Monthly Archives: November 2013

Category: E-Business, Technology

Life with Google Glass – The First Look

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google-glass2-b910424100ec7c2fc4b6efd0f280d51613e864db-s6-c30Mid-summer, Google introduced its Google Glass to what they termed “Explorers.” This early adopter group wrote essays, composed songs and begged and pleaded as to why they should be one of the first 10,000 people to receive the Glass. With the most recent revision to Glass in late October, these early Explorers were given the opportunity to invite three friends to purchase one. I was one of the lucky people to receive such an invite. At $1,500, the Glass isn’t a cheap date, but it certainly showcases current technology, as well as what the opportunities will be in the wearable space.

So, what is Glass? Well, think of it as glasses with or without lenses (the second version adds both clear and dark lenses to look a bit less geeky) with a display that sits over your right eye, just above your line of sight. Embedded in the right temple is a speaker with a micro-USB jack (for charging and connecting to an earphone), an integrated touchpad to tap and swipe through the Glass menus and content, a microphone for voice control, and the processor and battery.

What Does It Do?
In short, Glass lets you do quite a few of the most common tasks you use your smartphone to do each day. Glass connects to your phone through Wi-Fi, or it can pair up with any Bluetooth enabled phone and use its 3G or 4G data. Features include:

  • Web searching and surfing
  • Taking photos and videos via an integrated camera
  • Getting directions (very useful)
  • Sending voice text messages
  • Making phone calls
  • Getting everything from sports scores to weather to your questions answered

Think of Glass as a heads-up browser/smartphone with superior voice command control.

How Does It Work?
Most functions are controlled through a combination of taps on the touchpad and your voice. A tap wakes up the glass and shows the current time. “OK Glass” (you will get very used to this one) starts any voice command. So, “OK Glass, Today’s Weather” brings up not only a visual of local weather (GPS helps to narrow), but also the extended forecast along with a voice that says, “It’s 38 degrees with overcast skies and a chance for rain tonight.” Swiping on the touchpad takes you to visual forecast and a swipe downward takes you back to a home card screen.

A press of the button above your right eye takes a picture using the integrated camera. A menu in the display shows you the photo and allows you to share it by saying, “Share with Facebook”. You can even speak the update to accompany the picture and away it goes. The photo and status uploads to Facebook without raising a finger.

Possibilities are limitless. For example, before giving a presentation, I experimented with loading the presentation to Glass to act as a teleprompter of sorts for viewing my slides as I spoke to them. Very cool.

What’s Next?

With a week under my belt using Glass, it has become quite intriguing to keep testing its limits. Many have tried them on and had fun playing with searches, trying to stump Glass, taking photos and more. The “Guest Mode” can be turned on when lending them to your friends. Overall, it’s been a great experience thus far and I am looking forward to seeing what else Glass can do. More to come in future articles and if you see me at meetings or other events, don’t be shy about asking to try them out. If you have questions about Glass, drop me a note or follow me on Twitter @MelterBFDS.

 

Category: Social Media

LinkedIn Part Two: Best Practices for Maintaining an Effective LinkedIn Presence

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professionals networking on laptops - 141733451In Part One of my LinkedIn series I convinced you that LinkedIn is the one social network that you really need to be a part of. Now you’re ready to join and have maybe already signed up for an account. But being a part of LinkedIn means more than just signing up; it requires some degree of maintenance which some people may find overwhelming. To take away some of this “social anxiety” I’ve compiled five simple tips to help you maintain an effective LinkedIn presence:

  1. Include a picture: LinkedIn gives you the ability to include a picture on your profile. This is the number one thing you can do to add authenticity to your LinkedIn presence. Adding a picture to your profile helps your colleagues and other connections put a name to a face. When deciding on a picture a professional headshot is best. If you don’t have a headshot, choose something simple. Exclude other people and background distractions.
  2. Use a descriptive by-line: Under your name there is a by-line field. Some people put their job title here and some people include a broad explanation of their role or field.  I suggest including both your job title and your company in this space. This allows people to quickly identify you and determine how you might be relevant to them.
  3. Update your profile often: Adding job responsibilities, skills, and achievements to your profile as you acquire them will guarantee that your profile is up to date. Updating as things happen will help you remember everything you have done and ensure that you are not scrambling for information when you need it. Additionally, frequent edits to your profile will keep you top-of-mind in your network.
  4. Connect with everyone you meet: While this may seem excessive at first, it is really the best way to build your online network. Right after you meet a new colleague, partner, or vendor use LinkedIn to connect right away. This will help them remember you and makes sure that you have a direct connection with them if you need it in the future.
  5. Recommendations and Endorsements – Give and you shall receive: LinkedIn provides a mechanism for its members to provide each other with recommendations and endorsements. An endorsement is a one-click recognition of someone’s skills and expertise, while a recommendation is a longer write-up of someone’s work and achievements. These recommendations and endorsements add value to your profile and legitimize the information you have written about yourself. Take the time to give them to other people in your network and hopefully people will take time to return the favor.

Maintaining a social media presence is not something that should make you stressed or anxious. Connecting with business contacts digitally should in fact make your life easier. If you follow these five tips you’ll not only look like a social media pro, but you’ll also start to reap the benefits of participating in a social network.

Category: Social Media

Social Media Tip: Static vs. Interactive Content

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Risk and Reward Street SignsThe interactive nature of social media makes it a more risky marketing tool than static advertising or email campaigns. Yet, it is really no more risky than the interactive engagement that advisors, wholesalers, and investors engage in each day on the phone. It is just a whole lot more public.

Still, FINRA and the SEC have cautioned our industry about the use of social media. They have outlined specific regulations, rules, and recommendations that we must follow to join the social conversation. This makes it seem like social media is risky, complex, and something financial firms should avoid.

Of course, at one time in the past even the tried-and-true methods were perceived as new and risky. The regulations and rules around email communication crippled the adoption of that tool for years and spurred a whole industry of risk-mitigating solutions.

While social media seems risky, with an understanding of the rules and a thoughtful approach firms can mitigate the risk and reap the social rewards. To help dispel some of the confusion and risk, below is a link to excerpt from a webinar hosted by Finect that covers the difference between FINRA’s view of Static Content and Interactive Content.

Statics vs. Interactive Content – What Rules Apply?

Category: E-Business, Technology

2nd Annual Gadget Guide

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gadget guideIt’s the holiday season, so of course you’ll be going online (or to the stores) to check out the latest and greatest. Here are some hot items from the tech side of things to make you the coolest person ever.

FitBit – $129 www.fitbit.com
Track steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and active minutes throughout the day, and at night, track your sleep patterns and habits. The wristband syncs wirelessly with your devices and your PC, and also can be set to see how you are doing compared to your friends. Get up from the desk chair and start moving! Tip: Wait for the new FitBit Force wristband to come out in 3-4 weeks.

Netatmo – $99 www.netatmo.com

When paired with both indoor and outdoor sensors, get weather statistics, indoor and outdoor air quality, trends, alerts, forecasts and more on your phone or tablet. Forget about that old plastic outdoor thermometer with the suction cup on the window.

Google Glass 2 – $1,500 (by invite only)www.google.com/glass

If you are lucky enough to get an invite, you can experience the next generation Google Glass. While you may look really geeky (OK, you will look really geeky), these are truly on the forefront of the wearable device trend. I was one of those lucky people and will be writing about my Glass experience in the upcoming months.

Nest Protect – $129 www.nest.com

The latest from the Nest folks brings innovation to the smoke and carbon monoxide detector market. With speaking alerts, easy silencing and remote monitoring, it introduces new features to a market that hasn’t changed in decades. Tip: If your home has many detectors, wait until 2014 when the new model will interconnect with them, rather than spend some big bucks to outfit your entire house with Nests.

Anki Drive – $200 www.anki.com/ankidrive

When robotics meet hot wheels and your smartphone. Up to four players can race, battle, or do tricks on the Anki mat, with as many features and customizations as you can handle. Very cool, but a bit pricey, so don’t get your kids hooked.

Google Chromecast – $35 www.google.com/chromecast

Simply plug this into any HDTV, connect it to WiFi, then send movies, shows, music and more from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your TV with the press of a button. You can stream YouTube, Google Play Movies, Netflix and Hulu Plus. Hopefully future updates will bring in other popular options like Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go. At $35, it’s a bargain if the future updates pan out.

Cambrionix Series 8 Intelligent Charging Station – $350 www.cambrionix.com

The first charging station that not only can handle all of your devices, but adapts to each one individually to provide the proper voltage for the fastest battery-protecting charge. Looks great with its aluminum and glass design and has the “brains” to back it up. Coming soon to the US markets.

GoPro Hero3+ – $399 www.gopro.com

The leader in the action-camera market. Compact, tough, and tons of mounts make it easy to record your ski run, bike trip, rafting excursion, dive trip and more. Great video quality and good battery life make it the hands down choice.

Impossible Instant Lab – $300 www.the-impossible-project.com

Going old school. Take a photo with your iPhone 4/4S/5/5S and within seconds, the instant lab ejects the image as an old school Polaroid photo, ready to develop before your eyes. Don’t know what Polaroid is? Ask your parents.

Playstation 4 $399 vs. Xbox One – $499www.sony.com and www.xbox.com

The market heats up with the next generation of consoles just in time for the holidays. Both are far more than just gaming consoles –  with Blu-Ray players, motion sensing cameras and other add-ons, they become entertainment hubs.

Gadgets in the “Pre Order” Phase

BitLock – $99 www.bitlock.co

This heavy-duty, U-lock style bike lock reads a signal from your phone or other Bluetooth device and is truly keyless. It unlocks when you get within 3 feet of it. Easy and fast and one less key to keep track of, and it records your bike location via GPS as well. Preorder on Kickstarter now.

Monsieur Robotic Bartender – $2,300 www.monsieur.co

Makes hundreds of drinks at the press of a button and has a “boss” button for a heavier pour. The life of the party! Pre-order on Kickstarter now.

Coin $100 ($50 preorder) www.onlycoin.com

Coin works with your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards. Instead of carrying several cards you carry one Coin. Multiple accounts and information are all in one place.  Coin works with your phone for setup and card management. Thanks to Tracy Shelby for this one! Preorder now for a summer 2014 delivery.

Share your feedback with me on Twitter @MelterBFDS.

Click here to download a printable version: 2nd Annual Gadget Guide

Category: Compliance, Settlement Administration

SEC – Tough on Enforcement

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Washington CapitolOn October 9th, Madeline FitzGerald and I attended the Securities Enforcement Forum 2013 in Washington D.C. Since Boston Financial’s Settlement Administration Solutions group is now part of the SEC’s administrator pool for settlements, we often participate in industry events like this to increase awareness of our services and stay current with trends in enforcement.

The Forum was a one-day conference bringing together current and former senior SEC and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) officials, securities enforcement and white-collar attorneys, in-house counsel and compliance executives from investment firms, broker dealers, and mutual funds, as well as other top professionals in the field.  With CNN and other news affiliates covering the event, it was truly a who’s who of securities enforcement.

Watching the panelists spar on certain topics enabled us to view issues from the varying perspectives of regulators, defense counsels, and industry experts.  When you are used to seeing regulations in black and white and hope you understand them, you feel a little better when you realize that regulators and experts debate on what a certain clause “really” means.

What stood out the most for me was the keynote speech of Mary Jo White, current chair of the SEC. She spoke with great conviction about the SEC being the “tough cop,” where potential corrupt individuals would know that the SEC was watching for issues, big and small. Mary Jo stressed that “broken windows”, seemingly ignored because no one cares, would be a critical focus for enforcement to reinforce the message that the SEC is to be “felt and feared”.

Recently, Theresa Hamacher, President of NICSA, posted a link to an article concerning a six month review of the SEC under Mary Jo White – “Bold and Unrelenting Enforcement from the SEC: A Six Month Review” – authored by Terence Healy of Columbia Law. Click here to read the article.

Time will tell just how well the SEC’s agenda plays out.