EyeLock brings biometric security to your websites

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — Biometric security is always a field of interest for those people who need to keep your data secure. Currently, it is used in a wide variety of high security applications, mostly by large companies with large amounts of customer data to protect. But, in the future you may be able to use a retinal scan to sign into your favorite social networking sites such as Facebook, and your email. More information: www.hoyos.com/Products/ConsumerProducts.aspxvia CNET Tired of Passwords? Replace Them With Your Fingerprint © 2010 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Explore further Citation: EyeLock brings biometric security to your websites (2011, May 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-05-eyelock-biometric-websites.html The company behind this idea is the Hoyos Group which is a New York-based company that was founded in 2005. They have created a new product, called EyeLock, which was first unveiled at the Finovate conference in San Francisco. The device, which is a portable iris-scanner about the size of a business card, is also a USB drive. This allows it to work with a variety of machines. Once the user has installed a special program they can choose which applications to EyeLock. You can give the system software your log in information for those sites. The next time you want to sign into your favorite site all you have to do is hold the scanner in front of your eye. The tool will then automatically log you into your site. Users who wear glasses will be happy to find out that they do not have to remove them in order to complete the scan. This will be the first time that iris scanning technology will be an option for users on the consumer market. Since it will allow for the tracking of multiple log on the devices will no doubt be convenient. Though it may make signing onto your favorite sites more secure users should be aware that if they lose the device they will have a lot of different passwords to change since no device is un-hackable and the passwords are stored on it.last_img read more

Research team finds graphene may pave the way for new kinds of

first_img Explore further The team, led by Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, made their discovery by creating several so-termed p-n nanojunction devices (the boundary that is formed between P and N type semi-conductors) in their lab and then taking careful measurements of each type using laser light to measure the resultant photocurrent produced. They found that as the power to the laser was increased, so too did the photocurrent. During their experimentation, they found that they could produce up to 5 mA/W, even at a low temperature; a number that is 6 times higher than has been demonstrated with any other optoelectronic device based on graphene. They believe this occurs because the electrons in the graphene aren’t able to transfer their heat very well due to poor coupling with other materials.Graphene is a one-atom thick layer of carbon that has all manner of unique properties and because of that, new applications for it have been announced periodically since its discovery in 2004. Until now though, very little progress had been made in using it in optoelectronics devices. This new property, called a hot-carrier regime by the team, is unusual because it’s normally only seen in other materials at very cold temperatures. With graphene, however, the effect occurs at low, medium or high temperatures making it a very good candidate for practical applications such as photo-sensing or as part of devices that harvest the energy in sunlight.The team notes that the discovery of this new property of graphene they describe is likely just the first step in a very long journey. Much more research needs to be done to find out such things as just how efficient can a process using it be made, or what if more layers of graphene are integrated into a device. They plan to continue work in this area, as will others no doubt, now that this new property has come to light. More information: Hot Carrier–Assisted Intrinsic Photoresponse in Graphene, Science DOI:10.1126/science.1211384ABSTRACTWe report on the intrinsic optoelectronic response of high-quality dual-gated monolayer and bilayer graphene p-n junction devices. Local laser excitation of wavelength λ = 850 nm at the p-n interface leads to striking six-fold photovoltage patterns as a function of bottom- and top-gate voltages. These patterns, together with the measured spatial and density dependence of the photoresponse, provide strong evidence that nonlocal hot-carrier transport, rather than the photovoltaic effect, dominates the intrinsic photoresponse in graphene. This regime, which features a long-lived and spatially distributed hot carrier population, may open the doorway for hot carrier–assisted thermoelectric technologies for efficient solar energy harvesting.Preprint on arXiv: arxiv.org/abs/1108.3826 © 2011 PhysOrg.com Graphene shows unusual thermoelectric response to lightcenter_img (PhysOrg.com) — A team comprised of researchers from MIT and Harvard has discovered yet another unique and useful property of graphne, this time it involves optics. As they describe in their paper published in Science, when light, or in this case a laser, is aimed at an object with a graphene surface its electrons get hot and remain so for longer than the rest of the object. This property opens up the door to all kinds of possibilities for new kinds of superfast photo-detectors and energy harvesting technology. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Research team finds graphene may pave the way for new kinds of optoelectronic devices (2011, October 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-10-team-graphene-pave-kinds-optoelectronic.htmllast_img read more

Ancient European bear had unusually large penis bone

first_img Journal information: PLoS ONE Baculum in laterial view of: A Helarctos malayanus; B Ursus thibetanus; C Tremarctos ornatus; D Ursus americanus; E Melursus ursinus; F Ursus arctos; G Ursus maritimus; H Indarctos arctoides; I Ventral view of the Baculum of Ailuropoda melanoleuca; J Dorsal view of the baculum of Ailuropoda melanoleuca. Credit: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073711.g001 © 2013 Phys.org (Phys.org) —Researchers working at Spain’s Batallones-3 dig site in the area of Cerro de los Batallones have unearthed five baculum (os penis) that once belonged to five now extinct examples of a species of bear classified as Indarctos arctoides. In their paper published in the journal PLUS ONE, the team describe the baculum fossils in great detail and offer theories as to why the bear had such a large penis. Penis size does matter if you are a bank vole More information: Abella J, Valenciano A, Pérez-Ramos A, Montoya P, Morales J (2013) On the Socio-Sexual Behaviour of the Extinct Ursid Indarctos arctoides: An Approach Based on Its Baculum Size and Morphology. PLoS ONE 8(9): e73711. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073711AbstractThe fossil bacula, or os penis, constitutes a rare subject of study due to its scarcity in the fossil record. In the present paper we describe five bacula attributed to the bear Indarctos arctoides Depéret, 1895 from the Batallones-3 site (Madrid Basin, Spain). Both the length and morphology of this fossil bacula enabled us to make interpretative approaches to a series of ecological and ethological characters of this bear. Thus, we suggest that I. arctoides could have had prolonged periods of intromission and/or maintenance of intromission during the post-ejaculatory intervals, a multi-male mating system and large home range sizes and/or lower population density. Its size might also have helped females to choose from among the available males.center_img Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Many male mammals have a bacula, also known as a penis-bone, to assist in reproduction. The stiffness of the bone allows for easy insertion of the penis into the female’s vagina (as contrasted with blood pressure to maintain an erection as occurs with humans.) All bears have a bacula, but what sets I. arctoides apart from modern species was its size. Scientists have found many fossil bones from the bears and thus have a clear idea of its overall size. The bear was on average about the size of modern European Brown bears (265.74 kg for males and 137.30 kg for females), yet its bacula was longer than the much larger Polar or Kodiak bears that exist today. Four of the five specimens found were from adult males—together their baculum averaged 225.26 mm in length.Bacula finds are rare in archeological research, their thinness makes them prone to breaking, and quite often they are mistaken for rib bones. Thus finding 5 wholly intact specimens was a noteworthy find in and of itself—that they represent such a large penis bones relative to body size is perhaps even more remarkable.The researchers can’t say for sure why the ancient bears (they lived approximately 12 to 5 million years ago) had such large penises, but offer some theories. They suggest that a larger penis would allow for longer copulation, helping to ensure that the female became impregnated. A longer penis would also help to guide the sperm that was released more directly to its target, once again, offering higher reliability of impregnation. The researchers also suggest that such a long penis might even have allowed a male to remove plugs deposited by prior males, ensuring their DNA would win over. And finally, they propose that females may have grown to prefer males with a larger penis for these very same reasons, thus ensuring that males with the largest penises would predominate, leading to longer and longer bacula for the species as a whole. Citation: Ancient European bear had unusually large penis bone (2013, September 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-09-ancient-european-unusually-large-penis.htmllast_img read more

Labour union stops dispatch of first flush tea over unpaid dues

first_imgDarjeeling: The Himalayan Plantation Labour Union (HPWU), affiliated to the Gorkha National Liberation Front has stopped the dispatch of premium first flush manufactured tea from the Rangili-Rungliot tea estate in Darjeeling, protesting against the non-payment of dues to the tune of more than Rs 1.5 crore accumulated since 2011. “The management of the tea estate has not paid the second instalment of bonus as per agreement, along with other dues. Despite repeated requests the management has turned a deaf ear. We have stopped the dispatch of manufactured tea from the garden since April 14″, stated JB Tamang, general secretary of HPWU. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe dues include gratuity, provident fund, leave travel allowance, salary, wages, staff kitchen allowance, JCO and tea makers salary, medical bill and LTA of temporary workers.”Till February 14, 2018, the accumulated due was to the tune of Rs 1,45,76,481. Dues have continued accumulating since then. Gratuity has not been paid since 2011″, added Tamang.HPWU on Wednesday had submitted memorandums to the District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and the Assistant Labour Commissioner of Darjeeling calling for legal action to be taken against the management. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”If the management pays the 2nd instalment of the bonus and part of the pending dues we will allow the dispatches. However, if they try to commence dispatch forcefully, we will stop the dispatch till the total due amount is paid up”, cautioned Sudesh Rai, branch president of HPWU.The union has made an appeal to other trade unions to join the agitation in order to create adequate pressure.The tea estate has 350 workers and around 100 staff and sub staff. It produces 1,60,000 kg of tea annually. The trade Union had earlier threatened to stop the dispatches of manufactured tea in all the 87 tea gardens, if the gardens fail to give the stipulated fringe benefits to the workers by April 21. “As per the Plantation Labour Act, workers working for 120 days in a year are entitled to fringe benefits. However, the management of the gardens is only providing fringe benefits to workers who have worked for at least 180 days. This needs to change. Till now, no tripartite meet has been called to resolve this issue. We will stop dispatch of tea in all the tea gardens in the Darjeeling hills from April 21 if our demands are not met”, threatened Tamang.last_img read more

Threeday fair in Salt Lake to showcase organic products

first_imgKolkata: Prakriti Organic Farmfresh India Ltd. (POFIL) is organising a three-day carnival of products at Salt Lake City Centre which will be inaugurated by state Technical Education, Training and Skill Development minister Purnendu Basu on Friday. “The state government has identified 120 clusters across the state under which more than 7,500 farmers have been involved in the production of organic vegetables. The farmers who have worked in this area have got assistance under the “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana” (PKVY) — a scheme under which farming is promoted through adoption of organic village by the cluster approach and PGS certification. Our aim is to enable people of the state to have organic products at a reasonable rate. The most important part in this venture has been the motivation of farmers in the state to adopt organic farming and the Bengal government has been successfully able to do the same,” said Mannu Chowdhary, Managing Director of POFIL. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsApart from a plethora of organic vegetables and fruits, the special attraction will be two varieties of mangoes — Amrapali and Mallika from Bankura and also export quality watermelons from Bankura. The Himsagar and Langda varieties of mango from Malda will also make it to the three-day carnival along with organic tea from Darjeeling and three varieties of rice — Tulaipanji, Gobindobhog and Black Rice. The state government is laying a lot of emphasis on production of organic vegetables as various studies have highlighted excessive use of pesticides in normal ones. The state is also holding two markets of organic vegetables — one at Bidhan Sishu Udyan in Ultadanga and another at Baguiati weekly.”We are processing the products in a scientific manner and packaging it mentioning the name of the farmer who has produced that particular vegetable so that customers can have a direct link with the farmer. A number of farmers will also be present at the carnival,” Chowdhary added. Organic products from Uttar Pradesh will also be a part of the event.last_img read more

Smartphone monitoring can boost behavioural studies

first_imgInterpreting the data collected from volunteers’ own smartphones — which has the potential to emulate randomised trials — can boost research into human behaviour, finds a new study.Fani Tsapeli from the University of Birmingham, and her colleague and Mirco Musolesi from the University College London used user-generated data, harvested from their phones to evaluate the cause of increased stress levels of participants. Most of the earlier research works relying on smartphones focused on detecting factors in the features extracted from smartphone data. But that pure correlation analysis did not provide for a sufficient understanding of human behaviour. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Therefore, the study authors tried to identify factors that could be at the root cause of issues revolving around health and well-being.In this study, the authors used data from a research project at Dartmouth College, Hanover, US, called StudentLife. It included information on participants’ location taken from raw GPS data, which helped determine whether they were working or socialising.Also included was data on activity levels, like running, walking or travelling on public transport, inferred from participants’ raw accelerometer data. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThey found that exercising and spending time outside the home and working environment have a positive effect on participants’ stress levels. By contrast, they found that reduced working hours only slightly impact stress. The conclusions cannot be extended to the general population due to the small sample size. But the approach has been validated and shows great promise for further studies.The study was published recently in EPJ Data Science.last_img read more

Student killed one injured in bike mishap

first_imgKolkata: A Class 12 student was killed and his friend seriously injured when their bike skidded off the road on the Vidyasagar Setu here, police said on Sunday. Laloo Sahani (18) died and his friend Amit Balmiki (19) riding pillion received injuries after the bike hit the divider on the bridge and veered off the track on Saturday, a police officer said. Balmiki is undergoing treatment at the S S K M Hospital. The two, without wearing helmets, were coming from the Princep Ghat side at high speeds, he said, adding, Sahani was seen performing some stunts before the accident took place. Police is examining CCTV footage to ascertain the exact cause of the mishap.last_img

Radiological emergency mock drill to be held at NRS and South City

first_imgKolkata: A radiological emergency mock drill will be conducted at two different places in the city on Thursday and Friday to ascertain the preparedness based on the detection, protection and decontamination of radioactive consignments in case of any incident during the movement of hazardous materials.The first mock drill will be carried out at the NRS Medical College and Hospital on Thursday. The process would be conducted for two hours from 2 pm to 4 pm at the radiotherapy department of the hospital. Another mock drill will be undertaken at the South City Mall from 7 am to 9 am on Friday. A press statement issued by the state government says that people should not get panicked as the mock drill is meant to check the preparedness of various agencies and the departments. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe department of Disaster Management and Civil Defence is organising a mock drill on radiation emergency in collaboration with NDRF, disaster management group of both the city police and Bengal police, Civil Defence and Fire and Emergency Department. Various other agencies and departments such as Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Fire and Emergency Services, State Health department and search and rescue team and observers from concerned agencies are extending their support for making the mock drills a success. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateOne of the main objectives of the exercise is to reinforce the efficiency of the contingency plan of the hospital and the shopping mall and familiarisation of roles and responsibilities of the other stakeholders during any emergency situations. It was learnt from the NRS hospital sources, a scenario might be enacted for this drill both at the hospital and the shopping mall where there is always a possibility of radioactive consignment getting exposed to fire. The mock drill will be conducted at critical zones to address any possible crisis situation. A senior official from the NRS Medical College and Hospital said: “The state government has decided our hospital as the venue for conducting mock drill. We have made necessary arrangements at the radiotherapy department where the mock drill will be done.”last_img read more

Relish the king of fruits this summer

first_imgSummer is the time to drool over mangoes and to feast over their succulent flavours. The level of excitement increases manifold when this most loved summer fruit rules the South East Asian palate. The oomph of this most sought after fruit has been relished over two decades with chef Veena’s ‘Summer Collection Menu’ at The Spice Route, The Imperial, New Delhi, until July 31 from 12:30pm to 2:45pm and 7pm to 11:45pm.The whiff of newness reflects now in this season’s menu featuring Chef’s selections and creations inspired from the regions of Kerala, Srilanka Thailand and Vietnam. Under the umbrella cuisine of The Spice Route, the menu promises to steal hearts with specialties put together with ripe or raw mangoes, complemented with Chef’s specials. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe summer fruit comes alive in ‘Yum Mamu Ang Kung Krob’– a spicy raw mango salad with dry shrimp and battered fried prawns, ‘Maambalam Okrathoren’– wok fried lady fingers with kerela spices and sliver of raw mango, ‘Tom Som Mamuang’ and a lot more. The chef has perfectly balanced spices with mango in all her offerings, for a heavenly treat.”The ‘Summer Collection menu’ has been close to my heart since the time The Spice Route opened doors, and invoked timelessness for me, each time I started planning it. The name takes inspiration from the fashion fraternity and the menu is whipped up to dish out something unique for the patrons from the landmark kitchen of this world famous South East Asian restaurant,” said Chef De Cuisine Veena Arora. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveTalking about the choice of fruit, she said, “The interesting raw and ripe mango based recipes are refreshing like a celebration of the season. Most of them are my own creations, wonderfully complemented by rice, chicken, prawns, sole fish, veggies and exotic spices.Also as I hail from Thailand, I want to reflect the love of blending Thai cuisine with fruits, in my menu. That is the reason the complete menu revolves around mango, the favourite summer fruit.”last_img read more

The Ashok fills lives with Christmas cheer

first_imgChristmas is around the corner and with that comes tempting discounts, offers and scrumptious buffet loaded with festivity. Inspired by the beautiful festive season, The Ashok curates an exclusive menu for young and adults alike to fill this season with the spirit of goodness and pure happiness.The fun and tempting lunch for the kids would want them to have more of every yummy delicacy on the healthy menu. The special menu comprises of yummy sweet corn soup ‘Kiteretsu’s Love’, Shizuka’s favourite grilled chicken patty with cheese and veggies, Pooh’s Magic served with French fries, Nobita’s Choice of pasta, Sweet Snowball called Chhota Bheem’s Delight and Mermaid Mania Sundae. To make it even more special for your little one, The Ashok offers free beverage for him/her. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAt the dusk dawns, make way to treat your taste-buds with tempting dinner buffet laid down especially for the lovers of festivity. Also to add more ‘cheers’, enjoy a glass of wine on the house while you immerse yourself in the pleasure of live synthesiser performance. For every bill exceeding Rs 1000 at The Samavar or The Cake Shop, be ready to get surprised with unexpected gifts. Visit Mr Santa Claus and wish him a Merry Christmas. And if you are too old for Santa, go meet your favourite Cartoons or check out some tattoo art.last_img read more

Tollfree number introduced to fix accountability Subrata

first_imgKolkata: Panchayats and Rural Development minister Subrata Mukherjee said during his Budget speech in the Assembly on Monday that the toll-free number 180020200864 has already been introduced, where the beneficiaries of various development schemes can register their complaints if they face any difficulties while availing the facilities.The minister told the House that the mechanism has already been made operational in the districts, where the beneficiaries can lodge their complaints. The district administration will take prompt action if there is any complaint relating to the schemes. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataDuring his speech, the minister also said that 100 day works under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) have been increased in the state. The Bengal government has secured first position by creating the maximum number of jobs in the state. In 2017-18, the state government generated as high as 31.25 crore person-days, whereas in the last financial year, the department created 21.64 crore person-days till November 2018, which is the highest in the country with Andhra Pradesh securing second place with 18.46 crore person-days. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateIn the last financial year, the state government released Rs 2,161.35 crore for the implementation of the programme. For the current financial year, the budgetary allocation has been increased up to Rs 6,219.50 crore. Mukherjee told the Assembly that the Bengal government has also set an example by constructing roads. He said that in the last one year, around 5,000 km of roads have been constructed. Work has been initiated to build around 2,527 km more in the current year. Taking a dig at the CPI(M) MLAs, the minister said that no significant steps had been taken in this regard by the erstwhile Left Front government. Mukherjee also responded to the CPI(M) MLAs who were shouting inside the Assembly on the cut money issue, saying that roads in various stretches used to remain in bad shape during the Left Front regime. The minister also reminded them that no tangible development had taken place during the Left Front regime and accused CPI(M) of lending support to the BJP. “Their protest against BJP is just show-off,” alleged the minister. He also said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed the department to uplift the socio-economic condition of people in the villages. Following the Chief Minister’s instruction, the department has ensured that 8 crore people in villages can avail the benefits of various government schemes. Mukherjee again criticised the previous Left Front government, saying that they used to tell the Centre that the construction of roads was completed and therefore no funds were required for the same.last_img read more

South Bengal to experience light to moderate rain in next 24 hours

first_imgKolkata: Light to moderate rainfall that hit several parts of South Bengal on Friday brought temporary relief to the people from the sweltering heat.According to the prediction of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore, more rain is expected in various South Bengal districts in the next 24 hours. The coastal districts may receive heavy rainfall until Saturday, the prediction said. A weather official added that there may be heavy showers accompanied with lightning in North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, West Midnapore and East Midnapore districts in the next 24 hours. Districts including Burdwan, Birbhum, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura, Purulia and Kolkata will receive moderate rainfall. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe weather office has issued an alert to the fishermen in the coastal districts asking them not to venture into the sea for the next couple of days as it may remain turbulent following the formation of a low-pressure trough over the Bay of Bengal. Those fishermen who had earlier ventured into the sea have been asked to return to shore due to bad weather conditions. The city also received light to moderate rainfall on Friday morning. Kolkata mostly remained cloudy from the morning and the humidity level also dropped by few notches providing some relief to the city dwellers from the persistent discomfort. Rain, however, did not last for long. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe weather office said that the city and the adjoining areas may also receive some more rainfall in the next 24 hours pushing down the mercury a bit. In the evening hours, there was light drizzle. It may be mentioned here that a deficit in rainfall has been recorded in entire South Bengal in June and the current month which is worrying the farmers. They are looking for some more Monsoon showers during the rest of the month so that they can recover the damage caused by the scarcity in rainfall.last_img read more

Madame de Pompadour – Kings and Courtiers were in the Palm of

first_imgThe French Revolution was still a generation away when Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson caught the roving eye of King Louis XV — the French monarch who was known as much for his womanizing as for his melancholy. Jeanne-Antionette, better known by the royal title of Madame de Pompadour, would spend her adult life devoted to the king. In return, he not only made her his chief official mistress but would bestow on her the prime ministerial powers of the French court, albeit very unofficially.Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour (1721-1764).Born the daughter of a disgraced financier, Jeanne-Antoinette may have faded into bourgeois obscurity were it not for the prediction of a fortune teller when she was nine years old.According to this fortune teller, Jeanne was destined to win the heart of the king and Jeanne’s mother, being the superstitious type, made it her mission to ensure that Jeanne received a full education and was given extra lessons in the theatrical arts, dancing, and etiquette.Historical Mixed Media Figure of Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Madame de Pompadour, produced by artist/historian George S. Stuart. Photo by Peter d’Aprix CC BY SA 3.0Since Jeanne’s father was living in exile in Germany, these lessons were funded by Charles Lenormand de Tournehem, a man who is very much believed to be Jeanne’s biological father.By the age of 16, Jeanne was as cultured and as beautiful as any of her upper-class peers, even if she did not have the title to back it up. She gained access to many the best salons in Paris and charmed Parisian high society.Madame de Pompadour, portrait by François Boucher.Charles Lenormand de Tournehem, her benefactor, arranged for Jeanne a marriage of convenience to his nephew and gave the newlyweds a chateau situated near the king’s newly acquired hunting lodge.It seemed that the fortune teller’s prediction was to come true because when Jeanne was introduced to the king through the subtle networks of Paris society, Louis XV was immediately smitten and had Jeanne moved to an apartment above his bedroom at the palace within the month.Louis XVJeanne separated from her husband and was introduced to court as Madame de Pompadour in September 1745.From then on, Madame de Pompadour made it her life’s work to ensure the king was kept happy and always in the palm of her hand.Pompadour used the royal coffers to host entertainments for King Louis, ensuring that he was always stimulated by new and exciting theatre displays and grand banquets, where the king himself would serve coffee to the guests.Madame de Pompadour by François-Hubert Drouais, c. 1763–64.Pompadour also controlled the flow of women who shared the king’s bed, making sure that he was satisfied but that no woman threatened her place in his affections.As Pompadour got older, the king’s interest in her as a lover waned but their friendship continued to blossom, and the king relied on Pompadour for governmental decisions. As the New York Times reports: “Courtiers and foreign diplomats flocked to her toilette, seeking to curry favor with the king. She oversaw appointments and monitored military activity, sending heckling letters to generals on the battlefield.”Chateau de Menars is a chateau associated with Madame de Pompadour. Loire Valley, France.Pompadour did much to champion the arts and sat for many of the famous artists of her day. She was also a leading supporter of enlightened thinkers such as Voltaire.Pompadour also went against the Catholic church by supporting the creation of the first French encyclopedia, and once again in her protection of the Physiocrats, a group of French Enlightenment economists who would go on to inspire Adam Smith.François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), known as Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer and philosopher.The Madame also had a keen architectural eye and oversaw the refurbishment of the chateaus Fontainebleau, Trianon, Choisy, and Compiègne, while her Paris mansion is now the Palais d’Élysée, the official residence of the French president.While Madame de Pompadour did much to champion the Enlightenment, she was less proficient in the affairs of state.The Élysée Palace seen garden side. Photo by vostok 91 CC BY SA 2.0This did not stop her from meddling, as one commentator, the Comte d’Argenson, is famously quoted as saying: ”The mistress is prime minister, and is becoming more and more despotic, such as a favorite has never been in France.”Under her guidance, Louis XV ended the long-standing peace treaty with Prussia in favor of Austria, leading to France’s defeat in the Seven Years War.By the end of the war, France was bankrupt and defeated, and while Louis XV had lost the respect of his subjects, Madame de Pompadour was utterly reviled.Madame de Pompadour passed away at the age of 42 after a short illness. Much of France did not mourn her passing, but the king and many of her society friends were devastated.Read another story from us: The Peculiar Facial Deformity Caused by Years of Royal InbreedingVoltaire wrote of his grief, “It seems absurd that while an ancient pen-pusher, hardly able to walk, should still be alive, a beautiful woman, in the midst of a splendid career, should die at the age of 42.”last_img read more

Robert Zemeckis to Remake The Witches – Angelica Huston not Impressed

first_imgAnne Hathaway heads up the cast of Robert Zemeckis’ new film, an adaptation of The Witches, based on Roald Dahl’s 1983 novel. The film is set to hit the big screen on October 16, 2020. Octavia Spencer (The Help) joined the cast in mid-February 2018, with Blackish director Kenya Barris expected to co-write the script with Zeneckis.Oscar winner Anne Hathaway is reportedly starring as the Grand High Witch, a role played by Anjelica Huston in the first adaptation of the children’s book in 1990. The book is about a boy who stumbles across a coven of witches who secretly inhabit the world — and hate children.Anne Hathaway. Photo by ONU Brasil CC BY 3.0Sources say that the new film will be truer to the Dahl novel than its predecessor. According to The Wrap although the 1990 film gained a cult following, it turned out to be a box office flop and was publicly disowned by Dahl shortly before he passed away. The sticking point was that the film changed the ending of his book which he creatively disagreed with.Variety reports. Octavia Spencer would play the grandmother of Bruno’s character, and Eastick is portraying the other boy who takes on the Witches.Octavia SpencerHathaway last appeared in the summer hit Ocean’s 8, a spinoff of the Ocean’s Eleven movies.The Witches holds a special place in the affections of those who admire Roald Dahl. Originally published in 1983, the storyline is set in both England and Norway. However, it was controversial from the first, with some critics deriding the book as sexist.“The Witches is a timeless book and movie about the enterprising strength and brilliance of independent women. At first look, it might seem like a misogynist portrayal of the female sex — positioning them as ugly, cold, and in need of being destroyed in order to suppress their domination of the world — but that is far from the case,” says syfy.com.Roald DahlThe site goes on to say that although the goal of the women is to turn all children into mice, the depiction of women working together and supporting each other is a strong image of female solidarity. We shall see which direction this new film will take it in.Related Video: 16 Best Oscar Wilde Quotes:The 1990 film was directed by Nicolas Roeg, and Rowan Atkinson co-starred with Huston. Dahl did not like this version, saying he was “appalled” at “the vulgarity, the bad taste” and “actual terror” in certain parts of the movie.It took Angelica Huston some eight hours of make up time to transform into the iconic role of  Grand High Witch. When asked by Entertainment Weekly about the remake, Huston was not upbeat about the project, “I don’t really know why because I think Nick Roeg made the ultimate Witches…It was his particular brand of wit and irony that made it what it was.”Angelica Huston pictured in 2014. Photo by Mingle Media TV CC BY SA 2.0Roger Ebert said in his review that it was the first film aimed at children directed by Roeg and that the director usually infuses twisted, at times sinister elements to his films, in that case the grotesque depiction of the witches and mice children, who have to face real world predicaments. The result being, in his opinion, Roeg’s movie might have come off as too intense for many young viewers.Nicolas Roeg. Photo by che CC BY-SA 2.5Ebert concluded that “The Witches is an intriguing movie, ambitious and inventive, and almost worth seeing just for Anjelica Huston’s obvious delight in playing a completely uncompromised villainess.”Read another story from us: Mel Gibson to Remake Controversial 1969 Western ‘The Wild Bunch’The new film was originally the project of Guillermo del Toro, until it migrated to Robert Zemeckis.last_img read more

Be Selective With Your Social Networks

first_imgIdentify Your Time CommitmentHow many social networks or affinity groups are you a part of right now? Are you really using these groups or are you just a profile on a page?Social networking–like any form of networking–is about dedicating time. You have to spend time connecting with people, sharing ideas and understanding if they are a good fit for you or the possible lead you will send them. Investing time is the only way to reach this goal. Checking in for 10 minutes a day to update your profile status is not going to get you business. Additionally, not being involved in the tools you say you use can also send the wrong message to people who are reaching out to you in your community.The biggest pitfall of social media is the danger of spreading yourself too thin online. How many different profiles can you really maintain? There are applications that allow you to update your multiple profiles at one time, but that may not be the best strategy for building relationships with people online. Social networks that have different audiences often times require different types of updates. Think of it like dressing for the occasion–if you’re going to play golf, you dress accordingly and discuss different topics than you would if you went to a business management conference. Social network marketing is about understanding your audience and the etiquette that goes with each group.Stay Focused and EvaluateAfter you have reviewed the audience and decided to get involved in any social network you need to stay ask these questions to stay on point:What outcomes are you hoping to see from this community?How are you making it happen?How much time are you investing every day to reach your goals?What is your metric for evaluating your results?Staying focused on these items will help you decide whether to stay with one group or try another. You will only get out of the network what you put into it. 3 min read More on social media May 29, 2009 You’ve got traffic–but do you know what it means? Marshall Sponder does. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Expand your web presencecenter_img The Cost (and Payoff) of Investing in Social Media Every day, it seems like I have messages from people I know inviting me to join them on some new social network. These invitations are always intriguing–what is this new group all about? Will I get more business if I add myself to this group? The people who invited me to join are people I trust, and if they like it I should think about at least trying this new social network, right?Before you join, here are a few ways to strategize if that social network will work for you.Research the AudienceWhat is this new social network or affinity group all about? Is your potential customer in this group? To find the answers to these questions, spend some time looking at the demographics of the typical member. You can often find them by reviewing the information on the about page or the advertising section of the website. Check out third-party information on the community–this may include blogs, media outlets or research groups. Look for research that shows outcomes, not just the demographic or membership information.Talk to the people who invited you to join. What are they getting out of this new group? How much time do they spend networking with people? Have they closed business from relationships built on this new social network? What other value have they found? Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now »last_img read more

The New Smart Money

first_imgFebruary 22, 2011 11 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global This story appears in the March 2011 issue of . Subscribe » You know the clunky, unsightly cash register occupying all that real estate in your place of business? Say goodbye. It’s now a paperweight–a fossil, a relic of a bygone era where cash and plastic reigned supreme. The future of point-of-sale transaction processing lies in the mobile phone, the one thing your customers carry with them wherever they go–the one thing they absolutely never leave home without.Merchants have heard this prognostication before, of course. Pundits have forecasted the emergence of mobile wallets for roughly a decade. The tech sector has promised–but failed to deliver–a secure, alternative payment system that would accelerate the transaction process, increase customer spending and streamline operations. The kind of system that would be a godsend for verticals like quick-service restaurants and convenience stores. But mobile commerce always failed to take off.This time, though, things look different. (Really.) For starters, consumers are showing far more interest in making purchases using their mobile devices. Close to half of U.S. smartphone owners have either used their devices for mobile shopping or plan to do so in the imminent future, according to a survey conducted by ABI Research. Americans spent more than $3.4 billion on mobile shopping in 2010, up from $1.9 billion the previous year, the report says–and it predicts that online shopping will yield $163 billion in worldwide sales by 2015, representing 12 percent of total global e-commerce turnover.Credit the growth in part to exploding smartphone penetration. More subscribers than ever now carry the kind of cutting-edge devices necessary to make payments on the go.Sales of smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android mobile operating system represented 45 percent of all new U.S. mobile device purchases in November 2010, according to The Nielsen Company. Smartphone users now make up 31 percent of the total American wireless subscriber segment.The companies that provide mobile service are going all in on mobile commerce, too. Three of the four largest U.S. mobile operators are joining forces to launch Isis, a nationwide mobile transaction network rolling out with support from the likes of Discover Financial Services and Barclaycard US that promises to dramatically streamline the way businesses accept mobile payments. And a wave of other mobile payment options is emerging that will further simplify and secure shopping across the digital sphere.But consumer demand for mobile commerce and investment by the mobile industry mean nothing if retailers, restaurateurs and other small business owners don’t also commit to a mobile payment environment. And those businesses are poised to reap the greatest rewards. Beyond boosting transaction speed, security and convenience, mobile commerce also can create new opportunities for customer interaction–like coupons, promotional offers, appointment reminders and other incentives.Read on to learn about the innovation that will usher your business into the m-commerce era.The formation of Isis heralds a new age of payment options for merchants and consumersBuy and CellThe formation of Isis heralds a new age of payment options for merchants and consumersIn a sense, Isis is itself a startup that is helping make mobile commerce a reality for small businesses everywhere. It happens to have some heavyweight help behind it–which is why Isis has such a tremendous chance at succeeding.Isis is a nationwide mobile commerce network spawned in late 2010 that has the potential to connect 200 million wireless subscribers across the country with merchants equipped to accept mobile payments from their customers. It can do that because Isis is backed by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA–three of the four largest U.S. mobile operators in the U.S.Isis CEO Michael Abbott”There have been a lot of science experiments in this space, but you need scale and commitment to truly ignite innovation,” says Isis CEO Michael Abbott, a financial services veteran who was chief marketing officer of GE Capital before he signed on to helm Isis. Abbott calls his company “kind of a startup, but with three huge partners.””Merchants need to know that mobile payments are here,” he says. “We’re giving them the scale and commitment necessary to move forward.”The service Isis offers is simple: It will allow consumers to make purchases by swiping their microchip-equipped smartphones at corresponding reader units located at participating retailers. The process relies on something called near field communications, or NFC, which enables secure communications between two electronic devices in close proximity (about 4 inches apart).Isis also is building out its contactless payment platform in collaboration with Discover Financial Services, whose payment network is accepted at more than 7 million merchant locations nationwide. Few startups get a better start than that.The future of Isis hinges on building out NFC’s retail footprint and mindshare. Abbott welcomes the challenge.”I like to take raw materials to mold and create new things,” says the one-time electrical engineering student at Columbia University, who dedicates his free time to woodworking. “The idea is to bring [Isis] to every phone, and to give something to consumers that simplifies their lives. For that to happen, we have to be open to all merchants, all wireless carriers and all banks. That means we need a standard everyone can use. NFC technology is nothing new–there’s nothing that needs to be reinvented. [Point-of-sale] terminals and readers are already in stores.”Isis isn’t the only entity backing near field communications to connect merchants and customers. Handset maker Nokia has pledged to support NFC in all new smartphone models introduced this year. And Google announced late last year that NFC integration is included in the updated version of its Android mobile operating system.Research firm iSuppli anticipates worldwide shipments of mobile devices with built-in NFC capabilities will increase to 220.1 million units in 2014, up from 52.6 million in 2010. Perhaps most significant, contactless readers are already deployed in more than 100,000 U.S. merchant locations across the U.S.”The consensus in all markets is that contactless payments are going to evolve over NFC,” says James Anderson, vice president of mobile for MasterCard. “People believe that’s the right technology.”Isis is slated to roll out consumer trials in key geographic markets this year and into 2012. Barclaycard US is expected to be the first issuer on the network, offering multiple mobile payment products.But Abbott is already thinking far past mobile payments. In his mind, Isis will not only render cash, credit and debit cards obsolete, but also allow merchants to replace loyalty cards, coupons, event tickets and transit passes.Big Moves For Small PaymentsDon’t be fooled. Just because they’re called micropayments doesn’t mean the revenue opportunity is insignificant.Perhaps no company has made more real money selling virtual goods than social gaming giant Zynga, which reports that in-game digital transactions–for example, crops and livestock purchased by FarmVille players–account for roughly 90 percent of its annual revenues, a windfall of about $450 million in 2010.Zynga’s breakout success is all the more remarkable given the struggles that have long faced traditional publishers and media providers looking to monetize their content on the web. It’s been a different story on mobile phones, however. The days when subscribers routinely forked over a few bucks for a 15-second monophonic ringtone are over. In the current smartphone era, half of all iPhone owners download a premium application to their device each month. Mobile subscribers consistently exhibit their willingness to make small, impulse purchases on the go–a trend buoyed by the simplicity and efficiency of charging the transaction to their monthly wireless bill.New payment options that create viable alternatives to traditional cash and credit transactions will make mobile micropayments even easier. In late October, AT&T launched a mobile payment trial enabling its 93 million U.S. subscribers to charge music, movies and virtual goods directly to their monthly bill by entering their mobile number instead of their credit card or PayPal account information. AT&T rolled out the program in partnership with no fewer than three rival mobile payment solutions startups: BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong.”Isis is not just about putting mobile payment services on your phone, but delivering one simple, integrated solution that brings all your paper and plastic together,” he says. “We can create value in a lot of ways. For example, when you leave a store, a merchant can send a promotional offer to your phone, and it’s sitting there the next time you come back. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but we have the scale and the support to finally catalyze the market.””Mobile payments enable you to reach a segment you can’t reach with credit cards and PayPal,” says Ron Hirson, Boku co-founder and senior vice president of marketing and business development. “Customers don’t always know their credit card information, but with Boku, you only have to enter your 10-digit mobile number. Mobile also allows you to reach people who can’t pay any other way, especially in emerging markets. Now merchants can sell to people they couldn’t before.”How many more people? Consider that there are roughly 177 million credit card holders in the U.S., compared with about 293 million wireless subscribers nationwide, or roughly 93 percent of the total American population. With international wireless subscribers surpassing the 5 billion milestone in late 2010, it’s no surprise that the global mobile payments market–including purchases of digital and physical goods as well as money transfers and point-of-sale transactions–is expected to explode from $170 billion in 2010 to almost $630 billion in 2014, according to Juniper Research.That growth depends on a solution that makes sense for consumers, mobile providers and merchants alike. Although the AT&T trial will go far in separating the contenders from the pretenders, on paper BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong offer similar solutions.BilltoMobile inked a deal with Verizon Wireless last March (between that and the AT&T partnership, the startup now has access to 65 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers). BilltoMobile’s Direct Mobile Billing service offers a secure two-step payment process requiring only seconds to complete: To make an online buy, consumers select BilltoMobile as their payment option, choose their wireless carrier and enter their mobile number and ZIP code. BilltoMobile transmits a pass code via text message, and once the code is successfully entered in the transaction window, the purchase is complete.”We provide a financial-grade system to the carrier, leveraging their existing billing model,” says Jim Greenwell, BilltoMobile president and CEO. “We’re not going to displace credit cards. Our model is about offering digital merchants greater incremental revenue.”Zong’s international operator partners include T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. The firm is also the mobile payments provider for Facebook Credits and other social gaming and digital platforms. Like BilltoMobile, its solution incorporates a PIN code to authenticate a transaction.”The most important thing to a consumer is convenience,” says David Marcus, Zong founder and CEO. “That’s why we’re focused on mobile–there’s an enormous opportunity to increase convenience.”Boku–which boasts partnerships with 220 mobile providers in more than 60 countries–tweaks the formula: Instead of a code, consumers reply with a “Y” for “Yes” in response to its text-based purchase authorization. “What we’re doing doesn’t require consumers to upgrade their phone,” Hirson says. “We reach everyone on the web.”AT&T’s commitment to nurturing mobile micropayment options extends beyond marketing the BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong services. In conjunction with the partnership, the operator also agreed to reduce its cut of transaction revenues. In the past, carriers often claimed between 40 percent and 50 percent of digital media sales billed on their networks; terms of the AT&T deal are unknown (the company declined an interview request) but are said to be substantially more favorable to its technology partners and merchants. (BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong all take a small transaction fee on each purchase as well.)The growth of mobile micropayments depends on everyone in the value chain continuing to work together, BilltoMobile’s Greenwell says. After all, everyone stands to gain.”For now the focus is on digital goods, and from there it will move to nondigital goods. Eventually, mobile will evolve as a second-nature payment mechanism for all transactions under $100,” he says. “There’s nothing magical about this. It’s a simple model that benefits everyone. It’s beautiful in its simplicity.” Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more

7 Steps to Hiring the Perfect Mobile App Developer

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Finding an app developer isn’t that tough these days, it’s finding just the right one for your business that can be tricky.  As someone who has built an app development company and worked with clients across industries on their apps, I can tell you that finding the right partner is more important than saving a few hundred or thousand dollars in building your product. The right partner can add value in more ways than just development, which will help you maximize revenues for your app business.Let’s get started with what you should look for in an app developer to make the right decision for your app business.1. Look for a developer interested in your business, not just the development. A good development company should be able to not only guide you through the process of development, but also give you creative input based on their experience with similar apps.The good ones know what works and what doesn’t on the app store because they’ve worked with many clients.2. Assess their portfolio. A good developer must also have excellent U/UX skills. When looking at their portfolio, keep an eye out for beautiful looking apps with excellent user interfaces. Sixty percent of your application is about how a user interacts with it.3. Check client references. Look for developers who will readily extend client contact information so that you can get real feedback on their company.4. Choose someone you can build a relationship with. Mobile app development is not a one-time activity. Apps have to go through many evolutions and cycles based on constant user feedback. Look for a developer who will stick with you through the lifecycle of the product and not abandon ship once the initial development is done and the app is hosted.5. Don’t let price drive you. Do not, and I repeat, do not select a development partner based on a price quote. You need a great product, not the cheapest product.Every startup or entrepreneur has a budget. But often the lowest cost option can turn out to be more expensive in the long run, if, say, for example, it’s necessary to redo the app with another developer because it didn’t turn out as expected.6. Think of the whole package, not just the coding. Building an app is not just about coding. It’s also about creating a functional design and thinking about the user experience. Do not select an independent developer unless you already have access to a team who will perform the rest of the functions such as design, usability and testing. 7. Make design a top priority. How a website or an app looks is as important as how it works. Go a step further and look at partners who can add value to the usability aspect of your website or mobile app, which will define how users interact with your product.Focus on the right aspects of your business and you’ll have a better shot at choosing the right app developer. It’s an important decision. The realization of your vision is often in your developer’s hands. Choose wisely. November 12, 2013 3 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now »last_img read more

Microsoft Wants to Clean Up Your GermInfested Smartphone Screen

first_img 3 min read April 16, 2015 Register Now » Your smartphone is a dirty, dirty little thing. If scientists swabbed that grody brick for germs, they might find some of these nasties and, sadly, almost definitely the last one: E. coli, staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus, yeast and fecal matter. And, shoot, that’s just the short list, guys.   It’s a vicious cycle. You touch your phone dozens of times a day at least, maybe even hundreds. And the germs you come into contact with from everything you paw between phone zone sessions — doorknobs, dollars, elevator buttons, toilet seats, etc. — get all over you and, inevitably, all over your precious phone, too. Yuck.Related: Hypochondriac’s Dream: Sickweather App Tells You Where Germs Lurk Near You Disinfectant wipes are a decent temporary solution, but they can’t kill all bacteria and viruses all of the time. And flimsy screen protectors are a pain to put on and typically don’t last very long. The bugs win, whatever you do.  Microsoft knows this, and it feels your heebie-jeebies and wants to make it all better. Hopefully 99.9 percent better. Last week the tech behemoth briefly blogged about its new patent for a UV light system that it says could automatically disinfect mobile device touchscreens — and apparently even your fingertips as well.Related:  Is Your Office Making You Sick?The potential antimicrobial cleaning system would be centered around a UV and visible light transparent film material that would go onto or in touchscreen-equipped devices. “UV light is emitted from a UV light source into an edge of the transparent film material in order to transfer the UV light through the transparent film material while remaining in the transparent film material through total internal reflection effect,” the patent reads, per the April 10 Microsoft blog post. “Some UV light exits the transparent film material at points of contact to disinfect fingertips and immediate surrounding areas through the frustrated total internal reflection effect.”We hope Microsoft moves forward with the fresh initiative. It could offer a nice, simple solution to a really disgusting problem, one that most of us would rather not think about and are too lazy to properly deal with on our own. Too bad the auto-cleaning system would probably only be available for the company’s own touchscreen gizmos, like Microsoft Surface tablets and Microsoft Lumia smartphones, as hinted at in the blog post.Related: The Makers of This Solar-Powered Technology Want to Eliminate a Global Sanitation Issuecenter_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.last_img read more

3 Strategies for Taking a Bite out of the Booming App Market

first_img Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer 5 min read “There’s an app for that” used to be a tongue-in-cheek slogan in the iPhone’s early days. Now, it’s a fact of life: By 2020, it’s estimated that 6.1 billion people will rely on smartphones. Users will install 210 billion apps between now and then, a trend that will earn developers a collective $57 billion in revenue in 2020 alone.Related: 4 Ways a ‘Data-Driven’ Approach Anticipates Buyer BehaviorApps are quickly becoming a brand imperative. But going after downloads or in-app purchases isn’t enough anymore; those are just the beginning stages of a product’s life cycle. To make apps a part of long-term growth strategies, companies must evolve these products based on users’ behaviors.Every business needs an appThe app industry is big — and getting bigger — but the major proportion of the industry’s usage and revenue are still concentrated among the top 200 apps. Localytics found that 20 percent of apps are used only once. Consumers are far more likely to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube than spend time exploring more novel smartphone products.A word-of-mouth campaign might draw users to a new app, but what happens when their initial curiosity wears off? If there’s nothing that repeatedly engages their attention, they’ll reopen Instagram or Snapchat, as fresh content from a reliable source will always beat the flashy new thing.Brands can’t rest on their laurels, then. They must constantly iterate on their apps to retain users. But launching occasional updates or announcing minor tweaks once a quarter isn’t enough. “Twenty-five new features” that no one wants won’t have as powerful an impact as the one key upgrade that aligns with users’ expectations and in-app behaviors.People have finite time and energy. They want to know that an app is worth their attention, so companies must make their value propositions clear. Perhaps your company can offer users a coupon for $10 off a new feature as a thank-you for creating their in-app profiles. Such incentives will keep the app top of mind so users return to it often. At that point, brands can track users’ behavioral patterns in order to deliver better customer experiences.Building effective appsCompanies that don’t monitor in-app behavior are taking shots in the dark with their marketing strategies. In contrast, businesses that know how and when customers use their apps can formulate campaigns based on their audiences’ needs. Users will be thrilled by the personalized experiences and become increasingly reliant on the app, as a result.Behavioral data also plays an important role in feature road maps. Your development team might brainstorm 15 cool-sounding functions, but none of those will land effectively if customers aren’t interested in them.Brands can’t know what the best feature set is until they monitor their customers’ patterns. How long do they stay within the homepage feed? How often do they hit “refresh”? Do they go down rabbit holes to discover new features? Or, do they favor the same one or two options over and over again?Here’s how companies can answer those questions and build effective long-term strategies:1. Integrate with an analytics service.Dozens of platforms offer must-have analytics services for any company that’s serious about app monetization. The price points vary from free access to several hundred dollars a month, so there are affordable options for businesses at every level. Choose a solution based on which data types it collects and how deep it can go when gathering insights.Google Analytics, the tried-and-true website standard, works wonderfully with both iOS and Android. It tracks how often users open an app, how long their sessions last and where they are when they’re using it. Google Analytics also records usage flows and button taps. Optimize the customer experience around these insights by creating a more intuitive, customized mobile experience.Related: 3 Mobile Analytics Platforms for Measuring User Engagement2. Transition to feature-rich platforms as the app grows.As the app gains traction, upgrade to more complex services, such as Mixpanel or Flurry. These platforms track in-depth metrics, including the average number of social media friends, frequency of social posts and engagement drop-off points. Deeper analytics go beyond anonymous user data and provide information about behaviors within the app ecosystem.Branch.io enables companies to record the entire customer journey, from the moment users tap an ad in Safari to the time it takes to click download in the App Store. Those data points indicate which marketing campaigns and promotions work.3. Refine the app experience based on user behavior.Behavioral patterns offer raw, real-time customer feedback. Analyze this data to learn which areas draw the most attention and which inspire people to use the app day after day. Invest in the areas that generate the most significant engagement and ROI. People will appreciate the fact that the app both meets their needs in increasingly specific ways and feels customized to their interests.Related: 6 Tips on Getting Customer Feedback and Making It ActionableSuccessful apps depend on great customer experiences. In order to stay competitive in an increasingly saturated world, companies must be ruthless about eliminating unpopular features and responding to user needs. After all, every garden must be weeded so the flowers can blossom. October 10, 2016 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Listen Now Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger.last_img read more

Workaholism Is the Threat That Masquerades as Dedication

first_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. You can’t miss them — large, white buses with tinted windows shuttling tech professionals both ways between San Francisco and the southern end of Silicon Valley. One day while stuck in traffic, I looked at the buses and thought, “Why can’t these smart companies create an algorithm to avoid sending people in both directions — thereby avoiding pushing them to start their workdays even earlier while en route to the office?”And then it hit me. We don’t need an algorithm to optimize who works from which location — we need to reimagine the workday for knowledge workers.Always-available culture. For most of my career, I’ve worked in tech in Silicon Valley. I remember the first time I got a device that allowed me to read work email away from my desk. It felt liberating. Then, as more people got mobile devices, our always-available culture became an everyone-always-on culture. I never realized how fatiguing it was to be on all the time until I got a chance to turn it off.Related: Working 80 Hours a Week is Not Actually What Leads to SuccessAt too many companies, there is no chance to turn it off. From the moment employees begin their morning commutes until the moment they check their email “just one more time” before closing their eyes at night, connected teams are working. Work seeps into every part of their life — their evenings, weekends and vacations. Even their sleep! And many business owners and leaders fuel this norm by operating the same way themselves.More harm than good.Studies show that this overwork — whether management requires it, encourages it or tacitly accepts it — is detrimental to our teams and our businesses. Is a team that works in always-on mode dedicated and productive — or perpetually on the brink of burnout?The downsides can be very real.Related: 3 Reasons Founders Need to Stop Trying So HardHealth problems result. And health problems lead to more sick days and a revolving door. Studies have shown that people who work more also drink more. They’re more likely to be depressed. They demonstrate a link between overwork and illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Ailing employees eventually call in sick, and when they can’t take the pace anymore, they quit — and that’s expensive for companies.Tired employees don’t do good work.The difference between working 40 hours per week and working, say 55 or more, shows up in the quality of the work. In the ‘80s, the Whitehall II study in Great Britain highlighted a drop in cognitive function for those working longer schedules. Teams that spend more hours at their desks but get progressively less effective aren’t benefiting the business.Overworking doesn’t create a noticeable difference.We can’t tell the difference between employees who overwork and those who don’t. This was the finding of a Boston University business professor who studied consultants. Do you know whether your star performer is actually working 70 hours a week — or just pretending to in order to impress you? Research shows you probably can’t tell the difference.Related: Those 12-Hour Days Are Killing You Without Helping Your BusinessThese are the things that go through my mind when I see those white buses rolling through Silicon Valley, carrying knowledge workers who are “maximizing their days” by working through long commutes. As their days expand, the value these professionals deliver for their companies actually decreases. Ending this toxic workaholism — and building a healthier workforce and healthier companies — will require a loud, clear, honest call to action from the top. We need to lead by example and say to our teams, “Whatever work is following you into your evenings, weekends and vacations — it can wait.” Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 4 min read October 25, 2016 Enroll Now for Freelast_img read more