Digital Trends for Businesses in 2014

Digital trends are emerging in 2014 for your company! CEO of Web.com David Brown advises that small businesses can thrive if they understand and implement business opportunities in the following areas:

Going digital: Create an online presence.

Local search: Online search queries for local businesses is rising.

Partner up for digital needs: Look for a business partner that understands your digital needs. This will help save time and resources.

Mobile device usage will increase:  Nearly 30 percent of web traffic is generated from mobile devices. Consumers demand mobile optimized websites.

E-commerce: Typically thought of for physical goods, there will be a rise in E-commerce for service providers such as tax professionals, etc.

Paid marketing and social networking

Social media, mobile computing, analytics, the cloud, and enterprise IT is transforming the way businesses operate. Dreamforce 2013 focused on the “customer company revolution” with cloud computing, mobile applications, devices, and engagement with customers.

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian, John Hinshaw Executive Vice President, Technology & Operations of Hewlett-Packard and DocuSign Chairman and CEO, Keith Krach will be speaking at Momentum 2014 with the focus of keeping business digital.  Momentum describes its event as, “industry luminaries and forward thinkers from around the globe for a fast-paced and entertaining exchange of ideas about how to expand and integrate digital processes.” Has your business started the transition to digital?

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Katie Couric’s Documentary Debut

Yahoo’s Global Anchor, Katie Couric makes her documentary debut at Sundance Film Festival exploring the issue of childhood obesity. Couric produced and narrates the film “Fed Up” that premiered earlier this week.

Couric teamed up with “An Inconvenient Truth” producer Laurie David to make the film. Directed by Stephanie Soechtig, “Fed Up” uses historical footage and news events to show the causes and costs of obesity in the United States.

“This generation of children is the first to live a shorter life span than their parents, and it has ramifications in every aspect of our lives,” Couric said. “Talk about skyrocketing health care costs: the obesity epidemic is behind these health care costs. And national security: these people are too heavy to join the military … It affects so many aspects of our country’s health that we really need to start paying attention.”

Couric hopes the film will encourage others to take action, so the food industry will become accountable for its harmful products.

Social issues is a topic she says she’ll continue to report on at Yahoo.

“I wanted to be part of the transition that we see happening all around us in media,” she said. “People … may want the immediacy of having things on their mobile phone or on their computers. But I also think they want quality content as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to provide some of that.”

Instagram Becomes the Fastest-Growing Social Site

Recent PEW research shows Pinterest has passed Twitter in popularity, but a new report suggests Facebook-owned Instagram is growing the fastest of all social media sites worldwide.  GlobalWebIndex cites that Instagram has grown by 23 percent in the last six months. In terms of active usage and account ownership, Instagram ranks as 6th after Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The survey is based on responses from some 170,000 users across 32 countries. Although Facebook is currently the world’s most popular network, U.S. President Obama recently acknowledged that Facebook isn’t as popular with teenagers and young adults anymore.

When it comes to social networking websites, 66 percent of users say they’re using mobile devices to access them.

With Instagram’s popularity, the BBC is experimenting with Instagram video delivering headlines in 15-second videos.

Luxury Home Sales Rise in New York, London & Miami

London real estate

London property for sale by LondonEstate.com

In 2013, sales for luxury properties remained relatively flat, but real estate sales rose sharply in London, Miami and New York according to a report by Christie’s International Real Estate.

Luxury units in London rose 937 to 5,693 in 2013, while the units sold in New York rose 709 to 4,721 in 2013.  Asking prices are at all time highs as Manhattan’s real estate market continues to heat up as buyers compete with global buyers around the world. National home values are expecting a slowdown of appreciation.

Azure condos developed by the Mattone Group

New York’s Azure condos developed by the Mattone Group

“Many of our buyers are global buyers with homes in other markets across the world,” said Ron Shuffield, CEO of EWM Realty International, the Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate in Miami.

International buyers made up 35 percent of sales in Miami and 40 percent of sales in London. In New York, buyers from foreign markets make up about 30 percent of sales. Luxurydaily.com cites the rise in sales indicates a strong desire for buyers to preserve assets.

According to Christie’s report, luxury buyers have become more picky, expecting homes to come with amenities such as an on-site fitness center, concierge, and housekeeping. The Azure luxury residential building reached over 80-percent sales as its layouts and amenities have attracted buyers. Developed by Carl Mattone‘s real estate and development firm, they cite that combining units and custom layouts are being well received by the market.

The report cites forty-three percent of younger luxury consumers are considering  buying a home in 2014.

Over 300 Western Australian sharks are now on twitter

The Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) is using their Twitter feed to put a new, internet-savvy spin on wildlife conservation. The project uses radio transmitter tags on sharks combined with proximity monitors to report on shark movement near human-populated beaches.

A tagged shark within a certain radius of the monitor triggers a tweet informing beachgoers, helping to improve safety for both man and marine beast.

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Image courtesy of Allan Lee via flickrcc

Currently, 338 sharks have been tagged with radio transmitters including a significant number of the more dangerous tiger shark and great white shark species. The tweet states the breed and estimated size of the shark along with an approximate location. The Twitter also broadcasts shark alerts reported from other sources, such as helicopter sightings.

The system is reported to be much faster than traditional radio warnings, and allows lifeguards to shut down beaches in a timely manner with a minimum of panic and disruption.

As a bonus, the Twitter occasionally posts raw images of sharks and other marine wildlife in their natural environment off the Western Australian coast.