Monthly Archives: February 2019

Tech Meets Travel: Switchfly Announces New CEO and EVP

News provided by
Switchfly
Jan 28, 2019, 07:00 ET

With enterprise software executive Craig Brennan joining as CEO and travel industry expert Alan Josephs as EVP of Product and Marketing, Switchfly continues to transform travel with cutting-edge technology and solutions

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Switchfly, the leading travel ecommerce platform that powers dynamic packaging, loyalty, and other online travel solutions for airlines, financial services companies, hotels and other travel brands across the globe, has announced two additions to its executive leadership team that will support the company’s continued efforts to drive innovation and create value for its customers.

Craig Brennan joins as CEO and will set Switchfly’s strategic direction and lead it into the future. Craig has over 25 years of senior executive experience in SaaS and enterprise software companies, including serving as CEO of Brio Software, Overtone, and QuickMobile. Craig was previously EVP of Global CRM at Oracle, a Partner at Deloitte Consulting (where he built and led the worldwide Siebel CRM Practice), and an Associate Partner at Accenture leading the Products Change Management Practice.

“Switchfly has earned its reputation as a market leader because it delivers an innovative solution to real challenges in the travel sector – and has done so for the last decade,” said Brennan. “I look forward to advancing our leadership and position in the market, and to continuously improving our unique platform, and continuing to strengthen our travel, dynamic packaging, and loyalty products.”

Adding Travel Industry Expertise

Alan Josephs joins as Switchfly’s EVP of Product, Partnerships and Marketing. With 25 years of travel industry leadership experience, Alan previously served as Chief Marketing Officer for Allianz Global Assistance, and was CEO of Perfect Escapes, an online travel startup focused on luxury hotels. Before that he spent six years at Orbitz Worldwide as the Managing Director of ebookers and as the GM & VP of Product Development for the Complex Travel business. He has also held leadership roles at Travelzoo, Travelocity, Hyatt Vacations, and Preview Travel.

“Having spent my career in the travel industry and in ecommerce specifically, I’ve worked with many of the major travel brands that will benefit from Switchfly’s solutions,” said Josephs. “I’m excited to be a part of this dynamic company, and to be working with Craig and the rest of the senior leadership to continue delivering the best possible travel e-commerce solutions to our customers.”

With both executives bringing travel and technology expertise, Switchfly will continue to disrupt the travel e-commerce landscape with the largest, most robust network of content and ancillaries in the marketplace. Together they will drive more sophisticated revenue-generating products and build upon the breadth, flexibility and scale of Switchfly’s industry-leading travel retail solutions.

To schedule an interview with CEO Craig Brennan or EVP Alan Josephs, please contact Emily Bowe at ebowe@thinkinkpr.com. For more information about Switchfly, please visit www.switchfly.com.

About Switchfly    
Switchfly is a leading travel ecommerce platform that powers dynamic packaging, loyalty and other online travel solutions for airlines, financial services companies, hotels and other travel brands across the globe, helping them drive incremental revenues, maximize conversion rates and increase consumer engagement. Through the company’s data-driven approach and its global network of ancillary merchandise for activity, air, car, hotel and insurance, Switchfly allows brands to optimize their inventory and revenue management and create relevant, personalized experiences for their customers. Switchfly partners with many of the globe’s best-recognized airlines (including American Airlines, LATAM and Avianca); loyalty programs (including IAG Avios and American Airlines Advantage); hospitality groups (including InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts); and financial service companies (including American Express and MasterCard). For more information, please visit www.switchfly.com.

Media Contact
Emily Bowe
ebowe@thinkinkpr.com
+1.305.7495342 x 246

SOURCE Switchfly

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Sprint Sues AT&T Over ‘5G E’ Branding

Dan Jones
News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor – For Light Reading

2/8/2019

Sprint is suing AT&T and claiming that the labeling of its 4G-Advanced services as “5G E” on many 4G smartphones is “deceptive.”

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) filed a complaint against AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) Thursday evening with the New York State Southern District court accusing AT&T of “deceptive advertising” over the “5G Evolution” service.

“AT&T has employed numerous deceptive tactics to mislead consumers into believing that it currently offers a coveted and highly anticipated fifth-generation wireless network, known as 5G,” Sprint said in the complaint. “What AT&T touts as 5G, however, is nothing more than an enhanced fourth-generation Long Term Evolution wireless service, known as 4G LTE Advanced, which is offered by all other major wireless carriers.”

The crux of the issue, Sprint notes, is that AT&T used a “software update to change the screens of mobile phones and tablets operating on the AT&T 4G LTE Advanced network to indicate falsely that these devices are connected to a 5G network.”

AT&T offers a number of modern Apple and Samsung smartphones that display the “5G E” branding on screen when using LTE-A connections.

AT&T’s CEO responded on CNBC’s Squawk Box show Friday that the AT&T offering is evolutionary but not deceptive. “We’re being very clear with our customers that this is an evolutionary step.” Randall Stephenson said. (AT&T executives have also previously defended the marketing, see AT&T’s Donovan Defends the Carrier’s 5G Fibs.)

Rival carriers have also widely panned AT&T’s move. (See Verizon, AT&T Spar Over 5G Service Names, Marketing.)

The kerfuffle over the “5G E” branding initially started in the press back in January. AT&T, however, started updating a planned 400 4G markets as with LTE Advanced upgrades, such as updated antenna arrays back in April 2018. (See AT&T Rolls Out Faux 5G in 100+ US Markets.)

Sprint is seeking to block AT&T from using “5G E” or other related terms with this complaint.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

NRF 2019: 3 Takeaways from Retail’s ‘Big Show’

Experts gathered to share successes and aspirations around data, intelligent automation, security and more.

 

Retail isn’t dead — far from it. But that doesn’t mean times aren’t changing for stores everywhere. Perhaps the most popular sentiment during The National Retail Federation’s Big Show this year was that customer demands are skyrocketing. With more choices than ever, shoppers expect retail stores to fire on all cylinders — online, in-store, mobile, across channels — and retailers are digging in to seek ways to deliver across all platforms.

“Twenty, even 10 years ago, retail interactions were so focused on the store. They still are today, but you then need to think about all the other places you need to meet your customer across every single touchpoint, whether that be on Instagram, on social media, whether that be on their mobile phone, whether that be in a marketing campaign,” Oracle’s Senior Director of Product Strategy Katrina Gosek tells BizTech.

Several retailers and experts at the conference shared stories that offer valuable insights into how they are tackling this new landscape. Here are three takeaways from the show:

1. Big Data and Analytics Take Retail to the Next Level

For retailers right now, no resource is more precious than data.

This is particularly true as brands seek to personalize customer experiences online. Gosek notes that collecting data across all touchpoints and bringing it together is key to crafting a personalized customer journey.

But in-store operations can also see a boost from data. Chick-fil-A and Home Depot are using the data visualization tool Tableau to obtain insights into operations and solve problems they previously didn’t even know existed.

Almost anything can become data. George Bentinck, product manager at Cisco Meraki, explained in a panel with CDW at the show how brands can tap data from surveillance footage to extrapolate insights about how to improve the in-store experience.

“Knowing where people are, where they go, and doing that in real time can be applied to a whole host of business problems,” said Bentinck.

2. The Big Data Boom Prompts the Need for Data Privacy

But with this data influx comes a number of concerns around how to use and secure it. For this reason, Sucharita Kodali, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, told attendees during a keynote presentation that data security is one of the most critical challenges facing retailers at the moment.

“Data security is hugely important, not just because of the compliance needs of retailers and brands, but also because of the legislation and the requirements of everything from the California Consumer Privacy Act to GDPR, and probably a lot more coming down the pike,” said Kodali.

She also points to a study in which 17 percent of consumers note they don’t want brands collecting or tracking any personal information.

“It’s important to recognize that and to make sure you’re not personalizing to those people,” said Kodali. “Often, as marketers, as retailers, we forget that consumers belong to different segments, and you have to adjust. That is the very heart of personalization.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: How retailers can deal with the new reality of GDPR.

3. Artificial Intelligence Takes Hold in Retail

Artificial intelligence has begun infiltrating. In fact, 51 percent of retailers have already begun to use AI for customer intelligence, while 48 percent are using it for demand forecasting, and 38 percent are using the tech for pricing and promotion, according to a joint survey of 1,900 retail executives by NRF and IBM released at the show.

“We’re really at a transformation point where AI is fusing with machine learning capabilities so that people can really process all the data and information they have on customers, on their supply chain, and it’s really ready to sort of take off,” Katherine Cullen, director of retail and consumer insights for NRF tells BizTech.

Online retailer zulily has already started to tap intelligent automation in order to better craft personalized customer journeys and engage the customer “where she lives,” explained zulily Vice President of Engineering Bindu Thota at the show.

“Every place where we touch them, we personalize it for them. We are literally talking to them, and we leverage automation and machine learning to do that,” she said. “What you see when you come to the zulily site is very different from what I see, and that is part of our business model and in our DNA from day one.”

Keep this page bookmarked for articles from the event. Follow us on Twitter at @BizTechMagazine, or the official conference Twitter account, @NRFBigShow, and join the conversation using the hashtag #NRF2019.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Check out all of our stories and video from NRF 2019.

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Going beyond (way beyond) entry-level workload automation

Feb 5, 2019
By Neil Kinson, Chief of Staff, Redwood Software

 

The benefits of automating repetitive operational procedures are clear, at least in theory. Workload automation can provide improved process efficiency, better visibility and allow a more agile response to an ever-changing technological landscape.

But it’s that ever-changing nature that causes headaches for many automation solutions – adding highly-effective, but single-purpose, tools leads to an unavoidably complex IT landscape spread across on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployments. And this isn’t a situation that’s going to change anytime soon, no matter which analyst figures you believe.

The maturation of restrictive batch-processing tools into their current form – more capable workload automation solutions – has added event-based flexibility, unified file transfers, process visibility and simplified process automation to its core repertoire of capabilities.

However, not all solutions are created equally. Or more specifically, not all scale equally.

While on-premises installations are still the right choice for some, more often it makes sense to make use of cloud-based services. Not only does this obviously increase availability and accessibility – through unlimited application and platform connections – but it also makes it easy to forecast costs when it comes to increasing automation levels as your organization’s needs evolve.

Cloud delivery of a solution like Redwood’s RunMyJobs® scheduling also means no additional infrastructure or maintenance costs, no downtime and readiness for any spikes in demand.

But simply putting automation in the cloud isn’t a magic bullet. Ignoring the other often-associated headaches is what adds to that overall complexity.

For example, if a solution doesn’t include built-in functionality for commonly-used applications (SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft, etc.), or can’t provide the automated versioning required for governance and risk compliance, or doesn’t offer SLA monitoring as standard, then all these functions need to be either custom-built, which takes time, money and expertise, or provided by other third-party tools.

Through integration of these essential functions – process management, forecasting, automatic error detection, load balancing and monitoring (yes, including an SLA monitoring dashboard) – into the core Redwood RunMyJobs solution, there’s no need for more single-purpose tools and the costs they incur.

And if improving the efficiency and accuracy of your automation solution while reducing the complexity and TCO isn’t something you’re interested in, then you’ve somehow ended up in the wrong place.