Universal Orlando Preview — Week of February 17, 2018

first_imgUpcoming Events & HighlightsLoews Sapphire Falls is offering a new Despicable Me character breakfast every Saturday at the outdoor Cayman Court. Guests mingle with characters as guests partake in an American-style breakfast buffet. Cost is $34.99 per adult plus tax and $20.99 per child plus tax with seating times at 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. Tickets are required from the Loews ticketing site. A free digital download photo is offered per group.Universal’s Mardi Gras returns nightly February 3 through April 7. Catch a nightly Mardi Gras parade with Greek mythology-themed floats and a New Orleans carnival with food carts and a brass band. On select weekend nights the Music Plaza Stage will be host to major musical acts like The Beach Boys, Sean Paul, Macklemore, Fitz and the Tantrums, 311, Fifth Harmony, and more. Admission to Mardi Gras is included with standard admission to the parks.That is all for this week. See you next week and make sure to leave a question below for the Mail Bag! Winter weather around the United States will affect travel plans. Keep an eye out for delayed and canceled flights. Park Hours and AdmissionCityWalk is open until 2:00 a.m. with free self parking starting after 6:00 p.m.Single-day park tickets are at Anytime pricing on Friday, February 16 through Monday, February 19. One-day base tickets to Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure will run you $124 per adult and $119 per child (plus tax). 2-Park 1-Day tickets are $179 per adult and $174 per child (plus tax).Single-day park tickets are at Value pricing Tuesday, February 20 through Friday, February 23. One-day base tickets to Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure will run you $115 per adult and $110 per child (plus tax). 2-Park 1-Day tickets are $170 per adult and $165 per child (plus tax).Volcano Bay tickets are at Anytime pricing  at $67 per adult and $62 per child (plus tax). Mail BagMail bag returns next week after a small hiatus. Leave a question in the comments or on the Touring Plans Forum. Share This!Toss the paczki but keep the beads out as Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration continues with a Kelsea Ballerini performing Saturday. Finish your po’ boy and lets get to the parks!Weekly Crowd LevelsSchool holidays and a long weekend leads to a massive spike in crowds as guests take their first post 2017 holiday trip. As a reminder arrive early at park opening and use customized touring plans to avoid waits.Detailed crowd level information can be found here.Weather Reportlast_img read more

Inventory Shrinkage Costs $123.4 Billion Dollars to Retailers Globally

first_imgInventory Shrinkage: The 2014-2015 Global Retail Theft BarometerNow available on demand by clicking here.Inventory shrinkage costs $123.4 billion dollars to retailers globally, and that, in turn, costs the average U.S. household approximately $335 dollars each year. The 2014 – 2015 Global Retail Theft Barometer, carried out by the Smart Cube and Ernie Deyle, a retail loss prevention analyst in inventory management, sheds light on asset protection and shrink trends around the world and across regions, in addition to individual countries in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. This webinar is now available on demand and will present the key findings from the study, including the cost of retail crime by global region, which are the highest theft items around the globe, (Product that is easy to steal, with wide public appeal, and a ready market for resale) and provide qualitative insights of loss prevention and asset protection best practices from those retailers who reported lower shrink among the twenty-four countries surveyed.- Sponsor – Our speaker, Ernie Deyle, is one of the leading inventory management experts globally in the field of retail loss prevention, business risk assessment and risk mitigation services, asset protection and most notably in the area of performance improvement programs designed to impact the P&L Statement and Earnings Report. During his thirty plus year retail career, Deyle has worked with over one hundred and fifty retailers worldwide across multiple sectors & formats across the globe. He has served in a variety of roles from Chief Operation Officer, Global Leader for Profit Recovery, and Vice President of Loss Prevention for firms such as Cap Gemini and Arthur Andersen in the consulting space, and Kroger and CVS/Caremark for the retail industry. Today Senior Director – Crisis Management, Safety-Risk & Enterprise Resiliency at Sears Holdings Corporation.This is a free webinar sponsored by Checkpoint and the Smart Cube, and presented by Loss Prevention Magazine. Click here to watch this webinar on demand. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Theia Technologies Honored by Vision Systems Design 2016 Innovators Awards Program

first_imgThe 4K 1/1.8″ Compact Lens family created by Theia Technologies, a high-resolution imaging technology specialist, was recognized by the judges of the annual Vision Systems Design Innovators Awards program. The judging panel consisted of experts from system integrator and end-user companies.Theia was honored with a bronze-level award. Theia’s family of 4K 12 megapixel resolution lenses provide 112 to 7 degrees HFOV offering 4-10 mm and 12-50 mm focal ranges. Covering 1/1.7″ 4K imagers, while resolving the smaller 1/2.3” sensor pixels, both offer IR correction for day/night cameras. At 64.5 mm long by 59 mm diameter, they’re the most compact for comparable 4k lenses to facilitate use in domes, bullets and small enclosures. They are offered in fully motorized, manual, DC auto-iris, P-iris, CS/C and board mount combinations.“Theia is honored to once again be recognized for innovation in imaging technology,” said Mark Peterson, vice president of advanced technology for Theia Technologies. “We strive to design and develop unique and innovative lens technology and related products which provide excellent value to the markets we serve. We are delighted that industry continues to recognize our contributions.”- Sponsor – “This prestigious program allows Vision Systems Design to celebrate and recognize the most innovative products and services in the vision and image processing industry,” said Alan Bergstein, publisher of Vision Systems Design. “Our 2016 Honorees are an outstanding example of companies who are making an impact in the industry.”The Innovators Awards are judged based on the following criteria: • Originality • Innovation • Impact on Designers, Systems Integrators, End Users • Fulfilling a need in the market that hasn’t been addressed • Leveraging a novel technologyThe 2016 Visions Systems Design Innovators Awards Honorees are featured on the June issue of Vision Systems Design magazine. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Want To Revive The Economy? Open Public Buildings To Remote Workers

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market The City of Palo Alto, Calif. and mobile workspace-finding app LiquidSpace have teamed up for an exciting step in public co-working. The Palo Alto City Library will make rooms available on LiquidSpace in a 3-month pilot. This is the first instance I can find in the U.S. of a public facility using a location-aware mobile app to reduce its unused capacity.Co-working is the new normal, and city governments could drive lots of high-tech productivity if they make their latent space available to flexible, remote workers. Palo Alto is an obvious place to start, but every city in the world should start thinking like this.The partnership began this week. Two of the library’s study rooms, with room for around 10 people, are available on LiquidSpace, a free iPhone app that lists available workspaces in business centers, hotels, offices or co-working spaces. During the pilot, the library will assess whether it will benefit the public, as well as the library itself. If so, it will work with other city departments to expand the program to other facilities.We like the looks of this. Coffee & Power, another remote working story we’re watching, has figured out how to make a win-win out of helping private spaces open up to remote workers. LiquidSpace is doing a civic service by pushing municipal governments to open their doors to co-workers, too.If you want to learn more about this topic, Phil Shapiro wrote a cool post about co-working in public libraries in PCWorld.Do you work remotely? Share your experiences in the comments. Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img jon mitchell Tags:#e-commerce#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Facebook Email Change Suggests Shareholders Are More Important Than Users

first_imgIn a frantic 48-hour stretch starting Saturday, Facebook leaked the news that it was testing a new app, faced the threat of a lawsuit by someone claiming the company had stolen the idea, and announced that it had shelved the project. Separately, the company also changed the listed email of all users to an @facebook.com address. In other words, it was just another two days in the post-IPO life of Facebook.As the world’s biggest social network, Facebook was generating daily headlines before last month’s disappointing initial public offering. But the post-IPO headlines have taken on a different tone: They tease new products, new services and new partnerships. They seem more focused on the bottom line than the user experience. As we predicted the day Facebook filed its IPO, the company now caters, at least in part, to shareholders.Facebook would never admit it, but the company seems to be doing just that. It is taking a machine-gun approach to public relations, announcing a steady stream of initiatives, apps and product hints, hoping that one (and preferably several) will hit. So far, none of the headlines has silenced long-standing investor concerns about the company’s ability to diversify revenue beyond targeted banner advertising and prove that it can monetize its mobile platform.Not a Gmail Killer Then, Not a Gmail Killer NowFacebook launched its personalized email addresses in 2010. At the time, we were told it would be a “Gmail killer.” That didn’t happen, in large part because – and there’s no delicate way to put this – Facebook’s messaging system is awful. It’s clunky and filters messages from strangers into a “shadow” inbox that is easy to miss. It can’t be searched the way Gmail can, nor can message be filtered, sorted or saved. If you never got around to setting a personalized vanity address for your Facebook profile, your Facebook email address is a random string of numbers @facebook.com.Put another way, there is no compelling reason to use your @facebook.com address. Except for one: Now Facebook is forcing you to use it.“Facebook silently inserted themselves into the path of formerly direct unencrypted communications from people who want to email me,” Gervase Markham, the blogger who first noticed the change over the weekend, said. “In other contexts, this is known as a Man In The Middle (MITM) attack. What on earth do they think they are playing at?”You can, of course, go into your profile and change it back to your preferred email address. But for now, the default setting is to list your @facebook.com address. That means if someone uses Facebook as a white pages search to find you, the message they send you will go to your facebook.com email address.Facebook wouldn’t say when the decision was made or how it was addressing criticism that it was changing users’ default email addresses without their consent. But a spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that the company had been switching user email addresses since April, when it made changes to its service terms.“Ever since the launch of Timeline, people have had the ability to control what posts they want to show or hide on their own timelines, and today we’re extending that to other information they post, starting with the Facebook address,” spokesperson Andrew Noyes said in an email to the newspaper.Shoving Users for the Sake Of ShareholdersThe latest Facebook push is the most dramatic in the post-IPO string of announcements, but it fits a familiar theme. Realizing that user growth is reaching an inevitable slowdown, the only way for Facebook to grow advertising revenue over time is to get users to spend more time on the site. Forcing you to check email is one way to do that.What Facebook needs to worry about now is alienating its users and thus effectively undermining its own strategy. If you start to feel like you’re being forced to use the service, you may stop using it altogther. And that’s not good for shareholders or users. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Tags:#Facebook#web Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img dave copeland A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more

Cities as Gadgets: 8 Features This Brand-New City Has That Yours Doesn’t

first_imgTags:#international#web 7. Smart Power and HeatingSongdo’s power is generated by natural gas. The waste heat, in the form of hot water, heats buildings or powers cooling via absorption chillers.8. Master-Plan City LayoutWhen you’re building a city from scratch, you have a unique opportunity optimize transportation patterns, population density, recreational opportunities, and other factors that matter to people living htere. Songdo is built around a central green space, Central Park. Everything is designed to be a 12-to-15-minute walk or short bike ride from everything else to promote walking and discourage driving. Buildings are mixed-use, including residences and commercial space. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 4. High-Definition TelepresenceSongdo is in South Korea, so naturally it has super fast Internet access. It’s also a test bed for Cisco’s high-resolution videoconferencing products: About 10,000 Cisco units are expected to be installed in Songdo residences over the next several years, allowing people to videoconference in HD and interact with video-based tutoring and concierge services. In the city’s Chadwick School, kids can do telepresence meetings with their counterparts at Chadwick’s main campus in California. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Just guessing: When you go to take out the trash, you don’t drop it into a pneumatic tube, which sucks it to a central processing facility, right? Then you’re not living in the future.In Songdo, South Korea, planners and developers are building a $35 billion city from scratch. See: “Sim City,” my feature article about the project.When you’re building a new city, there’s plenty of technology and features to consider that either didn’t exist or weren’t practical in the past. These range from in-building technology to the municipal systems, from private perks to public services.What’s the point? In some cases, convenience. In others, ways to save money or energy. Songdo’s residents use 40% less energy per person than an average existing city, because of things like building insulation, high-tech lighting, heating, and air conditioning systems, and the like, according to representatives. And the city has almost 14 million square feet of environmentally-certified space.Here are 10 features Songdo offers that most cities don’t have. One resident told me they make living in Songdo feel “very George Jetson.”1. Pneumatic Trash CollectionInstead of unweildy garbage cans and noisy trucks, a citywide, vacuum-powered system literally sucks garbage to the dump. Buildings are hooked up the garbage grid, but there are also portals in a few places around town. The benefits: No trash in public, easier disposal, fewer trucks on the streets, and lower vehicle emissions. dan frommer 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Don’t miss: Sim City: Inside South Korea’s $35 Billion City-On-Demand Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 2. Massive Underground Parking LotsSome 95% of Songdo’s parking is underground, including one lot with more than 2,000 spaces. (Don’t forget where you parked!) This means more open, green space for everyone.3. Smart Water NetworksSongdo has three water networks: Freshwater, sewage, and treated “gray water,” which is used for irrigation and some toilet flushing. Plus every building internally recycles a large portion of its own waste water. 5. Home and Building AutomationSongdo residents can monitor and control their apartments from anywhere via in-home, desktop, and mobile interfaces, as well as from computer kiosks around the city. They can use fingerprints to unlock their doors. They can control lights, blinds, and more. They can even call an elevator from a panel in their apartment.6. Sensors EverywhereSongdo is full of sensors. These range from apartment-building fire and safety monitors to highway traffic trackers. Flow sensors control the saltwater canal in Songdo’s Central Park. Building managers can sense and display energy consumption to encourage people to conserve.last_img read more

E-Commerce Failures and Mistakes: Why do so Many Startups Fail?

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … I’m sure you are aware of the alarming rate at which E-commerce businesses shut down. If not, let me share with you the results of recent research about E-Commerce Startups. “90% of the E-Commerce Startups fail within their initial four years.” Are the reasons for startup failure the same as they’ve always been? Why do so many startups fail?The idea of online shopping excites today’s generation as much as purchases have in all generations.There is no denying the fact that the people today have become more price-conscious. They have much more marketing-savvy, and a brand-loyal that hasn’t been seen for a long time. Definitely not a positive sign for an aspiring entrepreneurs looking to venture into the e-Commerce business.E-Commerce Business Stats: The reality check.90% of the E-commerce startups fail within their first year.Of the remaining, 36% of E-commerce startups fail in their second year.Of the remaining, 44% of E-commerce startups fail in their third year.Of the remaining 50% of E-commerce, startups fail in their fourth year.Disappointing, right?There’s a lot you can learn from established businesses and successful entrepreneurship stories. Keep in mind that there’s lot more to learn from failure stories. Failures give you a concrete insight into what to avoid, and project options to try instead. I’ve done some research and digging for you to know the common (and avoidable) mistakes.E-commerce startups tend to make many errors in their initial years.Collect a checklist of what NOT to do — and scale your business among the selective 10% of successful e-commerce stores. Success stories is not churning out of random articles but the result of deep digging and through analysis. Consider each point as a gold coin and save them in your pandora box of ‘E-Commerce Entrepreneurship Wisdom.’Common mistakes e-commerce startups make — strategies to try instead.Below are the mistakes that have cost aspiring entrepreneurs a huge amount of money. Most startups also lose a decade of prime life years as well. And there really are dos and don’ts for an e-commerce business. Many of the startups are still making the same mistakes.What does it really takes to have a successful eCommerce store.Top Seven E-Commerce Mistakes to avoidE-Commerce1. Are you selling the wrong product? The most important thing to consider when launching an E-commerce business is the product, and it’s the biggest reasons startups fail. If you are selling products that are outdated or years ahead of their time, who do you think will purchase them? By choosing a wrong product category, you’ve already landed in a tough position to begin from.Here’s what to do instead:Make sure your online buyers or target audience is interested in the product you are selling. Find the right product category that is useful for both your custom and lookalike audiences.Ask yourself these questions:What should I sell to meet the demands of buyers?How should I add value to my product?How do I place my product correctly to have a value proposition?2. Are your product photos and description good enough?You’ve chosen a great product to sell online. You are sure it will hit the market as soon as people know about its availability and great features. You’ve done the target audience analysis and you are good to go. What if the product listing on your e-commerce store is inclusive of low-resolution, grainy photo and poorly written description?Look at your product photo and description. Does the photo look like something taken on a mobile phone from 2000? Does the description look as if it was written by a five-year-old? Fix these two points or you’ll never be able to convert your visitors into buyers.Here’s what to do:Never forget, it’s the visuals that appeal the online buyers first. Second will be the neatly-written understandable content. There is no excuse for poor photos nor excuse for poor English.Take good product photos that surpasses high-resolution with no glare or glitches (or get them done by a professional).Make sure your product description is catchy, to the point, and describes the item in a way it resonates with the buyers.Choose simplicity over flowery language.3. Is your E-commerce Store design lousy?Again, it’s the visuals that impress your viewers first. The design and appearance of your website matters a lot. 90% of the times it is the biggest factor that determines whether or not it will be successful. Website design is not all about external appearance, the visuals, and the graphics.Website design, in terms of an E-commerce store, is a broader term. The phrase covers everything about your site including the way it looks and the way it works. Aesthetic but also purely functional and serves the purpose of both visual appeal and easy to use interface.Here’s what to do:Build a strong, visually appealing, fully-functional store that speaks of user-friendliness, brand-authenticity, and great content availability.Add elements that give your store a competitive edge, increase the credibility, enhance the scope for communication, and assure easy navigation.4. Are you wasting your customer’s time?With online shopping, customers definitely get to save a lot of time. But the same phenomenon of ‘shopping from the comfort of home’ has made them more conscious about time wastage. No one likes to spend hours on a site to fill-in unnecessary detail and complete the formalities. Everyone wants to get things done with few clicks and swipe.There are a lot of E-Commerce stores that neglect to make their purchase and checkout process simple for their buyers-to their detriment only. With such a lengthy checkout process, buyers often abandon the cart and switch to another site.Here’s what you should do instead:Make the checkout process plain and straightforward to stop your buyers from dropping out at the last minute.Don’t ask for unnecessary details.Hire checkout trust signals to make it a secure gateway and partner with known payment facilitators because users are always skeptical about new companies.5. Have you aligned your pricing and your marketing ads?The other day, I saw a great deal on a juicer on the Facebook page of an E-commerce store. It was, in the literal sense, a steal. I quickly navigated to the official site for buying the product and found that the shipping charge was almost three times the product cost. Who are such companies kidding?I obviously didn’t buy anything and made a mental note to never buy any product from that seller.This is what a lot of e-commerce businesses are doing today-luring customers with half-informative ads and then disappointing them with hidden prices, which later becomes a top reason for cart abonnement.Here’s what I suggest:Manage your buyer’s expectations by telling them the truth.Make sure not to add any unexpected cost at the last minute.Stop scamming buyers in the name of shipping fee and never play around with their trust.You can add a shipping calculator widget to your store to ensure transparency for buyers.6. Do you have a clear policy?Don’t purchase from a company if they don’t have a clear product policy. As a buyer, I always lookout for an accessible and understandable policy. As a seller, make sure your information is precise and understandable.A lot of new e-commerce businesses have no policy, seeing which customers abandon the cart and shop from someone who has a broad guideline related to the development of a product.Here’s what you can do:Have the policy easily available under each product description on your e-commerce store.Have the policy emailed to the buyers once they’ve purchased with you.The policy should have information that can prevent any legal action against you.7. Are you making the right investment? Of course, the investment. When talking about online business, when can we ever neglect the investment part? If you’ve ventured into this business, you have to have enough money, no matter which product you are selling. Else, your company will cease to exist.Often, e-commerce businesses fail to make the right investment. They either overspend in unnecessary phases of their business and neglect other aspects of marketing.Here’s what to do:Make sure to create a budget about your spending’s-create separate fund sheets about each phase including promotions, marketing, and inventory management.It’s advised to test a small amount of inventory for gauging product demand before buying it in bulk amount.8. Is your content marketing working properly?Do I have to mention how important content marketing is? I know content marketing is clichéd – and I also know clichés become clichés for a reason.Digital marketers and experts around the world say that content SaaS startups should spend an average of 50% resources on strategic content distribution. If you want your product to rank high among the Google search results, you need to follow an appropriate marketing strategy. Every E-commerce startup needs to market their website and its products through different channels.Let’s see what Troop Messenger did to market the office communication application effectively– we wrote articles, blog posts, and created growth hacks around a variety of keywords and user intents to bring it at the first page of Google Search results.Points to be taken.High search volume and low keyword difficulty are crucial to building your content pillars. The same formula applies to high intent keywords for your niche. When people are searching for “Slack alternatives” it means they are already unhappy about Slack. And it’s our job at Troop Messenger to address their pain points in the post and offer them our tool that’s a great Slack alternatives.Here’s what we did:We first created a content marketing mission statement that outlines our target audience and the benefit they’ll get. Our mission statement included our goal of improving revenue, reducing marketing cost, getting more traffic, making more sales, increasing social media engagement and SEO success.Post that, we established our key performer indicators, which included hitting a certain revenue target, getting a certain number of email subscribers, increasing the site traffic, and getting more signups.Then, we spent our resources to assess our current position. We carried out a content audit to assess the usefulness and success of our articles and identified gaps. This way we found which content is widely shared, which piece needs improvements, which ones need to be removed, and what topics interest the readers.Our next step was to find out the best content channels, and identifying the main social networks where our articles and posts had maximum visibility and shares. In our case, most of the activity tool place through guest posts and blogs. We continued researching and refining our strategy for more details.Our final strategy was creating a content calendar where we scheduled all our contents. By using Google Calendar, we put dates for every piece of content and continue publishing quality material from time to time.SummaryDon’t become just another failed entrepreneur. Ask yourself the practical questions, research, analyze, and gain clarity. These new startup mistakes happen very commonly, over and over again. E-commerce stores and their trends change very frequently. Stay updated and always have the curiosity to learn more and find scope for improvement. Mohsin AnsariDigital Marketing Manager at Troop Messenger. Md Mohsin Ansari is a Digital Marketing Manager at Troop Messenger. He is accountable for analyzing the market trends, demographics, and dealing with all promotional and media channels. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture Related Posts Follow the Puck Tags:#Ecommerce business ideas#eCommerce marketing last_img read more

Activator packaging

first_imgToday I’ve posted a couple of documents that outline tools we have developed to deploy the activator tool in several Enterprise enviroments. gives an overview of the tool and the requirements is an example of a script and packaging tool used to deliver the Activator Utility and the syntax to initially provision systems and to keep the host name sychronized.last_img