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Forecasting the Internet of Things and IoT start-ups to watch

The forecasts sound almost incredible. Gartner estimates that Internet of Things (IoT) products and services suppling companies will generate incremental revenue of over $300 billion by 2020.

The analyst company IDC sees the worldwide market for IoT solutions to grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.

Brands like the electric company GE predict the Industrial 4.0″ will add somewhat between $10 to $15 trillion to the overall global GDP over the coming 20 years.

Samsung will invest more than $100 million for IoT startups that will help the technology manufacturer establish new ecosystem for connected devices.

The Internet of Things is at an all-time high until today. Companies want to connect consumer devices, appliances, and services in order to connect their services with devices and then generate some smart data to leverage their value chain.

Interestingly enough Google owns some of the most promising IoT companies (Nest and Dropcam) already which will make some people look sceptic how the search giant will move more and more into their lives.

Smart devices are definitely the big trend for 2015. Whether it will be Jawbone though. After testing the wristband and it’s usability, I am not quite sure if this will be the way into the future. The car industry seems to be catching up though with their smart watches replacing keys and other driver necessities.

Even the whisky industry works with smart bottles now telling us how old the whisky really is, according to Venturebeat.

The guys at WRIKE just recently pulled together the 11 most ambitious IoT start-up companies should have an eye on. Furthermore, they added to their infographic three established brands which they think will have their big breakthrough in 2015.

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Google: Demystifying Duplicate Content

In many meetings, and I had one of those calls today, I understand again and again that managers have limited knowledge of what “Duplicate Content” means when working with multiple sites and/or using similar content on those. Now, what does Google really say about duplicate content? Can your business place similar text blocks or complete texts on different blogs and websites? And how about same content but in different languages?

In a video clip Greg Grothaus, a Google engineer for search quality, explains what “Duplicate Content” stands for and what it means to businesses.

General answer: Is there a Duplicate Content Penalty from Google? No, it’s a myth! Google wants diversity in the results that Google displays on search results. That’s the reason why pages might be omitted from Google which makes sense.

Deep answer: There are typical downsides of “Dupicate Content”.
– Dilution of link popularity: Better have 20 links go to one page, then twice 10 to two pages.
– User-unfriendly URLs in search results: Useless URLs effect branding & decrease usability – so better leave it.
– Inefficient crawling: The less Google has to crawl, the better for the new content to be seen.

Best answer: Google does not like Spam. Spam will find penalty, if it is done with a systematic approach, or when there is the absolute same content on different pages with no changes at all.

Our Advice: Create fresh content! Or do you want to buy the same stuff or gadgets you already have received as a present for Christmas? See…?

Google Study: How mobile-friendly sites help sales

While Facebook turns more and more to search and ad exchange budgets, Google is still riding the mobile wave. In many moderations over the last two years, I could listen to their attitude towards building mobile websites, and why these are important to the business of the future. However, companies often resist to face the mobile evolution and still stick to their conventional desktop websites. Not to mention what this does to their brands when the user experience is driving into a nightmare of usability and readability.

To get more attraction for their mission, Google has now published some research data on their blog that will help them to evangelize in the mobile business world approach. The benefit for Google is obvious. The more people use mobile sites, the better the experience in mobile usage, the more people tend to approach the Google search which means more marketing budgets into their hands.

In their research of about 1,100 U.S. adult smartphone users conducted by  market research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger, Google gives some handsome advertising tips to make marketers better understand and evaluate the power of mobile.

The key findings can be summarized as follows…
– 67% of smartphone users state a mobile-friendly site makes them more likely to buy a company’s product or service
– 74% are more likely to return to the site with a good experience later.
– 61% made clear that when they don’t find what they’re looking for (in roughly five seconds), they’ll click away to another site.
– 50% of respondents said even if they like a business, they’ll use its site less often if it doesn’t work well on their smartphone.
– 72% see a mobile-friendly site important to them, however 96% have visited sites that aren’t.

Spot On!
The Google study advices marketers to create a fast mobile site with big buttons and text, and simplify the mobile experience in terms of keeping steps to complete tasks to a minimum. For sure, Google did not forget to promote the site with Google mobile ads with some good results: two-thirds of people who use search find a site. Their conclusion is that “having a great mobile site is no longer just about making a few more sales. It’s become a critical component of building strong brands, nurturing lasting customer relationships, and making mobile work for you”. There is not much more to add.
Still, we would be happy to hear from your mobile experience – with or without Google. Did you change your site lately and what did it do to your sales?

Why you might join Google Plus one day… (Video)

Epipheo Studios created many funny videos around the modern business and social web world. If you still wonder why Google Plus has some value for the future of Social Networking, and if you will need it in the future, just think about segmentation and the clever (however challenging) usability. Or just watch this video which will tell you why Google will get you on Google Plus one day…

Social Media oder die Qual der Wahl

Wir haben gestern einen Ausflug gemacht. An den Tegernsee, denn wir lieben die Bergregion um München. Schöne Berge, traumhafte Natur und auf den Almen immer nette Menschen und leckeres Essen. Aber eine Sache macht uns immer wieder zu schaffen. Die Qual der Wahl… Die Qual der Wahl, welche Hütte wir diese Wochenende “bewandern”. Welchen Weg wir nehmen sollen. Oder, welches Essen uns wohl am meisten ansprechen wird, wenn wir oben auf dem Berg angekommen sind. Und selbst wenn wir es wissen, lesen wir die Karte und sehen immernoch vor der Entscheidung … oder haben weiterhin die Qual der Wahl.

Eine große Auswahl zu haben, ist eine schöne Sache. Man könnte sagen, ein Luxusproblem… Aber wie auch schon Miriam Meckel in ihrem Buch Das Glück der Unerreichbarkeit klar macht, ist die Qual der Wahl eine unserer größten Herausforderungen der Zukunft. Viele Sachen stimulieren uns, viele Sinne rühren uns, viel Auswahl verwirrt uns. Ohne Filter wird alles zu einem einzigen Chaos.

Wir lieben es Karten zu lesen, die eine große Auswahl bieten und soind enttäuscht, wenn die Karte nur klassische Breotzeit offeriert. Es sei denn auf der Hütte, wo die Brotzeit zu einem kulinarischen Highlight avenziert. Und wie es immer so ist, scheint der Hunger und die Begeisterung größer als das Bedürfnis. Die Qual der Wahl wächst…

Warum erzähle ich das alles?

Manchmal möchte ich nicht in der Haut von den Leuten stecken, die ich so berate oder beraten habe in den letzten Wochen und Monaten. Social Media Marketing scheint einen ähnlichen Effekt auf Marketing-, PR-, HR- und Customer Service Manager zu haben.

Die Qual der Wahl stapelt sich für sie in Form von zahlreichen Fragen…

– Nutze ich Social Media überhaupt? Eine Wahl, die eigentlich keine mehr sein sollte…
– Bleibe ich besser bei meinen Leisten und erklimme nicht die Höhen und Tiefen der modernen Medien?
– Welche Kommunikationmedien nutzt meine Zielgruppe (am liebsten und in 5 Jahren noch)?
– Welche Plattform schmeckt mir (Benutzerfreundlichekeit, Usability, Technik) am besten?
– Welche Plattform oder welche sozialen Medien ist/sind für mich zielführend?
– Kann ich eine Strategie, die meisten meinen eher eine taktisches Vorgehen, eines Mitbewerbes adaptieren?
– Geht die Geschäftsführung d’accord mit einer unstrategisch wirkenden Trial-and-Error Phase?
– Welche Tools, Taktiken und Trends nutze ich um meine Botschaften anzubringen?
– Wie und womit hört man eigentlich am besten in die Zielgruppe rein?
– Wie kommunizire ich und mache die Marke menschlich?
– Mit welchen Techniken oder Apps erhöhe ich meinen ROI-Output?

Die Qual der Wahl ist wie ein unbewanderter gebirgiger Waldweg. Man muß sich ab des Weges der Konformität wandern und testen, wenn man dann doch mal mit Ruhe einen klaren und zielführenden Gedanken fassen will.

Ein paar grundsätzliche Fragen, die man sich machen sollte…

– Wer ist meine Zielgruppe und wie ist sie im Social Web heute und morgen unterwegs (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z)?
– Wann soll mein Auswahl Erfolg zeigen? Deklinieren Sie vom kleinsten gemeinsamen Nenner der Unternehmensziele (Markenbildung, Engagement, Leads, Umsatzzahlen…
– Was schränkt mein Vorgehen (One-Voice Policy, Kunden Status Updates, Kommentare oder Posts) mit den sozialen Medien aufgrund business-strategischer Vorgaben ein?
– Warum scheinen soziale Medien für meine Zielgruppe am aussichtsreichsten? Eine gute Analyse der Erfolgssäulen gehört vorangeschaltet, um Kosten, Personalaufwand und sonstige Resourcen abschätzen zu können…
– Wie setze ich die sozialen Kommunikationskanäle Blog, Twitter, Faceboook, Youtube oder XING/LinkedIn zukunftsträchtig als Informationsmedien auf, wer testet und wer optimiert? Wie kann hieraus ein steter Prozess entstehen?

Vielleicht bietet der Post eine Leilinie zur Entscheidungshilfe. Falls nicht, sagen Sie mir, wie sie mit der Qual der Wahl umgehen oder umgegangen sind. Die Diskussion ist eröffnet…

News Update – Best of the Day

Content strategy becomes more and more important as customers approach companies and get engaged in company buzz. In order to be prepared companies should have a good content strategy in place. Shay Howe writes about the relevant tactical steps involved in developing a content strategy and offers great case studies with it.

Marketers want to get insight in what kind of advertising are seen and what is not being noticed o the web. The book “Eyetracking Web Usability” offers some answers based on an eyetracking study. Only close to 36% notice ads on a web page. 52% look at purely textual ads, 52% view ads where image and text were separate, 51% of viewers noticed sponsored links on search engine pages. Ads carrying text on top of images is not very successful.

What is the formula of social media success? With Starbucks we have an interesting show case which was summarized by Ayelet Noff that highlight their powerful social media tactics and strategic motivation.

Traditional Media: Embrace new modes of communication

One-on-One Interview with Julian Desborough
Publishing Operations Director and Webstrategist, Times Online


Julian Desborough is the content web strategist at Times Online. He helped run the development of the current iteration of Times Online and facilitated the content migration from Vignette to Escenic, after which he became the Publishing Operations Director of Times Online.

The Strategy Web interviewed Julian to get his idea on the ideal web strategy for a traditional media company.

Q: Please tell us in one sentence what webstrategy means to you?
Julian Desborough For me, Webstrategy is defining and maintaining your presence in the appropriate sectors of the digital marketplace.

Q: What makes a great web strategist and why does he become more and more important for a company?
Julian Desborough A great web strategist should spot emerging technologies and opportunities in the digital sphere while advising on corporate exposure and effort on existing channels. The web strategist also has a crucial role in evangelizing the digital space to more traditional areas of the business and leading the call for change within the organisation.

Q: What are the departments in your company that need you most and why?
Julian Desborough There is not one single department that does not need a web strategist. Commercial needs someone to spot the opportunities; Editorial needs someone to maximize the value of the content they produce; Technical needs someone to constantly challenge existing technologies, architectures and workflows to maintain standards of service and ability to future-proof investment.

Q: Did you face any kind of problems and issues when collaborating with departments (reporting structure or hierarchy)?
Julian Desborough Departments that are not “online facing” have a natural resistance to change. Most issues were around new work flows and integration issues with existing technology and workforces.

Q: What are the 3 biggest challenges you are ‘fighting’ against in your daily business?
Julian Desborough (a) Rate of change within the organisation, (b) Ability to keep the company in line with trends within the industry, (c) Technical stability and usability.

Q: Publishing houses are said to be ‘inflexible and not really Web 2.0 focused’? Is this something you can underline?
Julian Desborough The biggest problem for traditional media companies is their inability to embrace new modes of communication and content delivery and provide investment in a manner that does not fly in the face of normal business opportunity planning (there was a time when too much money was thrown at online ideas without sound business cases).

Q: Talking about Social Media und Web 2.0 @ Times Online, did you implement any web 2.0 projects already? Examples like blogs, wikis, youtube, etc.)
Julian Desborough We have been running more than 50 blogs over the past three years (a challenge has been integrating them within our existing content infrastructure). We invite readers to comment on articles that they read (these are displayed within the article) and we embed youtube video clips, google maps and other items into articles to encourage reader interaction. We also have created online communities around small niche collections of content such as crossword clubs and book clubs and we successfully market content and promotions to popular email bulletins that readers have selected to receive.

Q: Will every company have a webstrategist in the near future?
Julian Desborough Sadly, I think not.

Thank you for the interview and your time, Julian!