Archive for the ‘adoption’ tag
A little over a year ago, cloud communications company Twilio launched Short Codes, dedicated 5 or 6 digit numbers for sending and receiving text messages at volume. Since then, Twilio has become the fastest-growing short code provider and has found surprisingly differing uses for its product.
“People have started using our Short Code product in ways we didn’t ever expect,” Patrick Malatack, the product manager in charge of Short Codes, tells me.
Malatack says they have seen “dramatic adoption” of the product, as hundreds of Short Codes have been registered in the past year. While hundreds of phone numbers in a year would not be a significant sum, Malatack explains that most companies only have one short code, so the number represents their number of clients. Twilio would not release exact numbers, but said that only a few thousand Short Codes exist, so hundreds is a significant chunk of the market.
Twilio clients include WalMart, which offers special daily discounts to customers vai text messages that they can redeem for a limited time, and the City of Philadelphia, where the police use Short Codes to enable residents to send crime tips vai SMS. Twilio says that since its launch in April, Philadelphians have made texting with Twilio the fastest growing avenue for crime tips.
While mobile short codes have been around for almost a decade, there are only a few thousand in the US. Twilio’s main competitor, mBlox, has been in the space for a while, but Malatack says Twilio differentiates itself by trying to “democratize communication” and make Short Codes available to everyone from major corporations to “two guys in a garage” startups.
Members of Malatack’s team thought they would see Short Codes used more for coupons and marketing when they launched, but they’ve seen it adopted much more widely by enterprise (for things like two factor authentication) than they expected.
Malatack says the company is now focused on expanding internationally, as many startups have international customers from day one. He adds that the company thinks it should be as easy to send a text message or make a phone call from country to country as it is to send an international email.
For the past few years TNS Austalia’s Carolyn Childs has been writing think pieces for Sparksheet that help marketers unpack the cultural challenges and business opportunities of the world’s emerging markets.
Today we’re thrilled to present the culmination of that cross-continental partnership: A brand new Sparksheet e-book!
In Same Same But Different: Understanding Emerging Markets, Carolyn offers insights and data about digital trends in Brazil, status anxiety in India, travel habits in China, mobile adoption in Africa, sexual politics in Russia and much more.
Much thanks to Carolyn, Vanessa Hamilton and the rest of the team at TNS Australia’s Travel and Leisure Research division for their ongoing support and collaboration.
McKinsey Global Institute estimates the business potential from social technologies to be between $900 billion and $1.3 trillion, roughly divided as follows:
- $345 billion of this value potential from product development and operations
- $500 billion from marketing, sales and after-sales support activities;
- $230 billion from improvements in business support activities
The new report is titled The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies. In it, the firm defines social technologies as:
IT products and services that enable the formation and operation of online communities, where participants have distributed access to content and distributed rights to create, add, and/or modify content.
Increasingly, people use digital media and social technologies to get things done and connect. These exchanges, “likes”, and connections are all ways to express human nature, some of which is manifested through commercial transactions.
Unlocking business opportunity with social
The opportunity for businesses in this environment is to do something that creates real meaning between people, something that actually matters to them. Citing loosely from the report, organizations are starting to use social technologies to:
- identify new forms of consumer insights at lower cost and faster than conventional methods both by interacting directly with them and watching what people do and say to one another on social platforms, which provides unfiltered feedback and behavioral data
- enlist users to “crowdsource” product ideas and even to co-create new features
- social platforms have become a tool for managing procurement and logistics, allowing instant communication between different parties on B2B supply chains
- promise to extend the capabilities of high-skill workers (increasingly in short supply) by streamlining communication and collaboration, lowering barriers between functional silos, and even redrawing the boundaries of the enterprise to bring in additional knowledge and expertise in “extended networked enterprises”
Other ways businesses can drive value with social technologies:
The organizations that can benefit the most are those with one or more of the following characteristics: ?
- a high percentage of knowledge workers
- heavy reliance on brand recognition and consumer perception
- a need to maintain a strong reputation to build credibility and consumer trust
- ?a digital distribution method for products or services
- an experiential (e.g.,hotels) or inspirational (e.g., a popular sports drink) product or service offering
Organizations that have more than one of these characteristics stand to gain the most provided they trade their assets accordingly. Which means this applies to individual corporations rather than whole industries.
With that in mind, McKinsey mapped the potential value and ease of capture across sectors
We’re already seeing significant inroads in some of those sectors where individuals and communities are driving social technology adoption and organizations/institutions are following (or starting to).
As expected, media and entertainment is high on ease of capturing value potential. Some examples that come to mind with individual entertainers who have the ability to go direct to fans as Louis CK did with ticket sales and Lady Gaga with her community.
B2B is still grappling with the adoption of social technologies and since the report highlighted in several places that much of the value potential of social technologies centers around collaboration and specifically professional collaboration among colleagues and with businesses, this is a solid starting place, especially for highly regulated sectors.
There are more opportunities for business than outlined in this space. I will share further thoughts with Premium Newsletter subscribers for the August (21) issue (link below).
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With $1M In New Funding, Video Platform MediaCore Refocuses On Education, Hires Former Apple Education Exec Alan Greenberg
MediaCore, a company which launched a year ago with the mission of allowing any business to roll out its own private YouTube, is refocusing its efforts on the education market, and has raised an additional $1 million in funding to achieve those goals. The funding, which comes from private angel investors in the U.S. and U.K. including Alex Khein and Pierre Andurand, brings the startup’s total raise to $1.5 million, but it’s not the only news MediaCore has today.
The company has also acquired a video encoding platform called Pandastream, has partnered with SchoolTube, and has hired Alan Greenberg, Apple’s former Head of Higher Education in Europe and Asia, as its Director of Education.
MediaCore initially wanted to help businesses provide a platform for video in the enterprise, and started with a focus on the SMB market. It saw some adoption by businesses who signed up to help train their staff using the product, but it also saw growing adoption in universities and K-12 schools. Reacting to the way customers were using its product, the company decided to shift its focus to target the very specific needs of those involved in educational efforts – whether in businesses or in schools.
“One of the things we realized in the six months of playing in that SMB space,” says CEO Stuart Bowness, “is that there are a lot of companies playing in that space. And a lot of big companies, too….so what we started really challenging ourselves on, is ‘how do we differentiate?’” Reacting to some pressure from customers, including the University of London, the team realized that it was the education market, in specific, that could use more innovation.
“Out of all the things we’re working on now, the most important thing we could possibly be working on, is solving how video works in education,” says Bowness. With MediaCore, the company wants to simply the entire process of doing so, including capturing the video, managing the video, storing the video, and then delivering the video to students in a protected environment.
Bowness notes that one of the issues with video in education is that many schools block YouTube, which is where a lot of today’s educational content is found. “YouTube is blocked in about 80% of U.S. K-12 institutions, and it’s blocked in a lot of corporations too…it isn’t perceived as a safe place to send kids to learn,” he says. “or employees as they can get distracted.” So on MediaCore, teachers can privately share video with students, other teachers, or parents, as need be. In addition to commenting, they also have access to view real-time analytics around those videos.
Now the company has signed up video-sharing site SchoolTube as a customer, which takes the MediaCore user base to 5.5 million students per month, and has notably attracted some key talent with hiring of Alan Greenberg. Part of his role will be to set up the new Educator-in-Residence program, which will help teachers and professors better understand how they can use video as a teaching tool in the classroom.
As for the acquisition of encoding platform Pandastream, MediaCore is not talking about the terms of the deal, only noting that it was profitable at the time, and the team of four has joined the company. Pandastream is still up-and-running as a separate product for now.
The company tells us that its burn rate is low, so it will focus on building more educational features into its product throughout this year, but will likely start raising again somewhere around November or January.
Most everything we look at in the marketing realm is linear.
We’ll look at things like mobile adoption and it’s always with a linear perspective. It wasn’t too long ago that several brain trusts were telling me that smartphone adoption was at 28% one year and expected to grow to around 32% the following year. Sigh. Linear growth. We’re quickly entering the world of exponential growth and it’s something that few of us are prepared for. One of the clearest explanations of exponential versus linear growth came to me courtesy of a presentation that I saw from Ray Kurzweil (futurist and author of books like The Age of Intelligent Machines and The Singularity Is Near, to name a few). He was talking about the intersection of biology and technology and how once we discovered how to map only one percent of the human genome that we were, basically, at close to one hundred percent. That first one perfect is always the hardest part, but then exponential growth starts kicking in (for myriad of reasons) and stuff starts to boogie.
Most everything we look at in the marketing realm will need to be exponential.
MediaPost had a news item yesterday titled, iPad Sales Are Driving Massive Tablet Growth. From the article: "According to IDC‘s Quarterly Media Tablet Tracker, 25 million units shipped in Q2 – a 33.6% increase from the previous quarter’s 18.7 million and 66.2% over the same period in 2011." Those are exponential numbers, people. Let’s not forget that Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad in March 2010 (that wasn’t all that long ago). It’s not just tablets, either. Look closely at the rate of adoption for things like smartphones and e-readers and you start seeing this type of exponential behavior everywhere.
Marketing needs to become an exponential business.
Shifting back to tablet talk, this is just the beginning. Google is getting aggressive with their Android-based tablets. As is Microsoft, Amazon and a bunch of other hardware manufacturers (Acer, Samsung, etc…). The rumor mills are spinning with word that Apple is going to launch a 7-inch version of the iPad shortly as well (to compete with the others in terms of form factor and price). On top of that, there is a very healthy app ecosystem at play here that is only beginning to unlock the power of everything you can do with touch on a larger screen that couldn’t be done on a PC or a smartphone. Exponential growth. Exponential opportunity. Exponential new ways to think about marketing.
It’s exciting, isn’t it?
It probably is exciting for you and me. But, let’s face it: most brands are woefully unprepared. They’re thinking that the market is still too small, not significant or worth the cost of jumping in with both feet. This is classic. They’re thinking about ways to make their websites and mobile sites tabloid-friendly. In that, they are completely missing the mark. This is exponential growth and it’s happening right under our noses. Being prepared isn’t going to be about a two-year outlook (don’t believe me? Please go back to the top of this blog post and re-read those iPad stats courtesy of MediaPost). Instead of waiting for things to happen, the biggest opportunity facing marketers today is shifting from a linear analytics mindset into an exponential one. Yes, it’s an overwhelming and daunting challenge, but let me ask you this:
What choice do we have?
Dropbox, the fast-growing private company that lets you share documents easily online, continues to experience significant security breaches in its service — announcing this time that some user usernames and passwords had been stolen, and their accounts accessed.
It also said that an account of one of its employees had been broken into, and that it believes the username and passwords were stolen from a document accessed from that account.
The news follows two other high-profile instances of security problems at the company. A year ago, Dropbox disclosed that all of its users’ files were publicly accessible for nearly four hours due to a bug in the company’s authentication mechanism. During that time, anyone could access a Dropbox account without using the correct password. And in April, a security hole was discovered in Dropbox’s iOS app, which allowed anyone with physical access to your phone to copy your login credentials — because it stored user login information in unencrypted text files.
It’s a shame, because Dropbox has had amazing momentum, in an increasingly competitive space. Dropbox boasts more than 50 million users, double what it had last year, but reports like this could slow it down.
Larger, more conservative companies are more likely to say no to adopting it. Even before the breach last year, the company had announced that it was dedicated to security, so it’s getting hard to take the company seriously. With this third breach, Dropbox has become a problem child among chief information officers. Already, at our CloudBeat 2011 event last year, Dropbox’s big security snafu in June of that year was one of the most cited examples of the security risks in moving to the cloud. These CIOs are busy scrutinizing cloud services, to make sure they are safe for adoption. And by and large, CIOs are giving the greenlight to applications that are served online, especially if they play safely, and behind the firewall.
To be sure, Dropbox has been pretty clear that it intends to remain focused on viral adoption by consumers, and that it isn’t focused on the enterprise. At the same time, though, it’s also obvious that many users are adopting Dropbox for use in the workplace (we use Dropbox at VentureBeat, among several other products, including the more enterprise-focused Box, for example). And there’s also probably a trojan-horse strategy by Dropbox, to want to sneak into the enterprise by way of avid users who lobby their employers to be able to use it.
Regarding the latest breach, the company said someone had stolen usernames and passwords and used them to sign in to a “small number of Dropbox accounts.” The company said it has contacted these users and helped them to secure their accounts. The company had launched investigations into the accounts because of reports about spam being received by some of these users. The company said it has put “additional controls in place to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Here’s the full statement:
A couple weeks ago, we started getting emails from some users about spam they were receiving at email addresses used only for Dropbox. We’ve been working hard to get to the bottom of this, and want to give you an update.
Our investigation found that usernames and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a small number of Dropbox accounts. We’ve contacted these users and have helped them protect their accounts.
A stolen password was also used to access an employee Dropbox account containing a project document with user email addresses. We believe this improper access is what led to the spam. We’re sorry about this, and have put additional controls in place to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Keeping Dropbox secure is at the heart of what we do, and we’re taking steps to improve the safety of your Dropbox even if your password is stolen, including:
- Two-factor authentication, a way to optionally require two proofs of identity (such as your password and a temporary code sent to your phone) when signing in. (Coming in a few weeks)
- New automated mechanisms to help identify suspicious activity. We’ll continue to add more of these over time.
- A new page that lets you examine all active logins to your account.
- In some cases, we may require you to change your password. (For example, if it’s commonly used or hasn’t been changed in a long time)
At the same time, we strongly recommend you improve your online safety by setting a unique password for each website you use. Though it’s easy to reuse the same password on different websites, this means if any one site is compromised, all your accounts are at risk. Tools like 1Password can help you manage strong passwords across multiple sites.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re committed to keeping your Dropbox safe and will continue to monitor this situation carefully.
The relatively fast Pinterest adoption rate, of what we might call nontraditional to social media verticals, is amazing to me. From financial services, manufacturing to B-to-B, Pinterest seems to capture the imagination of marketers. In particular is the healthcare sector where many hospitals and medical centers are embracing visual communications and doing interesting work on Pinterest. I was very excited when Ashely Howland from Bayler Healthcare System agreed to tell us the back-story of Bayler’s Pinterest strategy. Ashely graciously shares her insights and learnings. In fact, her interview was so rich and detailed that we decided to run it as a series. Please join me in welcoming Ashley to Diva Marketing! About Ashley Howland is the social media manager for Baylor Health Care System. She has been with Baylor for 8 years where she got her start in Media Relations. She took on Baylor’s social media efforts in 2009 “on the side” and it quickly turned into a full time job. Diva Marketing/Toby: I applaud Baylor’s step into Pinterest. Your boards were one of the first that I pinned to my Brand Board. Perhaps you can shed some light on something I’ve been thinking about since I first saw your boards. Healthcare, as an industry, was slow to participate in the social web. However, it seems the opposite is true for Pinterest. On a high level why do you suppose that’s the case? Ashley Howland: Thanks for adding us to your brand boards! You’re right; health care was very slow…
As Mountain Lion Crosses 3M Downloads in 4 Days, Apple Deems The OS “Most Successful OS X Release” Ever
Despite early hiccups Apple’s latest OS X release was downloaded more than 3 million times during its first 4 days of availability. The $20 upgrade brings a host of new features to compatible Macs including Airplay Mirroring, Game Center, system-wide sharing, and beefed-up iCloud integration, which now syncs iWork documents, notes, and reminders.
While Apple doesn’t speculate the reason for the huge download numbers, several factors likely led to the quick adoption rate. First, Apple priced OS X 10.8 to move. At only $20 the new operating system is a rather good bargain even if it doesn’t boast a lot of new features. Apple also made upgrading to Mountain Lion rather easy, which also likely led to more users jumping onto the system.
Thanks to the Mac App Store, upgrading to OS X 10.8 is downright easy. Users simply buy the new OS as if it was another application. From there, the update downloads in the background and prompts users to restart the system when its ready to install. It’s as painless as a system update.
“Just a year after the incredibly successful introduction of Lion, customers have downloaded Mountain Lion over three million times in just four days, making it our most successful release ever,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing said in a released statement today.
Mountain Lion was released last Wednesday on the Mac App Store for just $19.99. Read our review here.
Mountain Lion is an incremental OS update from Lion with 200 new features (read our hands on), but because it costs just $20 to upgrade, it’s a no-brainer for those already running Lion. Not only is the cost low, but Apple has made it positively easy to upgrade by downloading the OS through the Mac App Store.
Thanks to the low price and making it easy to download, Mountain Lion accounts for 3 percent of Mac web traffic just 48 hours after launch, Web tracking firm Chitika claims.
Chitika says that based on the 66 million Mac users Apple claims it has, it can infer 2.1 million Mac owners have already upgraded to Mountain Lion. If 90 percent of those users paid, Mountain Lion has generated $38 million in revenue so far.
Based on these impressive numbers, we wonder if Apple wishes it started offering cheaper and easy-to-download upgrades several OSes ago. Microsoft no doubt took notice of Apple’s successful Lion upgrade option last time, one of the reasons Windows 8 will cost just $40 to upgrade.
Mountain Lion photo: California Department of Fish and Game/Flickr
Filed under: VentureBeat
Just 48 hours after its official launch, Apple’s Mountain Lion, the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system, has already captured 3.2% of Mac web taffic according to a report by ad network Chitika. Given its low cost ($19.99) and the fact that it’s available as a download and very easy to install, chances are these numbers will continue to increase quickly over the next few days. Mountain Lion has already passed OS X 10.4 (Tiger) in Chitika’s stats and is on its way to pass Leopard in the near future.
Last year, Chitika reported that the adoption of OS.X 10.7 Lion was lagging behind expectations and that users weren’t updating from Snow Leopard at their usual rates. Judging by the data Chitika released today, that continues to remain true, as Snow Leopard remains the most popular Mac OS on the company’s network (45.5%), followed by Lion (35%). As our own MG Siegler pointed out in his review earlier this week, though, “If you didn’t like Lion, you’ll probably love Mountain Lion even more because it seems to fix a lot of the performance/quirkiness issues that some folks were having with the last version of OS X.” While not every Mac that runs Snow Leopard today can be upgraded to Mountain Lion, chances are that quite a few Snow Leopard users will decide to finally update their computers now.
I just took a glance at our own analytics data for TechCrunch.com and according to Google Analytics, almost 17% of those of you running Mac have already upgraded to Mountain Lion. Also, while Snow Leopard remains the most popular Mac OS in Chitika’s data, almost 60% of TechCrunch readers run Lion today and just 22% use Snow Leopard.
As with all of these stats, then, it’s important to remember that the data is limited to users who visit sites that are part of Chitika’s ad network. This could skew the data, but Chitika’s numbers have typically been very close to those we’ve seen from other third-party analytics companies.