morris lugged his brick of a cellphone around the halls of Bayside High School in Saved by the Bell. If Zack had one of today's smartphones, he'd be texting Kelly on WhatsApp, posting pictures of himself and A.C. on Instagram, and trolling Screech on Twitter. Today's smartphones have become essential to human communication.
Millennial Women Chart New Direction for E-Commerce
October 16, 2019
It's remarkable how a hot IPO can get discussion going. After a 50 percent rise in the stock price of The RealReal, the marketplace for consigned luxury items, following its June 28 public offering, there's been a search to define what is so lucrative about this company, or e-commerce in general. The RealReal certainly has exhibited wisdom in various aspects of its e-commerce strategy.
Fitting Clothing Sales to E-Commerce
October 15, 2019
When buying clothes, many consumers still prefer to head to a bricks-and-mortar store, browse the racks, and try things on. There's something about clothing, after all, that's inherently tactile and personal. Gradually, however, the way people buy clothes has been changing. Digital technologies are reshaping the world of online fashion sales. One of the keys to sales success is personalization.
Motorola's Razr Gamble
October 10, 2019
When word came out that Motorola was rereleasing its hit Razr smartphone, I was excited. Now that it has been delayed until the end of the year, the sizzle seems to be lessening a bit. Razr was hot more than a decade ago, but then it quickly faded away when the iPhone and Android stole the show. Motorola wants to give the Razr another shot at stardom, but will it be a long-term hit?
New Surface Line Makes the Earth Move for Microsoft Fans
October 3, 2019
Microsoft has launched a slew of new devices designed to reshape the world: the Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Pro X, Surface Earbuds, and the upcoming Surface Neo and Surface Duo. "The next decade will be about creation, and amplifying what we can do as humans," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft Surface 2019 in New York City.
A Peek at Our Wireless Future
September 30, 2019
Last week I attended a Qualcomm event that took me through the coming wave of both 5G and WiFi 6 products, touched on the millimeter wave, and at least spoke to 6G. From this I think I can begin to picture the world as it will exist by the middle of the next decade, and it is kind of fascinating. Qualcomm has spent nearly $50B -- yes billion -- advancing its wireless initiatives.
iPhone 11: Fewer Sales, More Yawns
September 26, 2019
After having countless conversations with iPhone users in the last few days, I've concluded that Apple will sell loads of these new devices -- but not as many as in the past. There are several reasons I'm expecting a downturn in iPhone sales. Among the top reasons are lack of support for 5G, lack of innovation, and high prices. I wanted to learn how users felt about trading up this year.
Amazon Enlists 30 Partners in Voice Interoperability Initiative
September 26, 2019
Amazon and dozens of partners have joined in a Voice Interoperability Initiative. Their aim is to support multiple, interoperable voice services on a single device so customers can access the one they want by saying the appropriate wake word. Companies involved in the initiative will work to accelerate the state of the art in machine learning and wake word technology.
Xiaomi Unveils Mi 9 Pro 5G and Wraparound-Screen Mi MIX Alpha
September 25, 2019
Xiaomi has introduced a refresh of the Mi 9 Pro with support for 5G and a groundbreaking smartphone with a wraparound display. The Mi 9 Pro 5G, with a base price equivalent to $520, works with 5G offerings of China's three main carriers -- China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom -- and supports speeds from 1.78 Gbps to 2.02 Gbps, or four times the speed of typical 4G services.
PriceWaiter CEO Stephen Culp: 'Negotiation Has Been Around Forever Because It Works'
September 23, 2019
Fledgling e-commerce company PriceWaiter aims to save customers money, time and energy by negotiating better-than-Amazon deals on top-rated products -- simply, quickly and privately. PriceWaiter's pitch to sellers is that it can help move inventory, maintain more margin, and make MAP moot, resulting in more efficient pricing, new sales, and new customers with virtually no acquisition cost.
Fitness: The Sweet Spot for Smartwatches
September 20, 2019
Smartwatches outsold traditional watches in the fourth quarter of 2018. The category saw a 51 percent increase in dollar sales for last year, along with a 61 percent increase in unit sales, according to recent data from NPD Group. One in four Americans aged 18 to 34 now own a smartwatch, and that is likely to increase. However, traditional watches did regain the majority of the market in Q1 2019.
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