Is Amazon Chime Poised to Disrupt the Workplace?

Key Takeaway: Given numerous entrants into the videoconferencing sector from established and emerging technology companies—including the recent introduction of Amazon Chime—the market leader position in this space is up for grabs. We at Market Strategies have a lot of questions about how the sector is growing and transforming. How prevalent is videoconferencing? Which platforms are being used? What do companies need to focus on to make their platform ubiquitous?  In this article, we will share our data and insights on the players in this space, including the number one thing a company must do to come out on top.

Videoconferencing technologies have been around for more than a decade, but we have seen them take off with our clients in the past year. We enjoy being able to visually interact with our clients and colleagues so we set out to conduct our own research study to learn more about the experience. While analyzing the results, we were surprised by the introduction of Amazon Chime, which promises “frustration-free online meetings with exceptional audio and video quality.” Why would Amazon enter this market now, with Skype and Hangouts being around for years? Is it insightful or redundant? Will a majority of users asking their colleagues to ‘Skype’ or ‘Hangout’ now ask them to ‘Chime?’

Our data suggests Amazon’s move is insightful. While Skype and Hangouts are certainly popular, there is plenty of room for additional competitors especially since no one seems to have worked out all of the technology bugs. And with a majority of users not wedded to any single platform, Amazon (or another disruptor) has plenty of opportunity to grab market share.

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The Fight for Today’s Video Consumer: How to thrive in a rapidly evolving industry

Today’s Video Consumer

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on understanding the streaming video consumer. Be sure to bookmark FreshMR so you don’t miss an issue!

It wasn’t long ago when consumers had three choices for video consumption: free TV (using antennas), paid cable TV, and, if going with cable, whether to add a movie channel like HBO. There was little competition, little innovation and very few choices. What a difference a few years makes!

Those simple days are almost unrecognizable in today’s chaotic, cluttered video world.  Sure, consumers can still view local broadcasts over-the-air, but the insatiable appetite for content has dramatically increased our options. Having so many options can be overwhelming to customers but also confusing to the telecommunications and entertainment companies that provide and deliver content.

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Beyond NPS: Multi-Measurement Approaches for Brand Health

Beyond NPS: Multi-Measurement Approaches for Brand Health

Market Strategies is often asked to recommend research approaches that guide decisions about marketing and product/brand management. A topic that’s been of keen interest lately is brand health. NPS has been the “go-to” measure for some time, but we were curious to compare it to other brand health measures so we used our quarterly consumer omnibus study as a research sandbox.

Specifically, we fielded various questions and used the results to test the efficacy of brand health approaches that would serve clients across industry sectors well. We surveyed more than 1,100 US consumers regarding brands in the social media space: Facebook, Flickr, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. We then used these data to run multiple brand health analyses, ultimately comparing NPS and several brand health measures and indices at how well they predict our dependent variables: frequent use of the brand and intention to increase use of the brand in the near future.

If your company uses NPS and nothing but NPS, you’ll want to download this free topline research report to see the results of our experiment. Here’s additional background for context, if you’re so inclined.

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All iWant: Putting iPhone 7 Rumors to the Test

Putting iPhone 7 Rumors to the Test

This summer has seen no shortage of analyst reports of what the soon-to-be-released iPhone 7 will look like and what features it will (and will not) possess. Continuing what has become an annual frenzy of leaks and predictions, rumors are flying about its multiple screen sizes, memory capacity, camera quality, headphone jack and water resistance. Most notably, some speculate that there may not be any dramatic changes at all as Apple waits for 2017 to release a world-changing 10th anniversary iPhone 8.

Market Strategies International decided to put all these rumors to the test to find out which ones really resonate with consumers and which do not. We asked more than 1,100 consumers about their current phones and preferences among the most frequently rumored iPhone 7 features, including:

Screen features
  • Larger screen
  • Smaller screen
  • Curved screen
  • Wraparound screen
  • Better screen quality/resolution
Memory/Storage features
  • More memory (the latest iPhones have 2GB RAM)
  • More storage space (the latest iPhones have a maximum of 128GB)
  • Expandable storage capacity
Internal features
  • Faster processors
  • Electronic SIM chip
  • Longer-lasting battery
  • Wireless charging
External features
  • Thinner
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof
  • Two speakers (the latest iPhones only have one)
  • Different color options
  • Higher quality camera
Other features
  • USB connector (Micro USB or USB Type-C)
  • Available stylus/pen
  • No headphone jack (the latest iPhones have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack)
  • Virtual reality headset

 Who Wants to Buy the iPhone 7?

Several of the findings are quite intriguing and have significant implications for telecom leaders. One thing is for sure: The difference in iPhone 7 needs and wants varies greatly based on customers’ current make and model, wireless carrier and brand loyalty. Understanding who these customers are and what differentiates their interests in upgrading to the iPhone 7 is of paramount importance when developing messaging campaigns, forecasts and product roadmaps. In our report, iPhone 7 Market Landscaper, we explore these differences and provide the data telecom leaders need to optimize their marketing plans. Download iPhone 7 Market Landscaper now or contact Greg Mishkin, vice president of Market Strategies’ Telecommunications division for more information.

Download the Report

The Rise of Virtual Healthcare

The Rise of Virtual Healthcare

How we “talk” and interact has changed. Heads down. Headphones on. Thumbs moving. It’s ironic that the more we focus on our small, handheld smartphone, the more we have access to the larger world around us. When sitting on a park bench, we can call loved ones, shop at Amazon, watch Netflix, listen to Spotify and schedule appointments. Indeed, it’s not a stretch to think that most people (especially Millennials) could pretty much operate their whole world on a smartphone.

As part of our continued focus on consumerism in healthcare, Market Strategies monitors and tracks how consumers use technology. In this article, we explore telehealth with an emphasis on virtual healthcare—an attractive option to busy consumers who are now accustomed to getting what they need, the moment they need it. For healthcare consumers, this means convenient, high-quality, immediate access to care for themselves and family members that costs less than traditional office visits.

What we’re learning from our own research is helping healthcare providers, health systems and insurers offer the right tools at the right time to connect consumers with the care they expect.

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My Life of Fi

My Recent Experiences with Project Fi from Google

My Life of Fi

As your spring social calendar went from St. Patrick’s Day parties to the festivities of Cinco de Mayo, you might have overlooked another recent celebration in the telecommunications space. Project Fi (“Fi”), a very different wireless service from Google, recently celebrated its first birthday, and quietly went from being an invite-only beta to throwing open its doors to all US wireless subscribers.

Google launched Fi with minimal fanfare in the spring of 2015, positioning it as a new take on the traditional wireless model. Instead of relying on connectivity from cellular towers, smartphones on the Fi service will prioritize any available Wi-Fi connection for their voice and data traffic. Only on the occasions where Wi-Fi signals are weak or unavailable does the Fi service switch seamlessly over to the cellular networks of its partners—T-Mobile and Sprint—and then runs like a traditional mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

Google has long known that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours connected to Wi-Fi, and so is cleverly stringing together millions of hotspots as its “network” and only using cellular for a fraction of the average subscriber’s voice and data usage. In doing so, it is able to leverage existing free infrastructure and forego the massive network investments of traditional wireless providers, and subsequently can pass those savings on to its subscribers.


Project FiProject Fi: How it Works

At the heart of Project Fi is the concept of dynamic network selection—the service intelligently connects the subscriber to the best available network at their location, whether it’s Wi-Fi (the majority of the time) or one of either T-Mobile or Sprint’s 4G LTE networks.

Fi offers a single, no-contract plan. It’s $20 for the base service, which includes unlimited calls and text, and then $10 for each 1 GB of data. The novel part is that the subscriber only pays for the data that they actually use. So if you prepay for (say) 3 GB of data, but only end up using 2 GB, Fi refunds you $10 for the unused 1 GB. Similarly, if you have a 1 GB plan but end up using 3 GB after streaming that NBA playoff game, you’ll only get charged $20 for the extra 2 GB. No overage penalties or price escalations.

The plan also has an attractive international component. It includes free international texts, and for those who travel abroad and have been burnt by roaming charges in the past, there is comfort in knowing that the exact same data costs apply in over 120 countries.

The only catch is that Project Fi is currently limited to Google Nexus phones only. They currently sell the Nexus 6P (from Huawei) starting at $499 and the Nexus 5X (from LG) starting at $199.


In theory, it is a brilliant design, but how well does it work? Well, let’s find out.

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The Secret Sauce in the Customer Behavior Recipe

Selective-focus image of chef using ladle to spread sauce on a pizza

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a series on Little Data techniques that turn a good market research recipe into a taste sensation.

Market research is like cooking with quality ingredients. Big Data is good because it answers the fundamental what, who and how much of a customer. Little Data is good because it answers why customers make certain choices and how they arrive at their decisions. But blend Big Data and Little Data together in a thoughtful, clever way? Bam! You’ve just discovered the secret sauce in the customer behavior recipe.

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What Modern Romance Can Teach Us About Generational Research

tech-modern-romanceI was recently inspired by Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance—a well-researched, insightful look into the rapid changes in modern social life: meeting, dating, coupling, cheating, uncoupling. His book provides many great lessons about a changing world, perhaps none more so than his concept of a “phone world” which many of us now regularly inhabit:

“Through our phone world we are connected to anyone or everyone in our lives, from our parents to a casual acquaintance whom we friend on Facebook. For younger generations, their social lives play out through social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, and Facebook as much as through campuses, cafes, and clubs. But in recent years, as more and more adults have begun spending more and more time on their own digital devices, just about everybody with the means to buy a device and a data plan has become a hyper engaged participant in their phone world”.

The advancement of technology, including its adoption and influence, is moving fast—fast enough to reshape our thinking about how to best approach generational research. We often consider Millennials—those roughly age 18-34—as a homogenous group. Yet, there are distinct differences in technology device usage and technological perceptions between those in emerging adulthood (18-24 years old) and those in young adulthood (25-34 years old). These groups are adopting technology differently, and we need to approach them as distinct segments, particularly when conducting technology research.  Continue reading

Will content providers hold telecom carriers hostage?

Will content providers hold telecom carriers hostage?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a Point-Counterpoint article with my good friend, colleague and sparring partner, Paul Hartley, which focused on fast lanes, free lanes and net neutrality. Interestingly, this topic has become big news again—albeit with a very unexpected twist.

It came to light that Netflix has been downsampling or degrading the quality of the content it delivers to AT&T and Verizon networks (yet not to Sprint or T-Mobile), not because these carriers want Netflix to do so but rather because Netflix feels it is in its own best interest.

On the surface, this may appear counterintuitive. Why would Netflix want to deliver lower quality video to the two largest mobile carriers in the US? Their logic is interesting–Netflix believes that AT&T’s and Verizon’s business model, which allows for overage charges if customers exceed their data caps, will discourage customers from wanting to stream movies for fear that overages will kick in. T-Mobile and Sprint, for the most part, don’t assess overage charges when customers exceed their data allowance—rather they throttle down the network speed to limit how much additional data can be effectively downloaded.

There are valid arguments on both sides of whether it is better to throttle or charge for overages, and this is not what I intend to debate here (although Paul and I may take this up in a future Point-Counterpoint article). Rather, the fact that Netflix is even able to do this because it’s not bound by net neutrality rules raises a very important issue that needs to be acknowledged and addressed.

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An Elegy for Paranoia

grove-intel

The year was 1998. I was wrangling a group of blunt, possibly undercaffeinated IT directors through an early-morning focus group in New York City. In the waning minutes of the session, I turned the conversation toward brand, examining how brand perceptions of various tech companies might affect uptake of a new product concept. Instantly, one of the respondents jumped in with an observation about Intel—and it provoked one of the reactions moderators most fear: gales of laughter erupting audibly from behind the supposedly soundproofed mirror. A focus group isn’t an episode of “House of Cards,” where it’s cheeky fun to break the fourth wall. I worked to get the group back on track and put the comment out of mind for the rest of the session.

What provoked my Intel clients to laugh so hard? Someone had mentioned that they’d have to think hard about whether to consider Intel, given the recent news of its CEO Andy Grove’s retirement. This IT Director wanted to see how the company performed under new management. The clients had been laughing because, as far as they knew, Grove hadn’t announced anything.

“Good session,” one of my clients observed, as I walked into the back room. “But we may have to disregard that guy on your left. Not sure where he’s getting his information.”

It was just at that moment that a colleague checked his mail and discovered that, indeed, a back room full of Intel researchers and marketers had been scooped by a random IT professional in New York. Laughter was promptly replaced by a sense of profound disbelief. Andy Grove was a force of nature, widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of the technology revolution. The idea of him retiring was difficult to fathom. The news, earlier this week, of his passing is hardly less so.

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