Next Tech - The Future is Now

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By Carl Weiss
If you think the Internet has gotten crowded now, incorporating  everything from webcams to remote controls, wait until you get a look at some of the next generation technologies.  Soon your reading glasses and wristwatch will be Internet-ready.   There could even be a robot or talking appliances in your future.  So if you think it's already a Wild, Wild Web, you haven't seen anything yet.

Dick Tracy, Watch Out

Since the advent of the Smartphone, fewer people no longer wear a watch. As a matter of fact, they also use less dedicated GPS, MP3 players and cameras as well.  But if Apple, a number of other companies and even a few startups have their way, wearing a computer on your wrist could soon be consider the norm. 

iWatch (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)
The hoop laded iWatch isn’t even on the shelf yet but it has already stirred up a lot of interest.  As of the date of this article, there isn’t even a definitive picture of what the iWatch will look like, let alone the kind of capabilities the device will incorporate, but that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from going crazy. What it has done is stir up keen interest by competitors and emulators. There is so much interest that there are already competing products available. Products such as Kickstarter funded Pebble, will be making its way to store shelves soon.  While the Pebble looks more or less like a conventional wristwatch at first glance, it is more closely associated with a Smartphone than it is with a Timex. This is because it is fully programmable via apps, similar to that of a Smartphone.

The company says on its Web site that "apps bring Pebble to life." The device is "infinitely customizable." This means you can download everything different watch faces to Internet-connected apps that will allow you to use your smartwatch as a fitness tracker, accessing GPS on your Smartphone to display speed, distance, and pace data. You can also use the music control app to play, pause, or skip tracks on your phone.  This new smartwatch has a 1.26-inch screen that uses e-paper technology so that it can be viewed even in bright sunlight. The device is water resistant, and it's battery should last a week on one charge.

Wrist This

It turns out that the wrist isn’t only for watches, if Thalmic Labs has anything to say about it.  Their Myo (pronounced "me-oh") armband is designed to control a computer or other device using hand and arm gestures. While the device is not yet on store shelves, preorders are being taken for $149, with the expected shiping date later this year.

  “Myo fits around a user's arm just below the elbow. Users have access to a range of controls, allowing them to navigate pages by swiping in the air with two fingers, stop tracks in iTunes by clenching a fist, control first person shooters by mimicking a gun, and more.

Myo's range of gesture controls stems from the device's monitoring of the electrical signals passing through the arm muscles of its wearer. Different arm and hand motions require different muscle movements, and the device's sensors pick up on the different electrical activity, translating it into digital commands.”

Google Takes the Digital High Ground

Of course, as anyone knows, when it comes to shooting for the digital high ground, you have to aim high.  This is exactly what Google has done with its latest innovation, called Google Glass.  While not exactly available on the shelf, Google has made the device available to app creators along with limited numbers of the general public who are willing to shell out $1,500 and travel to New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles to pick up their prize.  That’s right, I said prize, because in order to qualify, you need to enter a contest in which you come up with a creative way in that to use Glass. If you are one of the lucky “winners” you will be one of the first to experience the all-encompassing sensation of sporting a wearable computer.

"Joshua Topolsky at The Verge tried out Glass at Google’s New York City headquarters and reported that acclimation to the device was very easy. “The privacy issue is going to be a big hurdle for Google with Glass,” Topolsky says. “Almost as big as the hurdle it has to jump over to convince normal people to wear something as alien and unfashionable as Glass seems right now.”

The Sky is Not the Limit

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While wearing a computer on your head might seem a bit self-conscious to some, when it comes to the next wave in digital technology, the sky’s the limit … quite literally.  What I’m alluding to are personal aerial drones.  While you may have read about or seen the Pentagon’s predator UAV, think smaller when you think PAD.  Literally dozens of companies have created remote controlled miniature aircraft replete with cameras.  Able to hover, these aren’t the toy helicopters you played with as kids.  These are highly sophisticated aerial surveillance platforms that retail anywhere from $300.00 to tens of thousands of dollars.  While units at the high end of the price range are mostly being used by law enforcement agencies, those at the lower echelon are eminently available to the public.
“For example, the Parrot AR Drone, has a range of about 160 feet, is controlled by a smart phone app, and can be bought at Toys R Us for $300. It's aimed at teens and adults that want an enhanced video game experience. Parrot said sales have already exceeded 500,000.  3D Robotics makes a $500 drone that flies itself via GPS, scouring fields for information on crop conditions including water levels, pest infestations and other signs of trouble. Currently, Anderson said farmers pay $1,000 an hour for aircraft flyovers, a cost that's prohibitively expensive.”

While some would consider these devices as toys, the ACLU is already looking into the ways in which this kind of technology has the potential to infringe on personal privacy.

"The technology of surveillance is becoming retail, and that will pose real challenges to our traditional notion of privacy," said Catherine Crump, an ACLU attorney. With ever-shrinking size and ever better camera technology, the group is concerned that people acting under the assumption that they're in the privacy of their own homes or yards could be wrong. Crump said. "It's not clear that there's anything restricting someone from flying a drone over the property of others."

Sweeping with the Enemy

Scoobas's first cleaning
Scoobas's first cleaning (Photo credit: sbisson)
With everything from the government to search engine data collection  slowly but surely eroding our privacy, you wouldn’t think that Americans by and large would be keen to embrace even more technology into their lives.  And you would be wrong.  At least you are when it comes to eliminating mindless routine and thankless chores from their lives.  While the personal robot isn’t exactly going to emulate Rosie the robot from the Jetsons (not unless you have a spare $400,000 lying around), the market for these devices is clearly a growth industry.

Yes, Virginia, there are currently robots that will do everything from cleaning your floors (Roomba) to mowing the lawn (Robomow).  They can also clean the gutter (Looj), the pool (Verro), and even wet mop your tile (Scooba). The Cadillac of domestic robots is without a doubt Willow Garage’s PR2, a unit that is capable of shooting pool, baking cookies and even fetching and opening a beer from the fridge. (You can’t make this stuff up.  See video at the link below.)

Like any technology, robotics can be a double-edged sword.  What could be a time-saving device could eventually cost people jobs. Check out the description of Sears RoboMower:

Work Smarter, Not Harder This Summer With The Right Lawnmower

"Whether you wish to spend your free time basking in the warm summer sun, working on important summer projects or heading out to the beach, take a tedious task off your plate and spend more time the way you want to. Add the RoboMower robotic lawn mower to your tool collection and make an effective friend that'll keep your yard in order week after week so you can get out and enjoy life in the sun.

Moving at .5 meters per second, this RoboMower makes short work of standard yards while giving you a neat uniform cut and depositing mulch, giving you a thicker, healthier lawn without all the work."

Tell me this technology isn’t going to wreak havoc with the wallets of every enterprising teenager in town.  Of course, then there is the flip side of the coin. Most teenagers would be even happier if they never had to mow a lawn again.  In essence this is the meme of technology; that some will benefit, others will be supplanted and inevitably when it comes to technology, we will all need to adjust our personal comfort zones.  

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “Tech or Technology” in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on

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How to Leverage LinkedIn for Business & Career Enhancement

Listen to internet radio with workingthewebtowin on Blog Talk Radio

By Hector Cisneros

LinkedIn for Good
LinkedIn for Good (Photo credit: Mexicanwave)
Is your company a B2B sales entity who is trying to use social media, but you’re not sure if what you’re doing is working? Is your social media strategy lost or nonexistent? Are you an executive who wants to climb the corporate ladder or an old school professional who wants to get up to speed using social networking but you can’t seem to find a good place to start.

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you’re going to want to read this article on leveraging LinkedIn. This article will explore more than a dozen features of LinkedIn, the premier social networking platform for b2b networking. We will be covering strategies and techniques needed to maximize your positive exposure. We will discuss the most important tools to use to make sure your profile, (business or professional) achieve maximum search engine exposure. Last but not least, we will provide guidelines for you to build  a cohesive strategy so that you get the most bang for your efforts. Now, let's get started.

What's in a name? Reputation Management in the Digital Age

Online Reputation Management
Online Reputation Management (Photo credit: SalFalko)
By Hector Cisneros

Have you ever wondered what people are saying about you? Wish you could be a fly on the wall so that you would know exactly where you stand? If you’re a business, how do you know if your competitors or worse, your customers are posting negative rumors about your company, brand or product? How do you know what consumers are saying about you, your employees and your company in general?

In this article, I will cover many of the digital reputation issues that executives and business have to contend with today. I will provide a list of the types of problems out there, how to monitor your reputation and provide more than a dozen ways you can help improve your reputation.

Here's Where to Start

edna-1217490186542514-8 (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)
First, what are the type of problems a business or executive has to contend with? A business has to protect its company name, its brand, its products reputation and make sure that the reputation of its owners; high profile employees aren’t soiled. 

The most common type of issues for businesses are bad reviews! This can be for the company itself, for poor product performance, poor service, no service or poor employee behavior. 

Start with Your Corporate Culture; it's the Ultimate FIX

The best way to make sure you don’t have these kinds of problems is to create a corporate culture of excellence where all your people are focused on fixing problems and not affixing blame. Make sure that you never ever over promise and under deliver. Last but not least, if someone of something fails to perform, just make it right! If an employee or executive fail egregiously you may have to terminate them.

Other Issues to Watch Out For

Courtesy of Pixabay
Along with bad reviews, you can also have issues like confused or mistaken identity, poor online presence relating to an outdated look and feel, poor grammar, or poor functionality. On top of this your best material, webpage’s, blog content, social profiles and other items may just be buried in the online sea of data. 

Good search engine optimization can fix many of these issues and good online marketing can ensure that your positive content is coming to the forefront.

Your Fans, Fakers and Real Haters

It’s common for people who are fans of movies, books and even products to create social media sites and even website to promote their favorite products. However, you must maintain control of your reputation as they may not be doing your company justice and they could accidentally or even on purpose soil your reputation.

It’s also common to have “fake” or spoof accounts created in your name, your products name, brand name or even company name. I often times see in Twitter, accounts that read “TheReal_____”. You can fill in the blank with just about any famous person’s name, for example TheRealNimoy. Beware of these and monitor them for liable content. In many cases, you can get them shut down if they step out of line.

Hater websites are a whole other issue. If you have anger someone so badly that they have gone through the trouble to build, publish and host a website debasing you, you have a big problem. I would be willing to bet that you have a systemic business problem that needs to be fixed. Either way, even if you’re innocent, your only recourse is either to take legal action, (which may not get the hater website pulled) or reconcile with the person you angered.

Your Worst Case Scenario
The WorstCase Scenario Book
The WorstCase Scenario Book (Photo credit: justrandompictures)
The last and worse of all possible reputation issues is Identity Theft. Here you have to be very proactive in protecting yourself. Make sure you shred all documents that have sensitive information like social security numbers, bank/financial accounts, credit card accounts or anything that is tied directly to your name. I suggest you maintain personal protection account like Life Lock for yourself, your executives and high profile employees. These services cannot absolutely guarantee that your identity is safe but they can provide lots of financial resources to help make you whole again.

Received my copy of Online Reputation Manageme...
Received my copy of Online Reputation Management for Dummies by @Lori_randall (Photo credit: ShashiBellamkonda)
Along these same lines, make sure your computers, tablets, and smart phones are adequately protected with top-notch antivirus/malware software like Trend Micro, Advanced System Care or other name brand product. Make sure you have a company privacy and ID policy in place and make sure your employees’ adhere to it.

A Baker's Dozen You Can Use to Protect your Reputation

What can you do to protect yourself, and your company’s name, brand products and employees from a soiled reputation. Here is a baker’s dozen of ways to keep your reputation shiny and clean with a positive air for all to see.

  1. Create a corporate culture that is customer focused. Promote honesty and integrity. Fix problems instead of placing blame. Never, ever over promise or under deliver.
  2. Proactively be your own advocate. Monitor your reputation by regularly engaging in reputation searches. 
  3. Purchase Life Lock or other ID protection service for yourself, your executives and your high profile employees.
  4. Make sure your contact information you list is correct, consistent and readily available. Too many companies today try and hide behind an “email wall”! Make sure you have a real address, phone number and even a map on how to find you.
  5. Help others with their good reputation. This will make it more likely that they will help you with yours.
  6. Create a profile for every product or service you have and make sure that you provide a consistent brand look and feel.
  7. Proactively make sure you have a full spread of social net profiles in place that correctly list your contact information and tell your story accurately. The top social nets to be include are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn (at a minimum).
  8. Actively recruit and reward those who provide you with testimonials, positive reviews and positive digital word of mouth via social media.
  9. If you, your company or your product ever fails to perform as promised make sure you make the issue go away by making it right as quickly as possible.
  10. Make sure that all web properties have proper search engine optimization for keyword, company name and brand.
  11.  Make sure you have created adequate back links between your website/s, social nets, blogs and any other web profiles that exist.
  12.  Create and promote positive digital and conventional PR for your business, your brand and even your executives' names.
  13.  Listen to what people are saying about your company. Don’t be afraid to ask people, vendors and consumer to be candid with you. Send out anonymous service at least once a year.

Float satirizing FEMA after the Hurricane Katr...
Float satirizing FEMA after the Hurricane Katrina disasters. Spanish Town parade, Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One last thought. If you can't fix your bad reputation because there is just too much bad press, create a new company name, new website, social profile and brand. Basically, you will have to start from scratch to create a new reputation. This time however, follow my suggestions.

In this article I outlined the most common reputation management problems business face today. They cover the gamut from poor reviews to ID theft. I have included many steps you can take to discover and isolate these issues. More importantly, I have provided more than a dozen ways that will help you manage your digital reputations for both your top people and your company’s primary assets.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 

That's my opinion, I look forward to reading your's.

Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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