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‘Practical techie:’ Deep fishing in the seas of cyberspace

Author Rafael Matos is professor of multimedia at a private university and director of the Caribbean Multimedia Center, a nonprofit media lab focusing on closing the digital divide. Questions should be sent to cccrafael@gmail.com.

Author Rafael Matos is professor of multimedia at a private university and director of the Caribbean Multimedia Center, a nonprofit media lab focusing on closing the digital divide. Questions should be sent to cccrafael@gmail.com.

The Web is full of useful data analysis for small business professionals. It’s all out there in a vast ocean of binary information just waiting to be fished out by the deft explorer.

The Practical Techie is always scouring the Web for useful facts to help small biz folks diligently close the digital divide or to stay afloat over so much change, innovation and perpetual technological updating.

If one could squeeze a slide presentation like a juicy orange — done just such last week by one by Vala Afshar — this column is the extract. His analysis about usage trends in the Web provides hands-on data for Puerto Rican entrepreneurship.

Afshar’s is a long-winded, very technical dissection on a world scale, but in essence it’s all about mega trends affecting every business, including mobile, social media, cloud computing, apps and using big data out there in the global markets. By extrapolation, the concepts apply for good market strategy to any small biz in Puerto Rico.

So here it goes.

Business people should keep a very, very close eye on usage trends for mobile platforms. Experts agree that mobile platforms — smartphones, tablets, public screens and soon, wearable electronic devices — are empowering this 21st century, common folks with key consumer information like no other time in human history.

The numbers say that by 2015, smartphone users will outnumber PC users and that by the end of 2013, some 200 million tablets will be sold. Some 30 percent of U.S. clients say the cell phone is the first and last gadget they check at the start and end of each workday. I have already stated in a previous column that our daily lives revolve around three screens, the mobile phone, the computer and the TV set.

For merchandisers, here’s the clincher statistic: today, 50 percent of consumers use a mobile device in any purchasing process. And…90 percent of searches with mobile devices lead to action.

So fish where the fish are, says the expert Afshar.

Then the analytics moves on to the social media sphere. An IBM Generation C study indicates that 85 percent of network users rely on social media to help in deciding on a purchase, a reality that has moved 93 percent of marketers to use the medium for branding.

The power of social media usage is so pervasive, according to Afshar’s research that U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 are more influenced by YouTube content than cable-TV. This is a fact, even though 70 percent of YouTube content comes from outside the United States, according to a Nielsen poll.

Baby boomers also count
But it’s not all about youth markets alone. Pew Institute research shows that the fastest growing segment of Twitter users is in the 55 to 64 age bracket. Baby boomers. In terms of Facebook versus LinkedIn, the latter is 200 percent more effective in generating sales leads.

Also, the Global Web Index states that the visual web is now driving the rise of Pinterest and Tumblr usage on a nonstop basis. Fish where…

Other studies indicate what we already suspect. Cloud computing will replace the PC as the spot in cyberspace where we will store our content in the near future. This new technology will generate 14 million new jobs worldwide.

Something to think about when our hard drive crashes again mercilessly. We also need to ponder also about how safe and private is our personal content in the digital cloud. This new tech is already generating $100 billion in paid storage services within the global market.

Why the surge?

Companies save mucho money in hardware, maintenance and replacement costs by using the public cloud model, the experts say.

And now that we are talking billions, the cloud has already accumulated one exabyte in storage as of 2013. That’s 1.1 bullion gigabytes of binary data.

This finally brings us to Big Data. Afshar’s research demonstrates that 2.5 billion new gigabytes of information flood the Web every day. Although small enterprise does not generate huge chunks of data, as business grows, the old hard drive becomes more congested and less reliable. Something else to think about.

Vala Afshar, who I have never met, is the chief marketing officer and chief customer officer for Enterasys Networks, responsible for global marketing and customer service and support operations.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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