Increasing GDP Through Gender Parity

When it comes to arguments in support of workplace gender equality, proponents typically describe the issues in terms of fundamental fairness. However, there is another approach currently afoot that is centered more around economic common sense.

The McKinsey Global Institute has released a report suggesting that the GDP of the United States could grow by an additional $2.1 trillion in just 20 years’ time if individual states made efforts to boost the female rate of workforce participation, raise their number of work hours and encourage them to enter employment sectors with greater productivity. The earning potential of American women has long been hampered by their traditional performance of nearly twice the amount of unpaid care taking than men, such as child rearing, housekeeping and more.

The assessment from McKinsey argues that states need to be emulating the progress on such issues that has been achieved by states including New York, Texas and North Carolina if the nation’s true potential is to be fully tapped.

Addressing the gulf in these areas could grow U.S. GDP by at least 5% in all states, with half of the country likely able to grow by no less than 10%, states the report. Of course, to achieve these goals, the country’s leadership must take steps to pump approximately $475 billion into the economy for the creation of over 6 million jobs and to pay for the child care services necessary to allow for the GDP-boosting workforce participation of women.

When analyzed in comparison with other nations, the United States is characterized by relatively low to moderate levels of overall gender disparity in terms of actual workforce presence, the number of women in professional roles and their degree of educational attainment. However, the United States ranks much higher on the inequality scale for things such as the number of women in leadership roles, the amount of unpaid care taking they do and their degree of political representation. The rates of teen pregnancy, single parenthood and other factors have also contributed to these disparities, the study reveals.

The primary author of the McKinsey study emphasizes that it will remain impossible to harness the $2 trillion potential, provided these societal gulfs are not directly addressed.

Issues of gender inequality have taken center stage in the current presidential race. Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton has argued that the economic well-being of American families depends on eliminating pay disparities based on gender, as have key members of the Obama administration.

Trade Show Displays

Many people know what trade show displays are when they see them, but they could not tell you much about them. There are a rather large variety of make and models for trade show displays. It all just depends on the type of display that you are looking for or the area that you will be advertising. There are several things to consider when purchasing trade show displays such as size, weight, cost, and mobility. Below is a list of some of the most popular forms of trade show displays.

Banner-up

The banner up is probably one of the most common trade show displays. It is unit with an average size of 3’ x 7’ that displays generally a vinyl banner. The nice thing about the banner-up display is that the poles easily pull out of the back of the display and the banner conveniently rolls up into the unit. The poles and unit can fit easily into a carrying bag that makes the transportation of the unit rather simple.

8’ POP-Up Display

trade show displaysThe 8’ pop-up display is more common for people that will not be supplied cubicles or specialized areas for their company. The display often can come with lights, and the carrying unit can convert into a podium. This is an excellent unit for someone that may have a large variety of information that they need to cover, will need to change information often, or would like to have a transportable back-drop for when they give their presentations.

Xpand Pop-up Displays

This are extremely cost effective displays that are extremely easy to setup. They come in a variety of sizes, but the setup consists of basically unfolding the display and giving it a little shake. The units a rather in expensive because they are made out board versus vinyl, so this is a great display option for a company that may need a large quantity of displays.

Trade show displays are a great way to extend the visibility of your company so that individuals attending a trade show can easily find your company. It is also a great way to be able to provide a decent amount of information that people can see as they are approaching. There are quite a large variety of displays, so it should be easy to find a display that fits your trade show needs rather easily. Just keep in mind that you have a limited amount of space available to you so do not order a display that will not fit in your area.

What is an advertisement plan (and its contents)?

Question by windleox: What is an advertisement plan (and its contents)?

I am asked to become an advertisement plan expert for my marketing class. That is I have to know what an advertisement plan is and what contents are in the plan.

I wouldn’t mind looking for reference in my school library, but I have no idea what keywords I should look for.

Any helps would be appreciated. Thank you.

Best answer:

Answer by ALASKA F

First you have to identify your market clientele Men/women/animals????
Then their demographics where they are what they do.
Target the group .Age, sex, preference, single married,……….
How do you reach them?
Sunbathers tow a banner on the beach……
Pilots at airport or flying magi zens……
scuba divers dive shops or magi zines…..
you get the picture
about 15% of your gross income should go back in to advertisement.
Be very careful where you spend you advertising dollar,
Possibly have a article written about your service in the trade publication for trade of the product, this only cost a small amount compared to the return,
Do some thing out-landesh to get attention, climb a tall building with your web site written on your back. hide out behind new paper reporters with your web site in the background.
Think if you were the one who wanted the product, where would you go to find it.
good luck there are a lot of people out there.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

Digital prototypes help university team get $550k+ in technology funding

The U.S. Dept. of Labor has a program in place, funded by H-1B visa fees, to increase the competitiveness of the American workforce. This program, called Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED), has an initiative under way in the state of Ohio called the Ohio Valley Interactive Technology Alliance (OVITA). OVITA is focused on developing a creative and academically prepared workforce and establishing the region as a center of excellence and innovation in the field of interactive digital technology, which includes the Immersive Internet.

OVITA works with three state universities — Ohio University, Kent State University and Shawnee State University — as well as community colleges and high schools. As with any publicly-funded initiative these days, leadership has to work very hard to justify how money gets spent. Thomas Stead, the Associate Director for Education for OVITA and former department chair at Shawnee State University, recently shared with me some experiences he has had using immersive technology to positively influence budget decision makers. Continue reading

Change is under way at ThinkBalm

Disruptive-thinker-bus-SMALLAt ThinkBalm we’ve had a couple of great years as industry analysts dedicated to covering work-related use of immersive technologies—an early-stage, emerging technology market. We have worked with some terrific people at great client organizations like Altadyn, BP, Chevron, Forterra Systems (now part of SAIC), Linden Lab, Moondus, ProtonMedia, Teleplace, and Tandem Learning. We’ve published nine comprehensive reports spanning market overview, business value, technology selection, barriers to adoption, and best practices—and made this research freely available via our Web site. We launched the ThinkBalm Innovation Community, grew it to more than 470 members, and hosted more than 35 facilitated work sessions, training sessions, and networking events. More than half of our research reports arose directly out of ThinkBalm Innovation Community activities. Continue reading

ThinkBalm Innovation Community is now Tandem Learning Innovation Community

After we broke the news that we planned to disband the ThinkBalm Innovation Community, members of the community expressed lots of interest in finding new leadership for the community moving forward. We are excited to announce that effective immediately, Tandem Learning will assume the community management responsibilities of the newly named Tandem Learning Innovation Community.

The value of this community is in the membership and the collective wisdom and experience of the group, and Tandem’s focus on new technology, user experience, learning design, and strategic business innovation allows them to touch on the areas of interest that bind our community together. We believe the leadership at Tandem is committed to maintaining the integrity of the community while finding new and exciting ways to add value to everyone who participates.

Exciting times are ahead for all of us and we’re looking forward to what happens next! Continue reading

In the name of engagement, InXpo adds game features to its platform

Computer and video games are big—and they’re on their way to becoming big in the workplace. According to the Entertainment Software Association, people in 68% of American households play computer or video games. And according to the NPD group, a global provider of consumer and retail market research information, the average number of hours gamers spend online gaming has increased to 8.0 hours per week in 2010 from 7.3 hours per week in 2009.

When you combine this with the fact that people learn—and have always learned—new skills and information by playing games and engaging in competition, it becomes clear that game concepts and mechanics are destined to be transformed into business tools. It is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Games in the workplace can increase engagement and productivity; help employees set priorities, share resources, and meet goals; facilitate team-building; and help organizations discover untapped leadership skills. (For great insights on these and other aspects of games in the workplace I highly recommend the book Total Engagement (2010) by Byron Reeves and J. Leighton Read. Another great book on the topic is Learning in 3D (2010) by Karl Kapp and Tony O’Driscoll.)

InXpo recognizes this potential and is dipping a toe in the gaming waters

InXpo customers deploy the InXpo Virtual Events platform for a wide range of purposes such as trade shows, meetings and conferences, career fairs, learning and training, and persistent virtual offices. Today, InXpo announced a new offering called InXpo Social Suite. This add-on to the InXpo Virtual Events Platform, slated for general availability in early May, will incorporate games and social network integration. The thinking behind this is that by offering increasingly compelling content and activities, InXpo customers (let’s call them hosts) can increase the engagement of users (let’s call them participants), thereby obtaining benefits such as improved knowledge retention, higher customer satisfaction scores, and increased revenues.

InXpo is working with a game design team from Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy to create a set of lightweight, casual computer games. The first two games InXpo will offer are a trivia challenge and word scramble. InXpo hopes to have 5 or 10 games in its library by the end of the year. Event hosts will be able to configure the games to reinforce learning objectives or advertise event sponsors’ products, for example. The system will track participants’ points and advancement in the game and list high scorers on a leaderboard.

What it means for business decision makers

If you are looking for ways to increase engagement—for example, increase the amount of time prospects spend on your Web site or attending your virtual conference or trade show, or retain employees or customers longer—adding games to your interaction portfolio may be a boon. Especially games that have a strong social element and allow people to compete with each other in a fun, challenging way.

If you feel uneasy about incorporating InXpo’s game elements into live customer interactions, start with internal trials. Perhaps hold an all-hands meeting or a regional sales meeting in the environment and solicit feedback from participants about their experiences with the game technology.

InXpo’s efforts to incorporate games and game mechanics into enterprise software isn’t new; providers of 3D enterprise immersive software have been offering game mechanics in their products for several years. But the launch of InXpo Social Suite is another sign that the market is driving immersive software toward richer, more engaging environments, regardless of underlying technology.

Immersive tech for meetings/conferences must be scalable and easy to use

In our January “trends” blog post, we predicted that 2010 would be a year of churn in the emerging enterprise immersive software market. It’s only a few months into the year and already a rapid-fire series of events has occurred, setting many industry participants on edge:

  • Forterra Systems was acquired by SAIC (see our February 8, 2010 post about it here).
  • Oracle discontinued funding Sun Project Wonderland (now called Open Wonderland) (see our March 1, 2010 post about it here).
  • Key roles on Linden Lab’s enterprise team were folded into the broader organization and several folks on the enterprise team have moved on, including former general manager Chris Collins.
  • Virtual Worlds Management, the company that has held Virtual World Expo and 3DTLC conferences since 2007, renamed itself Engage Digital Media and has de-emphasized its focus on virtual worlds. The 3DTLC conference and 3DTLC.net blog have been suspended. 3DLTC.net editorial content has been folded back in to VirtualWorldsNews.com.

Continue reading

Pseudo-3D immersive tech adopters illuminate business decisions

I recently spoke with three business decision makers who have been involved with deployment of pseudo-3D immersive environments in their organizations or for their customers. I spoke with Michael Doyle, executive director and editor of the Virtual Edge Institute; Kate Spellman, senior VP and managing director of UBM Studios; and Caroline Avey, director of innovative learning solutions at ACS Learning Services. We talked about why they are using pseudo-3D immersive technology rather than alternatives.

Pseudo-3D is used for conferences and trade shows—but it doesn’t stop there

When you think of virtual event platforms from companies like InXpo, ON24, and Unisfair, what likely comes to mind is large virtual conferences and trade shows. Here are a couple of examples:

  • The Virtual Edge Summit. This conference, which was focused on virtual events, meetings and communities, was held over two days in February, 2010—both online and in Santa Clara, California. Michael Doyle, the executive director of the Virtual Edge Institute, said that 400 people attended in person and 600 attended online.
  • COMDEX. COMDEX was a computer industry trade show last held in 2003. The event had become massive, with more than 200,000 visitors and 2,300 exhibitors. UBM Studios will bring COMDEX back this November as an online event focused on the show’s original audience: the high tech channel. Kate Spellman, senior VP and managing director of UBM Studios, said they expect to have about 35 exhibitors and 3,000 attendees.

While large conferences and trade shows certainly represent the bulk of usage to date, we’re starting to organizations use pseudo-3D immersive software software in other innovative ways. For example, ACS Learning Services held a launch event in January, 2010 for a new company-wide innovation program that leverages an idea management system. The company deployed the Unisfair platform for the launch event and now is leaving it up and running, for one year, to function as a portal for employees who want to learn about the innovation program and the idea management system. The idea behind the portal is to enable self-directed, discovery-based learning, a place to launch the program, a vehicle for social-networking to discuss ideas, and a front door to the formal learning via a deep link to both the learning management system and the idea generation system. The Unisfair platform provides a level of engagement above and beyond what people get from just the learning management system and a webinar.

Pseudo-3D technology meets requirements for scale and ease of use

Vendors like InXpo, ON24, Unisfair and others offer pseudo-3D immersive environments that can scale to tens of thousands of simultaneous users by giving participants the illusion that they are in a 3D environment, rather than delivering a full 3D experience. (See the related March 26, 2010 ThinkBalm blog article, “Pseudo-3D is a rising star, keeping barriers to adoption low.”) In a nutshell:

  • Hundreds or thousands of event attendees requires a highly scalable solution. About 600 people attended Virtual Edge Institute’s Virtual Edge Summit online, accompanying another 400 who attended physically. UBM Studios is expecting 35 exhibitors and about 3,500 attendees at this fall’s COMDEX trade show. Caroline Avey, director of innovative learning solutions at ACS Learning Services, said, “Because we have 15,000 employees located in 170 countries, there is just no way we could have brought everyone together for a physical launch event.” None of the 3D immersive technologies can support this number of simultaneous users being in the same virtual place at the same time.
  • Ease of use sometimes means that browser-based technology is the only real option. At ACS Learning Services, the project team had only six weeks to create the learning objects, design the experience, and customize the Unisfair environment. This required a solution that was simple to configure and deploy. Also, the team had limited insight into the computer setups and Internet access of employees around the globe. This required that a solution that adhered to the least common denominator; it had to be Web-based, with no plug-in.

Hybrid events will move beyond parallel experiences as technology and behavior evolve

A hybrid event is a meeting, conference, or trade show that some speakers and audience members attend physically while others attend virtually. Due to technical complexity and the habits of presenters and attendees, hybrid events are largely parallel events today. Networking activities are segregated: people attending physically mingle amongst themselves, apart from remote attendees. Speakers tend to address one audience or the other (physical or virtual)—not both at the same time.

With the Virtual Edge Summit, which took place in February, 2010, the Virtual Edge Institute has started to tackle some of these issues by:

  • Connecting attendees with electronic communication tools. The event producers set up a Twitter hashtag (#ve10) and encouraged attendees to tweet throughout the event. The producers set up a dedicated screen in some of the meeting rooms to display tweets in real-time, and tried to incorporate tweets into the Q&A discussion. InXpo, one of the virtual event platforms used during the Virtual Edge Summit, provides voice over IP integration with Skype, which enabled participants who were attending via InXpo Virtual Events Platform to communicate with each other via text, voice, or video chat. But participants attending via other virtual event platforms, or in person, had no way of joining in on these Skype conversations.
  • Attempting to cross the visual divide. The producers streamed video of speakers presenting remotely into the physical meeting room, where it was displayed on a screen. Likewise, presentations that took place on-site were streamed out to the virtual environments. Participants attending remotely could watch live video of the speakers presenting. This visual integration was limited to the presenters only. The on-site and remote audiences had no visual connection to each other.

My take: pseudo-3D immersive technology meets some burning business needs

My conversations with these early adopters confirm what I’ve been hearing from others. First, pseudo-3D technology meets requirements for scale and ease of use. When it’s not practical or possible to bring thousands of people together physically, pseudo-3D immersive technology provides an alternative. Full 3D solutions cannot scale to meet this need (yet). Second, pseudo-3D immersive technology will increasingly be used not just for large conferences and trade shows but other things as well, such as training. ACS Learning Services’ use of the technology as a learning portal is a great example.

And third, while hybrid events are largely parallel experiences today, they will move beyond this as technology and behavior evolve. I envision a time in the not-too-distant future when the walls of physical meeting rooms will be lined with displays showing the virtual audience’s communications (and avatars, when they exist), and the virtual meeting rooms will display not only streaming video of speakers but of the entire physical audience. Communication tools and networking opportunities will be available to all participants, whether on-site or remote. Speakers will become accustomed to having distributed audiences, and will more naturally be able to include them in their presentations and discussions.

Pseudo-3D is a rising star, keeping barriers to adoption low

As analysts covering work-related use of immersive technologies, we have long wrestled with terminology to describe the trends we are tracking and put some bounds around an emerging software market. We aren’t the only ones; naming conventions continue to be a popular topic of discussion at meetings and conferences (see the Sept. 28, 2009 ThinkBalm blog article, “To cross the chasm, we must close the language gap.”) The question always seems to come back to, “Do we call it virtual worlds?”

Our answer has consistently been no. We use the term Immersive Internet to describe the big picture. 3D virtual worlds are, of course, an important part of the Immersive Internet—but they are not the whole picture. A glaring example is the adoption of pseudo-3D virtual event platforms from companies like InXpo, ON24, and Unisfair. Enterprises are utilizing virtual event platforms for marketing events, trade shows, training sessions, and more—all use cases that are also targeted by providers of 3D immersive software.

The name game is a red herring

The more important issue is, “What do the trends in adoption of immersive technology mean?” Our recent research findings shed light on our position to include both 3D and pseudo-3D in our coverage of enterprise immersive software:

  • Look where the money is. In our January 19, 2010 ThinkBalm report, The Enterprise Immersive Software Decision-Making Guide, we sized the enterprise immersive software market at $50M USD in 2009. A substantial portion of this number revenue was from pseudo-3D virtual events.
  • Production deployments tell a story. All together, the virtual event platform vendors hosted several thousand virtual events in 2009—InXpo alone delivered more than 1,000 500 and ON24 delivered more than 300. We don’t see any evidence of the pseudo-3D virtual events market slowing down.
  • Customers are lumping it all together. The customers who buy immersive technology are placing little distinction between 3D and pseudo-3D (depending on the use case, of course). They want to solve their business problem; they don’t care about the nitty gritty of how it gets done. Many times we have talked with decision makers who are looking at both 3D and pseudo-3D solutions for bringing a few hundred people together for a virtual off-site event.

Pseudo-3D faces fewer barriers to adoption than 3D

When pseudo-3D wins out over a 3D virtual world (e.g., Second Life or ReactionGrid), 3D collaboration environment (e.g., ProtonMedia or Teleplace), or 3D immersive learning environment (e.g., ARI PowerU or SAIC’s Forterra OLIVE), it’s often because the barriers to adoption were lower (see table). (We covered barriers to adoption, and springboards for overcoming them, in depth in the September 23, 2009, ThinkBalm report, Crossing the Chasm, One Implementation at a Time.)

Barriers to adoption of 3D immersive technology Effect these barriers have on pseudo-3D immersive technology adoption
Technology pre-requisites:

  • Graphics card
  • Computer processing power
  • Disk space
  • Computer headset
  • Permissions to install client software or browser plugin
Pseudo-3D technology runs in a Web browser, with no plugin required. High-end graphics cards and computer processors are not needed.Computer headsets are not necessary (though may be desirable) because users are typically not speaking to each other via voice. Audio from presentations can utilize built-in computer speakers.
Technology pre-requisite: high-bandwidth Internet connection While rich 3D graphics are not being rendered in pseudo-3D environments, video streams are common and can be bandwidth hogs in locations where multiple people are watching video from separate computers simultaneously.
Firewall prevents users from being able to interact with others or the environment. Because the software runs in a Web browser, the needed firewall port is already open.
The user experience:

  • Non-gamers struggle with the user interface
  • Common input devices (e.g., keyboard and mouse) are ill-suited to 3D environments

 

The user experience is familiar to anyone who’s used a browser and attended a web conference. People are accustomed to using keyboards and mice to interact with the Web.

Our take: pseudo-3D is on the rise

  • Market forces support an inclusive definition of immersive technology. Some immersive environments are virtual worlds, but an increasing number are not. They are 3D or pseudo-3D collaboration tools, learning environments, or event platforms. We anticipate that over time, the lines between 3D and pseudo-3D will blur. 3D technologies are constantly pushing the limits of scalability and vendors are starting to include measurement tools, while pseudo-3D vendors are going after training use cases and always-on, persistent environments.
  • Mainstream adoption will follow the path of least resistance. Tremendous power is built into 3D environments, especially when they are combined with communication and collaboration tools. But technology adoption has to be simple for the end user. A “DIY” toolbox or a super-rich 3D environment may not be the path of least resistance. If pseudo-3D continues to outpace 3D in ease of adoption, this is where the customers will go.
  • The technology has to be browser-based—or as easy to use and manage as a browser. Our research has illuminated a number of barriers to adoption of 3D environments that could be circumvented with a simpler, more familiar user interface and streamlined deployment options. Browser technology minimizes installation issues, firewall port issues, and a number of other practical problems. On top of that, browser-based immersive technology fits in with the way people are already working; business applications are increasingly web-based, as are collaboration tools and office productivity software.