Archive for October 8, 2020

Sonos Serves Up Their Must Have Gifts For 2020

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 8, 2020 by itnerd

While the holidays will look a little different this year, Sonos believes the right sound — your favorite track, a throwback holiday film, even the crackles and pops of a yule log — can make everything merrier and brighter.

Sonos is sharing our new Sonos Gift Guide to spark gift giving inspiration this holiday season. Here’s a few of our favorites that they thought would be of interest to you:

  • The Endorphin Enthusiast — You know that friend who’s always posting a sweaty selfie? With Sonos Move, they can soundtrack their workouts and experience studio vibes from home or anywhere their training session takes them. Sweatproof and drop-resistant, Move works seamlessly for backyard yoga or bedroom cycling.
    • Did You Know? 68% of people say if they’re thinking about skipping a workout, music can help get them started.
  • The Sports Fanatic — Sports may look a little different this year, but you can bring the stadium vibes to the living room with Sonos Beam for the friend who lives for game day. Beam’s compact size is perfect for a room where space is at a premium but still powerful enough to get you on your feet.
  • The Nostalgist — For your crate-digging friend who could use a (slight) modernization to their retro lifestyle. With Sonos Five, they can give their vinyl collection new life by connecting it to their turntable for a high fidelity listening experience. Pair with another Sonos speaker and enjoy your favorite record in any (or every) room, or stream direct from your favorite music app. 

You can find out more about these stats by taking a look at the Sonos Brilliant Sound Survey.

New Cisco Webex Innovations Help Employees Be More Productive From Anywhere

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 8, 2020 by itnerd

The pandemic has dramatically changed how we work—and how we feel about going back to our offices. According to a new global survey, 95% of workers are uncomfortable about returning to the office given the current health crisis, 98% expect future meetings will have participants joining from home, 53% of companies are planning to optimize their office footprint, and 96% want intelligent technology to improve work environments.

With that as the backdrop, Cisco’s collaboration group today announced innovations for both the remote and the in-office experience—to help teams stay safe and get great work done as companies navigate 2020 and beyond. With the goal of creating a 10x better meeting experience, innovations announced today are as follows:

Making remote work 10x better than in person experiences: Webex meetings
According to the survey, 58% say they will continue to work remotely eight or more days per month even after the pandemic is over—so it’s critical that companies nail the video meeting experience. Webex is full of features to help users before, during and after meetings. Today we add even more: 

  • Show up the way you want.  Waiting in the lobby before you’re let into the meeting? Use that time to personalize how you’ll appear in the meeting. We’ve enlarged the view so you can clearly see how your background will appear—or select a virtual background. Cisco has added more of those, too.
  • Stop searching for how to ____ (fill in the blank). Webex has a new, elegant design which puts controls in the most logical place without covering shared content or your video —and even adapts to your screen size. Want to chat with someone? Hover over them. Need to change your audio? Hover over yourself. Simple.
  • Make it yours. Hate it when your screen fills with a big gray box because the person who is talking isn’t sharing video? Now you can tell Webex to hide non-video participants. This is just one of many new customizable options. Customize once, enjoy every meeting.
  • End the background noise. Distracting noise on Webex meetings is a thing of the past. By the end of this month, technology from our BabbleLabs acquisition will both quash the whirr of the vacuum and enhance the speaker’s voice so you can hear clearly.  (Read related press release here.) 

Technology to help workers safely return to the office—when it’s time
Whether you think a return to the office is three, six or even 12 months away, companies know they must prepare now since far-reaching changes are needed.  Companies need to optimize their space, address worker concerns about sanitation and social distancing and plan how to communicate policies and information clearly. Cisco is giving customers the data and tools to make this journey back to the office. Specifically, Cisco is adding:

  • Even more environmental sensors in Webex devices. Cisco has pioneered the use of sensors in collaboration gear provide important environmental datapoints to users, IT and employee experience experts to ensure and safe and comfortable workplace. Previously Cisco announced sensors that detect ambient noise levels and count the number of people in a space. These existing sensors—and the data they collect—become even more important now as they can identify underutilized or overcrowded spaces. Additional sensors will now also collect data on room temperature, humidity, air quality and light. Plus, they have made our people counting capabilities smarter. Thanks to machine learning, Webex will help ensure compliance with room capacity limits, counting people whether they are wearing face masks or not —no matter where they are in the room. Quickly identifying workspaces with environmental roadblocks lets companies take action to improve productivity and the quality of the meeting experience, for both in-office and remote participants.
  • Webex Room Navigator: New devices for inside and outside meeting rooms. Companies need a new approach to the meeting space to ensure safety and optimize use. Cisco is announcing today two versions of the new Webex Room Navigator. These are purpose-built devices that contain all the sensors mentioned above. They sit either inside or outside the meeting room to provide intelligent, safe room booking for users and deep data for IT and facilities managers. The out-of-room model makes it simple to find and book a space to meet; it clearly shows when the room is free and changes the status to booked when you enter. Activate it with touch or—to avoid touching a possibly contaminated surface—just use your voice. The in-room model provides alerts for social distancing, cleaning schedules, and more and allows you to book from inside the space, too. Both versions have a digital signage mode—so companies can use the screens to convey important information. Even better: built-in “no-show” technology automatically senses if no one shows up for a scheduled meeting and frees up the room for another team’s use.
  • Webex Control Hub: Deep, actionable workplace analytics. Webex’s survey highlighted that fewer than half of all companies can measure room utilization, which means they lack the visibility needed to set proper cleaning schedules—a top concern of employees as they contemplate returning to the office. Webex Control Hub provides this much-needed visibility. Now it will provide historical insights into both room utilization and room environment metrics such as rooms booked but not used, median occupancy across all spaces, and ambient noise levels. These insights provide actionable information for workplace decision makers to optimize real estate utilization.

Partner Integrations: Targeted value to protect employees even further.

Citrix is announcing three integrations:

  • Digital signage and team communications with Appspace. Integrated within Control Hub so it is super-simple to set up, Appspace  gives companies dynamic and modern digital signage and team communications options both in the office and at home for workers with Webex Desk Pros.
  • Collaboration insights with Vypota. Gain deeper, actionable insights across people, space, and technology for both in-office and remote collaboration.  With Vyopta’s support of Cisco and third-party UC technologies, intelligently plan safe office returns and optimize collaboration experiences.
  • Wayfinding with MazeMap. If your meeting room hits its capacity for safe social distancing, our integration with MazeMap can help identify an additional nearby room that’s available and guide users to it, so your meeting can continue efficiently.

Salesforce Serves Up Consumer Predictions For The 2020 Holiday Shopping Season

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 8, 2020 by itnerd

For the past several months, the pandemic has forced many companies to operate at Black Friday levels of efficiency everyday as people move to digital commerce. Throughout Q2 2020, Canadian digital commerce grew by 120% and in Q3 by a further 68%. As we approach the holidays, it is predicted that this year’s COVID-19 shaped holiday shopping season will see a 30 percent spike in global online holiday sales, and 65% of Canadian shoppers who plan to shop will shop online more this year than they did in previous years.

As we enter an unprecedented retail season, Salesforce wanted to share new consumer insights and predictions. The aggregated data used to produce these holiday insights is from the activity of over one billion global shoppers across more than 40 countries, powered by Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud platform and publicly available third party data sources.

Key info includes:

  • Global online holiday sales are predicted to grow 30 percent year-over-year (up from 8 percent growth in 2019)
  • Total digital sales are expected to reach a record high of $940 billion globally 
  • The surge is expected to accelerate digital commerce to 18 percent of total retail sales globally 
  • Overall holiday sales are expected to be flat despite this digital growth, with an expected $5.1 trillion in global holiday sales

FOUR MAJOR HOLIDAY SHOPPING PREDICTIONS FOR 2020

Prediction #1: Fulfillment Concerns Will Overshadow Brandy Loyalty

  • Two converging pressures from traditional carriers are expected to arise from the spike in online orders:

1.       The overall volume of packages that need to make it from a retailer to a customer’s doorstep will likely exceed shipping capacity by five percent globally, potentially delaying up to 700 million holiday packages

2.       Approximately $40-billion of COVID-19 delivery surcharges are expected between November 15 and January 15 globally, as shippers prepare for a massive shift to digital commerce

  • To avoid a fulfillment crunch, retailers are offering alternative pickup options such as buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS)

Prediction #2: Holiday Demand Will Start Sooner

  • The combination of Amazon’s Prime Day event in mid-October and consumers eager to ensure their packages arrive on time will lead to an earlier start in the holiday shopping season.
  • This earlier demand is expected to shift up to $26 billion globally to the month of October 
  • Cyber Week digital traffic is still expected to grow by 28 percent year-over-year—a trend accelerated by nearly ubiquitous access from mobile phones and the fact that fewer people will be rushing to stores on Black Friday

Prediction #3: Growth in Online Shopping Means a Spike in Holiday Returns

  • More digital purchases will mean an increase in returned merchandise. In total, $280 billion in online purchases are expected to be returned globally—30 percent of all purchases made
  • Consumers are predicted to engage 30 percent more with service agents this holiday season

Prediction #4: New Consumer Behaviours will Drive Hot Product Categories

  • The rapid change in consumer behavior brought on by the pandemic will drive a different set of top products this year
  • Beauty, electronics and gaming will once again be top holiday spending categories in 2020 but home furnishings and decor, home fitness and toys are among the new leading categories this year

→ Link to the holiday predictions HERE

OpenText Makes Electronic Signature Accessible To Organizations Of Every Size

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 8, 2020 by itnerd

OpenText™ today announced that it has expanded its electronic signature offering, which is now available to small and medium-sized businesses, large enterprises and developers. The offering includes a full feature, low-cost option of Core Signature for small and medium-sized businesses and the Core Signature Service for developers looking to integrate e-signature into custom-built applications.

“Successful and resilient organizations are digitizing processes and empowering remote workers with the tools they need to close business,” said Muhi Majzoub, OpenText Chief Product Officer. “Organizations of any size can deploy Core Signature for critical business processes, providing users the ability to sign documents within the applications they use most.”

OpenText Core Signature enables employees and partners to sign quotes, contracts, and other documents in a fast and hassle-free way. The OpenText portfolio of electronic signature offerings enable customers to incorporate electronic signature into their business processes in a way that best suits their needs. 

OpenText Core Signature is the right choice for organizations of every size:

  • OpenText Core Signature is a SaaS application that enables customers to sign and approve digital documents quickly and easily from anywhere at any time. It deploys immediately, delivering a complete, full-feature electronic signing solution, helping digitize key approval processes and save time during signature collection. Access the 14-day free trial, here.
  • OpenText Core Signature  can also be deployed as an add-on to OpenText™ Core Share, combining secure document management and sharing so that organizations can collaborate on documents from authoring all the way to signature.
  • Core Signature Service empowers developers to easily build and integrate secure, rapid electronic signing for document preparation into new applications, critical business applications or existing OpenText solutions. The service is also available to OpenText OEM partners.

OpenText is offering a 14-day free trial of its new standalone Core Signature offering. Access the free trial and learn more about OpenText Core Signature, here.