The Weather and Big Data Equals Big Business.

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The weather has a significant influence on almost one-third of the world’s buying everyday. “The old paradigm of business and weather was cope and avoid,” says The Weather Channel’s vice president for weather analytics. “With [big data] technology, the paradigm is now anticipate and exploit.”

The Weather Channel (TWC) is an American basic channel and satellite television company, owned by a consortium made up of Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and NBCUniversal located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The channel has broadcast weather forecasts and weather-related news and analysis, along with documentaries and entertainment programming related to weather since 1982.

TWC provides numerous customized forecasts for online users through its website, weather.com, including home and garden, and event planning forecasts. Third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb rated the site as the 146th and 244th most visited website in the world respectively, as of July 2015. SimilarWeb rated the site as the most visited weather website globally, attracting more than 126 million visitors per month.

That massive web traffic is exactly how The Weather Channel has turned ‘Big Data’ into a completely new business.

TWC is before all a technology platform operator, which developed an extremely high-volume data platform, collecting and analyzing data from 3 billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones and 50,000 airplane flights per days, and serves 65 billion unique access to weather data each day.

TWC collects terabytes of data everyday and uses it not only to predict the weather in millions of locations, but also to predict what consumers in those locations will buy.

In a very savvy move TWC married more than 75 years’ worth of weather data with aggregated consumer purchasing data. For example, air-conditioners sales increases during hot weather, but folks in Atlanta suffer three days longer than people in Chicago before running out to buy one. Such analysis has created a whole new business for TWC – ‘Selling ads based on big data analytics’.

For example, P&G Pantene and Puffs brands buy ads based on TWC’s weather and consumption analytics. A women checking The Weather Channel app in a humid locale receives an ad for Pantene Pro-V Smooth, a product formulated to tame frizzy hair.

Checking the app again on low humidity day or drier area results in seeing an ad for a volumizing product instead. Similarly, a consumer looking at a high pollen forecast receives an ad for Puffs facial tissues, with the message, “A face in need deserves Puffs indeed.”

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Currently, TWC is generating half of the company’s ad revenue to the business using web analytics.

Big data and web analytics helped TWC maintain an extensive online presence at weather.com and through a set of mobile applications for smartphones and tablet computers. These services are now administered by The Weather Channel’s former parent company, The Weather Company, which was sold to IBM in 2016. The Weather Channel continues to license its brand assets and weather data from IBM.

TWC’s case is the epitome of how effective use of big data and web analytics can lead to marketing opportunities. It also demonstrates how today’s big companies can advance through ‘Digital Marketing’ which can also help them to diversify and strengthening their business portfolios.

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Mobile shopping worth $119 billion in 2015

A new report from ABI Research predicts that by 2015, shoppers are expected to spend over $100 billion on goods and services from their mobile phones.

Mobile shopping in the U.S. increased from about $369 million in 2008 to about $1.2 billion in 2009. In 2010 that figure is estimated to reach as much as $2.4 billion, according to ABI Research’s report.

A whopping $119 billion is expected to be spent on mobile shopping in 2015.

The driver for mobile online shopping in the US has been the recent sharp spike in smart-phone adoption and the corresponding enthusiasm for mobile Internet. Also, many more retailers have been launching mobile commerce websites.

European mobile shopping revenues are expected to increase by a much higher rate than the U.S. The number of people across Europe who purchase goods and services from smart-phones and mobile devices is expected to surpass U.S. numbers by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the Japanese market is already burgeoning and boasts a $10 billion mobile shopping market.

The predicted rise in mobile shopping isn’t exactly unexpected. Numerous reports have shown a significant uptake of digital coupons and in-store use of mobiles to check products and prices.

In addition, the use of mobile phones to pay for online gaming features (virtual goods) and other small purchases, such as pizza or train tickets, has seen a rapid uptake, particularly among younger mobile users.

Japan’s Television on Mobile Phones

Life in Japan generally produces many opportunities when there is downtime. Riding on trains an hour plus each way and sitting in traffic in a taxi create a situation where one wonders if there could be some way to spend the time productively. So it is with little surprise Japan has not only excelled at producing ingenious little televisions, but the technology to deliver broadcast content as well. One-seg has been one of those Japanese technology success stories.
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The story of 1seg is not a long one. In a nutshell, it can be described as a piece of technology that allows mobile devices such as cellular phones, global positioning system (GPS) devices, laptops, PDAs and of course, mini-televisions themselves, to be able to receive regular high definition (HD) broadcast signals.

The challenge, of course, has been space and strength. Analog broadcasts have traditionally taken a significant amount of resources to be picked up by any device. The answer has come with the “segmenting” of digital broadcasts.

Since HD signals are sent out with 13 segments, one segment could be reserved for a special signal to be picked up by properly equipped devices—thus the birth of the term “1seg.”
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The first devices equipped to catch this special signal began appearing in 2005. KDDI’s au was the first to sell cell phones advertising the ability to watch television using this new technology and competitors such as Docomo were not far behind. By April 1, 2006, the technology was “officially” launched in Japan and most manufacturers were onboard and preparing to include 1seg in many of their new products.

Interestingly enough, 1seg was not universally accepted at first. DIMSDRIVE Research conducted a survey asking Japanese consumers what features on their already overly complex cell phones were not needed. Television frequently appeared as one of the top 10 features not wanted.

Complaints also escalated regarding poor quality or lack of reception (especially on subway lines or tunnels), channels switching to other frequencies mid-voyage (especially on the shinkansen/bullet train) and faster depletion of the device’s battery.

Undaunted by these complaints, manufacturers continued their efforts to include 1seg technology in more devices and Japanese consumers began to not only embrace it, but take its existence for granted.

By late 2007, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association reported that over 3 million cell phones were shipped with 1seg technology per month—accounting for over 63 percent of all shipped phones.

In fact, Japanese consumers now appear to have an expectation that 1seg be included on new, advanced mobile devices. The recent introduction of Apple’s iPhone in July 2008 saw a lot of excitement for its launch, but experienced lukewarm sales of only 200,000 units in the following two months. One of top reasons quoted for this has been the iPhone’s lack of 1seg technology.

Regardless of whether Apple or any other company decides to include 1seg in their products in the future, the technology itself continues to roll ahead. In late 2007, Brazil began HD broadcasting with 1seg to a few select cities.

Also over the past year, 1seg has been found on PSP, Nintendo DS and even Sanrio, makers of the ever-adorable Hello Kitty, released a 1seg mini-television in the shape of the feline character.
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Japan has made some smart moves as it progresses towards being totally digital by July 24, 2011 and 1seg has been a major part of the planning. It’s interesting to see how Japanese consumers have willingly become part of this change, not in the name of progress, but simply because they wanted a little entertainment and news while taking the train home.

Your Online Rep Could Hurt Your Job Opportunities

As millions seek new jobs to replace positions lost in the recession, keep in mind that the Internet gives employers unprecedented access to information about you.

Employers aren’t content with facts gleaned from public records. They’re also using the Internet to assess your character. That means they’re searching your name on Google.

They’re visiting social-networking sites and reading blog posts. Unflattering comments and photos can put you out of the running for a job. So, you will want to clean up your online reputation before job hunting.

Search for yourself
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Your first step is to assess your online reputation. Start by doing a Google search of your name and its variations.
Do other searches that include your profession, previous employers and locations. You may be surprised what turns up.

You should also search networking sites. Pipl, Wink and PeekYou will allow you to search multiple sites quickly.

You will want to make two lists from your searches. On one list, place links to sites with unflattering information. On the other list, place links to flattering information.

Remove the negative

Maybe you posted some of the unflattering images or comments. In that case, remove them immediately. Err on the side of caution and remove anything that is potentially offensive.

Next, contact the owners of sites that cast you in a negative light. Send a polite e-mail message requesting that negative information be removed.

State your case clearly. If a post is erroneous, provide proof of its inaccuracy. It doesn’t hurt to mention that you’re job searching.

Things are more complicated with unflattering photos and truthful information. You will need to appeal to the writer’s sense of decency. Keep your requests pleasant and polite, and you may be successful.
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Promote the positive

Some sites will honor your requests. Other sites may not. So, you may need to mitigate negative posts with positive ones.

I recommend that you start a blog highlighting your professional skills. Write posts on your field to show off your professional knowledge. List your full name at the bottom of your posts. Include links to the positive comments you found. And be sure to list your accomplishments in your bio.

These postings should push the negative postings from Google’s top search results. You can also use your blog to speak indirectly to potential employers.

For example, say you share a name with a porn star. You don’t want potential employers to confuse the two of you. So, create a post listing people who share your name. It’s a good way to eliminate confusion.

Don’t forget networking sites
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Hey we are all on Xanga…use it to help your reputation. Networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are the biggest threat to your job search. Clean up any networking profiles you have.

If you don’t have networking profiles, create them. Then link to them on your blog. Employers will be able to find your profiles easily. Make sure these profiles are squeaky clean.

Why create the profiles? They can eliminate confusion. An employer won’t confuse you with that other Mary Johnson with a raunchy profile.

Create a profile on LinkedIn. Use it to showcase your professional accomplishments. You can also network with others who can help with your job search.

“25 Random Things About Me.”

Social Networking is spreading like a wild fire.
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If you are a member of the 150-million-strong Facebook nation, you have probably learned some fascinating — or, let’s face it, some not-so-fascinating — facts about your friends as part of the latest fad, the pass-it-forward viral game “25 Random Things About Me.”

Like a mutating chain letter, though more artful and less threatening, 25 Things arrives as a Facebook note from a friend. That friend posts 25 facts about himself and “tags” 25 people and asks them to do the same thing.

The phenomenon continues to snowball. Facebook can’t quantify activity specific to 25 Things as it does applications such as Flixster. But spokeswoman Brandee Barker says that over the past week the number of daily “notes” has more than doubled and the number of daily tags of a Facebook member in a note has grown by five times.

“I would say that anecdotally I’ve never seen a note spread as quickly as this has on Facebook,” Barker says. “What is really unique about this is it’s a really meaningful piece of content. Some of the these notes are touching and frankly very insightful.”

Unlike most unsolicited (and unwanted) e-mail chains, 25 Things is usually welcomed. “It’s one of my favorite Facebook things,” says Pete Hines, vice president of public relations and marketing at Bethesda Softworks. “I’ve learned a lot about people I’ve known for a long time and people I only know a little.”

A random thing about Pete: “I am one of the least organized people I know. I don’t do well with paper, or filing things away, but I am religious about my e-mail inbox.”

Should you choose to join in the 25 Random Things craze, media consultant Shelly Palmer recommends that “you shouldn’t put anything online that you would not want to see on the front of the newspaper or that you would not want a potential client or your boss to see,” says Palmer, whose book Get Digital: Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the 21st Century Economy is due this spring.

Social networks represent a paradigm shift in communicating. “This is the beginning of what will be a never-ending raft of social network games like this,” he says.

How true. Already appearing in Facebook pages is a new note: “A Bunch of Questions — Share.”

Who wears a watch these days in Asia?

Casio sales are down. Why? The time is on my mobile phone. Wallet sales? Down as well with the advent of the E-Wallet why carry cash or credit cards.
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The typical Japanese woman can swipe her phone at any register at McDonalds, 7/11, Coke vending machines or even to get on the subway and then on their way home they may watch 5 channels of broadcasting. She most certainly will buy her latest fashion on the phone as well.

A land-line phone? Shanghai kids have skipped that and many have skipped the PC as well…the phone is their link to create, and communicate.

Who even types a URL these days, most Korean teens just point and click and a curious looking QR code takes them to a micro-site, a phone number, a coupon, directions or even a video.

Immediacy is the key to the fast paced consumerism of Asia these days.

Because of rapid economic growth in many parts of the world change is the norm and consumers are fast adopters of technology.

Consumers have more choices than ever before. More careers, more lifestyles, more products, more information, more entertainment.

They even have more money. But, with more decisions to make they also have less time so they are using technology.

Now they can go shopping without leaving the house, they can work at home and socialize at work. They lead multiple lives within a global online community.

It might seem revolutionary but today’s children will never know anything different. And if you want to get close to tomorrow’s customers, you have to operate in their world.

Wow New Camera That Makes Prints!

The new TOMY xiao™ TIP-521 Digital Camera with Built-in Printer is a full-featured 5 Megapixel digital camera with a built-in full color ZINK™ printer.
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The xiao™ is a first of its kind integrated digital camera and printer that allows consumers to capture, view, and immediately print their digital images without ink, anywhere. Photos can now be viewed and shared right away – anywhere and all from one device. The xiao™ produces borderless, full-color, 2×3″ (5×7,6 cm) prints in less than 60 seconds.

The xiao™ features a “retro” design and innovative built-in software to enable a variety of entertaining printing options from templates to borders. It also features an IrDA receiver so that you can print images sent to the xiao™ wirelessly from other IrDA devices.

Poor Polaroid was asleep at the wheel.