Month: August 2015

The best WiFi router (disclaimer: our client TP-LINK is a clear winner

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy.
Read the original full article below at

After spending a total of 200 hours researching and testing over 20 WiFi routers, plus analyzing reader comments and feedback, the $100 TP-Link Archer C7 (v2) is the router we recommend for most people right now. This dual-band, three-stream wireless-ac router usually costs between $80 and $100 — the same price as many older, slower routers. But unlike those slower routers, the C7 supports the fastest connections of every major device you can buy today.

We compared the Archer C7 against 21 different routers over a 10-month testing period. On most of our tests, the Archer C7 was the fastest — outperforming routers that cost twice as much. You won’t find a better-performing router than the Archer C7 for less, and you’ll have to spend a lot more money to get a better one.

Infographic Looks At The Science Of Native Ads – WebProNews

In-feed ad unit adoption is growing across publisher sites with different ad unit types introduced and/or retired quickly,” said the IAB’s Susan Borst. “In addition, feed types are also evolving beyond the three main types (content, social and product), to mixed feed types that have variable aesthetics/content which don’t fall clearly into one bucket. But even with these changes over time, it is important that one thing remain the same and that is the need to evaluate the in-feed ads from the consumer perspective to ensure that they remain native, meaning that they are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

They have a helpful infographic on this as well, which you can see here.

The Smart Home Market Insights

THE EVOLVING SMART HOME MARKET: BI Intelligence Research Analyst John Greenough presented at IoT Evolution on the current state of the US smart home market. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Americans are excited and ready for the smart home. Over half of America is excited for the possibility of having smart home devices. In addition, three-quarters of Americans have wireless internet and 57% have a smartphone — two crucial components of the smart home ecosystem.
Security is often cited as the top benefit Americans want when purchasing a smart home system. 41% of Americans said the top benefit of a smart home system is security.
Cable, telephone, and security companies with a large employee base are well positioned to provide home automation systems. Smart home providers including Comcast’s Xfinity Home, Time Warner Cable’s IntelligentHome, ADT Pulse, and AT&T’s Digital Home, have allocated a lot of marketing dollars to help grow their smart home divisions. This could be especially crucial to cable companies who are continuing to lose cable subscribers to cord cutting alternatives.
The US smart home market is currently in the ‘chasm’ of the tech adoption curve. The chasm is the transitional point from the early adopter to mass market phase of the tech adoption curve. It previously occurred in the smartphone market in 2009-2010, when smartphones were proven to be a necessity and were adopted by the masses.
To reach the mass market stage, smart home device makers and providers will have to prove a need for their devices, fix the technological fragmentation, and try to drive down prices.
BII JG IoT Evolution

THE IoT ANALYSTS SPEAK: At IoT Evolution in Las Vegas, multiple IoT analysts participated in a panel discussion on the IoT market. The analysts disagreed over how many devices are going to be connected to the Internet by 2020. This has been a hotly contested topic since the IDC released their original forecast saying 50 billion things will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Multiple firms, including BI Intelligence, have reported varying forecasts which generally fall between 10-200 billion devices. Here are some of the takeaways from the discussion:

The analysts have varying definitions of what is included in the IoT, and therefore have very different forecasts. Some analysts include devices running near field communication (NFC) and RFID, while others do not. Therefore, each forecast needs to be read closely to see what devices are included. These definitions are important for clarity around what the IoT encompasses.
A few of the analysts made the point that the number of devices connected to the internet does not matter. The bigger message these analysts had was that the growth rate is the most important number. We tend to agree with this group of analysts. However, the overarching theme of the IoT is that it will be big and it will make businesses more efficient.

Congrats to TP LInk and Goolge

We love it when clients come together and partner. Congrats to TP Link and Google on your innovation and successful collaboration.


Today, the company is launching a new device called the OnHub, in partnership with router-maker TP-Link. There’s another, Asus-made device in the works. For $199, it promises to make your Wi-Fi faster and more reliable, and to give you the ability to update and fix your connection. (You know, for the rare times unplugging it and plugging it back in just won’t do.) Presales start today, and devices will ship in the coming weeks.

The most striking thing about the OnHub is the way it looks. It’s not your average router, with wires and antennas poking out from every side; it’s a large cylindrical device with a blinking light on the top, shades of the Amazon Echo or Apple’s Airport Extreme router. Its outer shell is removable, and comes in either blue or black (more colors are coming, Wuellner says, to better suit your room). It’s pretty, in its way.

This is intentional: Google doesn’t want you to crawl behind your desk every time you need to get at your router. It wants the OnHub right in the center of everything. This itself is a boon to your connection; hiding your router behind closed doors or underneath your TV is horrible for your signal. (Yes, people do that.)

“We discovered that when you put a router on the floor,” Wuellner says, “versus on the shelf, the one on the shelf performs twice as well as the one on the floor.” Wuellner’s team also discovered that making it a tall cylinder made users less likely to stack things on top of it, which also destroys signal.

If step one was to build a router people want on their shelf, not in the closet, then step two was to make it work really well. The OnHub has 13 antennas inside, 12 for casting signal and one for measuring congestion on your network. The device’s software is constantly monitoring channels and frequencies, making sure you’re connecting in the most efficient way. Wuellner says Google didn’t just want to blow your mind with antenna power, but figure out how to use it properly. “Imagine yourself in a battle with your neighbor about who can listen to their stereo,” he says. Most routers just keep cranking the volume to try and drown out the other; the OnHub wants to help everybody share.

The Google re-org may help it innovate faster and find its place as a leader within the #IoT

Per BI, Google’s big reorganization, which made Google and its different brands separate subsidiary companies under a wider holding company called Alphabet, could mean fast growth for some of its IoT initiatives. Google has rapidly grown beyond its traditional web and search businesses in recent years, and under the umbrella of Alphabet those projects will have more flexibility as independent companies to innovate faster, according to an article in PC Magazine. 

The article explains that as Google reaches into more experimental areas like self-driving cars and healthcare, its investments in these areas have grown harder to justify to shareholders, who would likely prefer the company and its executives keep their focus on core businesses like search, Gmail, and Android. 

Under the new arrangement though, Google itself will be exposed to less risk should one of these side projects fail spectacularly: Google will be its own independent company that could be spun off to protect its share price should such a failure happen. That will both make shareholders happy because their shares’ value will be safe, and it will allow these side projects to be more aggressive in experimenting with nascent technologies, since they won’t be handcuffed by the risk that they could crater Google’s share price.

The reorganization will also allow Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to focus more on these non-core businesses, as they will become co-CEOs of Alphabet and hand off the CEO role at Google to Sundar Pichai. The most important new companies  under the Alphabet umbrella in regards to IoT development will be:

  • Nest will become an independent company under Alphabet, which will hopefully help the company speed up the expansion of its product portfolio of smart home devices. The company has been slow to grow beyond its first offering, the Nest thermostat. Google acquired Dropcam for $555 million last year, and made it part of Nest. Nest hasn’t done much with the acquisition though: its released a connected home security camera earlier this year that didn’t do much to improve on the original Dropcam. Nest needs to release more innovative products if it wants to be a smart home company, not just a smart thermostat company.
  • Google X, Google’s innovation lab, will also become an independent entity. The lab is working on several projects that are relevant to the IoT including Google’s self-driving car tests; Google Wing, a drone delivery service; and Google Loon, an effort to expand internet access to new geographies using high-altitude balloons. Google X will be able to move forward with these projects more rapidly now that they the lab is more independent from Google.

I am making my return to the stage… with Darren Herman, Donny Osmond and Tony Hsieh #iot @betheexception @thebuddygroup #IMPACT15

My marketing and storytelling career started in New York City on America’s first social medium; The Broadway stage. Since then, The Buddy Group has flourished to help shine the spotlight … Continue reading I am making my return to the stage… with Darren Herman, Donny Osmond and Tony Hsieh #iot @betheexception @thebuddygroup #IMPACT15

Under Armor and the IoT

I regret not being able to attend the IoT event led by Chuck last week. Such is life.
Thanks to his reporting, I feel like I was there (sort of)…

Much of the value in the Internet of Things is in the connections.

Not the technical connections between and among objects, but the people connections that result.

This point was magnified by the opening keynote speaker at the MediaPost IoT: Shopping conference last week.

“The value is in the community,” said Doug Ziewacz, head of North America Digital Media & Advertising at Under Armour Connected Fitness.

Best known as a sports apparel company, Under Armour is staking out a major IoT platform claim, aimed at becoming the aggregating platform for any fitness device.

“We’re in the middle of a massive digital transformation,” said Ziewacz. “Make no mistake about it, we’re a technology company.”

Under Armour’s open and device-agnostic platform allows participation by any athlete, any device or partner program at any time of day.

The company already has 140 million registered users in its connected platform.

“An open platform is important,” said Ziewacz. “It enables a better user experience. Also, a lot of brands want to know what’s happening in connected fitness.”

The four main focus areas for Under Armour are sleep, activity, fitness and nutrition.

“The more people work out, the more shirts and shoes we’re going to sell,” said Ziewacz. “The more people who work out, the more moments of need there are.”

The $4 billion company sees the wearables space as highly fragmented and sensed the need for a central depository for all data from devices.

The idea is that someone with a device from Fitbit, Jawbone or any other major supplier can be connected into one platform to centralize tracking activity for the consumer.

“We’re hubbing all that data,” said Ziewacz.

While the devices continue to grow and evolve, Under Armour plans to position its platform as the continuum for the consumer, no matter what device they move to next.

“These are still the early days,” said Ziewacz.

The Death of Snackable Content?

The increasing demand for long-form speciality content will shape the future of the publishing industry. An article in Fast Company highlights Wait But Why, a long-form blog that has acquired 31 million unique visitors and 87 million page views, through 80 articles that average over 2,000 words each.

“If you can blow someone’s mind — really, genuinely blow it, again, in a really well-written way — then that’s something they want to share,” said Wait But Why co-founder, Andrew Finn.

Publications will realize that there is far more value in creating a strong community around a specific topic and connecting those readers with relevant businesses than there is in mass-producing content for the masses. Readers benefit from better content, and publishers benefit from more effective monetization opportunities. Engagement, rather than eyeballs, will become the underlying drive.

9 New Predictions And Market Assessments For The Internet Of Things (IoT) – Forbes

IDC discussed The Internet of Things Mid-Year Review at a webinar on July 23, including findings from a survey of 3,566 companies in North America. IDC defines IoT as “a network of uniquely identifiable ‘things’ that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity.” Tata Consulting Services (TCS) issued a report titled The Internet of Things: The Complete Reimaginative Force, based on a survey of 3,764 executives worldwide. TCS defines the IoT as “smart, connected products.” The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) published The Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype. MGI defines IoT as “sensors and actuators connected by networks to computing systems” and excludes “systems in which all of the sensors’ primary purpose is to receive intentional human input, such as smartphone apps.” Finally, Business Insider (BI) issued The Smart City report on IoT initiatives in cities worldwide.

The economic impact of the IoT will re-shape the world’s economy

The IoT has a total potential economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion a year by 2025. At the top end, that level of value—including the consumer surplus—would be equivalent to about 11 percent of the world economy (MGI). The Internet of Things (IoT) market will expand from $780 billion this year to $1.68 trillion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 16.9%.  Sensors/modules and connectivity account for more than 50% of spending on IoT, followed by IT services at more than 25% and software at 15%. Traditional IT hardware accounts for less than 5%

Investments in IoT technologies by cities worldwide will increase by $97 billion from 2015 to 2019. The cities’ IoT deployments will create $421 billion in economic value worldwide in 2019. That economic value will be derived from revenues from IoT device installations and sales and savings from efficiency gains in city services (BI).

There will be almost 30 billion of IoT devices in 2020

In 2015, 4,800 connected end points are added every minute. This number will grow to 7,900 by 2020. The installed base of the Internet of Things devices will grow from 10.3 billion devices in 2014 to 29.5 billion in 2020. 19 billion of these devices will be installed in North America in 2020 (IDC).

The IoT will be primarily an enterprise market

In 2018, the IoT installed base will be split 70% in the enterprise and 30% in the consumer market, but enterprises will account for 90% of the spending (IDC). Business-to-business applications will probably capture more value—nearly 70 percent of it—than consumer uses, although consumer applications, such as fitness monitors and self-driving cars, attract the most attention and can create significant value, too (MGI).

Over the next few years, North America will still be the focal point for the IoT

The IoT has a large potential in developing economies, but it will have a higher overall value impact in advanced economies because of the higher value per use. However, developing economies could generate nearly 40 percent of the IoT’s value, and nearly half in some settings (MGI). 2020 will be a tipping point year for Asia, when it will become the geographical region with the largest installed base of IoT devices (IDC). North American companies will spend 0.45% of revenue this year on IoT initiatives, while European companies will spend 0.40%. Asia-Pacific companies will invest 0.34% of revenue in the IoT, and Latin American firms will spend 0.23% of revenue. North American and European companies are more frequently selling smart, connected products than are Asia-Pacific and Latin American companies (TCS).

The telecommunication industry leads other sectors in IoT investments

The Telecommunications, banking, utilities, and securities/investment services industries are the leading sectors investing in IoT in 2015 (IDC). In gaining benefits from the IoT, industrial manufacturers reported the largest average revenue increase from their IoT initiatives last year (29%), and they forecast they’d have the largest revenue increase from the IoT by 2018 (27% over 2015). Industrial manufacturers were also in the lead for using sensors and other digital technologies to monitor the products they sold to customers (with 40% of the companies doing so) (TCS).

IoT adoption is gaining momentum worldwide

36% of companies in North America have IoT initiatives in 2015 (IDC). 79% of companies worldwide already use IoT technologies, investing 0.4% of revenue on average. They expect their IoT budgets to rise by 20% by 2018 to $103 million (TCS).

Costs and customers are the key drivers of IoT investments

Lower operational costs and better customer service and support lead the list of significant drivers of current IoT initiatives. In large companies, business process efficiency/operations optimization and customer acquisition and/or retention also top the list (IDC). Companies with IoT programs in place reported an average revenue increase of 16% in 2014, in the areas of business where IoT initiatives were deployed. In addition, about 9% of firms had an average revenue increase of more than 60%.The biggest product and process improvements reported by companies were more customized offerings and tailored marketing campaigns, faster product improvements, and more effective customer service (TCS). Cities are adopting IoT technologies because they deliver a broad range of benefits for cities including reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, improving public safety, and providing new ways for governments to interact with their citizens (BI).

Security, culture change, determining priorities, and optimizing ROI are key IoT concerns

Security issues top the list of current barriers to IoT adoption (especially with larger companies), followed by funding the initial investment at the scale needed, determining the highest priority use cases, and changing business processes (IDC). identifying and pursuing new business and/or revenue opportunities that the IoT makes possible, and determining what data to collect, are key issues. Also important are getting managers and workers to change the way they think about customers, products, and processes, and having top executives who believe the IoT will have a profound impact and are willing to invest in it (TCS). Currently, most IoT data are not used. For example, on an oil rig that has 30,000 sensors, only 1 percent of the data are examined. That’s because this information is used mostly to detect and control anomalies—not for optimization and prediction, which provide the greatest value (MGI).

Microsoft leads the IoT market

The top 5 vendors mentioned as the IoT provider companies “plan to work with within the next 2 years” are: Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, and IBM. For large companies (more than 1000 employees), Microsoft and Cisco lead the list (IDC).