The Next Evolution of E-Commerce-Smart TV

The rapid development of mobile technologies has enriched the notion of e-commerce and expanded the 'place' of purchase and revenue streams for merchants. Consumers can now shop and pay not only in a shop, but also at home, work, on the bus, and on the hoof. The smartphone and m-commerce have in that manner blurred the limits between the on- and offline worlds.

Time has become an extremely valuable commodity, and to a considerable degree defines the choice of products, services and retailers. Convenience is another significant factor for consumers. Experts say that TV commerce (or t-commerce) is an area for the new smarter shopping and a path for merchants to engage with consumers in new ways.

Connected TVs or smart TVs, which have functions such as connection to the Internet and streaming, are becoming standard among TV brands. According to some industry sources, the penetration rate of connected TVs was 20% in 2010, and will increase up to 50% in 2013. In addition to that, such platforms as Google TV, Apple TV, and Roku for viewing video on demand (VOD) are getting increasingly popular. Television is therefore entering an entirely new era, bringing more opportunities for advertising, marketing, revenue generation, and viewer participation. What are the key features of t-commerce?

    Making purchases. T-commerce solutions allow TV-viewers to respond directly to offers delivered on the screens of their TVs, and instantly purchase products by using their existing remote controls and set-top boxes.

    Request for information. T-commerce apps enable TV viewers to request more information on products, services or events directly from the content they are watching on the television with a few simple clicks on the remote control.

    Voting and polling. T-commerce solutions provide additional opportunities for the viewer to interact with programs, advertisers, and networks. Thus, viewers can vote on their favorite shows, programs, news reports, game shows, sporting events, etc.

    The immediate response. The instant feedback from the viewer means immediate response for the merchant. Businesses gain thereby valuable customer data for further research and targeted marketing.

The paradigm of t-commerce has the potential to change TV sets into a powerful business tool enabling merchants to conduct business over television. T-commerce makes it possible to reach new and existing customers through increasingly popular Internet-connected TVs and set-top boxes. The entire shopping can be performed with nothing more than a series of clicks on the remote control. Consumers usually respond very positively to businesses that take the time to understand their needs and offer excellent customer service.

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With over 15 years of experience and over 300 professionals on board worldwide, Elinext Group is a global supplier of IT solutions for various industries, including advertising, accounting, banking, education, finance, healthcare, hospitality, real estate, retail, tourism and others. Elinext companies specialize in custom software development, mobile development, web development, TV app development and game development.

Latest Trends in Smart TV - Could Apple Win?

Smart TVs are television sets that can retrieve content from the Internet and offer built-in applications for streaming music and movies, apps for social networking, apps for news, weather, sports, games, YouTube and more. In addition to using apps, one of the most appealing factors for tech-savvy consumers is voice activation technology to control TV sets.

According to DisplaySearch, a leading provider of reliable information about the display-related industries, connected TVs are forecast to grow to over 123 million shipments in 2014 (at a 30% compound annual growth rate). The market is now developing beyond mature regions like Western Europe and Japan. Emerging markets play a major role in this growth. With the improvements in the broadband infrastructure, the adoption of connected TVs is a natural next step in TV feature innovation. Eastern Europe is expected to grow from 2.5 million connected TVs shipped in 2010 to over 10 million in 2014. In addition to that, 33% of flat panel TVs sold in China in 2013 will have the Internet capability.

DisplaySearch also forecasts that the connected TV market will become fragmented and increase in complexity. One group of TV sets is supposed to feature basic video on demand and appeal to consumers who expect television to remain a passive experience. Those who want something more substantial will find interesting other TV sets offering configurable apps, sophisticated search and navigation engines, as well as advanced user interfaces.

The main contemporary connected TV platforms include Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TV, Mitsubishi Stream TV, Panasonic Viera Connect, Sony Bravia, Toshiba NetTV, Apple TV, Google TV, TiVo, Liberty Global's Horizon and Yahoo! Connected TV. Samsung, with around 20 million apps downloaded by the end of January 2012, is the segment leader, followed by Panasonic and LG.

However, the biggest shake-up in the television industry is going to cause Apple's much-talked-of TV set. It promises to revolutionize television like once the iPad hit the market. Steve Jobs was quoted in his official biography saying that he "finally cracked the case" of an integrated TV. The new iTV (alleged name) is expected to be completely easy to use, seamlessly synced with other Apple's devices and with the iCloud. At the moment Apple with its $99 set-top box Apple TV seems to be doing very well, with 2.8 million units sold in 2011.

We are constantly hearing rumors related to the expected Apple's product, its features, price, and release date. CLSA Group views Apple TV hardware as a 2013 event. According to the estimations of ITG Industry Investment Research, the new iTV set could increase the company's market cap by 10%, or $60 billion. Apple, already the world's most valuable company, has recently hit the $600 billion level.

Analyst Peter Misek from Jefferies, a global securities and investment banking group, doesn't expect the device to be called iTV. He suggests the new television could be called "iPanel" which can reflect its potential as a hub for gaming, media and more. The iPanel name also follows the "iP" format of other Aplle's products, like the iPod, iPhone and the iPad. However, it is just a guess from the analyst. Misek expects that an Apple television will have a $1,250 average selling price.

The success of Apple's products, like the iPod, the iPhone, and iPad, are much about the design. The iTV (let's take this name) is supposed to have superior quality and excellent design. The list of possible features includes the following ones:

    An aluminum construction;
    FaceTime video calling;
    Siri-based remote voice control;
    42-inch HD screen;
    iOS operating system;
    iCloud support;
    Control from the iPhone or the iPad;
    Access to Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, etc. (same as on the existing Apple TV);
    Content sharing and media streaming from Apple's devices.

Obviously, we'll soon witness the appearance of a new smart TV from Apple that is going to bring new changes to the TV market. And, yes, Apple may win!

Industries and Technology Areas:

Industries: mass media, television

Technology Areas: Smart TV, connected TV, Smart TV applications, TV application development, software development

Elinext Group

With over 15 years of experience and over 300 professionals on board worldwide, Elinext Group is a global supplier of IT solutions for various industries, including advertising, accounting, banking, education, finance, healthcare, hospitality, real estate, retail, tourism and others. Elinext companies specialize in custom software development, mobile development, web development, TV app development and game development.

Be Smart About Assigning Sales Territories

Planning equitable territory distribution may cause sales managers their worst headaches. So much is at stake but so much is open to dispute. How can you keep your sales team challenged and happy while at the same time making the most of the opportunities?

Here is one approach that covers all the bases while helping to take controversy out of the equation.

1. By deal size.

Big deals are the most appealing to sales because they have the highest deal numbers. But it is the small and mid-size deals that form the bulk of a sales team's revenue. And they are usually on a faster sales cycle and easier to get. Assess your team members' strengths... who are most effective with high-powered decision-makers and who are most effective at working with buyers of lesser priced offerings... then assign them accordingly.

2. With reliable data.

Know your customers, their business and their potential. All this requires data... a lot of it. Make sure you have a system that gathers data that you care about and then analyzes data in a way that you can use.

3. With a fair mix.

Be sure you offer a sales territory mix that provides some variety. If you give all the urban sites to one team and all the rural locations to another, there is no balance. And you will be measuring not the salesperson's ability but the territory's potential. Each team should have the challenge and the pleasure of working in a diverse environment.

4. With some flexibility.

Using a system to segment your territories is an impartial way to assign them. But then give your sales team managers some latitude. Within their territory, they should be able to adjust the players and tweak the assignments. Don't take away all their authority. They should have a stake in the game and use their knowledge of their own team members and of their territory customers to make some choices about who can best serve whom.

Take the serious headaches out of sales territory management by deciding what criteria you want to use and then finding a software program that will give you the data you need and slice it in a way that helps you make sound decisions. Then make sure the data feed is accurate and updated on a regular basis. Remember that in the final analysis, it is people who sell to people. Machines can help us look at situations with objectivity but it is the savvy sales manager who knows his team and his territories best.

Three Simple and Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

I can't emphasize enough how important it is for kids to learn about money-not just what they can do with it, but also the best way to use it. There are so many opportunities for parents to point out simple concepts of how to use money to their kids. Teaching your kids how to be money smart is the first lesson on how to be successful in life.

Here are the three simple and fun ways to do that:

Teach your kids the concept of budgeting:

If you ask a five year old how many fingers they have on one hand, they're happy to tell you by counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 before telling you five. If you ask them how many on the other hand, they start counting again. They do this so many times that they start to get the concept of math. Learning math starts with the concept, and the same is true for learning about finances. I know some adults who don't know the concept of financial budgeting, and that's where their problems start.

You don't have to make it complex. You can make a game out of it. List five things they enjoy, like shopping for something they like, eating something they like, or going somewhere fun, with the cost for each one. Then give them enough money for only three of those five things. Explain to them that they have money for three, so they should select three - it can be all from the same category or different categories. Let them decide.

Later on, brag about them making the right decision with budgeting their money, so they can be proud of themselves for being money smart.

Teach kids about saving:

Follow the same game in #1 above, but give them a little extra - but not enough to buy or do the 4th thing on the list. They probably want to spend all the money and they will try to see how they can do it. This is the best time to teach them about saving. Tell them that saving some of their money is a wonderful and smart thing to do. Get them a jar or a piggybank of their own to keep their savings in, and encourage them to keep adding to their piggybank, or money jar.

Difference between need and want:

Make it a game again. For the duration of a month or a week, tell them that they only can buy things that they need and not want. Every time they want to buy something with their allowance, ask them if they want it or if they need it. Most probably they'll say they need it, so ask them to tell you the reasons behind their need and work with them to understand the difference between need and want. It's okay to buy things that you want and not need - most of us do, but it should be clear to know the difference in situations where our budget is tight. Believe me, a lot of adults don't know the difference, so it's a good lesson to learn at young age.