Tag Archives: When

How Apple Business Chat could change contact-center market

When Apple Business Chat launches in beta this spring, it could elevate the mobile reach of contact centers — if, as expected, enterprises direct customer service reps to connect to the hundreds of millions of iPhone users.

Industry experts expect Apple Business Chat to draw more enterprise attention than competitors in the business messaging market for two reasons: Apple Pay and download-free access to the service.

Most business messaging platforms require users to install an app and create a profile. In contrast, Apple Business Chat will be instantly accessible to every iPhone user following a software update, and it will allow those users to message companies without having to divulge any personal information.

Through Apple’s platform, iPhone users can converse with businesses through iMessage to ask a question, schedule an appointment or place an order. For participating businesses, their search results in Safari, Maps, Spotlight and Siri will feature an iMessage icon, allowing customers to start a chat with one tap.

“If you’re trying to be customer-centric and you’ve got a lot of customers who are Apple users, if this mode [Business Chat] takes for them, then you’ve got to support it,” said Jon Arnold, principal of Toronto-based research and analysis firm J Arnold & Associates.

Apple has released a developer preview of Business Chat and is accepting online registrations from businesses that want to use it in the future. The company has partnered with four customer service vendors — LivePerson, Genesys, Salesforce and Nuance — to support the platform’s beta release with the iOS 11.3 upgrade this spring. Discover, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo will be among the first businesses to deploy it.

Companies using Apple Business Chat will find that unlike competing platforms Facebook Business Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line and Kakao Talk, the Apple service is “baked into the surrounding operating system,” said Keith Dawson, principal analyst for customer experience and commerce with 451 Research.

“It means that for anyone who’s not an Android user, it’s ever present on their device as a contact mode,” Dawson said. Rivals, on the other hand, will have the additional hurdle of convincing consumers to download their apps.

Apple Business Chat release could accelerate a restructuring of contact centers

In a 2017 survey by Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill., 27% of 225 participating companies said they planned to support social messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Business Messenger and Apple Business Chat as customer engagement channels.

“So, I see the Apple announcement as a positive development, as companies look for new ways to engage with customers, especially among a younger demographic that is more reliant on their cellphone than a traditional web browser for shopping,” said Nemertes analyst Irwin Lazar.

Social media and chat apps are contributing to a “fundamental rethinking of how businesses engage with customers,” Dawson said. Contact centers are beginning to work more closely with marketing and sales teams to make sure the company is taking advantage of the customer connections these platforms offer.

The standout connection Apple has with its customers is Apple Pay

“If Apple didn’t have Apple Pay, [Business Chat] wouldn’t be as interesting, because that’s one of the things that the contact-center experience can’t deliver as seamlessly,” Arnold said.

An interaction initiated by a customer asking a question could end with a product sale, facilitated by an Apple Pay thumbprint within the iMessage chat. This should motivate companies to invest more in their contact centers, which have the potential to become revenue-generators.

Nevertheless, Apple and other chat platform providers will have to show a solid return on investment before contact centers deploy the technology broadly.

“The last thing contact centers want to do is have to jump for the next shiny ball and just try the next thing that comes along,” Arnold said. “They can only handle so many platforms in the business, and they can only adapt to so many new things at a time.”

Liquidware user experience monitoring fills gap in DaaS migration

When IT leaders at a global events and publishing company chose to move their physical and virtual desktops to the cloud, they quickly discovered they couldn’t do it alone.

By early 2016, Informa had more than 1,000 employees using Citrix virtual desktops. As that number had grown, the desktops and their support infrastructure became increasingly difficult to manage.

“Complexity is the biggest enemy in IT,” said Martin van Nijnatten, head of end-user computing at the London-based company. “That was the key argument for moving from doing your own VDI to desktop as a service.”

At the same time, the VDI user experience was getting worse.

“There was a big gap between the physical desktops and the VDI estate,” said Peter MacNamara, senior VDI engineer at Informa. “Your user experience would not be the same wherever you went.”

The end-user computing team decided to migrate from physical and virtual desktops to Amazon Web Services’ desktop as a service (DaaS) offering, WorkSpaces. The move was made possible by Liquidware, whose products — particularly its user experience monitoring software — identified potential problems and provided much-needed management capabilities for the new cloud desktops and applications.

“[With WorkSpaces], you don’t have the tools that Citrix and VMware have natively,” MacNamara said. “So we had to fill that gap. Liquidware, especially with their monitoring tool, let us do that.”

User experience monitoring gets proactive

It’s moving from being reactive to proactive.
Martin van Nijnattenhead of end-user computing, Informa

After selecting AWS, Informa evaluated several virtual desktop management and user experience monitoring vendors to assist with the migration. The company considered RES Software (which Ivanti has since acquired), Unidesk (which Citrix has since acquired) and FSLogix in addition to Liquidware.

After a proof-of-concept deployment that ran through late 2016, Liquidware won out. Its Liquidware Essentials Bundle — which includes Stratusphere for user experience monitoring, ProfileUnity for user environment management and FlexApp for application layering — provided the capabilities Informa needed, and it wasn’t overly complicated to use, MacNamara said. It took less than a day to set up Stratusphere, which is available as an appliance in the Amazon Marketplace, and get it monitoring the Citrix virtual desktops, he said.

Peter MacNamara, senior VDI engineer at InformaPeter MacNamara

The user experience monitoring tool immediately paid dividends, identifying applications that could potentially cause problems when they moved to the cloud. The performance hit that McAfee’s antivirus software caused on the virtual desktops, for example, would have been too much to bear on WorkSpaces, MacNamara said. Armed with this information, the IT department was able to address the issue before it affected users.

“It’s moving from being reactive to proactive,” van Nijnatten said.

Informa used the information gleaned from Stratusphere to right-size its Amazon WorkSpaces deployment, making sure it allocated enough resources so as to not cause any performance problems, said Dave Johnson, who worked with Informa on this project as a Liquidware sales manager. And Liquidware’s ProfileDisks feature helped Informa capture user profiles on physical and Citrix virtual desktops and migrate them to Amazon WorkSpaces, Johnson said.

The performance data Stratusphere provided proved so valuable that Informa rolled the product out to its physical desktops as well. There are some improvements that van Nijnatten said he would like to see, however. Tops on that list is the incorporation of machine learning technology.

“Right now, you still have to do a lot of digging and conclusion-drawing yourself by looking at the data,” he said. “I think that there’s an opportunity to collate that data and create some more intelligence out of it.”

Liquidware ProfileUnity screenshot

VDI-to-DaaS migrations catching on

For most of DaaS’ existence, organizations considered it almost exclusively for greenfield deployments. Migrating from VDI to DaaS was too complex, and it was a waste to abandon investments in on-premises virtual desktops, the thinking went.

That’s slowly changing. At Informa, it was more important to embrace the future than to hold on to the past, MacNamara said.

Informa is one of many Liquidware customers that have moved or are considering moving from VDI to DaaS, Johnson said.

“A number of organizations have moved their core infrastructure to the cloud, and now they’re looking at moving their desktops,” he said. “To the user, it’s a very minimal impact, because the look and feel of the desktop is the same.”

Informa has run its IT infrastructure on AWS for more than a decade, dating back to a time when “everybody said you were out of your mind” if you moved core services to the cloud, van Nijnatten said. That familiarity led the company to choose Amazon WorkSpaces over DaaS offerings from Citrix and VMware, because those vendors still have a certain level of reliance on their on-premises VDI products, he said.

“Amazon was born in the cloud, and Citrix and VMware [weren’t],” van Nijnatten added.

An ongoing process

Informa’s work with Liquidware and Amazon WorkSpaces is not complete; the company still plans to move the remaining pockets of Citrix users to AWS and is also in the process of migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10. The scale of that operating system upgrade would have been impossible for Informa’s Citrix infrastructure to handle, van Nijnatten said.

“We would’ve needed to redesign the whole setup,” he said.

The ultimate goal is to offer nonpersistent cloud desktops that rely on Profile Unity to provide a consistent user experience and an added level of security.

“Now what we’re working towards is, you can log on to an Amazon workspace and your settings follow you,” MacNamara said. “Your documents follow you. It’s all there.”

For Sale – Macbook Pro 13 Early 2015 – 8gb – 256gb – AppleCare

Due to a lack of use it seems silly to keep this when I have a perfectly good work laptop I can use.

I’m in no rush to sell and given the value involved I’d prefer any buyer to be fully satisfied in advance of any sale so I’m happy to answer any questions to take photos of any thing specific.

Purchased direct from Apple in June 2015, it has the remainder of its 3yr AppleCare plan until end of May 2018.

It will come boxed with all original accessories and is in excellent condition having always been in a hardshell case. There are no marks that I can see, but given the brushed aluminium body it’s reasonable to expect their may be some very small marks somewhere (I’ll check again under better light and take photos). There are no marks on the screen and no dead pixels.

Battery cycle count is on 66 and battery health is reported as normal.

Specs:
Early 2015 MacBook Pro 13 with Retina display and Force Touch track pad.
2.7Ghz Intel Core i5
8GB Ram
256GB SSD
Intel Iris 6100 Graphics

Priced at £750 delivered by fully insured courier.

Price and currency: £750
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT or PPG
Location: Towcester
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Want to make software developer hiring easier? Be flexible

Forget what you think you know about software developers — at least when it comes to hiring. They’re not financially motivated, they’re largely self-taught, and one in four of them learned how to code before they could drive a car.

And here’s one more surprise: Their potential employers aren’t looking for prospective developers’ degrees; rather, they’re looking at their latest GitHub project.

Those insights, from a just-released survey of over 39,000 development professionals by technical hiring platform HackerRank, offer a unique view at both sides of the often-fraught software developer hiring process. Coders remain in very short supply around the world, and it’s tempting to think salary and tech tools lure developers, while employers prioritize a top-notch college degree. Apparently, it’s not nearly that simple.

Survey respondents ranked compensation as only the third most important factor when choosing a new job, after work-life balance (56.5%) and professional growth and learning (55.1%). But only 27.4% said a company’s technology stack was vital — a finding so unexpected, according to HackerRank’s co-founder and CEO Vivek Ravisankar, that the company did a follow-up survey and found developers really want employers to support them to work on side tech projects or coding-related hobbies. They also were clear about their work-life balance goals: 89.4% of developers want flexible working hours, and just over 80% want to work from home.

That flextime helps self-taught developers — 73.7% of survey respondents identified themselves as such — to continue their learning journey, which is vital for software developer hiring. According to the HackerRank survey, they’d rather go online to Stack Overflow (88.4%) or YouTube (63.8%) than learn from books. Nearly 40% want to learn Go, followed by Python, Scala, Kotlin and Ruby.

Keep learning to stay relevant

Most developers’ drive to learn is simply a built-in preference, but other factors may be at play. A survey by worldwide placement firm Harvey Nash showed close to 40% of developers feel they’re under pressure from automation, low code/no code tools and AI. The antidote to this, according to Alex Robbins, software development hiring recruiter at Harvey Nash, is learning.

One in four developers learned how to code before they could drive a car.

“Skills learned five years ago are often no longer relevant today,” he said. “[Our survey] revealed that 95% of tech experts are spending time developing their skills, and four in 10 are actually paying for training out of their own pocket.”

That should pay off, Ravisankar said, because employers want to see a prospective employee’s experience and what they’ve done. When executives hire software developers, the vast majority (84.1%) look at a developer’s portfolio, which in most cases means GitHub. Just over 71% consider previous experience, but only 35.4% take education into account.

When looking at GitHub, employers evaluate problem-solving skills, rather than programming language fluency. Over 94% of companies of all sizes indicated problem-solving skills were their top priority in software developer hiring, while less than 60% emphasized programming languages or debugging.

The focus on problem-solving has been a long time in coming, but fits with the software development market today, said Robert Stroud, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “There’s a worldwide shortage of developers still, but we need the developers we have to focus on learning the business,” he said. Coders, too, must avoid distraction with the shiny new toy of a hot language, he said.

Ultimately, it helps to know what motivates coders, but software developer hiring is still a battle, said Ernest Mueller, longtime developer and now director of engineering operations at AlienVault, headquartered in San Mateo, Calif.

“There’s more supply now than there’s been of developers, but demand is not going away,” he said. The work needs to be interesting, and employers must be prepared to pay for them — particularly if they have experience. Amounts vary, but a software engineer’s median base pay was $85,651 in December 2017, an increase of 1.6% year over year, according to data from job and recruiting site Glassdoor.

An Amazing 2017: What’s Next?

It was just eight months ago when we introduced Mixer. Looking back on 2017, it’s hard to believe that so much has happened in such a short time….and it’s been an amazing feeling getting to bring our vision to life in a service and community unlike any other.

In 2017, we introduced 4-person co-streaming, enabling streamers to combine their streams and chat on Mixer into a single unified experience, and giving viewers a way to watch the action from multiple perspectives. Several unique Mixer-interactive game experiences were brought to life during 2017, giving streamers and viewers a totally new way to play. These included Minecraft, Hello Neighbor, Death’s Door, Killing Floor 2, and multiple Crowd-Play enabled games from Telltale Games. Also in 2017, Mixer made a big investment in mobile broadcasting with the launch of the Mixer Create app (iOS & Android) for streamers and a new Mixer app for viewing, both free to download on iOS and Android devices.

We added support for 21 languages, making it easier to enjoy the full Mixer experience around the world. And Mixer HypeZone was born, catering to fans of PUBG and battle-royale experiences. With HypeZone, you get 24×7, non-stop action with a channel dedicated to watching the final moments of matches in PUBG (high concentration of Chicken Dinners here!). Although still in beta, the HypeZonePUBG channel has already surpassed one million views!

2017 was also a big growth year for new and existing Mixer Partners. A special shout out to all the new Partners who joined the Mixer community from around the world, as well as the many up-and-coming streamers who have made Mixer the home for their growing communities. We also celebrated a very special milestone for one of our Mixer vets—Siefe reached more than 1 million views on November 16 (a Mixer first). And we’re cheering on several Partners who took the plunge and became full-time streamers on Mixer, including LenaAxios, Covent, LuckyShots and many more!

We’ve been humbled by all of your support and interest, and we’re completely blown away with how quickly the Mixer community has grown. 2017 was also the year where Mixer exceeded more than 10 million active users in a month for the first time —a milestone we’re all super proud of. You all watched and interacted with streams ranging from PUBG to Cooking Shows…. from Minecraft to Clash Royale…. and everything in between.

But even with all that’s happened in 2017 — we’re just barely getting started. 2018 is already shaping up to be an even bigger year for Mixer.

Last week down in San Antonio at PAX South, our Mixer Partners turned out in force, streaming non-stop from the show floor, showing off built-in Mixer interactivity in the upcoming game, The Darwin Project, and sharing their Mixer love with PAX South attendees throughout the weekend. We’re already looking forward to seeing even more of you at PAX East in Boston later this Spring and at E3 in June.

On the technology side, we’re continuing to refine and expand the HypeZone experience based on your feedback. You’ll see improvements and new capabilities coming to HypeZone in the coming months. We’re also working with numerous game publishers to bring Mixer interactivity to even more games soon, along with continued investment in new interactive capabilities for streamers to take advantage of! More to come on that at the Game Developers Conference in March. We’re also updating and innovating in several other areas across the Mixer platform; we’ll be announcing those additions as they get closer to release.

For our Mixer Partners, we are investing in new ways for them to connect with their viewers and build successful communities on Mixer. As part of this, we’re excited to share that the Mixer Direct Purchase program is now in testing and will be launching broadly soon! With Mixer Direct Purchase, viewers can purchase digital games and game DLC directly through the Mixer streaming platform. When you’re watching a Mixer Partner playing a game or DLC that you want to own, you can purchase directly from the stream you’re watching. Mixer partners will earn a percentage from all purchases made through their stream, in turn helping them to continue to bring great content to their Mixer community. To start with, Mixer Direct Purchase will be available for all games in the Microsoft digital store, including more than 5,000 games across Xbox and Windows 10! Our aspiration is to make even more content available through Direct Purchase down the road.

Also coming soon is the ability to donate to your favorite content creators directly through Mixer. While streamers can continue using external donation services, we’re adding the option for viewers to donate directly on the platform, without having to leave Mixer. And by popular demand, we are adding the ability to subscribe to specific channels inside the Mixer app on Xbox One (similar to what you can do today on the web and mobile). Stay tuned, as we’ll have more details to share soon about each of these programs in the coming weeks and months.

Finally, to everyone in the Mixer community: THANK YOU! We appreciate the energy, passion and welcoming attitude that you bring to the Mixer community every day. As a small token of thanks to each of you for being such a big part of Mixer in 2017, we’ve made 3 new global emotes that will be available on Mixer this week to celebrate these milestones!

Thank you so much to everyone who supported the Mixer community in 2017, and a huge welcome to Mixer in 2018.

Sincerely: James Boehm and Matt Salsamendi

For Sale – MacBook Air x 2

2 x MacBook Air £700 delivered each

Bought from Amazon but had to source elsewhere when amazon delayed delivery. They then brought delivery forward and at this point it was too late to cancel my order.

Can provide amazon receipt.

Features

  • Intel Core i5 (1.8GHz) dual-core processor with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory. Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap and drag capabilities
  • 128GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colours
  • Mac OS Sierra Software

Price and currency: 700
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG
Location: Wilts
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – MacBook Air x 2

2 x MacBook Air £700 delivered each

Bought from Amazon but had to source elsewhere when amazon delayed delivery. They then brought delivery forward and at this point it was too late to cancel my order.

Can provide amazon receipt.

Features

  • Intel Core i5 (1.8GHz) dual-core processor with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory. Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap and drag capabilities
  • 128GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colours
  • Mac OS Sierra Software

Price and currency: 700
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG
Location: Wilts
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Xbox Game Pass Expands to Include New Releases from Microsoft Studios

When we launched Xbox Game Pass in June 2017, we knew we wanted to craft a service with gamers in mind. That meant a diverse, expanding library of over 100 games and counting, matched with one monthly price and unlimited access to download and play full-fidelity experiences.

We’ve been blown away by the incredible response. Following launch, we heard from fans around the world who wanted Xbox Game Pass in their country. In September, we expanded globally and Xbox Game Pass is now available to fans in 40 countries. We’ve also continued to expand the catalog with new games added to the Xbox Game Pass library every month, so there is always something new to play.

We know our fans value having a variety of games to play at a low monthly price. We’ve also heard from fans that the ability to play new blockbuster games in Xbox Game Pass is important. So we’ve continued to explore new ideas to make this possible.

Today, we’re excited to announce plans for a major expansion to Xbox Game Pass that underscores our commitment to deliver our fans the ultimate gaming subscription service.

Moving forward, we plan to release all new Xbox One exclusive games from Microsoft Studios into Xbox Game Pass on the same date as their global release. This means that when Sea of Thieves launches on March 20, it will be included in Xbox Game Pass to all members.

This plan to bring new games timed with their global release into Xbox Game Pass not only includes announced titles like Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and Crackdown 3 but future unannounced games from Microsoft Studios including new iterations of our biggest Xbox One exclusive franchises such as Halo, Forza and Gears of War, on the same day they launch.

Our fans have also asked for more choice in the subscription offerings available for Xbox Game Pass. As part of today’s library expansion, we are also pleased to announce that we are working closely with our retail partners, such as GameStop, to offer a 6-month Xbox Game Pass subscription card for those fans who look for a variety of ways to purchase and enjoy new games and services. The 6-month Xbox Game Pass subscription card will be available at select retail partners for $59.99 beginning March 20. By working closely with retail partners, Xbox Game Pass will have valuable ambassadors in popular destinations for gamers to discover new and exciting games and enjoy community.

With the addition of more great games, new blockbuster releases and a new subscription offer, we are giving fans more choice and value in how they discover and enjoy games – purchase games for their permanent library or play through Xbox Game Pass for one low price.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the opportunity this new model brings to the industry and what we can deliver to our fans. We firmly believe Xbox Game Pass will be a catalyst to create new opportunities for game developers and publishers to innovate in the way games are developed and delivered, leading to entirely new ways to play.

We’re truly humbled by the incredible response we’ve received to date for Xbox Game Pass, and we look forward to offering an unprecedented choice and value with Xbox Game Pass this spring and beyond.

Phil Spencer
Twitter: @XboxP3
GT: P3