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The Rise of D2C
November 18, 2019
Direct-to-consumer commerce, or D2C, is on the rise. Increasingly, consumers are expecting to interact directly with the companies that market and manufacture products. "Direct-to-consumer commerce has been enhanced by the explosion of the Internet. E-commerce provides a more convenient and frictionless buying experience," said Peter Edlund, chief solutions evangelist at DiCentral.
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."
E-Gurus: Online Guides to Personal Growth
October 25, 2019
The personal and professional growth coaching industry is exploding, thanks in part to the accessibility afforded by the Internet and digital technologies. People who want to improve themselves are flocking to Skype sessions, online classes, Facebook groups, and other venues to work with life and performance coaches, get career advice, and network with other seekers.
Threat From Above: How to Stop Hostile Drones
October 24, 2019
Unmanned aerial vehicles -- or "drones" as these flying objects more commonly are known -- pose a growing danger, cybersecurity expert Kevin Townsend recently warned. The drone category is broad -- it includes toys for hobbyists, tools for commerce, and devices used for a variety of military purposes. They range in size from massive military drones to small hobbyist devices.
Adopt a Maintenance Mindset: Protect IT
October 18, 2019
As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the National Cyber Security Alliance is advising all computer users to "Protect IT" by taking precautions such as updating to the latest security software, Web browser and OS. The nonprofit public-private partnership, which works with DHS and private sector sponsors, advised computer users on ways to protect their personal data.
Streaming Is the New Cable
October 17, 2019
NBCUniversal has named Matt Strauss, a longtime executive at Comcast Corporation -- the parent company of NBCUniversal since 2011 -- to oversee its new Peacock streaming service set to launch in April. Strauss most recently served as executive vice president at Comcast, where he oversaw Comcast's video, Internet and voice services. NBCUniversal could have a lot riding on Peacock.
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.
Blackouts Symptomatic of Perilous Times for Pay TV
October 11, 2019
Dish Network and Fox Corporation were able to come to terms last weekend, ending the blackout of Fox owned-and-operated local stations, as well as FS1, FS2, BTN, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes. The blackout of those channels was notable for its timing. The fall college and professional seasons had just begun -- as well as the new fall season of prime time programming on Fox.
Stop Cyberattacks in Their Tracks: Secure IT
October 10, 2019
Stopping cyberattacks requires diligent behavior. One of the themes of this year's National Cyber Security Awareness Month, or NCSAM, is that all computer users should take steps to Secure IT. That means shaking up the passphrase protocol by using not just strong passwords but strong and unique passphrases. Everyone should double login protection through multifactor authentication.
Get Serious About Cybersecurity: Take Ownership of Your Personal Data
October 4, 2019
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and one of the prongs in the three-part theme is for all computer users to "Own IT." This means staying safe on social media, updating privacy settings, and keeping tabs on apps. Simply put, users need to take better ownership of their data and their online presence as part of daily safe cyber practices.
Spotlight on Cybersecurity Awareness: Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT
September 27, 2019
Cybersecurity should be a concern for all businesses -- large and small. Cybersecurity also should be a concern for consumers, government agencies, and basically anyone who relies on the Internet in our increasingly connected world. Among efforts to focus attention on the threatscape is designating October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
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.
Engaging in Ethical E-Commerce
September 19, 2019
Gone are the days when businesses just did business. Now, it's almost expected that business values and ethics will play an enduring role in a company's identity. From the products they sell to the way they treat their employees, businesses are finding that they no longer can separate what they do from what they believe -- and customers want to know what the businesses they deal with stand for.
The Pitched Battle Over Streaming Content
September 13, 2019
At Apple's annual new products and devices event earlier this week, CEO Tim Cook told the crowd gathered at its Cupertino headquarters that the new Apple TV+ streaming service will be available for $4.99 per month. Consumers who buy a new iPad, iPhone or Apple laptop will receive a year of the subscription-based streaming video service for free. It was a shot across the bow at Disney.
The Beauty of Progressive Web Apps
September 3, 2019
As more Web traffic comes from mobile devices -- particularly traffic to e-commerce sites -- it's becoming ever more important for businesses to have content that loads onto small screens easily, quickly and effortlessly. To some degree, native mobile apps until now have filled that need, but they must be downloaded, and their functionality may have significant limitations.
Making It in Multichannel E-Commerce
August 23, 2019
Contemporary e-commerce means selling through a variety of channels beyond traditional company-owned websites -- including a plethora of social media, mobile and other platforms. Multichannel selling quickly has become the norm, and consumers increasingly expect to be able to shop wherever they happen to be in the digital world. "Today, retailers have countless options of channels to choose from," said Marcel Hollerbach, CMO of Productsup.
Will Consumers Balk at 5G Phone Prices?
August 23, 2019
Consumers could suffer from sticker shock when it comes time to buy a 5G-enabled phone, suggests a new report from IHS Markit, based on a poll conducted in the U.S. Although consumers expect to pay more money for 5G smartphones, the prices may exceed their expectations dramatically, with some devices selling for as much as 29 times more than what the average buyer might anticipate.
YouTube as Political Influencer Takes the Spotlight
August 16, 2019
YouTube, which operates as one of Google's subsidiaries, is under increased scrutiny after a report earlier this month highlighted the role it played in the recent presidential election in Brazil. Among concerns is YouTube's installation of a new AI system that can suggest additional videos to watch. The goal arguably is not much different from the way newspapers offer links to other stories.
When Technology Makes Life Harder
August 9, 2019
The latest Windows 10 update hasn't gone smoothly for many users due to a conflict with an outdated driver for Intel's Rapid Storage Technology. This is somewhat ironic in that RST was designed to improve the performance of storage hardware. Certain versions have slowed the install process, and in some cases the program has made installation of the Version 1903 Windows 10 update impossible.
Is Biometrics ID Security Good Enough?
August 2, 2019
United Airlines has announced plans to begin rolling out Clear's biometric prescreening at its hub airports. The system works by verifying a flier's fingerprints or eye scan. Clear already is available at about 60 locations throughout the United States. It offers a system that utilizes biometrics to speed preapproved travelers to the front of the security lane.
What the CBS Blackout Means for the Future of Streaming
July 26, 2019
CBS went dark across AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV services, days after the seven-year contract between the two companies expired. As the two couldn't come to new terms, CBS and its related channels -- including CBSN, CBS Sports and The Smithsonian Channel -- were blacked out. This latest disruption in service affected viewers in major markets across the United States.
Social Media, Crafters, Gamers and the Online Censorship Debate
July 12, 2019
Ravelry, an online knitting community that has more than 8 million members, last month announced that it would ban forum posts, projects, patterns and even profiles from users who supported President Trump or his administration. "We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy," the administrators of Ravelry posted on the site.
The Subscription Model: The Shining Star of E-Commerce
July 11, 2019
Subscription sales have become a strong part of e-commerce. Everything from razors to dog toys to movies is being sold on the subscription model, and there is no sign of letting up. "Our customers tell us that opening their BarkBox with their dog is one of the best experiences they share every month," said Allison Stadd, vice president of marketing at Bark, about its monthly dog supply box.
The Growing Menace of Weaponized Deepfakes
June 27, 2019
The U.S. House Intelligence Committee recently heard expert testimony on the growing threat posed by "deepfakes" -- altered videos and other AI-generated false information -- and what it could mean for the 2020 general elections, as well as the country's national security overall. The technologies collectively known as "deepfakes" can be used to manipulate and falsify images and videos.
Uber Drones to Make Meal Drops This Summer
June 21, 2019
Uber Elevate, the aerial arm of rideshare service Uber, will test a fast food delivery by drone service later this summer in San Diego. Delivery destinations won't be houses or apartment buildings, however, but instead will be "designated safe landing zones." Those landing zones could include the roof of a parked Uber vehicle in one scenario. An Uber courier would hand-deliver it to the consumer.
The New Era of E-Commerce Personalization
June 17, 2019
A personalized shopping experience gives e-commerce sites an edge, and businesses increasingly have been seeking ways to welcome their customers. "Every business should make their customers feel like they are the most important customer in the world," said Rob Maille, head of strategy and customer experience at CommerceCX. "To do that you need to know and anticipate their wants and needs."
Reliving D-Day Through Augmented Reality
June 6, 2019
The National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, is honoring the exploits and sacrifices of the Greatest Generation in a new augmented reality exhibit "D-Day: Freedom from Above." This AR experience commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, which helped liberate France and Western Europe from the Nazis and lead to the Allied victory in the Second World War.
The Cannabis Rush: Where There's Smoke, There's E-Commerce
May 31, 2019
The budding online cannabis industry has a long way to go before it delivers bumper crops. The market for both recreational and medicinal cannabis has been plowed and pre-seeded by the previous underground market and the impetus of state laws legalizing its use. Still, the cannabis industry is almost invisible online, cloaked as it is in a broad ad and search engine blackout.
Getting Chatty With Chatbots
May 28, 2019
Chatbots are an important part of the e-commerce shopping experience. They answer questions, provide information, and help customers along in their buying journey. Though they may never replace human beings entirely, they are central to many e-commerce-related interactions. Because they can be everpresent, chatbots are vital for keeping customers and potential customers engaged with a brand.
Digging for Bitcoin Is a Labor of Love
May 16, 2019
It would have been reasonable for those attending Josh Bressers' session at CypherCon -- myself included -- to expect a presentation by a cryptocurrency expert. It was billed as a talk about plumbing the depths of the bitcoin blockchain. When Bressers admitted that his material grew out of a hobby, I was surprised. Still, the talk was far from disappointing.
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Should virtual fans be used on TV broadcasts of sporting events during the pandemic?
Yes -- This use of VR technology helps to bring a sense of normalcy to the game atmosphere and is more entertaining while sports are played in empty stadiums.
Perhaps -- It's an interesting idea while human fans are not allowed to attend games. However it's unfair for the TV networks to control how the crowd looks and reacts to everything during the game.
No -- Virtual fans are creepy and cannot substitute for humans. I prefer to watch games with empty seats while human fans are not allowed to attend.
It does not matter to me because I do not watch sports on TV.