Three Reasons You Should Care about Amazon Dash


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Amazon’s new Dash scanning device is being used in a few markets that have been selected as test markets for the Amazon Fresh service. I’m not holding my breath for Amazon to expand Fresh into the North Atlanta suburbs, but even so, this is a great bit of eCommerce evolution that we should see have a big impact on how we interact with online services. Why should we care?  Here’s why:

It’s about more than bar codes: The Amazon Fresh folks in Southern California, San Francisco, and Seattle are now able to place orders by using a bar code scanner or voice search. Bar code scanning is pretty boring these days, but the fact that voice search has become more accurate now makes a device like this useful, essentially creating an entirely new channel through which a customer can interact with a company. The combination of the two, integrated directly with Amazon via your home wifi network, is the first step in making eCommerce almost automatic.

It’s about more than groceries and other home items: A successful market test of the Dash could lead to these devices being used in a business environment that can’t afford the investment in automated inventory management tools. In a small manufacturing business, for example, certain employees could be given these devices to be able to order parts, raw materials, or even machine maintenance. I’m not anticipating that Amazon will enter the field of machine maintenance, but they could license this technology for such use. Imagine the benefits to a business when a machine operator could scan a bar code on a piece of equipment then record a brief description of what’s happening before a technician is dispatched.

It’s about more than a single device:  Any growing business may eventually have to make the decision to invest in software to manage the needs of the business, especially if there are raw materials involved. Being able to have several Dash-like devices feeding input to a centralized purchasing authority for review and approval would ease the entire process. Eventually, with wifi geolocation possibilities, a purchasing director would know when and from where an order was placed. This could also help determine where in an organization a delivery should be made.

As someone who lives in an area that doesn’t have Amazon Fresh, I am hopeful that the Dash meets with favorable reviews and that we will see this type of technology applied across other sectors of industry that could further benefit by expanded eCommerce connectivity.  This is just the beginning folks…


Three Mobile Commerce Questions


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I meet with our clients and prospects frequently to discuss mobile trends and possibilities and I really enjoy these conversations.  Talking about the new and exciting things going on in the mobile world is a lot of fun, mostly because we’re talking at the 50,000 foot level and are safe from the chafe-causing regions where the rubber meets the road.  By the time the conversations get down to ground-level and actual functionality, design, and implementation strategy are being discussed, there are usually a lot of “navigators” and one very lonely and scared “pilot” racing along a few feet from reality trying to avoid the ditch on either side of a successful path.

I’m not trying to paint a completely bleak picture for mobile deployment, but I do hope to propose some sort of logical game plan for getting mobile to work for your company using the right mix of navigation and piloting skills.  To do that, I thought I’d answer three frequently asked questions with some detail what I consider to be the right approach.  So, buckle up and try not to hit the eject button if the conversation gets a little uncomfortable.

Where do you think companies go wrong with Mobile implementations?

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Phishing Lines: Spotting Fraudulent Emails



Phishing LinesGiven my security background and focus, I keep an eye on new security related activity going on in the market. It never fails to amaze me how incredibly persistent and creative cyber-criminals can be.  One particular type of cyber-criminal, the email phisherman, for lack of a better description, sends emails offering such amazing opportunities that some people bite, and then get taken.

I had a little fun with this one and put together a video highlighting some of the lines I’ve seen in phishing emails recently. I hope you enjoy it!

Phishing Lines from Kevin Carlson (@ecomvagabond) on Vimeo.

Time For Software Patent Reform


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patentWith all the buzz in the media lately about software patents, I think it’s time to take a good look at how the software patent process needs serious reform before it further stifles creativity in the technology world. Being political isn’t something I like to do on this blog, but this topic along with the recent posts on security really need investigation and some reform with regard to how things are handled.

To draw a corollary to some recent software patent news, imagine if a record label could patent a 1-4-5 chord progression.  That would pretty much lock up Blues and Rock music, to a large degree anyway, and would force songwriters, publishers and labels to forego any song using such a progression unless the 1-4-5 license was procured.

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