Alltopstartups.com » TRENDS http://alltopstartups.com The top source for startup resources, business resources and startup business ideas for young entrepreneurs Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:21:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The New Face of Online Classifiedshttp://alltopstartups.com/2014/07/30/the-new-face-of-online-classifieds/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/07/30/the-new-face-of-online-classifieds/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:50:28 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=28018 Online classifieds are growing fast in recent times. Most companies are now comfortable advertising to the larger online consumers. It’s easier to reach young consumers who spend most of their time online. And most importantly it’s a cheaper way to reach millions of people compared to traditional advertising. Online classifieds will still be the preferred way to advertise goods and services to a greater audience for a very long time.

The market will get bigger as the number of internet users increase. But only online classifieds that change with time and serve consumers with better information in an intuitive way will ultimately win. Niche classifieds that focus on single sections of the bigger pie including automobile, real estate, job opportunities etc have a good chance to get even bigger. The growth has made it even more significant to create online classifieds for specific markets or countries.

With the introduction of hundreds if not thousands of online classifieds after the success of Craigslist, the only way to win big is to focus on usability. Consumers don’t have time to waste on sites that make it difficult to find products or services. Filtering is of immense importance to every consumer. If you don’t get it right, users will easily move to the competitor next door.

How big is the market?

Classifieds is considered one of the oldest form of advertising but new and online technologies are changing how goods and services are traded or exchanged. The internet has made it even easier to list products online to reach customers from different parts of the world. Every country rely on some form of classifieds for information on products currently on the market. In the US  alone, the online classifieds market has experienced significant growth over the years. The US Classifieds marketplace was estimated to grow to about $25 billion by 2010. Since the research, Online classified market has experienced further growth and it will get even bigger in the future.

Other regions and countries are yet to fully benefit from online classifieds. The growth in emerging countries are not as strong as developed countries, but there is still opportunities for growth. Online advertising in Africa and The Middle East is expected to reach $2.8bn by 2016.  Asia’s online advertising is expected to hit US$53.2 billion by 2016. Free classifieds in Ghana are taking shape despite Google’s decision to shut down its Google Trader free classified platform last year.

Focus on usability 

To make the most of online classifieds in any region, companies would have to improve customer experience right from the beginning. Product listings, filtering, search options and general presentation of ads and services would have to appeal to the user to get their attention and to ensure your users return time and time again. Unless you are Craigslist (which hasn’t invested in aesthetics in a very long time), you should focus on giving your users the best user experience to attract and retain new customers.

Invest in better search options

The growth of mobile devices has made it even more crucial to invest in a cleaner layout. Your business should be improving search to win mobile users. It’s a great challenges to present products and services on a small mobile device but customers expect the very best experience to stay with your business. Make your search better and get your filters right and users are more likely to come back for more. The more you grow as an online classified site, the better your user experience should be for your users.

Despite the increase in online classified sites, you can only win big if you provide what users expect when they visit your site. Product or service presentation is key to success.

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How the Cloud has Revolutionized Video Conferencing for Businesshttp://alltopstartups.com/2014/07/25/cloud-video-conferencing-for-business/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/07/25/cloud-video-conferencing-for-business/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:41:17 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=27990 Video conferencing is one of the best communication tools developed to date; it could be argued that the only form of communication that is better than video conferencing is talking to a person face-to-face. Video conferencing allows people to interact with one another no matter the distance between them; a person in Japan can easily talk face-to-face to someone in Canada easily through the virtual environment provided via video conferencing and the Internet.

The advantages to being able to communicate instantly over long distances has been known for quite some time; the telephone has been around for over a hundred years and is still used as the primary communication tool for just about everyone living in a technologically inclined society.

But a telephone only transmits voice, and sometimes not even very well, whereas video conferencing transmits a video of a person, allowing for more in-depth communication and understanding. Humans communicate through verbal and non-verbal means, and a great deal of understanding is lost through voice only communication. Humans need to see each other in order to have a more complete understanding of someone else’s message.

According to Mobile Office, non-verbal cues are an important aspect of business communication. Taking hints from people’s body language and facial expressions can allow the speaker to tailor their message to fit the mood of the listener. Additionally, employers can use facial tics and body language to catch employees being less than truthful.

In the Past

Even though video conferencing is a revolutionary form of communication, it wasn’t always as accessible as it is now. In the past, video conferencing at a business level required thousands of dollars of specialized equipment that could take up an entire room. The participants would need to be in a special conference room where they could be on camera while the other end did the same. Conferencing through personal computers has been available since the early 1990s, but high quality video and audio didn’t appear until 2005.

While video conferencing is beneficial in almost every aspect you could think of, it hasn’t always been practical. For quite some time, video conferencing was limited to large businesses as the cost of the equipment and the space needed to house the system made it a viable option for those businesses that had the resources. Its usefulness to consumers was also limited due to technology; the consumer needed a computer powerful enough to run the program and an Internet connection capable of dealing with the higher bandwidth usage of video and audio, and until the advent of high definition, the quality of the video could be quite horrendous.

In the past, a telephone call was arguably cheaper and easier to deal with than trying to use video conferencing. Yet video conferencing is more prevalent today than ever before, and that is partially due to the revolution in the mobile market. The invention of the smartphone and tablet revolutionized the way people communicate and interact with technology on a day-to-day basis.

With smartphones, people had computers powerful enough to easily handle high quality video and audio without any issue, alongside the ever increasing power provided through phone networks. Thanks to smartphones and tablets, video conferencing become far more viable and attractive to small businesses and private consumers.

The Cloud

The Cloud is one of the more recent developments of the Internet; it’s basically a network of servers that allow users to store data or utilize a service without an intermediary hardware. According to Mashable, each server that is connected to the cloud serves a different purpose, some are for data storage while others run services that users can access through subscription fees.

Services like SkyDrive and Dropbox are cloud based services, meaning they don’t require the user to actually have any sort of hardware in order to use them (besides a computer or phone to access the service). Thanks to the cloud, video conferencing services no longer require a huge, sophisticated setup confined to a single conference room.

Conferencing services like Blue Jeans Network allow people to use their smart phones or tablets to join in on multi-party conferences from anywhere as long as they have access to Internet service. The benefits this provides businesses are astronomical; not only does it save on time and travel, but it also allows collaboration and interdepartmental communication unlike anything before.

Two business colleagues no longer need to go to a specific room in order to video chat; they can simply download a lightweight client to their mobile device and instantly be part of a big business meeting or just a conversation between the two, according to Processor.

With services like those provided by Blue Jeans Network readily available to any and all mobile users, businesses can communicate within their own hierarchy and with other businesses in ways never imagined in the past.

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The MENA Region is a Hot Spot of E-commerce Developmenthttp://alltopstartups.com/2014/07/24/e-commerce-in-the-mena-region/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/07/24/e-commerce-in-the-mena-region/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:28:29 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=27952 In the UK, e-commerce is well established. The widespread availability of smartphones and tablets means that more and more consumers are using mobile technologies to shop, browse, review services and check the availability and price of products online, from anywhere.

The Global Retail E-Mpire study conducted by OC&C Strategy Consultants identified that the in 2013, the UK was “the world’s leading exporter of goods purchased online with a trade surplus of over $1 billion.”

Partner at OC&C, Anita Balchandani forecasts that “Over the next decade, online retail will become even more international…Consumers around the world use the internet as a global shop window. What used to be a local, national market is now a global one.

There are many regions of the world yet to capitalise on the rapidly growing e-commerce industry but one of those emerging markets with real promise is the MENA (Middle East and North Africa).

Econsultancy, a “leading source of independent advice and insight on digital marketing and ecommerce” report that so far, the growth of e-commerce in the MENA region has fluctuated. In 2011 online sales grew by 63%. In 2012 they grew by 144% but in 2013 only 50% growth was achieved.

As the international agency explains, at first glance these figures “may seem to suggest that growth has peaked, but other factors play a part.”

Regional conflicts and the seasonal impact of Ramadan could be contributing to the instability of localised e-commerce development, but the MENA does have some advantages.

A study of e-commerce in the MENA commissioned by Visa identified that the region has a younger population than Europe, the USA and Japan with a median age of 25 who are “more open to embrace internet…e-shopping.”

Across many states, the labour force is multi-lingual and in countries like Bahrain, the absence of sales tax or VAT has “resulted in a controlled and low rate of inflation over the years that many investors find attractive.”

The issue of conflict and cultural differences will always pose difficulties to the global trade of any country. The biggest challenges faced by MENA nations who want to drive e-commerce are actually a matter of logistics, most notably payment options and delivery channels.

Work is already underway to resolve these problems.

Mawwell, a crowdfunding portal recently launched a service in the MENA to provide creative entrepreneurs with business funding, while digital payment giant Paypal has created new partnerships with Pokeware and the Cairo Amman Bank to develop online transactions in the region.

Furthermore, the MENA is about to come under the global spotlight as Dubai prepares to host the World Expo in 2020.

This is the first time that the event has been held in an MENA country and promises to attract worldwide investors and consumers to the region.

A key part of the Expo’s impact lies in the substantial $8.1billion investment Dubai is injecting into its infrastructure which will have a long term effect on its capacity to drive e-commerce, particularly in the delivery of goods.

Because the success of any e-commerce venture is largely reliant on the numerous ways that reliable delivery services facilitates online trade, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has confirmed that “e-commerce and supply chain integration are key pillars of the world postal strategy” for the MENA.

The combined efforts of international and local investors is making the MENA region an e-commerce hot spot for development which looks set to expand significantly over the next few years.

To find out more about supporting your e-commerce business with comprehensive international delivery support channels, contact the experts at Asendia.

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Where Will the Telecom Industry Be a Year From Now?http://alltopstartups.com/2014/04/10/telecom-industry/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/04/10/telecom-industry/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:49:38 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=25752 The telecom industry has quickly evolved over the years (with much rapid growth in the last decade) from basic landlines to wireless communication and ultimately to the ever-growing Internet Telephony (VoIP).

Mobile communication has dominated the Telecom industry in the last decade. But it is clear that currently the market has saturated, communication revenue has stalled and revenues from other sectors such as content & connectivity revenue has not risen enough to compensate dipping communication revenue.

The telecom industry faces some challenging times and his begs the important question: Where will the Telecom Industry be a year from now?

As the telecom market continues to change, industry players are evolving too and the following technology trends are expected to appear in the near future and forever change the telecom landscape.

–Major LTE Deployment

While companies such as Apple and Amazon have developed devices that support LTE, LTE deployment and usage has not quite taken off in major regions around the world except for America, Korea and China.

A year from now, usage of 2G and 3G networks will continue to decrease as the telecom industry moves to adopt LTE. This is clear because the number of LTE capable devices are on the rise so are subscribers thus telecom operators will have to invest in LTE networks and technology in order to take advantage of the new emerging LTE market.

–Voice LTE Adoption

Voice over LTE is a critical service that will inevitably take shape has LTE continues to be adopted in major regions around the world.

Compared to current applications such as Skype, KNCTR and Viber, Voice over LTE is envisioned to offer a high quality comprehensive service with new, never before achieved experiences such as HD Video and voice calling and Web real- time communication. Simply put, there are endless possibilities with Voice over LTE.

–Increased VoIP adoption in Developing countries

Developing countries in Africa and Asia have yet to fully adopt VoIP and related services due to low Internet penetration.

Over the course of the year, industry players will start focusing on these areas with the mission of increasing Internet penetration, providing smartphones to these emerging markets and ultimately VoIP will be adopted at a higher rate.

A good example is Internet.org where Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other tech entrepreneurs have partnered to connect the next 1 Billion to the Internet.

–Rapid Decline of Traditional Voice Communication

With increase in Internet access and realization of high data speeds through cable modems and fiber technologies, users have shunned traditional voice communication over new innovative communication ways such as VoIP, social networking and Internet messaging.

Voice communication is expected to sharply decrease as users have found cheaper and easier ways to communicate thus telecom companies will be forced to look for new ways of generating revenues sooner or later.

Over the current year, the above-mentioned trends and many others being developed, will have a major impact and playing an important role in shaping the operating model of the telecom industry moving forward.

It is therefore in the best interest of Telecom industry to continuously develop and adopt new technologies to better serve the rapid changing telecommunication industry.

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The Benefits And Risks of Employees Using Their Own Devices At Workhttp://alltopstartups.com/2014/03/21/bring-your-own-device/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/03/21/bring-your-own-device/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:43:27 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=25540 Bring your own device has divided the opinion like nothing else. The employees just cannot get enough of it while the corporates are skeptical about its viability and sustainability. When the concept was devised the companies saw an opportunity to bring down the expenditure while the employees thought they could work on their own favorite mean machine. Seemed like a win-win situation and then the lightning struck. Honeymoon ended and everybody started seeing the flaws which earlier were blatantly ignored.

In a nutshell it can be said that the success of BYOD depends upon the environment in which it is being used. If a bank deploys the method it will surely fail while on the other hand a software development firm is an ideal environment for BYOD to flourish.

For a layman there is more good to BYOD than bad but every firm does not work according to the vision of a layman.

Here are some of the undeniable pros of the much revered concept:

1. Prudent Cost Cutting Technique

Where there is good there is cost savings. With the financial conditions far from being ideal, BYOD along with cloud computing comes as a savior for the corporates.

BYOD enables firms to ask their employees to buy their own machine rather than providing one. It considerably brings down the cost expenditure and stress levels that come with zeroing upon the correct tool.

Indirectly it also increases employee productivity, as now they are working with a device they actually like rather than some random piece of metal provided by the firm.

2. Longevity of Equipment

It does not matter how much we deny it, but is humane to mistreat others device and use ours with care. With the employment of BYOD, the devices are liable to run longer as they belong to the workers instead to the arrogant management of the company. So, next time you hit enter key, do it with utmost care.

3. Improved Management

We all have faced the hassle of managing two devices. A work phone and a personal one on which we get our calls. With BYOD this hassle is torn to shreds as the workers have only one device to handle.

Moreover with a new machine there is a certain period of time in which we get used to it. With the amazingness of BYOD in place, that time is also reduced to zero. It cannot get better than this.

4. Cutting Edge Technology Always at your Disposal

No one likes to work with a processor made in year 2000 and a RAM of 128 MB. In order to work with utmost efficiency workers will buy themselves a good machine, meaning the office would be buzzing with latest technologies.

With constant up gradation and maintenance gone for good, the IT team would be able to concentrate more on core processes rather than catering to employee’s needless questions.

The benefits mentioned above depict only the half of the picture. The other side of the coin is a grim one and something every firm should fear and care about.

Here are the points that make BYOD a complete no-no for any company.

1. Anything But Secure

If your employee is able to take with him everything he has worked upon, you can make out how secure BYOD is. Moreover the cases of theft and loss among portable devices are not an uncommon thing. If the lost device gets into the hands of a notorious guy, most of the data will get compromised.

2. Employee has to bear the cost

Though it may sound tempting for you to take your own device to work, some employees are not capable enough to buy a device that would serve their needs. In such a scenario they feel hard done by.

Moreover the quality and type of device creates a discrepancy amongst the employees which in creates a bad working atmosphere.

3. Resignation 

Ever wondered what happens when an employee leaves the office? Does his device gets confiscated or does he surrender the device? Does his machine still contain data? All these questions put up a big argument as to whether the BYOD should be incorporated or not.

And if the employee goes onto join a rival company then BYOD backfires like nothing else.

Conclusion

BYOD was touted as the concept that would make SMBs punch above their weight but the flaws in it made it impossible for companies to accept it unanimously. However, some companies have very successfully employed the technique but the success stories are far and between.

There are some measure which if taken can make BYOD an outright success like not allowing the storage of data on portable device; create the data pools for specific sets and restricting the access to such pools. These measures along with some more can reinvigorate BYOD but with no guarantee.

Author BioJosephine Clark is a Cloud and Mobile Technology enthusiast and an avid writer. Other than working at QuickBooksHosting DotCom, she actively participates in various forum discussions, writing blogs and articles on topics like latest mobile apps, updates of Operating systems, Cloud hosting services such as QuickBooks hosting, etc.

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Here Is Why Entrepreneurs Are Shifting So Rapidly Towards Cloud Hostinghttp://alltopstartups.com/2014/03/10/cloud-hosting/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/03/10/cloud-hosting/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:05:58 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=25419 It is the era of globalization, and, with the growth of Information Technology, the world is becoming more and more globalized. If IT is playing such a major role in globalizing the world, then how can it be confined to an on-premise location? Globalization is here, there, and everywhere, and it is something that is setting the mandates for managing a business.

The future of IT was pictured way back. Time has now come when it is necessary for every businessman or entrepreneur to realize the significance of utilizing a platform which facilitates the sharing of software, resources, data, and other information, as and when the demand comes.

–Need no. 1: The Inevitable Reality Check

It becomes a necessity to centralize the key resources as soon as the business starts expanding and begins to maximize its Return on Investment (RoI). If you are an entrepreneur, then matters related to data backups, security issues, software, remote accessibility of applications and documents, and communication among your employees, must be your major concern.

Besides this, management of sufficient and suitable space for the installation of hardware, storage of data, and hosting services is a tedious task for the entrepreneurs. If your business is based in multiple geographical locations, then you would have witnessed more challenges while dealing with these issues. Thus, if you need to manage these issues in a more customized way then cloud computing is the best solution for you.

–Need no. 2: Focus on the statistics

A report from the Cloud Industry Forum said that vast majority of enterprises in the United Kingdom (in fact more than 75 %) would deploy cloud hosting in one or the other sector of their business by the end of 2013.

Moreover, other reports said that 80 % of the businesses which already use cloud would significantly increase their budget for this technical segment. These statistics might be of a great help to you if you are an entrepreneur and are planning to upgrade your system.

–Need no. 3: Try to find out the reasons behind the expansion of cloud hosting

If some entrepreneurs can spend a lot of money in order to maintain an on-site IT infrastructure and dedicated servers, why not the others do the same? It is also important to find out why businesses are shifting towards cloud hosting services from a vendor instead of maintaining their personal IT infrastructure.

As per the perspectives of an entrepreneur, some reasons which have led to the tremendous growth of cloud hosting technology are as follows:

1. Significant reduction in the Upfront costs

Most of the businesses that have shifted towards cloud hosting have significantly reduced their operating expenses encountered on daily basis. Cloud-based applications such as sharing of documents, emails, video conferencing, etc. have the capability to notably cut down your unnecessary expenditures.

You are also saved from expenses that you would have otherwise made to purchase a dedicated server or in order to maintain a secure IT infrastructure.  Besides this, almost all of the necessary IT solutions can be obtained through the Internet at very low prices.

2. Improved accessibility

Cloud hosting lets you and your employees to work from any location of the world and on a wide variety of devices such as laptops, palmtops, personal computers, smartphone, etc. All your important data, files, applications, software, etc. is present on the cloud.

You can access these if you have an Internet connection. This feature of cloud hosting allows you and your employees to work from anywhere and at any point of time, thereby increasing the productivity of your business.

3. Working is very easy

You are not required to install any hardware or software while working on the cloud. All you need to do is save your documents in OneDrive or SkyDrive in order to sync your files to cloud storage. It is almost similar to saving a word file on a personal computer. For doing these simple things, you do not need to undergo any professional training or consult an expert.

4. Enhances the productivity

There are a number of cloud-based tools such as GitHub, Heroku, Parse, Online Exchange, SharePoint, etc. which simplifies the tasks of sending mails, sharing files, sharing code snippets, and more. These tools also enable easy accessibility of files from any location.

This ultimately enables employees to work from home, or when they are travelling, or when they are in gym. Cloud hosting adds flexibility and mobility to the entire process of task completion.

5. Enhances the scalability and flexibility

Cloud allows you to willingly choose the service plans as per your need. This allows you to control your expenses. You simply need to let your vendor know about the IT functions that you require and pay for the same till the time you use it. Moreover, you are at freedom to enhance or diminish your services at any point of time. You simply pay for what you use.

6. Cloud-based solutions upgrades quickly

Whenever a new update comes up, your service vendor would deal with it instantaneously. This means, you need not sit at regular intervals in order to update your software or to upgrade your operating tools. It is simply the responsibility of your service vendor to use their resources, proficiency, and time in order to keep you and your business updated.

7. Security is increased manifold

If you unite your business with a cloud host, you will be ahead of your counterparts. This is only possible because it is your vendor’s responsibility to make sure that the services are being delivered to you in a very secure environment.

Businesses which have not yet shifted towards the cloud spend a huge sum of money and time as well in order to maintain the security of their data, servers, application, software, and many such other important things. Owners of such businesses keep on scratching their head in order to find out the adequate measures to keep away from malwares, viruses, and hackers.

Cloud helps the entrepreneurs to save money that is otherwise unnecessarily spend on such security checks. Money that is saved here can be used in the accomplishment of some other business-related task.

Cloud hosting is one such technical feat which renders the business-related tasks very simple and also increases the working efficiency of the employees. Besides this, cloud-based services also help in the outsourcing of various parts of your business such as sales and support.

Go through the points mentioned above. It will help you in deciding whether you want to stick to your existing IT infrastructure or you want to adopt the cloud.

Author bio: Viola Allen is a SIP and VoIP expert, currently employed with SIPTrunk Providers Dot Com. Her passion is to write about the recent technological advancements, including Cloud Hosted PBX and SIP Trunking. Her main motive is to gain more and more information about the latest technological advancements in the industry.

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What You Need to Know About Running a Business in the UKhttp://alltopstartups.com/2014/03/03/running-a-business-in-the-uk/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/03/03/running-a-business-in-the-uk/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 10:23:50 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=25331 Starting a business can be a daunting prospect and many entrepreneurs are unaware of the rewards and advantages available to them. However, the formula for a successful enterprise in the UK is surprisingly simple.

–Funding options

Having ready-made startup capital is not essential, as there are several financial pathways open to entrepreneurs. If funding is required in the initial stages of a business for testing and developing an idea, there are a number of government support schemes available.

These include publicly backed finance and loans, government grants and funding for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Selling shares through friends and family is an excellent way to fund a business’ growth, as is applying for a bank loan, as financial institutions are now offering increasingly competitive rates.

Crowdfunding is also experiencing a surge in popularity, with large groups of people investing in a commercial enterprise, usually via the internet.

–Digital marketing

The internet is a key tool for garnering revenue and exposure, and businesses are coming to realise the increasingly vital role played by digital marketing. The secrets of search engine optimisation, social media and email marketing are crucial for securing sales and site traffic, while many businesses are also investing in video to increase brand exposure.

This form of self-publicising is both cost-effective and time-effective, with potential customers able to grasp the concept of a business through a short, fun piece of media rather than having to scroll through pages of text.

–Intellectual property (IP)

Securing IP protection for products, designs and branding is vital, but is too often overlooked by SMEs. It is crucial for protecting assets and encouraging financing from potential investors, as it significantly increases the perceived value of a business.

–Reap the rewards

Revenue isn’t the only way to profit from all the hard work that is put into running a business, as credit cards also offer valuable advantages for small business owners.

With American Express UK business cards, like the Gold Business Charge Card, business owners can benefit from cash-flow protection, travel and purchase protection, and account servicing – all the things that make running a commercial enterprise that little bit easier.

There’s even a welcome bonus of 20,000 membership rewards points if £3,000 is spent in the first three months, which can provide crucial funds for office equipment or be spent on business meals and corporate gifts.

 

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Developing Countries Leading the Way in Mobile Innovation?http://alltopstartups.com/2014/03/01/mobile-innovation-developing-countries/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/03/01/mobile-innovation-developing-countries/#comments Sat, 01 Mar 2014 15:01:11 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=25311 It is estimated that, globally, mobile phone use stands at about 96%.  It’s a startling statistic which really highlights some huge opportunities for innovation and the way we interact and conduct business and our day-to-day lives throughout the world.

This democratisation of communication has already led to some amazing innovations in surprising places.  Take mobile payments, for instance.  The biggest revolution isn’t taking place in London, nor New York, nor Tokyo, nor any of the major money capitals of the world.  It has taken place in Africa.

More Africans have access to a mobile phone than to clean drinking water(Nielsen).  But, in some areas, these phones are making real and positive changes to peoples’ lives.  In Kenya, for example, 90% of the population has a mobile phone.  And 96% of those mobile phone users have used a handset to make a mobile payment or for mobile banking.

It is due, in large part, to the development of the M-Pesa scheme by Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom.  Developed in response to a consumer-driven trend to swap airtime as a means of transferring credit, the solution allows users to pay bills, deposit and withdraw funds, transfer money with both users and non-users, and purchase airtime.

This well-documented and popular scheme has created a ‘branchless’ banking system which has transformed personal financial system in Kenya and spawned a host of similar schemes across the continent and further afield.

Tanzania has been slower to adopt M-Pesa, but Rwanda, Uganda and Swaziland all boast similar schemes.  Mobile money transfer has even been used as a key tool in fighting corruption in the Afghanistan police force; enabling a more transparent system of paying wages.

Vodafone went on to launch the M-Paisa in India in 2011, although the service differs considerably from the original Kenyan M-Pesa service.  The Bank of India has strived to ensure that mobile money is essentially a bank-led service, rather than the telco-led service it is in Kenya, and that Know Your Customer (KYO) rules are adhered to.

What’s clear is that international variances in regulation and consumer perception of risk will influence the form and successful adoption of these schemes. Certainly, the clear demand for such a service in Kenya appeared to circumvent the trust issue.

In countries like India, where good regulation is in place but much of the population is ‘underbanked’, a new model will have to evolve.  Part of this may include the opening more banks, for instance or finding new ways of establishing financial institutions that will be of significant help to the ‘underbanked’.

It may be a far cry from mobile payment’s original ‘branchless’ roots, but here, too, mobile devices can lend a hand – as Kallol Karmakar, a Senior Business Analyst at Misys, the international developer of financial software applications, explains:  “There are other effective ways to reduce cost and make rural branches profitable. For example, banks can use mobile handheld devices – like tablets for branch systems.

Tablet devices, unlike desktops, are mobile and do not require power supply or a desk. This makes them flexible – and even easier to carry than a laptop. The use of tablets would help bank staff to commute easily between different locations.”

If banking adoption is to keep up with demand in these rapidly developing economies, local knowledge and a fresh approach to banking and money management will be required and, it seems, this is something that mobile devices are making possible.

It will be fascinating to see how innovations in mobile money are matched by strides forward in other areas like healthcare and education.

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Stunning Images of The Most Coolest Offices In The Worldhttp://alltopstartups.com/2014/02/24/coolest-offices-in-the-world/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/02/24/coolest-offices-in-the-world/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:53:21 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=25197 If you are looking to redesign your office, these office designs can definitely inspire you. These are a list of some of the most coolest and well-designed office spaces in the world. Offices are second homes, and they should be created to encourage creativity and allow employees to feel at home.

Image credits: officesnapshots.com

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Image credits: ivldesign.com

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Image credits: iwan.com

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DISQUS image via customspaces.com

Share with your your friends, colleagues and co-workers.

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Pros Chime In – 2014 U.S. Business Forecasthttp://alltopstartups.com/2014/01/28/pros-chime-in-2014-u-s-business-forecast/ http://alltopstartups.com/2014/01/28/pros-chime-in-2014-u-s-business-forecast/#comments Tue, 28 Jan 2014 20:32:50 +0000 http://alltopstartups.com/?p=24840 The business trends of the present world change at a very high pace. The companies that exist out there try different strategies in order to stand out from the business competition, hire more and more talented people, manage CRM systems and develop the overall business opportunities. How exactly will the economy impact business growth? Our business pros chime in on the year ahead and offer their predictions.

Business experts predict that most business in the United States will gain a majority of their new customers online in 2014. With the development of technology, more and more people prefer to use the Internet in order to look for the products or services that they need.

The convenience of e-commerce has played a major role behind the above mentioned fact. Since the customers are going online, the sales of offline businesses will fall dramatically. In addition, it’s predicted that content will become the main tool pushing users.

People who search for products or services online will use search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and Google in order to look for the things that they want. This creates an ideal platform for the content to become a major driving force and contribute a lot towards the development of businesses in the coming year.

During the past five years, it was observed that buyers tend to beat up weaker suppliers. Most of the buyers prefer to purchase products or services from well-known brands. This will increase the online marketing efforts of business owners. In addition, buyers are look for sellers whom they can work collaboratively in order to purchase stuff at the best possible price. This will enhance the partnerships between sellers and buyers within 2014.

Many buyers have discovered that paying for a specific product or services on an hourly basis enhances its efficiency while creating a disincentive for innovation. If the vendor takes a longer period of time, they will get the opportunity to earn more money.

In 2014, the best performing companies will start shifting as much as thirty percent of their charges to project based. This will be beneficial for the buyers because they pay for what they get.

The hiring trends are expected to change a lot within 2014. Instead of hiring a general employee, the companies are interested in recruiting subject matter experts. They have noticed that hiring such people can contribute directly towards the development of a company.

The CRM solutions will be simplified in this year because the companies are looking for something beyond traditional spreadsheets. The development of software engineering have already introduced some perfect solutions to this issue. They will enhance the productivity of work that is related to CRMs.

The company owners in the present world are sick of waiting for the economy. So, most of them will take a step forward in order to build their own personal economy. This will bring great results for the innovative companies out there, many of which will make their IPO in 2014.

They will experience an accelerated growth in terms of sales in the latter part of 2014.  Other start-ups will hang their shingles and open their doors for the first time.

Remember, if you’re going at it for the first time there are several legal components to consider when opening a business.  Make sure you “dot your i’s and cross your t’s” so you comply with all local, State and Federal regulations.

2014 looks to be brimming with promise for businesses new and old.  After a sluggish economy reboot in 2014, it can only go better from here.  Stay posted to this blog for more great business news and tips.

About the author: Matthew Boesler is a reporter for Business Insider’s markets desk. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, B.S. in Economics.

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