A recent article on millennials at salesforce.com referred to them as the Convenience Generation. Perhaps it’s just me – and it wasn’t the apparent intent of the author — but that moniker seems to have a negative connotation, like millennials can’t be bothered to drive to a store, make a telephone call or get off the couch to change the channel.
Millions of Internet-connected devices may currently be exposed to potential hacking.
More than 178 million connected devices and systems in the U.S. are exposed to security vulnerabilities, according to a new study by Trend Micro.
The study, comprising an analysis of exposed cyber assets in the 10 largest U.S. cities, found that Los Angeles has the highest number of exposed assets, followed by Houston and Chicago.
The top four cities each account for more than 2.5 million exposed cyber assets, according to Trend Micro.
Exposed cyber assets are defined as Internet-connected devices and systems that are discoverable on search engines and accessible by the public Internet, according to Trend Micro.
Among the top devices are routers, webcams and DVRs, which have previously been used in IoT-driven cyberattacks, as the IoT Daily reported at the time (U.S. To Issue IoT Principles After Internet Cyberattack).
The number of exposed routers seems to be somewhat consistent among top cities. Houston leads with 3,500 exposed routers, followed by Los Angeles (3,000) and New York City (3,000).
However, the study said that the majority (79%) of exposed DVRs are in Chicago and more than three quarters (80%) of all exposed DVRs are made by TiVo.
Internet-connected cameras that are most exposed include home cameras made by D-Link and security cameras made by GeoVision and Avtech, according to Trend Micro.
The study notes that exposure doesn’t mean all of these devices have been compromised, but rather that they could be.
The risks associated with such exposure can range from the systems leaking sensitive information without the owner knowing to being hacked and leveraged in a cyberattack.
Here is the Trend Micro ranking of level of exposure in the 10 largest cities, in order:
- Los Angeles
- San Jose
- New York
- San Antonio
- San Diego
Consumer-facing companies are at a loss. The middle class, long the bread and butter of consumer companies of all kinds, is shrinking as a percentage of the population in mature markets. And in emerging markets, where many consumer companies have been laying their bets for the future, growth has started to slow.
To thrive again, companies need nuanced ways of defining a segment of consumers to focus on. Our research indicates that five questions can help point the way:
- Do they have access to the internet?
- Do they have a significant amount of discretionary income?
- Are they willing to spend a lot of their discretionary income?
- Do they prefer premium goods and services when they can afford them?
- Do they seek to be on the cutting edge of consumer trends?
Consumers who answer yes to all five questions are what we call “connected spenders.” When we look more closely, we see that almost all of them are working-age, and over 30% are 25–34 years old. They are highly urban; nearly 80% of connected spenders live in a city. In emerging markets, that number is even higher, at 90%. While connected spenders are more affluent than the average, not all are high income. And, in turn, not all affluent consumers are connected spenders. Globally, connected spenders make up about one-third of low-income populations and two-thirds of high-income ones.
Today connected spenders count for about 19% of the global population, and that is projected to grow to 37% by 2025. Cumulatively, over this decade they will spend $260 trillion — 46% of the world’s consumer spending. In markets such as the U.S., where internet access is just shy of 90%, only 36% of the population are currently connected spenders, a number that will grow to over 50% by 2025.
Connected spenders are the heaviest purchasers in categories including electronics, travel, and dining out, and they’re likely to be early adopters of new ways to buy in any category. In financial services, for instance, these ways are the newest cashless payment methods or mobile banking products. In media, they will gravitate to multiple devices and to the newest services to stream video and audio. In CPG categories, connected spenders will be drawn to “hot” concepts such as health and wellness, and offerings that combine product and experience, such as subscription services. Shopping experiences such as in-store cooking demonstrations or shopping apps to help them find and select products in more convenient ways will also appeal to them.
How should companies approach the connected spender opportunity?
First, they should recognize that people can only be connected spenders if they are connected. Mature markets already boast close to universal levels of internet access, but we estimate that 2.3 billion more consumers will come online in the next decade, almost all in emerging markets. By 2025 just three mature economies — the United States, Japan, and Germany — will feature in the top 10 countries for connected spenders. That top 10 will include Indonesia, Pakistan, and Nigeria — markets that do not get much attention from Western companies.
Companies therefore need a two-track strategy: woo the connected spenders in mature internet markets now, where they are already deeply invested, and get ready for the new connected spenders as they come online in emerging economies over the next 10 years. This approach fits the financial realities of the world’s markets. Even in 2025 the average mature-market connected spender will spend nearly $40,000 per year, 10 times what the average in an emerging market will be.
In a mature market, consumer companies must get already-connected connected spenders excited about the products and shopping experiences they offer. Connected spenders seek novelty and exciting experiences across all their consumer activities. They prefer cutting-edge products and state-of-the-art technologies. Offerings that bring an imaginative, technology-driven twist to an existing product or that solve a consumer problem with a new digital offering will open connected spenders’ wallets.
Connected spenders are a digitally oriented advertising audience. Online marketing and advertising, particularly on smartphones, will be a good investment to engage these consumers, especially with newer formats, such as online sporting events or sites that combine curated content with online shopping. Connected spenders respond to traditional advertising as well, but they are much more likely to spend time on a manufacturer’s website or to remember an internet ad. Connected spenders will watch an ad if it is educational or highly relevant. The challenge, therefore, is to increase the information-richness of advertising and the personalization of its content and delivery.
What does “getting ready” for emerging markets’ connected spenders mean? Three things:
First, make it easy for consumers to move their consumption behaviors online as access allows, by including safe and convenient access to and education about new digital goods and services. Connected spenders enjoy learning about products. Most companies know they need to make e-commerce easy. They are far less aware of how critical education is in these markets, especially for products and services whose benefits are not immediately obvious, such as insurance or organic personal care products. It may seem that making it easy for consumers to buy the goods is enough, but it isn’t. In many cases, a great deal of explaining needs to go along with access.
Second, design products and shopping experiences to align with the dominant internet access methods of each market, as in the China example above. In many emerging economies it is well-known that consumers are leapfrogging to internet access by smartphone and may never use personal computers. But what is underappreciated is that a mobile-first or mobile-only strategy will not be the same in all markets. In China, smartphones are prevalent among urban consumers and social media sites are used for everything from shopping for groceries to paying credit card bills to buying an insurance policy. In other places, such as Nigeria, traditional trade is more prevalent and smartphone use is less so. Shoppers there will be looking for text-based tools to help them pay for items in local retail stores.
The final imperative is to be flexible in prioritizing markets, because a connected spender in spirit only becomes one in practice when internet access is accompanied by the other elements needed for e-commerce to boom — including market-wide online payment infrastructure and solutions to the logistics of the “last mile.” Companies must monitor the development of communications, transport, and financial services infrastructure.
Connected spenders are naturally engaged and eager; it’s what makes them so attractive. But they are also demanding, and their expectations will need to be satisfied. They are looking for new goods and services, with the latest technology, but with tangible benefits — and they will do the work online to find the best prices. The reward for investing to meet their demand will be significant, as the total annual spending of connected spenders will rise from $15 trillion in 2015, or 35% of global consumer spending, to over half of the annual total in 2025 — $32 trillion.
A new collaboration between Apple, IBM, and United Airlines was announced today, with the companies joining together to bring “a robust suite of enterprise iOS apps” to United’s flight attendants and gate agents as a means to make the customer’s flying experience smoother. In total, Apple and United Airlines have issued over 50,000 iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches to front-line employees of United, and the airline intends to use resources from Apple and IBM to deliver app-based tools and services at a faster and more consistent pace.
United is seeking the opinion of its employees to figure out which features it should focus on in the apps being built for workers. According to a top executive in charge of United’s technology division speaking with Business Insider, flight attendants and gate agents met with Apple and IBM in Cupertino last week, helping to start work on an app that will allow flight attendants “to communicate maintenance items discovered on the plane back to the maintenance teams.”
“United Airlines is committed to delivering positive traveler experiences that begin with front line engagements during all points of the passenger journey – from check-in to departure to destination,” said Dee Waddell, Global Managing Director, Travel & Transportation Industries, IBM. “This enhanced strategy with mobile solutions from IBM and Apple allows United Airlines employees to tap into the right information at the right time to instantaneously address the needs that matter most to passengers.”
The new deal with United Airlines is the latest evolution in the partnership between Apple and IBM, which began in 2014 with the purpose of creating transformative mobile apps for the enterprise sector. In regards to its reason for joining Apple and IBM, United’s CIO Linda Jojo said, “we wanted to have the best devices in the hands of our employees.”
Apple and IBM’s partnership has included travel-related apps in the past, including one that let flight attendants sell seat upgrades, food, beverages, and merchandise to passengers with the ease of Apple Pay. The app, called Ancillary Sale, also remembered individual passenger preferences, so flight attendants could recommend items on current flights based on the purchases a user made on previous flights.
One of United’s new apps is said to provide flight attendants with information on which passengers have connecting flights so they can better help customers find their gates upon arrival. Another will allow customer service agents more mobility to move about the concourse to help customers, instead of being tied to a single location.
If 2016 is any indication for 2017, it will be the year of the customer experience. Jamie Anderson, Senior Vice President & CMO at SAP Hybris explains how with the surge of new technology and, with it, the increase in the number of different channels available to connect with consumers, customer experience has taken on an entirely new meaning. There are more ways than ever for the customer to touch the enterprise
In order to be successful in the coming year, CMOs must understand the technology that works behind the scenes to create a seamless customer experience. Recent research from the CMO Council and SAP Hybris showed that 39 percent of marketers believe their technology investments have met expectations in areas such as measurement and customer interaction, but they appear to be falling short when it comes to connecting content, commerce, conversation, and campaigns with back-end operational realities, supply chain logistics, and organizational capabilities that will ultimately impact the customer experience.
This year, marketers must advance their pools of intelligence from being largely marketing-focused into those that are entirely customer-focused. This demands that the entire organization – from HR to operations and the supply chain – be digitally connected and aligned around a live view of the customer as an individual – a view that takes the past, present, and future state of that individual into context in real-time.
Understanding this underlying technology will become even more critical once virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and general machine learning become a standard practice within marketing technology – something I believe will come to fruition this year. VR and AR have the potential to completely transform the way that consumers interact with technology and, therefore, a brand. This year we saw furniture companies implement VR to allow consumers to visualize what a piece of furniture would look like in their home and retail brands use smart changing rooms to more easily connect the consumer with sales associates. These are two examples of how the shopping experience can be augmented by virtual reality to enhance the customer experience and help retailers make smarter merchandising decisions. With this technology at the core, machine learning will begin to drive customer engagement.
Which brings me to my next prediction: in 2017, physical and digital retail will merge entirely to create one consistent shopping experience. It’s become clear that consumers expect to interact with a single brand, while jumping across in-store and online touchpoints to research and make purchases. Therefore, retailers shouldn’t think in terms of individual channels. For a truly connected retail experience, they must embrace technologies that bridge the physical and digital divide.
For example, in-store sales associates should have access to customer data, including past behaviors and preferences to help personalize the shopping experience. Taking it one step further, brands can offer online ordering for in-store pick-up and vice versa. Consumer shopping behaviors are drastically changing year after year and retailers must keep up with this evolution. With approaches available to help blend the retail experience, shoppers will be able to more easily control their experience, pursuing a variety of tools and channels to complete a purchase. It is the duty of the brand to make this journey as easy and seamless as possible.
This type of connectivity of back-end systems requires a marketing automation system that uses current, relevant data to drive engagement – something all companies will need in order to compete. If their data is out of date, marketing automation is a waste of time. This year, marketers must learn to use automation systems to apply intelligent algorithms to the context of the consumer interaction that has taken place. It’s not about mass outreach – instead, automation can be used to touch each individual customer based on their past behavior and general propensity to buy. AI and machine learning will play a big part in the success of marketing automation systems next year.
Lastly, microservices will be a major disruptor in 2017. At a base level, microservice is a new software that will fundamentally change the agility with which businesses can operate. In the short term, microservices will be most prevalent at the front-end of the business (i.e., the way that brands interact with customers). Microservices can easily be integrated into organizations’ existing technology stacks to create an end-to-end solution that will set a higher bar for engagement between brands and consumers.
If there’s one key area that marketers should focus on in 2017, it is leading the digital innovation that drives change. Once businesses are fully acclimatized to operating in the digital world, they will learn to use it to use it to their advantage – by following consumer journeys from beginning to end, determining what engages a target audience, making predictions about what’s on the mind of customers – and ultimately using this information to form deeper relationships.