Turbo Todd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

The Weekend In Holiday Shopping

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Last week we got an early glimpse at holiday shopping down under (in Australia, just in time for their “Click Frenzy.”)

Today, we get some initial snapshots of how holiday shopping is going here in these United States via the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.

I know, Turkey Day isn’t even here yet, but it’s good to get a view into what those early cyber shoppers were up to over the weekend to prepare us for the big days (and sales) to come.

Drum roll, please….

  • Online sales were up 18.7 percent over the same two-day period in 2013
  • Mobile traffic accounted for 48.8 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 24.4 percent YoY
  • Mobile sales accounted for 26.6 percent of all online sales, an increase of 23.9 percent YoY

That mobile increase to 48.8 percent isn’t a big surprise, but it is a big number.  That means nearly half of all online e-commerce related traffic was coming via mobile devices.

So what were some of the other trends?

  • Consumers Cash-In on Online Bargains: Average order value was $112.86, a decrease 5.4 percent over the same period in 2013. Shoppers also purchased an average of 3.2 items per order. This trend may indicate that shoppers are becoming more comfortable and digitally savvy in how they use online coupons and rebates to secure the best bargains. In any case, they’re some busy shoppers!
  • Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy: Smartphones drove 31.8 percent of total online traffic, nearly double that of tablets, which accounted for 16.5 percent of all online traffic. However, tablets are winning the shopping war. Tablet sales accounted for 17.3 percent of online sales, nearly twice as much as smartphones, which accounted for 9.2 percent of total online sales. We’ll see whether or not new payment technologies like Apple Pay, which make it easier to purchase online and off, will have an impact on those smartphone share of sales moving forward.
  • The Desktop is Not Dead: Even as mobile shopping continues to grow, many consumers chose a more traditional online experience. Desktop PC traffic represented 51.2 percent of all online traffic, and 73.4 percent of all online sales. Further, consumers spent more money on their desktops $123.29 than their mobile devices at $105.37, a difference of 17 percent. The desktop is dead, long live the desktop!
  • Apple iOS vs. Google Android: Apple iOS once again led the way in mobile shopping this holiday season, outpacing Google Android across three key metrics on Black Friday:
    • Average Order Value: Apple iOS users averaged $111.55 per order compared to $86.56 for Google Android users, a difference 28.9 percent
    • Online Traffic: Apple iOS traffic accounted for 33 percent of total online traffic, more than double that of Google Android, which drove 15.3 percent of all online traffic
    • Online Sales: Apple iOS sales accounted for 20.8 percent of total online sales, more than triple that of Google Android, which drove 5.4 percent of all online sales.
  • Facebook vs. Pinterest: As marketers continue to rely on social channels to drive brand loyalty and sales, IBM analyzed trends across two leading sites, Facebook and Pinterest. Facebook referrals drove an average of $101.83 per order while Pinterest referrals averaged $103.87 per order. However, Facebook referrals converted sales at twice the rate of Pinterest.

The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark also reported real-time trends across four of the hottest retail categories this holiday season:

  1. Department Stores: Weekend total online sales grew by 18.7 percent over 2013. Average order value was $149.54, a decrease of 7.5 percent year-over-year.
  2. Health and Beauty: Weekend total online sales grew by 14.8 percent over 2013. Average order value was $70.57, an increase of 5 percent year-over-year.
  3. Home Goods: Weekend total online sales grew by 20 percent over 2013. Average order value was $207.51, a decrease of 2.7 percent year-over-year.
  4. Apparel: Weekend total online sales grew by 3.8 percent over 2013. Average order value was $120.70, a decrease of 3.3 percent year-over-year.

These insights are delivered to retailers and marketers through IBM’s Smarter Commerce portfolio, drawing upon innovation developed through the company’s $3.5 billion investments in commerce and customer engagement solutions, as well as expertise gained from work with 8,000 global brands and 35,000 client commerce engagements.

You can keep an eye on the IBM Digital Benchmark throughout the holidays here.

Written by TurboTodd

November 24th, 2014 at 8:21 pm

A New Trojan

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The Symantec Security Response team issued an interesting “Security Response” yesterday, one that addresesses they refer to as a “top-tier espionable tool [that] enables stealthy surveillance.”

The response suggests “Regin” is an advanced spying tool that “displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen and has been used in spying operations against governments, infrastructure, operators, businesses, researchers, and private individuals.”

According to the alert, Regin has been in business and spied “against a range of international targets” since at least 2008, and that the trojan horse is “customizable wtih an extensive range of capabilities” and “provides its controllers with a powerful framework for mass surveillance.”

Re/code’s Arik Hesseldahl explained Regin further:

The campaign was carried out against government organizations, businesses, researchers and private individuals. About 100 Regin infections have been detected, the researchers said, with most — a combined 52 percent — in Russia and Saudi Arabia. The remainder have occurred in Mexico, Ireland, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Belgium, Austria and Pakistan. No infections have yet been detected in the U.S. or China.

Here’s a description straight from the Symantech white paper detailing the virus:

Regin is capable of installing a large number of additional payloads, some highly customized for the targeted  computer. The threat’s standard capabilities include several remote access Trojan (RAT) features, such as  capturing screenshots and taking control of the mouse’s point-and-click functions.

Regin is also configured to steal passwords, monitor network traffic, and gather information on processes and memory utilization. It can also scan for deleted files on an infected computer and retrieve them. More advanced payload modules designed with specific goals in mind were also found in our investigations.

For example, one module was designed to monitor network traffic to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) web servers, another was designed to collect administration traffic for mobile telephony base station controllers, while another was created specifically for parsing mail from Exchange databases. Regin goes to some lengths to hide the data it is stealing. Valuable target data is often not written to disk. In some cases, Symantec was only able to retrieve the threat samples but not the files containing stolen data.

Hesseldahl cites Symantech researcher Liam O’Murchu as explaining that “the quality of Regin’s design and the investment required to create it is such that it was almost certainly made by a nation-state.”

Written by TurboTodd

November 24th, 2014 at 4:54 pm

IBM Works To Bring Engaging Consumer Experiences To B2B Organizations

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IBM announced today new capabilities with its B2B e-commerce technology that will make it faster and easier for B2B organizations to deliver customer engagements typically found in B2C settings.

Available this Wednesday, IBM B2B Commerce will provide customers with a more engaging and simplified experience and help them more  easily find and purchase the products they need across any channel or device. B2B organizations can quickly build these advanced B2B digital storefronts in just minutes with limited need for technical expertise.

Delivered through the IBM Smarter Commerce initiative and powered by its WebSphere Commerce solution, IBM B2B Commerce provides new drag-and-drop features that make it easy for organizations to build engaging B2B storefronts right out of the box.

The solution helps B2B organizations quickly model complex buying scenarios and procurement processes while also supporting extended routes to market with business partners. By bringing omni-channel capabilities to B2B customers, partners and field sales teams, organizations can expect an increase in customer satisfaction and revenue while reducing total cost of ownership and the need for hands-on support.

While the U.S. B2B ecommerce market was predicted to reach $559 billion in 2013 according to Forrester Research — more than twice as big as B2C ecommerce sales — a vast technology gap remains in how businesses engage, buy and sell products and services from one another.

Most B2B organizations still rely on inadequate systems to engage the customer – from online catalogs to manual sales processes — that make it difficult to execute and manage increasingly complex B2B transactions. As mobile, social and digital channels become the standard in consumer transactions, B2B buyers want to engage with the same ease and simplicity that they expect as a typical consumer.  

By infusing the power and simplicity of engaging consumer experiences into a B2B environment, IBM B2B Commerce allows companies to more easily execute even the most complex B2B transactions — from purchasing simple replacement parts to entire systems. This benefits both buyers and sellers in a number of ways:

  • Fast deployment of new online storefronts allows organizations to build a complete B2B customer engagement solution in just minutes. IBM Commerce Composer makes it easy to customize these storefronts with over 80 widgets and applications from IBM and its Ready for Smarter Commerce partners.
  • Advanced buyer profiles enable users to preconfigure the latest pricing agreements, internal approval processes and other negotiated entitlements for their company, which can lead to faster customer onboarding and faster time to revenue.
  • Integrated search combined with contract entitlements ensure end customers find the products they need specifically for their business with less reliance on live customer service.
  • Integrated marketing tools enable businesses to launch and execute marketing campaigns directly from the platform.
  • Web site analytics allow businesses to fine tune the customer experience by identifying where customers are struggling with the process. 

You can learn more about IBM B2B Commerce capabilities here.

Written by TurboTodd

November 24th, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Disruption Pretty Much Everywhere, Sometimes

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I think “disruption” is a pretty good word to characterize 2014 so far.

Lots of new business models have blossomed this year.  Some have worked, some haven’t.

Just a quick scan at today’s tech headlines tell an interesting tale:

“Aereo files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy”

“Amazon to launch hotel booking service”

“Google’s Project Loon can now launch up to 20 balloons per day”

“Airbnb Rolls Out Million-Dollar Liability Insurance Program for Hosts”

“Uber hires former IBM Chief Privacy Officer to carry out internal review”

A dissertation could be written about just those five headlines. 

Aereo, if you weren’t aware, set out “to build a better television experience for the consumer.” Their cloud-based, individual antennaed DVR was supposed to let you record and view over the air broadcasts of your choice, the U.S. Supreme Court said otherwise.

Business as Usual, 1 – Disruption 0

Amazon Travel is expected to launch at the start of the new year and will initially feature independent hotels and resorts near major cities. But you think that’s going to be their only travel reservation?

Business as Usual 1 – Disruption 1

Google’s Project Loon may sound looney tunes — to bring high-speed Internet access to remote areas of the world via hot air balloons. But don’t let the hot air out just yet. 

The current spate of balloons has flown nearly 1.86 million miles, and are now lasting 10 times longer in the stratosphere than in 2013, with some flying over 100 days. As long as the drones don’t come along and blow up the balloons, Internet could soon be making its way to far flung places around the globe.

UPDATE: Apparently, one of Google’s balloons crashed in South Africa overnight and was found by a sheep farmer. No word yet as to whether or not any of the farmer’s sheep are now carrying wi-fi bandwidth repeaters on Google’s behalf. 

Business as Usual 1 – Disruption 2

Airbnb’s, the great non-regulated, freeer-upper-of-everywhere-places-to-stay, announced an additional liability insurance program is expected to provide U.S. hosts with $1 million worth of protection just in case an injury occurs on the host’s property.

More insurance options aren’t necessarily a bad idea, but legal challenges continue to mount, most recently by a NYC housing coalition. 

Too soon to tell.

Business as Usual 1 1/2 – Disruption 2 1/2

Uber…shaking my head even as I type this…I hope Uber’s PR people find their way to a stiff martini this weekend.

But seriously, where to even begin?

Hiring former IBM Chief Privacy Officer and now Hogan Lovells partner Harriet Pearson, to hopefully help them to grok and nail down more responsible privacy issues, is a good start.

But the “God View?” Really?  Even Senator Al Franken had a few questions for Uber about that one, and they weren’t kindly, Senatorly funny kinds of questions, either.

If culture eats strategy for lunch, I think I’ll skip the Uber happy meal altogether.  But then, I never needed their ride, despite their big dreams.

Next up, it’s apparently rickshaw rides in India.  Will scooters in Rome follow??

May-be, but the competition for getting a ride is also following, not only with Lyft. but with taxi-hailing app Flywheel, which just raised $12M in Series C funding.

In the car and rickshaw riding business, that’s the trouble, there’s always someone on your tail!

Hmmm…if only I could find a way to disrupt hitchhiking!

Business as Usual 2 — Disruption 3

There’s but no question business and industries are changing, and I’m thankful for the innovators each and every day.

They’re helping change our world — oftentimes, for the better, but not always.

They’d be wise to remember that a little less hubris on the way up could help ease the trauma on the inevitable way down.

Then again, that may just be Greek to them.

Written by TurboTodd

November 21st, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Posted in disruption,innovation,startups

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Twitter Users Spend More…And Are More Impulsive Shoppers

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On the continuing topic of holiday shopping, E-Marketer posted a piece earlier today citing some research conducted by tech research firm DB5. 

The research was conducted on Twitter’s behalf, so please bear that in mind.

But with that caveat, the study indicated that over half of the 2,100 Twitter users ages 13 and older surveyed said that promotions they learned about on Twitter motivated them to purchase an item they otherwise not have.

Fifty-two percent said they learned about a product they later purchased for the first time on Twitter.

But don’t throw the core retail baby out with the bathwater:

When ranked among other potential holiday influences, in-store purchases are still driven mostly by ratings and reviews, paper catalog, email promotions and Google search results, so long as the retailer features that product’s picture.

The post goes on to cite another study conducted by Baynote prior to the 2013 holiday season, one conducted with 1,000 online adults in the U.S., and found that Twitter was one of the least influential factors driving in-store holiday purchasing decisions — behind search, Facebook, and Pinterest.

But the DB5 study suggests Twitter users are susceptible to influence because they start holiday shopping earlier, spend more, and may be more prone to impulse purchases.

It claims that Twitter users spend more over the holiday season than non-users, and that 24 percent plan to spend $1,000 or more, and, interestingly, that clothing and shoes top the products they were most likely to buy because of Twitter’s influence.  

And because Twitter is so often used on mobile devices…well, let’s just say Apple Pay’s new mobile payment capability could be a real beneficiary of Twitter marketing during the holidays (and beyond).

You can follow IBM’s ExperienceOne Benchmark for real-time retail sales here throughout the holiday season.

Written by TurboTodd

November 20th, 2014 at 6:45 pm

IBM Partners With Barcelona To Help Manage Parks, Beaches With Smarter City Technology

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If you’ve ever been to Barcelona, you know it’s one of the great cities of the world.  I was last there for an IBM event, and had the opportunity to take a couple of extra days to take in the sights, sounds, and most importantly, the smells there.  

First, there’s Gaudi’s architecture, which is unlike any you’ve ever seen.

The food is fresh and exquisitely unique as well, as far as I’m concerned — from the tapas to the ripe fresh olives to the anchovies…ah, Calgon, take me to Barcelona!

So, it was excting to hear at the Smart City Expo World Congress that IBM and Barcelona have announced today an agreement to use IBM’s “smart city” technology to help more effectively manage beaches and parks within the Barcelona Metropolitan Area territorial jurisdiction.

The Barcelona Metropolitan Area will use analytics tools on its beaches and parks within its jurisdiction to manage large datasets from multiple sources, as well as cloud computing to help make better decisions.

Using IBM Intelligent Operations software, city officials and park and beach staff will have access to real-time information to manage most all aspects of parks operations.

The software centralizes all information related to parks management providing officials a comprehensive view of all events, infrastructure and park assets.

For example, in a single system, it can aggregate data on all public play areas for children, all maintenance of landscaping and trees; or provide a view into all available activities for older people.

For the metropolitan area’s beaches, it will help better manage usage demand for sports and entertainment and help monitor and manage conditions such as red flag warnings during rough ocean conditions or the presence of jellyfish.
To engage the metropolitan area’s 3,2 million citizens, this new smarter cities technology will also allow citizens and cities to jointly interact and participate in the improvement of public facilities.

For example, a citizen will be able to report through a mobile device if a park bench is broken, and then check the status of the repair in the future. Cities can also use it to inform citizens if there will be a park remodeling project or a closure for a special event.

In the future, the cities of the AMB will be able to expand the use of the IBM Intelligent Operations Center via the cloud to other areas.

Medium sized cities, such as those in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, are facing the same challenges of big cities, all within budget constraints. This in turn is leading them to explore technology that can help improve efficiency, manage city operations more effectively and at the same time, ensure citizen needs are met. 

You can learn more about IBM smarter cities technology here.

Written by TurboTodd

November 20th, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Renowned Stage And Film Director Mike Nichols Dies At 83

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One of America’s most prolific and celebrated film and stage directors, Mike Nichols, died on Wednesday at the age of 83.

For anyone who was a fan of great theatre and film would have been hard pressed not to be a Mike Nichols fan.  

Let me just name a few of the works he directed on stage and screen:

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?”
“The Graduate” 
“Barefoot in the Park”
“Death of a Salesman”
“The Real Thing”
“The Birdcage”
“Charlie Wilson’s War”
“Angels in America”

As a theatre student at New York University in the mid-1980s, I was fortunate enough to have seen some of Nichol’s work on Broadway.

One piece he directed that stood out was David Rabe’s “Hurlyburly,” an epic piece about a band of desperate Hollywood producers.

The cast was even more epic: William Hurt, Ron Silver, Harvey Keitel, Jerry Stiller, Judith Ivey, Sigourney Weaver, Cynthia Nixon.

Some might not have liked the play, but that cast was in a league of its own.

Some 28 years later, in 2012, I was fortunate enough to take in a showing of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” also on Broadway, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, whom we lost earlier this year to a heroin overdose. 

Hoffman may have seemed a little youngish for the 60-something Willy Loman, but his portrayal under Nichol’s direction was devastatingly good, and the staging of the play was a work of art from start to finish.

It would turn out to be Nichol’s last Broadway production.

For those who didn’t get to see any of Nichol’s work live, fear not, he left plenty behind on film, and I named only a few.  

Still one of my favorites was “Charlie Wilson’s War,” with whom Nichols had also cast Hoffman, as well as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. The film is a pseudo-biography of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson’s exploits in organizing and supporting the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

It would turn out to be Nichol’s last film.

Even harder to stomach, this was the year that took some of Nichol’s great collaborators.  Not only Hoffman, but also Robin Williams, who partnered with Nichols in “The Birdcage” and on Broadway with Steve Martin in the Samuel Beckett classic, “Waiting for Godot.”

In the film version of “Charlie Wilson’s War,” Charlie Wilson’s character says at one point this about his exploits in Afghanistan:

These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world…

Yes, Mr. Nichols, they happened and they were glorious, and we’ll miss you for them and the glorious humanity you brought us for so many years to both stage and screen.

Break a leg.

Written by TurboTodd

November 20th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Posted in broadway,hollywood,obituaries

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IBM Scales DevOps For Large Enterprises

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In other DevOps related news, IBM also announced today new, cloud-based DevOps services, software and infrastructure designed to help large organizations develop and deliver quality software faster. 

IBM’s new DevOps Innovation Services help address the challenge of scaling DevOps, enabling enterprises to transform their software delivery lifecycle. The hybrid cloud services combine IBM’s industry expertise from hundreds of organizational change and application development projects with the industry’s leading application development portfolio, including Bluemix, IBM’s open cloud platform-as-a-service.

They also apply the flexibility of IBM’s enterprise-grade, hybrid cloud portfolio, which was recently ranked by Synergy Research Group as the leading hybrid and private cloud for the enterprise . These services are based upon SoftLayer, IBM’s premier cloud infrastructure platform.

Enterprises now have the option of combining on-premise, private and public clouds with the collaborative DevOps capabilities they need to deliver apps faster — along with the data security, control and integration larger companies need.

The new DevOps Innovation Services enable organizations to assess and benchmark their readiness for DevOps and chart a path forward, then address typical bottlenecks in key phases of software delivery, including development, testing, release and deployment and monitoring. IBM also today announced new and enhanced software and services that allow organizations to:

  • Manage software development with significantly reduced set up time and infrastructure costs using a collaborative lifecycle management (CLM) solution on premise or as managed service in a virtual private cloud.
  • Extend mainframe development and testing to the cloud with the IBM Rational Development and Test solution, increasing flexibility and capacity, while reducing time, risk and cost. Available on premise or as a managed service in a virtual private cloud.   
  • Enable the rapid design, deployment and update of full-stack, hybrid clouds, plus enhanced capabilities for mainframe deployments using the new IBM UrbanCode Deploy solution.
  • Free up developers to focus on innovation with the IBM DevOps continuous-delivery pipeline service to automate and schedule the various stages of software deployment to IBM Bluemix.
  • Continuously monitor user experience with mobile apps in real-time with IBM MobileFirst Quality Assurance services, drawing on analytics to understand user behavior and feedback to drive product improvements. 

IDC predicts that by 2015, 60 percent of CIOs will use DevOps as their primary tool to address the speed and sprawl of mobile, cloud and open source applications.

“Software success is increasingly indistinguishable from business success,” said Kristof Kloeckner, General Manager, IBM Software Group, Rational. “IBM is helping clients harness the collaborative power of the cloud to deliver business outcomes that can compete on the highest levels of agility, speed and collaboration — regardless of the current size or complexity of the organization.”                                                    

Today’s announcement builds on IBM’s existing DevOps portfolio that offers a comprehensive approach to the lifecycle of software development. Through acquisitions such as UrbanCode and GreenHat, and offering an integrated developer experience on open cloud platforms such as Bluemix to fuel collaboration, IBM DevOps has been at the forefront of continuous software delivery, equipping clients with the tools needed to collapse the time from ideation to market delivery, as well as capture data and insights from users and testing to enable continuous improvement.

Written by TurboTodd

November 20th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

IBM Enhances Cloud-Based DevOps With New Dedicated Bluemix Platform, Launches Bluemix Garage In London

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IBM today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM’s platform-as-a-service. 

The new platform enables developers to build applications around their most sensitive data and deploy them in a dedicated cloud environment to help them capture the benefits of cloud while avoiding the compliance, regulatory and performance issues that are presented with public clouds.

IBM is also introducing a new, private API catalog on its public instance of Bluemix, which will help developers to more easily access their on-premise data as their organizations experiment with and build hybrid cloud strategies. 

Building on its global expansion of developer resources and tools, IBM also announced it is expanding its Bluemix Garage network to Canary Wharf Group’s Level39, Europe’s largest accelerator space for financial, retail and future cities tech companies, and expanding the public Bluemix catalogue to its London datacenter. 

Bluemix Dedicated; Bringing more control to cloud-based application development

Announced today, Bluemix Dedicated provides access to a collaborative, cloud-based platform in a single tenant environment, hosted in an IBM cloud center of an organization’s choice to allow for maximum control over where data resides.

Supported with dedicated hardware from within a SoftLayer cloud center and direct network connectivity to the enterprise, Bluemix Dedicated will give users the unique benefits of SoftLayer – including a built-in private network and unparalleled control and workload visibility – and will initially offer runtime capability along with a core set of services, with plans to expand. Initial services available include: 

  • Cloudant’s scalable, high-performance Database-as-a-Service
  • Data caching to improve the speed and responsiveness of web apps
  • Runtimes to give developers the flexibility to run their apps in the coding language of their choice

Using their most sensitive data, developers can build and run apps in Bluemix Dedicated, as well as pull in services from IBM’s public Bluemix catalogue, such as Watson APIs for cognitive computing, social data analytics and Aspera’s rapid data integration tools. 

Coupled with IBM’s growing network of local cloud centers, Bluemix Dedicated helps clients address concerns over data sovereignty, performance and compliance by giving them more control over the physical location of their data and production environments – enabling them to build mission-critical apps locally and scale globally. 

Private APIs to Help Enterprises Transition to Cloud

IBM is also introducing a new Private API catalog to help developers gain the most out of their on premise data as they move to the cloud. The Private API catalogue allows developers to build a secure connection between on-premise systems of record and IBM’s public Bluemix catalogue through an established dedicated tunnel; turning internal data into consumable services for internal developers and third parties to build applications on top of.

For example, clients looking to drive more personal interactions with customers, can now use Bluemix’s Private API catalog to turn its customer database — living in its back-end, private infrastructure — into a secure, consumable API.

This API can then be used to build a mobile app, which can evaluate and make sense of buying habits via analytics. Matching it with geospatial tools also available on Bluemix, the retailer could enable push notifications to users, alerting them to relevant sales offerings when they are near the company’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Bluemix Garage at Level39 to Further Fuel Cloud Innovation in the UK

Building on the success of the Bluemix Garage in San Francisco, the newest addition to the Bluemix Garage network will open in Level39, Europe’s largest tech accelerator based in London.

This Garage will serve as a central location for UK developers, product managers and designers — from both startups and enterprises alike — to collaborate with IBM consultants, as well as outside developers and entrepreneurs, to build the next generation of cloud apps. 

Bluemix Garages help redefine how developers use the cloud to turn new ideas into products, helping to evolve them based on market feedback, as well as scale and integrate them with client systems through IBM Bluemix. 

As part of that process, IBM will be working in conjunction with Canary Wharf Group’s accelerator space, Level39, to engage with Europe’s premier financial technology sector. IBM will work with Level39 to enable startups in the financial technology sector, as well as other industries, to access cutting-edge development tools, consulting resources and face-to-face connections with other entrepreneurs, developers and mentors to help them grow their business.

Having collaborated with Level39 on IBM SmartCamp competitions and on the recent ‘Hack [Make] the Bank’ Hackathon, IBM will be expanding its engagement with the accelerator to also include participation in Level39’s ‘Office Hours’ mentoring program and ongoing seminar initiatives. 

“By delivering enterprise quality solutions with Bluemix, IBM is helping innovators develop robust platforms that are far more likely to pass the audit and compliance required when building at this level,” said Head of Level39, Eric Van der Kleij. “This, coupled with the strategy of promoting more open innovation and dialogue with the next generation of brands, is why we are delighted to welcome IBM’s Bluemix Garage to our Canary Wharf tech community, working right alongside IBM’s established client base.”​​

As they increasingly turn to the creativity of startups for fresh approaches to industry challenges, IBM’s enterprise client base will have even greater access to UK’s most talented entrepreneurs and developers through the London Bluemix Garage. In turn, the Garage will open the door for these startups to IBM’s extensive base of enterprise partners, equipping them with the connections to build more functional apps and apply technology across various industries, enabling them to monetize their solutions more quickly.

To learn more about IBM’s Bluemix cloud technology go here.  You can also read more about IBM’s DevOps capabilities and register for a recent DevOps study from Forrester Research here.

Written by TurboTodd

November 20th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Australia’s “Click Frenzy” Already Seeing Holiday Sales Up 27.7 Percent

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We’ve not even arrived at Black Friday and Cyber Monday yet, and already our friends at the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark are hard at work down under, beginning to analyze online and mobile sales for Australia’s third “Click Frenzy,” in advance of the holiday shopping blitz.

As of press time (5:12 PM CST) on Nov 19th, the numbers are starting to roll in from Australia, and here’s what we’re seeing so far:

  • Click Frenzy online sales were up 27.7 percent over the same period in 2013. 
  • Click Frenzy mobile traffic reached 43 percent, up 29.4 percent over the same period in 2013. 
  • Click Frenzy mobile sales reached 20.4 percent, up 15.3 percent over the same period in 2013. 

Some of the trends being witnessed so far:

  • Consumers Cash-In on Online Bargains: As consumers become more comfortable with digital coupons average order value increased to $151.02, an increase of 15.2 percent over the same period in 2013. This indicates that shoppers are being much savvier in how they use online coupons and rebates to secure the best bargains. Shoppers purchased an average of 5 items per order, up 48.5 percent over last year.
  • Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy: Smartphones drove 24.8 percent of total online traffic, outpacing tablets, which drove 18.3 percent of overall traffic. However, tablets are winning the shopping war. Tablet sales accounted for 13.3 percent of online sales, nearly twice that of smartphones which drove 7.1 percent. 
  • The Desktop is Not Dead: Even so, many shoppers chose a more traditional online experience with desktop traffic representing 56.7 percent of all online traffic, and desktop sales reaching 79.6 percent of all online sales. Further, consumers spent more money on average on their desktops at $161.76 than their mobile devices at $121.82, a difference of 32.8 percent.
  • iOS vs. Android: Apple continued its leadership in compelling mobile shopping experiences, beating Android across three key metrics: Average Order Value: iOS users averaged $122.42 per order compared to $116.72 for Android users; Online Traffic: iOS traffic reached 32.8 percent, outpacing Android traffic, which reached 10 percent as a component of total online traffic; Online Sales: iOS sales which reached 17.5 percent, were also higher than Android at 2.7 percent as a component of overall online sales. 

Ian Wong, Retail Industry Lead for IBM Australia said, “Our hypothesis is that omni-channel retail experiences have really taken hold in Australia over the last 12 months. We anticipate customers are fusing in-store experiences, using the concept of ‘show-rooming’ to touch and feel products, complemented by mobile browsing both in and out of store, and then using the convenience of online to make the purchase. Australians are really making the most of multiple retail channels to get the best products and best deals possible — and we anticipate this trend will continue to grow in popularity.”

About IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark:

IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, the industry’s only real-time, cloud-based, self-service solution that delivers aggregated and anonymous competitive data for a comprehensive set of key performance indicators.

You can keep an eye on real-time U.S. retail data via the Benchmark using IBM’s Bluemix technology throughout the holiday season here. 

Written by TurboTodd

November 19th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

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