16 Ways Apps Can Have Fun with Halloween (& Delight Users)| By |Megan Marrs

Halloween fun isn’t just for the kiddos – children and adults alike love adding a dash of seasonal spooks to their everyday activities during the Halloween season. The National Retail Federation anticipates Halloween spending to reach $8.4 billion in 2016, higher than any year in the survey’s history.

Even if you’re not a retail brand, incorporating a nod to the holidays is a great way to build app user relationships and add some personality into your messaging. So check out 16 ways apps can add in some Halloween fun; not all these strategies will apply for all app audiences, but they’ll certainly spark some inspiration.

1. Use Fun Messaging | All

Any app, from news to food apps, can add seasonally-themed punchlines to their push messages for an added dose of fun.
A message for a pizza delivery app might read: “Hurrah, your pizza is out for delivery – don’t mistake us for a trick-or-treater!”

2. Help Users With Their Costumes | Retail

Retail clothing or fashion apps might consider showing how some outfits can be used as part of a fashion-conscious dressup. That white pant suit can be an office favorite and double as a Clinton costume!

3. Any Excuse For Spooktacular Savings | Retail

You don’t need to have a retail storefront to take advantage of promoting Halloween deals – any business can use the season as an excuse to offer deep discounts.

4. Send Friends A Scare | Social media

Social apps can use the Halloween season to run unique interaction opportunities! Let friends send each other jump-scare messages to up the scare factor.

5. Themed Photo Filters | Photo

Photo apps can add horror-themed filters so that users can frighten their friends! Snapchat is a regular pro at this technique.


6. Add Goblin & Ghoul User Avatars | Social media

Social apps might also offer fall-themed avatars or profile icons that users can temporarily wear to get them in the seasonal mood.

7. Halloween-ify Your Game | Games

Gaming apps can temporarily add Halloween-themed skins or bonus levels only available during October.

8. Push the Pumpkin Spice | Restaurants

Coffee apps should have no qualms with shamelessly promoting their pumpkin spiced coffees – there are few things people love more in the fall than cuddling up with a pumpkin-packed brew.

9. Cash In On The Candy Craze | Retail

Homeowners everywhere will soon be making the mad dash for bags of candy to hand out at their homes. Retail stores that sell candy can use this opportunity to get folks in their store with a well-crafted push offer.

“Get 25% off all packs of candy through October 31st for spooktacular savings!”

10. Backgrounds & Notification Sounds | Digital Accessories

Apps that provide smartphone wallpapers, notification sounds, and lock screens may want to consider highlighting their Halloween selection for the month of October.

11. Promote Horror Movie Classics | Media/Entertainment

Media apps like Netflix, YouTube, or Hulu can call attention to their horror movie offerings, as users love to be terrified during this time of year. Don’t make users dig and search for Texas Chainsaw Massacre – deliver it right on the welcome dashboard to feed their need for a frightening flick!

12. Update App Icons | All

Some apps use holidays to refresh their app icon creatives, adding a seasonal theme to draw the attention of users!


13. Highlight Pumpkin-Powered Events | Events

Event and activity apps should make sure to call attention to harvest festivals, pumpkin-picking parties, and haunted house gatherings. Users are often drawn to seasonal events, so showcasing them in your app is sure to be a hit.

14. Face Painting Tips | Beauty/Retail

Beauty apps can devote special content to face painting, showing users how to create gruesome zombie scars with basic drugstore makeup! Retailers, since you’re selling it this works for you, too.

15. The Perfect Halloween Soundtrack | Music

Music apps can create custom playlists composed of spooky songs that users adore this time of year, from Thriller to Monster Mash.


16. Pumpkin Pie & Beyond | Food/Cooking

Food and cooking apps might consider devoting prime app real estate to pumpkin-based recipes and meals. At-home chefs love incorporating seasonal ingredients – show users what they can find at their farmers’ markets this time of year and how to whip up something special that’s seasonal.

What’s the best Halloween app marketing you’ve seen so far this year?

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5 Ways Retailers Can Step Up their Mobile Game to Capture More Holiday Sales| By |Vageesh Kumar

Did you know your mobile app customers are also often your most valuable? Alibaba demonstrated this when they revealed they make more money from their mobile customers (all 427 million of them!) than from their non-mobile customers. eBay did the same when they announced that $9.5 billion of their sales in Q2 of 2016 (or 45% of their GMV) came from mobile. Even more impressive, 57% of all of eBay’s Q2 sales were touched by mobile at some point.

Mobile customers have a big impact on retail, and Alibaba and eBay are just two examples. With so much opportunity to generate more revenue through mobile, particularly during the upcoming holiday shopping season, the importance of understanding customers’ mobile behavior is clear.

To understand how retailers can prepare for the holiday shopping season, Apptentive conducted a consumer survey to find out how consumers plan to use mobile apps to fulfill or aid their shopping needs (results were gathered online from 252 consumers ages 18-65 in the US who use iPhone and Androids daily). You can read the full results here, but in today’s post, we’ll cover the highlights around what we learned, along with sharing actionable advice that you can implement directly into your mobile strategy to set yourself up for success during the busiest shopping season of the year.

Here’s what we found:

Consumers Use Retail Mobile Apps to Buy—Not Just Browse

Our survey revealed that 88% of consumers use retail mobile apps, and 55% use them while shopping in-store. While consumers still use apps to enhance their in-store experience, that’s not all they’re using them for. People are actually using retail apps to shop.

Our survey also found 65% of people that use retail mobile apps plan on using them for at least some of their holiday shopping, and 10% of consumers plan on using retail apps for almost all of their holiday shopping. This includes consumers who plan on making purchases in the app, and using apps to aid their in-store shopping needs. Retail sales on smartphones grew by 54% between 2014 and 2015. 54% of respondents that use retail mobile apps have made a purchase in a retail app in the last month.


Now that consumers are using mobile apps to actually make purchases, not just supplement their in-store shopping experiences, retailers should seriously consider investing in creating standalone mobile customer experiences. With the upcoming holiday season upon us, retailers can beef up their mobile strategies to support consumer expectations.

Five Ways Retailers Can Improve their Mobile Customer Experience

The need for a seamless mobile customer experience can’t be put off any longer if you want to make headway in the retail industry. So what can retailers do to improve their mobile customer experience?

Here are five key pieces of advice:

1. Ask for customer feedback. Incorporating customer feedback into your mobile strategy gives you the ability to learn about customer behavior in explicit ways and the ability to quickly iterate and test new products and features.

Asking customers for feedback increases your ability to problem solve without guessing. Are customers abandoning their shopping cart? Don’t waste time trying to deduce all of the different possibilities as to why this is an issue. Ask customers in the app as soon as they abandon their cart. This will save you time, and enable you to implement a solution quickly—reducing the amount of revenue lost. This is especially crucial during the holiday season, when the rate of revenue loss by an issue is magnified. Catching problematic trends early is always critical critical, but absolutely essential during the holidays.

If given an opportunity, mobile customers want to provide feedback (from a joint survey we conducted with SurveyMonkey, we found 98% of consumers are likely to leave feedback when asked directly in-app), and even expect companies to ask them for it directly in-app (64% of consumers said they expect companies to ask). Take advantage of this by asking for customer feedback in your app more often, and use it to solve problems quickly to increase customer satisfaction.

Asking for mobile customers’ feedback also empowers you to test and iterate on new products and features quickly. One of our customers used customer feedback to substitute focus groups when they were developing a new app feature. They were able to hear from over 600 customers within a few days of launching an in-app survey, which allowed them to launch the feature globally a quarter ahead of schedule. This is the power of mobile customer feedback.

2. Seamlessly integrate loyalty programs into mobile apps. Nordstrom is a great example of a company who has incorporated their loyalty program into their mobile app. When their customers make a purchase in the Nordstrom app, it automatically adds points to their loyalty account. Customers aren’t limited to the app to redeem their loyalty rewards either; points are reflected in all channels (in-store, online, mobile web, and in-app).

Building rewards into your app adds extra incentive for customers to make purchases in the app, and decreases the likelihood your customers will favor shopping with a competitor. Allowing customers to earn reward or loyalty points by using your mobile app (something they’re already doing) not only improves their customer experience, it increases loyalty.

3. Connect online and offline experiences. The importance of a positive mobile customer experience extends beyond purchases in the app. 55% of people who use retail mobile apps have used them to browse selection, then purchase in-store at least once in the last month (we call this “approoming”). Not only does the mobile app experience need to be a standalone experience, it should also connect seamlessly with consumers’ physical experiences.


Integrated customer experiences are coveted by consumers because it makes their lives more convenient. Regardless of what approach you take to integrating your app with your store, the goal should be to enrich your customer experience.

4. Easy payment and checkout process. The ability to easily pay for purchases in a mobile app is in high demand. If the payment process is cumbersome, customers are more likely to abandon their shopping cart. Retailers that make buying easy, such as Amazon, reap the (monetary) rewards. Amazon has created an easy checkout process that only requires customers to hit one button to complete their purchase.

The demand for in-app payment capabilities is best proven by Starbucks. Their customers load money onto a digital gift card in the Starbucks app, and scan their phone at the counter to pay. Their payment method has been outrageously successful; Starbucks has more customer money in their mobile app than many banks have in deposits. That is, $1.2 billion— double what they had in 2014! 41% of their U.S. and Canadian customers now pay for their coffees via the Starbucks app.

5. Measure and track customer sentiment. Do you know how your customers feel about your brand? All companies want their customers to love them, but how do you know if you’ve earned that accolade without measuring customer love? It’s difficult to understand how your customers receive your brand, and how much they enjoy your customer experience, without consistently tracking customer sentiment.


Supplemental to customer feedback, measuring customer sentiment will help teams across your organization learn and make business decisions. Your product, quality assurance, engineering, market research, and marketing teams all stand to gain insights from customer sentiment tracking.

Mobile software solutions can help you unlock customer insights, and measure customer love. Ask consumers “Do you love our app?” or “Do you love our company?” directly in-app, without interrupting their mobile experience to gain a baseline measurement. The most effective way to grow the number of customers who love your brand is to understand where you currently stand, and to measure customer love over time. This enables you to see how decisions impact sentiment, and pinpoint what moves you forward (and backward).

In Conclusion

Retail apps that improve their mobile customer experience by following the five key pieces of above see more success than their competitors who lack these mobile CX innovations—throughout the holidays and beyond.

In addition to increasing revenue, positive mobile customer experiences increase customer loyalty, lifetime value, and satisfaction. When you invest in the mobile customer experience, consumers notice. This means they also notice when you haven’t invested. When consumers use your mobile app, they become more invested in your brand, are more likely to spend more money, and become a loyal customer.

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Resell Mobile Apps with Facebook Marketing| By |Andrew Gazdecki


Social media marketing and mobile app development are hot topics on the mind of every marketer. These topics should be on the minds of every business owner, too. If you have recently begun re-selling mobile apps, there is a good chance you may be a marketer yourself and thus far from needing any convincing that advertising this new facet of your business on Facebook is a main priority. However, you may be unfamiliar with the idea of marketing white label apps via Facebook, especially when it comes to managing ad spending and maximizing returns.

Facebook is a particularly advantageous channel for mobile apps. When it comes to advertising apps, more businesses use this social media channel than any other. And for good reason. Not only does Facebook allow brands to connect with consumers all over the world, its platform allows for potential clients to engage directly with the apps and content you have created. There is also a good chance that your competitors are already present and attracting clients through this channel.

Creating successful marketing campaigns on Facebook is a great way to boost yourself in the eyes of consumers,as a leader in affordable, functioning, and innovative mobile apps. To help guide you through reselling mobile apps via Facebook marketing (and maybe give you a few creative ideas of your own), here are a few key steps that will help make your campaigns (and your business) more prosperous.

Understanding Your Audience or Niche

Before you launch any social media campaigns on Facebook, you have to know who your audience is. A lot of white label app marketers will target a specific type of business, whether it is bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms or another type of small business. It’s imperative that you understand the demographics of your audience.

The goal is to optimize your Facebook marketing costs by targeting only the consumers that would benefit from having you as provider of their mobile app solution. This ensures that you work with businesses that match your unique skillsets and expertise. Thus, you produce better quality apps and build a stronger brand and reputation in the industry.

The better you are at targeting your audience, whoever it may be, the less money you will waste putting your name in front of people who have no interest in your business.

Producing a Clear Message that Highlights Your USP

Now that you have your audience picked out, the next step is to work on creating the message that will attract members of that audience. Facebook is a unique channel in that users spend only a few moments, sometimes just a second, looking at any one post or message. This means you have a very, very limited window of opportunity to not only grab their attention, but also to demonstrate the value of your mobile apps and (hopefully) get them to act. To achieve this, your marketing messages have to be clear, concise and demonstrate your Unique Selling Point (USP).

Your USP is exactly what it sounds like; it is the one aspect of your mobile app offerings, or your company, that cannot be replicated by competitors. Perhaps, it is your unmatched focus and expertise within the industry you have chosen to focus on. It may be your out-of-the-box creative team. There may be more than one aspect, but the key is to keep the clarity of your message intact. Often, this means focusing on one USP and adopting it in your marketing messages, images and videos.

Launching Your Facebook Campaign

The goal of every Facebook campaign is the same. While getting lots of reach and engagement is good, ultimately you want conversions. You want members of your target audience to click through your advertisements or content, find your website and purchase a white label mobile app from you.

Your campaign brings everything together; it is targeted at the right audience, it has a simple message that highlights your USP and it does this in a creative and appealing way. The best Facebook marketing campaigns are the ones that deliver on what they promise. So, avoid trying to draw people in with untrue headlines or other clickbait tactics.

If you are unsure where to start with your campaign, Facebook’s Help Center has a lot of information that can help you launch your first marketing efforts on this channel. Facebook also offers their Power Editor feature, which provides an intuitive dashboard to create, manage and track new, existing and future campaigns. It can be a powerful tool, whether you are a first time Facebook marketer or an experienced veteran.

Remember, when you are making content for your campaign, the creative is much more important than the copy. When it comes to Facebook, people want to see, not read. Having a compelling image or video, with little copy, is the best route. A lot of Facebook marketing gurus swear by the 20% rule, which dictates that only 20% of the creative should involve copy.

Evaluate Success

One of Facebook’s strongest qualities as a marketing channel is that it is highly measurable. Everything your company posts on Facebook has trackable metrics, which can allow you to better understand the tactics that work and those that do not. These metrics, however, can get confusing to differentiate and it can be especially hard to understand which ones are furthering your current business objectives.

Click Through Rate (CTR) – Click Through Rate is the percentage of people that saw your ad or content and actually clicked through to find your website.

Conversion Rate (CVR) – Conversion rate represents the percentage of those that clicked through to the website and actually contacted you about an app, joined your e-mail newsletter, or took some other action that resulted in you capturing their contact information.

Cost Per Action (CPA) – How much did you pay in Facebook advertising and targeting to get a single person to your website where they contacted you about an app, joined your email list, or gave you their contact information in some other way? CPA is akin to cost per lead in other marketing channels.

If you are interested in generating new clients, your goal is to stimulate a high CVR, while maintaining a low CPA. Alternatively, if you were just looking to boost your brand awareness on social media, having a very high CTR is a good benchmark metric to follow.

If you are not getting the metric levels you anticipated or want to reach, chances are your Facebook marketing efforts need some tweaking. Perhaps the creative doesn’t resonate with your target audiences, or the message isn’t impactful enough. Whatever the case may be, you will know when you fix it and start seeing your metrics tend in the right direction.

Other Facebook Marketing Tactics

While the primary focus of this guide has been getting the most out of Facebook ads, there are a number of other ways to leverage social media, especially Facebook, to further business objectives.

Educate Users – Not everyone is entirely comfortable with mobile yet, especially small businesses. Sure, we use mobile all the time, but when it comes to adopting a mobile strategy within an organization, a lot of business owners are weary. While they have heard and understand mobile’s many benefits, they are unsure what exactly to expect from “going mobile.” They may still feel that a mobile solution is out of their budget. By posting educational materials (even just links to mobile-related articles), you not only stand out as a company that is routinely staying ahead of the curve on mobile trends, but you can also help inform some of these weary business owners and raise their comfort levels regarding mobile development.

Client Endorsements / Testimonials – One of the key features of Facebook that makes it such a tremendous success is the social aspect. Each one of your clients present on Facebook likely has hundreds of friends that have never heard about your organization. While it may be uncomfortable to ask a client to endorse you on social media, you would be surprised how willing most people are, especially if you agree to discount their app or provide them with another service. Asking for an endorsement not only expands your reach, but it allows that customer to feel that their voice is very valuable to you.

Share Update News – Reselling mobile apps means you are trying to get people to buy a product that is constantly changing. As mobile trends develop and customers look for new features, your reseller program will update their platform to accommodate these changes. As the updates roll out, informing your audience of new features (or old issues that are now fixed) keeps them in the know and has the potential to generate new business. Maybe a potential client looked at your offerings a few months ago, but you lacked a certain feature that they were looking for. Now that you have shared the news that you now include that feature, that person may come back.


Choosing to resell mobile apps is a great way to propel your business into the mobile age. With this guide, you can begin promoting your business through Facebook and become a leader in mobile app development in the eyes of your target audiences. You are equipped with the knowledge to successfully run a Facebook marketing campaign that keeps costs low, but returns high. You also have a number of ways to support your advertisements and marketing messages with other content, such as informational articles, client endorsements and more.

In a lot of ways, reselling mobile apps through Facebook marketing blends together two key, but different disciplines: science and art. Hopefully, what you have managed to take away from this guide has provided you with the know-how to handle the data-rich, science side to Facebook Marketing. The artistry, on the other hand, is up to you and your creative team to develop, critique and reimagine.

In the end, you will be generating more business, at fewer costs, than if you went into Facebook Marketing blindly. Not only does this give you a potential leg up on the competition, but it also allows you to focus on what is truly important; making unique, creative, white label apps for your clients and and growing your business.

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How Artificial Intelligence is Redefining the Future of Work| By |Chris Cancialosi

In a world where the term “big data” is being thrown around like the next coming, many business leaders still struggle to understand how more information is going to help them make better decisions that drive their businesses forward.

But the real challenge goes well beyond merely accessing more data. The key is accessing data in the right way, at the right time, and in the right format to generate beneficial insights.

This process is no small feat. It requires both technology and human analysis in order to identify these critical insights for business leaders. It has historically meant a team of highly specialized data analysts spending hours upon hours sifting through terabytes (or more!) of information to make it digestible and useful.

But that’s all about to change in a big way.

Meet Watson, IBM’s groundbreaking effort to change the future as we know it using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“Five years ago, IBM built this system made up of 90 servers and 15 terabytes of memory—enough capacity to process all the books in the American Library of Congress,” states Charlie Rose in a recent 60 Minutes feature. “That was necessary because Watson is an avid reader—able to consume the equivalent of a million books per second. Today, Watson’s hardware is much smaller, but it is just as smart.”

IBM has invested billions of dollars and gathered some of the most brilliant scientific minds available to move AI past its current application in smart phones and home appliances.

Back in 2011, Watson landed a spot on the game show “Jeopardy!” to compete against two of the show’s champions. IBM’s computer system won that night, but IBM has its sights set on much bigger and more meaningful goals.

How Watson is Helping Cancer Patients

artificial intelligence future of workOncology teams currently review cancer patient cases and studies themselves, working diligently to develop treatment strategies. But consider this: each day over 8,000 new clinical trials and studies are published on the topic. The sheer amount of data is simply impossible to keep up with. Meaning, these review teams must design treatment strategies based on incomplete or outdated information.

Regardless of how hard these teams work, they can’t possibly be expected to keep up with the most current information available; information that could possibly inform the development of less destructive, more effective cancer treatment strategies.

Watson is currently being tutored by twenty top cancer institutes. It can read the equivalent of one million books per second, and it never forgets. As Watson is given data, it continues to learn, something that its computer forefathers were incapable of doing.

Using machine learning algorithms, Watson is able to draw its own conclusions based off of the massive amounts of information it consumes. After reading twenty-five million medical studies and trials (its first week on the job, mind you) and scanning the internet for additional trial information, Watson was put to the test, analyzing one thousand actual oncology cases alongside oncology review teams.

The result? In 99 percent of cases, Watson drew the same conclusions as its human counterparts. But that’s not the really exciting part. In 30 percent of those cases, Watson found something new.

By accessing the latest, up-to-the-minute research, Watson was able to identify new strategies that the review team would have otherwise missed.

And now, IBM is making this technology available to employees. As of January 1st, 2017, qualifying IBMers and their covered family members and partners will have access to Watson’s oncology services. This announcement opens new horizons for their employees, as well as another opportunity to develop Watson through actual case studies.

What’s Next for Watson?

For those of you imagining the day Terminators take over, rest easy that IBM’s vision is for AI to be used for very specific tasks that augment human decision-making, keeping machines dependent on man.

Take, for instance, how Watson was used as a teaching assistant in an AI class at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “By utilizing AI to handle routine questions and tasks, we are able to free up people’s time so they can focus on adding value in other ways,” says Bob Schultz, General Manager of Smarter Workforce, IBM. “The system can be utilized to drive key insights from massive amounts of information, and it can learn how to present it in a useful way as it learns.”

Imagine the possibilities if your business had this capability to manage data. From recruiting to production, from strategy to employee engagement, work life as we know it would be disrupted in ways that we can’t yet imagine.

While some well-known folks fall on both sides of the AI debate, one thing is undeniable: we’re only just beginning to uncover the potential of this new and exciting technology, and I’ll be continuing to explore this topic further as we learn more.

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Tablet vs. Smartphone: What Are the Key Differences in UX and User Behavior?| By |Emily Goldring

Even though both tablets and smartphones have a similar form factor and an almost identical, touch-oriented interface, these two types of devices are worlds apart in terms of UX and user behavior. Tablets might seem like an enlarged version of the smartphone, but they are in fact devices with their own unique audience. The activities they’re primarily used for are notably different. The places they’re used at, and the things people are using them for, are also distinctive, compared to smartphone users.

Accordingly, the experience users have when operating a tablet and a smartphone are unique, which is why mobile product managers should never consider one as an extension of the other, but rather as two completely independent ecosystems.

Here are the four key differences that shape user experience and behavior on a smartphone, versus on a tablet. By keeping these in mind, you can better tailor your mobile app product to your target audience, and draw and retain a larger number of users.

Mobile vs home device

Despite both being portable, at the end of the day it’s just the smartphone that’s considered ‘mobile’. A tablet is mostly seen as a ‘home’ device, one that’s used in a fixed position, either home, office or similar. In fact, a report by Salesforce says that 54 percent of users associate ‘mobile’ with a smartphone, while just 14 percent have done the same for a tablet. There’s an extremely important takeaway from this statistic. ‘Mobile’ means people mostly use it on the go – resulting in shorter, but more frequent session lengths.

The average session length on mobile, according to a 2013 Adobe Digital Index Report, is half the session length on tablet devices. Operating from the comfort of their home, or office, tablet users will give themselves more time to go about their business. Mobile users aren’t interested in that kind of luxury.

The generation gap

The second great difference between tablets and smartphones is in who uses it. Millennials (those aged 18 – 34), are more interested in smartphones, while the older generation is more inclined to tablets, according to a report by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

This is important because undeniably different age groups have different needs and expectations. Tablets are overwhelmingly used to play games and access entertainment (67 per cent), while smartphones are divided between games, social networking, and utilities (to name a few). Basically, tablets are seen as an entertainment platform, while smartphones are considered mostly a communications device. So if you’re thinking of targeting older generations, and if you’re thinking entertainment – focus your efforts on the tablet platform.

We can argue that this is because the older generation does not want to take technology with them outside, or that they find it more convenient to use a device with the larger screen, but whatever the reason is – the fact is that it’s easier to approach the older generation on a tablet, and millennials on a smartphone.

The ‘when’ and the ‘what’

Product managers should also keep a close eye on when people use tablets and smartphones. Knowing peak times for different platforms can help them focus their energy and resources better. For example, the Salesforce report we mentioned earlier tells us that tablets are mostly used in afternoon and evening hours, and usually during weekends. Now, this Poq Commerce report says that people mostly use apps for shopping in afternoon and evening hours. Using these two valuable insights, we can conclude that it would be wise for shopping products to focus on the tablet, and create an experience tailored for an older audience, with more screen real-estate and longer sessions.

Taking advantage of screen real-estate and battery

The fourth difference is probably the most physically obvious one –screen size. Like we said earlier, tablets are mostly seen as an entertainment platform, because of two important factors:

1) A larger screen rules

2) Entertainment (games, video) is extremely battery-hungry

There’s literally something consumers call the ‘Larger Screen Rule’ – whatever you can do on a larger screen, don’t do it on a smaller. That’s why communication is mostly, although not definitively, reserved to the smartphone, entertainment and content consumption to tablets, and content creation mostly to laptops and desktop PCs.

For example, the Kindle app for Android. The app takes full advantage of the size of the tablet to offer an enjoyable reading experience. It offers millions of books, magazines and newspapers – literally tons of content to be consumed, while not putting the strain on the reader’s eyes by forcing them to look at a tiny screen.

The second important factor is the battery. Entertainment, especially mobile games, is extremely battery-hungry. Users will refrain from playing games on their mobile devices not only because of the tiny screen, but also because it eats up the majority of their battery fast. And if you’re tied to the wall and your charger, you’re not really ‘mobile’ any more. If your product is battery-heavy, and requires a lot of zooming and panning around, you might want to consider focusing on the tablet instead, or redesigning your product to better fit the mobile world.

Remember, even though tablets and smartphones look related, their user bases, usage preferences, and user experiences are fundamentally different. If you want to build a successful app for one device, or even across both devices, you must embrace these underlying, noteworthy differences.

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How Artificial Intelligence is Helping Enhance Human Capabilities| By |Sarah Johnson

In the past half decade, artificial intelligence and machine learning have made significant leaps into the mainstream and into our daily lives. According to research firm Markets and Markets, the artificial intelligence market is set to grow to $5.05 billion by 2020 thanks to the increased applicability of various AI technologies into everything from finance to healthcare to retail.

Today, doctors can diagnose Sepsis with an AI algorithm, for instance, and researchers can track endangered species through AI-enhanced photo capture systems. Clearly, these new self-learning and ever-improving technologies have limitless potential in a number of innovative industries.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) recently hosted a panel discussion during its TecNation 2016 event that focused on where we stand with Artificial Intelligence and how it will affect our lives and unlock our potential in the long run. During the session, five organizations came together to weigh in on where each views the future of machine learning heading—and how they intend to keep moving these innovations forward.


Google—which now operates under the larger technology conglomerate, Alphabet—has consistently shown its merit in the evolving world of AI. Through Google’s many advancement (including DeepMind and TensorFlow), they are also quick to ease those who see AI as a threat to their livelihoods.

Fortune reported that Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind, spoke at an O’Reilly Media technology conference in San Francisco recently—encouraging that AI is here to help us, not to take away our autonomy. “Humans remain the ultimate controller of the systems,” he reassured the crowd.

DeepMind, an AI startup acquired by Google in 2014, is now able to reduce energy usage in its data centers by 40 percent, using the data it “learned” from the centers themselves. Google’s own TensorFlow is a machine learning system—an open source software library that can be used by everyone, from students to developers to entrepreneurs.

Sarah Holland, Public Policy Manager at Google, knows that they’re at the helm of AI creation and advancement. Even when it comes to Google Photos, AI has transformed the platform. She told the TecNation panel: “It used to not be able to differentiate between a fire truck and a cat…Now, you can search for ‘hugs’ in [Google Photos], and you can bring up photos of people hugging.”

But she also realizes the possibilities of AI reach farther than any one company could even imagine. She explained, “It’s beyond Google, and beyond these products becoming more accessible and useful. What I think is really exciting is being able to use this real incredible [and] powerful set of tools, to solve big social problems that we have.”


It would seem that Toyota sees the world as sci-fi visionaries do: drones flying in the air, robots cooking our meals and cleaning our homes, and our cars driving us to work—all on their own.

“From Toyota’s perspective, AI comes into play with self-driving and self-automated vehicles,” Hillary Cain, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy said on stage.

She stated that more than 35,000 Americans lost their lives in automobile accidents last year—which is about equivalent to “two jumbo jets of people falling out of the sky every week,” she said. And, unfortunately, 94 percent of those accidents are attributable to human error.

If this is the case, then the question is, “What do we have to lose with self-automated cars?”

“If we took everyone in this room or in DC and got into a room to figure out every scenario a car can be in its ten-year run—we could do pretty well, but we couldn’t think of them all…this is where AI steps in—some scenarios don’t even exist yet,” she pointed out.

Washington, DC, USA - September 20, 2016: Chamber Technology Engagement Center TechNation conference.  Photo by Joshua Roberts / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

TecNation Conference, 2016

But what would self-driving cars mean for truck drivers and chauffeurs across the country? Cain weighed in on this as well. “Drivers who feel like they are on the cusp of being out of work: not all AI’s are the same,” she said. “Some have a longer or shorter-term impact on industries.”

She explained the two self-automated cars Toyota has in the works—“the Chauffeur,” which is exactly what it sounds like: a self-driving vehicle with no need for human command. But that a second option—and one that the general public may be more warm to—is “the Guardian Angel” car. This car would still have a driver, but would watch for imminent obstacles and dangers on the road, and would send warnings or take control of the wheel to avoid an oncoming accident. Guardian Angel test-driving will take place at the Toyota Research Institute facility in Palo Alto, California, near Stanford University, and a simulator in Japan will give drivers a 3D-feel for realistic road conditions.

University of Washington

Pedro Domingos, a professor at the University of Washington, is the recipient of the SIGKDD Innovation Award (Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining) for his early research on mining data streams and his contribution of several algorithms concerning machine learning. The award is the highest honor in the data science field. He wrote “The Master Algorithm,” a book that gives the average reader insight into the latest innovations regarding machine learning.

On the panel, Domingos described AI as getting computers to do things that traditionally require our own intelligence ad and intuition. He says the goal of AI is to get computers to “climb the intelligence ladder” and to start doing things that are far more difficult than what humans can process.

Contrary to popular belief, AI is nothing new. Its field has existed for the past 60 years, but it didn’t make much headway in its first few decades. However, in the past decade or so, the University of Washington has been at the forefront of AI and machine learning projects. The school’s Tractable Deep Learning models and Statistical Relational Learning projects are both a part of its AI department, and both directly involve Domingos.

He suggests that with the more data we acquire over the years, the more data machines can learn from—and it’s only going to increase, giving us pause over where we might be in another ten, twenty years.

Internet Association

Gail Slater, General Counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization, the Internet Association, explained her organization’s role in AI in one phrase: “Education, education, education.”

“AI is not an army of human cyborgs,” she explained, “there are demographics in our population that are seriously scared of AI. And that’s something we have to live with, and the burden is on associations like ours, to educate that demographic.”

The Internet Association wants to keep others constantly informed and updated about AI and machine learning advancements through its policy work in various sectors, ranging from data security to patent licensing. As history tells us, if people don’t know enough about it, then they are more likely to fear it.

Slater adds, “80 percent of folks over a certain age are truly concerned. So the burden is on us to alleviate those fears. We are the folks speaking for the benefits of technology.”

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has been around since 1790, when George Washington enacted the Patent Act and Thomas Jefferson signed off on it. And, in just the past year, the office screened and sifted through 288,335 patent applications of just U.S. origin—and application numbers are only rising annually.

The first female Director of the USPTO, Michelle Lee, is enthusiastic that AI can be beneficial not only to the patent holders but also to the USPTO itself.

“Developments in AI, especially in the past ten years, wouldn’t examine the benefit from machines doing an automated pre-examination search. This could have a computer algorithm pre-screen, pre-search, and preset the results to either the applicant or the examiner [of the patent].,” she explained to the panel.

Lee also brings up complications that arise when an AI actually develops or creates something on its own. In regards to invention, she questions who exactly would own the patent?. She also wonders when what the machine is and who the human starts to get blurred along the way?

“For machine-created inventions, the agency [the USPTO] is going to have to deal with who gets the right to that—whoever wrote the code, or owner of the data?”

To learn more about C_TEC and the TecNation 2016 event, visit the new C_TEC Homepage.

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9 Compelling Mobile Stats To Prepare Retail Marketers For Black Friday| By |Justina Perro

The rest of the world may still be savoring the early fall season with apple picking galore and pumpkin flavored everything, but we marketers know we always have to look towards the future. And for many of us, that future is one of the biggest days of the entire year: Black Friday.


Retail marketers, get your mobile engines ready. The stats below give us a good indication that the 2016 holiday season will be the biggest for mobile yet:

  • Mobile ad spend is poised to increase by 3 billion as 58% of search clicks now come from mobile (eMarketer) [TWEET THIS STAT]
  • One-third of shoppers made a purchase on Black Friday or Thanksgiving with their mobile phone (Forbes) [TWEET THIS STAT]
  • Mobile traffic on Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2015 was up over 15% from 2014, and accounted for over 55% of overall traffic (TechCrunch) [TWEET THIS STAT]


Reading between the lines will give you the biggest takeaway from the above stats: it’s time to invest in a mobile app. As the percentage of consumers using mobile continues to rise at a rapid rate, if you don’t have a mobile app you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to gain valuable insights, and engage with them beyond the one-off purchase. Mobile apps grant users the experience they crave from your retail brand, and foster a relationship that contributes to stronger conversion and lifetime value.

What is your retail brand doing to get ready for Black Friday and the 2016 holiday season? Comment below.

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