Roundup: About 4 Tech Giants, All Things Private, Social Media Stats, Maps, and Big Data!

October 20, 2011 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

By Mary Ludloff

Greetings one and all! It’s been a while since I posted about the more interesting articles, blogs, videos, etc., that I have come across and I thought that now is as good a time as ever to cover some interesting items you may have missed in the past few weeks. The topics are far ranging, thoughtful, illuminating, and at times, contentious, but that’s why they are interesting. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Four Tech Giants Battle It Out

If you haven’t already, set aside some time to read Fast Company’s take on the (coming soon) great tech war of 2012. The combatants? Apple, Facebook, Google and, Amazon. The prize? Us—I think! This thoughtful piece by Farhad Manjoo looks at how these four goliaths will battle it out on the technology innovation field to, essentially, win the hearts, minds, and wallets of all of us:

“Think of this: You have a family desktop computer, but you probably don’t have a family Kindle. E-books are tied to a single Amazon account and can be read by one person at a time. The same for phones and apps. For the Fab Four, this is a beautiful thing because it means that everything done on your phone, tablet, or e-reader can be associated with you. Your likes, dislikes, and preferences feed new products and creative ways to market them to you. Collectively, the Fab Four have all registered credit-card info on a vast cross-section of Americans. They collect payments (Apple through iTunes, Google with Checkout, Amazon with Amazon Payments, Facebook with in-house credits). Both Google and Amazon recently launched Groupon-like daily-deals services, and Facebook is pursuing deals through its check-in service (after publicly retreating from its own offers product).”

And if you are now feeling a twinge or two about what this may mean to the privacy of your personal information: good. We all should be monitoring what is being collected about us and how it’s being used (sorry—but regular readers know my take on this). A key takeaway for me? How much Apple makes on every device it sells:

“Apple, on the other hand, makes a significant profit on every device it sells. Some analysts estimate that it books $368 on each iPhone. You may pay $199 for the phone, but that’s after a subsidy that the wireless carriers pay Apple. Google, in contrast, makes less than $10 annually per device for the ads it places on Android phones and tablets. That’s because it gives away the OS to phone makers as part of its quest for market share. Google’s revenue per phone won’t go up after the Motorola purchase closes–Motorola Mobility’s consumer-device division has lost money the past few quarters. So despite Google’s market-share lead, Apple is making all the money. By some estimates, it’s now sucking up half of all the profits in smartphones.”

Now that’s a business model designed for success! If I owned an iPhone (I do not), I might have something else to say about this but who knows? Maybe it’s worth it and I simply do not know what I am missing!

All Things Private

On to my favorite topic—privacy of course! Now, we have talked about our book (Terence and I) on Privacy and Big Data quite a bit in this blog (really?) but I would be remiss if I did not give a shout out (or is it post out?) to Jeff Jarvis and his latest book, “Public Parts.” (You may remember him from his previous book, “What Would Google Do?”) Recently, Jarvis spoke at an event sponsored by the Churchill Club and PII (the co-founder is moderating our upcoming webcast on the evolution from private to public—it’s free so be sure and register) on the question of publicness. Terence attended and said it was great and thankfully, the Churchill team videoed the event so that we can all listen in. His central theme? The tension between privacy and the economic benefits of publicness (re: transparency). Those of you who have read our book or listened to our webcast (replay available) know my stance on this (I don’t believe that institutions will ever fully embrace transparency), but this has to be my favorite quote from the session:

“Institutions should be transparent by default, secret only by necessity.”

I may not believe that this is possible, but I can dream!

In the same “privacy” vein, Tim O’Reilly and Christopher Poole held forth on the future of web identity at the Web 2.0 Summit. Their main topic? The effect of transparency (there’s that word again) on one’s ability to have multiple personas or even maintain anonymity. While Poole argues that we should be allowed to have multiple online personas because that is how we interact offline, O’Reilly points out that it is almost impossible to hide one’s online identity because our phones and other devices uniquely identify us and all that data we generate is being tracked, collected, and sold multiple times (one of the major themes in our book). In fact, (I had to sneak this one in) at its recent symposium, Gartner made this statement:

“By 2015, your digital devices will know more about you than you know about them.”

A true and very scary statement!

And please folks: do not trust without verifying. A recent study by Bitdefender showed just how easy it is to reveal our personal information via social media:

“The study revealed that no matter if working in the IT security industry or as a ‘bad guy’ (i.e. hacker), everyone can be vulnerable, and can disclose sensitive information to an unknown friend … The results of this study suggest not only that people accept unknown people into their group based solely on a nice profile and on apparently having the same interests, but also that they are willing to reveal personal, sensitive information to such unknown people in an online conversation.”

As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues always said during each episode: “Hey, let’s be careful out there!” And yes, I am old enough to remember that show (sigh).

More Social Media Stats to Chew On

I love Nielsen because I can always count on them to provide me with all the social media statistics my marketing heart desires! Yep, they are out with their latest Social Media Report (Q3, 2011 for those who need a specific time period). As always, the report delivers some jaw-dropping findings (the very findings we marketers use to justify our “digital” spend):

  • We (as in all Americans) spend nearly a quarter of our total time on the Internet on social networks or reading blogs (yea for the blogs!).
  • Almost 40% of social media users access content from their mobile phone and social networking apps are the third-most used by U.S. smartphone owners (one of the many reasons why we all need to password-protect this device).
  • Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S. website (which is why Facebook’s valuation is so high—think of all that lovely data).

For those of you who are a bit busy and don’t have time to review all the material, Brian Solis does a bang up job synthesizing it for us:

“Social media is approaching a much needed maturity cycle where each word “social” and “Media” will no longer unite as an oxymoron, but instead as a true statement in how businesses and customers connect online. As a disruptor to everyday business, social media is forcing us to rethink everything. It is in many ways just like starting over. We are relearning and questioning everything and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. From creative and messaging to execution and measurement to service and loyalty, we now must look at applying more sophisticated and meaningful programs that combine social and media into a powerful form of engagement and leadership.”

I agree with Solis but would like to add one item that often gets lost in any discussion of marketing and social media: at the end of the day, it comes down to finding (and keeping) an authentic voice. Without it, we are just playing at connecting with customers. With it, we sustain powerful, loyal relationships.

To Map Or Not to Map: That Really is the Question!

Now you all know that I love a great map, as well as a great infographic, but why do some work and some not? Well thanks to Matthew Ericson’s latest post on “When Maps Shouldn’t Be Maps” the process of determining how and when maps should be used to visualize data is laid out for us. For those of you who don’t know Ericson, here’s why you should learn from him:

“Matthew Ericson is the deputy graphics director at The New York Times, where he helps oversee a department of journalists, artists and programmers who produce the interactive information graphics for nytimes.com, as well as all the graphics for the print newspaper.”

Put simply: this guy really does know what he’s talking about!

Last But Never Least: Big Data!

Okay, just in case you missed it, GigaOm is now predicting that the Internet of things will have 24 billion devices by 2020. Why should you care? Well, think of all those devices collecting all that data. Yep, you guessed it: big data continues to get bigger. Folks, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get serious and prepare yourselves for the big data challenge:

With transactional data volumes reaching billions a day, Big Data is a big concern for business… There’s an entirely new market building rapidly around Big Data to address challenges like capture, storage, search, sharing, analytics and visualizing, among others… Businesses that are addressing the Big Data problem in a more holistic manner are not only examining the analytics requirements but also the cost of the overall data retention, which might be measured in terabytes and potentially petabytes, and very quickly exabytes as the volumes continue to mushroom.”

And if you do have big data analytics challenges, our Big Data Analytics Platform can help solve them! For more information about how our software and services can help, check out these posts:

Well, that’s it for now! As always, we welcome all comments, questions, etc.!

Entry filed under: Data, General Analytics, General Business. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

All Together Now: All You Need is a Text Box! Don’t Miss It! O’Reilly Webcast: The Evolution from Private to Public, October 28

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