Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) to Work

The impact of consumerization of technology

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Do you bring your own device to work, such as a tablet or smart phone? If so, does your employer allow you to use it for work or personal activities?

It used to be that technology was confined to either the work or home environment. Now, devices are portable, affordable, and flexible enough that they go everywhere with us, including the office. Moreover, users are actually using their personal devices to perform work activities. The “consumerization of IT” is defined as the use of technologies that can easily be provisioned by non-technologists. This trend represents a fundamental shift between employers and employees.

But, what’s the impact? Gartner found 40% used personally owned smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops as a primary or supplemental business device and 45% of workers not required to use a personal device for work were doing so without their employer’s knowledge. Most users do not require traditional IT resources to connect, collaborate, share, or consume content. Employees demand to use their personally preferred mobile devices, personal computers, applications, social media, and cloud services wherever they go or in whatever they do. Technology has made employee empowerment easier, but not all organizations are embracing it. In fact, some organizations attempt to control it with strict policies or specific hardware and software requirements or company issued devices.

Is there a happy medium? Employers are concerned about everything affecting their brand – this incudes security, software viruses, viral content, breaches, etc. Employees believe they can and should be able to use their own devices to be more productive and stay in touch with the outside world. Both sides should work together to find common ground. CIOs must forge new, collaborative relationships with users, give them freedom to make IT decisions, and teach them how to assume responsibility for those decisions.

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…Help Me Out!

How Technology May Change The Dressing Room Experience

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In the story of Snow White, the magic mirror held great power. Oh, to have a mirror like that on a shopping trip!

I don’t know about you, but I have to psych myself up when shopping for clothes. I despise trips to the dressing room, especially if I end up shopping at more than one store. The process of undressing, trying on clothes, and then redressing is maddening! Because of this, I tend to overload my trip to the dressing room with different sizes and color options. Nearly all of us can relate to being situations where you love the style or color of an item, but the size wasn’t quite right. Yet, unless you have a friend or family member that can fetch another one, who wants to get redressed to go back out onto the sales floor only to have to go through the undress/try on/redress process. Get the picture?

But, there are some cool technology advancements just around the corner that may make the trip to the dressing room less painful and…fun!

Nordstrom is testing smart mirrors in the dressing room that have the ability to act as a website. With the tap of a customer’s finger, the mirror turns into an interactive screen, effectively creating smart fitting rooms. The intent is to bring technology into an area (the dressing room) that is normally not automated, but highly influences the consumer’s buying decision. Additionally, Bloomingdale’s is adding mounted iPads on the wall of their dressing rooms. Bloomingdale’s solution is not quite as sophisticated or high-tech as interactive mirrors, but it’s a step in the right direction. With this technology, customers can scan bar codes to find colors or sizes and to see what’s in stock. Additionally, they can request an associate bring an item to them without having to leave the dressing room.

How about not even having to get undressed at all to try on clothes? Yes, it maybe possible. Emerging retail technology is considering how holograms can play into the dressing room experience. British digital agency Engage created a Virtual Style Pod that scanned shoppers and created a life-size image onto which luxury clothing from brands like Alexander McQueen and DKNY were projected. Now, that’s pretty cool stuff!

But, this technology is not just about making the shopping experience more pleasant for the customer. Retailers are learning how to use their brick and mortar stores to service customers like never before. As customers shopping preferences shift to more digital avenues, retailers are figuring out how to integrate their physical store locations into the digital shopping experience.

It looks like having a “magic mirror” maybe quite possible after all. I for one cannot wait for the dressing room revolution!

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Marketing Technology Careers

New Opportunities in Marketing for Tech Geeks

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Say what?

That’s right, you read correctly. There are new opportunities emerging in marketing that – gasp – are not creative. Yet, I believe these new roles have the ability to contribute to a successful campaign as much as creative ingenuity.

Technology is changing the face of marketing in more ways than just engagement and advertising. It’s bringing to light the need to recruit and hire personnel with technical acumen. Creative skills have always been a crucial part of marketing and will continue to be so. But, as the digital landscape continues to morph and grow, marketers will struggle with delivering content dynamically and quickly without people that possess technical ability. The tools available today (and certainly in the future) are much more sophisticated and integrated than ever before.

Additionally, more and more marketers need to understand the data that is cultivated and stored inside their organization and be able to maximize the value from it. See if this sounds familiar: the marketing department wants to more fully understand customer perception and attitudes. They hire expensive vendors and purchase additional tools capable of collecting this data only to find out that the Customer Service department is already gathering a large portion of this information through their customer information systems. What ends ups happening is the implementation of disparate systems and duplicate customer information. This happens over and over again throughout the corporate world. It is often said that an organization is “data rich, but information poor”. Meaning, most organizations are swimming in data, but what they lack is real integration and analytical insight as to what the data means or how best to use it. Here’s where marketing geeks come to the rescue.

The skills required to integrate marketing campaigns across multiple channels seamlessly and understand the data that is required to be successful are in high demand. One such job is a Marketing Technologist. DigitalPeople’s case study describes the marketing technologist’s primary role is to assure that technology is being used in the most effective manner and that it offers a competitive marketing advantage. They work more closely with business leaders to prioritize IT strategies and make them executable as they relate to key marketing strategies. Companies currently looking for this type of role include Dell, Baptist Healthcare System, and NBC Universal. Scott Brinker states a marketing technologist is a marketer who understands technology and a technologist who is passionate about marketing. A more elevated role is Chief Marketing Technologist, one that is equivalent of the Chief Information Officer. This person reports directly to the Chief Marketing Officer and oversees all things marketing – marketing software, data and analytics, social and mobile platforms, apps development, content marketing, web mechanics, and digital advertising networks.

These new roles and responsibilities open the door for a whole new group of people who may have not given a career in marketing a second thought. But, as the future of marketing becomes more technical, marketing tech jobs are hot!

So, marketers…get your geek on!

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Twitter Embraces New Features

New Release Shows Twitter Can Change

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Dismal market news dogged Twitter for much of 2014, as investors were continually concerned about the growth of the user base and the strategic direction of the company. In July, Market Watch reported shares had fallen 9.5% since first-quarter results were released in late April, and were down 39% year-to-date, mainly due to investor worries that the company’s user base wasn’t growing fast enough. A Huffington Post article later reported that Twitter posted a loss of $175 million, or 29 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2014. Additionally, Twitter was repeatedly compared with Facebook – both in number of users and flexibility. In the first quarter of 2014, Twitter reported 255 million monthly active users, compared to Facebook’s 1.3 billion monthly users. Facebook added new features and facelifts while Twitter’s functionality remained relatively unchanged.

But, 2015 brings a New Year and new promise for Twitter. This month, Twitter announced it is rolling out two new features, which are designed to make the platform more appealing. One feature is private group messaging and the other is the ability to shoot, edit and post videos directly through the Twitter app. While Twitter hopes to capture more new users to the platform, it also wants its current user base to use the site more often. According to Robert Peck, managing director and Internet equity analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, some analysts believe the new features, investments in advertising technology, and the company’s outreach to third-party software developers could be potential catalysts for Twitter having a “Facebook moment” in 2015.

Clearly, video is the king of content. Just on YouTube alone, over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute! That is why the new video feature of Twitter maybe one of the most important. Previously, the only way for most Twitter users to share video was through Vine, Twitter’s standalone video app (which provided short, 6-second clips). Now, Twitter users can add video up to 30 seconds in length. Twitter for iPhone users can upload videos from the camera roll and Twitter promises to be expanding this functionality to Android soon. Twitter hopes the addition of video will promote richer, more frequent, and shareable content.

The new group messaging feature allows users to start conversations with up to 20 people on Twitter. Those people do not all have to follow each other to chat privately. Since its inception, Twitter has largely been focused on public conversations. Yet, with this new release, the ability for private conversations will be realized. This type of functionality should promote greater levels of engagement with users. Maybe more users who enjoy Facebook for its social collaboration will migrate to Twitter now that more social interactivity is possible. You can bet that’s what Twitter is aiming for.