New Entertainment, Ringtone Tanking, ShareMethods on AppEx, Home Agents, Infusionsoft, QNX

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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New Entertainment, Ringtone Tanking, ShareMethods on AppEx, Home Agents, Infusionsoft, QNX

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Aimee Mann's Live At St. Ann's Warehouse. Just about the perfect album to play in a home office doing business writing... for all of you out there in a similar situation...

Santa Claus could be bringing a lot more social networking and text messaging this Christmas.
The latest "Entertainment Trends in America" tracking study, published by the NPD Group, finds that many consumers expect to be spending the same amount on traditional entertainment categories during the Christmas season, "even as their participation in newer forms of entertainment continues to rise."
The study found the most notable increases occurring in social networking and text messaging: "More than a third (37 percent) of respondents reported visiting a social networking site over the prior six months, which is an increase of 11 percentage points since last year." Sixty-three percent reported sending and receiving text messages, an increase of seven percentage points over the prior year.
Only nine percent used Twitter during the same time period. Lumps of coal all around.

"With a host of new mobile devices and free mobile and Web entertainment applications now widely available -- and as adult consumers get more comfortable with these newer technologies -- we can expect to see further increases in these areas in the months to come," says Russ Crupnick, senior entertainment industry analyst for NPD.

The overall spending outlook for entertainment for the remainder of the year is still reasonably stable, the study's officials found, "considering that many consumers continue to have anxiety about the state of the economy and the employment picture."
In fact, in August fully 66 percent of consumers reported that they planned to spend the same amount or more on entertainment products and services in the coming 12 months than they did the prior year -- three percentage points higher than when the same question was asked last year. 
Interestingly the report found that sixty-three percent of men surveyed planned to spend more than they did last year on entertainment, versus just 37 percent of women who reported feeling similarly.
The study found the picture inconsistent across categories, with consumers more inclined to spend money on digital music and movies in the theater, and somewhat less willing to spend money on CDs and DVDs.

Of course the death of recorded music purchased in stores via CD has been predicted for a long time now. If these are, in fact, the death throes they're quite drawn out.

"Although CDs have been facing challenges for years, our research shows that video games, home video and other categories will benefit from releases that consumers really want at prices they perceive as offering a good value," Crupnick notes. "Consumer sentiment can shift quickly with the release of powerful titles like Halo or Transformers."
And once again First Coffee is embarrassed that he needs his eleven-year old son to fill him in on what Halo and Transformers are.

According to the latest forecast data from Pyramid Research, Ringtone isn't where you want to be in Latin America.
Pyramid, the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network, found that Ringtone's revenue falls short in Latin America as mobile Internet access will account for almost 79 percent of all non-messaging mobile data revenue by 2014.

The glass is half full: Pyramid's third quarter 2009 Latin America mobile data forecast found that 11 percent of total mobile data subscribers will be ring tones users by year-end 2009. The glass has a crack in the base: The same study found "deeper opportunities for network operators clearly lie in mobile Internet services."
The increasing importance of mobile Internet in the data revenue pie is "a clear trend in every single market, growing the fastest in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico," writes Cesar Jimenez, in Pyramid Point's "LA Mobile Operators Turn a Deaf Ear to Ringtones," adding that in his estimation, by 2014, "mobile Internet access in Latin America will account for $16.5 billion, or almost 79 percent of all non-messaging mobile data revenue, whereas ring tones will make up four percent."

Written by Pyramid analysts, Pyramid Points are complimentary online notes on market, business, and regulatory developments in the global telecoms industry.

ShareMethods has announced the availability of ShareSpaces for AppExchange on the AppExchange.

"We are thrilled to launch ShareSpaces for AppExchange," says Eric Hoffert, CEO of ShareMethods. "We look forward to delivering benefits to customers with the launch of ShareSpaces for AppExchange."

ShareSpaces officials bill their products as letting companies "connect everyone in the sales and marketing value chain -- prospects, customers, salespeople, partners, and marketing teams -- into social workspaces."
ShareMethods' other AppExchange offerings include ShareNow for document sharing and collaboration, ShareOffice for document creation and electronic signing on-demand and ShareSpaces, for "private ad-hoc sharing spaces." 
ShareSpaces' three-step wizard lets users set up brand-specific ShareSpaces by "creating document categories and inviting users with defined roles for collaboration," company officials explain: "Content can be copied and distributed between ShareSpaces, allowing companies and partners to create hierarchical and interconnected networks of social work spaces."
The product also has support for document versioning, workflow, and such community features as rating, reviews, and tagging. Documents in ShareSpaces are accessible from Salesforce CRM. It's available immediately and is priced on a cost effective per user per month basis.

Sydney-based Contact People, a specialist contact center consultancy in recruitment and home agent managed services, says with the "predicted recruitment boom next year," now's the time to get your ducks in a row.
"Contact centers are going to experience increasing difficulties to recruit quality agents which could ultimately effect customer service levels and higher customer churn," company officials warn.

Company officials cite research from reporting that Australian contact centers are now spending 69 per cent of their available budgets on human resources, including salary, benefits, recruitment and training costs -- with four percent going to rent. Is it all that much better where you are? reports that flexible work arrangements are the most effective strategy currently used to retain employees in a contact center: "The benefits of home agents are undeniable," says Paul Smith, Managing Director, Contact People. "Contact centers can access a far greater pool of quality agents that offer the flexibility and scalability to ramp up or down based on demand."
Smith says he sees the advantages of the home agent workforce in a flexible workforce "which often begins with the onset of the holiday season and the need to staff up."
Smith points to Aussie online retail and auction company GraysOnline, which sells in excess of 120,000 items of all kinds each month to both consumers and businesses. On average every month its contact center handles 12,000 voice calls and 6,000 e-mails. Such a company has used their services, he says.

Infusionsoft, which sells automatic follow-up software for small businesses, has announced the creation of a Business Development department "aimed at cultivating strategic partnerships," company officials say.
Dave Lee, an Infusionsoft veteran, was appointed as vice president of the newly-created department and Tyler Garns as vice president of marketing. Lee, a 15-year veteran, previously served as vice president of marketing for five years and Garns as director of marketing.

Clate Mask, CEO and co-founder of Infusionsoft, said the move was an effort to "broaden our partnership program with the creation of the Business Development department."

As vice president of business development, Lee's team is tasked by Infusionsoft with "forging relationships through the company's existing Partner Program and with new partners."
Marketing and business growth expert -- and Infusionsoft partner -- Dan Bradbury calls strategic partnerships "key to business success and momentum in today's environment, and this represents a competitive move from a smart company." 

Garns will focus on "building the Infusionsoft brand via marketing, communications and social media," company officials say.

Ottawa-based QNX Software Systems, The Company That Can Always Google Itself, has announced that its QNX CAR application platform is powering the ng Connect Program's LTE Connected Car concept vehicle.
QNX officials say this demonstrates how Long Term Evolution 4G networks can bring video-on-demand, Internet radio, and other wireless broadband services to the automobile. 
The QNX CAR application platform provides the software foundation of ng Connect's LTE Connected Car concept vehicle. The platform provides all of the car's system software and infotainment applications, including the real-time operating system, touchscreen user interfaces, streaming media players for YouTube and Pandora, navigation system with Google local search.

It also offers Bluetooth and portable device connectivity, multimedia playback, hands-free integration, climate controls, Adobe Flash games, application store technology, and a virtual mechanic.

QNX is a Harman International company and vendor of operating systems and middleware for the in-car infotainment market. The vendor has licensed its software technology for more than 12 million in-vehicle systems worldwide. 
The auto application platform has attracted more than 50 technology partners and automotive customers, including Adobe, Cisco, Daimler, Delphi, Freescale, General Motors, Google, Gracenote, IBM, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Panasonic, Pandora, and Volkswagen.

Recently, the QNX CAR application platform was noted with an Adobe MAX recognition for its use of Adobe Flash technology.


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