Living in the clouds- new technology trends 2013

Following Mr. B’s Advice to have a look at the latest technology trends for 2013, I ended up on Daniel Burrus page.  He is CEO and founder of Burrus Research Associates and sees himself as Keynote Speaker, Business Strategist and Global Futurist.Talking about technology trends he mentions amongst others “Cloud Computing and Advanced Cloud Services”.

“(Cloud Computing and Advanced Cloud Services) will be increasingly embraced by business of all sizes, as this represents a major shift in how organizations obtain and maintain software, hardware, and computing capacity.”- Daniel Burru

Daniel Burru is not the only one, who sees Cloud Computing as the coming technology business trend. It-magazines like “Computerwoche”describe Cloud Computing as

“one of the current and most important trends in the Business IT”

What does Cloud Computing actually mean?

According to NIST (national institute of standards and technology), Cloud Computing is defined as the following:

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.“

Cloud Computing

We all know clouds and their general advantages from private use. With help of iCloud or Google Drive we can easily store, manage and exchange our personal data like photos and music, either between our different mac products or from other computers.

What is the advantage of enterprise cloud computing?

Cloud Computing providers like IBM or amazon describe more flexibility, nearly unlimited scalability and lower costs as the main advantages of cloud computing.

Does cloud computing only have positive sides?

After various blogs and magazines: definitely not!

Spiegel online just warned in an article by Ole Reißmann of an observation of European businesses and private users through the U.S.

Susan Bard, a business writer and CEO of Cypress Technologies describes in her blog 5 disadvantages of Cloud Computing. Besides the security issues of data volume, she mentioned amongst other the reliability of your internet connection and the dependence of your cloud computing vendor as disadvantages.

If you want to know more about Cloud Computing and how it works in detail just click here for a German version and here for the English.

What do you think of Cloud Computing? Is it the future app to run your business?

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Perspectives in the Chocolate Industry

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Current chocolate trends

Foodchannel recently posted new chocolate trends for 2012 which will be focused on more in 2013. To sum it up tastes move from traditional ones like milk chocolate with nuts to very individual tastes like “strawberry cheesecake” or “brownies”. Chocolate more and more tastes like a daily meal or a desert, or has the shape of the high heel that I wore yesterday. Also chocolate companies nowadays try to satisfy people who take care of health and would only eat something that fits into their diet. Chocolate with around 500 calories per bar seen as part of a healthy lifestyle? But the common excuse is that dark chocolate has less calories. It is known to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol, and has nearly 8 times the number of antioxidants as found in strawberries. Uff, in this way I propably don’t gain too much weight. Or is this maybe only a strategy to sell more of dark chocolate?

Companies more and more feel the pressure of meeting all modern needs also depending on seasons. During Christmas e.g. firms like Lindt offered special Christmas chocolate. But the rest which could not be sold can be find for half the price now in many supermarkets. Maybe there are just too many companies who offer nearly the same type of chocolate?

However, it’s not too late:

Chocolate industry analysis for 2013

Matt Sena, an expert of the industry, analyzed the chocolate industry for 2013.

The chocolate industry offers a wide variety of opportunities for the small business owner, weathers economic recession well and is growing despite increased health-consciousness and calorie counting. (Sena)

Fortunately people still buy chocolate, probably because even the deepest crisis does not stop people from loving chocolate. A recent study in Great Britain showed that 91% of females and 87% of males consume chocolate products. According to Sena the industry will even expand more. Being creative and innovative seems to be the challenge especially during the economic crisis.

Growth will be driven by population growth as well as expansion into new markets, product innovation and rising disposable income levels leading to greater purchasing of premium offerings. (Sena)

The focus goes more towards smaller businesses since they often offer better quality and a more unique chocolate than big companies which produce in huge factories. A small shop also offers special services like gift-wrapping for an individual requirement like a birthday or a business party.  Since in a time of globalization we now try to emphasize more on individuality. “I am the first person who tries this new fabulous taste” seems to be better than “I bought a chocolate bar that is sold 1000 times a day.” People spend less on very expensive issues like a costly journey but don’t want to give up the little ” affordable luxury” of the daily life. As already mentioned in my last post, the fair trade sector in chocolate business also increases since more people demand good labor conditions combined with premium chocolate and are willing to pay more but in this way supporting local farmers.

Also overseas countries increasingly take part of the chocolate hype which leads to greater export of special chocolates from Europe e.g. to China or India. This creates new E-Business possibilities to efficiently export abroad.

Future problems

Nevertheless, with 2013 also more problems will come along causing problems for the expanding chocolate industry:

Cocoa prices can be exceedingly variable as it is largely grown in developing nations with often unstable political situations. (Sena)

Cocoa farmers will not be able to meet coming chocolate demands. Scarcity of cocoa will rise chocolate prices for consumption in the next years. The question is: How much is still ok for my “affordably luxury”? How much is too much which lets my dream of buying premium chocolate recede into the distance? A recent post on investors.com states that there are already researchers developing genetically engineered cocoa trees to produce higher yields. Will this satisfy people who especially take care of good quality and fair production of chocolate?

Enterprise Mobility Solutions

When the first mobile phones were commercially introduced in the 1980s, they were only used in certain fixed locations outside the office, such as the car, on vacation or in emergency cases.

Today, it is almost impossible to find a business person who does not carry a mobile phone, moreover the phones have personal computer attributes like supporting email and web access.

Dynamic Business Environment

This expanded technology is giving firms a hard time controlling the company’s data and information as it is on nearly every EMSemployee’s mobile device. The main problem for today´s firms is to find the balance between keeping up with global distribution and securely managing the growing mobility. This is right where Enterprise Mobility Solutions come in. There are many providers such as AT&T, Vodafone or SAP that are offering platforms as a help for firms to better control its mobile devices. With todays movement to mobile and virtual workforces, proper communication tools are inevitable to simplify enterprise mobility. Enterprise Mobility Solutions mission is to bring progression to the mobile worker and also deliver key enrichment to the broader business process. User efficiency in business operations is the major factor for businesses that utilize industry-specific and customized applications. Enterprise Mobility solution providers comprehend the challenges and complexity involved in mobilizing employees and follow industry’s best practices to offer a strategic approach to mobility. The Enterprise Mobility Solutions can run on various mobile platforms including iPhones, iPads, Android, Symbian, BlackBerries and Windows.

“The debate is no longer around whether to enable a mobile workforce. It’s more about deciding which devices to support, who gets access to what, and how to develop the infrastructure that is needed to support these devices,” said Venu Reddy, Research Director, IDC India.

Tasks of an Enterprise Mobility Solution platform:

  • enforcing corporate security
  • complying with corporate policies
  • Strategic approach to mobility
  • Provides the complete visibility and constant enterprise access

More and more software firms try to jump on this bandwagon and offer mobile enterprise solutions. So does Wipro, the #1 leader in green electronics, which attracts it´s clients with solutions for various industries including health care, warehouse, retail, energy, natural resources, manufacturing, transportation and logistics.

Potential Pitfalls

This mobilization also presents inherent risks. In his blog “Device Advice”, written by chairman Spencer Green, he pointed out the security problem:

“Mobile technologies certainly raise different security challenges – wireless networks have different vulnerabilities than fixed networks, and mobile devices are more prone to loss and theft.”

Providing workers with sensitive data and apps running on a cloud-based infrastructure, anytime and anywhere, contains a high risk to lose those information to competitors. So, it is absolutely necessary to possess a good firewall.  Enterprise Mobility Solution providers also face the challenges of regaining control of their telecommunication cost, and manage mobile flexible working in the first place.

But how does a provider create the optimal customized application platform for its client?

First off, they are defining the enterprise`s mobile strategy with their client and trying to identify applications and systems that can be mobile enabled, the scope of mobilizing them and the business benefits that can be achieved. The next question is to clarify the mobile device strategy, which means to select the platform of choice for the Enterprise Mobility client. Last but not least, they must implement the mobile application, intergrating them smoothly with existing backend systems (exisiting corporate infrastructure systems that are used to run a company such as systems to manage orders, inventory and supply chains). Enabling backend features will be the most important challenge in the coming development of enterprise mobile applications according to Jose Rodriguez. If you want to read more about this topic check out his wonderful article “Democratizing Enterprise Mobility”!

Next week´s blog will introduce a new business model which seems to change companies operating methods, so stay tuned!

Is it okay to stick at nothing for success?

The last two weeks I focused on Red Bull and it’s marketing. While I described Red Bulls marketing in general two weeks ago I pointed out three things to learn for Red Bulls Stratus Project last week.

Red Bull Gives You Wings

When most of the people think of Red Bull they see an energy drink, bulls, football clubs or sport events in front of their eyes. The image of the company is absolutely related to extreme sports. Therefore the well-known slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” fits perfectly. Experts categorize Red Bulls marketing as extreme marketing. But doesn’t extreme mean that there have to be victims?
Hermann Strittmatter, founder of the agency GGK Zurich, Red Bulls extreme marketing has obviously taken victims. The first one was Eli Thompson, who died when he crashed into a mountain with a wing suit. The purpose of his was of course, to produce a Red Bull movie. The second victim was Ueli Gegenschatz who died when his Red Bull sponsored BASE jump in Switzerland was not successful.
He argues that: “The accidents are results of the perversions of event marketing. This time Red Bull went too far”. The Swiss magazine accuses Red Bull to have a marketing strategy of “Break a leg”. Overall, Strittmeier beliefs that “Red Bull acts irresponsible.”

“The risk is obvious”

On the other hand, globali who left a comment on kleinezeitung.at insits, that “every one who does extreme sports knows the risk”. According to him, “an accident like the one of Gegenschatz would not have gotten that much attention if Red Bull did not sponsor it.” He thinks that everyone who does extreme sports and finds a sponsor like Red Bull is lucky because “he does not have to pay for mobility and material.”

“Everyone is responsible for his own life”

My own view is that, while it is true that Red Bulls marketing strategy should be observed very critically, everyone is responsible for his own life. Red Bull does not force anyone to jump out of a plane if he or she does not want that. In sum, I would argue that we cannot blame Red Bull for the death of these two guys even it is very sad. They made the decision to jump and they knew which consequences could result.

How To Make Money?

Logo_NespressoNestlé, currently the largest food company in the world, is located in Vevey, Switzerland. Nestlé produces baby food, bottled water, breakfast cereal,
ice-cream, dairy products and of course – coffee.

In order to understand how to make money from selling coffee, a wise way to start would be by taking a quick view into the daughter company of Nestlé, a $3 billion revenue creator per year, with a current record of 10 million customers – Nespresso.

Nespresso offers the consumer the experience of making fresh home-made espresso without the need to leave for Café. Perfect for any sort of house gathering or just to satisfy the desire for an immediate high quality cup of coffee.  The secret of Nespresso is the machine as well as its special capsules, which are both officially patented, causing limited competition so far.

Marketing, Marketing, Marketing

Is a high quality machine and special patented capsules enough to be a money making success? FastCompany reports that Nespresso started creating additional value to their brand name, increasing their prestige and reputation by serving their coffee to first-class airline passengers only.
Already by 2000 Nespresso coffee was served in 1100 planes, in 20 different airline companies, exposing 3.5 million travelers a year to the brand.

More than that, celebrities George Cloony and Penelope Cruz were selected specifically to represent Nespresso in prime-time TV commercials. Franz Niedermair, VP-Marketing at Nespresso USA, claims that Cloony and Cruz give the viewers a feeling of European heritage, elegancy and sophistication, all which the American consumer is craving for when drinking his cup of coffee.

Coffee marketing blog the5marketeers, reports Nespresso’s business strategy is to represent life style – a quality product costumers will pay more for. Nespresso uses a unique targeted marketing which allows gathering specific information about the consumer – his age, frequency of his purchases, habits – all which is recorded for future projects. Moreover, One to One marketing strategy is used in the Nespresso stores – individual care for each and every client: referring to the costumer by his family name and not as part of the mass market; the customer is part of the “Nespresso Club” – giving the card owner a dedicated lounge space in the Nespresso stores. There he has the possibilities to try out new tastes, new smartphone applications, access to a quality hotline and much more.

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Should We Invest?

Perhaps the most important question of them all. With a growth percentage of 20% a year and billions of dollars of revenues, the answer seems to be a definite yes. However, BuildingStrongBrands reports Starbucks, a stronger brand name than Nespresso in today’s  market, is about to launch in the next couple of months its own home-used coffee machine which will most likely decrease Nespresso’s revenues. Another thing to keep in mind is, that at the end of 2012 the capsule patent of Nespresso will expire, opening
competition between new and already existing companies to duplicate
the success of Nespresso.

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