Archive for Neal Leavitt

Up Up and Away: Commercial Drone Market Ready for Take Off

Posted by Neal Leavitt on August 30th, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Drone proponents prefer using the term Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or UAS for Unmanned Aerial System (latter term includes the entirety of the flying vehicle and the ground-base communications connection connecting the two). Whatever your preferred verbiage is, drones are poised to become a huge global business and the aerial devices are going to have a significant impact across a wide variety of industries.
Historically, the military has been the biggest user/purchaser of drones; The Wall Street Journal estimated that the U.S. military spent about $3 billion on drone programs in 2012. And many aerospace companies continue to develop highly sophisticated machines that are lightweight and easy to assemble/launch.
Columbus, MS-based Stark Aerospace, for instance, recently rolled out ArrowLite™, a small UAS system that supports the U.S. Army Hunter MQ-5B UAS. It weighs less than 7 lbs. and can be assembled and hand-launched in less than 90 seconds.
Looking beyond the military, commercial drones will soon take on much larger roles for businesses and even for individual consumers. BI Intelligence, a research service from Business Insider, estimates that 12% of an estimated $98 billion in cumulative global spending on aerial drones over the next decade will be for commercial purposes. ... Read more

Selling Your Personal Data: Is It Worth It?

Posted by Neal Leavitt on July 20th, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Last year a student at New York University threw out an interesting challenge – via a Kickstarter campaign, he offered to divulge 60 days worth of private data gleaned from his digital devices.
He raised $2,733 from 213 backers.
And earlier this year, a research team at the University of Trento in Italy reeled in 60 people and their smart phones to participate in an experiment that recorded various personal details and created a marketplace to sell the data. These included phone calls, apps being used, time spent on them, photographs taken, and users’ locations 24/7.
Each week, as reported by MIT Technology Review, the participants took part in an auction to sell the data, e.g., they might want to sell a specific GPS location or total distance traveled, or locations visited on a given day.
While reporting all results could be the topic of another post, in brief, Jacopo Staiano, who headed up the research team, said there were a few key findings:
• Location is the most valued category of personally identifiable information;
• Participants valued their information more highly on days that were unusual compared to typical days;
• People who traveled more each day tended to value their personal information more highly.
Almost 600 ‘auctions’ were... Read more

Social Media Helping Level the Playing Field for Craft Breweries

Posted by Neal Leavitt on June 29th, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Craft breweries have produced scores of award-winning beers over the years and according to the Houston Chronicle, will garner sales of over $7 billion nationwide in 2014. But just having a tasty ale or lager is no guarantee these days for long-term business success as the gigantic ad/marketing budgets of the major breweries can drown out craft breweries attempts to snare market share.
“The number of new craft breweries has exploded in the past few years and the market is getting crowded,” said Melani Gordon, who co-founded San Diego-based TapHunter. The company provides on- and off-premise accounts with time- and money-saving tools that automatically update beverage inventory on social media channels, websites, and print, digital display, and tablet menus. This exposure empowers their customers by helping transform beer, spirits, and cocktail menus into valuable revenue producers.
Gordon said those craft breweries that don’t put some serious thought behind their brand and voice will struggle.
“There’s no magic formula for craft breweries to find consumers so the new breweries need to build a brand and web presence because it’s challenging today to stand out,” added Gordon. “In addition, there are a lot of inefficiencies in the retail distribution model, making it... Read more

Google Data Protection Opinion May Ruffle Feathers of Businesses Worldwide

Posted by Neal Leavitt on May 30th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

A non-binding opinion handed down earlier this month by the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), the European Union’s highest legal authority, is roiling the business community. While the opinion needs the approval of all 28 EU governments before it can become legally binding, there’s already a lot of online chatter about the potential blowback to businesses operating in the EU.
The case followed complaints in March 2010 from Mario Costeja Gonzalez, a Spanish lawyer, who said that when Google’s search results revealed details on an auction of his repossessed home in a local newspaper (La Vanguardia), it infringed on his privacy rights.
CJEU ruled that people have the “right to be forgotten” and can ask Google to remove some sensitive information from Internet search results. Tech companies, noted the Financial Times, fear it may be “the beginning of a broader assault in which Google would be regulated like a utility.” Or to use an oft-used English idiom, it could be “the thin end of the wedge.”
No surprise then that organizations and associations from all walks of life are now weighing in with their two bits/bytes.
“Individuals may now have the ability to essentially go in with a... Read more

CEOs and Twitter: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by Neal Leavitt on April 30th, 2014 at 12:25 pm

These days if you sneeze funny, it can go viral – and for CEOs, catching cold may be the least of their worries. The myriad social tools available to CEOs can be a mixed bag.
Take Twitter, for instance. There are numerous content opportunities if properly implemented. But there are caveats. As reported by Louis Bedgian in Benzinga, a financial media outlet, CEOs aren’t infallible – and their words can cause financial tremors.
Marlene Morris Towns, a Georgetown University marketing professor, told Bedgian that in many instances, a CEO’s tweets are often distributed in real-time without being vetted.
“They’re not run through legal and compliance which allows you a lot of flexibility to jump on things as they happen – it also holds you at risk,” said Towns.
Towns added that CEOs “step in it themselves sometime by letting their personal views be known when they shouldn’t necessarily be known. Sometimes that’s their fault, sometimes it’s not. Somebody asks them a question in an interview, they say something off the cuff and next thing you know, it’s on social media.”
To wit, a few years ago, Micky Arison, former CEO of Carnival Corporation who also owns the NBA’s Miami Heat, was fined $500,000 by... Read more