Posts Tagged ‘Tablet’

BlackBerry and JC Penney: Two Giants That Have Lost Their Way?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

What do BlackBerry and JC Penney have in common? Possibly more than you might realize.

1. Both missed the shift in their industry.

2. Both changed leadership.

3. Both implemented radical change.

4. Both achieved less than impressive results after this change.

5. Both implemented change following agitation from Wall Street – even though Main Street reacted neutrally or negatively to the change.

JC Penney even went as far as to hire the retail guru from Apple, Ron Johnson, as its new CEO to turn the company around but, in so doing, the needs of the customer were ignored. The introduction of tablets at point of sale, a relaxed dress code for the sales staff and the removal of coupons and store cash registers confused the target shopper – a very different shopper to the one found at the Apple store. The application of technology in this case was not the issue. The crucial question overlooked was whether the benefits of that technology outweighed the resistance to adopting it; in the case of JC Penney they did not. Not only was there resistance from the customer but Ron Johnson failed to gain the collaboration of staff and management, which proved to be a critical mistake.

Sales of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system based products – the Z10 and the Q10, and most recently the Q5 – are down as BlackBerry has lost significant market share to Apple, with its sleek and easy to use operating system and beautifully designed product. It was BlackBerry’s misconception that its superior new operating system and good design would enable it to reclaim its former position in the market. The reality was that BlackBerry started as a technology but developed into an experience. In the early 21st century the device became widely known as a “CrackBerry”, referring to the excessive and obsessive email-checking by its owners, for both business and personal use. The technology was convenient and secure and, most importantly, BlackBerry had become a trusted household name.

BlackBerry’s demise, however, was not just related to the fact that the operating system did not evolve; it put too much focus on the consumer and lost sight of its valued customer base, the corporate IT customer, whose growing desire was to access both their corporate digital networks and their social media networks on the same device, but this was ignored by BlackBerry. The infamous “BlackBerry outage” was the final straw and violated the trust that former loyal consumers had in the BlackBerry experience. RIM, as it was, was an engineering company that had no idea how to continue to design experiences and now, as “BlackBerry”, does not have the marketing knowledge or clout to rebuild consumer trust in the brand.

Both companies tried to emulate Apple in a classic “best practices” way but failed to understand that the Apple store and its devices were designs that embodied feelings and experiences, and created by a man with exceptional vision; someone who posed questions such as “how do we reinvent the store?” and “how do we do things differently on a phone?” Steve Jobs never just produced a “me too” product.

So, what’s the walk away? Wall Street hates failure but, more than that, it’s terrified of change. Both however are essential for innovation and creativity which are cornerstones of modern day business success. Wall Street’s demands for continuity of performance can ultimately result in giants being brought to their knees. What’s more dangerous is that when Wall Street sees these giants falling they demand a change of leadership. This new leadership is then faced with the challenges of innovating and risk taking to enhance performance when, in reality, all Wall Street wants is to preserve the status quo. JC Penny and RIM, as well as Motorola and Nokia, are prime examples of this. Apple looks as if it is unassailable at this point of time but calls by Wall Street activists to withdraw cash from the company will ultimately weaken its ability to take the risks that are necessary to sustain it going forward.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Digital Awareness – a Critical Component for Success

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

A key pillar of our work at KeySo Global is the belief that digital technology has significantly impacted and changed the digital lives of every one of us, and that systems and business models are consequently having to adapt to meet multiple stakeholders’ expectations.

Business models are dynamic and unique, and are a reflection of historic development, management personalities, economic and business environments, customer and channel requirements as well as resource, assets and technology. As much as humans like stability, no business model stays the same, no matter how perfect it seems at the time.  In their 2001 book entitled “How Digital Is Your Business” Adrian Slywotzky and David Morrison compared the brilliance of the Dell business model with competitors like HP, Compaq and, at that time, struggling Apple. Dell spent limited amounts on R&D, leveraged a choice board for consumers to design their own PC, and outsourced manufacturing to Taiwan and distribution logistics to FedEx; this was seen as a virtue at the time when compared with HP, Compaq and Apple. Technology and a successful business model don’t guarantee success if a company doesn’t keep up with consumer need changes or fails to innovate. The focus that Apple placed on user experience changed the game; in recent news we’ve seen how Dell’s business model is now struggling to compete against the growth of smartphones, tablets and cloud services – particularly those of Apple.

Being aware and responding to developments around you is a significant and important part of senior management responsibility. We strongly advocate the interaction with external resources that will bring a different perspective to a business. Utilizing “thought leaders” or tools that allow the current situation to be viewed from a different vantage point can greatly strengthen a company’s thinking and focus. As the saying goes “no single event makes a trend” but the search, listing and assembly of data from multiple sources can enable companies to recognize emerging patterns and opportunities, particularly in complementary industries where competitive shifts in business models could be applicable.

Over the last few weeks I’ve observed in the news a number of noteworthy events that will, I’m sure, impact multiple industries. I’ve listed these below, together with what I believe are the broader implications for business.

Recent news events:

  • Online clothes shopping hit 10% of U.S. sales.
  • Macy’s overall sales increased by 11.7% and their online sales increased by 48.9%.
  • H&M and Inditex – European fashion retailers – are reported tochange their in-store clothing range every two weeks.
  • 15% of shopping malls will close in the U.S. over the next five years.
  • Amazon’s fourth-quarter sales were down but their margins increased.
  • Netflix develops streamed original content (House of Cards) targeted at “cord cutters” abandoning cable and satellite TV.
  • Traditional Procter & Gamble partners with crowd sourcing venture capitalists “Circle Up” for new ideas and innovation.
  • BSkyB in the U.K. introduces advertising based on localized demographics and TV program choice.

Digital implications for your business:

  • smartphones and tablets have changed consumer behavior patterns i.e. online couch shopping and mobile price comparison
  • traditional T.V. advertising is losing its effectiveness
  • the digital consumer expects broader and more frequently refreshed product lines
  • digital business models enable diverse competitive offerings
  • traditional business models now embrace crowd sourcing and funding

If they haven’t already done so, these implications and others like them are likely to impact your business model. My message here is that you need to become aware of digital change and be prepared to do something about it. Have you checked to see if neighboring industries and competitors are already responding to the urgent need to adapt? The big question is – are you? Are you ready to take the first steps towards adopting a digital strategy, one that will strengthen your competitive position in today’s digital marketplace?

We at KeySo Global can help. To discuss how you can structure a digital strategy innovation session, contact us at info@keysoglobal.com or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President KeySo Global

Is Higher Education Set to Cross the Digital Frontier?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Change usually only occurs when competing forces conspire to cause it or behaviors are adopted that necessitate it. Higher education and universities are ripe for change but they also have a tendency to resist it. These institutions have a long tradition of establishing prestigious courses and faculties, the cost of which in recent years has become prohibitive for the average student. The traditional model of students receiving instruction from and interacting one-on-one with learned professors has gradually given way to large over-crowded lecture halls, compulsory reading lists and standardized testing, as economics not excellence has shaped university education..

The impact that the digital age is having on everyday life is changing consumer expectations, and consequently challenging the established educational model. The widespread availability of wireless broadband, mobile devices, video lectures and online course material is facilitating the “massive online open course” (MOOC) which is accessible to large and diverse groups of students. The high cost of full-time education and the uncertainty of employment mean that many young people today are looking to work and study in parallel – and MOOC offers the ideal solution. It also supports those who are looking to supplement their existing education and skills and are more interested in gaining knowledge than qualifications.

Tablets and e-readers, according to McGraw-Hill, have the ability to transform not only the textbook and the individual educational experience but also the whole testing process. During a presentation at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, McGraw-Hill described “LearnSmart”, their new adaptive technology program where a student reads a digital textbook on a tablet or e-reader and is asked a series of on-going questions that assess their understanding of what they have read. Subsequently their reading materials are adjusted according to their level of knowledge and understanding.  On this basis, a room full of students or an online group reading a text will all be receiving highly personalized and tailored instruction to help them attain the same required level of understanding. By tracking the results, answers given and also a student’s keyboard strokes it is possible to ascertain and validate their individual performance for the purposes of testing and certification.

The digital and online world is reshaping our cognitive capabilities and, according to some experts, using the Internet to search for information is causing us to “externalize” our memories rather than having to use them to process and store information. While enhancing our logical capabilities, the online world is also hindering our ability to develop the skills of empathy – an emotion that has apparently shown a decline in young people. Empathy is learned over time through social interaction and by reading others’ facial expressions, so if face time is replaced with Facebook time, the implications for enhanced interpersonal skills and moral decision-making could be significant.

One of the advantages of a traditional university education is that it enables young people to interact and develop social skills. In a recent article about Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City,  it was pointed out that an average C-student attending Johns Hopkins University in the early 1960s – which he was – could be transformed into a social and political star through the interactions, experiential learning and networking skills that are an integral part of a four-year residential education. With increased applications for MOOC courses, the new digital educational environment needs to be reconsidered and other options need to be examined. These could include the utilization of enhanced virtual reality conference facilities that enable virtual face-to-face experiences and networking opportunities that supplement real-world social interactions.

Whatever happens, the shape of education and learning from pre-school through to university and beyond is likely to change dramatically over the next five years as the pace of technological progress continues to accelerate and people adopt it more readily into their lives.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

www.keysoglobal.com

Are New Players Forcing the Mobile Industry to Change?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

As much as this year’s CES was about the influence of mobile at the center of consumer electronic growth and development, there was little that was outstanding from the perspective of new mobile device introduction.

Certainly Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia and Intel talked about enhanced chip set technology that has increased performance and graphics while cutting back on power consumption, and Samsung showcased their new flexible screen technology; but apart from the above, no real breakthrough or “wow” products were announced.

Most mobile device manufacturers tend to hold off until Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February to showcase their new product portfolios for the upcoming year. Increasingly a minority of the big guys have premier events before MWC. Apple has done this is past years and in all probability RIM is planning to introduce its new Blackberry this year. The audience at MWC is made up of global operators that provide the purchasing power and the ability to make or even break manufacturers with decisions to range their products and link them to new services and subsidy provision.

The dawning of a fundamental shift in the composition of the mobile industry may, however, have been observed at this year’s CES. The two major Chinese infrastructure manufacturers that have struggled to gain market position in the U.S. – and in one case is being actively barred – are working on building their customer brand and device portfolio. ZTE and Huawei both had large stands and comprehensive product offerings at CES, and the two companies showcased their new products that clearly targeted the Samsung S3 and Galaxy Note. ZTE launched its Grand S LTE unit and seemed determined to let everyone know that they are now the number 4 smartphone manufacturer worldwide. Huawei’s main product introductions, however, lack LTE capability which is a little surprising given the North American market focus on LTE growth. I am sure that there will be an announcement at MWC, or possibly later at CTIA in May that will address this hole in the U.S. portfolio. The real point is that these two companies are striving to build brand awareness and become household names; at the same time they are targeting Samsung which, together with Apple, is taking a 90% chunk of the profit currently generated in the smartphone market.

The Chinese are known for their long term strategic plays and it is likely that they will be the root cause of a complete shake-up of the mobile space that we are about to witness. The Apple’s and Samsung’s will undoubtedly survive but will be under increased pressure to maintain their brand and technology prowess, and at the same time sustain the margins that Wall Street has become accustomed to. Those manufacturers in the middle of the mobile market will find it a struggle. HTC, which showcased a star product at Mobile World Congress last year, now has non-existent profits and has failed to maintain its technology and brand presence. At CES this year, rumor had it that a major European / U.S. carrier was considering deranging and dropping HTC because they no longer offer hero products or have the brand to support them.

Amongst this turmoil, RIM will also face the challenge of re-establishing itself in the market, despite the introduction of its new Blackberry 10. Both LG and Sony may be forced into a niche, and Nokia could become to Microsoft what Motorola has become to Google – a hardware capability but with no direction or insight into how to recreate the Apple model.

Playing in the background are the major equipment manufacturers, such as Foxcomm, which build products for major smartphone, tablet and PC manufacturers. Within the last year Foxcomm has acquired the brand, Sharp, primarily for use in China but, one would suspect, ultimately as a potential global distribution channel.

With the stage set, the next 18 months could prove to be pivotal in terms of the strategic scenarios that play out. More significantly, the role of the mobile operator as orchestrator could once again be changing to the role of king-maker or breaker as they decide to support the upstarts or partner with the incumbents. Watch this space!

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

 

Consumer Electronic Trends to Watch – Live Report from CES in Las Vegas

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Shawn DuBravac,  Chief Economist and Director of Research for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) identified in his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday four critical trends that will shape the future of the consumer electronics industry.

The Post Smartphone Era

Penetration of smartphones in the U.S. has surpassed the 52% mark but more significantly tablets have doubled their penetration in just 12 months, moving from 22% to 44%. In today’s digital world where multiple devices are commonplace in every household, these effectively act as hubs. They are mechanisms for accessing additional technologies, from door locks to health and fitness applications, and act as “second screens” for controlling security, domestic appliances, cars and TV’s. DuBravac referred to smartphones and tablets as “viewfinders into our digital lives”.

The Age of Algorithms

Prior to 2001 most information captured was analogue. With the continual reduction of cost for processing and sensors, more and more devices now have the capability to collect, communicate and share information digitally. In the U.S. there will be 350 million IP addressable devices sold in 2013 and about 1 billion worldwide. In reality, the cost curve of technology is enabling the “sensorization” of devices. The challenge in the future will be curating the enormous density of data-strings that will be generated as sensors proliferate.  Participating at this year’s CES are a record number of automotive companies, reflecting the growing interest of the industry in the role of sensors and connectivity. The fact that the Google car drove 300k miles last year and that Audi, Lexus, Ford and several others are focusing on this area of technology is an indication of how significant it could become. The Chairman of Continental has said that a driverless commercial solution is possible by 2025. In this age of algorithms, data is the new currency which raises ever more concern about security and privacy.

Contextual Connectivity

In recent years, the mood of the industry was captured by the advent of smart TV’s that could connect to the internet. Now the focus is on using intelligence received from sensors to make the interaction between the smart TV and the consumer more relevant and appropriate. One example is the use of cameras that monitor who is watching a program to ensure that appropriate advertising is screened when children are present; another are glass panes in store windows that display information tailored to the individual who is walking past that store, based on their smartphone details shared via social media, store card check-ins or through NFC payments.

Changing the Flow of the Story

The prevalence of “second screens” indicates that we are becoming digital omnivores who consume secondary information while watching a primary screen or previews prior to selecting a program. With household penetration of tablets and smartphones hitting 1.4 per household in the U.S. in 2012 (compared with 2.9 TV’s per household), the second screen is a real phenomenon.  In fact sales of small screen TV’s have declined 20 to 30% in the last 3 years. The concept that engagement starts on the second screen means that the paradigms for use-case scenarios are rapidly changing and need to be understood by the content providers, networks and advertisers. The story may not start on the big screen but when it reaches it the challenge is to maintain engagement and interaction on the second screen. Interestingly, sales of jumbo screen TV’s for main living spaces are on the increase in the U.S.

What becomes evident from these trends is that consumers’ rapid adoption of technology into their digital lives is changing their expectations and forcing business models to adapt accordingly. It appears that, even in the consumer industries, many large companies are being slow to respond and the bulk of innovative ideas and add-on products are being generated by hybrid start-ups.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

www.keysoglobal.com

Which 3 Digital Technologies became Catalysts for Change?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

So what exactly have we recognized as being the three catalyst technologies or products that emerged in the year 2007? Below is an overview of each of these and highlighted are the main factors that we believe have influenced their evolution and subsequent relevance today.

WiMAX

WiMAX was an early 4G technology that started the move of the U.S. market to wireless broadband; it is often likened to “Wi-Fi on steroids”. The fact that Sprint and Clearwire, a startup that was supported by Google and Intel, could deliver blisteringly fast mobile Internet service forced AT&T and Verizon, the two largest U.S. carriers, to accelerate their deployment of 4G LTE. This development meant that standards needed to be agreed upon and formalized, and that network equipment manufacturers needed to accelerate production in order to provide for these large customers.

Having AT&T and Verizon focus on a single frequency (700 MHz) made it easier for device manufacturers to accelerate their development of 4G Internet products and deliver consumer-ready devices. The fact that some of these device manufacturers had been working on WiMAX devices in cooperation with semiconductor providers meant that they could accelerate products based on the WiMAX chipsets that almost 80% matched LTE.

Subsequently, both Sprint and T-Mobile have also either invested in or announced plans to build a 4G LTE network on top of their existing systems. What this means is that for the first time all four large U.S. carriers are offering mobile Internet services utilizing the same technology as the rest of the world, enabling global interoperability and roaming.

The iPhone

The second catalyst product was the iPhone which has received much acclaim for its elegant design and simple user interface. The real essence of the catalytic change that the iPhone initiated, however, was a shift in the consumer paradigm of a mobile device being used solely for communication to one that enabled interaction. The iPhone allows users to connect easily on-the-go and to share information, content, pictures and video simply and effortlessly. When it was first released, users found the interface to be so effortless that data volumes climbed exponentially and severely disrupted the AT&T network that had not been designed for large data capability! This forced AT&T, as well as other mobile operators, to rethink the entire concept of network architecture to include Wi-Fi as an offload mechanism. It also resulted in AT&T acquiring Wayport, and in the process becoming the single largest operator of Wi-F in the U.S.

Not only did the iPhone change the existing consumer paradigm and network architectures, it also broke the carrier stranglehold on its relationship with the subscriber. The iPhone was and still is provisioned via iTunes, which had previously been the domain of the mobile operator. This relationship with the subscriber, initiated at the time of purchase, was then solidified through the introduction of the app store and ultimately the iCloud. Apple effectively took the existing mobile business model, tore it up and replaced it with a hybrid that established a stronger bond with the consumer based on end-to-end user experience. The impact of the iPhone’s innovative design, end-to-end system, business model, user paradigm and elegant packaging of an everyday technology has had a tsunami-like impact on RIM, Motorola and Nokia, as well as on major mobile operators around the globe.

The Amazon Kindle

The third catalyst product that has been an instrumental agent of change is the Amazon Kindle. This device did for a 500-year-old product concept, the book, what the Walkman or iPod did for music. Best sellers are now cheaper and easier to obtain via the Kindle which provides on-the-go access to the world’s largest library/bookstore. This simple to use, low cost device made the mobile Internet transparent to the user by incorporating the cost of access into the price of the book. Amazon achieved this by creating a blanket connection relationship with AT&T for global access. The fact that the Kindle e-Reader automatically creates a relationship with Amazon means that loyal subscribers are a natural evolution. Proof that this technological revolution is affecting the literary world is evidenced by the number of large bookstores, such as Borders in the U.S., that have closed, and Barnes & Noble swiftly producing their own e-Reader, the Nook.

The iPhone and the e-Reader together have evolved into an instant-on class of device – the tablet – that satisfies the mobile consumer’s need to instantly connect, be entertained and informed. While small enough to remain portable, smartphones and tablets facilitate sharing, learning, creating and interacting using wireless broadband connectivity (3G, 4G and WiMAX) and these in turn have become indispensable parts of our everyday digital lives.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

www.keysoglobal.com

 

“Mobile Gaming – Everything to Play For”

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

A $60 billion market over the next five years

A brand new and increasingly popular category of business, Mobile Gaming, has taken the market by storm. Three interrelated components of the converged wireless world have given rise to its exponential growth and rapidly increasing popularity:

  • Increased availability of wireless broadband on cellular and Wi-Fi
  • Abundance of reasonably priced smartphones and tablets
  • Easy accessibility to app stores that expand the functionality of mobile devices

 

 

Mobile Market Developments

Mobile gaming is a global phenomenon but because it is leading the world in 4G, LTE and smartphone penetration, the U.S.market is taking off more rapidly, as shown by the following developments:

  • Forecasts indicate that 4.3 billion smartphones and 1.2 billion tablets will be sold globally over the next 5 years. These devices have transformed daily habits, enabling mobile entertainment – and gaming in particular – to become an integral part of everyday life.
  •  ComScore saw gaming usage increase by 77% in 2011 in the U.S. where 31% of mobile users play games on their devices, and 27% in the 5 largest European countries. Gaming is the number one entertainment activity for tablet users in the U.S.

P.J. McNeally, of Digital World Research, concluded: “Gaming is now a ‘need to have’ category, not a ‘nice to have’ category for mobile devices, whether they be tablets or phones.”

Shifting Business Models

The impact of these developments is that the industry’s value chain and the way that games are sold are being forced to change with the adoption of the new “freemium” business model in the mobile environment. The “freemium” model provides the initial game for free but the user is then charged for subsequent in-game purchases. Currently incremental revenue is only generated by about 5 -10% of active game players and this will have to increase if existing games companies are to survive.

The impact of value chain shifts can be seen in the plight of Nintendo where the console market has been severely impacted by the “freemium” model. Consumers find it difficult to justify paying for a stand-alone gaming device, plus games, when they can download these for free on their smartphones or tablets and then play them on their TV’s using HDMI cables.

What does the Future Hold?

For the mobile consumer, the online “word-of-mouth effect” combined with the growing power of social networking will be a significant driver of viral game growth and in-game purchases.

In the mobile gaming category, businesses boundaries will continue to blur as value chains adapt to the converged space of ICT, telecoms and consumer electronics – coined the “Crossover Era” by Gamesbeat. As devices become more sophisticated, games incorporate more advanced features and gamers continue to view mobile entertainment as a “must have”, this market segment will without doubt continue to grow rapidly, evolving into a $60+ billion market over the next five years.

Contact us at info@keysoglobal.com or +1847-478-1633 to obtain a copy of our final report on Mobile Gaming.

Article first published as Mobile Gaming – Everything to Play For on Technorati.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global   www.keysoglobal.com

Digital Life – Rubber Band Forces that Prohibit Change

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Why change at all? Why embrace what is new and intimidating instead of holding on to what is tried and true? The natural inclination of most people is to resist change, and when it begins to happen we tend to snap back to the shape of the things we know best, just as a rubber band that is stretched will revert to its original shape when released.

Digital Life is very new and can be scary. It is also here, now – right now – and is impacting the world in ways that can seem confusing, often even contradictory to what we have learned, accomplished, and know. Why would we want embrace it? 

Maybe your company actually can embrace the changes brought about by Digital Life. I mean really embrace change in ways that transform your business into a digital metamorphosis that propels it into this century; effectively reshape the rubber band by altering your business model to capitalize on the wide range of opportunities presented by Digital Life. However, I doubt it, unless you have some seriously sound “digital change agents” within your company to help you achieve this transformation, and unless you’re truly wanting to change.

Change is disruptive, which is what makes it so scary. Go back to your roots for a second. Think about those things that seemed exciting to you when you were willing to explore new ways of doing things, and those things that made you what you are today. What was new, intriguing – and yes scary – back then now seems safe. Your business faces the same challenges with embracing Digital Life that you faced growing up into the person you are today.

Digital Life demands that we embrace change and growth on a scale never experienced before. The advances and convergence of technologies are changing almost every aspect of how we do things. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and notebooks provide us with unparalleled access to the collective knowledge of the world. Social media tools and social networking sites enable an amazing new capability for us to share our own knowledge, interests, likes and dislikes with our friends, family and colleagues.

For your business to embrace the changes brought about by Digital Life, you need to accept – and convince others – that the shape of your corporate rubber band must change to match these changes. If you don’t, then no matter how hard you push for change and stretch the familiar boundaries, your employees will revert back to what they see as safe – in other words, the rubber band will snap back to its original shape.

At KeySo Global we have developed methodologies, models, and tools that can help you to change the shape of your business model so that it can adapt to Digital Life. These inform and guide you through a transformation that will propel your business into the Digital World, and ensure a competitiveness and profitability that will match your aspirations.  Please email us at info@keysoglobal.com, call us at +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com to find out more.

Steve Benton, Principal, KeySo Global, LLC

Digital Life – Is your Business Living in a Fishbowl?

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Ever feel like your business is swimming around and around in circles, like a goldfish in a bowl? Struggling to accomplish nothing much other than to search for an elusive pool of diminishing food?

Shrinking margins, a downtrodden economy, a rapidly transforming Digital World, and increasing scrutiny from those outside of your company’s fishbowl are all contributing to the “fear factor”. The fear factor is a knee-jerk reaction to these challenges and the common response is to cut costs, reduce headcount, and to lay off people as you cut production or business lines.

Over the past few years we have seen this reaction in nearly every industry. That is the primary reason unemployment is so high and yes, spending is lower by customers who are also driven by their own fear factor – not being able to pay the bills, their mortgage, or put food on the table.

And yet sales of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have continuously risen during this period. Aspects of Digital Life have flourished – more people than ever have accounts in social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter. Consumers are more conscious about what they spend their money on – but they are spending and willing to spend.

Perhaps if companies weren’t so concerned about cutting costs and were more focused on what products and services their customers are really willing to purchase, the emphasis on lay-offs and cutbacks could be shifted to providing Digital Life products and services that help their customers live a better life. Unemployment would go down, spending would go up and the goods delivered to consumers would begin to reflect their real wants and needs.

To understand how your business might escape the proverbial fishbowl and evolve to a Digital Life model that overcomes the fear factor, contact us at KeySo Global and register for a free diagnostic interview with our industry leading experts. Please email us at info@keysoglobal.com, call us at +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com.

Steve Benton, Principal, KeySo Global, LLC

We are All Digital Technologists by Osmosis

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Do you feel overwhelmed every time you read about the introduction of new technologies? Do you hear how they’re going to be having a dramatic effect on the way you do business in the future, and panic? You don’t need to fear the coming evolution because the chances are that you’re already a technology expert and actually quite adept at adjusting -although you may not know it!

Technologists with hindsight

Most of us have become digital technologists by “osmosis”. In other words, if we look back dispassionately over the past 30 years, with the benefit of hindsight we can see just how much our life styles have been changed inordinately with the advent of digital technologies. We have a natural inclination to think of ourselves as novices where new technology is concerned. Yet if we step back and look at the way that we’ve embraced and adapted to the changes introduced to us over the decades, we should give ourselves more credit. We have “absorbed” these new technologies and have every reason to be confident about taking advantage of the opportunities they bring for our professional and everyday lives.

At KeySo Global we help our clients recognize that they are far more technology savvy than they realize! We point to the analogy of the frog in a pot: the premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out. If it’s placed in cold water that is slowly heated, however, it will not perceive the surrounding danger and will be cooked to death. In other words, we’re not always cognizant of the fact that we’ve been slowly adapting to the digital world changes occurring around us; we need to become more aware of these changes, and have the confidence to embrace them and incorporate them into our personal and business lives.

Four technologies that rocked our world

In order to put things into perspective, consider four major technology developments in the 1980’s that significantly changed the way we live and work today:  the personal computer; the cellphone; the establishment of a global Internet and the creation of the Sony Walkman. While the impact of the first three may be obvious, the Walkman was the device that pioneered the way for people to access personalized portable entertainment, anywhere and at anytime.

The 1980’s introduced these new technologies and the 1990’s brought about their integration into society. For example, GSM cellphone technology allowed people to roam the world, the development of the World Wide Web and Internet browsers allowed people to access information, and the creation of TiVo gave people the ability to time-shift entertainment. All of these brought technology into the mainstream. Add to these the development of the iPod and iPhone and the rise of social networking in the 2000’s, and it’s clear to see how these technologies have permeated our society and culture, and just how well we’ve all adapted to the changes they’ve brought about.

Convergence opens new opportunities

We believe 2010 was a transitional year that saw the convergence of 3G & 4G technologies with cloud computing, social media, and Wi-Fi. The evolution of smartphones and the introduction of touch screen tablets has built on this convergence and enabled a faster, easier and more compelling interactive consumer experience. Social media in turn is leveraging this interactive access to the mobile network, and uses location and context data to provide personalization of services and information, with particular focus on retail opportunities.

The confluence of technologies and services is changing the way consumers live and work. It is also generating an ecosystem of companies that are creating applications and services which are stimulating the economy locally, nationally and globally. In a recent study it was estimated that 450,000 jobs had been created by companies developing apps.

Shifting business models

Mobility, Internet and computing capable devices are not only impacting their users but also the way in which companies interact with their customers. As a result, large and small companies need to recognize that the business models of their industries, relatively static for many years, are changing around them even if they haven’t yet started to adjust their own. Our advice to any CEO or small business owner is the same: open your eyes and look around; observe the opportunities that technology is now enabling and identify how you could apply these same technologies to enhance your company’s customer offering and business performance.

There is a plethora of opportunities out there to enhance your business model. If you need help identifying these opportunities, we at KeySo Global are here to help and can show you how they can be applied. Contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global