Net Neutrality…One Small Step for Mankind

On February 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission voted to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, a milestone in regulating high-speed Internet service into American homes.

What is Net Neutrality? Net neutrality, or Open Internet, is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should give consumers access to all legal content and applications on an equal basis, without favoring some sources or blocking others. It prohibits ISPs from charging content2014-01-23-netneutrality providers for speedier delivery of their content on “fast lanes” and deliberately slowing the content from content providers that may compete with ISPs.

For examples, let’s say you are stuck with the decision to watch past episodes of The Walking Dead on Hulu or House of Cards on Netflix so you decide to switch back and forth between the two. You notice that the connection speed for House of Cards is faster so you decide to stick with that show. This is because ISPs are able to charge each of companies if they wish to have a faster connection. This can deter consumers from certain brands, as well as drive traffic to other sites.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 3.45.37 PMA monopoly of sorts exists across most States for Internet services. Three-quarters of households have the choice of only one broadband provider while only a quarter have at least two to choose from. The figure to the left shows the share of homes with broadband providers available at each speed.

The recent ruling is one step into making net neutrality a reality. Net Neutrality is critical for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs that rely on the Internet to launch their businesses, advertise their products, and distribute products to customers. Net Neutrality allows small businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive on the Internet by reaching new customers and showcasing their products and services.

Since ISPs serve as gatekeepers to the Internet, and without net neutrality, they will continue to capitalize on the opportunity to profit from this control. No company should be able to interfere with the open market, especially as a monopoly exists in most states for internet services, as the above data shows. As a consumer, I should have the ultimate decision on what I decide to watch. I should not be manipulated into watching or visiting one site because that site paid the ISP for a faster connection versus their competitor.

What do you think net neutrality will mean for consumers?

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I like Big Data and I Cannot Lie

In the world of integrated marketing the goal is to always exceed your customer’s expectations. One area that has evolved is the discussion of Big Data. Specifically, what does it mean for us regular, every day folks?

Big data boom

We live in a world where the name of the game seems to be consumption. Our consumption of resources and information is astounding. From a consumer standpoint, the ability to capture, translate and leverage increasing amounts of consumer data—from consumer and shopper data, customer or retailer data, social media, and the real-time visibility of information—is critical to the success of any consumer-facing business. Data has become uber important.

But, how will big data impact consumers? Well some of the perks are already at the reach of your fingertip and you might not even know it. Sites like Amazon, Pandora and Netflix use sophisticated algorithms to understand and recommend things we may like to buy, listen to, or watch. Have you noticed that if you view an item on one retail site, it seems to follow your Internet movement? That is no coincidence. Devices like the Nike FuelBand or the Sony SmartBand lets people see how their diets, exercise routine and sleep patterns compare with others. The information that both bands collect help people create workout plans to help them meet their fitness goals. The list of apps and resources that uses big data is endless.

Companies that stand apart during the push for Big Data will be determined if they have invested in the necessary tools to help develop a deeper level of understanding of customers and products. Ultimately, who be will be able to interpret the date to increase sales and drive a competitive advantage. Additionally, companies that are able to analyze data the fastest will be ahead in the race to the finish line. These companies will be the ones that are able to speak and interact with their customers on various levels, based upon the amount of data they have on each of their customers. Using data to anticipate consumer trends and behavior will be vital. It goes back to my previous discussion on the rise of micro communications and creating a more personal relationship with consumers.

What does Big data mean to you?