If you want to get ahead of the game when it involves online marketing, then the best task for you to execute is to employ fresh and trendy means of advertising your products and services. Do not just settle with content writing, despite the fact that it is an important part of internet marketing, but take a more advance road heading to an up-to-date ways of online marketing. Now, let\'s resolve the issue, what makes animated video so crucial to the internet marketing?
Among the main reasons why video marketing is so important is due to the fact that it opens up a cutting-edge medium for business to connect with their client in a much more appealing approach. There are a ton of competitors in the marketing these days that are seeking to make it to # 1 and it\'s essential that you work with an approach that will make you stand apart from the crowd. It will also set your apart from the ordinary method which some internet users are getting sick and tired of. You will also do away from the notion that what you are presenting is a con or other schemes that are very rampant on the internet.
Offering pivotal relevant information through the use of animated videos is one fantastic way to communicate and interact with your clients. This will permit you to show your customers exactly how your products really work or how you implement your services. Without using any intricate words or tricky contents and simply plain and truthful demonstration of what lies ahead if they purchase your products or utilize your services. The most ideal means for you to showcase your product and service is to use a streamlined business presentation and present all the information you want your potential client to know in less than 3 minutes. Once you have successfully carried out this, you will absolutely gain loyalty from your prospective customers and will probably purchase your products or employ your services.
Animated videos are amongst the very best way to approach and keep in touch with your potential clients and this is also an excellent medium to showcase your products and services. Though the old school strategy to internet marketing still works, but it will be more effective if you incorporate it with the fresh ones and it will give your potential customers the variety that they are looking for. Make them feel that you recognize what they need and exactly where they are coming from and how your services or products can help them. By using animated videos, you can create this environment where your potential customers will be attracted and openly communicate with you.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/viral-marketing-articles/the-benefit-of-animated-videos-in-marketing-6464144.html
About the Author
I am a business marketing agency specialist that makes use of the different effective techniques such as SEO services, Qualified Google Professionals, Social Media Advice, Copywriting, Animated Videos and more. There are lots of techniques available in the market, the question now is, are you implementing such approaches effectively?
(Originally published in Wired.com)
Everyone has an equal need to feel useful, to have a productive and participatory role in society. Military training and the inherent qualities that make for good soldiers such as greater self-efficacy, enhanced identity and sense of purposefulness and pride, can also make for excellent service professions in civilian life and beyond.
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, about a million service members will enter the workforce over the next five years. According to CBS News, “Younger veterans aged 20 to 24 are singled out as having particular problems finding jobs. In 2010, they had a 20.6 percent unemployment rate.”
Why is this the case, given military self-efficacy and skills in leadership and collaboration?
Washington policy makers Center for a New American Security (CNAS) wrote a research paper that sought to answer why businesses might not hire veterans. It interviewed 69 companies and found two main oft-cited issues. Namely, skills transfer and stereotyping, including the inability to communicate how military experience can translate to business. A culture clash exists between civilian and military worlds. “A military culture that rewards brevity, directness and discipline can seem at odds with more creative organizations.” Many business leaders are “concerned about post-traumatic-stress disorder, while some others even see the discipline and rigor of military experience as a downside,” wrote Jena McGregor in the Washington Post on her analysis of the CNAS report.
McGregor ends her article saying that “Solving this problem requires leadership from companies, as well as from federal, state and local governments. Yet most of all, it requires leadership from the military itself.”
Solutions are the mother of necessity, and entrepreneurs will rise to the occasion if there is a large enough definitive problem in society to solve. How far can government programs go?
In September, Senate Republicans blocked an Obama jobs bill that would have allocated $1 billion over five years geared to helping some 20,000 veterans find employment. The bill didn’t even make to the Senate for a vote, as Congress argued how the bill would be financed. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla), appearing on “Morning Joe,” argued that there are “six veterans jobs programs now, and nobody knows if they’re working.” In a video posted on Salon.com, Coburn went on to call the vet bill “crap.”
Dependency on government programs has its limitations. And if serving in the armed forces teaches us anything, it teaches interdependence, group solidarity, yet also, independence, all hallmarks of entrepreneurism and of a former active duty military officer named Yinon Weiss.
Weiss served 10 years on active duty, serving first as a Marine Corps Scout/Sniper Platoon Commander, and then as an Army Special Forces officer, deploying overseas multiple times. While getting his MBA at Harvard, he worked at Goldman Sachs and Boston Consulting Group. He’s also the founder of MilitaryToBusiness.com, a consulting firm helping talented vets make career transitions.
While on active duty in Iraq, Weiss met a fellow officer Aaron Kletzing, who was equally as passionate about applying today’s social media tools to make a difference to the lives of military personnel. Kletzing is a West Point graduate, where he got his bachelor’s in economics. He also served five years as a US Army officer. The two men met again at Harvard Business School, and together they founded RallyPoint and began putting the pieces together at Harvard Innovation Labs.
A kind of LinkedIn for the military, RallyPoint is an online professional network that allows US service members to form career alliances and connections with each other and with prospective employers for career opportunities whether they stay in the military or decide to transition. They recruited retired former Army Chief of Staff General George Casey on their Board of Advisors. Most recently the startup won the $100,000 Diamond Prize by MassChallenge, competing against 1200 ventures from 35 countries.
Graphically displayed like a family tree, the RallyPoint University shows users where friends and contacts are located throughout the major branches of the military – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Joint commands, from a total of 20,000 units within the DoD. “Users can find specific positions in specific units in specific places, and find out around when that position may open up, and do so with an architecture that is incredibly user-friendly,” says Kletzing.
Social media behemoths have created personal and professional networking opportunities that didn’t exist 10 years ago, but reports show that only about four percent of military members are active on sites like LinkedIn. Online recruiting and job search sites for private sector professionals haven’t successfully penetrated the military ranks. This is because service members strongly prefer a military-only community that supports their unique needs and connects them in a way that is meaningful to their military careers.
The RallyPoint interface is visually stunning in comparison to what you see on LinkedIn. It places active, reserve and transitioning veterans into contact with mentors, colleagues, and civilian recruiters throughout the military and veteran communities. Members are given data visibility on estimated PCS (permanent change of station) dates of other military members. Users can discover potential positions of similar rank and specialization that they would otherwise never know about. Military leaders throughout one’s branch may also identify and help recruit members to join their units based on their experience and completed profile.
LinkedIn has 187 million members in 200 countries. It boasts of signing up new members at a rate of two per second. RallyPoint may not reach those numbers anytime soon, but no matter. It offers the military its own version and will prove itself as useful. Certainly the two veterans behind it have the right stuff to make it happen.
To watch RallyPoint Universe in action: http://youtu.be/sNN7Ah8mjCI
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(Originally published in CommPRO.biz, 10/03/12 | http://dld.bz/bPccf)
From an insider comes a reverse whistle-blower. I say reverse because the author of “UP and to the RIGHT” offers a corrective to something that has long been perceived negatively and oft debated by PR and marketing pros: Is the Magic Quadrant bogus?
In Richard Stiennon’s new book, the author seeks to pull off the covers on the much lionized and also much maligned Gartner Magic Quadrant.
For those not versed in research-side Analyst Relations (AR) commonly practiced among technology PR and marketing pros, Gartner Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the largest analyst firm in the tech industry with 5200 associates including 1280 analysts/consultants that service 12,000 organizations in 85 countries.
Their claim to fame is the invention of the Magic Quadrant, a published ranking of winners and losers.
As Stiennon describes it, the MQ is a study built around a simple graphic: a square broken into four quadrants. The two axes are Ability to Execute (vertical) and Completeness of Vision (horizontal). The quads are labeled challengers, leaders, niche players and visionaries. For vendors competing for a good placement on the MQ, the winner’s circle, if you will, is located in the upper right hand box. This is the leaders section. And if a company is fortunate enough to be placed towards the right side of this box, it demonstrates that the vendor enjoys high vision and high execution. Hence why the book is titled, “UP and to the RIGHT.”
The graphic is simple and that’s part of its attraction. It certainly is not cartoonish, like Benjamin Netanyahu’s drawing of a bomb with a sparkling wick that looked like something Wilie E. Coyote would throw at Road Runner.
The behemoths typically find themselves in that upper right corner, and deservedly so. Any placement at all on the MQ causes vendors to kick out a flurry of press releases.
Many people believe that Gartner takes a bias approach, rewarding their highest paying clients with the best position on the Magic Quad. But the author is emphatic about demystifying this myth and righting misapprehensions. He ought to know, given that he is a former Gartner analyst himself. (A 20-year veteran, he was once a white hat hacker for PricewaterhouseCoopers, spent time at several tech firms, and now runs his own analyst firm and publishing house, IT-Harvest.)
“UP and to the RIGHT” is the first book ever written to guide technology marketers and executives in their journey to the promised land of the Magic Quad. Global 1000 firms take the MQ very seriously, with millions of dollars in purchasing decisions riding on the results.
The book goes into depth on how the MQ is assembled, how to influence for position, and other tips. Topics include: Leveraging Social Media, the Influence Pyramid, the CEO’s role, responding to the MQ Questionnaire, Guerrilla Tactics, What Not to Do, the analyst day, the analyst inquiry, and the analyst briefing.
Below is a Q&A I conducted with the author.
Q. I like how the book is so single-minded in purpose. What was your intent on doing this book?
I wanted to share what works and what does not work when dealing with Gartner. Because 95 percent of my time as an independent analyst is spent with vendor PR and AR people I realized that I knew my audience and I had a lot to say about analyst relations. The focus came about because it seems like every AR professional is saddled with the responsibility for their company's position in the Magic Quadrant. I wanted to help them create their strategy and plan. Of course I had to add some of the more revealing tips and techniques.
Q. Gartner Magic Quad has become a holy grail among AR pros. Is it all bogus?
Sadly no. I have seen tremendous results on a company's performance when they cross the line into the Leaders Quadrant. Love them or hate them, the reality is that Magic Quadrants are a powerful tool of influence on enterprise purchases.
Q. A common perception about the MQ is that Gartner favors its own clients. Does the book try to dispel or confirm this myth?
Certainly the book dispels the myth that Gartner is a pay-to-play story. That said, most of the advice re-enforces the need to spend with Gartner, but spend with an eye towards getting access to the key analysts, not to make the account rep happy.
Q. Have you seen, or is it possible, for a non-client of Gartner’s to get into the upper-right quadrant?
I know I have put vendors in the Leaders Quadrant with no knowledge of their relationship with Gartner. Since Gartner takes briefings from any vendor it is hard for the analyst to be cognizant of the client relationship. Obviously, if they are doing inquiries, SAS days [a $12k day with an analyst], and Gartner events, they are clients. I am sure there are large IT vendors that are not Gartner clients but today, if you want to become a large IT vendor, I don't see how you could do it without working with Gartner.
Q. Forrester also has its own version of the MQ it calls The Wave. Any words on that?
While many of the same techniques and planning are equally relevant to influencing other analyst firms such as IDC, Ovum, and Forrester, I focus the book on influencing Gartner. I do cover how influencing other analyst firms and how the 600+ independent firms play into the whole picture.
Originally published in CommPRO.biz, 10/03/12 | http://dld.bz/bPccf
In July Yahoo found itself so overly distracted with kicking out and hiring yet another CEO that it fell prey to an old school SQL injection attack. Security gurus reacted with scorn and dismay at Yahoo’s allowing 400,000 user names and passwords to be carried out the door then displayed on someone’s front lawn for the world to see, like a yard sale with no buyers. How could the company not be using a damp towel to wipe the egg from its face? It had fallen prey to a hacker trick so well documented that any online search for the phrase “prevent SQL injection” will cough up 600,000 results.
You can excuse Yahoo for not being the only household brand victim, thanks to SQL attacks on Sony, LinkedIn, even Lady Gaga and another 115 million web applications, according to data protection vendor Imperva.
In a nutshell, hackers visit a website and fill out a web form with a SQL statement such as 1 + 1 =2, which the log-in field interprets as true and allowing it to pass as legitimate credentials. The SQL database is tricked into giving up the goods, which usually comprises credit card numbers, user names and passwords.
Although ways to patch this vulnerability are readily at hand, ways to detect an imminent attack can easily falter since it’s difficult to distinguish SQL statements from random gibberish used to inject attack code. For these reasons SQL attacks, while well understood and preventable, are not taking an early retirement any time soon.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reported that 312 million data records have been lost since 2005 and 83% of hacking-related data breaches were executed via SQL injection attacks.
In a period of six months, UK-based secure cloud hosting company, FireHost reported a huge 69% jump in SQL injection attacks. It tracks these numbers based on the hundreds of thousands of total attacks it blocks on behalf of its cloud hosting clients.
FireHost defines a group of four attack types it calls a “Superfecta,” as being the most nasty and dangerous. The Superfecta comprises cross-site scripting (XSS), directory traversals, SQL Injections, and cross-site request forgery (CSRF).
At the Black Hat conference last week, engineering director Nick Galbreath of Etsy, a marketplace site for small businesses making handmade goods, explained the difficulty of deciphering between benign and malignant SQL input numbers. “How do you detect if user input is SQL, good input, or what? Is that my phone number or an arithmetic expression? Is it a Twitter handle or is it a SQL variable?” The engineer spoke about a “tokenization” means to analyzing SQL injections.
Taking a lexical analysis approach called libinjection, it takes real-time user input from a website and converts that into a stream of tokens. The result (“tokenization”) is an open C library that makes the tool more lightweight and easier to analyze the user data.
“What it does is it converts input into a stream of tokens. There’s a master list of keywords and functions which is sort of combined against all the major databases. It’s not completely intractable and it handles also the comments strings, literals and all the weird cases.
“So it goes through, disambiguates, merges tokens, specializes, merges strings together, does all the stuff it needs to do and then it does one last step, which is really designed to reduce false positives,” Galbreath said. “If it sees a bunch of arithmetic operations together, it just merges them all together. My phone number just returns into 1. We don’t actually care what the value is because SQL injection doesn’t care what the value is, just that there’s a number there. Same thing with multiple nested parenthesis, it just gets rid of them.”
The beauty of this approach is that the tool does not have to sift through reams of user data to discern whether the user input is malicious or benign. After analyzing millions of input scenarios Galbreath found that the number of tokens needed to distinguish between SQL injection and benign input was just five tokens.
“That’s pretty interesting compared to regular expression, because then you’re parsing the entire input. If you have 10 megs of input, [libinjection] will be parsing 10 megs of data. Then as soon as it hits five tokens, done.”
Consider the stance from cloud hosting providers. If they can detect and block an attack against one website residing on their network, then they can collect this information over time, building knowledge that can be used to protect the entire hosted community.
“As cloud environments continue to rise, the security infrastructures are not adequately addressing the SQL injection problem,” said Chris Drake, FireHost CEO. “An alternative approach is one that incorporates rules specific to each customer. Rules that benefit from learnings across the hundreds of millions of hack attempts seen across an entire customer base hosted in the same cloud environment.”
For the most part, SQL Injection attacks are automated and website owners may be blissfully unaware that their data could actively be at risk. Sites continue to lose customer data to digital thieves.
Says Stan Stahl, president of the Los Angeles chapter of ISSA security association, “We simply cannot tolerate a head-in-the-sand attitude, whether by web developers or the people who hire and manage them. The consequences of willful ignorance are too grave.”
Victor Cruz, also published in Wired.com/Cloudline 08/02/12
I love telling this story about a CEO who messed up a once-in-a-lifetime New York Times interview. (Granted, I should’ve force-fed him interview tips.)
The problem with this CEO was that he went too deep. Too deep into explaining what his company did, when the article’s focus was not at all about him or his company. He failed to stay on theme.
He also failed to listen, resulting in the reporter’s inability to pose a question.
The CEO simply fire-hosed the interviewer. The result? A one-word mention. This, after talking non-stop for an hour.
A basic interview rule was breached: The interviewee is there to service the interviewer, not vice-versa.
As PR pros, we have to remind our clients that the story/article must come first. We are there to service the press. We are there to service the story. We should be doing everything we can to help the writer write the best story they possibly can.
An interview is not a platform to sermonize how great your “solution” is. Wikipedia editors who are gifted with well-developed draconian noses for smelling puffery, call this kind of puffery “peacocking.”
Expert sources are sought after by the press. Since most stories are about people and not companies, we need experts to humanize our pitches. So-called “domain experts” like to show off their expertise, more so if they had to suffer through long classroom lectures to earn a coveted certification. And when this happens, the interview can suffer. The expert source goes too deep. He goes subterranean. He images himself a professor standing before a lectern.
In this particular case, the interview was about the gains in speed, agility, and convenience that can be achieved by a flying car. The pontificator instead chose to talk about the physics and mathematics involved in making the car fly. He got too myopic, and he failed to listen. He was the expert, after all.
But he didn’t service the call. A grade “F” showing appeared on the final published report.
The upshot: Don’t let this happen to your client, exec or spokesperson. Resist peacocking, pointless preening for the press, punditry and pedagogy. Instead, encourage your chief spokesperson to be shallow. Dealing with the press may be the only professional situation where that’s a good thing.
Victor Cruz also published in COMMPro.biz, 09/04/11
Teri Hatcher, she of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” fame was the emcee on the opening day at this week’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas, expected to attract 90,000 people.
Its president Gordon Smith gave his annual state of the industry address, but it would behoove NAB to have handed Marc Benioff the honors instead, he of Salesforce.com fame and poster boy cloud advocate relentless in his 12 years of “say no to software” campaigning. NAB organizers would show advanced forward thinking to nab Benioff. In all fairness the topic of cloud is not off the agenda. It’s just not stealing the spotlight like the lovely Ms. Hatcher or the unmanned military-issued drone flying overhead.
Thanks to the efforts of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA.info), this year marks the first time that NAB will showcase a separate cloud pavilion. This area will look at how the cloud relates to the A/V ecosystem at each stage of the content distribution chain, from collaboration to storage, delivery and analytics. And it looks like Salesforce.com and IBM Global Services will both have talking heads on the panel, “Years Ahead for Cloud Computing,” ending the single-day event with “Disruptive Effects of Cloud Computing will Continue.”
There are no ostriches here with heads buried in the sand. Cable TV execs know that the mainstream is tapping into the online stream. Leichtman Research surveyed 1250 homes and found 38% of them had at least one TV set hooked online.
Broadcasters can easily be seen as old school chumps too stubborn to embrace new cloud applications in the face of mounting competition from the likes of Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime, but it’s just not the case. The entrenched broadcasters and cable companies are not sitting idle for the world to pass them by, much as the music industry did before Steve Jobs polished its core.
It’s no surprise that today’s consumers of entertainment content want anywhere, anytime access to their favorite dramas and reality TV shows. For news and sports content, they want it live, and they want it on second and third screens, namely laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Nielsen just reported how 88% of U.S. tablet owners use their tablet while also watching TV at least once a month; and 45% of tablet owners watch the tube while using their tablet at least once a day.
Another group also not sitting idle is venture capitalists. VCs broke a 10-year high in 2011 investing $30 billion in 3,000 companies, of which 1,000 were Internet-related (Source: CB Insights). Last week Endplay, a cloud-based content management vendor for the video industry, announced additional funding to their $21 million pool, and today they announced a partnership with Anvato to give local broadcasters ready access to web and video content management they have not seen before. Media firms may expect video editing and publishing time cut by up to 60% through a process that publishes web videos from live broadcasts.
In other news, Panasonic is teaming up with Aframe to create a network of “upload centers” scattered in all major metropolitan centers from NYC to LA that will give professionals the ability to rapidly upload and view high-def videos from dedicated cloud servers, making the management of production processes easier. These upload centers will link to Aframe's cloud video production servers in the U.S.
Avid announced cloud-based video editing tools that lets users edit footage shot on location from anywhere with an Internet connection, then upload cut and finished stories to web servers. Dubbed “Interplay Sphere,” the services relay more flexible options for broadcasters to connect with their newsrooms.
On the production side, cloud-based collaborative tools have been growing in popularity with services like Quantel’s QTube and Chyron’s Axis World Graphics.
“Proponents point to the efficiencies, while others point out that bandwidth is not consistent everywhere and could result in limitations,” said Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter. How about those recent Azure and Amazon outages?
Staying abreast of these trends, Journal Broadcast Group, a Midwestern operator of 14 television stations and 33 radio stations is using the Anvato cloud application to speed its broadcast-to-web video transfer. The technology involves the installation of boxes at local stations. These boxes allow Journal to capture HD videos from live broadcast signals and publish these to websites, mobile devices and syndicates within moments of video airing in broadcast.
Used as a SaaS application, video feeds can be accessed remotely through a browser, to cut out and edit video clips such as TV shows and news reports and publish them from anywhere. Patented technology called Perceptual Signature can detect scene and context changes to automatically segment the live broadcast stream. An auto-segmenter tool utilizes computer vision to locate television commercials and replace these with localized commercials.
These cloud applications are replacing not just hardware and stodgy modes of accomplishing a business process, but they are changing how management can literally think out-of-the-box and forget, or at least put aside, their previously habituated legacy-thinking. And that is always good news for innovators who are willing to challenge and transform the status quo.
To see more on how broadcasters are weighing the cloud in Vegas this week: www.nabshow.com.
Victor Cruz, also published in Wired.com/Cloudline 4/17/12 http://www.wired.com/cloudline/2012/04/broadcasters-cloud/
There are so many cloud storage services vying for your business that it can be seriously tough to decide on which is best. DropBox is the poster child and flush with an infusion of $250m in venture capital. Good on flexibility and functionality but not so much on pricing. DropBox for Teams provides 1000 GB of storage, version history, admin tools and customer support starting at $795 per year for five users.
Small businesses with basic needs may get away with using Google or Microsoft. Google Drive offers five GB free, 25 GB for $2.49 per month and goes all the way up to 16 TB for $799.99 per month. The pricing is competitive and you have limited version history, the ability to share and edit files and the option to have discussions. The problem is Google would like you to use all their services. It’s perfect if you use Google Docs, Android and Gmail but not so great if you don’t.
Window’s Live SkyDrive is actually a pretty nifty option for small businesses. You get seven GB for free and then 20 GB for $10 per year up to 100 GB for $50 per year. You’ve got document syncing, support for Windows Phone and iOS and the ability to edit documents even if you don’t have Office.
In alpha order, let’s take a look at some of the lesser known options out there good for small to midsize businesses.
Box offers a file management system in the cloud that allows you to set up file structures and individual permissions. You can have conversations, assign tasks and get real-time updates from their virtual workspace. You can create branded virtual data rooms that can be shared securely with colleagues or clients. The service can be accessed on mobile devices and they recently announced an app launcher called One Cloud that allows you to access the same file from different apps.
For secure storage and flexible file sharing that is scalable for any size of business, Box makes a lot of sense. It can be integrated into your existing IT structure and used in conjunction with the leading apps or even your own proprietary apps. Their customer support is extremely good. Business pricing starts at $15 per month per user and goes up the more features you want. Their full enterprise integration with solid admin and security controls, mobile device management and enhanced reporting is a good choice for very large businesses and they already have an impressive client list.
This is a scalable enterprise solution that offers continuous file syncing and plenty of administrative controls and security options for IT departments. You can easily back up and share files. There’s also app integration, the option to brand your content and mobile access for the iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and HP webOS platforms.
The small business package with limited features starts at $24.99 per month for 5 employees and 150 GB. The service can scale up to cater for an unlimited number of employees. Their enterprise option, starting at $12.99 per employee per month, offers enhanced reports, app and server integration and a lot more.
Another enterprise solution for cloud storage and document management is Ftopia. They also allow you to configure a file structure and create branded, secure virtual rooms which can be shared with colleagues or clients. They have a versioning system to avoid any data loss when multiple people are working on the same file. They also offer an iPhone app for accessing files on the go and there is full integration with SharePoint.
You’ll find that most of the big solutions offer a pretty similar feature set, so you really want to identify the unique selling points. For Ftopia, that big differentiator is data integrity. Through their deal with Guardtime they adopted a data validation service that nobody else can touch. Ftopia brings so-called Keyless Signatures to the table, a tamper-proof time stamp that uses mathematics to prove (if needed for litigation cases or regulatory compliance) that no content changes have been made to the data since the files were uploaded. Their basic package starts at $25 per month for 10 users and there are larger packages and various add-ons available.
This file sharing service is very accessible and easy to use. You’ve got typical options for sharing and protecting files of any type but it’s not so much geared towards online collaboration for virtual teams. SugarSync is really about securely storing files and accessing them from anywhere. All the major mobile platforms are supported and the business package comes with an administrative dashboard and live support.
As an easy backup and sync solution you can’t go wrong. Pricing starts at $29.99 per month for 100 GB and 3 users. One of the best things about SugarSync is that you can send files of any size from any device. If you demand mobile access not just on iOS, but on Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Symbian as well, then check them out.
There’s no one-size fits all solution that beats the rest. If collaboration is the focus, then Box should be high on your list, as should Ftopia. The data integrity guarantee from the Guardtime service and the pricing for Ftopia will tip the scales for many. SugarSync is good for backups and the scalability of Egnyte’s HybridCloud will appeal to some companies.
Cloud storage services have been emerging at an impressive clip over the last few years. The competition to be your file host of choice is fierce and you can get an impressive amount of storage for free. Take advantage of free personal versions first before adopting them into your enterprise.
Victor Cruz, also published in Enterprise Storage 06/29/12 as "5 Enterprise-worthy Cloud Storage Services": http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/storage-services/5-enterpriseworthy-cloud-storage-services.html
How many ways can you peel hype? One could say any story that spreads like a San Diego county wildfire, receiving national media attention lasting for at least three days is a story that has been hyped. There’s a good reason for it. It sparks enough genuine curiosity to plunge it into the public conversation stream. But hype has a negative connotation for PR/marketing. To label a campaign as ‘hype’ can be an insult. But when the same campaign goes viral and achieves big media attention, well then, that’s called being wildly successful. Something about hype rubs the wrong way. It implies superficiality. It implies the opposite of truth and what is genuine. Webster defines it as: “To create interest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods.” And “To intensify (advertising, promotion, or publicity) by ingenious or questionable claims, methods, etc.”
Questionable claims. Flamboyant methods. Hype achieved by deceit versus hype achieved by hype itself. Let’s paint it black and white to distinguish bad hype from good hype.
If PR is the mouth that blows air into the bubble pipe, and if the bubbles lift off in many directions succeed in capturing the desired attention, that is good hype. If the campaign has made bogus claims, and achieves the same result, then that is bad hype because it’s based on falsity. If the planets happen to align and the campaign takes upon a life of its own, PR shifts to reactive mode and is left fielding calls; it occupies itself with containing the barriers of truth from breaking into hyperbole. This is the case with media darlings, the Apples we all know.
This has not been the case with Terrafugia (ter-ra-FOO-gee-ah). For starters, it’s not a new story. It has been written about in IT and trade journals ever since the company was founded 2006. Its science has been on the drawing board for longer than that. The people behind Terrafugia (Latin for “escape the earth”) are scientists and not in the business of putting hype on the radar.
The interesting twist here, and one that major media missed, is not that the company is building a car that can fly, but rather, an airplane that can drive like a car. It’s founders are pilots with PhD’s from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.
I had one of its investors as a client, Semyon Dukach, quite the colorful character. He was the central figure in Ben Mezrich’s nonfiction bestseller Busting Vegas: the MIT whiz kid who brought the casinos to their knees about his blackjack playing days during the mid-90s. Today Dukach is a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist and CEO of SMTP Inc., a bulk email delivery service that he took public on the OTC BB alone, without the use of bankers. Need it be said that he is a genius with money? Once known as “The Darling of Las Vegas,” Dukach came from Russia as a young boy with two beans in his pockets. Despite being a helicopter pilot, he’s not someone likely to throw money away carelessly.
It just happens that the 2012 New York Auto Show, where Terrafugia is having its coming out party this week, is lacking anything else of interest that can compare with a “flying car.” (Or a plane that drives like a car.) The Chevy Volt had its sunshine last year. There is nothing bigger to fill the media pipeline gap. Yahoo laid off 2,000 people. Mitt Romney is a shoe-in. Saber rattling has quieted down in the Strait of Hormuz. The Final Four came down to the “unibrow” of Kentucky player Anthony Davis, as reported by the WSJ. Market averages hit multi-year highs; the Nasdaq alley-oopping its highest level since late 2000. But good news is no news…. A $279,000 car that can park in your garage and fly like a plane? Yes, that’s our home page.
Who created the hype? Most likely the company was blindsided by the tsunami of attention. It was never actually, the plan. They don’t even work with an agency. It released two public statements this year and seven in 2011. (Contrast that to Microsoft, which put out seven PR’s in the first four days of April.) This pretty much concludes the “lessons learned” portion of our program.
On April 2, after all the major news orgs wrote about Terafugia’s “The Transition,” the International Flying Car Association put out a press release, probably its first. It announced, and nothing else, an announcement to come, about “flying cars from two companies,” both of which the PR failed to actually name. Perhaps that second company is Dodge, and its product, the 2013 SRT Viper. As AutoWeek put it, “Fans of the snake have been salivating over the new Viper for months now.”
Eleven years ago the guru Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows wrote his seventh book, Free Flight: Inventing the Future of Travel, that could have been the inspiration for the MIT founders of Terrafugia, Fallows points out (as does the company’s FAQ page), that 5,000 public regional airports across the country are highly underutilized, unlike their mega-sized commercial airstrip brothers. Fallows, who is also a pilot, envisions and advocates for a future where thousands of single engine aircraft are pressed into a kind of taxi service. It makes good sense. Less congested metro airports; more flexibility in scheduling air travel; more use of airplanes for shorter jaunts. How much bigger can O’Hare get without it devolving into a death trap? Terrafugia and the PAL-V from the Netherlands, a flying gyrocopter, could well help materialize this idea.
Innovation makes the world go round, but innovation is mostly about exploring the end of a dead end road if its application is deemed impractical, unrealistic, unfeasible, eventually untenable, and in this case, groundless. It’s painful enough to get city hall to issue a permit for a backyard lawnmower shed. How does the Government regulate safety in the air at 1,400 feet? Where’s the green story and noise pollution story? The public won’t have it. They fight against wind turbines off Cape Cod. Many problems loom in the sky. Despite its sell-out of all 100 pre-orders, most people are probably smirking, “Not in my time.”
In 1977 Digital Equipment Corp founder Ken Olsen said, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." To be fair, the PC was an infant, not yet identified as a PC. Olsen looked at the practical side of the ledger. But he didn’t see its application making any sense. It failed his truth test. Innovation is Darwinian, and a lot of what’s driving new growth and jobs is in cloud computing, evangelized by small companies like Google, Amazon, Salesforce.com, Joyent and GuardTime… but how utilitarian can it get?
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are extremely rare when compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box in cars?
That’s exactly what Japanese telemetrics company Crew Systems developed: a driving data recorder for cars and trucks that includes a video camera that can record data about driver behavior and GPS location. It captures video and audio of accidents in real-time. All of this data is streamed to a server in the cloud where it can assess the data and pump out records of safe driving rankings. Its use is not limited to accidents, since it also flags unsafe driving practices. You can imagine parents demanding that these smart cameras be installed on school buses, vehicles that don’t even feature seat belts.
Will this useful, practical, logical technology ever hit hype stage? Maybe, but doubtful. Is the nature of hype something that PR/marketers can drum up at will? Rarely, if ever, with B2B companies and their low budgets and only if they have full cooperation from major media, which seems to only crave an appetite for celebrities.
What do you do when your client is a retail store that sells yarn?
PR maven Peter Shankman found a hyper creative solution. He shares the case study in his 2006 book, I Can We Do That!: Outrageous PR Stunts That Work And Why Your Company Needs Them. Lifting a page from the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, he had a van customized with three giant balls of yarn. Since 1936, this hypey ploy worked wonders for a hot dog company. The Yarn Van played the media like needlework for this NY retailer. It’s wonderful to see how creative ‘big thinking’ can work so well. Was this hype? Sure it was; it fell to the “flamboyant methods” side of the hype debate. But it was good hype because it didn’t hoodwink the public.
You can define hype the way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart defined hard-core pornography: “I know it when I see it.” For B2B marketers whose promotions never shout through the public bullhorn, hype as something luckily attained hardly raises its lopsided head but when it does, most of us are gratefully thrilled for it.
Victor Cruz, also published in CommPR.biz, 04/05/12, http://dld.bz/bJyFh
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are rare occurrences compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box for cars?
That’s exactly what Japanese telemetrics company Crew Systems developed: a driving data recorder for cars and trucks. A big market exists for these in Japan, since businesses with more than five vehicles are required by law to produce daily reports on the driving habits of their drivers.
Crew devised a system that includes a video camera that can record data about driver behavior and GPS location. It captures video and audio of accidents in real-time. All of this data is streamed to a server in the cloud where it can assess the data and pump out records of safe driving rankings. Its use is not limited to accidents, since it also highlights unsafe driving practices. You can imagine parents demanding that these smart cameras be installed on school buses.
Many cities use video images to capture traffic accidents at intersections and these are increasingly being used as evidence in legal cases and for insurance claims. But the admissibility of such data as legal evidence requires proof that the data is tamper-free.
For Crew, the missing piece of the jigsaw was being able to prove the integrity of their data for admissibility in court actions. They needed a way to guarantee that the data had not been fooled with, a way to trace and time-stamp the car’s black box as the data was transferred to the cloud. So the company teamed up with Guardtime, which has a mathematically based keyless signature (in defiance of, and to segregate itself away from public key infrastructure, or PKI).
Says Symon Blomfield, founder of Presense Networks, “Guardtime doesn’t use cryptographic keys. Key infrastructure does not work in a cloud environment where the operator can access the computer memory in which the keys are stored. Without having to deal with key management the integration becomes a simple coding exercise. As Guardtime reduces the cost and hassle to a fraction of competing solutions the question becomes: why would you not sign all your data?”
The algorithms under the hood are complex, but the application is applied simply. In brief, GuardTime’s local client timestamps each file or document giving it a unique signature which can be verified against a publicly available string or code. There’s no need to trust a third-party service or ensure that secret keys are securely stored. It can also be used to verify the integrity of anything digital, whether emails, documents or a whole batch of files.
By signing all of the digital data collected with keyless signatures, Crew can provide proof that the data has not been tampered with in any way since it was signed, regardless of how it is transmitted and stored in the cloud.
The combination of a cloud service and verification that doesn’t involve sharing data has allowed Crew a true bumper-to-bumper insurance policy.
Several thousand of these drive recorders have been sold mainly to daycare centers, construction and logistics companies. The company is projecting sales of over 10,000 units per year to industrial waste disposal operators, companies leading reconstruction projects in disaster-stricken areas, and enterprises with large vehicle fleets. This forecast holds not only for Japan, but also within markets overseas.
Drive recorders enable companies to take more responsibility for driving safety and comply with increasingly stringent laws. Guardtime ensures that the data is reliable and credible. Who would have thought that the cloud could lead to this kind of innovation, where company trucks are beaming information about a driver and how this can lead to safer roads for all of us.
Victor Cruz, also published in Wired.com/Cloudline 4/13/12
Trust makes the world go round. Signing a contract is about binding a trust. Without trust, little is possible. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling wrote, “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” Quite fitting when you talk about trusting data that resides in the all-invisible cloud. The age-old argument for whether to self-host or outsource always boiled down to trust.
Cloud data is like the tree in the forest: when someone tampers with it, does anybody notice?
Of course security breaches can happen in any computing environment. Most breaches go unreported so much so that new legislation is seeking to put an end to that. But no law will stop outsider or insider threats and no bread crumbs will be left behind to track the culprits. Data and apps can be changed and you’re none the wiser for it.
Ironically, we are putting trust in cloud applications that are themselves promising things like IT governance, risk management and compliance. (And example of that is eGestalt, which does PCI and HIPAA compliance in the cloud.) There are no limitations to what kinds of applications we’ll see in the cloud. The sky seems to define its limits. Consolidation is already happening, triggered last year by Citrix’s acquisition of Cloud.com for $160 million.
Private equity markets are bullish on cumulus. Forget about the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis; investors are throwing real pre-inflationary dollars into cloud-related enterprises.
Last year marked a 10-year high for venture capitalists in terms of deals and dollars: $30.6 billion was plowed into 3,051 companies, of which one-third were Internet related, says CB Insights. Online storage service Dropbox got the biggest drop at $257 million. This year is starting off just as hot. Joyent just announced an $85 million D round, bringing its total to date to about $115 million.
Other infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) players include RackSpace, MediaTemple, Terremark, GoGrid and VMware.
Joyent’s biggest competitor is Amazon Web Services, but to compare AWS with Joyent is like comparing a Toyota Camry (ubiquitous, serves most needs) to the Porsche Cayenne (high-end, power to spare). Or to hear it directly from its CEO David Young, “Amazon is the Kodak of the cloud…. I don’t want to dump on Amazon, but I just don’t think you can look to a book seller and grocery store for cloud innovation. On the other hand, we’re building a cloud alliance around the globe.” [http://tinyurl.com/7zumyzk]
One reason that makes Joyent so attractive to its customers and investors is that it has an answer to the big problem of trust.
It’s a relatively new solution jointly delivered by Guardtime and Joyent. Its primary task is to convert trust to proof without reliance on cryptographic keys for verification, but rather on mathematics.
Guardtime keyless signatures mathematically prove data integrity requiring only the use of the original data, the keyless signature for the signed data, and the integrity code that the company publishes in the Financial Times newspaper. With these three things, anyone can independently prove the integrity of any data signed without having to trust a third party.
This keyless signature authority integrates with Joyent SmartDataCenter, providing keyless signing services to Joyent users. It delivers auditable and forensic quality logs and proof of data integrity and residency for stored or archived data.
It’s a solution that can’t be undermined by human error or manipulated by cybercriminals or insiders.
These keyless signatures don’t eliminate or replace the regular security controls that need to be in place, but the process does prove that irregularities exist for tampered data, logs, node.js code, virtual machines, and virtual applications.
For Joyent customers, these signatures avoid messy key management and trust authorities, both of which could be compromised; even a hint of a compromise would invalidate all historical records. Key-based systems cost much more to sign the data than it does to actually store the data. Conversely, keyless signatures address the fundamental weaknesses associated with PKI and key-based security in the cloud; that is, eliminating key management and assuring proof.