Posts tagged Challenges

Google Challenges Amazon’s Drone Delivery Program With Project Wing

Google has been secretly testing delivery by drone, the company announced Thursday.

A team of engineers at Google X, the technology company’s long-range research lab, safely carried out more than 30 1-kilometer test flights this month. The deliveries, consisting of items ranging from a chocolate bar to first aid, took place in Queensland, Australia to avoid the Federal Aviation Administration’s strict U.S. restrictions on drones.

See also: Why Commercial Drones Are Stuck In Regulatory Limbo

Now that Amazon has almost convinced the world its delivery drones aren’t a publicity stunt, the world may be ready to accepting Google at its word.

The Google X drone is a quadcopter, but it looks nothing like the ones many U.S. hobbyists use for aerial photography and other projects, or Amazon’s Prime Air octocopter. Instead, it relies on fixed wings for fast forward flight, and its four rotors for vertical takeoff and landing. The company released a YouTube video to show how it flies.

Project Wing, as the video labels the drone, is capable of carrying a roughly four-pound package. Meanwhile, Amazon says Prime Air can carry up to five pounds. Despite the design differences, it’s apparent that Google’s drone could realistically compete with Amazon’s.

See also: Amazon Tells The Feds It Really Wants To Test Drone Delivery

According to Astro Teller, Google X’s Captain of Moonshots—what Google calls its biggest, craziest ideas—delivery is just the beginning. Google envisions being able to use the drones for humanitarian solutions, too.

“Even just a few of these, being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation,” Teller told the BBC.

Screenshot via Google X

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Advancements And Challenges In The Marketing Software Space: Interview With Chris Golec by @murraynewlands

As part of our SEJ interview series, I recently caught up with Chris Golec of Demandbase to discuss what’s going on in the marketing software space. Chris shares what he believes are some of the key advancements in the marketing software space, as well as how to overcome some of the greatest challenges. Hear what he has to say in the video below: Here are some key takeaways from the video: There are a lot of different technologies coming together, primarily advertising technologies with marketing technologies. The B2B segment is being underserved by today’s marketing technologies. Some of the most […]

The post Advancements And Challenges In The Marketing Software Space: Interview With Chris Golec by @murraynewlands appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Box Challenges Microsoft: Give Us Your Office Docs

In an apparent effort to win over more users for its online-storage service, Microsoft said that OneDrive for Business customers would now get a full terabyte of storage for their documents, up from 25 gigabytes. 

But it’s the way Microsoft announced the news that is turning into the real story. John Case, the Microsoft executive whose byline is on the post, used the headline “Thinking outside the box.”

Subtle, Microsoft. Real subtle. The point wasn’t lost on Box CEO Aaron Levie, who responded in kind, calling on Microsoft to open up Office to other online-storage options besides OneDrive.

Boxing Office Users In

Case alluded to both Box and Dropbox in the blog post. He described Box as a “point solution”—a typical dig in the old enterprise-software world, but one that ignores the ease of integration now possible through application programming interfaces. The reality is that Microsoft has always been protective of its lucrative Windows and Office products, and its recent moves back this up. It launched Office for the iPad without the ability to use documents from any other cloud service besides OneDrive.

Box’s Levie wrote that he looked forward to working with Microsoft in the cloud, and called on Microsoft to allow online Office users to store documents in other services, including Box. (Users of the desktop version of Office can store documents anywhere, including Box and Dropbox.)

The odd background to this very public tiff is that Microsoft and Box have collaborated in other areas. Levie appeared last year on stage at Microsoft’s Build developer conference, which highlighted the software giant’s collaboration with smaller companies.

Old Microsoft, New Microsoft

The strategy of OneDrive lock-in feels like classic Microsoft—but not like the open, partner-embracing company that new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is trying to build.

Case ended his post by mentioning how the cloud is about lowering barriers between people and information, and not creating islands. As Levie pointed out, the lack of other cloud services included in Office for the iPad is exactly the kind of barrier Microsoft is sort of claiming it would like to see less of.

Furthermore, the kind of island Case describes is also evident in OneDrive. As with Office for the iPad, OneDrive users are locked into Microsoft’s cloud, and aren’t able to import documents from other cloud systems directly on mobile devices.

That’s the tension in today’s Microsoft. On the one hand, it wants to cater to all the tools and services developers prefer, and it’s made a big effort to communicate its support for non-Microsoft services and platforms. But it also wants to build a big, successful cloud-software business, which means signing up businesses and consumers as subscribers to Office and OneDrive. 

We asked Microsoft for comment on whether it planned to 

Feature Attraction

Levie has a point. The loser here seems to be Office users, who have to download documents from OneDrive and share them by email to work around MIcrosoft’s limitations. That’s not the kind of workflow that makes things easier for customers, Levie pointed out in his post.

For example, Microsoft took a month to add a feature that let users print Office 365 documents from its iPad app.  Google has had cloud printing for a while, and Box has a couple of apps that allow printing of documents from the cloud.

Printing is just one example of a missing feature. In a cloud-first, mobile-first world—the world Microsoft’s Nadella says the company now lives in—the days when software companies had to build all their features themselves are long gone. If Microsoft had launched Office for iPad with Box integration, it could have offered customers a convenient option while it worked on its own native printing feature. Until it sheds old, bad habits, Microsoft is going to remain stuck on its own software island.

Photo of Satya Nadella by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

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Fannit CEO Says, “SEO is Not Marketing” and Challenges Business Owners to … – Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release)

Fannit CEO Says, “SEO is Not Marketing” and Challenges Business Owners to
Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release)
The CEO of Fannit defies “old school” SEO's by calling their growth hacking practices to long-term accountability. Mr. Eneix shows how common short-term gains in SEO hacks will never replace the quality of a long-term marketing plan that reverse

and more »

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Opening OpenStack: A New Certification Initiative Challenges Red Hat

OpenStack, the open-source cloud infrastructure project, has a lot of community activity. Perhaps too much, as I’ve argued before.

There are at least two ways to tame the OpenStack community beast. One is to have a dominant vendor step in and orchestrate order. The second is to take a more bottom-up approach.

Mirantis, a pure-play OpenStack vendor that made waves in late 2013 by suggesting OpenStack threatened traditional platform-as-a-service (PaaS) vendors, is behind this latter approach—to wit, a new compatibility testing initiative that could significantly help OpenStack. Though it would also likely undermine Red Hat, the project’s de facto dominant vendor, which has its own compatibility certification program.

Given Red Hat’s outsized contributions to OpenStack, it’s a bold move. Red Hat is OpenStack’s top contributor, representing 20% of all code commits; Mirantis comes in fifth place with 6% of commits.

I caught up with Mirantis co-founder and chief marketing officer Boris Renski to find out more.

Opening Up OpenStack

ReadWrite: This new open compatibility testing initiative in OpenStack looks like another controversial move for Mirantis, one aimed pretty clearly at Red Hat. What’s going on here?

Boris Renski: This is not about Red Hat. Historically, most large open source communities like Linux or Apache Hadoop have delegated the job of testing and certification to downstream distribution vendors. For example, Red Hat has a very large ecosystem of partners that have certified their software solutions against Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Cloudera does much the same for Apache Hadoop.

Such certification programs are proprietary to a vendor running the certification and there is little transparency from the customer standpoint. Some vendors actually do go through compatibility testing that ranges from rigorous to little more than a check box exercise. In the worst case, they may just sign a paper and do a press release about a partnership. 

Having each distribution vendor manage their own proprietary certification program may have been relevant 15 years ago when the Internet was just becoming mainstream and tools for collaborative software development – like bug tracking tools, peer review systems and CI tools – were in their infancy and enterprises didn’t understand open source licenses and wanted as many reps and warranties included as possible (beyond certification even).

Today, however, when it comes to open source stacks, there is little reason to run a proprietary certification process other than to create customer lock-in.  

We’re standing today with the OpenStack community to champion an open process for vendor compatibility testing that, I believe, will disrupt the traditional closed certification model. The OpenStack community has produced a standard set of compatibility testing tools. If I am, say, a storage vendor, I can deploy these tools in my internal lab, connect to the upstream OpenStack continuous integration system and, most importantly, expose the results of these compatibility tests via an interactive dashboard that is available to the public. This will give everybody an objective and accurate picture of how well my storage fabric works with a particular release of OpenStack. 

The Death Of Traditional Certification?

RWIn your blog, you claim the traditional vendor certification model used for many years is somehow flawed. Can you talk more about this?

BRThe problem with proprietary certifications is that they are prone to vendor politics. Say, for the sake of a hypothetical example, I am a Linux distribution vendor like Red Hat, Canonical or SUSE—all of whom are important OpenStack backers and code contributors—and I don’t want a small vendor like Inktank or Midokura to run on top of my Linux distribution because it will disrupt some other product in my corporate portfolio.

What would I do?

Well, I can say that I won’t certify or support them on top of my platform. As a result, a customer running a particular platform will be unable to take advantage of innovations from the smaller guys simply because the big guys have a conflicting sales agenda.

I am not accusing anyone in the OpenStack ecosystem of this today, but historically the technology industry is choked with examples. At Mirantis, we believe that the core OpenStack mission is not just about the software that the community produces, but about the wave of infrastructure commoditization that OpenStack has created. To that effect, a new community-driven, open process for testing and certification is key to realizing this mission.  

RW: Who else is supporting the initiative so far? 

BR: The initiative was not our idea. It was a grassroots movement initiated by some of the project technical leads in the OpenStack technical community. We just thought it was such a great idea, and inevitable anyways, so we chose to dedicate Mirantis resources to support it. 

At this point, I have consulted with almost all of the OpenStack Foundation board members as well as the foundation staff about the initiative and everyone is on board. We’ve also attracted support from some of the biggest OpenStack vendors and customers in the world, including AT&T, Dreamhost, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, NetApp, Yahoo! and dozens more. 

Closing Thoughts

This open certification program may work. Enterprises, if they had their druthers, would likely prefer a vendor-neutral certification. But Mirantis has tried to end-run Red Hat’s influence before, introducing a professional certification in December 2013 to compete with Red Hat’s own previously-announced certification. It’s not clear this has been effective.

It’s also not clear that enterprises will entrust a neutral but lightly-used certification as opposed to a vendor-dominated certification. In open source, code is currency and she who contributes the most tends to influence the most. Today, Red Hat contributes the most and is therefore in the best position to dictate certification. The OpenStack constellation increasingly revolves around Red Hat. 

To change this fact, Mirantis and others will need to contribute more than a certification process. They’ll need to contribute code.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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1SEOIN Challenges Ranking Improvements With Their SEO Trial Services for 30 … – PR Web (press release)

1SEOIN Challenges Ranking Improvements With Their SEO Trial Services for 30
PR Web (press release)
1SEOIN, one of the leading Indian SEO companies, is all set to launch free SEO Trial Services for 30 Days for their customers and their new prospects. This offering is intended at giving customers a peek at their esteemed services and the benefits of

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Reputation Management Mistakes, Challenges & Solutions for 2014 at ClickZ Live New York

With only a couple of months to go until the inaugural ClickZ Live New York show, we catch up with one of our forthcoming keynote speakers, Andy Beal, CEO of Trackur.com, who gives us his thoughts on reputation management for marketers.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

8 Challenges You Could Face Crowdfunding Your Next Project

Founders often talk about the benefits of crowdfunding a brand-new project: it’s a unique opportunity to engage your community, build grassroots exposure and test an idea’s longevity early. But what you don’t hear as much about are the challenges — and there are many.

To learn more, I asked 8 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council about the less-glamorous side of crowdfunding, and what advice they have for others considering it:

1. Missing the Expertise of Startup Investors

Not all investor money is equal. Raising money from people with little experience in investing in startups and whose sole exposure to investment is public markets is fraught with risk.

Early investors play a critical role in a startup’s success prospects. Their mentorship, networks and experience can prove invaluable—you won’t get that from the “crowd.” Crowdsourcing can be a great tool, but it should be used selectively and carefully.

Panos Panay, Sonicbids 

2. Executing the Project

We funded a $35,000 comic book project and discovered that some of our funding community wanted to be more involved in the creative process after funding than we were aware of. We had to rethink our entire strategy to involve them, and then we had to get our team members in the right seats to execute the project brilliantly.

We actually took several steps down the wrong path before catching ourselves and changing direction. As the company founder, my zone of genius is screenwriting, and yet we were using fiction writers for the project. We had to work as a team to restructure my time, so I could lead this project and ensure its quality. It has turned out to be one of the most challenging, but inspiring shifts we’ve forced ourselves to make.

Corey Blake, Round Table Companies 

3. Providing Customer Service

One of the more difficult things with crowdfunding campaigns is realizing that your new customers have varied expectations. Some folks want the product you’ve offered within one month, while others assume there’s a good possibility the product will never be made.

Avoid stress by over-communicating timelines throughout your program. Guess what types of questions fans will have, and have draft answers ready for your team to utilize. Also, make sure to send updates weekly.

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches 

4. Planning for Life After Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can be a promising way to raise money to finance projects and businesses, but the success of crowdfunding goes hand in hand with careful consideration. One common challenge is that when the campaign ends, companies seem to stop their growth.

My advice to these companies is to plan for life after crowdfunding, even before the crowdfunding process begins. This means they need to have an effective business plan, hire employees with a great deal of experience in the related field and develop a solid marketing strategy for all stages of performance.

Jay Wu, A Forever Recovery

5. Keeping Up Momentum

One of the biggest benefits of running a crowdfunding campaign (besides the funds) is the exposure and community involvement that come along with it. We funded our latest game through Kickstarter and enjoyed a huge boost in momentum throughout the campaign.

However, the enthusiasm of the crowd quickly wanes as they shift their focus toward the latest exciting endeavor, and your startup’s job then becomes to keep that attention squarely focused on your post-campaign activities. Simply posting updates is not enough—you must keep everyone engaged from all angles, and this will obviously vary from product to product.

The important takeaway is to never let the momentum slow, because it’s much harder to get the ball rolling after it has stopped.

James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

6. Understanding the Audience

We’ve worked with our clients on several crowdfunding campaigns, and without fail, people always underestimates the outreach they need to do. It’s crucial to identify audiences who can be reached both before and during campaigns.

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting 

7. Fulfilling Rewards

Most companies plan for how much it will cost to make, ship and manage perks and rewards, and don’t take into account what happens if you suddenly have to ship out thousands of units of a product that hasn’t been made yet. That’s why we started ensuring all fulfillment is done by our company, so crowdfunding companies don’t have to worry about it.

Benish Shah, Before the Label

8. Getting Additional Exposure

When we used Fundable for crowdfunding, the process came with a PR division that allowed BottleKeeper to gain a pretty incredible amount of exposure. When combined with a solid marketing and launch plan, it’s really the exposure that gets you out of the “family fund” that many crowdfunders struggle with.

But when the successful campaign ends, and you’re knee deep in the logistical aspects of running a functional business, it becomes really difficult to keep up with additional exposure. One of the most important things to do is create direct relationships with the media contacts that originally provided the exposure. Try offering them the chance to review your product once it’s complete. This will help continue both your momentum and exposure needs.

Adam Callinan, BottleKeeper

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