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Datazen BI tool acquired by Microsoft

Microsoft just upped the ante on the business intelligence front once again by acquiring the three-year-old business intelligence and data visualization platform Datazen. The purchase increases Microsoft’s hold on the business intelligence market, an area on which it is clearly already focused its free Power BI product for mobiles was released earlier this year. Every […]

Pinterest marketing just got easier

Much attention in the social media marketing world is paid to the heavyweights of Facebook and Twitter – and, when executed properly, your marketing efforts on these networks can pay great dividends. But there is much more to social media marketing than these two platforms alone, and other channels that are on the rise include […]

Coming Soon: More Business-class Smartphones

Hold on to your mobile devices: IDC predicts 20.9% growth in smartphone sales from 2009 through 2013. Symbian and Research In Motion (RIM) remain the market leaders, but you can be sure that competition will intensify with giants Microsoft , Google and Apple in the mix. A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced the release of Windows Mobile 7 , officially named Windows Phone. The announcement, made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, came soon after the debut of Apple’s iPad. Early hardware partners were announced, including Dell, Garmin-Asus, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and HP. While hesitant to give any specific dates, Microsoft says to expect Windows Phone handsets to hit the shelves “in time for the Holiday season of 2010.″ Business users will find the ”Office” particularly interesting: a center where users can access Office, Outlook, OneNote, and SharePoint Workspace on their mobile device. A feature called the “Marketplace” will also be useful, allowing you to easily find and download certified applications and games. Meanwhile, news has been circulating recently on websites such as The Wall Street Journal , Mashable and VentureBeat about Google’s plans to sell third-party software for its Android mobile platform. While an app store for their smartphone OS has existed for some time, many have criticized it for not being business ready, with its lack of a more stringent review and vetting process for apps. However, all that’s expected to change with the launch of a new app store completely filtered for business-ready apps . You can be sure that Symbian, through its sponsor Nokia, is not taking all of this sitting down. Soon, you’ll be able to download the popular VoIP product, Skype, for free from Nokia’s Ovi Store . The app will work over a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection – GPRS, EDGE, and 3G – and you’ll be able to call, instant message, text message, share photos and videos, receive alerts when your contacts are online, and import a phone’s address book. Not to be left behind, RIM also made a recent announcement of its plans to develop a new browser for its Blackberry products. Many have felt that the company’s products has been outperformed by the competition in terms of its web capabilities and UI. With this announcement, it’s believed that the Blackberry will finally have support for websites with AJAX, CSS, and HTML5, although no mention of flash was made. It’s truly exciting times for mobile device users. If you spend your day connected to customers, partners, and employees, you can see the value in these capabilities, with even more useful useful devices that really help you stay in touch and work on the go.

Is Your Business Ready for Tablet Computing?

Much has been said about the launch of Apple’s long awaited, new mobile device . Called the Apple iPad, the device promises to boost sales of a new category of computing devices called tablets. What are tablets? Tablets or tablet PCs are not new, and the concept itself has been around for 30 years. Although it’s had some success in industrial and commercial environments, it’s struggled to gain wide adoption among consumers in the past. Tablets, simply put, are slate-shaped, hand-held personal computers often with a touch screen or a stylus as input devices instead of a traditional keyboard. They are smaller and handier to carry around than Netbooks, but have larger, more capable screens than smartphones. With its launch, Apple has largely stolen the spotlight on tablet PCs – but is by no means the only vendor selling them. Other vendors include HP, Fujitsu, Samsung, Asus, and many more. Some use Windows, others Linux, while still others have their own proprietary operating systems. A special category of tablet PCs is ebook readers such as Amazon ’s Kindle and Barnes and Nobles ’s Nook. These are specialized tablets, primarily designed for viewing digital content. What are tablets good for? For consumers, the tablet’s appeal is that its form makes it easier to carry around and surf the Internet. Its larger screen allows users to view and interact with applications and media more comfortably than with a smartphone . What about business? Tablets seem to have hit their stride in niche applications within industry and commerce. For people in the field, it can be more convenient to carry around and better suited to outdoor conditions than a laptop, yet can be as powerful and capable. With the entry of Apple into the market, more generalized business applications could find its way to the devices, including: on-the-go presentation delivery quick information access on-the-go content creation and editing, such as photos, audio and video recording, and documents easy information sharing and collaboration Are Tablet PCs right for your business? If you’re considering using Tablet PCs in your business, here are some things to consider: Connectivity. How does the device connect to the Internet? Can it work within your existing office network? Can it securely access your data remotely (i.e., work with your existing VPN infrastructure)? Security. Does the device support the encryption of data? Can it authenticate against your existing applications? Portability. How much power does it consume? How long can it go between charges? Interoperability. Can you access your existing applications such as email? Can you use your existing network services? Can it open existing data and file formats such as your office documents and spreadsheets? Does it require significant investment to outfit and manage on an ongoing basis? Usability. Does it have enough power to run the applications you need? Is it easy to use or will it require extensive training? Even if you decide not to adopt the Tablet into your business environment, you may need to consider the impact that your employees may have using these devices on their own to do their work, as many began doing when Netbooks and Smartphones came out. If you would like to learn more about how Tablet PCs can affect your business and your IT services, contact us today. We will be glad to help.

Is Your Business Ready for Mobile?

Morgan Stanley has just released the Mobile Internet Report , which estimates that within five years, more users will access the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs. The growth in mobile Internet usage, according to Morgan Stanley’s analysts, is being driven by five technologies: 3G adoption – especially as more devices come out that support the wireless broadband standard at a lower price point than in previous years. Subscription costs for data access across the world have also been decreasing as service providers build out their infrastructure and achieve cost-efficiencies with scale. Social networking – which is driving a “constantly online” behavior among users engaged in communication, information sharing, and relationship building. Video – which has encouraged users to exchange rich, multimedia content online VoIP – which is lowering the cost of communication while improving the user experience by not tying them to their desks. Interesting new devices/initiatives – such as the launch of the iPhone , Palm Pre, and lately Google’s Android. What does this mean for SMEs? Well, for one thing this will require more vigilant monitoring, control, and oversight. Mobile devices can pose a significant security risk, since it’s getting difficult to track the data going in and out of these devices. Also, audit and control tools and procedures are simply not as mature as those available for desktop computers. The risks associated with theft and loss also increase since mobile devices’ small sizes make them easy to conceal or misplace. Is your organization ready for what’s coming? As mobile devices become the primary Internet access for consumers and workers, it’s time to for your organization to become aware of the issues surrounding their use.