Has The Term Big Data Lost Meaning?

By Daniel Newman, President of BroadSuite, Inc.

Over the past year or so the conversations surrounding Big Data have been on a continuous loop. With endless streams of data being created on a daily basis, we hear the word ‘data’ being uttered everywhere – conferences, meetings, blogs, peer discussions, corporate parties, you name it. I’ve literally lost the count of the number of times I’ve tried making idle conversation with people only to end up talking about Big Data. The last few times that I been to any industry event, Big Data has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue. From marketers, to thought leaders, to business owners, everyone is spending inordinate amounts of time discussing: “What is Big Data?” “What can it do?” “Why do we need it?” and so on and so forth. It begs the question, have we come to a point where we’ve become numb to the term ‘Big Data?’ And for all the time we’ve spent thinking about it and talking about it, is it losing meaning?

Big Data – Simply a Marketing Campaign?

Marketing has long been tasked with putting big concepts out there that have legs because we want people talking about it. Spreading a concept like wildfire is exciting, and who doesn’t get a rush from creating a big buzz? As the organizations that benefit most from Big Data, having it talked about a lot matters. Incidentally, I came across Stephen Few’s blog where he explains why he thinks Big Data is a marketing fad:

“A little more and a little faster have always been on our wish list. While information technology has struggled to catch up, mostly by pumping itself up with steroids, it has lost sight of the objective: to better understand the world—at least one’s little part of it (e.g., one’s business)—so we can make it better. Our current fascination with big data has us looking for better steroids to increase our brawn rather than better skills to develop our brains.”

For businesses, it isn’t about the fancy terms, buzz words, and the “Marketechture,” it’s rather about outcomes. In this whole Big Data fixation, businesses very often miss the point. Many are left swirling in a sea of data, and not really understanding how to make it work for them.

How business can make Real Sense of the Big Data Talk

Data has long been available to us, and while it’s true that new data sources have emerged increasing the rate and amount of data generated, its growth in recent years is only making the problems and the possibilities more visible. Businesses are going into a frenzy trying to capture relevant data and use it to beat their competitors. In the process, I’ve seen many businesses that invest big dollars and employ large teams to focus on Big Data, while none of them are working with databases that fall within the category of Big Data. Not by a long shot, but strangely they like to think that they are managing ‘big data.’

This is where I think it’s essential to stop and think about ‘little data’ – that is all the information that we call Big Data broken down into small bite sized chunks that are easier to swallow and easier to design into more personalized and 1:1 marketing strategies. I say it’s important for business owners and marketers to shift their gaze from figuring out Big Data conundrums to making ‘little data’ discovery. And today, with mobile, social, and cloud technologies, it’s easier than ever to gain insight into ‘little data’ and how it impacts the bottom line of our businesses.

Everything boils down to this – if we keep talking about data just because we can, without evaluating if we should, the term ‘Big Data’ won’t be left with much meaning at all.

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Why Everyone Is Thirsty for Your Data

By Daniel Newman, President of BroadSuite, Inc.

As technology grows by leaps and bounds, we have to ask ourselves, “Are we headed into a future where security and privacy will be lost forever?” Why? Well, very recently, analysts put out a warning to consumers to be careful what they talk about in front of the new Samsung Smart TV. Apparently, this device can “listen” to your conversations and share them with service providers or third-parties by converting your spoken word into text and translating it for them. Call it an era of cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, or anything else you want to call it–the fact is: “smarter” machines have arrived and they are already interacting with us even when we are not fully aware that it’s happening.

If you’re like me and love to follow tech innovations as closely as possible, I’m sure you’re marvelling at how machines are taking on human attributes. But, on a personal front, I must confess that I feel slightly threatened. When I think about some of the conversations I have in my family room on the couch with my friends, family, and loved ones while watching my favorite TV show, I grow leery. Many of those conversations are personal in nature. I’m sure you could say the same about the conversations you have in your own home. With gadgets like the Smart TV around, our personal lives may not remain personal for much longer. So the obvious question here is: why do manufacturers like Samsung long for our data – even our most intimate info?

Brands Want a Bigger Bite of our Personal Lives

Last week there was commentary on how Facebook knows us better than our therapists, and chances are they really do. What these trends are pointing out is: the Big Data space is growing more and more powerful as we are sharing our personal information at an unprecedented pace, knowingly or, as is often the case, unknowingly. What we don’t share in public, many of us do in private groups or messages. All this information is a gold mine of customer intelligence that companies and brands are wrestling to get hold of. Now, with exciting new tech possibilities emerging, companies are hoping to grab a bigger share of our lives in a bid to not only sell us what we desire, but to get deeper insights into our mind as consumers so they can design and develop better products.

Brands want to Drive the Most-targeted Content our way

We are past the age where brands and marketers push their products towards prospective customers. Today’s consumers are more interested in receiving personalized treatment from brands they are associated with. This is one of the reasons why brands are trying their best to know their customers on a deeper level. If they are able to get their hands on our most intimate information, they can drive the most accurately targeted content in our direction, knowing that it will strike a chord with us and perhaps prompt us to buy whatever it is that they are selling.

Data will Never Stop Growing

As people continue to trade their private data for access to applications like FB, Google, or other free apps, the collection of measurable information about them will continue to grow. But ultimately where is this leading us? Sure, we’ll have better products that’ll make our lives easier and hopefully, we might even have more time to enjoy life with “smart” gadgets doing our chores and remembering important things for us. But do you wonder what price we will have to pay to enjoy this blissful life? I believe that is something that we’ve got to figure it out, before it’s too late.

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Exploring The Future of Real Time Collaboration

By Daniel Newman, President of BroadSuite, Inc.

With the proliferation of cloud, mobile, and social, we are more capable than ever to connect and communicate in real time. However, with so much stimuli coming from so many different applications, connecting in real time isn’t always easy. As the demands for virtual collaboration increase in future, we need to continue to invest in ideas that allow companies and their globally dispersed business units, employees, and customers to connect simply, and securely, without limits on when, where, and with whom they are connecting over video.

Effective Collaboration needs to be Simpler

Ideally, video collaboration needs to be as simple as making a phone call, but the current complexity of video collaboration is the biggest challenge to this vision. While ad-hoc video conferencing is available with many enterprise video platforms, most still require users to dial-in, or use special security settings to join the conversation. These added steps are not really as easy as they should be. For real-time video meetings to truly take off, users should be able to connect with a single click, like they do when sending a text, making a call, or dropping an email. While Cloud tech has taken collaboration to a different level, where connecting anywhere and at any time is possible, users can’t reap the benefits of these developments until video technology is able to support them.

Security is Paramount in Video Collaboration

While we’re shooting for simplicity in video meetings, it should not be our only concern. For instance, there are many consumer grade video conferencing services that come with the promise of simplicity, such as Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. These services are virtually hassle free after sign up. In fact, with the recent WebRTC integration, video-based browsers are soon going to make waves in the consumer video market. You might think these options are perfect for enterprise use, right? Wrong. These services lack an extremely crucial feature: enterprise-grade security. Enterprise collaboration often involves sharing confidential data and files, which require users to have a tighter grip on security to avoid any data leakage or loss that puts them at risk for a breach. Consumer video services currently fail to meet these security standards.

Ideal Video Conferencing: a mix of Simplicity and Security

A peek at the present corporate landscape will tell you that video collaboration is being preferred over in-person meetings as a strategy to trim meeting costs as well as connect the scattered workforce in today’s digital workplaces. In fact, many companies are combining video and offsite meetings to create a modern collaborative environment that maintains its human touch.

However, the ever-growing need to connect faster and through more secure means puts video service vendors under pressure to create better and simpler video platforms with enterprise-grade privacy controls.  As a result, many video service providers are doing things differently to create better video experiences for enterprise users. Services like Starleaf and Videxio deserve a special mention for offering high-quality, ad-hoc video and audio collaboration services that support industry-standards, and are fully encrypted. The ability to click and connect with anyone, from anywhere is the future of ad-hoc, real time communications. These services are taking a positive step in that direction.

To learn more about Ricoh’s Unified Communication Systems, visit here.

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Why Video Collaboration Is Key to Building Smarter Workforces

By Daniel Newman, President of BroadSuite, Inc.

Given the current trend of taking office spaces from the physical to the virtual realm, working together from diverse locations across the world is not at all uncommon. This has changed the way we collaborate and the way we co-work. However, while we often no longer consider physical presence as an important factor when it comes to attending a meeting or a conference, face-to-face meetings are still important. Face-to-face interaction fosters credibility, a sense of connectedness, and plays an important role in building relationships. But in person, face-to-face meetings aren’t always possible. That’s where video conferencing systems in today’s business environment can bridge distance and bring people close together, even though they are actually physically miles apart. Cloud-enabled video conferencing or video collaboration is quickly  becoming an integral part of modern companies that wish to cultivate smarter workforces.

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What are Executives Saying about Information Mobility?

By Joyce Ouellette, Director, Segment Marketing & GMG Services Marketing, Dealer MDS Marketing Ricoh Americas Corporation

At a recent Ricoh Customer Advisory Council event I heard a range of executives discuss the business benefits and challenges of improving Information Mobility. Participants included managers from manufacturing to banking, as well as different functional roles: data protection, regulatory compliance, cloud solutions, imaging, technical support, workflow analysis, and more.

All agreed on the strategic importance of better Information Mobility.

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The Time For Social Selling Has Come

By Daniel Newman, President of BroadSuite, Inc.

Back in 2011 Google released a study called “Zero Moment of Truth.” The purpose of the study was to better understand the informed consumer who was able to create buy/sell parity by using the vast resources of the web when making their buying decisions.

The results were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea that the Internet is changing the buyer’s journey. The primary drivers of this change was the amount of content that companies were creating that allowed buyers to become informed without the direct involvement of a vendor.

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Online Obsession, Wearable Tech And The Emergence Of The Human Datacenter

By Daniel Newman, President of BroadSuite, Inc.

It’s hard to believe but regardless of whether you are a boomer or a millennial, the average consumer spends almost 24 hours per week online. An entire day!

Other than sleeping (for most of us), there may be nothing we do for more time in a given week than search, email, and browse the Internet. However, in a world where data is fast becoming the next precious resource, 1 out of 7 just isn’t enough. So in an effort to better connect the consumer to the interwebs, the brands we love (and don’t) are seeking out ways to keep us more connected, more often.

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Customer Experience, Social Media and 3 Ways To Marry Them To Your Business

By Daniel Newman, President of BroadSuite, Inc.

Did you know that according to a study performed by Maritz and Evolve 24 that more than 70 percent of customer-service complaints made on Twitter go unanswered?

That’s right, ignored. Either blatantly or by mere ignorance and neglect of the company, customers are ignored and when that happens it has a snowball effect that many businesses may not consider.  Fact is, 82 percent of consumers in the US have stopped doing business at some point due to a poor customer experience and according to my calculation, being ignored (on purpose or not) constitutes as one way to be a statistic in the growing battle of customer retention.

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Survey Reveals Empowered Employees Demand Green Workplaces

By Jay Dizzine, Director, Technology Marketing

The critical environmental messages are being heard. Loud and clear. Empowered employees are demanding green workplaces. See if you’re surprised by the results of our survey, which asked Americans about their green practices and those of employers.

Are green practices alive and well?

Since the early 1900s, protests and peace marches in the U.S. have been common. Women’s rights, civil rights, the Vietnam War, and other causes. A big demonstration involved several hundred thousand people. But saving the planet? Not really in the news until the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. Want to guess how many Americans got involved in peaceful demonstrations? 20 million.

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Demonstrating “We have a Solution for That” at InfoComm13

By Paul Foschino, Senior Manager, New Business Development

Many people may not immediately associate the Ricoh brand with the audiovisual industry. However, that’s starting to change thanks to our strong presence at InfoComm13. This year’s conference and exhibition for professional AV buyers and sellers worldwide took place June 8-14 in Orlando, Florida and attracted more than 35,000 attendees from 110 countries.

At Ricoh, we’re focused on solving our customers’ problems every day, and our booth’s theme at InfoComm13 —“We have a Solution for That” — reinforced that message along with our solution demonstrations for digital signage, education, home office, and conference room.

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