Apple and Cisco partner to make wireless fast lanes for iPhones in the workplace

Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus camera lenses

Apple and Cisco say they’ve entered a partnership to build enterprise network tools that will create a wireless environment that’s very friendly to iPhones and other iOS devices in the workplace.

“Together with Cisco, we believe we can give businesses the tools to maximize the potential of iOS and help employees become even more productive using the devices they already love,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement.

“Ninety-five percent of companies in the Fortune 500 count on Cisco Collaboration and Cisco networks to help their teams be more productive,” said Cisco executive chairman John Chambers in that same statement. “Through this engineering and go-to-market partnership, we’re offering our joint customers the ability to seamlessly extend that awesome Cisco environment to their favorite iOS devices.”

The specifics of the partnership are a little blurry, but the partnership is part of Apple’s major initiative to get more of its products into the workplace. The company has also formed a partnership with IBM to build enterprise apps for iOS.

One interesting detail is that Apple and Cisco hope to make the iPhone better at passing calls back and forth from desktop phones.

Cisco says it will work to make its collaboration tools, such as Cisco Spark, Cisco Telepresence, and Cisco WebEx, work well on iOS devices.

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Marketers are about to make new friends — or not — with data scientists

data science

A long time researching and writing about the wild importance of data analytics on the future of the marketing profession has led me to an inescapable conclusion:

Data scientists will soon take a lot of jobs away from marketers.

The reasons are simple:

  1. There’s already more data produced and mined every day than anyone can make sense of. Business gets this and is moving to incorporate data analytics into every facet of the organization.
  1. Virtually every marketing technology of note (and there are many) is either a data analytics solution or a solution almost wholly reliant on reams of data.
  1. Marketers simply don’t have the required skills to leverage these techs, or the underlying data. Unfortunately, that seems to be true at every level of the marketing organization.

Net-net, the ecosystem is changing, and the winds do not favor marketers with no data science game.

analytics importance

Here are three areas in which I believe traditional marketers will soon be displaced by a new breed of data scientists cum marketers.

In enterprises

From VentureBeat
VB just released The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer. $499 on VB Insight, or free with your martech subscription.

When mass need for an undersupplied skill set, in this case data science, comes to affect the market, enterprises have three options: build internal capacity, partner with people who do have the capacity, or outsource it.

If you want to build a data science-driven marketing competency in-house, you need to train up your current marketers or hire new ones. It’s tough to teach your average marketer differential partial equations, so I’d give the job to a data scientist and teach them the 4Ps and Facebook.

When an enterprise decides to partner around data marketing, it’ll be because the other guy has specific competencies they don’t have and/or don’t want to develop (e.g., the enterprise sees the importance of data marketing, but developing the in-house competency isn’t core to their business).

But even if they do go the partnership route, eventually that enterprise will need an in-house pivot who’s fluent in data to interface with their partner. That’s a new skill set required in a job that currently marketers often hold and will likely lose as a result.

One way or another, if they’re not building their own capacity, enterprises are looking for high-performing, headache-free solutions, not half-answers from marketers that don’t get data. 

In agencies

Digital marketing agencies are well-positioned to fit enterprises’ looming outsource needs for data-driven marketing, if they can build the omnichannel content marketing machines powered by robust data analytics that business will require.

To this end, I think you’ll see more data scientists, perhaps a little bored with their current roles (often in finance, health, or academia), make the move to the agency world as employees, partners, and founders. Done well, this combination of technical and creative skills has the potential to morph traditional agencies into marketing-scientists-as-a-service.

One of the things I think top agencies will get very good at is using the same marketing technology solutions that business is currently underutilizing to deliver high-value findings that will help business understand, measure, and optimize the customer journey.

In martechs

Irony doth reside in the martech universe.

Look carefully and you’ll note a good number of its occupants huddled together in data analytics clusters. Look again and you’ll see that pretty much every other martech entrant relies on some type of data analytics to do its thing. Nowhere else would you expect to find more qualified data scientists cum marketers, or data analytics solutions better attuned to marketers, right?


Read some of the stuff that VB and others have published lately on how martech users feel about the marketing analytics solutions that vendors are putting out (spoiler alert: it ain’t pretty).

The thing is, my good martechs: How can I believe that your solution will help me understand and service my user when your product doesn’t even seem to understand or service me? It’s a wide gap that your customers are struggling mightily with. C-suiters and investors will follow.

It won’t be easy for martechs to recruit high-end data scientists either — demand for data scientists’ services is and will be great, and salaries will be high. Expect the top minds in the marketing data science niche to go to the big marketing clouds, global consultancies, and a handful of well-funded startups.

Martechs — and pretty much every other industry outside of finance and health — looking to draw in data marketing talent will be left beholden to the skills of recruiters and the whim of new data science grads.

In summary

Read the studies and it’s difficult to refute that data science is emerging as a core competency for marketers. Think about that and it becomes evident that there are going to be some changes as a result.

It’s clear that there’s a gap between what marketers want to do, the tools they have to work with, and the training they need to be successful.

For these reasons I believe that, not long from now, serious data science chops will be a required skill set for most marketing roles, and that’s going to leave a lot of current marketers out of work.

VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.

Hopper brings its smart airfare prediction and tracking app to Android

Hopper: Flight Predictions

Eight months after launching on iPhone, Hopper has brought its airfare prediction app to Android.

With north of $20 million in funding since its inception, Hopper’s price-prediction algorithm is its core raison d’être, and promises to answer this one question: Should I buy now, or wait?

Hopper for Android

Above: Hopper for Android

Founded in 2010, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company spent much of its early years scaling its backend and archiving flight prices — it claims 3 trillion flight prices in its archive. It has also offered Web reports for some time, while in 2014 Hopper launched what it called a “fun little experiment” in the form of a last-minute flight-booking app called GTFO (Get the Flight Out).

However, all the work so far has been building up to the main Hopper app. It tracks billions of flights each day to predict the right time to book your flights far in advance — it claims it can save up to 40 percent on the average cost of a flight.

From VentureBeat
VB just released Mobile User Acquisition: How top publishers get the best users for less money. $499 on VB Insight, or free with your martech subscription.

You input your travel dates, then receive alerts if prices fall and before they’re likely to rise. It also tells you if the prices are only likely to increase, hence you should probably buy now.

If you thought flight-prices are generally more inclined to rise than fall, think again. According to Hopper data, for two out of every three flight searches, the price will drop at some point prior to departure. Moreover, while you might think it makes sense to book your flight as far in advance as possible, airlines often set their early prices “conservatively,” meaning they may drop if demand isn’t met.

Hopper Calendar

Above: Hopper Calendar

The app also features a built-in calendar that color-codes when the cheapest times are to fly, which is useful if you’re flexible with your dates.

Besides the new Android app, Hopper is also announcing an intriguing new feature today — QuickTap Bookings.

While the app was essentially an aggregator before today, linking out to third-party sites to complete the actual booking, Hopper for iOS now lets you book quickly within the app. This feature will be added to the Android app shortly too.

While other well-known services have flight-price prediction features built-in, such as online travel giant Kayak, the Hopper crew have built a beautiful app dedicated to this specific cause, offering a handful of genuinely useful tools to help track prices before they rise, or when they drop.

Funding Daily: Today’s tech funding news, in one place

An employee checks U.S. dollar bank-notes at a bank in Hanoi, Vietnam cash money

[Get all the tech funding news of the day delivered straight to your mailbox! Sign up for Funding Daily and never miss a deal.]

Here’s a list of today’s tech funding stories, updated as the day unfolds. Tip us here if you have a deal to share.

European payments processor iZettle raises $67M and launches a cash advance service for SMBs

European mobile payments processor iZettle has announced a fresh €60 million ($67 million) raise. The round was led by Intel Capital and Zouk Capital, both existing investors, and takes the company’s funding to almost €150 million ($168 million).

While Jack Dorsey’s Square has been setting out to disrupt the epayments market for small to medium-sized businesses in North America and Japan, iZettle has been doing the same in its native Sweden, as well as Finland, Denmark, Norway, U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico.


From VentureBeat
Get faster turnaround on creative, more testing, smarter improvements and better results. Learn how to apply agile marketing to your team at VB’s Agile Marketing Roadshow in SF.

Part of the company’s new $67 million cash influx will be used to help support the rollout of iZettle Advance, as well as fueling the company’s overall business.

Read more

Search startup Qbox raises $2.4M to develop a front end for non-technical users

Qbox, a startup that operates a cloud-based version of the Elasticsearch open-source search database for use in other companies’ applications, is announcing today that it has raised $2.4 million.

Qbox, formerly known as StackSearch, started in 2012 and has offices in San Francisco and Fayetteville, Arkansas. The startup participated in the Alchemist Accelerator program earlier this year. The startup employs 12 people, and the headcount should double in a year, Brandon wrote.

​Vulcan Ventures led the round in Qbox. Flint Capital, FundersClub, Salesforce chief technology officer Steve Tamm, and former DocuSign CEO Steve King also participated.

Read more


This list will be updated with breaking funding news all day. Check back for more.

VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.

The challenges with legacy vendors and a case for believing in innovation

idea innovation gears

Sailthru.LogoThe Martech Challenge: The digital revolution has transformed how marketers reach and engage customers, as well as the tools needed to be effective.  In this series brought to you by Sailthru, we look at how to meet martech challenges head on — exploring cross-channel marketing, innovation, customer experience, email marketing and other topics essential to today’s marketers.

Marketing today follows consumers across the digital landscape — or should — offering them the experience that they want: connected, consistent, and completely tailored to who they are and what they are interested in. This is the most significant, yet challenging, opportunity seen in marketing since the word “digital” came into the vernacular and it’s why 84 percent of senior marketers worldwide plan to increase their spending in multichannel marketing.

Marketing clouds provide the backbone tech bundles that facilitate that conversation between consumers and brands. No question, legacy vendors like Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe, HP and IBM have the longest time-in industry, and often the most internal resources, to meet today’s complex marketing challenges.

However, that long-held experience does not guarantee success when it comes to meeting the needs of the modern customer experience. Legacy vendors face their own set of challenges when responding to the needs of today’s customer-centric marketer, leaving brands to buy on a vision that may never become a reality.

Juggling and integrating multiple acquisitions

VB Insight’s report on “Marketing Clouds: How the best companies are winning via marketing technology” examined some of the major challenges legacy vendors contend with as well as the emerging players who are now competing and winning market share.

Legacy vendors often strive to innovate by acquiring smaller companies with ideas and technologies with the potential to move the larger company forward as a whole. Take Salesforce, who acquired ExactTarget, which had previously acquired Pardot to power automation and iGoDigital for personalization and analytics. These series of acquisitions allow now giant marketing clouds to check the boxes across all major marketing functionalities on the surface.

However, oftentimes a multitude of acquisitions bogs down a legacy vendor and the acquisitions end up being great for marketing fodder alone, but not so successful in building a holistic product offering. For example, according to the VB report, “IBM is currently handling more than 40 products with ‘different brands, overlapping responsibilities, multiple heritages from numerous acquisitions, and no clear progression, sequencing, hierarchy, or organization.’” This can be confusing to customers looking for a simple, turnkey marketing solution.

The alternative — companies that offer solutions rooted in a shared history and a single database — offers two essential benefits for companies: efficiency and effectiveness.

“The efficiency of managing multiple channels from a single platform makes a big difference in your ability to get answers and execute marketing the way that consumers demand for it to be done today,” said Stephen Dove, senior vice president of product for Sailthru. “On top of that, the effectiveness of having all those channels driven off a single database is huge. It’s not enough to be able to trigger an email based on a purchase made on a mobile app. Consumers expect that brands know who they are and what they’re after regardless of where they are coming from and that’s something you simply cannot achieve with scale and cost efficiency using a legacy marketing cloud.”

Smaller single-platform, multi-use, purpose-built platforms, such as Sailthru are often better internally integrated than most of the massive legacy vendors. These newer, more agile vendors approach meeting the needs of managing a modern, connected customer experience by building native solutions that provide greater ROI potential. Marketers need to decide if they want to purchase based on legacy features and the potential of their integrations or if they prefer solutions that offer a different perspective on managing data, insights development and engagement that they can grow with over time.

Take cross-channel personalization as an example. Where legacy clouds were quick to acquire onsite, email and mobile automation tools in addition to personalization technologies, the single-platform solutions have developed native capabilities. Business Insider uses Sailthru to connect email and onsite channels. Recommendations served to any individual reader are based on that reader’s combined email and onsite behaviors and interests. When a reader clicks through specific content in email, that story is not served as a recommendation on the website. And vice-versa all in real-time. This connectivity of both data and experience has increased Business Insider’s email clickthrough rate by 60 percent and onsite recirculation traffic by 52 percent.

exclamation-001Learn more about martech decision-making and overcoming legacy inertia at a Sailthru live event on September 15 in San Francisco featuring Bill Gurley of Benchmarch. Gurley has built a career on growth, innovation, and disruption and will be sharing his insider’s perspective on e-commerce technologies and their potential to impact the bottom line. Register here for free

Maturity Curve

Getting to automated, personalized, one-to-one cross-channel marketing follows a progression. Most brands and businesses mature gradually to move beyond batch-and-blast communications and demographic-based segmentation to a fully connected, integrated, and predictive marketing strategy.

However, legacy vendors are slow to mirror this maturity curve and often are unable to truly meet the needs of marketers who are seeking solutions that allow them to get ahead of their customers and increase loyalty and revenue. The new set of technology providers who are setting trends are doing so because of their ability to enable marketers to leapfrog on maturity curves relating to customer data, customer insights, and customer engagement — while legacy vendors are held back by the practices described above.

HP, for example, has not yet delivered on social media marketing or built an app marketplace, both of which are nearly inseparable from the current digital marketing experience. Oracle has yet to offer a full suite of mobile services, such as an app analytics or a mobile engagement solution, which is also integral to modern marketing. Salesforce does not have the e-commerce integrations often expected of marketing solutions today. And, according to the VB Insight report, “IBM is sorely in need of a martech dictator to come in, cut its product list, focus on building more features into fewer, broader solutions, and massively integrate its offerings.”

Yet many marketers do embrace new technology providers and act as a trendsetter for their industries. Early adopters not only enjoy earlier lift to their bottom lines, but also benefit from a boost in reputation by being a step ahead of their competition.

Commitment to investment

As analysts and research publishers like VB continue to evaluate the martech space, more emphasis will be put on use cases and success stories. It’s going to take a lot more than completing a list of features to fulfill the vision of a truly integrated martech platform.

Rather, in order to hold position as the de facto leaders in digital and multichannel marketing, or rise to it, any vendor in the space will have to demonstrate use cases across a variety of customers. True cross-channel marketing is still in its infancy, and given the difficulty and expense found in managing these experiences in legacy environments, there likely will be continued jockeying for position and leadership.

Taking these challenges into consideration, legacy vendors are increasingly not the immediate go-to marketing solution they are often thought to be. Sometimes it takes a smaller, innovative, and more agile vendor that is more focused on integrating the latest features to provide the ideal, holistic marketing platform to get today’s job done. Given the above, it’s unwise to count these companies out. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but what’s important is that any vendor meet the requirements of the client’s customers whose needs have been entirely transformed through the explosion of devices and channels.

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New leaked images show next generation Moto 360 Sport watches

Moto360 with Moven

A reliable leaker posted some new photos of the next generation of Moto 360 Android smartwatch, notably some nice looking “Sport” models.

Here is the Sport edition, featuring what looks like a sweat-resistant plastic band:

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 9.15.01 AM

The tweet also shows the next generation 360 in a variety of new colors, and with leather and metal watchbands:

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 9.22.02 AM

Here’s the actual tweet:

There’s no official word yet on whether the next generation Moto 360 watches will be compatible with iPhones, although I’d be quite surprised if they weren’t.

The Moto 360, which was released shortly after the announcement of the Android Wear operating system, was arguably the first smartwatch to get some traction with consumers — largely because of its round shape.

But that was before the launch of the Apple Watch. Motorola and other Android smartwatch makers are now under pressure to announce next generation smartwatches that can compete.

Hat tip: Gizmodo

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I was listening to a media overview of the Life On Mars Project. The short version is that 6 people, 3 men and 3 women, will spend 365 in a biosphere located on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. They will be permitted to leave the dome but will be required to wear a space suit to simulate the conditions on Mars.

In an unfortunate naming twist, the acronym for the effort is HI-SEAS. I think they should have gone with a different acronym.

The project will study the effects of long-term isolation and co-habitation. The results of the 1-year study will be used in the planning of an actual manned mission to Mars. This is certainly interesting research and the kind of work that can’t be simulated given the complexity of the human condition.

I thought it was curious that the crew features 3 men and 3 women. Given the fact that this is a 1-year project in close quarter conditions, with no external human contact, it would appear that the organizers were anticipating the human needs beyond food, shelter, clothing.

This leads to a number of interesting questions about the consequences of limited human interactions and self-enforced rules of order. What if one crewmember commits a crime against another crewmember? In a 36-foot diameter dome do you quarantine that person? Each crewmember holds specific skills that are necessary for the ongoing support of the station, putting an individual in isolation would deprive the rest of the crew of essential support.

What if someone unexpectedly binges and eats all the chocolate? Seems like a small thing but human conflict is often the result of small things piling up over time.

What happens when someone dies? This being a research project, one can presume that there would be an intervention in the event of life-threatening illness, but in space that isn’t possible so what would happen? Would you shoot the body out of a port, say a few words and move on? How do you replace the essential skills that person held?

There are obvious questions about long-term co-habitation in a small space that this research will shed light on. Entertainment, fitness, conflict resolution, communication, and mental health are all obvious questions, but it would be fascinating to learn about all the not so obvious issues that the planners have on their list.

I hope NASA departs from the usual media strategy of sunshine and rainbows to describe their work. This is a rare opportunity to shed light on the complexity of the human condition in anticipation of actual long-term cohabitation in space. I am also left to wonder why the International Space Station is not being used for this research given that it is an actual installation in outer space designed to support long-term co-habitation.