Do Data Lakes Need a ‘Refinement Layer?’ – IT Business Edge (blog)


IT Business Edge (blog)
Do Data Lakes Need a 'Refinement Layer?'
IT Business Edge (blog)
Sensor and other Internet of Things data will need to go somewhere, and there are already successful use cases for network intrusion detection and security. So the real question is how we make them useful more broadly and, ultimately, that's going to

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By cranbak on November 28, 2014 | Webmaster | A comment
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Facebook Still Most-Used Social Network, But Growth Rate Can’t Match that of Tumblr, Pinterest

Facebook may still be the king of social media when it comes to sheer volume of members, but it’s growth rate just can’t compete with Tumblr and Pinterest.

Tumblr’s active user base skyrocketed 120 percent in the past six months putting it in the No. 1 spot as the fastest growing social network, Globalwebindex’s latest report has revealed. It had stiff competition on Pinterest, however, which took the No. 2 spot with 111 percent, just one percent behind Tumblr. Facebook grew a sluggish six percent.

“Despite its active user number having grown by just two percent since the start of 2014, Facebook is still the number one global network – and by an appreciable distance,” the Globalwebindex’s report reads.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 7.26.39 AM“Outside of China, four in five Internet users have a Facebook account — a figure which peaks in LatAm at 93 percent. What’s more, one in two say they are actively using Facebook each month, giving it about twice as many active users as the three sites which compete for second position: Twitter, YouTube and Google+. More than half of Facebook’s active users are also logging in multiple times per day, a figure which is higher than the equivalent for any other network.”

It was not all sunshine for Facebook, however. The social network’s membership has declined in the key demographic of the 16- to 24-year-olds.

Although the dip was a “very small one,” the report says it “needs to be viewed in the context of all other networks posting substantial increases among this demographic.”

Another worrying find for Facebook is that half of adults surveyed in the U.S. and the U.K. say they are using the site less frequently than they used to. That number rises to 64 percent among teens.

“It’s clear that people are using Facebook more passively; since the start of 2013, we’ve seen behaviors like sharing photos and messaging friends fall by around 20 percentage points,” the report reads.

So what are the networks of choice for the young crowd?

Tumblr and Facebook-owned Instagram, of course. Both sites have largely young memberships — more than 70 percent are between the ages of 16 and 34. Facebook has the oldest user base, with one-fourth of its one billion-plus members being 45 or older.

“Social behaviors are diversifying, with people turning to a range of different platforms to carry out different activities. Smaller networks like Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr are thus rising into the mainstream, while bigger players like Facebook are being used more passively,” reads the report.

“For most brands, having a presence on just one social network is no longer sufficient. And while Facebook is still the clear number one, it’s no longer the catch-all site it once was; in certain countries, and among certain demographics, other services now represent just as effective touchpoints in terms of reaching particular audiences.”

Like Facebook, while YouTube, Google+ and Twitter have larger memberships that Pinterest, Tumblr or Instagram, their growth rate is nowhere near as strong. Still, about two-thirds of those online are members of YouTube and Google+ (63 percent and 62 percent respectively), with Twitter following at 55 percent.

But, when it comes to active usage, it is the same for all three networks: about one quarter of Internet users.

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Facebook Still Most-Used Social Network, But Growth Rate Can’t Match that of Tumblr, Pinterest


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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The Job Seeker’s Bill of Rights

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Engage Your Visitors Socially, Watch Your Business Boom

A business derives its maximum revenues when its potential to engage its customers is maximized to the fullest. Currently, we can trigger user social engagement in many ways, such as using engaging mobile apps, which can be an exciting medium for connecting to your customers. The rules of engagement for mobile apps tend to be different from the conventional customer engagement methods. Mobile phones are considered to be a more direct and more personal communication channel. Experts predicted 4.55 billion people worldwide will be using mobile phones by the end of 2014. With such an increasing number of users choosing their mobile phones as a method to connect to the outside world, many brands have already earned a place on their users’ mobile screens.

Businesses are beginning to recognize the opportunities that arise by means of a mobile app. Although, users are more prone to make use of these apps for utility and entertainment purposes, there is still a huge potential for strengthening your customer base with a smart and engaging app.

Here are some ways to make sure your app acts as a crowd-pleaser for earning your users’ loyalty and hence creating long-term user engagement.

Entertain your Customers
The biggest way to engage users is to provide them with some sort of entertainment. Everybody is looking for it and everybody enjoys it. It may be tricky but not impossible for brands to play to user emotions. For instance, there are many ways you can add the ‘fun-factor’ to your app. Your brand message can be in the form of a story or a game allowing users to earn badges, points and many other gifts (either virtual or real) — and it encourages users to keep coming back to your app.

Giraffas, which is one of the largest restaurants in Brazil, displayed a brilliant example of adding social entertainment to a business app. In order to create hype for the FIFA World Cup 2014, the restaurant provided its customers with food trays resembling a football field. The field made use of an app on users’ iPhones which turned their phones into a virtual goalkeeper. The front facing camera allowed the paper ball to be detected while the customers enjoyed their meal.

Deliver Valuable Information
Is your app of any informational value to your customers? Does it spell out your products and services in a clear and precise manner? No matter what you include in your app to make it socially engaging, its core purpose must be to inform your present and future clients of all the key information they require. For instance, an app related to a retail business must, at all times, contain an easily accessible catalog of products along with the availability, pricing and other relevant information. Famous airlines such as the American Airlines have developed a highly functional app allowing customers to check their flight status, modify existing reservations, and access their Advantage account.

Urge your Users to Take Action
There are dozens of apps offering tons of information with no visible call-to-action button. For example, if you own a salon, your app must not only provide information about the services you provide or the products you use but also a method to allow your users to book appointments, view availability slots and interact with one of your foremost stylists. Similarly, apps pertaining to banks can allow their customers to make transactions and check their accounts.

Get engaged with Mobile Social Networks
Make use of the current trend of mobile social networking to your advantage. You can do this by integrating your app with the latest social networks including the much-loved Facebook. Such a strategy will help you in two ways: Your users will not have to sign in separately to their preferred network and, apart from that, your app will be discussed and talked about in their social networking circles. This obviously means, the more contacts they have, the more user engagement and popularity your app will receive, ultimately adding to your business operations.

To add value and user engagement to their apps, brands need to develop a blend of the above-mentioned user engagement elements. Moreover, placing your customer at the heart of your mobile marketing strategy is an important aspect of devising an effective user engagement process.

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Engage Your Visitors Socially, Watch Your Business Boom


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Giraffas, which is one of the largest restaurants in Brazil, displayed a brilliant example of adding social entertainment to a business app. In order to create hype for the FIFA World Cup 2014, the restaurant provided its customers with food trays resembling a football field. The field made use of an app on users’ iPhones which turned their phones into a virtual goalkeeper. The front facing camera allowed the paper ball to be detected while the customers enjoyed their meal.

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Google’s Most Innovative Technologies of the Year

Love it or hate it, Google is one of the few companies in the world that can claim world-changing dominance. From their dynamo search engine to cutting-edge technologies, there is seemingly no tech space that Google doesn’t have their pixels in.

To prove it’s no exaggeration to call it the most powerful company in the digital space, ponder these stats: In August of 2013, Google suffered a five minute outage that caused global web traffic to plummet 40%. That is staggering. In 2006, the verb “to Google” hit the Oxford English dictionary. When your company name makes its way into common vernacular, you have most certainly made an indelible impact.

2014 saw a large myriad of updates and inventions from this tech giant; so much so it was hard to keep track. Below are the highlights of the year; some you will recognize, and some may be surprising revelations. Each contribution, however, has proven to be transformative and noteworthy. Now the real excitement is seeing what Google does next.

Google Contributor: Lose the Ads

Google gets a lot of flack for using web content without receiving permission from site owners. Yet they are responsible for more referral traffic than almost all other sites combined. In response to the outcries, Google is releasing Contributor, a new feature which will allow any web site user to pay a monthly fee to their favorite digital destinations, and in return all Google ads will disappear.

For starters, ten major URLs will launch with the feature. They include: Mashable, Imgur, WikiHow, and Science Daily. Fees will range from $1-$3 a month, and is handled through the user’s Google account. They are working to ensure that users can only support sites they visit frequently, and in replace of the normal ads, visitors will instead see a thank you note from the publisher. That’s a nice alternative to obnoxious ads.

A Genome Database for Medical Discoveries

Google is no stranger to the health and wellness space, with several huge advances in this industry during 2014. One of the biggest, and least talked about, is Google Genomics. What this faction of the tech company aims to do is create a central database for genomes so that scientists have a single location to go for millions of comparisons. Previously, as a rule, experts would study one to a few genomes at a time, without access to a large selection. Now, Google is going to hospitals and universities aplenty, asking if they can store their genomes for scientific research.

The implications are massive. David Glazer, Google’s software engineer that is leading the charge, states that, “The opportunity is how to apply breakthroughs in data technology to help with this transition.” The cloud-based system aims to enable scientists access to global DNA data that can hugely fortify their research capabilities. While they do still need to solve complex issues like who will ultimately store the data, the opportunity to study such a massive pool of information could vastly propel medical discoveries for the next several decades.

The Under the Sea Mega-Cable

Another amazing technology innovation from Google came in August of 2014, in the form of a game-changing undersea cable. This trans-Pacific cable will connect Japan and the US underwater, and Google has invested close to $300 million in development so far, plus an additional $60 million to connect the US to Brazil. Called FASTER, the cable will reach speeds of up to 60 terabytes per second, meaning that current telecom operators should be positively frightened. Comcast, for example, has a normal operational speed of 50 megabytes per second. FASTER, living up to its name, will be able to operate at a whopping 60,000 times faster than this Comcast average.

When complete, the cable will also connect to many major US cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle. Google hopes FASTER will officially launch in early 2016.

A Pill That Detects Cancer

Google X, the faction of Google responsible for their most out-of-the-box research and innovations, announced this year that they are developing nanoparticles that will be able to peruse bloodstreams and identify health issues; most specifically cancer. It will work like this: The nanoparticles will connect to cells and proteins in your bloodstream. A wearable device will then use magnetic properties to attract and decipher data from the particles.

According to the Google X head of Life Sciences, Dr. Andrew Conrad, “Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system.” You can therefore imagine the potential impact of this incredible device should it come to market. Google estimates they are at least 5 years out from an official launch, but this pill is proof that Google is in no way playing small. They intend to keep changing the world, one cancer-detecting pill at a time.

Sure, Google has also released scads of apps, features, and SEO plus search innovations this year, but it’s the most fringe floating R&D efforts that hold the most promise and intrigue.

What about in your world? What’s the single greatest Google innovation this year that has changed the way you do business – or even live?

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Google’s Most Innovative Technologies of the Year


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Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor.  Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.

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Mellencamp/Stephen King’s musical: Win Tickets – KTLA

Mellencamp/Stephen King's musical: Win Tickets
KTLA
Text BRAVO to 515151 for your chance to win 2 front-row tickets to see “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” the new supernatural music from Stephen King, John Mellencamp and music producer T-Bone Burnett. The winner will see the show at the Saban …

and more »

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Why Is Content Marketing Critical for Your Business?

Why is investing in content marketing critical to building your business? The short and simple answer is because the hard-sell is, quite frankly, pretty darn annoying. Not to say that direct marketing techniques have no place in selling; where would we all be without them?And especially not to say that marketing efforts shouldn’t be integrated. But all of that goes beyond the scope of this post, which is strictly about digital marketing efforts.

The Need for Content Marketing
The foundation for digital marketing success is rooted in developing and systematically distributing great content. Sounds a little nebulous? Probably because it is. Honestly, what does “great content” even look like?

You’re going to need a few skills squared away before you can begin to piece together content that your audience can connect with.

But why does content marketing matter? We knew you’d want to know.

  1. Search Engines: Search engines, namely Google, have made their intentions very clear with every new update they roll out. If your content is well-written, provides your consumers with valuable learning and tells a story that readers in a particular niche can connect with, then you’re going to be a search engine sweetheart for sure.
  2. Teach To, Not Talk At: Not all industry verticals were built alike and, while some product purchases may require a simple click-buy-pay process, many consumers are looking for real information that proves to be valuable before making the decision to buy.
  3. The Advertising Disruption: When we’re not working as marketers, we become someone else’s consumers, and so we know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of disruptive ads, especially when we’re online. With content marketing, you’re able to find a way to engage your audience without blasting them with ads that are constantly in their face.

In North America, 93 percent of B2B and 90 percent of B2C businesses have adopted content marketing as a way to connect with their target markets. According to a study conducted in Australia, 61 percent of Australian marketers intend to increase their spending on having marketable content developed.

The ROI of Content Marketing
But how do we measure the results of all the efforts poured into content? This is a very sticky subject, because it all depends on what your bottom-line is. Are you looking at increased footfalls? Or a higher number of eyeballs for your content?

If your only concern is revenue, then exactly how many blog posts, white papers, newsletters, videos and infographics does it take to gain one solid conversion? As a B2B marketer, are you getting buy-ins at a C-level? Do you even have the resources to make it happen as an organization-wide initiative?

While it’s difficult to measure the ROI derived from content marketing, you increase your chances of measuring your results if you lay down a very clear process from the beginning. If you have the time (and the resources), clearly state your campaign goals, the related costs, the revenue generated from the campaign and the direct number of leads and conversions that have resulted from your content marketing campaign.

It’s a slow process but a meaningful one. Remember, getting a yield from your content marketing efforts is a marathon, not a sprint.

Have you begun to implement content marketing strategies? What has been your success rate? Where have you struggled? Let us know and perhaps we can work out a solution together!

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Why Is Content Marketing Critical for Your Business?


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Neha Bawa is the head of social media and content at Techmagnate, Internet Marketing agency in New Delhi, India. She has earned her Master’s degree in Interactive Communications from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT and has worked within the social media realm for three years, directing outreach efforts for non-profit and corporate organizations, after having worked in higher education for 10 years. As a social media marketer, she is interested in studying how emerging technologies facilitate the forming of communities in a digital space.

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Facebook and Google Dominate Social Logins

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Twitter Collecting App Info From Users – Gathering Data Will Enable More “Personal” Experience

In a bid to give users a more “personal” experience, Twitter has revealed it is keeping track of what apps users have downloaded on their Smartphones.

Twitter's_San_Francisco_Headquarters

Twitter headquarters.

The social networking site announced earlier this week it will be following what apps users have installed to ensure it can “build a more personal Twitter experience” for those who are summing up their days in 140 characters or less.

“We are only collecting the list of applications you have installed. We are not collecting any data within the applications,” Twitter said in an entry on its support site.

The information that is gathered, though, may be used to improve Twitter’s ‘who to follow’ suggestions and ensuring content on timelines will be interesting for each user. And, as Twitter noted, the information will also enable a better use of “relevant promoted content.” In other words, Twitter wants to make sure businesses buying ads will get more bang for their buck.

The move isn’t that different, CNet reported, from what Facebook does in terms of checking what apps users have installed that use Facebook SDK. That, too, is a bid to have advertisements aimed at the appropriate users.

However, Twitter is also letting users know they can opt out of having their information used. The support site explains users can simply adjust the setting allowing Twitter to collect the list of apps on their mobile device. Once the setting is turned off Twitter will remove the user’s app graph data and stop future collection.

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Twitter Collecting App Info From Users


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W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on November 27, 2014 | Webmaster | A comment
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Security, Mobility Key Matters for Developers: Survey – Preventative Measures Playing Larger Roles in Creation of Applications

With high profile security threats and hacks becoming more common, developers are looking more closely at sophisticated mobile UX and preventive security measures.

SurveyThat’s just one of the findings after a survey of developers conducted, for the fifth consecutive year, by SoftServe. The global software application development and consulting company, together with ExecutiveBrief, highlights development trends and priorities while, also, showing strategic priorities in the industry.

One of the key priorities for developers, the survey shows, is security.

“Forty-two percent of respondents indicated they need assistance load testing security solutions. This is likely a scaling issue in terms of ability to stress test solutions, as well as the desire for a third party to validate security measures,” the survey reports.

Forty percent of respondents indicated desire for assistance integrating security into QA and Build processes, as well.

“This is likely a recognition that outside expert opinion and expertise can be leveraged to ensure security,” the survey shows. “This notion is supported by the third greatest response — the need for assistance performing security audits.”

Security wasn’t the only issue identified, though.

The survey showed as mobility increasingly becomes a key direction of developers, companies are putting less effort into defining mobility strategies and are actively engaging in developing and implementing innovative mobile applications.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, Juan Turruellas, executive vice-president worldwide sales and marketing at SoftServe, said in a company press release.

“With mobile technologies transforming all aspects of business and social interaction, more and more of our customers are looking to us to help them with their mobile UX design, so it’s no surprise this was identified as a concern across the industry,” said Turruellas.

“We’re also seeing a rise in demand from companies who are creating disruptive business innovations and need sophisticated security measures to protect data.”

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Security, Mobility Key Matters for Developers: Survey


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W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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