Aug 282015
 
Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300

Possibly the holy grail of business is to find a product that your customers will pay almost anything for.

In flight Wi-Fi service provider GoGo may be close to achieving that with a product that business customers depend upon. The New York Times describes how the company has found it can use dynamic pricing to customise its prices for each flight.

One of the limitations GoGo faces is the connections between the aircraft and the ground stations is narrow so a plane full of bandwidth hungry travellers will quickly bring everyone’s service to a crawl.

To overcome this – and to make more money – the service has developed algorithms to anticipate the demand on each flight and then customise the charges to suit.

In many respects what we’re seeing with GoGo is similar to services like Uber where fast, intelligent systems can analyse traffic patterns and use the predicted demand to set prices. It’s the ultimate demand driven economy.

Over time, this model is going to flow out across many industries – the airline industry leads the way in pricing around demand management – and consumers need to get used to the idea of a fixed price tag being a quaint memory.

 

Aug 272015
 
fax-machine

If you’re in the ABC Canberra area at 4.05pm, I’ll be talking about this with Adam Shirley. Listen live here.

One of the most frustrating statements in modern business is “you’ll have to send a fax.”

Facsimile machines, once the pinnacle of 1980s business communications although they were first invented in 1843, started to die once the internet became common and email became the dominant messaging system.

Once dial up modems started becoming standard on computers, receiving faxes electronically became feasible and for while businesses struggled with the notoriously unreliable software to receive facsimile messages without the hassle of paper.

Eventually however they passed away as most business found there was no need for faxes and anything requiring a signature could be electronically signed or a scan of the original document sent.

Some industries and sectors – particularly the legal world and some government agencies – still hold out the need to send an ‘original’ by fax, party under the fallacy a facsimile copy is more secure, reliable and legally more valid than an email or electronically lodged document.

During the ABC Canberra program one listener pointed out the medical industry is dependent upon the older technologies, “we couldn’t operate without them” she told the producers. In a time of connected medical equipment and electronic data interchange, the medical industry has little justification in using outdated manual methods but habits die hard in a very conservative industry.

None of the myths around the reliability of fax are true and the reality is details sent by fax are just as easily intercepted by nefarious employees or third parties as emails. In many respects a fax is less secure than electronically interchanged data.

If you do have the need to send or receive a fax though all is not lost, services like eFax will still send or receive messages and then, ironically, email them onto you.

However there is a downside with these services, as one harried PA whose organisation still receives faxes due to its dealings with the legal profession described, the vast bulk of messages they receive are junk messages mainly offering cheap deals on office supplies.

The fax machine is another example of a transition effect where a stop gap product was effective for a short period as businesses adapted to new technologies, the SMS is going through a similar process now. Neither will be the last example of this.

Aug 202015
 
google-data-center-mayescounty-employee2

One of the defining features of the next decade’s successful businesses is how they manage data. No company has a greater challenge in dealing with information than Google.

In a feature tracking Google’s evolving data centres, Techcrunch describes how the company has dealt with the challenge of being the web’s repository.

The challenge has been huge, Google’s current Jupiter network delivers a petabit each second, a hundred times more capacity than its first-generation network and in 2005.

Google boasts 10,000 of their servers are capable of reading all of the scanned data in the Library of Congress in less than a tenth of a second.

While most businesses won’t need that sort of capacity in the near future, the exponential growth Google has dealt with is the same issue facing most managers and business owners as more devices, staff and customers become connected.

For most organisations, dealing with that dramatic growth is almost impossible and this is why automated services running on the cloud will become even more a part of daily working life. Those services will be running on the technology Google is developing today.

 

 

 

Aug 072015
 
the web is new neon sign

Michael Rubenstein, President of AppNexus is the first interview for a while on the Decoding the New Economy channel.

Rubenstein joined AppNexus as employee number 18 in 2009 and has been part of the company’s growth from a small startup to a global technology company with a workforce of 1,000 professionals.

AppNexus is one of the new wave of companies managing and programming online advertising, helping advertisers and publishers target their products better while giving ad tech companies deeper insights and data.

In this interview, Rubenstein discusses some of the forces changing global advertising along with the challenges of dealing with a high growth business.

Apologies for the bad hair on my part.

Aug 052015
 
http_website_links

“The days of getting a PhD to get your businesses online are over” declared James Carroll, GoDaddy’s International Executive Vice President last week on a visit to Sydney.

GoDaddy is the world’s biggest internet domain name registration service and Carroll was in Australia to promote the expansion of the company’s local operations.

Australia’s a prime target for the company with nearly half the nation’s two million businesses not having a web presence. “I think there’s an awareness issue about the skill that are needed to get online,” says Carroll.

GoDaddy’s Australia and New Zealand country manager Tara Commerford suggested two reasons why small businesses aren’t going online, “I think it’s lack of awareness and people don’t know how to do it”.

Commerford suggests that simplified online tools are making it easier along with the easy access to other platforms like social media and location online services.

The problem though is these tools are not new, this blog has been discussing how companies need to get online for years and yet the proportion of small businesses getting a web presence has remained fixed around the fifty percent mark.

One of the barriers to getting online is confusion and the new top level domains haven’t helped this by muddying the message about which domains they should be registering under. This is only increasing the fear among small business owners that going online is complex, expensive and risky.

It’s understandable that domain registrars like GoDaddy would push the new domains given the industry’s low margins and need for scale, but that’s not the problem for smaller operators.

The problem for small businesses is getting the basics right with with a mobile friendly website, particularly for hospitality and tourism operators. Having the right domain name is an important first start of an important journey for most businesses.

Jul 222015
 
radio programs for techonology, web, social media, cloud computing and computer advice

Security problems with smartcars and dating sites along with asking if a new version of Microsoft Windows matters any more are the topics for July’s Nightlife tech spot.

Paul Wallbank regularly joins Tony Delroy on ABC Nightlife on to discuss how technology affects your business and life.

If you missed this month’s show, you can listen to the program through the ABC website.

July’s Nightlife

A decade ago people lined up all night for a new version of the Windows operating system. Next week Microsoft will be launching Windows 10 to an indifferent market place, does what was once the world’s biggest software company matter anymore in a world of smartphones, connected cars and cloud computing?

Some of the questions we’ll be answering include.

  • So what are Microsoft announcing next week?
  • What happened to Windows 9?
  • Does Windows really matter any more?
  • The internet has changed things but not always for the better. What about connected cars being hacked?
  • Is this a bigger problem than just connected cars when we’re seeing things like kettles being wired up to the internet?
  • Of course it’s not just cars suffering problems on the Internet, adult dating site Ashley Madison has had potentially 37 million customers’ details leaked online.
  • Could this happen to any business? How do we protect ourselves?

Listeners’ questions

A few of the questions from listeners couldn’t be answered on air.

Running Flash of iPhones and iPads: Steve Jobs’ hatred of Adobe Flash was legendary and as consequence iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad don’t come with the ability to run the software. That’s a problem for those who need Flash for some packages.

The Puffin web browser gives iPad and iPhone users the ability to use Flash on their devices and is available from the iTunes store.

Securing Android: While smartphones are less prone to viruses and malware than personal computers, they still are at risk. For Android users there is no shortage of choice for security packages, some of which include;

Android power hogs: A downside with smartphone apps is they can drain battery life. One excellent feature on Android phones is the ability to easily check what’s using your juice.

  • Open device settings
  • Scroll to “about phone”
  • Click on “battery use”

Join us

Tune in on your local ABC radio station from 10pm Australian Eastern Summer time or listen online at www.abc.net.au/nightlife.

We’d love to hear your views so join the conversation with your on-air questions, ideas or comments; phone in on 1300 800 222 within Australia or +61 2 8333 1000 from outside Australia.

You can SMS Nightlife’s talkback on 19922702, or through twitter to@paulwallbank using the #abcnightlife hashtag or visit the Nightlife Facebook page.

 

Jun 162015
 
Should we be watching more TV in the Internet age

“We seek news on Twitter but bump into it on Facebook” points out the Reuters’ 2015 Digital News Report in its analysis of global media consumption.

The broad trends from surveying over 20,000 online news consumers in the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Japan and Australia are clear – social media is becoming the main way people are finding their news while television is slowly declining.

Probably most concerning for the television networks how younger viewers have turned away from TV with only a quarter of those aged between 18 and 25 tuning in as opposed to two thirds of those aged over 65.

Given the aging of television network audiences it’s not surprising that last week Australia’s Network Ten, part owned by Lachlan Murdoch, found a lifeline from the country’s main cable network as the broadcaster is finding revenues declining.

The question is how long advertisers are going to stick with television as audiences increasingly move online creating a revenue gap estimated by analyst Mary Meeker to be worth around thirty billion dollars a year.

For the moment, the great hope for the online world is Facebook with Reuters finding the service is dominating users’ time. In that light it’s not surprising the company has such a huge market valuation.

The competing social media services are still facing challenges, particularly with Twitter showing a far lower level of penetration with the general public, leading Harvard professor Bill George to speculate the company risked becoming the new BlackBerry.

While the online services struggle for supremacy and television slowly declines, the real pain continues to felt by the newspapers who continue to find their relevance erode and few of their readers prepared to pay for their content.

The Reuters report confirms the trends we already know while giving insights into the unique peculiarities of each market.