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The Google Chromebook, Suddenly, Is An Enterprise Contender

Eric Lai

Everyone was gearing up for a Tablet Battle Royale between the iPad and the Windows 8 armada. Now comes spoiling for the fight over the enterprise is the small fleet of Google Chromebooks, led by the $249 Samsung ARM Chromebook.

HANDS-ON: The elusive Windows Phone 8 Samsung ATIV S

Everyone was gearing up for a Tablet Battle Royale between the iPad and the Windows 8 armada. Now comes spoiling for the fight over the enterprise is the small fleet of Google Chromebooks, led by the $249 Samsung ARM Chromebook.

Google’s Chromebook hadn’t been on my radar, I confess. The first models from Samsung and Acer were so meh. And Google seemed content to quietly market them exclusively to K-12 schools.

But the ARM-based Samsung Chromebook has my full attention. Hello, my $249 gorgeous…

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That caused me to belatedly examine all of the progress the Chromebook has made in the past year. Not only did I come away impressed, but Google’s mobile platform moves suddenly made sense to me. Its hardware partners may disagree, but Google doesn’t really care if Android makes it in the enterprise. It’s a consumer platform. The cloud-centric Chrome is its enterprise play.

Let’s recap:

The first Chromebook was released at $349 more than a year ago. The price was good, but not great. But Samsung’s sleek new $249 Chromebook aggressively undercuts the $499 iPad on price the way many observers thought Microsoft needed to do with the Surface RT.

Instead, it’s the new Chromebook that is:

  • half the price of the iPad and the Surface RT;
  • half to one-third the price of Windows 8 convertible tablets (see my gallery of 17 of them here). Without keyboards, most of these Atom-based ‘tabtops’ or ‘laptablets’ run between $500 and $900;

At these prices, what CIO or IT manager wouldn’t give the Chromebook a serious look?

 

crazy-eddie

 

You’d have to be crazy not to

The new Chromebook is also a dramatic improvement in looks – important in the age of the Consumerization of IT. Whereas the first Chromebooks were drab, stripped-down laptops, the latest Samsung model sports MacBook Air-like looks and dimensions (0.8 inches thin, 2.4 pounds). It bears little resemblance to its forebears or their common ancestor, the undersized-yet-chunky netbook. As Computerworld put it, “Make no mistake about it: This is an attractive computer.”

The new Chromebook is also more powerful under the hood, being the first mobile device to sport Samsung’s Exynos 5 system-on-chip. The Exynos 5 uses a dual-core, 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 CPU that can support up to 2560×1600 resolution, 1080p video at 60 frames per second, and USB 3.0.

The Cortex-A15 has been benchmarked running twice as fast as the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3, which, coincidentally, is used in the Surface and the Google Nexus tablet. The Cortex-A15 is so fast that the iPhone 5, probably the fastest mobile device today, was initially thought to be running it.

Alas, there’s theory and there’s IRL (In Real Life). The new Chromebook seems to be shackled by its 2 GB of RAM, with reviewers saying that the browser becomes sluggish after you open a dozen browser tabs or so. That’s annoying, but with an 11.6-inch, 1366-x768 screen, the Chromebook wasn’t going to please Browser Hoarders, anyway.

(For faster performance, you can opt for the $449 Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550, which has a dual-core Intel Celeron chip and 4 GB of RAM.)

Google has also improved the Chromebook’s offline capabilities so that you can read and write e-mail and Google Docs while disconnected from the cloud. Besides the 16 GB of local storage on the SSD, you also now get 100 GB of Google storage, too.

Mobile Device Management with the Chromebook

You can argue that enterprises aren’t as easily impressed by price tags as consumers. What they care about is Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO), which is related mostly to the cost and time of managing devices.

Here, Google also claims its Chromebook shines, with a TCO that is just a fraction of a PC (try their calculator). Organizations can ship a Chromebook straight to an end user and auto-enroll and provision their network settings, apps and other policies the first time they log into the Web. This “zero-touch deployment” should be music to the ears of IT admins.

IT managers can later update the OS, track assets, push updates and block apps, apply group policies etc. all via Google’s Web-based management console. Security is a no-brainer, says Google, since it installs security patches to the Chrome browser quickly and behind the scenes.

If you prefer to outsource management and support, Google will do it and charge you a flat fee of $150 per Chromebook for the lifetime of the device. For schools, it’s just $30 per Chromebook.

Stealth Uptake

With all of the publicity around the iPad’s success in education, it’s little known that the Chromebook has also attracted more than 500 school districts in the U.S. and Europe. They include:

  • Richland School District 2 (SC) – 19,000 Chromebooks
  • Council Bluffs Community School District (IA) – 4,300 Chromebooks
  • Leyden Community High School District (IL) – 3,500 Chromebooks

There is also Hanover School District (PA), University of Connecticut and Kingston University in London, and the schools shown on this map. 

I must’ve really been asleep at the switch, as the Chromebook also has won some mainstream enterprise users. They include Mollen Clinics (4,500 Chromebooks), California State Library (1,000 Chromebooks), the Dillard’s Inc. retail chain, test prep provider, Kaplan, Logitech, the city of Orlando, the U.S. Army. See this map for testimonials and MSPMentor for excellent coverage.

What if you’re a company that doesn’t want your investment in Windows applications to go to waste? Well, there are third-party tools like Citrix Receiver and Ericom AccessNow that let you remotely access Windows applications running on desktop PCs or servers. Trucking firm, Quality Distribution Inc. (QDI), and the aforementioned Richland and Hanover school districts, Kingston University and the University of Connecticut all use Ericom’s Accessnow. If don’t want the hassle of managing that data center, there are also cloud services like nGenx that can host those Windows desktops or applications.

Chromebooks can also be great for organizations with slim capital budgets. You can rent Chromebooks from CIT Group for $30 a month with no long-term commitment.

Who Should Get The Chromebook?

Chromebooks won’t be right for every organization. For enterprises that are standardized on Windows and an Active Directory-based management infrastructure, Google’s MDM solution will feel like an extra fee to pay and an extra dashboard to manage. That’s what Microsoft and Windows 8 proponents are betting upon.

Also, I would argue that Google’s TCO figures are overly-optimistic, as they assume companies will standardize on the Chromebook for mobile. That’s unrealistic, if you want to be at all responsive to the needs of your employees, partners and customers. In many companies, Chrome would be a 3rd or even 4th mobile platform. Those enterprises will need to invest in cross-platform MDM AND Mobile Enterprise App Platforms.

With that in mind, I think Google would be smart to start working on integrating its Chromebook management console with mainstream MDM or PC management software. Or, at the very least, opening up the APIs so that other software can do the heavy lifting.

Also, even with its slightness and 3G option, the Chromebook is fundamentally more of a laptop replacement option for white-collar employees and other workers who rarely stray away from their corporate campus and its Wi-Fi network.

The Chromebook is NOT a true mobile device for field service and any jobs involving extended time away from a desk. Here, I include repairmen, store employees and doctors, and many many more. For them, touch-enabled tablets or convertibles make more ergonomic sense, IMHO.

But I could be wrong. Do you think enterprises should adopt Chromebooks? Why or why not?

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Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

Eric Lai previously worked in Enterprise Mobile Solutions Marketing at Sybase, an SAP company. His specialties include blogging, journalism, social media, marketing communications, content strategy and writing and editing.

Why New Technology Has An Adoption Problem

Danielle Beurteaux

When 3D printing became a practical reality, in the sense that the actual printers became more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible to the average consumer, there was an assumption that the consumer 3D printing market was going to take off. We’d all have printers at home printing…. what? Our clothes? Toys? Spare organs?

That has yet to happen. 3D printing company MakerBot just went through its second employee layoff this year, driven by a market that’s developing much slower than predicted.

That same thinking is in play with a somewhat more prosaic technology – digital wallets. Apple Pay was released this year, as was Samsung Pay. There’s also Google’s Android Pay. During an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are more confident than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.” But that expectation has yet to be realized, at least vis-à-vis consumers.

Consumers aren’t using any of the digital wallets en masse. According to Bloomberg, payments made via mobile wallets – all of them – make up a mere 1% of retail purchases in the U.S. The reason is that consumers just don’t see a compelling reason to use them. There’s no real reward for them to change from SOP.

Both these instances highlight a problem with assumptions about mass adoption for new technology – just because it’s cool, interesting, and accessible doesn’t mean a market-worthy mass of people will use it.

Who is more likely to use mobile wallets? Emerging economies without a stable financial and banking systems. In those environments, digital payments present a more secure and quicker method for purchasing. These are the same areas where mobile adoption leapfrogged older technologies because there was a lack of telecommunications infrastructure, i.e. many never had a landline phone to begin with, and they went directly to mobile. The value-add already exists. (But there are also security issues, to which consumers are becoming more sensitive. A hack of Samsung’s U.S. subsidiary LoopPay network was uncovered five months post-hack. Although one was expert quoted as saying the hackers may not have been interested in selling consumer financial info but instead in tracking individuals.)

Here’s some interesting data and a good point made: mobile payments are most popular in situations where the buyer already has his or her phone in hand and the transaction is made even quicker than swiping plastic. For example, purchases made for London Transit rides are responsible for a good portion of the U.K.’s mobile payments.

Mass technology adoption is no longer driven simply by the release of a new product. There are too many products released constantly now, the market is too diverse, and the products often lack a true raison d’être.

Learn more about how creative and innovative companies are finding their customers. Read Compelling Shopping Moments: 4 Creative Ways Stores Connect With Their Customers.

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Mobile Marketing Continues To Explode

Daniel Newman

If your brand isn’t among those planning a significant spend on mobile marketing in 2016, you need to stop treating it like a fad and step up to meet your competition. Usage statistics show that today people live and work while on the move, and the astronomical rise of mobile ad spending proves it.

According to eMarketer, ad spending experienced triple-digit growth in 2013 and 2014. While it’s slowed in 2015, don’t let that fool you: Mobile ad spending was $19.2 billion in 2013, and eMarketer’s forecast for next year is $101.37 billion—51 percent of the digital market.

  1. Marketers follow consumer behavior, and consumers rely on their mobile devices. The latest findings from show that two-third of Americans are now smartphone owners. Around the world, there are two billion smartphone users and, particularly in developing regions, eMarketer notes “many consumers are accessing the internet mobile-first and mobile-only.”
  2. The number of mobile users has already surpassed the number of desktop users, as has the number of hours people spend on mobile Internet use, and business practices are changing as a result. Even Google has taken notice; earlier this year the search giant rolled out what many referred to as “Mobilegeddon”—an algorithm update that prioritizes mobile-optimized sites.

The implications are crystal clear: To ignore mobile is to ignore your customers. If your customers can’t connect with you via mobile—whether through an ad, social, or an optimized web experience—they’ll move to a competitor they can connect with.

Consumers prefer mobile — and so should you

Some people think mobile marketing has made things harder for marketers. In some ways, it has: It’s easy to make missteps in a constantly changing landscape.

At the same time, however, modern brands can now reach customers at any time of the day, wherever they are, as more than 90 percent of users now have a mobile device within arm’s reach 24/7. This has changed marketing, allowing brands to build better and more personalized connections with their fans.

  • With that extra nudge from Google, beating your competition and showing up in search by having a website optimized for devices of any size is essential.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find you online; SEO integration for mobile is even more personalized, hyper local, and targeted to an individual searcher.
  • In-app advertisements put your brand in front of an engaged audience.
  • Push messages keep customers “in the know” about offers, discounts, opportunities for loyalty points, and so much more.

And don’t forget about the power of apps, whose usage takes up 85 percent of the total time consumers spend on their smartphones. Brands like Nike and Starbucks are excellent examples of how to leverage the power of being carried around in someone’s pocket.

Personal computers have never been able to offer such a targeted level of reach. We’ve come to a point where marketing without mobile isn’t really marketing at all.

Mobile marketing tools are on the upswing too

As more mobile-empowered consumers themselves from their desks to the street, the rapid rise of mobile shows no signs of slowing down. This is driving more investment into mobile marketing solutions and programs.

According to VentureBeat’s Mobile Success Landscape, mobile engagement—which includes mobile marketing automation—is second only to app analytics in terms of investment. Mobile marketing has become a universe unto itself, one that businesses are eager to measure more effectively.

Every day, mobile marketing is becoming ever more critical for businesses. Brands that fail to incorporate mobile into their ad, content, and social campaigns will be left wondering where their customers have gone.

 

For more content like this, follow Samsung Business on InsightsTwitterLinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare

The post Mobile Marketing Continues to Explode appeared first on Millennial CEO.

photo credit: Samsung Galaxy S3 via photopin (license)

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Daniel Newman

About Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication service provider. Prior to this role Daniel has held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies. Daniel is also widely published and active in the Social Media Community. He is the Author of Amazon Best Selling Business Book "The Millennial CEO." Daniel also Co-Founded the Global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 Business and Leadership Accounts to Follow on Twitter. Newman is an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Newman currently resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 9, Avery 5). A Chicago native all of his life, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist

Running Future Cities on Blockchain

Dan Wellers , Raimund Gross and Ulrich Scholl

Building on the Blockchain Framework

Some experts say these seemingly far-future speculations about the possibilities of combining technologies using blockchain are actually both inevitable and imminent:


Democratizing design and manufacturing by enabling individuals and small businesses to buy, sell, share, and digitally remix products affordably while protecting intellectual property rights.
Decentralizing warehousing and logistics by combining autonomous vehicles, 3D printers, and smart contracts to optimize delivery of products and materials, and even to create them on site as needed.
Distributing commerce by mixing virtual reality, 3D scanning and printing, self-driving vehicles, and artificial intelligence into immersive, personalized, on-demand shopping experiences that still protect buyers’ personal and proprietary data.

The City of the Future

Imagine that every agency, building, office, residence, and piece of infrastructure has an entry on a blockchain used as a city’s digital ledger. This “digital twin” could transform the delivery of city services.

For example:

  • Property owners could easily monetize assets by renting rooms, selling solar power back to the grid, and more.
  • Utilities could use customer data and AIs to make energy-saving recommendations, and smart contracts to automatically adjust power usage for greater efficiency.
  • Embedded sensors could sense problems (like a water main break) and alert an AI to send a technician with the right parts, tools, and training.
  • Autonomous vehicles could route themselves to open parking spaces or charging stations, and pay for services safely and automatically.
  • Cities could improve traffic monitoring and routing, saving commuters’ time and fuel while increasing productivity.

Every interaction would be transparent and verifiable, providing more data to analyze for future improvements.


Welcome to the Next Industrial Revolution

When exponential technologies intersect and combine, transformation happens on a massive scale. It’s time to start thinking through outcomes in a disciplined, proactive way to prepare for a future we’re only just beginning to imagine.

Download the executive brief Running Future Cities on Blockchain.


Read the full article Pulling Cities Into The Future With Blockchain

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Dan Wellers

About Dan Wellers

Dan Wellers is founder and leader of Digital Futures at SAP, a strategic insights and thought leadership discipline that explores how digital technologies drive exponential change in business and society.

Raimund Gross

About Raimund Gross

Raimund Gross is a solution architect and futurist at SAP Innovation Center Network, where he evaluates emerging technologies and trends to address the challenges of businesses arising from digitization. He is currently evaluating the impact of blockchain for SAP and our enterprise customers.

Ulrich Scholl

About Ulrich Scholl

Ulrich Scholl is Vice President of Industry Cloud and Custom Development at SAP. In this role, Ulrich discovers and implements best practices to help further the understanding and adoption of the SAP portfolio of industry cloud innovations.

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Why HR Is The New Marketing

Michael Brenner

In a world of infinite media choices, the best way to reach new buyers and new talent might be right under your nose. Your own employees represent the greatest opportunity to create meaningful marketing and to develop human resources programs that increase sales, while also finding and retaining top talent. Is HR the new marketing?

In the battle for new talent, HR departments have been forced to expand their role from hiring and firing, overseeing personnel systems and processes, and handling benefit management to include leadership development and training, employer branding, and diversity initiatives.

HR has been forced to adopt strategies that look, well, very much like marketing. These days, HR develops campaigns to grow employer awareness, to build the employer brand as a “great place to work,” and to retain top talent—all traditional marketing objectives.

While many in HR have embraced these traditional marketing skills, the most effective companies are moving beyond HR simply applying marketing techniques to a whole new opportunity. These effective companies are actually activating employees as a new marketing channel to achieve both HR and marketing objectives.

Proceed with caution

One of the biggest obstacles to achieving the potential of employees as a new marketing channel is the perception of marketing as advertising.

Asking (or forcing) your employees to share product content on their social media channels is just as dangerous as asking them to share (or guilting them into sharing) what a great place your company is to work.

Consumers are increasingly ignoring and blocking advertising messages, with some research even suggesting that promotional messages from brands can have the opposite of their intended effect. These misguided efforts can actually cause sales to decline!

While some employees may authentically share their excitement and passion for the products they work on, the projects they are engaged in, and the company they work for (and we should celebrate that), this is not a sustainable strategy for getting new customer or talent.

Content marketing and HR

Content marketing has emerged as one of the hottest trends in marketing. Marketers are learning to think and act like publishers to create entertaining, interesting, or helpful content that consumers actually want to read and share (vs. promotional ads). And this approach allows a brand to reach, engage, convert and retain new customers.

The opportunity to activate employees to achieve marketing and HR objectives starts by creating content they naturally want to share.

As the first VP of content marketing at SAP, I learned to tap into the power of my fellow employees to create a marketing program that delivered massive ROI. The biggest lesson I learned: HR is the new marketing!

With a limited budget for content, I asked our internal experts to write articles on whatever they wanted. We had one editorial rule: no product promotion. Our internal experts could explore their professional or personal passions and interests, even if it meant writing about cat videos. Because somewhere out in the world, I believed there was a potential customer, employee, partner or investor who might also loved cat videos. (No one ever wrote about cat videos. Bummer!)

I even created a slideshare deck to explain the value for these employees/budding content marketers:

  • Grow your personal brand
  • Increase or establish your authority on the topics you are interested in
  • Gain new social media followers
  • Maybe even find that new job or get promoted

We also encouraged this behavior by publicly recognizing our top articles and authors each week in a round-up post. We made rock stars of the best performers as their social connections and influence increased. And this drove more employees to sign up.

Today, that site has hundreds of employee contributors. All are growing their personal brand, while expressing their passions and expertise to the world. And many of the employees who don’t write articles voluntarily share the content with their social connections.

As LinkedIn’s own Jason Miller mentioned in his article, the trick is to define what’s in it for them.

Why does this work?

Because you can create massive momentum when we combine the needs of our customers, our employees, and our company based on THEIR own distinct interests:

  • Companies want more loyal customers and talented employees.
  • Employees want purpose and meaningful work that has real impact on their career and the world.
  • Customers want to form relationships with brands on their terms and based on their self-interest

What you can do to activate HR as the new marketing

1. Create a customer-centric vision

Look around your organization, and you will see people above you, below you, and beside you. The traditional org chart still exists to focus on your position in the hierarchy. But where’s the customer? Where is the customer in your org chart? 

Even if your company mission isn’t customer-centric (“we are the leading provider of widgets”), your marketing vision must be. And there is one simple formula to get there:

Become a sought-after destination for which topicin order to deliver what customer value or impact.

2. Create content employees who want to share

According to LinkedIn, the combined connections of employees on the LinkedIn platform is 10 times larger than any company’s followers. And just 3 percent of company employees sharing branded content generate 30 percent of the views and clicks on that content.

Platforms such as LinkedIn Elevate, social selling programs, and other tools can dramatically increase the reach of your content, grow your company’s social presence, and improve the effectiveness of marketing programs — without spending a single dollar on paid media.

But you have to create content your employees want to share. You might even ask them to help you. The trick is to explain what’s in it for them: creating or sharing content can help them build more connections, establish relationships with other leaders in your industry, and grow their personal brand so they can achieve happiness in their careers.

3. Measure the results

Measure the impact of your employee content sharing for your company. Demonstrate how it has benefited the employees (increased connections, awards, and recognition). Discuss ways to profile your best customers as well.

And partner with your colleagues across HR, marketing, and sales to determine the best ways to continuously optimize what is working for everyone.

If you’re in marketing, it’s time to start thinking about your colleagues in HR as your new best friend. And if you’re in HR, it’s time to think about how marketing can help you acquire and retain the best talent — while making the leadership team happy as well.

For more strategies that create a culture that drives business growth, see Employee Advocacy = Engaged Employees.

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Michael Brenner

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of  The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider GroupHe has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and   a top  CMO influencer by Forbes.