Exciting News about Florida Development & Tourism Growth

Khan: ‘There’s nothing iconic about Jacksonville’


Florida Gov. Rick Scott spoke at the Enterprise Florida board meeting Thursday morning in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Public domain image from Google Images

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Jaguars owner Shad Khan were also in attendance.

Scott said the state’s job and tourism numbers this year are impressive. According to Visit Florida, more than 54 million people have visited the Sunshine State just this year, with nearly 26 million coming between April and June, an increase of 5.5 percent from last year.

Despite having 30 percent fewer people than Texas, Scott said job growth is better here than in the Lone Star state, with 20,000 positions created every month. That’s done, in part, by bringing companies to cities like Jacksonville.


Curry said that’s no easy task without Enterprise Florida.

“Enterprise Florida is critical in helping us put deals together for companies that want to relocate to Florida, specifically for me, northeast Florida and Jacksonville,” Curry said.

Khan said Enterprise Florida needs to stay, especially as Jacksonville has a long way to go.

“There’s nothing iconic about Jacksonville,” Khan said. “As you’re approaching the stadium, you’ve got a prison to your left-hand side, you’ve got a half-abandoned building on your right-hand side and then you have 40 acres of old shipyard, which is heavily polluted.”

But Scott said he can’t do it alone. He’s asking the public to reach out to state lawmakers for more funding so Florida can keep up the momentum.

Curry knows that success spills over into Jacksonville.


“Enterprise Florida matters, the funding of Enterprise Florida matters, the return on investment for taxpayers when these companies relocate that the governor said today is 10 times, any investor out there would take that kind of return,” Curry said.

According to a recent study by Florida Taxwatch, Florida will have roughly $650 million more in this upcoming budget due to its growing economy.

Source: Florida remains a beacon for job growth, tourism

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3 Ways The Internet Of Things Will Change Every Business

Have you entered the Internet of Things yet?

If you have a FitBit or other activity tracker that talks to your smartphone, you have.  If you have a thermostat, alarm system, or lights in your home that you can control with your computer or phone, you have.

But even if you haven’t got one of those devices yet, I’m betting you will within the next 3–5 years.

And I’m not making that prediction based on how useful or cool the current Internet of Things products are right now, but rather based on the fact that I believe the Internet of Things is going to change business at a fundamental level.

I believe there are three key ways in which the Internet of Things will change every business:

1.  It will allow companies to make smarter products.

It used to be that we only expected our phones to be able to make phone calls.  Today, most consumers expect a lot more from the device they carry in their pocket.  So, while it might seem strange or unnecessary at first glance to have a smart tennis racket, an internet-enabled frying pan, or a smart yoga mat, these are just the first forays into the world of the Internet of Things.

Only time will tell which will stick and which will go the way of pet rocks, but the point is that businesses will have the opportunity — and eventually, the imperative — to make “smarter,” more useful, more connected products.

2. Enable smarter business operations and smarter decisions.

A big part of the Internet of Things isn’t so much about smart devices, but about sensors. These tiny innovations can be attached to everything from yogurt cups to the cement in bridges and then record and send data back into the cloud.  This will allow businesses to collect more and more specific feedback on how products or equipment are used, when they break, and even what users might want in the future.

Rolls Royce aircraft engines contain sensors that send real-time data on the engine’s function back to monitoring stations on the ground. This information can be used to detect malfunctions before they become catastrophic, and possibly to investigate — and hopefully prevent — the causes of aircraft disasters. Microsoft uses software that constantly collects data on what features are being used for its products, so it can strip away the least popular ones and focus on the most popular.

3. Change in business model

Above and beyond all this, I believe the Internet of Things will also signal the possibility of a change in business model for some businesses.

Take John Deere, for example.  For decades, they’ve sold the tractors that make farming on a 21st century scale easier and more profitable. But since 2012, they’ve added data connectivity to their equipment, giving farmers information about which crops to plant where and when, when and where to plow, and even the best route to take while plowing.  They are essentially now in the business of selling data as much as they are selling tractors.

Other similar business models will no doubt emerge.  Fitness trackers like FitBit and Jawbone already aggregate data about our fitness habits and health stats and share these their strategic partners.  There are certainly plenty of organizations that would love to get their hands on that kind of data for marketing and other purposes.

The most important thing to do when considering how the Internet of Things will affect your business is to think bigger — much bigger. It’s not just about what kind of products you can make “smart,” or how information could impact your business efficiencies, or how you might sell that data to customers and partners.

The Internet of Things represents a fundamental tilt in the lens through which we view the world.  The same way most of us would never want to go back to a phone that’s just a phone, soon we won’t be able to imagine going back to a world without smart cars, smart roads, smart infrastructure, etc.

In other words: The Internet of Things could change everything and every business needs to consider its implications.

Bernard Marr is a best-selling business author, keynote speaker and leading business performance, analytics and data expert. His latest books are ‘Big Data‘ and ‘KPIs for Dummies‘.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/08/17/3-ways-the-internet-of-things-will-change-every-business/

How Big Data And The Internet Of Things Improve Public Transport In London

How Big Data And The Internet Of Things Improve Public Transport In London | Bernard Marr

Transport for London (TfL) oversees a network of buses, overground and underground trains, taxis, roads, cycle paths, footpaths and even ferries which are used by millions every day.


Running these vast networks which are integral to so many people’s lives in one of the world’s busiest cities gives it access to huge amounts of data. This is collected through ticketing systems as well as sensors attached to vehicles and traffic signals, surveys and focus groups, and of course social media.

Lauren Sager-Weinstein, head of analytics at TfL spoke to me about the two key priorities for collecting and analyzing this data – planning services, and providing information to customers.

Lauren told me “London is growing at a phenomenal rate. The population is currently 8.6 million and is expected to grow to 10m very quickly. We have to understand how they behave and how to manage their transport needs.”

“Passengers want good services and value for money from us, and they want to see us being innovative and progressive in order to meet those needs.”

Oyster prepaid travel cards were first issued in 2003 and have since been expanded across the network. Passengers effectively “charge” them by converting real money from their bank accounts into “Transport for London money” which are swiped to gain access to buses and trains. This enables a huge amount of data to be collected about precise journeys that are being taken.

Journey mapping

This data is anonymized and used to produce maps showing when and where people are traveling, giving both a far more accurate overall picture, as well as allowing more granular analysis at the level of individual journeys, than was possible before. As a large proportion of London journeys involve more than one method of transport, this level of analysis was not possible in the days when tickets were purchased from different services, in cash, for each individual leg of the journey.


That isn’t to say that integrating state of the art data collection strategies with legacy systems has been easy in a city where the public transport has operated since 1829. For example on London Underground (Tube) journeys passengers are used to “checking out and checking in” – tickets are validated (by automatic barriers) at the start and end of a journey. However on buses, passengers simply check in. Traditionally tickets were purchased from the driver or inspector for a set fee per journey. There is no mechanism for recording where a passenger leaves the bus and ends their journey – and implementing one would have been impossible without creating an inconvenience to the customer.

“Data collection has to be tied to business operations. This was a challenge to us, in terms of tracking customer journeys,” says Sager-Weinstein. TfL worked with MIT, just one of the academic institutions which it has research partnerships with, to devise a Big Data solution to the problem.

“We asked ‘can we use Big Data to infer where someone exited?’ We know where the bus is, because we have location data and we have Oyster data for entry.


“What we do next is look at where the next tap is. If we see the next tap follows shortly after and is at the entry to a tube station, we know we are dealing with one long journey using bus and tube.”

“This allows us to understand load profiles – how crowded a particular bus or range of buses are at a certain time, and to plan interchanges, to minimize walk times and plan other services such as retail.”

Unexpected events

Big Data analysis also helps TfL respond in an agile way then disruption occurs. Sager-Weinstein cites an occasion where Wansworth Council was forced to close Putney Bridge – crossed by 870,000 people every day – for emergency repairs.

“We were able to work out that half of the journeys started or ended very close to Putney Bridge. The bridge was still open to pedestrians and cyclists, so we knew those people would be able to cross and either reach their destination or continue their journey on the other side. They either live locally, or their destination is local.”

“The other half were crossing the bridge at the half-way point of their journey. In order to serve their needs we were able to set up a transport interchange and increase bus service on alternate routes. We also sent them personalized messages about how their journey was likely to be affected. It was very helpful that we were able to use Big Data to quantify them.”


This personalized approach to providing travel information is the other key priority for TfL’s data initiatives.

“We have been working really hard to really understand what our customers want from us in terms of information. We push information from 23 Twitter accounts and provide online customer services 24 hours a day.”

Personalized travel news

Travel data is also used to identify customers who regularly use specific routes and send tailored travel updates to them. “If we know a customer frequently uses a particular station, we can include information about service changes at that station in their updates. We understand that people are hit by a lot of data these days and too much can be overwhelming so there is a strong focus on sending data which is relevant,” says Sager-Weinsten.

“We use information from the back-office systems for processing contactless payments, as well as Oyster, train location and traffic signal data, cycle hire and the congestion charge. We also take into account special events such as the Tour de France and identify people likely to be in those areas. 83% of our passengers rate this service as ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’.” Not bad when you consider that complaining about the state of public transport is considered a hobby by many British people.


TfL also provides its data through open APIs for use by 3rd party app developers, meaning that tailored solutions can be developed for niche user groups.

Its systems currently runs on a number of Microsoft and Oracle based platforms but the organization is currently looking into adopting Hadoop and other open source solutions to cope with growing data demands going forwards.

Plans for the future include increasing the capacity for real-time analytics and working on integrating an even wider range of data sources, to better plan services and inform customers.

Big Data has clearly played a big part in re-energizing London’s transport network. But importantly, it is clear that it has been implemented in a smart way, with eyes firmly on the prize. “One of the most important questions is always ‘why are we asking these questions’” explains Sager-Weinstein.

“Big Data is always very interesting but sometimes it is only interesting. You need to find a business case.”

“We always try to come back to the bigger questions – growth in London and how we can meet that demand, by managing the network and infrastructure as efficiently as possible.”

About : Bernard Marr is a globally recognized expert in big data, analytics and enterprise performance. He helps companies improve decision-making and performance using data. His new book is Data: Using Smart Big Data, Analytics and Metrics To Make Better Decisions and Improve PerformanceYou can read a free sample chapter here.


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Worldwide webcam market set to grow to $15.2 billion by 2021 according to forecasts

Worldwide webcam market set to grow to $15.2 billion by 2021 according to forecasts


New Horizon HD photo iBZFlC

Next generation “multifunction webcams” are very sophisticated, they can do facial recognition, they are used in security systems, and for on line education. They are used for 3D mapping, commercial pipeline observation, border patrol, package delivery, photography, and agriculture are more energy efficient, last longer and when connected to automated analytics have a significantly lower cost of operation than manned security systems.

WebCam markets promise to grow significantly because of the more economical visualization and navigation provided by systems. Visualization includes mapping from the air, inspection from the air, surveillance from the air, and package delivery from the air.

The unmanned aircraft equipped with cameras are able to do things that cannot be done in any other way. This bodes well for market development.

The webcam industry is characterized by short product life cycles, continual performance enhancements, and rapid adoption of technological advances. It is intensely competitive. There are retail and OEM market segments.

There are security, travel, visual marketing, information and online education segments among others.

Price sensitivity characterizes the OEM market. Virtually every tablet and smartphone will have a webcam going forward.

WebCams may be used in combination with instant messaging programs.

Microsoft Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, SameTime, and Skype support video chat. Broadband connections support streaming video.

Installation, image quality and performance are ways to measure the substance of the WebCam experience.

Imaging depends on quality and usefulness. Picture quality is an ongoing issue for webcams.

Sample photos from each Web camera need to be tested in a variety of lighting conditions to provide a good measure of quality. The standard high-resolution setting is measured in pixels and is constantly shifting for video.

Resolution used for video, e-mailing and posting on the Web varies. A Web camera includes software to help present and adjust the picture.

WebCams can take high quality still pictures, with a lower quality for video. The resolution that works well for video is lower than that for still pictures that require higher resolution.

Anything higher quality, anything matching the quality of the still pictures in the video would be a huge drain on the processor, and reduces resolution for this reason.

The frames-per-second (fps) rate determines how quickly a webcam can capture and move video. The fewer frames per second, the choppier the picture.

Full-motion video is generally 60 frames-per-second. Instant messaging software and servers are improving in this regard.

WebCam video broadcasts are limited by the speed of Internet connections and instant messaging servers. Streaming video works best with a high-bandwidth connections.

Transfer rates can be limited by instant messaging servers. Skype and MSN Messenger is offering smooth video.

Skype’s video chat service is increasing its user base on a daily basis.

WebCam controls include focus dials, lens covers, and pan, tilt and zoom capabilities. Computer sound cards and microphones mean the Webcam includes a built-in microphone or comes with a headset.

WebCams may come bundled with video-conferencing software. Packages include software for video editing, surveillance, stop motion, video conferencing or email.

There is plenty of motivation to purchase webcams as people seem to enjoy social media as much as anything. Video conferencing is poised to become ubiquitous.

Security applications are promising to continue to grow rapidly. The ability to remotely monitor one room away or across the world using the Internet provides stunning new functionality that is enormously significant because of the automated process that implements intelligent systems.

This intelligence capability promises to be used by everyone for security, security for people in their homes, businesses, police departments, universities, hospitals, and all organizations with a campus.

The WebCam market at $3.4 billion in 2014 is expected to grow to $15.2 billion by 2021. Strong growth is triggered by the increasing availability of broadband and Internet connectivity.

The Internet protocols of Ethernet dominate all networking.

Companies Profiled

Market Leaders

  • Logitech
  • D-Link
  • Microsoft
  • Flir
  • Creative Technology
  • Philips
  • Sony
  • Cisco
  • Samsung
  • 10Moon
  • Platinet / Omega Technology
  • A4Tech
  • Vivitar
  • Canon

Market Participants

  • 10moons
  • A4Tech
  • Annke
  • B2
  • Blackstone Group / Vivant
  • Brother
  • Canon
  • Creative Technology Ltd
  • D-Link
  • Encore Electronics
  • FLIR / Lorex
  • Genius
  • iMirco Electronics
  • Logitech International
  • Micron
  • Microsoft
  • Nest
  • Netgear
  • Nikon
  • Platinet
  • Philips
  • Proxicast
  • Relleek Electronics
  • Rosewill
  • Sakar International / Vivitar
  • Samsung Electronics
  • Shenzhen Vigor Electronic Co.
  • Sony
  • Trust
  • Vimicro International Corporation
  • Withings


DetailsWhaTech Channel: Consumer Market Research Reports

Published on Tuesday, 11 August 2015 19:23

Submitted by RNR Market Research. WhaTech Agency

News from: RnR Market Research

For more information: Worldwide webcam market set to grow by 2021 according to forecasts

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Assisi Journal: In St. Francis’ Hometown, a New Kind of Pilgrim

In St. Francis’ Hometown, a New Kind of Pilgrim

 ANANDA CENTER YOGA -ASSISI 550wQfNew Age retreats like the Ananda Center attract visitors with yoga classes and spa treatments. Credit Andrea Wyner for The New York Times

ASSISI, Italy — For centuries, pilgrims have trekked to Assisi to walk the same steep and narrow lanes on which a rag-cloaked radical monk named Francis preached an antimaterialistic message 800 years ago, rocking the medieval Roman Catholic Church.

Francis, who with Catherine of Siena is one of Italy’s two patron saints, is a global figure for hundreds of millions of Catholics, and the current pope took his name in homage. The saint’s hometown, perched on the broad slope of Mount Subasio, attracts four million to five million tourists annually.

But lately, those visitors have included a new sort of pilgrim.

Besides church groups spilling from tour buses and flocks of brown-robed Franciscan brothers, the town has attracted non-Catholic tourists, of the sort who hope for rejuvenation in the ashrams of India or in an ayurvedic essential-oils massage. They come, drawn by the same mystical essence that more traditional religious pilgrims believe can be felt in the woods around Francis’ hometown.

ASSISI map paqo32
By The New York Times

Assisi is one of the special places where you can tune into a spiritual energy,” said Katharina Daboul,who sometimes manages the Simple Peace Hermitage, a meditation center here.

Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian guru who introduced yoga to the West, ranked Francis with Buddha and Jesus in his multicreed pantheon of spiritual guides. Yogananda said he had seen a vision of Francis while giving a speech in the 1950s. After that he came to regard him as a spiritual icon and eventually visited Assisi. Francis, who was born in Assisi and died there 44 years later in 1226, was in many ways the original hippie. A nobleman, he gave up all his earthly belongings to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. In the centuries since, many pilgrims have followed a path he took up the scraggy woods of Mount Subasio. But until recently, most of them were Catholic.

The new breed of tourist has found in Assisi a hive of ecclesiastical commerce. On sunny Sunday mornings, bells toll as nuns in crisp habits and monks in brown robes crisscross the bleached piazzas in their sandals and socks, sending doves soaring above the sunflower and hayfields of the surrounding valley. Trinket shops sell wood carvings of the tau symbol with which Francis signed his letters; ceramic tile refrigerator magnets of angels; and posters of Francis, who was canonized two years after his death.

These tourists are looking for inner peace more than they are looking to buy knickknacks. And some are paying for services out of reach of the impoverished masses that the current pope champions. Several spas have opened in the area since a government incentive began covering some construction costs for hotels that add them.

 ASSISI ITALY rXqPf2Assisi, Italy, was the home of St. Francis, a medieval monk and mystic. Credit Andrea Wyner for The New York Times

The Rev. Enzo Fortunato, a spokesman for the Basilica di San Francesco, a big tourist draw in Assisi, said he had noticed the influx of a newer type of pilgrim and was unsurprised by it. “Francesco’s Assisi has always represented the welcoming of diversities,” he said.

Assisi’s New Age retreats are not all spartan refuges for peace-seekers packing yoga mats. In a Roman quarter on the northern edge of town, well-off travelers can book a luxurious room with a restored fresco on the wall at the Nun Assisi Relais Hotel and Spa Museum, a converted 13th-century convent that opened in 2010.

The hotel’s owner, Massimo Falcinelli, initially planned to transform the shell of the convent, but had to change course when workers unearthed a Roman bath complex. Like so many religious sites in Italy, the convent had been constructed on pagan ruins, in this case a temple and bath. Mr. Falcinelli decided to combine the baths — and the theme of healing water — into his hotel.

The former convent kitchen is now the wine bar, and the chapel is a meeting room. Down a staircase is a restored ancient spa.

The Romans called the water from Subasio’s springs “magic water,” and Assisi is what the Romans called a genius loci, “a place with a special atmosphere for health, a place that raises your soul to a higher level,” said the hotel manager, Chiara Mencarelli.

At the Nun Relais, Konstantin Mirzajev, a Russian engineer who lives in Prague, described his experience as a guest there: “When I am in the spa, looking at the stone arches of the Roman Amphitheatre, I feel like an ancient Roman. I feel like I have traveled back in time, through centuries, and can taste the luxury the Romans knew so well.”

Asked about touches of the lavish in a place known for shunning it, the Rev. Stephen Platten, an Anglican bishop from London who often visits Assisi, said, “I just think people shall enjoy themselves. Then I hope the luxury does not anesthetize the people and take them into their own bubble far from St. Francis’ message.”

While these newer spiritual attractions mostly coexist with the traditional community, one retreat, the Ananda Center, has had a more complicated integration. Opened in the 1990s by a group of Yogananda followers on four mountaintop acres, it now includes a yoga school, guesthouses, a real estate agency and a farm.

17ASSISI-master180 8QrZgJ
Raphael’s portrait of Francis. Credit Corbis

About 150 people live in terra cotta cottages on the grounds. The retreat has a holistic healing center that offers massages and spa treatments, and a meditation temple. Visitors come from all over Europe to study yoga, and their numbers swell into the hundreds during the high season from June to August.

Yogananda wrote that Hinduism and Jesus taught similar lessons, but the Ananda Center was accused by the local authorities of being a cult and a criminal enterprise. The police raided the retreat in 2004, arresting and jailing seven of the sect’s leaders. They were soon released. Prosecutors charged them with slavery, brainwashing, organized crime and coercive behavior, but a judge threw out the charges.

Ananda’s relations with the local Catholic establishment remain chilly. “The church sees us as competition,” said a Californian in a blue robe, who goes by the name Shivani Lucki. She added that for the moment, the center has been existing in harmony with the authorities.

A little closer to Assisi, but several steep miles up a narrow gravel path called the Alle Porte del Paradiso (Paradise Door Lane) is the Simple Peace Hermitage, a more rugged, smaller player in the local retreat business. It has been heralded by travel publications as being one of the top 10 meditation centers in the world, for its views of the Umbrian countryside and its proximity to the spiritual walks of Assisi. The retreat is a spare, stone farmhouse nestled behind rose and lavender bushes.

The retreat was founded by Ruth and Bruce Davis, writers from California who led nondenominational English and German-language tours to Assisi for years. “They were drawn by our background in spiritual psychology and following the footsteps of St. Francis,” Ms. Davis said of the tour groups.

The newcomers have not displaced the more traditional retreats. St. Anthony’s guesthouse has been operated since 1931 by an American order, the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement. Behind iron gates perched on a steep ledge with panoramic vistas of Assisi and the St. Clare Basilica, visitors first pass under the word “Atonement,” then are ushered by Sister Susan, one of five nuns living in the guesthouse, into an austere sitting room decorated with portraits of Christ.

Sister Susan had nothing bad to say about the nondenominational tourists and their retreats. “We are open to people of all traditions — strangers or seekers,” Sister Susan said. “This is a safe place to rest, retreat or pilgrimage. Or just to be.”

Assisi Journal: In St. Francis’ Hometown, a New Kind of Pilgrim


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6 Reasons Marketing Is Moving In-House

6 Reasons Marketing Is Moving In-House


A new research report from the Society of Digital Agencies finds that in the past year there has been a dramatic spike in the number of companies who no longer work with outside marketing agencies — 27 percent, up from 13 percent in the previous year. This continues a trend The Association of National Advertisers first reported in 2013.

But these companies aren’t getting rid of marketing – they’re just bringing it in-house. Mitch Joel, president of Mirum, recently has also noticed this movement of agency talent to the client side, calling it one of the most disruptive trends in the industry right now.

SoDA describes this trend as “alarming” (and it is, if you work for an agency) but stops short of fully explaining why it’s happening. After interviewing several ad agency executives and marketing leaders in a diverse group of businesses — pharmaceutical, high-tech, manufacturing, retail, sports, and others — I’ve found a few common themes that could help explain what is going on.

1. Agencies are slow. An executive from one of the world’s largest ad agencies told me that his company was too big – and consequently, too slow — to compete in the lightning-fast digital space.

“We have too many people,” he said, “too many contracts and too many approvals to be able to react and work effectively in a real-time world,” he said. “The work is moving closer to where the customers are, where the responses can be more rapid and connected.”

 2. Agencies are stuck on advertising. Agencies have been too slow to adjust to fast-changing industry needs.

A brand manager at a Fortune 100 company expressed deep frustration to me: “We want to connect to our customers in a new way. We want to leverage social media, content marketing, and integrated models but every time we ask our agency for a proposal, it comes back as advertising. I’m sick of it. I am ready to break our contract at any cost because they just don’t get it.”

Another brand manager told me that many agencies are creating social spin-offs but they still operate like traditional ad agencies. Perhaps the cultural transitions are not happening fast enough at these agencies.

 3. Continuity has become more important than campaigns. There’s a key difference between funding an ad campaign and supporting a social media effort.

In an ad campaign, you make a pitch, win a deal, execute the creative, provide a report and start over. Agencies are generally funded and organized by campaigns.

But in a socially-oriented world, the connection never stops. You fund, staff, and execute continuously. The traditional agency structure, forged over decades, is not necessarily built for that model.

4. Companies no longer want to outsource customer relationships.

As analytics improve and Big Data gives way to the real insights in Little Data, we are able to drive our efforts down to individuals. I believe this is where the real power in marketing is going to be in the near future — focusing like a laser on the most active customers driving our business (what I’ve called the “Alpha Audience” in the The Content Code).

When the primary focus of our marketing finally shifts from mass broadcasting to discrete customer relationships, is that something we really want to send to an outside company? Do we want somebody else to own critical relationships?

5. Companies want to own the data. Marketing activities today generate unprecedented amounts of data.

In the “old days,” we might get a standard report of “impressions” from an agency, but today taming that data to make the numbers behave in surprising new ways needs to be developed as an internal core competency.

Who owns the data? Who owns the algorithms to interpret the data? This must be kept in-house.

6. Are agencies attracting the best digital marketing talent?

I only have a couple of data points on this, so I’m framing it as a question, but I recently had a shocking look into the digital competency at big agencies.

I was brought in to do marketing triage for a large company in Florida. They had already fired two agencies before they hired me. When I was finally an “insider” I was allowed to see the two social media marketing plans that had been provided by the two previous incumbents (both large national agencies).

I was dumbfounded by the total lack of digital marketing understanding these plans demonstrated. They had provided formulaic, cookie-cutter approaches that were unrealistic, out of touch with the strategy, resources, and political realities of the company. The plans were simply destined to fail.

Like I said, this is just one data point, but I was left wondering how these two well-known and respected agencies had provided plans that were so… well… dumb. There’s really no way to sugar-coat it.

One Atlanta agency friend told me, “Agency employees are stretched thin, and their ideas are too. It’s harder to invest in a brand and do a bang up, non-cookie-cutter job for a client when you have 12 other brands on your time sheet. Moving to the client side allows for more opportunity to really invest in one brand and watch it grow.”

The market dynamics and customer needs are rapidly out-pacing the agency model, at least for some traditional tasks. But perhaps this is a healthy trend. Maybe it’s time for companies to be more directly involved with their marketing, more accountable, and more intimately involved with their customers.

Source: 6 Reasons Marketing Is Moving In-House


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Luxury hotel market to be worth $195 bn by 2021 | HotelierMiddleEast.com

Luxury hotel market to be worth $195 bn by 2021  


The value of the global luxury hotels market is expected to increase to $195.27 billion by 2021, according to recent research.

A study from Transparency Market Research valued the sector at $148.62bn for 2014, and anticipates that this will increase by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4% over the next seven years.

North America is expected to maintain its dominance in the market with luxury hotels across the continent forecast to expand at a CAGR of 5.4% during the same period.

According to the report, the booming travel and tourism industry, coupled with changing lifestyle, is contributing to the growing popularity of luxury hotels.

A further breakdown of the luxury sector revealed that business hotels held the market share last year and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 3.8% between 2015 and 2021. 

via Luxury hotel market to be worth $195 bn by 2021 | HotelierMiddleEast.com


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Breaking News! On-demand video service powered by Comcast

Video_Zi746VVIDEO: Entertainment & Business


Not only is Comcast rolling out its own internet TV service, but the company also reportedly has bigger plans for an on-demand video service that would stream content from BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Vice, Mic, AwesomenessTV, Refinery29, The Onion, and others. (Full disclosure: Comcast just announced a $200 million investment in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.) Business Insider says this in-the-works service is currently called Watchable, though the final brand may change. (“Watchable” makes the content sound a bit underwhelming, no?) The Information first reported on Comcast’s plans to create a wide-reaching video service in April.

Like Stream, it sounds like Watchable will start out as an exclusive to Xfinity customers with a curated…

Continue reading…

via Comcast reportedly taking on YouTube and Facebook with rival video platform



Comcast has long been rumored to be developing a short-form video platform, but now it appears the platform has a name and a time frame. Apparently, the platform could be called “Watchable”—although the name is not set in stone yet—and it will be launching in the next few weeks.

Business Insider reports that Comcast’s platform will host videos produced by Vox and Buzzfeed, which are backed by Comcast, in addition to videos made by “lifestyle and comedy sites like AwesomenessTV, Refinery29, and The Onion, news sites like Mic and Vice, as well as legacy brands like NBC Sports.” The video producers have agreed to let Watchable stream any unlicensed, original videos, which will be curated for Comcast customers that have an Xfinity X1 set top box, so the Web videos would appear alongside more traditional TV.

Video producers might be interested in distributing to Comcast’s new platform because of its advertising muscle. A source speaking to Business Insider said that the company wouldn’t pay its short-form video producers any licensing fees, but they would a portion of any advertising revenue. Also, the deals will be non-exclusive, so producers will be able to post the video in multiple places.

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via Comcast will launch short-form video platform in coming weeks