Richard Adhikari

About the Author Richard Adhikari


Trends

Experts Identify 6 Emerging Influencer Marketing Trends

Influencer marketing has become an area of strategic importance for marketing departments, according to Traackr. B2B technology companies are aware of the trend, according to the paper’s coauthor, business consultant Mark Schaefer, but they lag in implementing influencer marketing programs. Interviews with 10 marketing experts suggest that influencer marketing requires a fundamental shift.

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Deals

Digital River, Adobe Strengthen Cloud Commerce Alliance

Digital River has expanded its ties with Adobe Experience Manager to offer an end-to-end cloud commerce solution targeting the high-tech industry. The new solution, which is based on a 2015 agreement to integrate Digital River’s cloud-based Global Commerce Platform with Adobe Experience Manager, offers brands a fresh approach for bolstering their direct channel strategy and competitive position.

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Sales

Hootsuite Adds New Social Selling Tool

Hootsuite on Monday launched Amplify for Selling, a mobile-first solution that helps sales teams succeed on social by generating leads and fostering revenue-driving relationships. The new tool is an extension of Hootsuite’s Amplify employee advocacy product, which is focused on the business-to-business market. Amplify for Selling integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

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Deals

Verizon Makes New Oath

Verizon last week completed its US$4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s operating business assets, merging it with its existing AOL business to create Oath. The new subsidiary encompasses more than 50 media and technology brands — including HuffPost; Yahoo Sports, Finance and Mail; AOL.com; Makers; Tumblr; TechCrunch; Flickr; and Build Studios.

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Deals

Amazon Spends $14B on Whole Foods

Amazon has inked a deal to acquire Whole Foods Market for close to $14 billion in cash. The agreement includes assumption of Whole Foods’ net debt. Whole Foods will run as a wholly independent subsidiary of Amazon. It will continue to operate stores under its own brand and source products from vendors and partners. Cofounder John Mackey will continue in his role as Whole Foods’ CEO.

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E-Commerce

Visa Seeks to Build Online B2B Ecosystem

Visa this week announced the Visa Ready Program for Business Solutions, a strategic framework to help ensure that tech companies integrating with Visa’s B2B payment services and data solutions meet the company’s standards and are market ready. The program lets Visa’s tech partners quickly integrate and approve various Visa B2B payments solutions, including enhanced data, virtual card integration, payables automation, and payment controls.

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Deals

SoftBank to Take Fearsome Robots Off Alphabet’s Hands

SoftBank on Thursday announced that it will acquire robotics company Boston Dynamics from Alphabet, parent company of Google. SoftBank Robotics is the company’s subsidiary that focuses on the development, sales and maintenance of humanoid and service robots. “Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution,” said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.”

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Deals

Pegasystems Nestles in AWS, Azure Clouds

Pegasystems has deepened its 7-year-old relationship with Amazon AWS, and also has teamed up with Microsoft Azure, company officials told Pegaworld attendees on Tuesday. The deals are part of a series of planned partnerships aimed at giving Pega’s clients choice in their cloud environment and avoiding lock-in. Pega last month inked an agreement to deliver Pega software on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

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Enterprise Apps

Salesforce Offers Alternative to Old-School Partner Portals

Salesforce on Wednesday announced the Sales Cloud Lightning Partner Relationship Management app as a replacement for partner portals and electronic data interchanges that lack modern features such as built-in mobile, social analytics and AI capabilities. The PRM app has an interactive Guided Setup Wizard that lets channel managers configure, customize and deploy the app in days.

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Customer Experience

Verizon Aims to Help Firms Get Up Close and Personal With Customers

Verizon Enterprise Solutions has released Visual Interactive Calling, an SDK and platform designed to enable banks, retailers, airlines, travel and hospitality companies, and other firms to communicate visually with their customers. “The sweet spot for this solution is enterprises that have deep mobile app penetration into their customer base,” said Tom Smith, a CX manager at Verizon.

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Cybersecurity

Report: Cybersecurity Dangerously Lax at Mar-a-Lago

Internet security at Mar-a-Lago — the private club President Trump owns and has dubbed the “Southern White House” — is weak, based on a recent investigation. Trump has used the resort to meet with staffers and foreign heads of state on official business. In February, he took a call about a North Korean ballistic missile launch in Mar-a-Lago’s dining room, with members and waiters present.

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Health

Wearable Tech Can Detect Life-Threatening Heart Problems

Cardiogram last week announced that it has developed a preliminary algorithm to use with the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices to detect atrial fibrillation with higher accuracy than previously validated detection methods. Atrial fibrillation, or AF, affects about 2.7 million Americans, and increases the risk of stroke by five times. Overall, it causes about 15 percent of strokes.

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Developers

Raspberry Pi Fans Can Build Their Own AI Voice Assistant

Google and AIY Projects have launched an open source DIY artificial intelligence Voice Kit for Raspberry Pi hobbyists. The AIY Voice Kit includes hardware for audio capture and playback, connectors for the dual mike daughterboard and speaker, GPIO pins to connect low-voltage components such as micro servos and sensors, and an optional barrel connector for a dedicated power supply.

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Enterprise Apps

Salesforce Rejiggers Enterprise Apps Partner Plan

Salesforce on Tuesday launched the AppExchange Partner Program, or APP, for developers, independent software vendors and startups, as a replacement for its current ISV Partner Program. The APP will cost much less. Its baseline percent-net-revenue model for all new APP partners has been slashed from 25 percent to 15 percent. Current partners will be eligible for the new PNR terms on contract renewal.

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customer service

Congress Probes United Airlines’ Customer Mishandling

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on Tuesday apologized to the United States Congress for his company causing a passenger to be dragged off a UA flight last month. United failed its customers and failed as a company in that incident, and this has to be a turning point for the airline, Munoz told the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee at a hearing into airline industry practices.

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Consumer Security

Burger King Ad Creates Whopper of a Mess for Google Home

Burger King in essence hijacked the voice-activated Google Home speakers in some consumers’ homes. In a 15-second television ad, the camera zooms in on a young man wearing the company uniform who says, “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” The trigger phrase for Google’s AI Assistant activated Home speakers situated nearby, prompting them to read Wikipedia’s description of the Whopper.

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Smartphones

Bixby Will Be Seen but Not Heard When Galaxy S8 Launches

Samsung on Wednesday said that Bixby Voice will not be operational when its Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones hit the market. Some Bixby features — Vision, Home and Reminder — will be active when the phones become available on April 21, Samsung said, but the Bixby Voice capability won’t show up until later this spring. The delay may be due to a weakness in Bixby’s English language chops.

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customer service

United Airlines Gives Appalling New Meaning to Customer Service

United Airlines’ self-made firestorm spread on Tuesday, as a video showing a passenger being forcibly dragged off a plane continued to make the rounds on social media. The passenger had refused to comply after being told he’d been bumped off the Sunday flight. The incident sparked international outrage, including calls for a boycott of the airline and for CEO Oscar Munoz to step down.

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Search Tech

Google’s Fact Check Labeling System Goes Global

Google has extended the Fact Check feature it introduced last fall. Publishers now can display a Fact Check tag in news stories everywhere that Google News is available. The company also has introduced the Fact Check feature globally in Google Search, in all of the languages it supports. Not all stories will be fact checked, though, and only certain publishers will be able to participate.

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