Is Your Business Prepared For Today’s Landscape?

The companies that master mobile are creating novel digital experiences that shape customers’ expectations of what brands can and should do for years to come.

Welcome to the Mobile Era, the Era of Big Data, the App Era, the Cloud Era—whichever name you prefer, we can all agree on its chief message…

that the days of “business as usual” are over. Innovation—specifically, continuous innovation—is essential for companies looking to shape their future and forge new paths.

[source: FastCompany] The shift from a physical to a digital economy has rewritten the rules of competition. Today, the rewriting occurs even faster, accelerated by mobility, the cloud, and ever-present security risks. Ask the world’s top executives and IT managers what keeps them up at night, and odds are they’ll describe the paradoxical nature of disruption. Call it the Uber Syndrome.

A new competitor with a new model, they fear, can catch them off guard and upend their entire industry. Uber isn’t the only billion-dollar case study. Look at the impact of Airbnb on hospitality; Netflix and Spotify on entertainment; BuzzFeed on media; Amazon on retail; and Apple on consumer electronics and telecommunications.

At the same time, these very executives and IT managers have the opportunity to carry out the disruption themselves. The same technology that enables a startup empowers existing players to innovate and reinvent their industry. A never-ending wave of new apps allows companies to better understand their customers and partners, and develop groundbreaking products or services faster than ever before.

But nonstop innovation requires its own ethos of motivation and its own set of organizational skills. And, of course, its own tools. In particular, the demands on corporate IT systems have never been greater—or more complex. Businesses need not only more computational, storage, and network capacity, but also more speed and flexibility. Or as Gary Barnett, the chief software analyst for London-based research firm Ovum, says, “Infrastructure capable of allowing companies to evolve different parts of their portfolio at different speeds.”

The Mobile Reimagining

Fueling the upheaval, of course, is the proliferation of mobile devices and apps. Next year, mobile connectivity to the Internet worldwide is projected to surpass fixed-line connectivity for the first time. The economic implications are significant: By 2018, global consumer spending via mobile is estimated to reach $626 billion, according to Goldman Sachs.

From an IT standpoint, mobile growth represents a formidable undertaking: After all, a single transaction, such as changing your airline seat or making a bank-to-bank transfer, instantly generates dozens of interactions with a corporate IT system (from account authentication to fraud analysis). Extrapolate that flurry of activity across a few billion smartphone users the world over and you get a sense of the urgency facing IT executives.

The companies that master mobile are creating novel digital experiences that shape customers’ expectations of what brands can and should do for years to come. “If you use an app on your phone to, say, open your hotel room door, that resets your expectation,” says Nigel Fenwick, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. “When you go into another hotel, your perception of value has changed.” The entire concept of a key suddenly becomes antiquated.

To coordinate the interplay between apps and back-end systems, companies are relying more on APIs, the software-based rules that allow applications to share data with each other and with IT systems. Increasingly, this communication is driven by machine processes rather than by a consumer or by a mobile device. “A huge amount of cognitive activity is taking place between businesses without any direct human intervention,” says Jason Gartner, CTO of API Economy at IBM. “The key to that automation is having the processes, tools, and DevOps culture to be agile and responsive.”

The behind-the-curtain technical jujitsu between databases, analytics code, and the cloud services that power such sophisticated automation is one of those feats that wasn’t possible until recently. But in short order, it’s remaking business operations and much of our digital lives.

Just a few years ago, simply having a mobile app set you apart. Soon after, the focus shifted to the best user interface. Now, a company distinguishes itself by the intelligence derived from its mobile data. In the right hands (read: right IT infrastructure), it can enable real-time personalization, the holy grail of digital experiences. The apps on your devices know you, anticipate your needs, and deliver in the moment.

We’re Guardians of Data Now

The snake in this garden of opportunity is the increase of cyberattacks, both in volume and sophistication. The number of new malware threats now exceeds a million a day, according to Symantec. Nearly half target big companies.

Today, a brand’s equity is inextricably tied to the trust a company establishes with data. “The biggest threats to this whole world of datafication are security and privacy,” says Irving Wladawsky-Berger, who worked for 37 years at IBM, much of it identifying emerging technologies. “If people don’t trust that their data will be both protected and properly used, they won’t share it or participate.”

That duality—the thrilling potential and the bracing risk of technology—epitomizes business for today’s IT executives. How do you recognize and seize opportunities in such a dynamic environment? How do you equip your organization to keep evolving? How do you innovate week in and week out?

Find the answers that work for you, and you’ll find yourself and your company on the right side of disruption.

 

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Memorize These Mac Keyboard Tricks

If you’re going to spend your life with your hands hovering over a keyboard, you might as well do it right.

Or at least make the experience as tolerable as possible.

[source: The Huffington Post] And while most Mac users know basic keyboard shortcuts — command + “X” to cut, command +”V” to paste, etc. — there are so many more life-altering, time-saving tricks to be discovered. Let us lead you into the light.

1. If your boss walks by while you’re reading this article, press…

COMMAND + W

Command + W quickly closes the current tab on your web browser, which is helpful if you’re trying to sneak in a cat video (or worse) at work.

2. If your boss walks by and basically everything you’re reading is incriminating, press…

COMMAND + H

Command + H hides the current application and all of its windows. Because, let’s face it, sometimes more than one tab can be incriminating.

3. If you’re drowning in a sea of windows…

COMMAND + OPTION + M

Command + Option + M minimizes all your windows so you can create the illusion of a fresh start. But remember, “starting over” really just adds to the mess.

4. If you need to cut through the clutter, press…

COMMAND + F3

Command + F3 pushes all your open applications out of the way so you can actually see your desktop, so you can procrastinate dealing with impending application overload.

5. To become a tab-scrolling expert, press..

COMMAND + 1 (and so on)

Command + a number helps you easily scroll through the respective tabs in your web browser, so you can quickly see what you need and, more importantly, click out of what you don’t.

6. If you’re kind of picky about your computer volume, press…

OPTION + SHIFT + F11
and
OPTION + SHIFT + F12

Option+Shift+F11+F12 will lower or raise the volume in smaller increments than the typical volume symbols. WHO KNEW?

7. If you need to add a little psychedelic flavor to your day, press…

CONTROL + OPTION + COMMAND + 8

Control+Option+Command+8 reverses the colors on your screen. Now try going back and forth real, real fast. You will be transfixed.

8. If you don’t want to watch the entire hour-long YouTube video of your niece’s dance recital, press…

1, 2, 3 (and so on)

1, 2, 3 will advance the video to 10 percent completion, 20 percent completion, 30 percent completion, respectively (and so on and so forth). Take that, little niece.

9. If you frequently write words like “antidisestablishmentarianism,” press…

OPTION + DELETE

Option+Delete deletes entire words so you don’t have to hold down the delete key forever. Unfortunately, there is not a keyboard shortcut to ending your insufferable wordiness.

10. If your vocabulary isn’t quite as advanced, try…

CONTROL + COMMAND + D

Control+Command+D will define any highlighted word. Look at you, all literate now!

11. If formatting copied text drives you insane, try…

CONTROL + COMMAND+V

Control+Command+V pastes your copied text without including its formatting. Your formatting problems have now been disappeared.

12. If you’re a fast reader or a little over-caffeinated, try

COMMAND + UP
and
COMMAND + DOWN

Command+Up and Command+Down will make your scroll jump. This command will have you hopping through the text for a speedier, if not slightly erratic, reading experience.

13. If the feeling of the sun on your face has been permanently replaced with the feeling of your retina display on your face, try…

CONTROL + OPTION + COMMAND + EJECT

Control+Option+Command+Eject quickly shuts down your computer so you can get outside, you crazy, pasty kid! No, but seriously, go the heck outside.

 

‘1984’ is still talked about

Why Apple’s ‘1984’ commercial is still talked about today.

On this day 30 years ago, Apple aired a commercial based on George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” that turned the advertising and computing world on their heads.

[source: Christian Science Monitor] Long before the colorful, mysterious invitations to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters for product announcements, Apple mastered the art of creating buzz about its innovations.

Prime example: the ad it aired during the 1984 Super Bowl that aptly played off George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.” Using the simple themes of control versus freedom, and stagnation versus innovation, in a one-minute ad, Apple was able to spark viral curiosity just days before the release of its first Macintosh computer, and set a precedent-breaking tone that still prevails. The ad aired 30 years ago today.

The ad opens with a shot of a line of people in dark gray uniforms and shaved heads marching into an auditorium, where a talking head on a giant screen (a reference to Orwell’s character “Big Brother”) spouts propaganda about being “a garden of pure ideology … secure from the pests of any contradictory force” and “one people with one will, one resolve, one course.” This scene cuts back and forth with a scene of a woman in bright orange shorts and a white top holding a sledgehammer and sprinting toward the auditorium, guards in close pursuit. When she gets close to the screen, she winds up, launches her sledgehammer, and the impact creates a blinding explosion. Apple cuts to the tagline: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’ ”

The idea was that Macintosh would revolutionize computing and that the future of technology would bring freedom, rather than control. The message was effective – the ad launched Apple as a computing powerhouse, and made the Mac one of the best-selling computers of its time.

Before it aired at the Super Bowl, however, it nearly didn’t make it to the screen. Apple had paid creative agency Chiat/Day $650,000 to create the ad as well as a second commercial. Steve Jobs was thrilled with the “1984” concept, but the board wasn’t as impressed – according to Business Insider, Chiat/Day copywriter Steve Hayden says the board was struck silent after they were initially shown the ad, and were so unimpressed they told the ad agency to sell the two-minute block of advertising time Apple had bought during the Super Bowl. Apple ad account manager Fred Goldberg also tested the commercial with a leading market research firm for effectiveness, and it scored a 5 on a 43-point scale.

However, Chiat/Day executives were so enamored with the commercial, they intentionally dragged their feet, and were only able to sell half the airtime (also note that Mr. Goldberg decided to keep the market research numbers to himself). The commercial had to run.

Shooting the commercial also proved to be a challenge. The commercial was directed by Ridley Scott, who had directed “Blade Runner” and “Alien” in years previous. To give the ad the same gritty, futuristic feel while shooting in London, the creative team hired 300 locals as extras, many actual skinheads, who got a bit antsy after three days of filming.

“The last day they started throwing the rocks at each other,” Goldberg told CNN. “The security company had police dogs there [to control them.]”

But the team behind the ad ultimately succeeded and the commercial was a rousing success for Apple. The ensuing conversation and ad replay on news programs and talk shows resulted in what Apple estimated as more than $150 million of free airtime.

The commercial is also credited with ushering in more than just a new era for Apple. Some say it brought about the modern era of Super Bowl advertising, in which the commercials are as much a spectator sport as the game.

“This commercial was classically disruptive,” says Timothy de Waal Malefyt, a professor at Fordham University, to Business Insider. “This wasn’t a machine where you were going to be kowtowed in the workplace, this was a machine for the young, innovative, entrepreneurial mind. It really inspires the creative individual to break free and start something different.”

What will your verse be?

“Your Verse Anthem” Apple iPad Air, TV Commercial

We’re humbled and inspired by what people do with iPad. So we set out to capture some of their stories.

www.apple.com