Category Archives: Big Data

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Selected By HP To Transform Sales And Partner Engagement

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Selected By HP To Transform Sales And Partner Engagement

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 12, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. has entered a six-year agreement with HP Inc. to deploy Microsoft Dynamics to thousands of employees across HP, dramatically enhancing collaboration across marketing, sales and service operations. With Dynamics, as well as Azure, Office 365 and other Microsoft Cloud solutions, HP has invested in the sales and service collaboration platform it needs to deliver a seamless sales experience for customers and partners while increasing the company’s performance and economies.

We have chosen Microsoft Dynamics as our CRM solution for our direct selling, partners and services,” said Jon Flaxman, chief operating officer, HP. “This brings us a cloud-based solution that delivers a more effective and efficient collaboration engine across our business.”

HP is undergoing a journey to transform its sales and partner environment, driving increased productivity and collaboration in a virtually all-digital world. As part of this transformation, the company is moving to a more integrated sales experience for both HP sales reps and the channel partner community.

Complementing Dynamics CRM, Office 365 provides worldwide sales, service and marketing professionals at HP with an immersive, connected productivity experience for teamwork and collaboration. In addition, Power BI will empower HP marketers to uncover powerful business insights and predictions. Azure will provide the IT organization with a global, open, hybrid cloud for all of the solutions, while also giving HP a platform for new capabilities and services at a low total cost of ownership.

HP continues to innovate in its customer engagement, with the tools and business processes it provides to its employees and partner community and, of course, the products and services it delivers,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Worldwide Commercial Business at Microsoft. “We share this dedication to digital transformation with HP and are incredibly proud to work with it as it delivers amazing technology experiences to people around the globe.”

Read more at: Microsoft News

The History of Containers and Rise of Docker

The History of Containers and Rise of Docker

Containers 101

Docker started out as a means of creating single application containers, but since has grown into a widely used dev tool and runtime environment. It has been downloaded around two billion times, and Redmonk has said that “we have never seen a technology become ubiquitous so quickly.” The Docker registry stores container images and provides a central point of access which can be used to share containers. Users can either place images into the registry or obtain images from it to deploy directly from the registry. Despite its widespread growth and acceptance, Docker still retains its free open source roots, and hosts a free public registry for containers from which anyone can obtain official Docker images. Below is an infographic discovered via Twistlock which a really nice overview of Container technologies.

container-security-101

By Jonquil McDaniel

Write Once, Run Anywhere: The IoT Machine Learning Shift From Proprietary Technology To Data

Write Once, Run Anywhere: The IoT Machine Learning Shift From Proprietary Technology To Data

The IoT Machine Learning Shift

While early artificial intelligence (AI) programs were a one-trick pony, typically only able to excel at one task, today it’s about becoming a jack of all trades. Or at least, that’s the intention. The goal is to write one program that can solve multi-variant problems without the need to be rewritten when conditions change—write once, run anywhere. Digital heavyweights—notably Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft—are now open sourcing their machine learning (ML) libraries in pursuit of that goal as competitive pressures shift focus from proprietary technologies to proprietary data for differentiation.

Machine learning is the study of algorithms that learn from examples and experience, rather than relying on hard-coded rules that do not always adapt well to real-world environments. ABI Research forecasts ML-based IoT analytics revenues will grow from $2 billion in 2016 to more than $19 billion in 2021, with more than 90% of 2021 revenue to be attributed to more advanced analytics phases. Yet while ML is an intuitive and organic approach to what was once a very rudimentary and primal way of analyzing data, it is worth noting that the ML/AI model creation process itself can be a very complex.

Data

The techniques used to develop machine learning algorithms fall under two umbrellas:

  • How they learn: based on the type of input data provided to the algorithm (supervised learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, and semi-supervised learning)

  • How they work: based on type of operation, task, or problem performed on I/O data (classification, regression, clustering, anomaly detection, and recommendation engines)

Once the basic principles are established, a classifier can be trained to automate the creation of rules for a model. The challenge lies in learning and implementing the complex algorithms required to build these ML models, which can be costly, difficult, and time-consuming.

Engaging the open-source community introduces an order of magnitude to the development and integration of machine learning technologies without the need to expose proprietary data, a trend which Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft swiftly pioneered.

At more than $1 trillion, these four companies have a combined market cap that dwarfs the annual gross domestic product of more than 90% of countries in the world. Each also open sourced its own deep learning library in the past 12 to 18 months: Amazon’s Deep Scalable Sparse Tensor Network Engine (DSSTNE; pronounced “destiny”), Google’s TensorFlow, IBM’s SystemML, and Microsoft’s Computational Network Toolkit (CNTK). And others are quickly following suit, including Baidu, Facebook, and OpenAI.

But this is just the beginning. To take the most advanced ML models used in IoT to the next level (artificial intelligence), modeling, and neural network toolsets (e.g., syntactic parsers) must improve. Open sourcing such toolsets is again a viable option, and Google is taking the lead by open sourcing its neural network framework, Google’s SyntaxNet, driving the next evolution in IoT from advanced analytics to smart, autonomous machines.

But should others continue to jump on this bandwagon and attempt to shift away from proprietary technology and toward proprietary data? Not all companies own the kind of data that Google collects through Android or Search, or that IBM picked up with its acquisition of The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile, and cloud-based web-properties. Fortunately, a proprietary data strategy is not the panacea for competitive advantage in data and analytics. As more devices get connected, technology will play an increasingly important role for balancing insight generation from previously untapped datasets, and the capacity to derive value from the highly variable, high-volume data that comes with these new endpoints—at a cloud scale, with zero manual tuning.

Collaboration 

collaborate-email

Collaborative economics is an important component in the analytics product and service strategies of these four leading digital companies all seeking to build a greater presence in IoT and more broadly the convergence of the digital and the physical. But “collaboration” should be placed in context. Once one company open-sourced its ML libraries, other companies were forced to release theirs as well. Millions of developers are far more powerful than a few thousand in-house employees. As well, open sourcing offers these companies tremendous benefits because they can use the new tools to enhance their own operations. For example, Baidu’s Paddle ML software is being used in 30 different online and offline Baidu businesses ranging from health to financial services.

And there are other areas for these companies to invest resources that go beyond the analytics toolsets. Identity management services, data exchange services and data chain of custody are three key areas that will be critical in the growth of IoT and the digital/physical convergence. Pursuing ownership or proprietary access to important data has its appeal. But the new opportunities in the IoT landscape will rely on great technology and the scale these companies possess for a connected world that will in the decades to come reach hundreds of billions of endpoints.

martin-ryan-hi-rezBy  Ryan Martin and Dan Shey

Ryan Martin, Senior Analyst at ABI Research, covers new and emerging mobile technologies, including wearable tech, connected cars, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) / Internet of Everything (IoE). 

Ryan holds degrees in economics and political science, with an additional concentration in global studies, from the University of Vermont and an M.B.A. from the University of New Hampshire.

Why Do Television Companies Need A Digital Transformation

Why Do Television Companies Need A Digital Transformation

Cloud TV

Over just a few years, the world of television production, distribution, and consumption has changed dramatically. In the past, with only a few channels to choose from, viewers watched news and entertainment television at specific times of the day or night. They were also limited by where and how to watch. Options included staying home, going to a friend’s house, or perhaps going to a restaurant or bar to watch a special game, show, news story, or event. When we are talking about the TV industry has now been completing and moving to the high definition from the standard definition, now the discussion is about 4K and 8K video standard. But before all these things happen, analog based broadcasting needs to transform digitally. That means TV industry is unavoidable needing a disruptive transformation in their ICT platform to cope with the new processes of acquisition, production, distribution and consumption.

cloudtweaks-tv

Fast-forward to today, and you have a very different scenario. Thanks to the rise of the Internet – and, in particular, mobile technology – people have nearly limitless options for their news and entertainment sources. Not only that, but they can choose to get their news and other media on TV or on a variety of smart devices, including phones, tablets, smart watches, and more.

Improved Business Value From New Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

The world has changed, and continues to change, at a rapid pace. This change has introduced a number of challenges to businesses in the television industry. Making the digital media transformation can do a number of things to resolve these challenges and improve your business and viewership.

With leading new ICT, you can see significant business value and improved marketing and production strategies. For example, making this transformation can vastly improve your television station’s information production and service capabilities. It can also smooth the processes involved with improving broadcasting coverage and performance as well.

With these improvements, your station will have faster response times when handling time-sensitive broadcasts. This delivers to your audience the up-to-the-minute coverage and updates they want across different TV and media devices and platforms.

Improved Social Value with New ICT

A television station that refuses to change and evolve with viewers’ continuously evolving needs and wants will find themselves falling behind competitors. However, a TV station that understands the necessity to make the digital media transformation will have significantly improved social value with their audiences.

tech-tv

Television stations that embrace new technology, digital media, storage, cloud computing and sharing will see massive improvements in social value. Consider that this transformation enables your station to produce timely and accurate reports faster, giving your audience the freshest information and entertainment.

By bringing news and entertainment media to your audience when, where and how they want and need it, you can enrich their lives and promote a culture of information sharing that will also serve to improve your ratings and business. With technologies like cloud-based high-definition video production and cloud-based storage and sharing architectures, you can eliminate many of the challenges and pain points associated with reporting news and bringing TV entertainment to a large audience.

Why Do Television, Media, and Entertainment Companies Need a Digital Transformation?

Consider the basic steps that a TV news station must take to get the news to their audience:

  • Acquisition
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Consumption

For television stations that have not yet embraced a digital media transformation, these steps do not just represent the process of delivering news media to the public. They also represent a series of pain points that can halt progress and delay deadlines. These include:

  • Traditional AV matrices use numerous cables, are limited by short transmission distance for HD signals and require complicated maintenance, slowing down 4K video evolution.
  • Delays when attempting to transmit large video files from remote locations back to the television station.
  • Delays when reporters edit videos because office and production networks in TV stations are separated from each other, requiring them to move back and forth between the production zone and the office zone in their building to do research
  • Delays due to the time it takes to transmit a finished program (between six and twenty-four minutes, depending on the length and whether or not it is a high-definition video) to the audience.
  • 4K video production has much higher requirements on bandwidth and frame rates.

These challenges all occur in traditional structures and architectures for media handling, but they quickly dissolve when a TV station makes the digital transformation and begin using a cloud-based architecture with new ICT.

Keeping Up With Viewer Demand via Ultra High Definition (UHD) Omnimedia

Increasingly, viewers demand more and more individualized experiences. These include interactive programming, rich media, UHD video, and they want it across all applicable devices. Delivering UHD omnimedia is only possible through new ICT, as older IT infrastructures simply cannot scale to the levels necessary to keep up with viewer demands.

Fortunately, through cloud-based architectures and faster sharing, networks and stations may not only keep up with consumer demand but actually surpass it. For example, when using 4K formatting, your station can provide viewers with the highest resolution possible (4096 x 2160 pixels), and your video formatting will be easily scalable for different platforms for the most convenient viewing possible.

Furthermore, by becoming an omnimedia center, your station can enjoy the benefits of converged communications. Essentially, this means that you will be creating information and/or entertainment that can be used in multiple different ways for television, social media, news sites, etc., giving you more coverage and exposure than ever before.

What Is Required to Make the Transformation to Digital Media?

Cloud computing and embracing 4K for video formatting are both essential to digital media transformation, but they are not all that is necessary. Aside from these two elements, television stations can take advantage of advances in technology in a number of ways to improve their marketing and production strategies through the use of new ICTs.

For example, thin clients and cloud computing could enable video editing anywhere and anytime, increasing efficiency. In order to improve the latency between the thin clients and the cloud, with the help of enhanced display protocol, virtual machine and GPU virtualization technology, the new ICT architectures today can enable a smooth editing of 8-track HD video in audio / video synchronization, or even support 6-track 4K video editing on clients via the industry’s only IP storage system.

As mentioned earlier, through cloud computing, it is no longer necessary to physically transport video from a news site to the station. Likewise, it is no longer necessary to do all production work and research in separate areas. Thanks to cloud storage and sharing, these pain points can easily be eliminated, as sharing and sending information becomes much simpler and faster.

An all-IP based video injection process is a must if TV stations want to lower network complexity and simplify system maintenance. There are two ways to approach this:

  1. For example, IP cables can replace traditional SDI signals. Each cable transmits 1 channel of 4K video signal. (SDI requires 4 cables to transmit the same video.) Thus, using IP cables can reduce the number of necessary cables by up to 92%, improving O&M efficiency by 60%, and bringing convenience to system interworking and interaction.
  2. With the help of mobile broadband, WAN accelerated networks, smart phones or tablets, journalists in the field can now shorten the video submission process by 90%. Most importantly, cloud computing allows journalists to edit video anywhere and anytime. With the help of fast trans-coding resources in the cloud, real time video reporting is now possible.

Another major factor in any digital media transformation is big data and data analytics. By collecting and analyzing information on your station’s viewers, you can better create more personalized viewing experiences. Netflix has, perhaps, one of the best and most widely known examples of this, as they have created specific algorithms based on previous customer behavior to predict whether or not a viewer will enjoy a certain film or show, and which media to recommend for any viewer.

netflix-image

Through these and other information and communication technologies, such as the Internet of Things(IoT), SDN (software-defined networking), improved mobile broadband, etc., television stations can bring faster, more accurate, and more convenient news and entertainment to their customers and viewers.

Who Is Leading the Way in the Transformation?

In my opinion, the company who has complete agile innovations across cloud-pipe-device collaboration will lead the way to transformation. One of companies in China called Huawei is now trying to create an ecosystem for the global channel partners and solution partners across the news and media entertainment industry, and it provides an open ICT platform that encourages media industry developers to continue to innovate their products. With strong development in cloud-based architectures, SDN, mobile broadband, and IoT, developers and partners are able to create the most comprehensive solutions that best empower media stations of all kinds to move into the future.

What do you think of the digital media transformation in the Television Industry?

(Originally published September 7th, 2016)

By Ronald van Loon

Technology and the Future of Cognitive Computing

Technology and the Future of Cognitive Computing

Cognitive Computing

Recently popularized by IBM’s highly intelligent Watson supercomputer, which competed on the hit game show Jeopardy, cognitive computing refers to machines that are capable of learning concepts and patterns through advanced language processing algorithms. A system that involves incredibly advanced artificial intelligence, cognitive computing is one facet of computer science that isn’t for the faint of heart.

Consumer Uses for Cognitive Computing

Although much of the hype is centered on big business and big data processing, there are a number of consumer applications. Whereas business leaders might use the technology to increase their bottom line, streamline daily operations and achieve greater profitability, consumers can take advantage of computing to ease some of the burdens of everyday life.

In fact, many consumers are using some form of it without realizing it. Smartphone apps, in-store kiosks, and e-Commerce use cognitive computing to offer users and customers greater accessibility, increased support and cost comparison. According to Deloitte, more than half of all mobile users currently use their devices while shopping in order to browse prices and download coupons.

How Cognitive Computing Is Changing the Workplace

cognitive computing

While cognitive computing has yet to reach its full potential, there are nearly infinite possibilities for its future implementation.

According to some sources can bolster the recordkeeping and documentation process within the healthcare sector by collating patient history, recommending the appropriate diagnostic tools and even suggesting relevant articles or whitepapers. Some analysts predict that approximately 30 percent of all healthcare IT systems will use cognitive computing by the year 2018.

Our ability to manage ad-hoc projects can also benefit from it. By utilizing a system like IBM’s Watson as a personal, AI-driven secretary, project managers can obtain accurate information, monitor timelines and deliverables or even participate in the overall project planning and budgeting phases. People who actively use a project portfolio management strategy can use the technology to achieve greater resource allocation, track multiple projects and collate data from various sources.

People in the insurance industry also stand to benefit from cognitive computing and advanced AI. According to research by experts with IBM, computing systems can bolster human-computer engagement, strengthen information discovery and make important business decisions. Additional benefits include improvements in risk management, cost analysis and customer service.

Companies use cognitive computing in a myriad of other ways, too. Some use the technology as a means of supporting internal troubleshooting and third-party software, while others use it to collect, store and analyze financial data on behalf of individual clientele.

Receiving Brand Name Support

Cognitive computing is receiving support from some of the top names in the IT world. Apart from IBM and their Watson supercomputer, brands such as Microsoft, Cisco, Google and Spark have thrown their respective hats into the mix. Moreover, they all add something different to the concept of cognitive computing.

For example, Microsoft offers various software development kits and utilities in order to support the programming and implementation of advanced artificial intelligence in modern software. Conversely, Cisco’s Cognitive Threat Analytics suite is meant to identify and resolve cyber-threats as soon as possible.

The Longevity of Cognitive Computing

Despite the fact that it’s still a relatively new concept, there’s no denying the computing’s impact on our daily lives. As more companies pledge resources to the development of the technology and as more consumers embrace it in their personal lives, we’ll only see the technology improve even further. Indeed, its definitely here to stay.

By Kayla Matthews

Is Automation The Future Of Radiology?

Is Automation The Future Of Radiology?

Future of Radiology

For those of you who don’t already know, radiology is a subset of medicine that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, illnesses and injuries based on imaging techniques. X-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, ultrasounds and PET scans all fall under the umbrella of radiology. Even within this medical niche you will find doctors that are highly specialized in treating certain parts of the body. Once you go down this rabbit hole, you will be shocked to see how deep it can go.

But how close are we to having the entirety of radiation automated by all-knowing robots that can do the job equally well, if not better than our well-trained doctors? The idea of automation in medicine is nothing new, as our exponential progress in technology has brought up the valid concern that robots are the future of medicine. We are already in the process of designing nano-sized robots to solve certain medical problems. We invest millions of dollars in building the best equipment that doctors and healthcare workers can get their hands on. What stops us from taking it one step further and having robots perform our jobs without having to lift a finger?

health-care-security

Take IBM, for example. Their radiologist software Avicenna is already showcasing the future of automation in action. It was specifically programmed to make diagnoses and suggest treatments based on the patient’s medical images and data within their record. Early demos are already showing that its accuracy is on par with independent diagnoses made by trained radiologists. With more data fed to this software in the form of millions of anonymized patient data, it will gradually escape from demo testing and become a seriously useful tool in hospitals all around the world.

Another recent case study of robot-guided radiology in action is Entilic, a deep-learning machine system that is engineered for medical image recognition. According to a test that involved analyzing a CT scan of a patient’s lungs done against three expert human radiologists, “Enlitic’s system was 50% better at classifying malignant tumours and had a false-negative rate (where a cancer is missed) of zero, compared with 7% for the humans”. If this is the kind of result that we are seeing from a startup, just imagine what the implications will be when this technology is fully developed and integrated with the IT systems in healthcare facilities worldwide.

Many people are divided on the implications of automatizing the radiology-guided diagnosis and treatment of patients. The common argument against automation is that it will put a lot of radiologists out of work. Several decades of intense study and hard work will be thrown down the drain because a machine will be able to do their job with greater accuracy and success. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning within machines, this possibility cannot be disregarded any longer. We are already seeing several jobs in the transportation and manufacturing industries being lost to robots and well-programmed machines.

cloud-security-health

On the other hand, those in favour of automation are arguing that radiology robots are going to help radiologists do their jobs instead of taking them away. Indeed, we still have a long way to go when it comes to rigorous testing and optimizing the ability of intelligent programs to accurately diagnose complex medical programs. One might go as far as to argue that radiology software will act as a checking system in which we can compare independent diagnoses against a machine-produced result. In the end, problems would be found far sooner and fixed far faster. It could even lead to reduced patient wait times!

We are fortunate enough that medical automation is still in its early developmental stages. There is still time left in the future for us to debate over the pros and cons of automation in radiology. No matter the outcome, it is blatantly clear that jobs needs to be at the forefront of this discussion. Either we provide hard-working radiologists with a new career path, or we find a way for automation to work alongside their work instead of against it.

What are your thoughts about automation in radiology? Are you for it or against it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

By Tom Zakharov

Tom is a Master’s student at McGill University, currently specializing in the field of Experimental Medicine. After graduating from the University of Ottawa as a Summa Cum Laude undergraduate, he is currently investigating novel indicators of chemotherapy toxicity in stage IV lung cancer patients. Tom also has 4+ years of scientific research in academia, government, and the pharmaceutical industry. Tom’s first co-authored paper investigated a novel analytical chemistry method for detecting hydrazine in nuclear power plants at parts-per-billion (ppb) concentrations, which can be viewed here.

3 Groundbreaking Wearables In The Travel Space

3 Groundbreaking Wearables In The Travel Space

3 Groundbreaking Wearables

The advent of wearable technologies had many expecting a utopia free of 20th-century pains such as paper maps, customer loyalty cards, lost luggage, and sluggish airport security.

Unfortunately, technological limitations have prevented wearables from revolutionizing the world. A number of devices struggle with voice recognition: Travel technology company Sabre found that about 16 percent of voice commands were ineffective with Google Glass during tests at an airport. To top it off, GPS in smartwatches and smartphones sometimes misses the mark, and battery life in most wearables is dismal.

If wearable use were as prolific as smartphone use, the potential applications while traveling might be nearly limitless. For now, initial excitement over wearables has not translated to long-term use. While a 2016 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found about 49 percent of respondents owned at least one wearable, the same study found that daily use of those devices decreased over time.

With data networks everywhere upgrading to 5G, connectivity woes might soon be a thing of the past. Rising interest in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies and Internet of Things applications is fueling curiosity in the devices, and advances in batteries and charging capabilities have the technology poised to break into the mainstream.

Wearables on the Rise

Nearly every tech company has a full line of wearables, and even fashion juggernauts such as Under Armour are moving toward connected clothing. Three main types of wearables are reaching mainstream success, and their applications will revolutionize the way we travel.

wearable-gps

1. Smartwatches.

Smartwatches most often connect to mobile phones, although Samsung’s Gear S2 and several pending releases also support separate data plans. This wristwear has a screen and an operating system that makes it ideal for notifications. Activity-tracking bands often sport similar features.

Smartwatches can be used to pay for meals, book hotels or cars, and check the status of flights. Most major airlines already have an Apple Watch app that allows travelers to board by scanning their wrists rather than tickets. Hotel chains are investigating ways to use smartwatches for room keys. And vibrational GPS while traversing an unfamiliar city is invaluable.

2. Smart glasses.

The high-tech eyewear connects to your phone, and headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Mattel’s View-Master VR use smartphone cameras to deliver AR. Several generations of consumers are being introduced to untethered AR experiences, while Google negotiates with retailers and manufacturers to embed its Glass technology into eyewear across the globe.

Travelers will soon be able to use AR to provide interactive maps, travel guides, notifications, and flight updates while they interact with the real world. The technology is still in its infancy, but the smart glass industry will change travel when it reaches full maturity.

3. Wearable cameras.

Wearable cameras are often mentioned in relation to police officers, but tourists could also benefit from this technology. With the small cameras now readily available for a modest price, travelers can get in on the action to document their adventures in innovative ways and share them with friends and family.

In fact, the action camera market already has moved to spherical cameras, with Kodak’s Pixpro SP360 4K camera offering the most compact solution. Using two GoPro-sized SP360s, anyone can capture immersive, 360-degree views of exotic locales from around the world. With social networks pushing for more visual content, capturing and sharing vacation photos will only become easier.

Signs of a Wearable Revolution

Passenger IT Trends Survey found 77 percent of respondents were comfortable with airport staff using wearable technology to help them. That same year, World Travel Market named wearable tech as one of its top trends.

The benefits are clear for travelers: Wearable tech can replace sagging fanny packs and wallets bulging with paperwork. Rather than carrying around credit cards, tickets, receipts, and identification documents, travelers can store and access everything from a watch to glasses to eventually even their own solar- and motion-powered clothing. The technology can help simplify the entire customs process for both passengers and agents.

The devices also should help travel agents respond to increased demand for personalized services. By using the technology to customize holiday packages and enhance communications with clients, wearables could be a boon for the travel industry as a whole.

Smartphones and tablets have fully saturated the market, and interest in technology such as AR and gesture commands is reaching a fever pitch. These technologies are converging for both consumers and enterprises out in the wild as people untether from their desktops and make data-driven decisions on the go.

While the shift likely will have wide-reaching effects throughout society, the travel industry in particular is in line for momentous changes.

By Tony Tie,

tonytie.expediaTony is a numbers-obsessed marketer, life hacker, and public speaker who has helped various Fortune 500 companies grow their online presence.

Located in Toronto, he is currently the senior search marketer at Expedia Canada, the leading travel booking platform for flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and local activities.

Martech – Greater Flexibility And Opportunities

Martech – Greater Flexibility And Opportunities

Martech Breeds

Marketing technology of recent years offers us greater flexibility and opportunity, and though debate rages regarding issues such as the value of marketing clouds versus self-service technology, it’s apparent that whatever breed is chosen, relevant and advanced marketing technology is a must for the success of every business. Many of the marketing cloud solutions available provide all-in-one options which analyze masses of data, automate intricate tasks, and afford personalized and customer-centric experiences. However, some of these solutions can be incredibly expensive, time and skill consuming, and difficult to implement. Certainly not always the case, many cloud martech providers suggest the importance of weighing initial costs against the value of product delivery and services provided over years to come. Moreover, provided by some of the giants, cloud martech solutions are consistently being renewed and simplified to better meet the needs of clients and deliver customer-centric outcomes.

Do It Yourself Solutions

startup-movement

For those put off by the initial costs of one of the larger marketing clouds, it is possible to build a relatively tailored and personalized solution through self-service tools. There are, however, numerous products to choose from making it necessary to do a fair amount of research into both what’s available and what’s required for any individual organization. Industry experts suggest a few essential tools invaluable to every business:

  • Email Marketing

Considered the basis of a robust digital marketing strategy, with email addresses available to anyone with an internet connection and collection of these details a relatively simple task, email marketing allows organizations to cheaply reach current and potential customers and is one of the most valuable methods of communication used today.

  • Website

Though it’s unlikely for any accomplished business to find itself without a website, it’s also important that business leaders ensure their organization’s website is of the highest quality. Don’t judge a book by its cover, we’re told, but we do, every time. A business’s website is this cover, and anything uncompetitive, outdated, or unresponsive is likely to turn customers away before they’ve even really begun to interact with the organization.

  • Big Data

Putting data to use means collecting relevant and valuable information, carefully analyzing it for insights, and then using findings to personalize content for better customer interaction and superior experiences delivered. When most effectively implemented, big data and big data analysis drives customer engagement and boosts business success.

Marketing Clouds

Some of the marketing clouds offered by the larger vendors tend to be more involved than the do-it-yourself solutions, but this is also because many of the tools they provide are more sophisticated than that which one might handle in a self-service situation. This will, of course, sometimes mean that which is available is multifaceted, providing more than is necessarily required, and not as user-friendly as one might wish for, but the flip side of the coin is the additional value such minutiae can provide the right user.

marketing-growth-hacking

Aside from the more in-depth and expansive solutions a marketing cloud may provide, it’s important to take into account the provision of service which comes with such solutions as well as the constant evolution to meet both customer needs and industry innovations. Putting together a solution oneself can often provide many of the latest advances at the point of implementation, but the time and skill required to keep these solutions up to date is often overlooked, leaving organizations with less than adequate marketing mechanisms in a year or two.

Neither of the two martech breeds suggested is necessarily the finest, but instead, each is best suited for a particular company at a given moment. Spending the extra effort and time deciding where to invest marketing budgets is a worthwhile pursuit that could mean the difference between an adequate solution and a flourishing one, as well as providing marketing technology that delivers value for money.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
Consequences Of Combining Off Premise Cloud Storage and Corporate Data

Consequences Of Combining Off Premise Cloud Storage and Corporate Data

Off Premise Corporate Data Storage Cloud storage is a broad term. It can encompass anything from on premise solutions, to file storage, disaster recovery and off premise options. To narrow the scope, I’ve dedicated the focus of today’s discussion to the more popular cloud storage services—such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive—which are also known as hosted,…

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact The technology industry moves at a relentless pace, making it both exhilarating and unforgiving. For those at the forefront of innovation it is an incredibly exciting place to be, but what trends are we likely to see coming to the fore in 2016? Below are six predictions…

Fintech Investments Are Seeing Consistent Growth

Fintech Investments Are Seeing Consistent Growth

The Financial Services Cloud Fintech investment has been seeing consistent growth in 2015, with some large moves being made this year. The infographic (Courtesy of Venturescanner) below shows the top Fintech investors and the amount of companies they’re currently funding: Just this week, a financial data startup known as Orchard Platform raised $30 million in…

Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

Learning To Code As many readers may or may not know we cover a fair number of topics surrounding new technologies such as Big data, Cloud computing , IoT and one of the most critical areas at the moment – Information Security. The trends continue to dictate that there is a huge shortage of unfilled…

Cloud Computing – The Real Story Is About Business Strategy, Not Technology

Cloud Computing – The Real Story Is About Business Strategy, Not Technology

Enabling Business Strategies The cloud is not really the final destination: It’s mid-2015, and it’s clear that the cloud paradigm is here to stay. Its services are growing exponentially and, at this time, it’s a fluid model with no steady state on the horizon. As such, adopting cloud computing has been surprisingly slow and seen more…

Big Data – Top Critical Technology Trend For The Next Five Years

Big Data – Top Critical Technology Trend For The Next Five Years

Big Data Future Today’s organizations should become more collaborative, virtual, adaptive, and agile in order to be successful in complex business world. They should be able to respond to changes and market needs. Many organizations found that the valuable data they possess and how they use it can make them different than others. In fact,…

Comparing Cloud Hosting Services

Comparing Cloud Hosting Services

Cloud Hosting Services Cloud hosting service providers are abundant and varied, with typical structures affording the reliability of virtual partitions, drawing resources externally; secure data centers; scalability and flexibility not limited by physical constraints; pay-per-use costing; and responsive load balancing for changing demands. While high end (and high price) services offer an extensive range of…

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing Innovation Sao Paulo, Brazil has had trouble with both energy and water supplies as of late. Despite it is the rainy period. Unfortunately Sao Paulo is very dependent on its rain as a majority of its power is generated from large dams. No water, no energy. Difficult situation for a city of some…

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus For Both Cloud Vendors And CIOs

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus For Both Cloud Vendors And CIOs

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus Shadow IT, a phenomenon defined as building internal IT systems without the official organizational approval has been a growing concern for CIOs over the last few years. In 2015, it climbed to the top of the list of the emerging IT threats, with as much as 83% CIOs reporting…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap You’re out of your mind if you think blocking access to file sharing services is filling a security gap. You’re out of your mind if you think making people jump through hoops like Citrix and VPNs to get at content is secure. You’re out of your mind if you think putting your…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…

Is Machine Learning Making Your Data Scientists Obsolete?

Is Machine Learning Making Your Data Scientists Obsolete?

Machine Learning and Data Scientists In a recent study, almost all the businesses surveyed stated that big data analytics were fundamental to their business strategies. Although the field of computer and information research scientists is growing faster than any other occupation, the increasing applicability of data science across business sectors is leading to an exponential…

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

Cloud Security Missteps Cloud computing remains shrouded in mystery for the average American. The most common sentiment is, “It’s not secure.” Few realize how many cloud applications they access every day: Facebook, Gmail, Uber, Evernote, Venmo, and the list goes on and on… People flock to cloud services for convenient solutions to everyday tasks. They…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Cloud Beacons Flying High When Apple debuted cloud beacons in 2013, analysts predicted 250 million devices capable of serving as iBeacons would be found in the wild within weeks. A few months later, estimates put the figure at just 64,000, with 15 percent confined to Apple stores. Beacons didn’t proliferate as expected, but a few…

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

Hybrid-Cloud Approach For over 20 years, organizations have been attempting to secure their networks and protect their data. However, have any of their efforts really improved security? Today we hear journalists and industry experts talk about the erosion of the perimeter. Some say it’s squishy, others say it’s spongy, and yet another claims it crunchy.…