Ultimately, it comes down to trust: trusting the sources from which you get information, whether it’s from brands, news sources, family members, Twitter accounts, or wherever you’re engaging. @dotlot @thebuddygroup

There’s no question that we live in a society in which information moves faster than ever before. So the old adage that “a lie is halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on” is quite accurate.

A recent study in Science found that false news travels faster and wider and that the blame lies with humans. It’s the same reason that gossip tabloids have always flourished and that the Kardashians are so widely followed. Human nature seems to gravitate toward a willingness to spread falsehoods and exaggerations.

And this is why Facebook (and other big technology companies) are in a pinch ahead of the midterm elections. Because what they have to fix isn’t just an algorithm: it’s human behavior. Behavior that they’ve trained with Pavlovian-like responses tied to endorphins that ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ cause in the brain. The ubiquitous nature of technology and its endemic effects make this a societal problem, with reverberations that are being felt in government, child-rearing, school, and more.

There’s still a need to be aware of and efforts made to stomp out fake news. Interestingly, even amid the growing era of machine learning, journalists may be better suited to do sniff out fake news. That is, journalists who aren’t being coerced into bashing national media companies by their employers.

What’s Life Without Information?

But what’s the answer? One New York Times columnist took a two-month hiatus from digital sources, getting his news only from print newspapers. The result was a less frenetic, richer experience with himself and his family. And an Ohio man completely cut himself off from every kind of news. Those kinds of solutions may not be for everyone, but they do indicate just how deep technology pervades our minds and the need to make some kind of change to our behavior.

Ultimately, it comes down to trust: trusting the sources from which you get information, whether it’s from brands, news sources, family members, Twitter accounts, or wherever you’re engaging. And knowing that you have the power to influence others, because that’s who people trust over all sources. Your employees, customers, fans, family and the like — they’re the ones who will be the best resource when it comes to leading and defending your brand or your story. If you have a good relationship with them and can be consistent and persistent, you stand a chance of breaking through.

As posted on http://braintrust.partners/trust-matters/

The #IoT sector is expected to grow to 20.4 billion devices by 2020, and businesses are expected to spend $134 billion annually by 2022 just on cybersecurity for IoT devices

There’s a running joke regarding connected gadgets and the internet of things: “The ‘S’ in IoT stands for security.”

And yes, I’m aware there’s no “S” in IoT.

Oleg Šelajev, a lead developer for Oracle Labs, coined the phrase in 2016, and it pops up almost every time researchers find security flaws with a connected device. And it happens a lot. Think security cameras. Or toys. Or smart locks.

Yet homes, businesses and facilities are stocking up on more and more connected devices, the idea being to make people’s lives easier. The IoT sector is expected to grow to 20.4 billion devices by 2020, and businesses are expected to spend $134 billion annually by 2022 just on cybersecurity for IoT devices, according to Juniper Research.

But more connected devices means more potential vulnerabilities. And the security of these devices hasn’t gotten much better. Researchers have been warning about this issue for years, but the number of threats is only getting worse. The real problem is that no one’s listening.

“We demonstrated problems last year,” Denis Makrushin, a Kaspersky Lab researcher, said at his company’s Security Analyst Summit in Cancun, Mexico, earlier this month. “This year, it’s the same problems, but now with huge numbers.”

Even more distressing is the bigger threat to the more than 8.4 billion IoT devices already available today — especially as security vulnerabilities in old devices keep popping up. So even as politicians and the tech industry look to address this for new products, it’s the legacy gadgets that could prove most vulnerable. It was one of the key themes at the Kaspersky conference, where researchers exposed vulnerabilities affecting decades-old gas pumpsrobots in malls and smart cameras for homes.

Panels at Kaspersky’s 10th annual summit in Mexico took place in windowless conference rooms just a stone’s throw away from Cancun’s sunny beaches. While couples were cooling off by the pool and families were playing in the sand at this popular vacation destination, security researchers were inside showing off vulnerabilities with the gadgets that increasingly run our lives.

It didn’t end with robots and gas stations. Other panels detailed how you could hack a yacht, a car, industrial control systems and hospital tech. The one common thread for all of this research: It wasn’t shiny, new gadgets with security flaws, but devices from years ago. These are the ones makers have moved on from, but people can still buy in stores.

Medical malware

Your typical hospital serves as a case study for how vulnerable we are. Kaspersky Lab’s researchers found 27,716 open entry points for a hacker. Yury Namestnikov, one such researcher, attributes this to a rise in internet-connected devices in hospitals, some of which might not even be medical equipment.

internet-of-things-iot-devices-1705.jpg
IoT devices will number 20.4 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of potential security hazards.

James Martin/CNET

They found issues with the lighting systems, air-conditioning units and printers. Many of them were using out-of-date management software open to attacks. The researchers pointed out that the popular Cancun resort they were staying at might also have these same security issues.

“If you’re an administrator, you need to decide what kind of stuff needs to be on the internet,” Namestnikov said in an interview at the resort. “You need to make inventory, what’s connected and what you should protect.”

Hospitals were among the first victims hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack, preventing patients from getting urgent care while computer systems were locked up. Security is a major concern at hospitals, which hold sensitive data for attackers to target. But hospitals are increasingly embracing connected devices.

“They have to use new equipment to keep up, but they don’t understand a need to adopt security also,” Namestnikov said.

When companies aren’t building their devices with security in mind, it ends up falling on researchers to both find the mess and help clean it up.

Eyes on IoT

There are always new places to find security vulnerabilities.

After successfully hacking the Pepper and Nao robots, Lucas Apa, a researcher from IOActive, said he was interested in a looking at Knightscope, the robot that notoriously was used to disperse the homeless in San Francisco and that comically was found drowned in a fountain in Washington, DC.

For Ido Naor, the Kaspersky researcher who discovered issues with more than 1,000 internet-connected gas stations, he’s always keeping an eye out.

“As researchers, we walk around the world, and check out everything,” Naor said. “Marks, logos, different types of devices we’ve never seen before, and it tickles our mind to look for information about it.”

The scariest thing: Plenty of hackers are probably just as curious.

As seen on https://www.cnet.com/news/iot-attacks-hacker-kaspersky-are-getting-worse-and-no-one-is-listening/

It is almost here…the time of year I love so much… #CES

There is nothing better than starting off the new year in Vegas with 600 startups and over 4,000 exhibitors crammed in to 2.6 million net square feet. This January will mark my 20th year attending CES. I look forward to connecting with friends and hearing what has you excited for 2018 as I look to compile my annual recap.

Look for some exciting news coming from my team as well because, you know, we couldn’t let you get ALL the limelight.

2018 is going to be great! Hit me up and let’s connect @mybuddypeted or pete@thebuddygroup.com

Fine dining, with a side of tech

A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Consumer Marketing shows that we mere mortals are highly suggestible. The line between our appreciation of how food looks and enjoyment of how it tastes can become blurred. Researchers discovered that our enjoyment of indulgent foods increases significantly when we take a picture before eating it, and can even boost our experience of consuming “less pleasurable” (by which it means healthy) foods.

I’d suggest that you read this article you if you fancy your tech and a good meal.

https://www.cnet.com/news/chefs-special-fine-dining-with-a-side-of-tech/?ftag=CAD-03-10aaj8j

Great report on the key factors which lead to optimal video performance on Facebook

Facebook’s research team has published a new report which looks at the key components of the best performing videos on the platform, while also comparing the performance of the same video content across both Facebook and Instagram.

The impetus behind the research is obvious – Facebook offers a video ad option called ‘Placement Optimization’, which enables advertisers to reach people within their target audience across both Facebook and Instagram. But if video content optimized for Facebook doesn’t work as well on Instagram, the option might not prove beneficial, right?

Facebook Releases New Report on Video Performance Across Facebook and Instagram | Social Media Today

Placement Optimization will show your ads across Facebook’s platforms

To study the potential benefits of cross-platform video usage, Facebook worked with MetrixLab to first analyze 68 video campaigns in order to determine the key factors which lead to optimal video performance on Facebook. Of those 68, Facebook found that only 12% of them were considered ‘Outstanding’ performers, with the majority (78%) either ‘Sub-optimal’ or ‘Problematic’.

Facebook Releases New Report on Video Performance Across Facebook and Instagram | Social Media TodayAccording to MetrixLab, the top performers were able to differentiate themselves because they were designed specifically for Facebook, as opposed to being re-purposed TV ads or cross-posted from other platforms.

Based on this, MetrixLab put together a list of four key, Facebook-centric elements which saw video ads perform best on the platform:

1. Incorporate brand identity early (within the first 3 seconds)

2. Show the brand for at least half the video’s duration

3. Make the video as short as it can be and as long as it needs to be

4. Feature the message up-front for those who may not watch the whole video

These tips are fairly generic, and along the same lines as we’ve seen in other Facebook video reports, but given their repeated relevance in such studies, they do bear re-iterating.

When optimizing for Facebook’s feed, you need to consider that viewers will come across your video as they scroll, and with sound off (Facebook is moving to ‘sound on‘ by default, but you should still assume a significant number of viewers won’t have audio when viewing). As such, you need to deliver your messaging, prominently and efficiently, to maximize response.

Facebook Releases New Report on Video Performance Across Facebook and Instagram | Social Media Today

You can see how Red Bull have taken a Facebook-specific approach with their video assets

But as noted, how does that relate to Placement Optimization? If videos optimized specifically for Facebook perform best on the platform, do they also translate to the Instagram environment?

Unsurprisingly, according to MetrixLab’s research, they do:

“MetrixLab tested [80 ads] on both Facebook and Instagram, and found a crucial correlation in performance between the platforms. This means that ads that perform well in one feed will generally perform well in either feed.”

Facebook Releases New Report on Video Performance Across Facebook and Instagram | Social Media TodayThe research also confirmed their findings that videos not specifically optimized for Facebook performed poorly on both Facebook and Instagram, while feed-optimized videos also performed comparably similar across key performance metrics on both platforms.

But as noted, you’d expect Facebook-commissioned research to support the case for their ad products – otherwise, why would they make them?

And while the insights here are focused on paid ads, it’s interesting to consider the implications for video on each platform in general, that video optimized for Facebook will likely work well on Instagram. Both are feed-based systems, of course, so the correlation makes practical sense, but in order to maximize your social media marketing performance, it’s important to optimize for each platform, rather than cross-posting, so it’s not always the case that one format will work on another network.

The other – and arguably most important – element in this process is audience, and focusing your messaging on the right audience and strategic objectives for each platform, but still, there are some key considerations here for video creators, and important notes on optimizing your content.

In short, what works best for Facebook video likely works well on Instagram also, which may provide expanded opportunities for your video efforts.

You can read the full Facebook cross-platform creative report here.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/facebook-releases-new-report-video-performance-across-facebook-and-instagram

Voice is the future of search

Both Google and Bing have stated that the majority of search queries they receive take place via voice on mobile.  It stands to reason that, given the hands-free capabilities of handsets and mobile phones, voice would eventually take precedence over text-based search. With the vast improvement in the quality of digital voice assistants like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, it was only a matter of time people discovered the immense convenience of voice search and rely on it for their queries.

But what does this mean for a small business, and how should you change your digital marketing strategy given this trend? Let’s look at some ways in which businesses can make their content voice search-friendly.

1. Focus on Phrases and Longtail Keywords

The search focus has shifted from terse, awkward keywords to long-tail phrases, or even entire sentences. That’s because voice searches make use of natural language. The way we talk is decidedly different than the way we type. The phrases and keywords that we use while speaking to digital assistants would therefore be different than those we use when entering text in Google search.

“What is the weather like in Miami today?” is an example of a conversational/natural language query more likely to be spoken to a digital assistant, as opposed to “weather miami,” which we would type into a search bar. Content optimized for voice SEO would therefore need to focus on this very important aspect of the nature of voice search.

2. Anticipate Specific Questions Asked in a Conversational Manner

Voice search might use entire sentences, but it’s also specific in nature. People do not ramble on when speaking to a digital assistant, possibly because a more specific question leads to a more accurate answer.

A query such as, “Find an Italian restaurant near me,” with the user’s location enabled can return precise results for users. Business owners would therefore want to optimize their websites and content for intuitive but specific queries. This can be accomplished via a detailed FAQ page or a blog containing authority content created around longtail keywords and conversational but specific questions. This would require you to research the kind of questions your target audience most frequently poses to digital assistants and produce content around those queries. It’s a good idea to take each of those questions and flesh out the answers in the form of quality blog posts.

As long as your content answers customer queries in the best and most useful manner possible, expect Google to take notice of it and rank the website/mobile site accordingly.

3. Optimize Your Website for Local SEO

Research has found that voice search is three times more likely to be local in nature. With this in mind, businesses should keep their profiles and contact information up to date, since this is what Google will pull for queries such as, “Where can I get the best coffee in Seattle?”

For a coffee shop owner, this would mean including accurate opening hours in their profile, including the precise location of the shop, and optimizing the content on the website to be found via keywords such as “best coffee” or something more specific, such as “best spiced chai latte.”

Find out the kind of questions your target audience is most likely to pose to a digital voice assistant, and create content that provides specific answers to these queries.

4. Make Sure Your Website Is Ready for Voice Search

According to Google, micro moments (moments during which users need immediate, relevant, and ready-to-use information) are key to capitalizing on any kind of search, especially voice search. Since our smartphones are our constant companions, it is natural that with internet at our fingertips, they are going to be our first source of information. Google has therefore been encouraging businesses to be cognizant of the increasing use of mobile in internet search and accordingly optimize their sites for mobile.

We now have mobile and voice search to pay attention to. Businesses that take advantage of these micro moments stand a good chance of racing ahead of the competition:

  • Anticipate at which stage(s) a user is most likely to need the services your business provides.
  • Anticipate the nature of information they need to make a decision.
  • Provide users with the relevant information at that stage in order to help them make a decision, or leave them with clear further guidance.

For this to happen, businesses must ensure their websites are optimized for mobile, for local SEO, and for voice search. In order for a mobile site to be of use to someone during a micro moment, it needs to load quickly, be user-friendly, contain relevant information (local SEO), and produce the right answers in response to a voice search query. Taken together, this maximizes the chances of a user choosing your service.

Making the Leap

The nature of search and the evolution in search algorithms, based on changing technology and shifting consumer habits, require businesses to move in tandem with newer trends. That is the way for businesses to stay relevant and competitive.