Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Blog Song

Maybe the best way to get my blog noticed and be more successful at generating traffic would be to create a song about my blog!  Maybe in the future I will have the guts to post something like this....

Monday, December 14, 2009

No Business like E-Business!

Since e-Business has proven to be a very complex avenue for businesses, with the boom and the bust, there are many seminars, training sessions, books, online modules, and websites that are geared toward ensuring e-Business is a success.  One new book that has been released is “No Business like E-Business.”

This book helps to save the reader time and money because it covers both the basics and pitfalls that every online entrepreneur should know.  This book is a great tool to utilize to ensure an e-Business is successful. 
These tools are important to newbies to the online avenue to sell their products, because without a clear understanding and extensive research the online launch will likely fail because there are more forces against the online business than a physical one.
Some of the pitfalls:
1)      Only certain products are suitable for online (cars not bought online)
2)      Some products need to be touched and held before they are bought
3)      Not all consumers have access to the technology needed to support online business or they may not have the desire to purchase products online, because they like the experience of shopping in a store.
If your product is not able to satisfy these needs or overcome them by establishing a niche in the market then your online business will likely fail.  Compensating for these pitfalls is essential to online success……..Amazon is an e-tailer that has done an excellent job of understanding and accommodating these problems, establishing themselves as an online heavyweight.  Keep in mind that not all companies have been as successful as Amazon!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

StripeyLines yet another iPhone application

On December 3, 2009 Portaltech, one of the UK’s leading eCommerce consulting and development specialists launched a new iPhone application called StripeyLines. This application allows the shoppers to swipe barcodes on goods that they are considering buying. These barcodes are saved and profiles developed on the StripeyLines website.

This application allows shoppers to make informed decisions and perform further research before purchasing the items from their iPhone or desktop PC.

This inventive application helps the e-tailers because the shopper can then use the Internet to purchase the items that they found and swiped in the stores.

Also, for food products that are swiped the application will update how much the nutritional value of that product contributes to their daily allowance and calculated the number of calories they have remaining.

Since the launch of the iPhone there have been numerous applications that have been developed. Many have helped to change or improve eBusiness functions. Month after month iPhone users have access to new and improved technology that works in conjunction with their phone and it seems that there is no letting up!

Check out the entire article at http://www.sourcewire.com/releases/rel_display.php?relid=52276

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Amazon....from clicks to bricks?

Rumours are soaring that Amazon is gearing up to buy launch bricks and mortars stores in Britain to support its rapidly growing website. If this secret is true, they did not do a very good job of keeping the secret quiet.

If Amazon is indeed going to launch a store, it represents a reversal of the thinking of the dot.com boom. With the adoption of e-Business people feared that internet shopping would kill physical stores, with most retailers only conducting business online. For Amazon to be able to go from being an “Internet pureplay” to a physical store, it is a reversal of the logic that retailers make more money online.  They must see the value of having a physical store... they can capture those consumers who don't like to shop online.

There are some e-tailers that have opened shops, like Lastminute.com however for the most successful e-tailer to capture the bricks and mortar segment of the industry will have a huge impact on the retailing industry. This might be the move to make the retailer even more of a threat on the global stage.....Walmart look out!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Internet Increases Interconnectiveness- Leading to Increased Travel!

As mentioned many times throughout many blogs, the Internet has allowed many businesses to exist online.  One sector that has adopted e-Business on a large scale is the tourism industry.  Any companies that sell plane tickets, tickets to events, provide information for certain places etc. have been able to find a niche on the Internet.  E-Businesses within this sector are able to reach more people, possibly increasing overall sales and improving profit margins.
The Internet has allowed dissemination of information to reach millions of people, helping to improve inter-connectiveness.  Connecting people all around the world, by allowing people to access information and products from all around the world is driving globalization.
Finding new information about far off places, sends the imagination into overdrive.  I know for me, when I find out about a new far off place on the Internet where I can see something fascinating, I can’t stop thinking about that place. For example when I found out that I could see a MOLA MOLA in waters off the coast of Bali, I decided that I must travel there.  The picture below is a Mola Mola aka Oceanic Sunfish.

Without the Internet I would not have known about this awesome fish, I wouldn’t have travelled to the Bali with the hopes to see this majestic fish.  For your own information I didn’t actually see this fish, the people ahead of me did, not me this time, but I will be back to find that fish in the magical blue.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Maldives Cabinet Hold Underwater Meeting

This was an interesting way to hold a meeting and get society engaged in the ever real problem of climate change!

Singapore Airlines voted Best Airline of 2009

Flying can be scary for some, but for others if they fly with the right airline, they will be treated to a first class experience- even in economy.  One airline that makes everyone feel great about flying is Singapore Airlines.  For 2009, Singapore Airlines was the recipient of the OAG Airline Award.  They received the award because they were seen as the most innovative based on votes by their customers. 
This award got me thinking.  I remembered that I travelled on the airline.  We were treated to a three course meal of which we were able to choose on the plane.  We were able to selection alcoholic beverages from a wide array of products. After which, brought us a warm washcloth to clean our hands and our face, while we selected a newspaper from the largest collection I have ever been given on a flight.   The service was impeccable!
The only time I was able to afford flying on Singapore Airlines was back 6 years, and it is nice to hear that they are keeping up with the service, even in times of increasing fees, and surcharges as a result of restructuring and cutbacks. 
Singapore Airlines is doing it right!
Next time you are surfing the Internet for a flight check out Singapore Airlines to see if they have a seat sale or deal because even economy flyers will receive “Champagne service.”
A great website is titled E-T
ravel Blackboard, check it out!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Collecting Travel Points on your Credit Card?

Credit cards have evolved over the years.  Initially they were only used to cover cash flow gaps, however today credit cards also have other benefits that draw you to the card.  Some credit cards give travel points, air miles that can be used toward hotel stays, airplane tickets, and merchandise.  These partnerships help to make a credit card more attractive but do cost those involved some profits. 
One way to get around this, and recoup some costs, American Express has enacted a new regulation with cards that are cobranded with Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Hilton Hotels, and Starwood Hotels, where rewards won’t be transferred to your loyalty account with those partners if you are late paying your bill.  This regulation will take effect on January 1st, 2010.  Those who do not pay their bill on time will not be granted their points for that month and will have to pay some hefty fees if they want to get those points back.
After a late payment is made and you want to recoup the points you will have to pay the late fee, but also a reinstatement fee of $29. On top of that fee they will hit you with an increase of your interest rates.  Getting your points back might be too costly!
American Express states that they are enacting this new regulation to cobranded cards to ensure consistency because they already had this policy for non-cobranded cards.
The morale of the story: if you have a credit card that accumulates points, make sure you can pay for all the items on your bill, or at least the minimum payment.  If you can pay for the items, be sure to pay on time, because you may be out more money, for no good reason!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thailand adopting e-Business

One country that relies heavily on the Tourism Industry but is slow to adopt e-Business technology is Thailand. The Thai Government is trying to push the tourism sector to adopt these new technologies to reinvigorate and advance the industry.  Basing tourism industry on the Internet is key to keep up with other countries.  If Thailand doesn`t they will see a dramatic decrease in tourists. 

To improve tourism the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has introduced http://thai.tourismthailand.org.  On this site, would-be visitors need to enter details such as destination zones, type of travel, the number of days for the trip, the number of tourists and a total budget.  In turn, the site will search the TAT directory and come up with a tentative plan for the trip.  This is an ingenious system that will improve the e-Business situation for Thailand, helping to lure more tourists to the country.

Thailand is on the right path, but still has a long way to go to implement and update this new e-Business technology. Implementation will not take place overnight- it will take extensive amounts of time, training and money but in the end the initiative will bring more people to the country to explore the spectacular beaches, dramatic temples, and the meet the beautiful Thai people.

For more information on this new initiative visit http://www.apecdoc.org/post/13/4664

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fee's Fee's and More Fee's!

Enjoy travelling? Well if you do, you could be in for another big hit to the budget with the ever-increasing prices of plane tickets. Surcharges were added to checked bags, fuel surcharges last year, however many American airline companies are adding yet another surcharge. This new surcharge that has been introduced tacks another $10 on flights during the most popular travel days around Thanksgiving, New Year’s as well as Easter and spring breaks.

Beyond surcharges, there are other fees that the traveler will be faced with for checking luggage, or pre-booking plane seat before 24 hours before the flight. Before these were just part of the convenient services that were provided. Today however, they are classified as luxuries.

For travelers, all the fees make it tougher to figure out the real cost of a flight because of all the fees that are exceed the base fare.

Why is this happening? Airlines are able to increase revenue without having to increase fare prices. This tactic keeps the airline companies out of the hot seat because consumers do not see or hear about the dramatic increase in fare. Airlines make money, without any consumer backlash.

These hidden fees, although stated on the websites, often get overlooked by the buyer until it is too late. To avoid large fees and surcharges it is important to read the fine print before buying a ticket on the Internet. If the base fare price is too good to be true, then likely it is too good to be true! Your travel budget could be ruined with all these new fees and surcharges without your knowledge.

For more information on this topic go to E Turbo News: http://www.eturbonews.com/11918/and-yet-another-airline-surcharge-holiday-travel-fee

Check out this funny commerical for Southwest Airlines because next time you travel this could be what you have to look forward to!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Environmentally Sound Building in Fukuoka City, Japan

Travel to Japan and check out the last greenspace in Fukuoka City.  It houses offices, retail space, a 2000 seat theatre, a museum and of course a park on the outside.  These designs are becoming more and more popular as people and businesses are trying to reduce their ecological footprints.  This building and its green roof and walls cascade into public parkland. 

If you can't afford to travel there, do so via the Internet.  This link will give you all the details about this building and many more pictures of this interesting twist on being environmentally friendly while still constructing a building to accomodate the demand for offices in the city.

Fukuoka City's Last Greenspace

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Amazon's PayPhrase is Simplifying E-commerce

Buying items on the Internet seems easy, aka E-commerce. You are in the comforts of your home, not  having to deal with the crazy Christmas crowds, however its just not that simple.  You can’t seem to remember your password that you have created for your Sears account.
This is a problem that I run into all the time.  I have created many different passwords and user names for a host of different sites, that I often forget which halts my online spending. 
To curb this problem Amazon has created a new service, PayPhrase which is in direct competition with PayPal.  With PayPhrase you don’t need to keep track of user names and passwords, to shop at many sites on the Internet, all you need  to remember is one phrase and one PIN to pay.  With this new service, E-commerce will be simple and fast- just the way we like it! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Credit Cards containing RFID chips not so secure

Ok, so I mentioned this RFID technology in my last blog, and I found this interesting YouTube video about credit cards that contain this technology.  Most large credit card companies, especially American Express, Visa and Discovery have begun to put these chips in some of their credit cards.  This is supposed to speed up the payment process, because you only need to wave the credit card in front of a reader at the checkout, no signature needed. 
Sounds good eh?  Well here’s the hitch.  There are scanners that can be bought off Ebay online for $8 US which can read the chip and gain all pertinent information that is attached to the card while it is in your pocket.  Your credit card information is stolen without the actual card missing.
So next time you get a call from a credit card company trying to sell you on the newest and latest credit card, you should proceed with caution because these issues haven’t been dealt with.  Most credit card companies are continuing to distribute these types of credit cards, without responding to the problems.

Credit cards have replaced paper money because of the risks of carrying it when travelling; however actual money seems more attractive than these RFID chipped credit cards. Maybe you should only use it when you eTravel to keep your banking information safe.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pet Door with RFID Technology

If you are a pet owner who needs a pet door to ensure there are no accidents while you are at work, or away for a couple days travelling, but afraid to install one because of security issues, Plexidor Pet Door is for you.
 This pet door is a “smart door” that only opens for your animal because the collar around the neck contains an RFID chip.  The door reads the key code as your dog approaches it, and allows access.  Security issues are in the past with this innovative technology. Your house is safe while you are away allowing your pet to roam freely inside or out.
Businesses are not the only people who have benefitted from RFID technology,  pet owners do too with this inventive product. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy 40th Internet!

On October 29, 1969 the very first message was sent between computers via the ARPANET (which is a computer network that is now the Internet). This message traveled 643 kilometers between the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Stanford Research Institute.

The electronic message that was supposed to be sent was the word “login” however only the first two letters “lo” were sent before the system crashed. Although the contents of the messages were not sent sucessfully, the actual exchange of information was a great feat that no one could have suspected would evolve so far. Today billions of users login to the Internet daily.

Over the years the system has been improved and extremely popular. Billions of users login to the Internet daily. It has become a part of everyday life, and is no longer seen as a luxury, but a necessity. Earlier this month, Finland declared that access to the Internet is a legal right for all citizens.

I wonder what great revelations the Internet has in store in the future or what the Internet and those technologies that work in conjunction with the Internet will look like in the coming years? I guess only time will tell!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Laptops in the Cockpit!

Flying on a plane can be very scary for a portion of society and to others it can be invigorating. For those who don’t think travelling is scary you might not have heard about the news story which recently broke about two pilots using their laptops while flying a plane.

Two Northwest pilots are suspended pending an investigation into an incident where they flew 150 miles past their destination because they were focused on their laptops. They lost track of time for more than one hour until a flight attendant startled them on the intercom. Instead of landing in Minneapolis, they were over Wisconsin when they realized they had flown too far.

How can this happen? Pilots are bored, so they turn their attention to something to pass the time during the cruise phase of flight. Jack Casey a former pilot for 34 years said “it is common, but unusual for both pilots to use their laptops at the same time.”

This seems quite ridiculous that pilots are authorized to use such devices during flight. Although some airlines do not allow personal devices to be used at all, others like Northwest don’t have rules against their use.

Rules and regulations won’t stop their use because they use them to escape the boredom and monotony associated with the cruise portion of the flight. Until airlines devise a way to monitor and regulate their use in the cockpit, pilots will continue to use them.

Luckily this time the pilots were able to turn around and land at their destination, next time the outcome could be deadly.

Personally, I know that next time I fly I will wonder what exactly are those two pilots doing in the cockpit after all announcements and formalities are through?

For more information on this news story click here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Easing Travelling Pains

Easing travelling pain is always a good thing. Even experienced vacationers maybe unaware of these great sites that will do just that. If you don’t know airport floor plans, unable to locate the best seats on the plane when booking, or unable to get from point A to B these websites are great resources and will help you avoid the following situations.

Situation: If your plane lands late and you only have 10 minutes to get from one end of the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia airport to the other to make your connecting flight to Phuket, Thailand would you:

a)know where you are going

b) wander around aimlessly unable to process the contradicting directions

If you answered B you need to check out the World Airport Guide (www.worldairportguide.com). This helpful site contains all the information that you need to know about the airport, including restaurants, parking, and shopping.

Situation: Matt is on a red-eye flight from Canadian to China. This long trip is not his favourite but he wanted to see the Great Wall so he decided to go. Unfortunately, when he booked his seats the night before, he did not do a good job because when he reached his seat he noticed that he was right next to the washrooms. Worst of all, it seemed that everyone on the plane was suffering from the stomach flu!

If you can relate to Matt’s situation Seat Guru (www.seatguru.com) is the site for you. This site will guide you to the worst and best seats on the aircraft, the movies and amenities available onboard and much more.

Situation: You are on a one week vacation and you are lost with the entire family in the middle of Orlando, Florida.

Instead of suffering from a throbbing migraine, you pull out the directions that you printed off Mapquest map (www.Mapquest.com). This website is a great tool to keep you on track while you are in travelling in uncharted territory.

All this information may be too much, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Easing travelling pain can never be a bad thing!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Electronic Field Trips

With the downturn the in economy travel is one of the first luxuries that have been taken off the must do list. Some families aren’t travelling at all while some are looking for cheaper alternatives than taking the family to Disney World. Families aren’t the only one’s looking for a discount, school boards are struggling and as a result they are employing cutbacks. Field trips are one of the first luxuries that are being cut out.

Directly affected by these budget constraints are the US National Parks. To curb this problem the Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced that on November 3rd, 2009 millions of students across the country will visit the park, and they will do so without actually leaving the classroom. This interactive program will be delivered to students via satellite feed. The goal of this initiative was to give students a chance to see the “wonders of this great national treasure without the expense of travel.”

This new Electronic Field Trip Program is an interesting way to ensure children are learning and expanding their knowledge base without the cumbersome expenses or legalities of a field trip. Since this program is a first of its kind, it seems that it could give rise to many other similar programs as a way to fund the travel gap in times such as these. Tough times have led Great Smoky Mountains National Park to think outside the box, and it might give way to many more of its kind.

For more information on this new initiative go to http://www.smokymountainseft.org/

For some great footage of this spectacular park check out this video.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Online Travel Information vs.Travel Guides

The Internet has really changed the way people travel. A traveller can physically and mentally prepare themselves for the challenges that lie ahead by dedicating a little time to researching on the Internet. Even budget travellers or those with limited space in their backpacks can be well informed and prepared without the expense of a Lonely Planet, or other travel guides that are so cumbersome.

Books are not the only option you can utitlize a plethora of online travel sites to gain knowledge. One useful site is a travel forum site called Thorn Tree that has been set up by Lonely Planet to link travellers around the world. You can ask questions and get advice to ease the stress of exploring unknown lands. Dedicate a couple hours to the Internet, and print off a couple pages on each country that will be visited and voila, you have enough information to begin your trek. Oh, how the times have changed! That extra space you saved in the backpack can be used to house that Buddha that you so badly needed, or accommodate your ever expanding diary.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Product for Travellers

While I was supposed to be doing my homework, I came across this ingenius travel product. Most places I visit are developing countries, where the water is not safe to drink. I end up buying hundreds of bottles of water to satisfy my thirst. Many of you wouldn't think this to be a problem because water bottles are recyclable. Yes this is true, but most countries have a hard time giving money to their starving and poverty striken citizens, never mind setting up a recycling program. This product is a water bottle that has a water filtration system embedded in the bottle. This inexpensive product will help to make all of us travellers a bit more environmentally active. Here is the link to the Personal Portable Water Filter Bottle

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The power of change

Only having access to dial-up as a child, I hated using the internet for anything beyond school work. At first whenever I thought of the Internet I placed it in the same category as peas. I hated them and was in the worst mood when my dinner involved them. Even my favorite foods, such as meatloaf, were ruined when my mom put peas in them. Back five years ago, the Internet was just as bad as peas. Now, the Internet isn’t so bad, as long as you have access to high speed. The availability of high speed Internet has changed my opinion, and habits. I now enjoy using the Internet to research, and even surf the web for fun.

This change got me to thinking about my last trip abroad and how it had been changed by the Internet. Since, I recently got over my hated relationship with the Internet I actually began to use it to research the countries that I wanted to visit. I was able to do more than merely book a hotel for my first nights stay. I was able to find out more information about their culture, language, foods, environment, geography, politics, business and much more. Before, I would buy a Lonely Planet Book to give me all this information, however, now with the plethora of information on the web I didn’t have to purchase the very heavy “travelers bible.” Through the Internet I am able to gain a little insight into places that I have never been.

Changes due to the internet have led us as a society, to be more aware, active and responsible for things out of our immediate sphere of influence. Gordon Brown in his presentation for TED spoke of this change. This idea that the Web has linked people around the world was his message. He talked about the fact that we now have the “capacity to feel the pain of others… and have the capacity to communicate instantaneously.” He suggests the internet has opened doors for us to create this global society where everyone should feel responsible and help others who are in need. We have the information and now we need to organize and do something with it. Check out his insightful presentation from TED.com.

My Great Opportunity

So this blog thing is something that I am not accustomed to. Until my e-business class asked us to create and manage a blog I was not aware that many people talk about their lives, thoughts, or ideas for all to see. While I found it weird at first, I now think it will be a great opportunity for me to give others some insight and connect us to the large world that we live in. I will try to keep people connected to the outside world while they are unable to travel themselves due to circumstances, school, work, fear or the plethora of other reasons. Hopefully I will succeed.