Transform Tablets Into The Ultimate Sales Tool With Augmented Reality Apps

JP Gownder

I recently spoke with metaio, an augmented reality solutions provider based in Munich, Germany. The company develops both enterprise- and consumer-oriented augmented reality solutions for smartphones, tablets, and -- increasingly -- for Google Glass.

Although metaio creates augmented reality applications for a wide variety of usage scenarios – enterprise tools to assist assembly lines, factory floors, design studios, and consumer shopping experiences for IKEA and Macy’s – I’m particularly struck by the potential of augmented reality for use by sales reps.

SCENARIO 1: AUGMENTED REALITY AS A SALES ENABLEMENT TOOL

At their best, augmented reality tablet applications can reshape the entire sales process. Metaio created an app for Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating to create a new interaction model between salesperson and homeowner. Prospective buyers considering Mitsubishi’s mini-split, ductless central air systems must install wall-mounted units in various rooms of their home. “The number one question prospective buyers ask is, ‘what is that unit going to look like on my wall’?” said Sudhanshu Kapoor, Business Development Manager at metaio.

Using the augmented reality app with an Apple iPad, homeowners receive a vivid representation of what the unit will look like, as this video demonstrates.

 

Results:  (1) A richer customer experience during the sales cycle. (2) Allayed fears among buyers who worry what the units will look like. (3) A faster sales cycle, performed on site. (4) Higher close rates and revenues. (5) Lower printing costs for sales collateral.

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Cloud Collaboration Services Adoption Is Highest In Asia Pacific

Nupur Singh Andley

According to Forrester’s Forrsights Combined Budgets and Business Decision-Makers Survey, Q4 2012, 61% of Asia Pacific (AP) organizations are currently using or actively planning to implement software-as-a-service (SaaS) for collaboration, which puts AP adoption ahead of both North America and Europe (see the figure below). I believe that the increased rate of adoption of cloud-based collaboration services is mainly due to three key factors:

  • The consumerization of IT, changing social behaviors, and AP end user communication preferences are compelling organizations to consider deploying enterprise collaboration solutions. To this end, cloud collaboration services are gaining traction among organizations seeking to extend collaboration capabilities to their employees, while also minimizing the costs associated with both hardware and operational expenditures.
  • The easy provisioning and simplified maintenance of cloud-based collaboration services allows organizations to quickly operationalize new sites and individual accounts with minimal IT effort.
  • The strong focus from service providers like Orange Business Services and Verizon Business in building and strengthening their regional capabilities in cloud collaboration services is leading to an abundance of service options for customers that are competitively priced and packaged to align with their requirements.
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Nirvanix's Demise Emphasizes The Need For Hybrid Clouds And Storage Mobility

Henry Baltazar

The untimely demise of Nirvanix has left over 1,000 customers scrambling to migrate data off of the cloud storage service provider and with a short two-week timeframe to save their data. While providers have gone to great lengths to make data import into the cloud easy by eliminating data ingest fees, large data sets in the cloud are difficult to retrieve or migrate to a new target. The recent example with Nirvanix highlights why customers should also consider exit and migration strategies as they formulate their cloud storage deployments.

One of the most significant challenges in cloud storage is related to how difficult it is to move large amounts of data from a cloud. While bandwidth has increased significantly over the years, even over large network links it could take days or even weeks to retrieve terabytes or petabytes of data from a cloud. For example, on a 1 Gbps link, it would take close to 13 days to retrieve 150 TB of data from a cloud storage service over a WAN link.

To minimize risks in cloud storage deployments and facilitate a graceful exit strategy (just in case things go sour), I recommend customers take the following steps:

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Google Is Poised To Revolutionize Consumer Retail

JP Gownder

Infrastructure professionals are now all too familiar with the dynamics of bring-your-own (BYO) technology and devices: Their workers walk into the office with consumer technology all the time. This post is one in a continuing series on how consumer retail stores act as de facto extensions of the IT department in today's BYO world.

The rumors have abounded for more than six months: unconfirmed whispers that Google will open up its own major chain of consumer retail stores. The company has dipped its toes into the retail waters with Chromebook-focused kiosks in the U.S. and the U.K. over the past few years, with installations inside larger retailers like Best Buy, Dixons, and Currys.

A Google Kiosk in the U.K.: Not Yet Reaching Revolutionary Heights

Yet while kiosks – particularly those staffed by Google employees – offer some value in promoting Google’s products and services, the company has a much greater opportunity for late 2013 into 2014. Kiosks aren't going to foment a retail revolution. To quote the popular Star Wars geek meme, "these aren't the droids you're looking for."

No, it's time for Google to think big  to go gangbusters. To do something nobody has done as well previously. Why is this imperative?

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Build Or Colocate? The ROI Of Data Center Facilities In India

Manish Bahl

Many Indian CIOs and their infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams are in the market for a new data center as their existing data centers are running low on space, power, and cooling capacity. Forrester finds that data growth, virtualization, and consolidation are the main culprits behind these capacity challenges in India. For instance:

  • Data growth increases data center storage investments. Forrester estimates that storage consumes somewhere between 5% and 15% of the total power consumed in the data center and that the volume of data is growing by 30% to 50% per year.
  • Virtualization drives higher-density infrastructure architecture. Organizations face pressure to support more extreme compute densities and experiment with new infrastructure architectures.
  • Data center consolidation puts more pressure on centralized facilities. Per Forrester’s Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Survey, Q4 2012, consolidating IT infrastructure was a critical or high priority for nearly 70% of Indian IT decision-makers. This means more power, cooling, and space for centralized sites.
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The Coming Wave of PC Industry Consolidation

JP Gownder

Microsoft’s recent purchase of Nokia affirmed the company’s entry into the hardware business, which now forms a core component of its “devices and services” strategy. That journey began with entertainment devices (like the market-leading Xbox and the now-defunct Zune), continued with the Surface and Surface Pro Windows 8 devices, and reaches its logical conclusion with all of Nokia’s smartphones.

Microsoft’s move cements and validates a number of trends in the computing industry:

  • All the major platform players have gotten into hardware. Apple is of course the most vertically integrated platform player, creating hardware, operating systems, and software for its ecosystem. Google is in the hardware game too, having acquired Motorola in 2011, partnering to produce Nexus 4, 7, and 10 devices, and, most tantalizingly for the future, selling Google Glass. Amazon makes its Kindle and Kindle Fire HD devices, which are tightly coupled with its content and services. Even Facebook tentatively experimented with hardware in its collaboration with HTC on a Facebook Home phone.
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Adobe proves that the cloud is good for IT Ops

James Staten

Adobe Systems is a pioneer and fast mover in the public cloud and in so doing is showing that there is nothing for infrastructure & operations professionals (IT Ops) to fear about this move. Instead, as they put it, the cloud gives their systems administrators (sysadmins) super powers ala RoboCop.

RoboCop 2014This insight was provided by Fergus Hammond, a senior manager in Adobe Cloud Services, in an analyst webinar conducted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) last month.  Hammond (no relation to Forrester VP and principal analyst Jeffrey Hammond) said that Adobe was live on AWS in October 2011, just 8 months after its formal internal decision to use the public cloud platform for its Adobe Creative Cloud. Prior to this there were pockets of AWS experience across various product teams but no coordinated, formal effort as large or strategic as this.

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Top 5 Things Rapper Drake Can Remind Us About Service Management

Amy DeMartine

Forrester is big on music. Conference rooms are named after bands or musicians and headquarters just held a music festival.   As for me, I am a big Drake fan.   Therefore, to honor Drake (shout out to Noah “40” Shebib too!) and with a nod to the love of music at Forrester Research, I have combed through his lyrics and here’s the top 5 things I think Drake can remind us about service management:

  1. “I be yelling out: money over everything, money on my mind”  Especially after a long week of dealing with outages, changes gone awry, or a huge volume of service requests, it is good to remind ourselves why service management is so important.  At its heart, service management solves critical business problems or enables business success.  Good service management can make employees more productive which in turn makes the company more profitable.   How are you measuring success?  More on that later.
  2. “There ain't really much out here that's popping off without us” Whether it is business processes or applications that support functions such as HR, Finance, R&D, Marketing, or Sales, service management is at the heart of it all.  Service Management should be enabling, monitoring, and measuring all of these business processes and therefore making you relevant to the business success or failure.
  3. “It’s hard to do these things alone” Services are reliant on the networks, servers, databases and all other parts of IT to run smoothly.  Boundaries can easily pop up between functions of IT.  Work hard to break down those boundaries to make everyone’s job easier. 
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WebRTC: The Next Wave Of Innovation In Customer Engagement

Nupur Singh Andley

In the age of digitally empowered customers, advancements in the ubiquitous, multimedia web collaboration space will gain momentum, riding on the developments in web real-time communication (WebRTC) technology. While still nascent in Asia Pacific, according to WebRTC Stats, as of March 2013 more than 11% of the video calls in Asia Pacific were made leveraging the technology.

The central theme of the WebRTC project is to enable interconnectivity between web browsers for real-time communications via a JavaScript API (application programming interface). It aims to achieve interoperability on two distinct levels:

  • At the platform level to eradicate the need for codec download to establish the connection between different web browsers, as is the case today.
  • At the application level to allow multimedia sessions to run simultaneously on the same connection.
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To Build Or To Colocate Your Next Data Center – That Is The Question

Sophia Vargas

Technology and business leaders don’t always fully understand the true costs and risks associated with both building and operating a data center. Data center facilities are one of the largest line items in an IT infrastructure budget, and these costs can run into the tens or even hundreds of millions over a data center’s lifetime. If you’re currently looking for more data center capacity, before you make a decision, it’s important to understand the cost and risk implications of your choice and justify the business case to your executives and budget holders.

Using Forrester’s Total Economic ImpactTM (TEI) methodology, we built an ROI calculator to help infrastructure & operations professionals evaluate three approaches to greenfield data center implementations: traditional builds, modular builds, and colocation. In this model, we quantify the costs, risks, and benefits associated with each scenario and calculate the net present value (NPV) of this investment over 15 years.

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