#5thgen Innovation Beyond the Technological Horizon

I wanted to share a video that shows how 5th generation Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors are changing how we work, pushing the boundaries of what we thought could be done with technology even ten years ago.

There are always questions that come up when we release a new processor – how is it different than earlier generations? How do the new technologies help me work better?  Should my clients upgrade now or wait? I’ve got three words that will answer that question: Intel® Pro WiDi. Seriously, this technology alone is worth the price of admission. Part of the new 5th generation processors, Pro WiDi allows for easier and more productive collaboration whether you’re in the same room or halfway around the world.  See for yourself.

5th gen post 2_11Are your clients upgrading to new systems with the 5th generation Intel Core processors? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

FYI, in March and April, I’ll be on sabbatical, something Intel offers its employees every seven years. I’ll let you know more about my plans as the time approaches.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

#Puppies Learning to Sell Better From Super Bowl Ads

puppyEarlier this week, I sent a tweet about an article written by Sabrina Horn about what B2B Marketers can learn from Super Bowl ads.

To be clear, Horn really meant what we can learn about digital campaigns – of which the ads are only part of the strategy.  One piece of advice she gave that I found super interesting was that you:

  • Need to always keep the conversation going and “make sure you are actively listening to conversations about your brand in social media and be proactive about your responsiveness.”

This, as you know from my other blog posts, is what I think is one of social media’s more crucial aspects.  While most MSPs and IT consultants that I talk to have already jumped into the social media pool, some of your clients might not have done that yet.  And, as they look to you for more services and – often – a complete business strategy from hardware, software, and to digital marketing advice, you have to become conversant on more and more topics.

One of the things you might recommend to your clients is The Essential Guide to I.T. and All Things DigitalThe book is written by your peers and is a compendium of info on how to maximize IT to improve security, employee productivity, marketing, and more.  I’ve got a chapter in the book on social media that talks about why you must use social, and some basic ideas on how to start.  Things you already know because you follow this blog, but that your clients may not yet be doing.  You can offer the insight as your own value-add.

I think the book is also a credibility builder for you because it shows your clients the value of what you provide as an MSP and IT services consultant.  It gives you a bunch of stats at your fingertips from industry experts that can help you quickly overcome objections in meetings.  And if you buy it today on Amazon, you can get access to three bonuses including the Intel Tablet Content Library, another digital tool that can help you sell more. This resource gives you industry-wide perspectives on how to enhance the mobility of your clients’ businesses without sacrificing performance. There’s info there on how to deploy tablets and apps effectively to transform the workplace into a truly mobile workplace.  But you have to buy the book on Amazon today, to get this deal.

Using both social and giving your customers industry perspectives on technology are two good ways to keep the conversation going—and to show them, by example, how to do it.  Are there other digital and analog ways to keep the conversation going? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

FYI, In March and April, I’ll be on sabbatical, something Intel offers its employees every seven years.  I’ll let you know more about my plans as the time approaches.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

#marketing #disruption How Tech Changes Everything

Last month – like I do every January – I talked a lot about the actual technology that helps us get more work done – and not just about the work itself which is, in my case, marketing. Sometimes I get so excited by the technology, that I can’t help myself. And the reality is, technology is changing how we work and making it easier to transform work and play. As technology continues to find its way into all the corners of our life, we’ll see it disrupt and change even the markets built solely by technology itself.

Take social media, for instance. As the first wave of social media has passed, now we’re seeing people using social – via the pervasive technology they have (phones, tablets, 2 in 1s) – to really interact with people.  Brian Solis is saying that messaging apps will become the new social media.  And I agree.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how you’ll begin to see real engagement on social media – people using Facebook posts on their business pages, for instance, to have real conversations with their customers and not just using their wall as a bulletin board.

But don’t just take my word for this.  Consider that earlier in 2014, Facebook actually bought WhatsApp for $19 billion.  At time of purchase, WhatsApp had more than 450 million monthly active users worldwide and over 320 million daily active users. The challenges that SMBs face is how to get involved in these micro-communities that added users faster than social networks did last year.

It’s all about using the tech you have to deliver what Solis and others are calling “mass personalization.”  Both large and small marketers are using both hardware and software like big data analytics programs to create and deliver content uniquely relevant to their customers.  It could be a personal message like Paul McCartney sent to each his 10 million followers using the Line messaging app, a personal offer via a mobile retail beacon,  talking with your customers within Facebook or Twitter (using the apps like a virtual coffee shop), or giving them the right piece of information at the right point in their purchase process.

How are you using technology to disrupt your own marketing?  How do you think the business of technology is changing the business of marketing? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

FYI, next month, I’ll start on a two month sabbatical, something Intel offers its employees every seven years.  I’ll let you know more as the time approaches.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

#CES Experience Amazing

In Las Vegas, Christmas came two weeks later – at least for tech geeks. In the first week of January, the annual Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, took place.  Intel was front and center, showing off some amazing new technology that has huge business implications. From wearables built with the new Intel® Curie™ module to 3D video conferencing with Intel® RealSense™ technology, Intel shook things up even in a town that’s used to big shows.

Check out this video highlight reel put together by The Verge.

ces pic

What can you imagine doing with Intel® technology? How do you think the business wearable market is evolving? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.


#2015trends Townsend’s Top Marketing and Tech Trends for 2015

Now that we’re a few weeks into 2015 and we’ve all had time to recover from the holidays, I wanted to tell you a bit about what I think 2015 is going to offer. It’s always exciting in the tech industry, but this year more than ever, I think we’re going to see some real changes when it comes to how technology is employed in business and in marketing.

First, I think in 2015, we’ll see a shift in social media. What I’m calling basic social media – things like tweets and posts merely for posting’s sake (or what I like to call drive-by posting) – are dead. In 2015, I think you’ll see businesses being much more interactive and using social media to conduct conversations openly. Which is, I’d like to point out, exactly what social media is for – conversation. Now, instead of direct messaging someone @mentions a company on Twitter or posts on a Facebook wall, you’ll see conversations conducted in real time right out in the open. Social media of all type is the back fence we used to chat across.

Second, we’ll continue to see companies diving even deeper into the content marketing pool. Instead of just cranking out content for content’s sake, we’ll see businesses listening much more closely on social media, as well as using analytics to look at their customer base, in order to understand who their customers are and what they need. It’s only then – once you understand the behavior patterns of your audiences, that you can give them the exact right content at the exact right time. It’s all enabled by big data analytics, really. No business is too small for big data. According to Mark Troester of SAS, “Big data is a relative term. Every organization has a tipping point, and most organizations – regardless of size – eventually reach a point where the volume, variety and velocity of their data will be something that they have to address.”

Which leads me to my first technology trend I think we’ll see. SMBs fully embracing a hybrid cloud platform that helps them innovate and accelerate. That means managing their big data in the cloud, using cloud infrastructure to improve service availability, and embracing cloud-hosted productivity solutions like Office 365 or SalesForce.

I also think we’re going to see different and better ways to work. Millennials have led the charge for being able to work when, where, and how they want – and tech companies have responded. This year, you’ll see people cut the cords even more as Intel® Pro WiDi and Intel® Wireless Docking start permeating the marketplace. The former will let you connect wirelessly to projectors – no more fumbling for dongles and waiting for the projector to recognize your laptop. With the latter, the instant your laptop or 2 in 1 moves into the activation area of a wireless docking station, the process begins. The dock quickly determines the optimal wireless channel based on your environment—so other office devices will not interfere with the performance. By the time you sit down, your docking is complete, and you are ready to go. I’m pretty sure these two technologies are going to keep me productive and radically reduce my frustration levels in 2015. And they make good on the promise of transforming work.

Finally, I think we are going to see the Internet of Things (IoT) really take off this year.  We’ve been talking about IoT for a few years now, but as wearables come into the business space (and not just the consumer space) and more data is grabbed, and the more apps enable the use of that data, you see intelligence moving all the way to the edge of the network. This impacts MSPs from a device management standpoint, right?  In fact, by 2020 – a mere five years from now – McKinsey predicts that IoT could soon connect and embed intelligence in a trillion objects and devices around the world. And IoT will trigger an estimated 15-fold increase in machine-generated data, which will comprise 42 percent of all data, up from just 11 percent in 2005 – which leads us back to big data and…well, you can see where I’m going with this. It’s a lot for both SMBs and MSPs to manage.

What do you think 2015 will offer? How do you think business will evolve and adapt? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

#innovate Using Today’s Compute Power to Better Reach Customers

More and more computational power is available today. This makes it easy for small and medium businesses to run analytics on market campaigns, web sites, and customer data.  While SMBs might think they don’t have big data, the fact is, they do. And Intel understands that big data and small and medium business – as well as big data and consumers – are reaching an inflection point.

In the video below, Brian David Johnson, Intel Futurist, shares his insights on how IT trends in 2015 will evolve and what it means for consumers and business. Listen for the bit about computational power and what it enables, then let me know how you’re taking advantage of today’s technology to better understand your business and customers.

How are you taking advantage of more compute power? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

#broadwell… Work Transformation Enabled By… Intel Chips

It is odd for me to lead with a story about Intel technology – usually, I’m talking about marketing. Of course, underlying that all, is how technology is transforming both marketing and the way we work. That’s why I think it’s important to start the year off talking about one of the biggest technology launches Intel has done in many years.

On Monday, we launched new processors across our entire line – Celeron, Pentium, and Core. But, the most exciting component were the new 14nm 5th generation Intel® Core™ (Broadwell) processors. These processors are positively going to provide a better way to work. Oh, sure, they’ll do exactly what you’d expect from a new generation of processors: deliver the same or better amounts of work, with less power use and better battery life, and provide amazing graphics (all in a processor that doesn’t run as hot). You’ll also get advantages such as touch screen and voice assistance, along with edge-to-edge display.

But here’s what the new processors really do – they provide a better way to work wherever, whenever, and how you want, whether you’re on the couch or in the conference room. Millennials have led this charge, for certain. They want to use the same technology tools at work that they have at home – that means tablets, that means swiping rather than typing, and that means light-weight devices that don’t require a trip to the chiropractor when they’re carried in a messenger bag.

Millennials have a mobile-first mentality – and the new Intel processors are designed for this. They deliver a great boost to battery life (more than 10 hours, as opposed to 4 hours in 2010), they have better graphics (including 3D cameras for more immersive experiences), and Intel Pro Wireless Display. It’s this last one that I am most excited about – I think I’ll probably save at least 5 minutes at every single meeting I attend simply by not having to look for a dongle and connect to a projector. With Intel Pro WiDi, I can connect instantly which streamlines meetings, and simplifies communication and sharing.

In the end, what devices with 5th gen Intel Core processors do is to continue to transform the way we work and provide a better way to work. With longer battery life and thinner form factors, it’s easier than ever to work on a train, during your kid’s soccer practice, or at a coffee shop. You don’t have to be tethered to a desk because the devices and platforms – cloud computing, anyone? – enable true mobility. In fact, today, the average employees works in 3.4 different locations – and only one of them is an actual office.

What are the features you most want in a tech device? Where are some of the places you work? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

#2014Trends Top Five Tech Forces Affecting MSPs and SMBs

Happy holidays!  This is my last post for 2014 and I thought I’d take some time to look back at some of the big changes and forces that have shaped business this past year.

  1. MSPs and SMBs get serious about Windows Server 2003 end of life. We saw how slowly SMBs responded to the Windows XP end of life notice – in fact, there are still some organizations out there using XP. Upgrading servers takes even longer than client systems. This year we saw MSPs begin to really engage with their customers and have true business conversations. The meetings often started because SMBs have a range of legacy apps they need to move. These conversations about hardware and software actually become more of a business conversation, helping SMBs see that by moving to better business backend, they move their entire business forward. This has let MSPs talk about server, certainly, but also client, cloud, and other services.
  2. Tablet adoption reaches a tipping point. With a range of business applications – from productivity to collaboration to management – tablet use has reached a tipping point and more SMBs are deploying them than ever before. Accelerating the rise in tablet adoption is greater pervasiveness of Windows-based tablets. It was only this past March that a survey by Dimensional Research showed that one of the obstacles to business tablet use was that 86% of survey respondents said they faced challenges giving mobile employees access to Windows applications on tablets. Helping tablet adoption also is the fact that unlike Android and iOS tablets, MSPs can easily manage Windows-based tablets in their RMM tools, treating them just like any other device.
  3. Wearable devices begin to make business inroads. ABI Research believes that the wearable market will exceed 450 million devices by 2018. While many of these will be consumer devices, Intel has always believed in the business value of wearable devices. It’s why we purchased smart watch manufacturer Basis Science, have made investments in Recon instruments, and recently announced that the next iteration Google Glass will feature our processor. We believe that Google Glass can make it easier for healthcare and manufacturing employees to stay connected and productive.
  4. SMB adoption of Cloud increases It’s no longer just about using apps that are on the Cloud. Today, SMBs are also using a mix of public, private, and hybrid clouds to support mobility, deliver backup, and to support disaster recovery planning. While Cloud solutions were initially introduced as a way to reduce CapEx, SMBs have realized the real advantage of Cloud: agility and scalability. In fact, IBM predicts by the end of 2015, 46% of SMBs will have moved more than half their applications and infrastructure to the cloud. MSPs are taking advantage of this by positioning themselves as Cloud experts and advising clients, and also by offering Cloud services
  5. Marketing is no longer something you do when there’s spare time As markets expand and the speed of business increases, SMBs realize they must have a marketing plan in order to be successful. Whether marketing through local business engines, using social media, or exhibiting at an event, SMBs are using a broad array of  marketing engines to reach people. The same thing goes for MSPs. They’re reaching out to their customers and partners through Twitter, Facebook, email newsletters, and more. Intel listened to what our customers needed help on and we delivered the Intel Business Portal – b2btools.intel.com – providing marketing assets and sales tools that are free and ready to use. Keith Schoolcraft, founder and chief executive Guru at Minneapolis-based MSP aCOUPLEofGURUS, says, “Used strategically, the content available here could really give you a competitive advantage. When you have authoritative content, when you know where to find it quickly and easily, and you use it, you come out ahead.“

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but, rather, just a few of the really big forces shaping our industry. You likely have a few ideas of your own and I’d love to hear them.

What are the big events that changed business for you in 2014?  What do you think 2015 will hold?  Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

#herecomesrudolph Simple Steps for Using Social Media to Reach Out to Customers During the Holidays

Xmas-Feature1Black Friday was just last week and the numbers are interesting. Sales were down 11% on Black Friday and online sales during this past Monday, aka Cyber Monday, were also off 3.5%; but, personalized interactions saved the day on Cyber Monday. According to an article in USA Today, “Monetate, a company whose software helps major retailers including Macy’s and Best Buy personalize the online shopping experience…tracked more shopping sessions this year with about 49.3 million sessions, up 11.8% from 2013. Revenue per session increased 7% and the number of people who completed a purchase increased 8.3%.”

We’re seeing a lot of this personalization in the way businesses connect with their customers via social media channels. From gift ideas on a Pinterest board to promoted Tweets spotlighting new products and services, both B2C and B2B companies are taking advantage of social media marketing during the holiday season.

But it’s not about pushing products like new 2 in 1s or business-class tablets – as I’ve said before, it’s about conversation. Think in terms of creating content around topics of interest to your customers, particularly during the busy holiday season. Imagine small or medium business customers rushing out to their holiday party – or to their kids’ school for a pageant. They probably don’t have time to make sure that every PC in the office is powered down. You can talk to them about how they can lower their power bill by using PCs with Intel® vPro™ technology inside, saving them up to $343 in energy costs over the life of a PC. You can promote your campaign using your own Twitter hashtag – #saveMoreThisSeason, for instance – to get your customers talking.

You can also reach out to customers by sending them a direct message on Twitter, wishing them Happy Holidays. It’s the type of relationship-building activity that still needs to occur even though we have become an increasingly digital “community” – or maybe even especially because of this. In addition, these direct messages are unexpected and customers appreciate the gesture. Often, they can lead to conversations that might result in increased services or sales for you – all by using a social channel to be, well, social.

Finally, get into the spirit of things and decorate your social property. You can use images of winter scenes or other seasonal images as the cover photos for your Facebook and Twitter pages. Or, better still, according to an article in CIO, “change your cover photo to something you’re promoting” because your cover photo is incredibly valuable real estate and customers who may not read your entire feed will, at the very least, see your photo and possibly take action.

Do you have a holiday social media plan? Does it include pumpkin pie or Yorkshire pudding? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

#socialfitness Social Media and Wearables: A Perfect Competition

In September at IDF 2014, Intel talked about its commitment to creating wearable devices, and CEO Brian Krzanich highlighted the MICA bracelet, a high-end wearable device that has a touch screen and cellular capabilities. Intel also showed off fitness-tracking earbuds and talked about its partnership with the watchmaker, Fossil, which helped them to further capture the smartwatch market that they began working in last year when they purchased Basis Science.

November 19I wear a Basis watch every day.  I love how it tracks not only my steps, but my heart rate and my body temperature. It helps me analyze my own fitness levels as much or as little as I want.

Of course, there’s a whole army of people using fitness wearables from Jawbone, Fitbit, and Nike. In fact, the Washington Post just ran an article on the number of senators, representatives, and staff who are wearing fitness trackers, and using them to compete with each other and themselves.

Part of what spurs this competition is social media. According to the article, people are posting their step counts to Facebook and Twitter, and some are even uploading screen shots from their tracker apps.

Right now, according to Pew Research, only 9% of those who track their health and fitness use an app to do so. But as wearables become more and more common, this is expected to rise exponentially. Even though there is such hew and cry about our virtual world, by making fitness social, more and more people are engaging. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get my steps in – especially because Thanksgiving is coming.  I’ll be taking next week off from blogging because of the holiday and I’ll see you back here on December 3.

Do you wear a fitness tracker? How do you think wearables will affect people? Let me know here or on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.

Eric Townsend is Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel. You can contact Eric at activation@intelmsp.com.

Load more