The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the soundtrack for what promises to be a long, hard, slogging blue-collar working day, Creedence Clearwater Revivial's "Cosmo's Factory." CCR picked up their lunch pails and hammers to pound out as honest and hard a working day with their no-frills, stripped-down rock sound as reliably as a steelworker building a bridge, and that's what kind of day it's going to be here at the sprawling campus of First Coffee, so that's the kind of music we need - call it hard hat rock:
Mobile check-in has landed in airports across Spain following the introduction of a paperless ticketing service by Spanish carrier Spanair Airlines. Paper boarding passes, kiss 'em goodbye - company officials say they can be replaced by an electronic 2D barcode received via MMS and stored by the passenger's mobile phone.
The system is enabled by NeoMedia Technologies
, which has to date installed its EXIO scanners in eleven Spanish airports. The scanners read the 2D codes on the phones at the airport terminal check-in desks and security points.
Based on returns from the service so far, Spanair thinks that 800,000 2D barcode mobile tickets will be issued in 2009. If so, that would account for ten per cent of its total ticketing transactions.
Spanair is kind of the canary in the coal mine for this sort of thing in Spain. The airline was the first in the country to offer mobile check-in, following the publication by IATA of a mobile boarding standard based on two-dimensional codes. The technology was piloted - get it? - in the airports of Bilbao, Madrid and Barcelona.
After running the numbers some industry analysts think widespread adoption of mobile check-in can save the airline industry up to $500 million each year. Which will, no doubt, be reflected in lower ticket prices, more on-time flights, shorter lines at the airport, better coffee in the business lounge, tastier food on flights, more cheerful customer service marked by the extra mile and okay, I'll stop now.
Earlier this year industry analysts Juniper Research estimated that transport-based mobile ticketing will grow from 37.4 million transactions in 2007 to just over 1.8 billion by 2011, with some 2.6 billion mobile tickets in total being issued by 2011 to 208 million mobile phone users.
I scoff at airline food quality: I must say my last Emirates flight from Sydney to Auckland had the best meal I've ever had on a plane. First time I've ever eaten every bite on the tray.
Iain McCready, CEO of NeoMedia, said the scanners can be integrated into many different systems and used for a wide variety of mobile CRM products, including ticketing, couponing and loyalty, and payment systems.
, a database marketing agency, has announced it has been selected by The Limited to support its nationwide customer marketing programs.
The multi-year agreement calls for Merkle to provide a marketing database infrastructure, database marketing strategy, advanced analytics and other such customer insight for the retailer.
Sara Cisler, Director, CRM, The Limited, said the basic intent behind the move is to allow the clothier to "effectively promote our brand and improve customer loyalty."
Merkle uses a database marketing infrastructure called a Knowledge Center which will be used as the foundation for The Limited's marketing efforts. Merkle will partner with the vendor to use the database for testing, modeling and analyzing consumer data, with the goal being that it will "provide a view into customers, their preferences and their buying behavior over time," for the retailer's current customer marketing database of seven million customers.
David Williams, President and CEO, Merkle, noted that yeah, a strong brand and a high degree of customer loyalty are "extremely helpful" in the "current economy," marketers should also consider adopting "analytically driven marketing approaches," integrating data from multiple media and channels to divine customer preferences and behavior.
Merkle's a privately-held corporation headquartered near Baltimore in Columbia, Maryland with additional locations in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Little Rock, Philadelphia, Seattle and Hagerstown, Maryland.
It's going to be pretty tough to bet against either the Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers in that AFC Championship game. Man, those teams play hard-nose football. First Coffee suspects it'll come down to Ben Roethlisberger having been there and Joe Flacco, as cool-headed as he's been all year, not having been. Whoever wins that game wins the Super Bowl.
, a vendor of Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management products, has announced PowerLaunch, described by the PowerObjectivians as a CRM deployment product. It's evidently a fixed-price product designed to help get a CRM system up and running, and includes configuration, training and consulting.
Jim Sheehan, COO of PowerObjects, said the product includes a business review consulting session to identify the information and processes that will be supported, system customization and configuration based upon the findings of the business review session.
There are also two pre-launch review and feedback sessions while system is being built to validate design, all sorts of in-house training and personal project manager readily available to support users on the go-live day, as well as a 30-day system review and adjustments.
How much would you pay for all this? But wait, there's more: You also get a collection of CRM system customizations and capabilities, including e-mail tracking, best practices to change navigation to allow users access to the right data and "mapping integration - customers will get a Web-based view of an address on a map," company officials say.
Now how much would you pay? Well friends, whereas a typical CRM deployment can take up to several weeks to months, PowerLaunch is designed to get a company up and running with CRM in as little as five days. And the price for the basic PowerLaunch product is $4,995. That's right, $4,995.
And the ginsu knives are still free.
Software Corporation has announced that it has acquired a controlling interest in Roundstone Systems based in Oakland. The combined organization will have over 100,000 installations in 56 countries, according to Infinite officials.
The Roundstone team "adds depth and knowledge of both the Bay Area market and HP servers," says Bruce Acacio, CEO, Infinite Software.
Roundstone Systems sells HP Enterprise Server products and services in Northern California. "We have built our business around HP's Enterprise servers," says John Fournier, President, Roundstone Systems, adding that for a partner, "Infinite Software just made sense."
Roundstone Systems will operate as an independent division of Infinite Software and anticipates no changes in staffing. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Infinite is headquartered in Orange County, California and operates from offices in Asia, North America, South America and Europe. Its products are marketed under the brand names Infinite and LPS.
has announced that it will develop a custom product for The Kidney Foundation of Canada, who evidently wishes to create a "unified national CRM and Web presence."
"We selected the Blackbaud product to support bilingual peer-based online fundraising events for all of our branches," says Paul Shay, the foundation's national executive director.
The Kidney Foundation of Canada is dedicated to promoting kidney health through funding research, providing education and support, raising awareness, and promoting access to quality healthcare. It's comprised of eleven provincial branches, each operating its own fundraising events and autonomous Web sites, which as you can imagine led to some pretty inconsistent branding across branch sites.
With a capital campaign coming up, the foundation saw the need for a more unified image.
In 2008 the foundation started moving towards coordinating its CRM on a national level and is in the process of implementing a national Raiser's Edge database. It now also has a unified national Web presence with revamped branding and syndicated national content which lets individual branches post localized content.