How Amazon Is Dominating The Market

Amazon.com is a Fortune 500 e-commerce company who is dominating the market. Founded in 1994 in Seattle, Washington, the company originally sold books. Today, they sell everything from silverware to shoes and have a subscription service, known as Prime, which allows users extra perks. The Prime subscription is so popular that some estimate there are more than 66 million subscribers. This could be because the company considers itself “customer-obsessed” or that there are such a large number of retailers utilizing this site, and today’s blog will dive deeper into the reasons for this success.

Staff

Amazon prides itself on its company culture and provides numerous opportunities and benefits. Although the company has been criticized for its expectations being unreasonably high, that claim was later refuted. Benefits include quality healthcare and finical compensation as well as employee assistance programs which include child and elder care and adoption expense reimbursement and also time off programs that include generous parental benefits. Today, the company boasts over 269,000 employees worldwide.

Facilities

Amazon has almost 200 facilities around the world and 54 facilities in North America alone. The company also has “one of the most advanced fulfillment networks in the world” to help their retailers meet shipping needs. This is necessary for many retailers because many products are available for two-day shipping with free returns to Prime members.

Specialty Products

Amazon Dash Buttons

In order to make ordering easier than ever, Amazon offers Dash Buttons which are physical buttons customers can push to order household and office items, groceries, baby and pet items, and more. These devices are WiFi-connected and are exclusive to Prime Members so the products will arrive within two days and have free shipping.

Web Services

Amazon Web Services is a cloud platform that provides more than 70 services. These include storage, security, analytics, mobile services, game development, and more.  With this amount of capabilities, the company is able to support 1 million + customers in almost 200 countries. Companies using this include enterprises such as Expedia and Kelloggs, Start-ups including Airbnb and Spotify, and public companies such as the Public Broadcasting System and Center for Disease Control.

AmazonBasics

The company has its own brand of affordable products such as USB cables, power strips, and batteries. This allows them to generate more revenue and customers appreciate the lower cost of these items.

AmazonFresh

Although this selection is not yet available in all markets, AmazonFresh offers grocery delivery service including fresh fruit, dairy and eggs, household supplies, and more. The company even delivers prepared foods including salad kits and a variety of meal kits. Shoppers can choose their own delivery times to ensure the food is kept at proper temperatures.
AmazonStudios

Amazon allows users to stream and purchase music, movies, and shows, some of which is created. The original content has even received Emmy Awards. Because of this success, the company is accepting scripts and ideas from aspiring writers as well as WGA members. AmazonStoryWriter is a free, cloud-based screenwriting app developed by the company that allows users to store, access, and share their work more easily and create content that will be automatically formatted.

Amazon WarehouseDeals

For all the bargain shoppers, Amazon created a way to access deals on open-box and pre-owned products. These items include cellphones, computers, home products, video games, and more! Even though these products are bargains, most are still eligible for the traditional return policy and Prime’s free shipping.

Amazon Cash

For users who want to use cash rather than a credit card for Amazon products, Amazon has created AmazonCash. This allows users to receive a personal barcode which can be accessed via mobile or printed and loaded at select retailers.

For information on how Percento can assist with your eCommerce website:  visit percentotech.com/websites

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Best Smart Home Devices of 2017!

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2017 is has been dubbed “The Year of Artificial Intelligence” because this technology is expected to see great advancements.  Homeowners love the ability to control more items by voice and smart phone, as well as the ability to leave some tasks to be handled by robots! As this technology is becoming more popular, there are a variety of products to choose from. This list highlights some of our favorites:

Best Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo

This device does more than just relay information on current events and commute estimations and tell jokes. Users will enjoy the ability to stream music through its immersive 360º omni-directional audio and control the machine with their voices, which can be recognized across the room even when music is being streamed. This voice control also allows users to perform tasks such as ordering food and calling car services. All of these perks are great, but we really enjoy the Echo’s capacity to connect to and control smart homes. Gaining the ability to control lights, switches, thermostats, and more will not only create a more user-friendly home, but also a more efficient one. That is because the device learns and adapts to behaviors and can program customized settings of your critical systems.

Best Smart Thermostat: The Nest

Speaking of efficiency, today’s thermostats have the ability to connect with applications, learn behavior, and connect with other systems. The Nest can be controlled via the thermostat itself, as well as via smartphones, voice, or smart speaker. This product works seamlessly with other home systems and is especially benefited by remote sensors which reduce the amount of hot and cold spots within the room. Another perk we enjoy is a customizable screen which recognizes movement and brightens its display to show time, temperature, or weather information.

Best Smart Home Hub:  Samsung SmartThings

This product was bought by Samsung and a second generation was released with added features and capabilities. It is able to control a number of home devices including lights, speakers, locks, thermostats, and more. Users can easily control this device through an app or smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa. Our team especially enjoyed the ability of this device to be set to certain times or settings to best fit your schedule. For example, users who typically return from work at 5:30 pm can set their home to have the lights on and AC running when they return home without having to leave them running all day. By connecting multiple systems, a more efficient home environment is created which drives down energy bills.

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SnapChat’s Market Success!

SnapChat’s Market SuccessSnapChat is a mobile app that allows users to send and receive pictures that are deleted after a certain period of time. Users enjoy geotags which add a location stamp to the pictures, as well as filters and special effects which add to their picture quality. They can also enjoy private messaging hosted through the app, as well as cloud storage for images, and news feeds from popular outlets. This app was so popular that the creators also released Spectacles, which are sunglasses with built in cameras that sync to the app. Other products the company released include backpacks and playing cards.

Finally, the parent company, Snap Inc., decided to become public in order to leverage their following to create a better brand. This stock has proven to be just as popular as the app, which is why it was the second-largest technology IPO in US history. What was the highest? You guessed it—Facebook! Actually, Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google division both previously bid on the company unsuccessfully. With a high share price of $28.25, it is easy to see the success of this stock.

This success has driven up the company’s value, which is estimated at up to $40 billion. This means the company’s co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy will soon be worth millions. For the company, that means the ability to pay back investors and a great deal of leverage to expand. Investors will hopefully benefit from strong returns once the company utilizes the funding to improve.

This popularity was shocking to some after the company reported a loss of $414 million in 2016. Also, there is a lack of advertising power as the demographic is smaller than other competitors such as Facebook and the product is only accessible through a mobile app. Advertisements include sponsored geofilters, sponsored lenses, and snap ads which are available in article, app install, long-form video, and web view formats. This is also one of the first IPO releases that doesn’t give purchasers any voting power. However, the lack of voting power means users don’t need to worry too much about major changes within the app.

Overall, only time will tell the success of Snap Inc’s public release. Investors are hopeful that the large amount of investment will lead to stronger advertising power and more growth. However, a slowing user growth and revenue loss pose big threats. Stay tuned to our blog for more information on this tech giant’s growth, more industry news, and company highlights!

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How Artificial Intelligence Is Advancing In 2017!

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the process of computers and machines simulating human intelligence. This can include learning, reasoning, and self-correction. Today’s machines are able to drive cars and serve as in-home assistants, among many other tasks. While we know that robots will never be able to function in the same way humans do, this technology is predicted to make a lot of strides in 2017.

AI is giving machines the capabilities to learn from behaviors without specific instructions or examples. Recently, this was tested through a game of Go. This game has been challenging for computers to play because it doesn’t have strict guidelines or a simple way to measure progress. However, one team created a machine, known as AlphaGo, which was able to beat the game’s 18-time world champion. In 2017, this ability will lead to the ability to more accurately and safely deliver products such as autonomous cars and industrial robotics. One company leading the way in this field is Google ps://environment.google/projects/machine-learning/, who is building significantly more efficient data centers.

Generative adversarial networks, or GANs, are made of two models: one which learns from a set and another which deciphers between real and fake data. This creates increased abilities as it allows machines to use supervised learning to create guidelines for its unsupervised learning. This can be used to create realistic images, design things like 3-D videogame backgrounds, and enhance low-quality images. In 2017, this method of learning will increase the speed and depth at which machines learn and therefore create more applications for robots.

Currently, we can easily control AI technology such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa with our voice. However, it has been difficult to teach machines about all the nuances and slang within each language. It seems that language is not something that can easily be taught. But, with AI’s ability to learn both through set guidelines and analysis, it will make strides this year to produce more lifelike communication and can act based on lessons learned from past behaviors.

With such advanced learning techniques, it is hard to comprehend the advances AI will make in the next few years. As this industry is gaining momentum, we look forward to seeing the products that will benefit our lives. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on AI products, industry news, and company achievements!

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The Best Business Analytics Platforms.

These days, terms such as “business intelligence” and “big data” are used frequently by business people. One of the biggest parts of operating a successful business is collecting accurate performance data and analyzing it correctly. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from implementing business analytics software’s ability to not only store data in an intelligent way but to present user-friendly reports on that data. This blog will explore different platforms used to support, manage, and analyze this information.

IBM Analytics

$30/user/month

This company offers SPSS which performs predictive analytics, IBM DB2 which manages databases, IBM Congos Analytics which governs and creates reports on data, IBM BigInsights offers Hadoop, and IBM Planning Analytics which helps users analyze financial performance. IBM Machine Learning uses self-learning behavioral models to analyze real time data and trends to get the most useful information possible from your data.

Woopra

$79.95 per 400,000 actions per month (free under 30,000 actions)

Users love this platform’s ability to track their customer data through email, mobile, web, and more. This will provide valuable insight on a live dashboard which presents real time data through customized analytics, retention reports, and more. Your company’s social media websites such as WordPress, HubSpot, DropBox, and more can be integrated into this platform through a simple code. Each customer will have their own profile and the analytics are customizable so users can analyze the information that is most useful to their sales.

Sisense

Pricing varies

Users will love having the ability to drag & drop information to create dashboards which can quickly analyze data. The addition of third party plugins only requires a few simple clicks. Administrators will appreciate this platform’s implementation which can be done within hours or days rather than weeks or months.  This is also due to the fact that they are dedicated to customer service and will support 1,000 users on a single machine.

Jinfonet Software

Pricing Varies

This platform is user-friendly as it has both drag and drop and drop down menu features. Users will enjoy being able to simply scale the data to accommodate different timelines and products. JReports are even available for use on mobile. Not only can business users see this data, but it can also be easily communicated to customers.

BOARD International

Pricing Varies

BOARD considers itself a decision making platform because it analyzes data from various sources into a data repository which the entire organization can access. Not only does this platform provide business intelligence, but it also provides performance management which helps with planning and control cycles. Because there are multiple features, the entire organization benefits from the software and can use it to better their practices.

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Why you need to move your business to the cloud.

Switching to the cloud has helped many small businesses to yield profits like never before. Using cloud computing, an internet based facility, users can get access to shared computer storage, applications, and other amassment. Also known as on-demand computing, cloud computing provides data and information to computers and other devices on demand. Using your phone to check your bank balance and updating your Facebook status are examples of cloud computing. Today, cloud computing is the norm and businesses that don’t switch to the cloud would find it extremely difficult to overcome the challenges they face today.

 

Why you should move your business to the cloud

Today, more and more businesses are moving to the cloud and there’s good reason for it: moving to the cloud has helped many businesses to increase efficiency and improve cash flow. Businesses can double their profits by switching to the cloud. How? Let’s take a look.

Reduction of risk

Stats show that over a million laptops are stolen each year. This means that if you store your data on your laptop or a mobile device, it can easily be stolen. By switching to the cloud, you can reduce this risk. After you switch to the cloud, you do not have to worry about losing your data in case your laptop or mobile device gets stolen. The data you store on the cloud is extremely difficult to steal as a user name and password is required to login into cloud. By allowing you to safeguard sensitive information, cloud ensures that you don’t suffer any monetary loss.

Flexibility and ease of access

When you store your business data on the cloud, you can access, save, and modify it from almost anywhere and through a number of devices. Compare this to non-cloud computing which forces you to access a filed saved on a computer through only that computer. As a business owner, you’re bound to find this as restrictive. Fortunately, with the advent of cloud computing, you can avoid that ordeal. You can access your data stored on the cloud using your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer from almost anywhere. The only thing you need is an internet connection.

Thanks to cloud computing, you can share files and collaborate with other people regardless even when you’re out and about. This adds convenience to your life and allows you to keep the business profits rolling in. Lastly, cloud computing is flexible. This means that if you require increasing/ decreasing your bandwidth, you can scale up or scale down your cloud capacity.

Minimize cost

Cloud computing can help businesses to minimize their software and other computing costs significantly. By enabling large-scale computing power and reducing the IT/ infrastructure requirements, cloud-based servers allow business to save a considerable amount of money. Basically, in cloud computing, you only pay for what you need. This makes it an extremely affordable option.

A safe and convenient way to store and access important business data, cloud computing minimizes the costs and risks associated with data storage and access. This in turn allows businesses to minimize costs and increase their profits.

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Smart Car Technology

Smart Car Technology According to Reuters, American drivers traveled 746 billion miles in the first three months of 2016.  This means that by noon, US drivers have traveled farther than the International Space Station has ever flown. This equates to multiple hours spent behind the wheel, an amount of time most drivers would love to get back. Today’s smart cars have the ability to connect to the internet, protect drivers more efficiently, and even drive themselves.

Internet connectivity is a smart car feature that both drivers and passengers will love. Although this isn’t new technology, it is becoming more advanced and being used in more applications. Not only does this bring capabilities such as GPS and music streaming, but some also create Wi-Fi hotspots. Popular infotainment systems include Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay. Car owners also appreciate the ability to view their car’s diagnostic and performance reports on an app where they are also able to control remote start and other features.

With this advanced technology, cars will become more secure. Push to start technology has been around for a few years, requiring the key fob’s presence rather than the traditional key. Today’s car manufacturers are working to increase the security of entry methods. Some cars use key fobs to produce door handles that otherwise sit flush, while others are experimenting with technology such as fingerprint and retina scans.

Assisted driving, or semi-autonomous driving, is also made possible by new smart car technology. These features include lane departure warning, blind spot detection, forward collision prevention, cruise control which adjust to changes in speed, and even automated parking. This technology is becoming more prevalent and is helping drivers prevent accidents.

The most exciting smart car technology in development will bring the capability to drive autonomously. Companies such as Tesla, Google, and Nissan are working hard to produce this type of car and some are already undergoing road testing. These cars use the same sensors used for assisted driving, along with additional cameras and more powerful computers to drive without human interaction. These vehicles are expected to be on the market in 2019.

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The Prevalence of Mobile Banking.

A growing number of people are using mobile phones for banking purposes. Right now, almost every bank out there offers mobile payment and banking options. According to a study by the Federal Reserve, mobile banking is used by more than 65% of the millennials today. Furthermore, according to McKinsey and Co, in the next few years, mobile banking usage by millennials is expected to increase to more than 80%. The advantages offered by mobile banking is the reason the majority of the millennials use it.

Thanks to mobile banking, people can now open new accounts , authenticate their identity, pay bills, sign up for direct deposit, deposit checks by taking their pictures and take out loans via their mobile phones. Moreover, mobile banking has allowed bank account holders to make payments instantly. This may surprise you but mobile banking allows you to get approved for mortgage within minutes. In short, mobile banking has made our lives convenient.

It’s no secret that mobile technology is transforming the world. After all, there are over 6 billion mobile subscribers today. This means that 75% of the world has access to mobile technology. The majority of the people today ‘bank’ on their mobile phones. This means that most of us use our mobile devices to direct debits, set up transfers and check balances. This is major convenience to the consumer but there is far more to come.

The majority of the people in the rural areas of developing countries don’t have access to traditional banking. However, mobile banking is bringing such people into the banking system. Opening a simple savings account via their mobile phone has helped the aforementioned people to invest in education, start a business and survive the bad times.

Mobile banking has minimized the need for brick and mortar branches. In 2015 alone, more than 1500 bank branches were shut down. The reason for this is simple: the branches were considered as an unnecessary financial burden by the banks operating them. Moreover, branches still operating have laid off many of their staff ever since the use of mobile banking became widespread. According to a study by Citigroup, more than 30% of the people working in banks today are likely to lose their jobs by 2025.

In the not so distant future, banks will make changes to their IT systems to allow real time payments through mobile devices. Many economists predict that this will open up the path to new services and products. Mobile banking is the ideal thing for low-income families. When combined with real time payments, mobile banking allows low-income families to avoid the costs of check-cashing services and minimize overdraft fees.

While there are several reasons to use mobile for banking today, the many risks of mobile banking somewhat lower its appeal. Nonetheless, as it gives users the ability to perform banking quickly and conveniently, mobile banking will see a rise in its use in the next few years. In fact, the day isn’t far when all mobile users bank through their devices.

 

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Technology and Green Energy.

Green energy solutions are those which lower environmental impact because they don’t emit greenhouse gasses like traditional fuel sources. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 10% of energy used in 2015 was considered renewable. As technology advances, there are more processes for obtaining this environmentally friendly energy being created. Below, we will highlight 3 major sources of renewable energy and the technology that will create and sustain its growth.

Solar: Solar energy is the most clean and accessible renewable resource available today. The three types of solar systems are photovoltaics, which produces electricity from light, concentrating solar power, which utilizes heat, and heating and cooling systems which take advantage of thermal energy. One exciting advancement in this industry is the development of printable solar cells. Conventional solar cells require a high energy process to create, involving temperatures of almost 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The new process requires substantially less heat which means it can bond with more materials. This could lead to many more capabilities of solar technology and more affordable products for consumers.

Wind: Wind turbines use the power of wind to create an electric current. There are three different classes of wind including utility-scale, distributed, and offshore wind. These solutions are popular because they are environmentally friendly and can have positive effects on their environment’s pollutants. Today’s technology is advancing the development of wind energy by reducing the time and expense related to its construction. Older wind energy technology was hard to manage as each piece is large and required hand crafting and a complicated shipping process. With the new 3D technology, printers can be brought on location to print the carbon fiber units without the hassle of transportation. With the increased ease of creating these units, more turbines will be able to be produced at a smaller budget.

Geothermal: Geothermal energy utilizes heat from below the earth’s surface in order to generate electricity. This is a popular green energy source because the earth is always producing heat, so there are no environmental threats. However, the heat must be extracted from specific areas which have high temperatures. Currently, the United States accesses this heat through existing steam and water reservoirs.  Today’s technology is advancing this science through the development of Carbon Dioxide Plume Geothermal plants. This process involves the capture of carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuel plants. Once it is captured, it is cooled and pumped underground where it will meet its hot counterpart. When low and high pressure CO2 is mixed, there will be a higher energy yield. This will reduce the need of energy used for extraction and increase the energy produced. By reducing the amount of environmental harm caused by traditional energy extraction, this technology has made a big impact on the entire industry.

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Net Neutrality Transparency Rule.

Last month, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced its plan to scale back net neutrality regulations. The vote confirmed the expanded suspension of the net neutrality transparency rule for providers with less than 250,000 subscribers. Previously void to websites with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, this rule requires broadband providers to inform their customers of their current network management operations, including performance, fees, and data caps.

The basis of these regulations is the power of internet service providers, or ISPs, to manipulate access to different websites. For example, if website A wants to pay their ISP extra, they can provide faster access to website A and also slow down the speed of access to website B. The transparency rule was created to prevent this, and further a principal known as net neutrality. Supporters of net neutrality believe that the internet should be an even playing field and that access to every website should be provided at the same speed. Opponents argue that just like any other advertising method, there should be a pay-to-play environment. Because the regulations require up-to-date and accurate information, many small businesses face financial challenges due to this regulation.

The transparency rule was created to ensure customers were informed of their provider’s speed and price. The information from companies is required to be accurate and can be audited. Currently, when large companies allow for higher paying customers to receive better access, they will be punished by the FCC with potential monetary penalties. This creates a ceiling in the internet providing industry and prevents large companies from charging customers unfairly. Protections were given to smaller companies because providing accurate information and completing the correct paperwork can be considered burdensome.

This move is part of President Trump’s plan to cut back a lot of the red-tape around businesses. The regulations will only be valid for the next five years. We are interested to see what other changes will affect the regulation of internet access. Stay tuned for more news on web neutrality and the new achievements of the FCC.

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