Season 2 Episode 29 Speedway Motors Podcast Now Available
Over 45% of Gen Zers are victims of cyberbullying
Art criticism in the era of social media
New Survey Elevates Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) as the Force Multiplier for Digital Experiences
Lambda256 Closes Digital Collectibles “Voltron” Licensing Deal with NBCUniversal
The new website of ARTEMIS real-time location system is officially launched
Elsevier expands MedReprints service to Global Customers
Bat Boy Found in West Virginia Cave 30 Years Ago; Americans Push to Make June 23rd a National Bat Boy Holiday
Cube Chain Test-Net Goes Online: A Prelude to Enhanced On-Chain User Experience
Revolutionize Remote Working with New Automated Lecture Capture Solution – CaptureCast
Zoom Whiteboard, the Collaboration Canvas for Hybrid Teams, Now Available
Today, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. announced the general availability of Zoom Whiteboard, a modern digital canvas that provides a unified solution for collaboration and creation within the Zoom platform. Users can interact with the Zoom Whiteboard similar to an in-person experience, creating more visually engaging and efficient collaboration. With the global workforce embracing hybrid work environments across industries, there is an increased need for solutions that seamlessly foster ideation and teamwork among co-located and distributed colleagues. Zoom Whiteboard further broadens the capabilities of the Zoom platform for today’s hybrid workforce, including unified communications, Zoom Developer Platform, Zoom Events, Zoom Contact Center, and Zoom IQ for Sales. “Collaboration tools are in high demand, and Zoom Whiteboard is sure to be a staple in the modern workforce,” said Dan Root, Senior Analyst of Visual Collaboration, Wainhouse Research. “Zoom brings over a decade’s worth of experience in exceptional video communications to this new solution, which businesses need to keep information flowing in a secure and easily-managed fashion.” “Not only are we supporting customers as they adapt to this new phase of work, but we’re anticipating what comes next, and building platform solutions, like Zoom Whiteboard, to address it,” said Oded Gal, Chief Product Officer of Zoom. “Zoom Whiteboard is arming teams with the power of continuous communication in an easy-to-use solution that provides a virtual space to collaborate before, during, and after a meeting.” [Whiteboard Anytime, From Anywhere] Hybrid work presents challenges for working collaboratively as remote workers can’t see a physical whiteboard in the office and risk being left out. It can also be challenging to transport ideas and information across a broad audience. Zoom Whiteboard is a visual collaboration tool designed to facilitate asynchronous and real-time collaboration, serving as a virtual space for teams to capture ideas and work together with freedom and flexibility. A web-based solution, users can effortlessly collaborate across a variety of devices – web browser, tablet, desktop, or Zoom Rooms for Touch. Tightly integrated with Zoom Meetings and Zoom Rooms for Touch devices like the DTEN D7 and Neat Board, with support for Zoom Chat coming soon, Zoom Whiteboard extends productivity well beyond the boundaries of a single meeting. Complement your Zoom Rooms with a dedicated Companion Whiteboard, like the new DTEN ONboard, the first purpose-built interactive touch display for advanced whiteboarding coming soon. [Features Designed for Collaboration] Zoom Whiteboard comes with a host of easy-to-use features including: Dashboard and easy sharing: Create new, manage existing, and share access to whiteboards. Zoom Whiteboard can be shared internally or externally with anyone that has a Zoom account, with the option to export and save. Notes and comments: Use sticky notes to highlight important ideas. Shapes and Connectors: Shapes are easily created, and connectors can be used to instantly attach those shapes. Extendable Canvas: Create up to 12 pages with seamless navigation; users can easily add images. To learn more about Zoom Whiteboard, please visit the Whiteboard page and read our blog.
Zoom Announces Platform Innovations to Elevate the Total Customer Experience
At its second Work Transformation Summit, a virtual gathering of business leaders that offers actionable insights for navigating the transformation and future of work, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) unveiled its latest innovations in the Zoom platform to help businesses improve customer and employee experiences for the new ‘work anywhere’ workforce. Announced today, Zoom IQ for Sales, a conversation intelligence solution for sales professionals, as well as new Zoom Events and Webinar functionalities such as backstage and Webinar session branding, are putting engagement at the center of the experience and transforming the way we work, connect, and collaborate. “Every interaction counts in a video-first world – whether it’s a call with a customer service agent, a video meeting with the sales team, or a hybrid event with customers and prospects. World-class customer engagement is where competitive differentiation happens,” said Oded Gal, Chief Product Officer at Zoom. “Following our recent launch of Zoom Contact Center, Zoom IQ for Sales, and our latest Zoom Events innovations mark further steps in Zoom’s journey to establish new heights for customer experiences and flexible collaboration across the workforce.” “These new innovations are yet another example of Zoom’s ability to bring new solutions to life quickly and seamlessly, based on the needs of its customers,” said Dave Michels, Founder and Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. “With the introduction of Zoom Events, Zoom Contact Center, and now Zoom IQ for Sales, the Zoom platform is poised to make an impact on reimagining the customer experience, by expanding it to include the entire customer journey from marketing to sales to ongoing support – the total customer experience.” - Zoom IQ for Sales: Zoom’s First Step In Conversation Intelligence Optimized efficiency: Zoom IQ for Sales increases seller productivity with automation for next steps and risk assessments, and quick search functionality. Integrated: Tightly integrated with Salesforce®, leading calendars, and Zoom Meetings, Zoom IQ for Sales consolidates workstreams and provides an aggregated view into conversations and opportunities. Easy-to-use: Zoom’s intuitive web interface makes it easy for admins to onboard users and manage their integrations and quick for users to view insights and recordings. Scalable: On-demand scalability – businesses can easily add users as needed. Zoom IQ for Sales is now available as an add-on for Zoom Meetings customers with support for Zoom Phone coming soon. Zoom IQ for Sales is the first iteration of Zoom’s conversation intelligence technology under the Zoom IQ umbrella, with potential future use cases by product, industry, and use case. To learn more about Zoom IQ for Sales, please visit the Zoom IQ for Sales page and read our blog. - Zoom Events & Webinar Enhancements: Improving the Presenter Experience Virtual and hybrid events are crucial to a brand’s marketing strategy, allowing them to connect with customers and prospects on their terms. One of the most requested features for Zoom Events, the all-in-one platform that allows brands to create virtual and hybrid experiences, has been a gathering place for speakers before, during, and after a session. To meet this need, Zoom is launching backstage, a new feature that allows panelists, speakers, and production crews to stay behind the scenes while viewing the live webinar feed, chatting with each other, answering attendees’ questions, and practicing their presentations. Zoom announced two more Zoom Webinar innovations, designed for anyone who wants to present information to a large online audience attending from anywhere in the world on any device: Webinar reactions: Webinar attendees can use reactions. The stream of submitted reactions is displayed in the bottom-right corner of the main webinar window, visible to the host, panelists, and attendees. Webinar session branding: Hosts can customize the appearance of the in-webinar experience by adding a wallpaper behind the video tiles, setting a common virtual background for all panelists, and providing name tags for each panelist. Webinar reactions and session branding are available now, and Zoom Events backstage will be generally available in late April 2022. The Zoom Events’ session experience is also available now on Zoom Rooms, allowing hosts and attendees to join events from Zoom Rooms appliances. To learn more about the latest Zoom Events, please visit the Zoom Events page and read our blog. For more information on Zoom’s innovations, or to watch any of the sessions from industry leaders taking place today, please visit our Work Transformation Summit page.
Zoom Announces New Education Features, Enhancing Hybrid Learning Experience for Educators and Students
Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) today announced, at the CoSN2022 national conference, new features for education in response to requests from teachers and administrators. These features span Zoom’s Chat and Meetings offerings and are designed to support teachers who need to engage and manage students joining class remotely or submitting homework assignments. Virtual Background & Blur for Chromebooks Chromebooks are a popular choice for students and teachers. Virtual background and blur are now available for Zoom for Chrome Progressive Web Application (PWA) users. Zoom developed this capability after requests from various education customers, including Clayton County Public Schools, one of the 100 largest school districts in the United States, serving more than 52,000 students in Georgia. “Virtual background and blur for Chromebooks are extremely beneficial to our students and teachers. Many students were reluctant to turn their cameras on before this feature enhancement,” said Rod Smith, Chief Technology Officer, Clayton County Public Schools. Breakout Rooms Enhancements Breakout Rooms, a popular education feature, also received enhancements in this latest release. Program Audio allows meeting hosts to share content with audio to Breakout Rooms, adding the ability to share videos with audio. With the LTI Pro integration enhancement, educators can populate Breakout Rooms from the course roster. This can be used to assign Breakout Rooms in advance, then automatically sort students into Breakout Rooms. Additional Features for Chat and Waiting Room Other new features include sending audio and video messages into Zoom Chat, and the ability to rename participants in the Waiting Room. Asynchronous video allows users the time to consider their responses and then record as needed to provide thoughtfully crafted responses. Users can click “video” at the bottom of the chat client and record up to a 3-minute video message that goes directly into the out-of-meeting chat channel. This is useful for situations such as students submitting brief video assignments. Renaming participants before they join the meeting can be useful for attendance taking where students may be using shared devices, for creating an anonymous student group, or for affirming gender identity. Anywhere Polls Anywhere Polls will allow polling content to live in a central repository that can be accessed from any meeting on an account, instead of being associated with a particular meeting. This will make it easier for instructors to reuse polls and will also be beneficial for grading. This feature will be available soon. “We’re looking forward to the Anywhere Polls feature,” said John J. “Ski” Sygielski, Ed.D., President and CEO of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. “The polling enhancements will make it simpler for large groups of students to provide feedback across the College. It will be easier than ever for instructors to replicate content for each course.” “Delivering happiness to our customers is the core of what we do at Zoom,” said Johann Zimmern, Global Education Strategy Lead, Zoom. “We work closely with our global K-12 and higher education customers, taking their requests into account and involving them in feature development. As a direct result of this, Zoom developed these exciting new features for education.”
AccuWeather Network Special April Programming Focuses on Safety, Climate Change
AccuWeather Network presents its special Spring 2022 programming, kicking off April 6th, 2022 with #SafePlaceSelfie Day where AccuWeather broadcasters share their personal tips on "knowing your safe place at home or at work" when severe weather happens. Later in the month, AccuWeather Network has planned the following week-long content specials covering a range of topics from severe weather preparedness to the impacts of climate change. Additional titles include: (1) Get Ready for Spring! Severe Weather Awareness, an AccuReady Week Special “Get Ready for Spring’” through April 10th on AccuWeather Network and accuweather.com features tips on how prepare homes for spring inside and out from cleaning your gutters to checking your HVAC systems and what to do after spring storms or tornadoes and how to keep safe. (2) Our Changing World The AccuWeather Network series running April 18th – 24th "Our Changing World" looks at the far-reaching, often destructive, impact of climate change, exploring threats to coastal communities and water issues. (3) Celebrating Earth Day Nearly 1 billion people celebrate Earth Day! All week, April 18th – 24th AccuWeather Network and accuweather.com covers Earth Day celebrations across the US and around the world, a look at the history of Earth Day and what it means to efforts to preserve our natural world. AccuWeather Network is available 24/7 on DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream, AT&T TV, Fios, Frontier, Spectrum,Fubotv, Philo or you can stream AccuWeather NOW on IMDB TV, Roku, XUMO, Plex, STIRR, LG and any supported devices.
Omnichannel Engagement Is Becoming a Centerpiece of Customer Experience Strategy for Many Organizations, According to Dash Research
Although brands have been transforming their customer experience (CX) models over the last several years, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many organizations’ plans for deploying omnichannel engagement strategies, according to a new report from Dash Research. An omnichannel strategy is a cross-channel strategy that gives a seamless and integrated experience to users across multiple channels. Unlike multichannel strategies, where each channel is managed individually, omnichannel engagement strategies streamline all customer touchpoints under a single platform, with a consistent and continuous experience for the user. “To enable omnichannel engagement, companies must remove data silos and capture and analyze customer interactions at scale,” says principal analyst Keith Kirkpatrick. “With these insights, organizations can uncover pain points, concerns, or challenges, and take action to improve omnichannel CX and drive increased customer retention and loyalty.” Kirkpatrick adds that there are five key market drivers for the growth of omnichannel engagement strategies: Poor levels of customer support A growing shift to digital interactions Changing demographics of customers The COVID-19 impact on sales, service, and support CX as a competitive differentiator Like any technology or approach, however, there are technical and operational barriers to complete market adoption. Dash Research’s analysis indicates that the most notable barriers to adopting and incorporating an omnichannel engagement strategy within the enterprise are: Technical challenges with implementing disparate software and workflow processes A lack of an agreed-upon and supported omnichannel vision Training and personnel issues Privacy issues Dash Research’s report, “Omnichannel Customer Engagement”, examines the market issues, drivers, and barriers for the use of platforms, software applications, and services that enable the deployment of omnichannel engagement strategies for CX. Several case studies illustrating the various ways omnichannel engagement is being used by end users are included in the report, along with best practices, software selection criteria, and recommendations for deploying omnichannel engagement strategies. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
imimobile and SMARTY Partner to Bring End-to-End Personalised Communication to Its Growing Customer Base
imimobile, the global cloud communications software and solutions provider (part of Webex by Cisco), has announced that SMARTY, a UK SIM-only mobile network, has deployed imiconnect and imicampaign to support its growing subscriber base and drive a more seamless customer experience across its marketing journeys and digital channels. With imimobile’s communications platform as a service (CPaaS) solution – imiconnect - at its core, SMARTY can now better support seamless customer engagement across its customer onboarding programme as well as throughout its in-life and retention campaigns which required greater need for effective, cross-channel, personalised communications. This has allowed SMARTY to replace disparate services and vendors, consolidating these channels and services to minimise costs, maximise operational efficiencies and improve campaign response rates. Replacing the manual processes of previous solutions with imimobile’s multi-channel CPaaS technology has provided SMARTY with better automation through one central platform to manage all its customer interactions. Its teams now have real-time insight into the communications customers are receiving and how they are interacting and responding to these, which in turn offers the ability to add further levels of automation and intelligence throughout the customer journey to improve the overall experience. “As we continue to grow our customer base, it was becoming apparent that we needed to change the way in which we interact with customers,” said Sayed Hajamaideen, Head of Marketing & Propositions at SMARTY. “Our ethos is simple, honest mobile and we found that imimobile aligned very strongly to this with its easy, straightforward, and intelligent technology. SMARTY is in an extremely competitive industry, and we are an ambitious company – we were looking for a highly personalised, automated customer experience solution that would keep pace with the speed at which we are moving. imimobile has helped overhaul our entire approach to customer communications through its CPaaS platform and multi-channel capabilities to ensure a frictionless experience for our growing customer base.” imiconnect sits at the heart of SMARTY’s customer communications, from welcome and onboarding to loyalty and retention campaigns. It directly integrates with SMARTY’s existing systems, including its CRM platform, which allows SMARTY to automate communications with customers at key moments to, for example, ‘refer a friend’ or ‘leave a review’. This integration also provides a complete view of the customer and helps SMARTY’s teams to craft appropriate communications specific to their journeys. The platform also syncs with SMARTY’s Trust Pilot reviews programme, using rich communication services (RCS) to make it even easier and more convenient for customers to leave reviews, with SMARTY now reaching a 70% 5-star rating. This end-to-end journey orchestration allows for more interactive conversations that better relate to each individual customer and their needs at that time. “We know that customer experience is becoming a board-level discussion, as more and more business leaders understand its increasing impact on the bottom line,” said Jay Patel, VP & GM, Webex CPaaS. “SMARTY is at the forefront of this curve, seeing the critical importance for implementing a CPaaS solution to manage its customer communications. They needed a better solution to support their customer base, one that could help evolve marketing-led journeys to an end-to-end customer experience. The imiconnect platform acts as a central hub, delivering automation, personalisation, innovation, and a multi-channel approach to support how SMARTY is able to engage their customer base at each and every stage of their journey. Using this approach to reaching out across the most appropriate channel, SMARTY has unsurprisingly seen up to a 500% uplift in campaign engagement compared to the traditional single channel approach.” With automation, personalisation, and the ability to innovate with agility at its core, imimobile enables seamless 'two-way' communications for SMARTY’s customers, giving customers the ability to respond directly in the same channel where they have received the messages from SMARTY’s team. This joined up communication across all channels has made it extremely easy and efficient for SMARTY to continually communicate with its customers in a place and time that suits them best so that they can be kept up to date with new products and services, while also be able to make informed decisions on tariffs and packages. For more information on imiconnect, please visit imimobile.com/products/imiconnect
Survey reveals investors predict Africa's internet economy is set to boom
Professional investors are forecasting strong growth in the value of Africa’s internet economy with mobile phones central to the expansion, new global research* for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows. The study with professional investors responsible for around $700 billion assets under management by independent research company PureProfile found one in four (25%) expect the value of Africa’s internet economy to more than double over the next three years from the current estimated $115 billion. ** More than half (51%) expect it to be worth more than $200 billion by 2025. Increased use of mobile phones will be central to the growth which will be further enhanced by improved affordability, the study with investors in the US, Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Nigeria, and Switzerland found. Around 71% of investors expect affordability of mobile phones in Africa to improve over the next three years – currently it is estimated they account for around 6.8% of monthly incomes on average ***– while nearly all professional investors (97%) believe the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand for mobiles. World Mobile is launching its unique hybrid mobile network supported by low altitude platform balloons in Zanzibar which it plans to roll-out throughout the continent. It is already in discussions with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators. Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said: “Professional investors see the opportunities for the African internet economy and are clearly expecting mobile phones to play a central role in driving it forward over the next three years. “Affordability is central to the increasing adoption of mobile phones but none of it is achievable without connectivity. We want to help create a world where everyone can access affordable connectivity, a world where economic freedom is a truth and a world where people are able to jump on the opportunities that internet creates.” Professional investors questioned believe healthcare is the sector which will see the most benefit from increased connectivity. Around 53% highlighted the opportunities for healthcare ahead of e-commerce on 42% and media and entertainment on 40%. Education was chosen by 33% of professional investors questioned alongside finance which was selected by 34%. World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, providing a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs. The World Mobile approach is more sustainable, in environmental, social and governance terms. Environmental impacts are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology. World Mobile creates a positive societal impact through the application its circular economy model – a “sharing economy” where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network. Governance is maintained by the secure underlying blockchain technology, which means that user data privacy is guaranteed and not commercially applied as it is by other mobile operators. ### * Independent research company PureProfile interviewed 100 professional investors across wealth management, asset management, institutional investment, pension funds, banking, private equity and financial services in Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Nigeria, Switzerland, the UK, and the US during January 2022 using an online methodology ** Africa's booming internet economy needs more software developers — Quartz Africa (qz.com) *** Mobile-Internet-Connectivity-SSA-Factsheet.pdf (gsma.com)
SINGAPORE COURT ORDERS LARGEST BLOCK OF ILLEGAL STREAMING SITES IN SINGAPORE
The Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) commends the Singapore High Court for granting an Order to block 30 illegal streaming sites and almost 150 associated domains responsible for the distribution of considerable quantities of illegally streamed content in Singapore. The Order was obtained by CAP members, BBC Studios, Discovery Communications, LaLiga, the Premier League and TVB International against illegal streaming sites that were offering access to some of the most sought-after content including premium sports, drama and entertainment. The Order covered the greatest number of sites and domains yet sought by CAP members. Under the Order Internet Service Providers must disable access to these illegal sites and their associated domains. The Order is part of CAP’s ongoing campaign in Singapore and around the region against illegal streaming sites. “Illegal streaming sites are simply illegal,” said CAP’s General Manager, Matthew Cheetham. “Piracy is not a victimless crime and hurts not only content providers but also consumers who can be exposed to viruses and malware when accessing illegal sites, including malware that can access a user’s sensitive data such as banking details”. The Order comes shortly after the release of a new study commissioned by CAP, “Time to Compromise”. The study showed that a typical user visiting illegal streaming sites could be infected by ransomware, several trojan horses, and other Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) within 42 seconds on a Windows machine, and 78 seconds for an Android device. The results support the hypothesis that there is a nexus between illegal streaming sites and malware infections, where site operators generate significant revenue from allowing malicious ads to be placed on their sites. Malware authors can in turn gain access to consumer PCs and mobile devices, and all of the data held in storage, including access to banking login details and other sensitive logins. A study on the online content viewing behaviour in Singapore, commissioned by CAP and conducted by YouGov shows that blocking sites is effective with the percentage of Singaporean consumers accessing illegal streaming sites and using Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs) dropping in recent years. “Enforcement is key but so is consumer education,” said Cheetham. “This Order carries a dual purpose in not only blocking access to illegal content but also informing consumers that the sites are illegal.”
Redbox Adds AccuWeather NOW Live Streaming Service to its Lineup
AccuWeather NOW, the new video streaming product from AccuWeather, the proven leader in weather forecast accuracy, announced it has joined Redbox’s growing roster of over 100 free streaming TV channels, meeting an increasing demand for streaming weather and climate news and content. Redbox customers can now access AccuWeather’s forecasts as well as 24/7, continuous daily programming, dedicated to all things weather, including extreme and natural events, global forecasts, climate and weather-related news impacting our changing world and long-and short-form documentaries through the streaming platform, accessible and free to watch and stream from any device. Redbox’s streaming app offers access to stream over 100 Free Ad Supported TV (FAST) channels, in addition to its catalog of thousands of movies and TV titles On Demand. The AccuWeather NOW streaming service on Redbox’s channel lineup features dramatic weather video; stories illuminating the potential impact of forecasted weather on sports, health, travel and other everyday activities; engaging social weather content from popular platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and others; as well as long-form storytelling of major weather events and environmental wonders around the world. “We are delighted to bring AccuWeather NOW to Redbox’s growing user base and footprint, delivering high-quality streaming content as audiences’ appetites grow for weather and climate news, that is free and easy to find,” said Sarah Katt, General Manager of the AccuWeather Network, which streams AccuWeather NOW. “AccuWeather’s streaming channel delivers great content and stories beyond a traditional forecast,” said Chris Yates, General Manager of Redbox On Demand. “Having AccuWeather NOW available 24 hours a day to our customers, especially during severe weather, is a fantastic addition to our Free Live TV service.” AccuWeather NOW steaming service complements AccuWeather’s existing suite of platforms, including its award-winning 24/7 national AccuWeather Network, which already reaches 36 million households with another 1.5 billion people globally accessing AccuWeather forecasts via digital devices, such as desktop and apps, as well as radio, television and newspapers and digital out of home.
Zoom Introduces Category-Redefining Contact Center Solution
Today, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) announced Zoom Contact Center, an omnichannel contact center solution that is optimized for video and integrated right into the same Zoom experience. Now available, Zoom Contact Center, previously Zoom Video Engagement Center, combines unified communications and contact center capabilities with the useability of the Zoom platform. Zoom Contact Center supports customer service use cases and workflows using channels like video and voice, with SMS and webchat currently in beta. The Zoom platform is powering the future of communications beyond meetings with unified communications, the Zoom Developer Platform, Zoom Events, and now Zoom Contact Center. These innovations – and there are many more – were created with the same level of scalability and simplicity that has made Zoom the trusted platform for more than a half-million businesses worldwide. - Innovation Through Video Zoom Contact Center will have over 100 agent, supervisor, and contact center administrator features at launch. Future investments will include additional channels, CRM and workforce management integrations, and AI/ML to optimize agent productivity. At launch, Zoom Contact Center will extend traditional capabilities typically optimized for voice to provide a unique end customer experience through channels like video. “Zoom understands the importance of bringing together UC and multichannel contact center into the same experience,” said Blair Pleasant of BCStrategies. “Zoom is known for great video, which is important for high-touch customer scenarios and internal use cases like IT help desk, employee helpline, and revenue-generating activities. But the fact that Zoom Contact Center supports routing, additional channels, and the agent functionality organizations need, means that Zoom Contact Center could become the modern contact center solution of choice.” - Enabling Connected Work From Anywhere Contact center agents are frequently tied to physical contact center locations, and if able to work remotely, often still need to navigate multiple communications tools. Zoom Contact Center streamlines inefficiencies by bringing communications into one central hub. In addition to helping end customers with a rich agent experience, agents can collaborate with peers, supervisors, or other employees right in Zoom Chat and channels. Unified communications and contact center together empowers agents to be more productive from any location while feeling connected to the larger organization. “Previously, contact center infrastructure was complex to deploy, expensive to operate, and time-intensive to upgrade. Zoom Contact Center was carefully designed to meet the needs of the modern agent and end customer, both of which expect a personalized, digital, and effective contact center experience,” said Oded Gal, Chief Product Officer of Zoom. “I am pleased to announce the general availability of Zoom Contact Center, building upon the reliable Zoom platform model and bringing the experiences our customers know and love to yet another industry.” - Ensuring Ease of Deployment and Use Zoom Contact Center is simple for administrators to configure and deploy, including a graphical drag-and-drop IVR designer. Contact center administrators can easily create menus, greetings, and prompts right in the same Zoom Admin portal. Zoom Contact Center can also integrate chat and video into an existing digital presence, like a website, helping organizations have conversations with customers in the right context and at the right time. “Our members trust us with their most privileged information, so when they need support, it is our responsibility to provide them with the expertise First Federal Credit Union is known for,” said Chris Neal, Senior Vice President Operations of First Federal Credit Union. “With Zoom Contact Center, our contact center supervisors have the ability to organize service representatives based on skills, so when a member reaches out, we can now route their inquiries directly to experts that are equipped to handle their unique needs. A process that would previously require multiple service representatives can now be accelerated and streamlined into a single conversation. We’ve seen our overall call time and pick-up time improve significantly as we provide more efficient resolution and a better experience for our members.” Customer choice is an essential value of the Zoom platform. In addition to Zoom Contact Center, Zoom intends to maintain its valued existing contact center partnerships. Zoom Contact Center is now available in the U.S. and CA, with more international availability coming later this year. To learn more about Zoom Contact Center, please visit the Zoom Contact Center page and read our blog.
Simplifying Social Media for Small Business Owners: Tips on How Local Businesses Can Stand Out in 2022
Small business owners have already had to get creative in so many ways in the past few years. According to a survey from Adobe, 74% of small business owners are facing creative burnout. One way to reset and refresh their business is by improving their social media presence. For a small business owner who may already be feeling stretched creatively, social media can seem daunting or time intensive. Natalie Zfat partnered with Adobe Creative Cloud Express on a media campaign to provide small business owners with helpful tips to better reach customers and get their business back on its feet. No matter their budget or confidence level for graphic design, here are some of the tips she shared to easily create standout graphics, photos, and videos in no time: 1. Inspiration can strike at the oddest times. Creative Cloud Express allows you to create quick, easy content on the fly – with thousands of high-quality templates to customize your Instagram Stories, video cover slides, timeline carousels and more. 2. Carousels outperform single-image Instagram posts. According to research by SocialInsider, the average engagement rate increases by 2% when using all 10 carousel slides, and carousels with a mix of video and images see the highest engagement rate per post at 2.33%. Filling the carousel with gorgeous content is easy when you use Creative Cloud Express, which lets you easily search through Adobe Stock images and leverage more than 20,000 fonts. 3. Did you know that social media posts with video have 48% more views? Creative Cloud Express makes it super easy to edit and customize videos (even if video editing isn't your forté). 4. It's no secret that social media users scroll quickly, and it can be tricky to stand out. 82% of small business owners know that a creative design will drive business, but 45% cite that they don’t have either the time, tools or skills to bring their ideas to life. One way to “stop the scroll” is with compelling animation and imagery. Creative Cloud Express lets you incorporate animated elements easily and create beautiful, thumb-stopping imagery that will catch your audience's eye. Something as simple as a colorful, animated shape layered behind text - or a funny GIF or sticker - will help your message stand out and allow you to inject more of your personality. And the best part: You don’t have to be a designer to get it done. Use “Quick Actions” powered by Adobe Sensei to remove backgrounds from photos, trim and merge videos, convert videos to GIF, and more. 5. Integrate your brand's aesthetic across multiple platforms for a cohesive experience. Creative Cloud Express allows you to build your brand by uploading logos, colors and more. This makes it easy to seamlessly adapt your brand creative for social media, email marketing, website and more. The Shared Libraries feature in particular makes it easy for anyone and everyone on your team to work from a cohesive bank of templates to achieve that brand consistency. 6. The Instagram algorithm is ever-changing, but we know that content that inspires shares and saves does particularly well, especially when that content is in video form. 74% of small business owners acknowledge that they are facing major hindrances to their creativity right now. To maximize engagement, aim for content that is beautiful, funny or educational. Infographics and video tutorials (“How To’s”) are a great way to do this - and Creative Cloud Express offers stunning, customizable graphs, charts and other great visuals that lend themselves to shareable content. 7. Think of your social media profile as your storefront. 55% of small business owners say their online presence is more critical to their success than a physical store. Is your bio fully fleshed out? Is it clear what you're offering your audience? Creative Cloud Express allows you to create beautiful, robust profiles, with thousands of high quality templates for banner images, profile photos, Instagram Highlight covers and more – all customizable with your brand colors and typography. Don't have a brand book (yet)? Dip into Creative Cloud Express’ Stock and Fonts database for thousands of unique, stunning imagery and font styles for marketing materials like logos, flyers, banners, and more. To learn more about Creative Cloud Express and its different graphic design features go to: adobe.com/express
Bluepeak Has Arrived to Push the Boundaries of Possibility for Communities
Bluepeak, an innovative fiber internet provider known today as Vast Broadband in its South Dakota and Minnesota markets, announced its plan today to transition to its new brand name across all its markets this summer. The rebrand was the result of months of market research, gathering employee feedback and the new journey the company embarked upon since beginning expansion to new markets. More than a name change, the new Bluepeak brand represents: 1. The foundation of the values, work and achievements of the Vast Broadband team. 2. The path to growth the company has charted, including ongoing expansion into markets in Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Dakota and more. 3. The Bluepeak vision which is to be relentlessly for customers and bring cutting edge technology to places that have lacked access to it without the things that get in the way of great service, like red tape, hidden fees, and long wait times. “Bluepeak is more than a name to us. It’s who we are and speaks to the impact we aim to have in our communities,” said Rich Fish, CEO of Bluepeak. “This is a great day for our teams and customers. Bluepeak’s purpose is to push the boundaries of possibility for communities by providing big-city broadband with small-town service and future-proof fiber internet for how customers live their lives.” Existing customers may notice a seamless transition – from the Vast Broadband brand currently operating in South Dakota and western Minnesota to Bluepeak – of everything from product package offerings, bill statements and advertisements, retail location signs, employee uniforms, company vehicles and more, in the near future. The transition to the new Bluepeak brand will happen over the coming months and be complete in June of this year. The new Bluepeak brand is anchored in a simple, blue logo and gold, orange and blue color pallete. Current and new customers can also still count on Bluepeak to offer speedy broadband, safe connections and more innovation alongside its dependable neighborly service. Current customers will not experience any disruptions in their service. Bluepeak is hiring for several roles as the company grows in South Dakota, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Colorado. Current openings can be found online on the Bluepeak Careers page.
No End to Metaverse Hype, Yet Many Fear Digital Parallel World - Concern Greatest Among Young Adults
Metaverse is a hot topic right now, as reflected in media and corporate presentations, as well as in a sharp increase in Google searches. Many citizens see enormous potential in Metaverse applications, while at the same time many are afraid of digital parallel worlds, as shown in a new infographic from Block-Builders.de. The Google Trends Score for the term "Metaverse" currently stands at 98, with a value of 100 representing the highest possible relative search volume. The score was still in the single digits late last summer, but the renaming of Facebook to Meta has led to a hype that is still going strong. Meanwhile, more and more German citizens are searching on Google for VR glasses, which are considered a gateway to the Metaverse. About 17% of Germans already use VR glasses now and then. Just under one in two Germans can imagine using such devices in the future. But if you think that this optimism and belief in technology is unanimous, you are mistaken. Across all age groups, 15% of Germans are afraid of digital parallel worlds. What's particularly interesting is that the figure is as high as 35.3% among 18- to 29-year-olds. Despite all the sceptics, at this point in time there is much to suggest that Metaverse is more than just a short-lived trend, but is instead a topic that will actually continue to grow in importance over the next few years. Savvy investors can in turn take advantage of the momentum. In particular, Metaverse cryptocurrencies - different currencies that function as a means of payment in some already existing metaverses - have been able to increase enormously in value, including Decentraland and The Sandbox. Of course, this comes at a high risk, as it is still far from clear which project will be able to establish itself in the long term. The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics: https://block-builders.net/no-end-to-metaverse-hype-yet-many-fear-digital-parallel-world-concern-greatest-among-young-adults/
As Schools Confront Half-Empty Classrooms, eGlass Reduces Price to Enable Virtual and In-Class Engagement
As teachers around the U.S. confront classrooms where student absenteeism is at an all-time high due to COVID-19 exposure, the reality of another pandemic-induced year of disruption is sinking in with school and government authorities. To help schools alleviate widespread learning interruption across all grades and communities, Pathway Innovations, Inc., an innovative technology leader in the education and enterprise markets and manufacturer of eGlass lightboards, Pilot digital podiums, and HoverCam document cameras, has announced it is reducing the price of eGlass, an illuminated glass writing board and communications tool featuring a built-in camera and adjustable LED lighting. The all-in-one device merges the presenter's face and writing, along with presentation media, into a single picture for in-person or remote collaboration. - No Disruption to Learning With eGlass The only hardware technology winner in all three categories of Tech & Learning's Awards of Excellence: Best of 2021 (Higher Education, Primary Education, and Secondary Education), eGlass was developed as a tool to eliminate the disengagement that occurs when students are learning at home or in a hybrid school setting. A transparent lightboard with a built-in camera, eGlass frames the teacher's face in the same picture as their glowing-ink writing, then flips the image so the writing appears correctly for students. Projected onto a screen in class or connected to the school's chosen videoconference platforms such as Zoom, eGlass allows teachers to face their students while they write, bolstering Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) by allowing students to see their teacher's facial expressions and nonverbal cues as they teach — a benefit often lost when teachers regularly turn their backs to write. eGlass also assists teachers in providing an equitable learning experience in hybrid teaching environments, simultaneously providing at-home students with the same engaging, one-to-one learning experience that in-class students receive. As Suzanne Capasso, education specialist, says, "eGlass is my new favorite piece of educational technology. It's great for in-person and online instruction." - eGlass Price Reduction : Effective Immediately Pathway has been working tirelessly to reduce costs since eGlass was launched at the end of last year. Thanks to a series of innovations and new production efficiencies, the company has succeeded and is passing those savings to schools. The company has reduced the price of eGlass by nearly 50%, enabling more rapid district-level purchase approvals in the face of the disruption. K-12 schools may now purchase the 35-inch eGlass for as low as $1,299 and the 50-inch eGlass for as low as $1,599 plus shipping through participating dealers. "Classroom technology is creating resilient learning environments where teachers and students can adapt quickly to evolving situations without any loss of learning," said Bayley Pierson, eGlass director of marketing. "eGlass has shown to be a critical bridge in aiding educators engage in any setting, whether students are joining virtually or in the classroom. With this price reduction, we're taking another step in fulfilling our mission to close the learning gap while facilitating teacher-student connection and amplifying the learning possibilities in and out of the physical classroom." Available in 35-inch and 50-inch models, eGlass is easy to set up and use by connecting to a PC, Mac, or Chromebook with a single USB cable. It comes with intuitive software that allows almost any digital content to be imported seamlessly into the camera window, enabling the presenter to markup the content with glowing annotations after automatic background removal is applied. As presenters write on its glass, eGlass' integrated camera captures their faces, writing, drawings, and annotations, while displaying media from a computer in any format. eGlass also integrates seamlessly with classroom interactive displays, allowing students and teachers to interact with content from the eGlass itself, or from the interactive display. It offers one-button image capture and video recording features and is compatible with Zoom, Teams, and other virtual meeting platforms. LEDs embedded in the unit's frame intensify the physical pen ink with an eye-catching glow that is highly visible on-screen and in-person. With the ability to add meeting notes, training exercises, brainstorming ideas, or engineering diagrams, it is ideal for in-person, remote, or hybrid meetings of all types in both higher education and enterprise applications. In addition to lower pricing on eGlass, Pathway announced an affordably priced bundle that combines eGlass with a 75-inch interactive touch panel for as little as $3,049 through participating resellers. And to provide access to high-quality document cameras, Pathway also announced a lower price point on its HoverCam Spark II USB document camera. Now, schools looking for a low-cost document camera option will be able to purchase Spark II for as low as $199 through participating dealers. Educators and administrators will have the opportunity to experience eGlass and HoverCam in person at FETC 2022, Jan. 25-28, in Orlando and TCEA 2022, Feb. 7-10, in Dallas. More information on eGlass is available at eGlass.io
QXC Communications Launches Advanced Streaming Service to Meet Consumer Demand and Increase Subscriber Base
NAGRA, a Kudelski Group (SIX:KUD.S) company and the world's leading independent provider of content protection and multiscreen television solutions, today announced that QXC Communications Inc., a Florida-based service provider serving Home Owners Associations (HOAs), Condo Owners Associations (COAs) and residential communities, selected NAGRA’s U.S. Streaming Solution to enable the replacement of its legacy video offering with a new fully-featured streaming service for the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) market. With NAGRA’s experience, partnerships and technical capabilities, QXC was able to dramatically decrease its time-to-market to quickly launch an advanced OTT service set to increase consumer engagement, improve customer retention and expand QXC’s subscriber base. With the speed in which the service was made available, QXC is now able to meet aggressive plans to grow its subscribers based in Florida, as well as other U.S. resort/coastline regions and military bases across the country. “We are a company that puts relationships first, which is why Quality of Service is a key business performance cornerstone to our continued success. With NAGRA’s unique solution, QXC is now able to offer subscribers what they demand - an incredible level of service,” said John Von Stein, QXC Communications CEO. “In searching for a partner, we demanded flexibility, speed and quality. NAGRA has delivered on all three, going above and beyond at every turn and we look forward to future opportunities to partner, innovate and expand.” Powered by the NAGRA OpenTV Video Platform and working with partners such as Broadpeak for video packaging and CDN capabilities, the streaming solution enables QXC to deliver to its subscribers' audio and video services via QXC’s secure network infrastructure using its own headend. In doing so, NAGRA provides QXC with flexibility for standard and hybrid cloud deployment options from a trusted industry solution provider. With a low-touch market entry proposition, this turn-key solution is designed to deliver the benefits of a tier-one solution without the hefty price tag, while enabling QXC to optimize the customer experience delivering both BYOD streaming and traditional linear programming. “NAGRA is pleased to extend the capabilities of its US Streaming Solution to offer QXC Communications the high quality, hybrid/cloud deployment needed to serve their subscribers now and, in the future,” said Nancy Goldberg, Executive Vice President at NAGRA. “The deployment represents yet another example of the decreased time to market, cost-effectiveness and flexibility operators are looking for in offering an advanced OTT streaming solution. As we support both legacy cable operators and suppliers to the MDU market, our goal is to increase consumer engagement, improve customer retention, and help operators expand their subscriber base.” For more information about NAGRA’s US Streaming Solution visit the solution’s web page, download our datasheet or contact NAGRA directly.
AccuWeather Network: Our Changing World
From historic floods to devastating wildfires, our rapidly warming planet is disrupting lives and communities at a relentless pace. AccuWeather’s series, "Our Changing World" looks at the far-reaching, often destructive, impact of climate change and how each of us can be inspired to do more to protect our planet for future generations. All week starting Monday, January 17th AccuWeather experts examine the issues and bring you the facts to learn how all of us can make a difference. This January edition will focus on what homes and businesses can do now to future proof against climate changes and provide a window into actionable solutions for climate issues and concerns. AccuWeather Network is available 24/7 on DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream, AT&T TV, Fios, Frontier, Spectrum, Fubotv, Philo or you can stream AccuWeather NOW on Roku, XUMO, Plex, STIRR, LG and any supported devices.
New ‘Comcast RISE Business Directory’ Lists Nearly 300 California Small Businesses Owned by People of Color
Comcast California today unveiled a new RISE Business Directory for laptops and mobile phones, highlighting nearly 300 California small, diverse-owned businesses that have received grants, marketing and technology services from the Comcast RISE program. This new, interactive directory makes it easy to support California’s small businesses owned by people of color that have been hardest hit during the pandemic. Last year, Comcast launched Comcast RISE, a national effort to uplift and support local small businesses hardest hit by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic — focusing primarily on small businesses owned by people of color. The RISE program was created to invest in the success of these diverse small businesses by providing them with the tools and resources they need to help them thrive. Comcast’s new RISE business directory is a user-friendly digital map for laptops and mobile phones that collates and presents key information about local businesses throughout Northern and Central California who have benefited from the Comcast RISE program. Having an easy-to-use business directory will provide local consumers with the information they need to become aware of, locate and contact these small businesses owned by people of color. “This new business directory is another key example of Comcast’s commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs of color and contributing to our economic success,” said Tamika Miller, Oakland native, owner of Cuticles Nails Spa, and two-time RISE recipient. “My business was deeply impacted by the pandemic and through the technology makeover, the $10,000 grant from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund and now this new RISE directory have all helped me not only to keep my business afloat but to thrive.” “As the holidays grow closer, now is a critical time to support our small businesses and local entrepreneurs of color,” said Kristee Cominiello, Vice President, Comcast Business, Comcast California. “With the launch of this Comcast RISE business directory, we’re providing consumers with the resources they need to find and support local businesses and lend a hand in helping these small businesses recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.” Comcast RISE is currently open to all eligible business owners who can apply now for the services. Additionally, starting on January 16th, the program will expand eligibility to all women-owned small businesses as well, regardless of race or ethnicity. This expansion recognizes and seeks to help address the persistent inequities women continue to face in accessing the resources and funding that are critical to success. Comcast RISE, which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment, is part of Project UP, Comcast’s comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help provide underrepresented small business owners with access to the digital tools and funding they need to thrive. Over the next 10 years, Comcast has committed $1 billion to programs and partnerships that will reach an estimated 50 million people with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world. In the year since its inception, Comcast RISE has awarded more than $60 million in grants, marketing, and technology services to more than 6,700 small businesses owned by people of color — including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. With the upcoming expansion to all women-owned small businesses, the Comcast RISE program is on track to support 13,000 businesses by the end of 2022, either through the grant program or from the resources provided through Effectv and Comcast Business. In addition to the financial and business support services provided, a key part of the program is ensuring the long-term sustainability of small businesses. To help address this, Comcast invests in and partners with organizations such as Ureeka to provide ongoing mentorship and resources to help small businesses succeed over the long-term. For more information and the applications to apply for either the grant program or marketing and technology services are available at www.ComcastRISE.com