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The computer vendor wooing of small to mid-size business (SMB) customers continued today, with IBM’s announcement of new software designed to provide those growing companies with the kinds of tools normally only available to enterprises.

IBM said it plans to avoid the mistakes of other products aimed at the SMB market, which have fallen short of expectations because they’re just enterprise products that have been crippled. The potential for the right products is big. According to a survey by AMR research, SMBs plan to increase their IT budgets by nearly 6% this year, double the growth rate projected for large enterprises. Another research firm, Access Markets International – Partners, forecasts worldwide IT spending by small and mid-sized businesses will grow by 10 percent in 2007.

“We’re not new to SMB and we don’t want them to think they are getting a dumbed down enterprise solution,” Michelle Grieshaber, director of SMB marketing for IBM’s Tivoli unit told chúng tôi “We want customers to recognize we’ve been in this space for a long time, we’ve been successful and engaging them in terms they understand.”

You’ve got a lot of headroom in this product,” she said.

Among the new products is IBM Rational Build Forge Express Edition, a software development environment tuned for SMBs with a small development staff. This is IBM’s first Express line of products in the SMB market. It’s designed to help standardize and automate repetitive tasks, manage compliance mandates and foster information-sharing.

There are two other Rational products in the works as well. IBM Rational Team Concert, Beta 1 is being released for open testing. Rational Team Concert is a collaborative portal for software teams to work together, while IBM Rational Performance Tester 7.01 and IBM Rational Functional Tester 7.01 are geared toward helping test the scalability, reliability and quality of applications while they are in development.

Another new tool is Tivoli Network Manager IP Entry Edition, an infrastructure management system designed to make it easier to give a mid-sized business an accurate picture of network performance in real time. The software can scale as the network grows and also allows IT staff to see a visual layout of their infrastructure, so as to help them grow without choking or bottlenecking their system.

As a supplement to its Tivoli product line, IBM is releasing IBM Tivoli Consul Insight Manager, which provides “auditor-in-a-box” capabilities to test IT systems compliance from a single dashboard console.

IBM is also releasing Watchfire AppScan and Watchfire Web XM, which it acquired this past July. These tools help manage security, compliance and business policy vulnerabilities by mitigating risk associated with data breaches and reducing costs by automating manual processes. Another acquisition, Maximo software from MRO, is being released. Maximo is a productivity optimization tool for managing assets and processes.

Finally, IBM set up a customer site with information on all of these products and guides to which ones a SMB might need in its environment.

IBM Rational Build Forge Express Edition will be available October 23 at a price of $49,000 per server, IBM said. The company did not disclose the prices for the other products.

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The 10 Best Social Media Marketing Strategy Tips For Smbs

It’s no secret that social media is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to small business marketing. Yet, that’s only the case if you use it wisely–taking into consideration your audience, your goals, and current social media trends. To get the full benefit of social media marketing, you need a solid social media marketing strategy.

Let’s cover 10 things you can do to kick your social media marketing strategy up a notch and get better results.

10 smart social media marketing strategies

If you do any or all of the following, it will be nearly impossible for you to miss the mark on social media. Here are 10 strategies that will help you grow your following, drum up engagement, and rake in more sales.

1. Educate your audience

You can either educate your followers directly on social media or by using your accounts to direct them to educational resources such as blog posts, white papers, and webinars.

Taking the educational approach means doing more teaching than selling. Storytelling isn’t much different and, often, it can double as an educational tool.

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However, the power of storytelling doesn’t always lie in teaching people things they didn’t know. Instead, it’s often about bringing to life relatable characters and situations (or at least characters and situations that evoke emotional responses).

Since much of our decision-making is feeling-based, stories that push emotional triggers tend to do a better job of promoting action than constant self-promotion.

3. Produce diversified content types

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For one thing, producing the same content type endlessly can bore your audience. For another, your target audience (or subsets of it) may not respond as enthusiastically to one type of content as they do to another.

So break up the monotony by creating and sharing various types of social media content. You’ll learn a ton about what your audience wants from you and be able to keep them engaged long-term.

4. Try micro-influencer marketing

Partnering with respected and well-connected influencers is a wise idea for several reasons. In addition to a credibility boost, it can boost your marketing reach significantly.

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With this in mind, many businesses set out to partner with influencers who have hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers. While this might seem like a quick way to get your business in front of a lot of eyes, teaming up with micro-influencers is a better option in many cases. Why?

Although they have smaller followings–1K to 100K–the audiences of micro-influencers are more engaged and dialed in. So the people you connect with as a result of your partnerships are more likely to be your ideal customers and more willing to engage with you. (Plus, micro-influencers are often easier to get in touch with and persuade than social media superstars.)

5. Capitalize on customer loyalty

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Asking for reviews on social networks such as Facebook.

Encouraging people to share user-generated content based on their positive experience with your business, which you can then use in your social media campaigns.

Interviewing satisfied customers and sharing their stories on social media.

Holding contests, doing giveaways, and offering incentives, which would motivate people to spread the word about your business on social networks of your choice.

In a sense, your most loyal customers will be creating effective content and doing your social media marketing for you.

6. Use virtual and augmented reality

Immersive experiences are becoming more and more appealing to consumers. As a result, both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are increasingly being explored as marketing tools on Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms.

Either through complete immersive experiences that shut out the physical world (VR) or through digital elements added to a live view (AR), several brands are increasing audience engagement.

For example, notice how L’Oréal enabled users to “try on” its various lipstick shades.

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Leveraging mobile cameras in this way can allow your potential customers to understand your products, services, and customer experience as they would in reality. As a result, you could directly influence their buying decisions, which would have obvious benefits to your business.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to seriously consider how you could incorporate augmented or virtual reality into your social media marketing strategy.

7. Embrace video and live streaming

Admittedly, video marketing and live streaming aren’t new. The many studies done on it over the last few years have proven its effectiveness and appeal. And it’s clearly been rising in popularity.

But including video in your social media marketing strategy has never been more important than it is now. Why? Out of the 68% of people who claimed their viewing habits were affected by the pandemic, 96% said they watch more videos now.

8. Leverage privacy and exclusivity

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This could mean creating a ‘Close Friends’ list for your top Instagram followers, starting up private Facebook or LinkedIn groups, or even using direct messages to build relationships. This may make your current followers feel more comfortable engaging with you, as well as encourage others to do the same so that they don’t miss out.

9. Be more human

People have always hated marketing that’s impersonal and insincere. But it was even more of a turnoff in 2023 given the challenges the world faced. From here on out, human, empathetic marketing will be more important than ever.

Even better, put faces, voices, and names to your team members and tie your overall social media marketing strategy back to your brand story, mission, and vision.

Related: Make sure you’re scheduling your posts at the right time across networks. Find out the best times to post on social media here.

10. Use chatbots

As a follow-up to our last point, chatbots are an excellent tool for humanization. These bots can be used to start conversations, encourage unlikely sales, answer questions, and provide individualized customer service and support. For all these reasons and more, chatbots are becoming a staple of social media marketing (and online marketing in general).

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By using them as you promote your business on social media you can both increase the appeal of your business and improve your results.

Related: See how your social media strategy stacks up with our free website grader!

Dominating social in 2023 and beyond

Could you do better in one or more of the 10 areas mentioned? Trick question! There’s always room for improvement. And now’s as good a time as any to evaluate where you stand, what your social media marketing goals are, how they fit into the bigger picture for your business, and what you can do to improve your results. So do your homework on which of these strategies may work for you and start testing!

Nia Gyant

Nia Gyant is a freelance writer and brand messaging strategist with a background in online marketing. She supports marketing agencies and small to mid-sized businesses by creating strategically-crafted, goal-oriented content and copy.

Other posts by Nia Gyant

8 Best Tools For Video Meetings

It is evident that the overall usage of video conferencing tools has exploded in the past two months. With the rise in the number of remote workers from Covid-19, online video meetings have become more important. It can facilitate meetings, especially when many platforms offer extensive features for free or very little cost.

We have compiled a list of video conferencing tools or tools for video meetings to help you run meetings and they are power-packed with features. These are enterprise platforms with free services for those on a budget, and simple tools for easy group calls. While a majority of these tools have free plans, several have promotional deals during the pandemic.

8 Best Tools for Video Meetings when you need it the Most Zoom Meetings

This tool offers video conferencing or tools for video meetings with high-definition video and audio and has support for up to 1,000 participants and 49 HD videos on-screen. Along with video meetings, it also has real-time messaging, team chat, and content sharing features along with built-in collaboration tools.

You can also record your meetings locally or to the cloud, with searchable transcripts. Recently, Zoom added new security features to lock a meeting, control waiting room access, control chat, and ensure that all users properly secure their meetings.

The price is free for 1-to-1 meetings and group meetings up to 40 minutes. Their paid plans start at $14.99 per month.

Microsoft Teams

A great video conferencing and collaboration app which is a part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite. If you are committed to Microsoft’s online platform of tools, this is the best fit for video conferencing. You can host meetings for one-on-one, small group, and web conferences up to 10,000 people.

Their core features include scheduling assistance, note-taking, screen sharing, meeting recording, and instant messaging. The price starts at $8 per month as a part of their office 365 suite.

BlueJeans

A Best Tools for Video Meetings tool which enables one-touch meetings from scheduling and collaboration tools. You will not have to download or install anything. BlueJeans provides you with the ability to host meetings in HD video, Dolby Voice audio with background noise cancellation, and up to 100 participants. It has features like cloud recording, screen sharing, and in-app productivity tools.

Also read: Best Top 10 Paid Online Survey Website in the World

Google Meet

A neat and Best Tools for Video Meetings service that comes with Google’s G Suite plan. You can join meetings directly from a calendar event or email invite. Each meeting includes dial-in details automatically and can be activated by guests with just two taps on their smartphone.

Cisco Webex

The Webex platform has been around for a long time now. It is a feature-rich service that has upgraded promotional plans supporting companies during Covid-19, including four free months with annual plans. It shows up to 25 video meeting participants in one grid view. You can screen share your desktop or share a document or application. It also enables you to start a whiteboard for your ideas or the group’s.

Zoho Meeting

A perfect tool for meetings and webinars. You can easily collaborate from anywhere with real-time audio, video, remote control, and screen sharing. Get remote control over a shared screen to collaborate. You can also control the entire meeting with all the moderator controls. Mute individuals or all participants, lock meetings or even remove participants to collaborate more securely.

Also read: 10 Types of Developer Jobs: IT Jobs

Free conference has features like screen sharing, document sharing, moderator controls, real-time text chat, whiteboard, live stream to YouTube, video recording, online meeting rooms before the event starts, smart meeting summaries, and more. Their pricing is free for up to five web participants. Paid plans start from $9.99 per month, where you get the first two months free.

Skype

A well known name; Skype lets you host a group video call with up to 50 people for free. It has features like HD video, screen sharing, file sharing up to 300 MB, background blur, live texting, chat invites, and meeting recordings available for 30 days. The price is free.

Endnotes

The world needs Best Tools for Video Meetings more than anything else today. With most of us confined to our houses due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, offices globally are working from home.

The concept of remote working has shot up and a majority of people are opting for it. As an entrepreneur or a business owner this is the best time to get iOS and Android developers for hire and build your own Best Tools for Video Meetings app.

Albert Smith

Albert Smith is Digital Marketing Manager at Hidden Brains, a leading web & mobile app development company usa specializing in mobile & web applications, IoT, Cloud and Big Data services. He provides innovative ways to help tech companies, startups and large enterprises build their brand.

Ibm Mdm Solutions: Product Overview And Insight

See the full list of top MDM vendors

Enterprises that use other IBM software products and services, particularly its InfoSphere line of data management solutions, should investigate its portfolio of master data management (MDM) tools. The integration should be seamless.

In addition to the flagship version for large enterprises, the company also has an express version for SMBs and other tools designed for product information or reference data. The products are particularly well-suited for hybrid cloud environments.

Additionally, since IBM offers a full suite of different MDM products, this core choice can be enhanced with additional products that should integrate seamlessly.

Headquartered in Armonk, New York, has been in business for 107 years. It sells cloud computing, enterprise software, data center infrastructure, consulting services and other technology-related products and services.

Traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol IBM, the company is a component of both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. In 2023, it reported revenue of $79.139 billion. It was number 34 on the most recent Fortune 500 list.

IBM offers several different master data management products. The flagship is InfoSphere Master Data Management, which is a complete, end-to-end MDM solution that provides a single, trusted view of all enterprise data on premises or in the cloud.

Other tools include InfoSphere Master Data Management Collaborative Edition, which focuses on product information management (PIM), Master Data Management Express, which promises faster deployment and integrated machine learning capabilities; Master Data Management on Cloud, which can run on IBM Cloud or a hybrid cloud; and InfoSphere Master Data Management Reference Data Management Hub, which extends the capabilities of the regular version of InfoSphere Master Data Management with hub and stewardship capabilities.

360-degree view of data

Cloud support

Multi-domain capabilities

Supports registry or virtual MDM implementations

Policy management

Analytics

FlexPoint licensing

InfoSphere Master Data Management

InfoSphere Master Data Management Collaborative Edition

Master Data Management Express

Master Data Management on Cloud

InfoSphere Master Data Management Reference Data Management Hub

Integrates with Hadoop and other IBM products.

Machine learning is incorporated into IBM Master Data Management Express.

Cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premises.

Role-based authentication, TrustedClientMode

MDM Express is for SMBs. Other products are designed for large enterprises.

MDM customers include Zions Bancorporation, London Borough of Camden and the Government of Odisha.

Pricing for most products available on request. MDM Express starts at $1,000 per month. MDM on Cloud starts at $31,000 per month. Free trials are available for some of the MDM products. Financing is available.

IBM MDM Solutions

Editions Available • InfoSphere Master Data Management Reference Data Management Hub

Key Features • FlexPoint licensing

Integrations Integrates with Hadoop and other IBM products

Delivery Cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premises

Target Market MDM Express is for SMBs. Other products are designed for large enterprises

Price MDM Express starts at $1,000 per month. MDM on Cloud starts at $31,000 per month. Pricing for other products available on request.

IBM MDM Solutions

Editions Available • InfoSphere Master Data Management Reference Data Management Hub

Key Features • FlexPoint licensing

Integrations Integrates with Hadoop and other IBM products

Delivery Cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premises

Target Market MDM Express is for SMBs. Other products are designed for large enterprises

Price MDM Express starts at $1,000 per month. MDM on Cloud starts at $31,000 per month. Pricing for other products available on request.

Ibm Brings Brain Power To Experimental Chips

IBM has created prototype chips that could mimic brain-like functionality, which the company said is an “unprecedented” step forward in creating intelligent computers that collect, process, and understand data quickly.

IBM hopes reverse-engineering the brain into a chip could forge computers that are highly parallel, event-driven and passive on power consumption, Modha said. The machines will be a sharp departure from modern computers, which have scaling limitations and require set programming by humans to generate results.

(See also “Braingate: Using Thoughts to Operate a PC.”).

“In today’s computers, there are some key fundamental limitations that are projected to come to an end,” Modha said. “The ever-increasing clock rates are unsustainable. In contrast, the brain is an ultimate computer.”

Like the brain, IBM’s prototype chips can dynamically rewire to sense, understand and act on information fed via sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, or through other sources such as weather and water-supply monitors. The chips will help discover patterns based on probabilities and associations, all while rivaling the brain’s compact size and low power usage, Modha said.

“We now have the seeds of a new architecture that can allow us to mine the boundary between the physical and the digital world in an ever more efficient way,” Modha said.

IBM and its research partners have already generated some results from the project, such as walking through a maze, playing a game of Pong, or recognizing patterns in data. The researchers are gunning for better results that include image recognition in videos.

The company has built individual “digital neurons” in the chips as low-power processing units, and synapses to establish connections between neurons. The neurons and synapses are organized in cross-bar arrays and are supported by a communications infrastructure for neurons to exchange data in real time. The neurons remember recent activities, while the synapses remember the neurons they are associated with.

It is possible to equip modern computers with many low-power processing units for such functionality, Modha said. But the buses separating the processing units could be a bottleneck, and as the data piles up, the cores need to operate at faster clock rates.

“Functionality of the chip can be simulated on today’s computers. But since today’s computers are unlike the brain, you pay … magnitudes more on power and volume,” Modha said.

The prototype chips incorporate a simplified model of the human brain, which has billions of neurons and trillions of synapses. IBM said the chips are the foundation of what could eventually be a “mammalian-scale system,” which will include 10 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses with the power consumption and size that rivals the human brain. Modha could not provide a time frame within which the computer would be made, but said results from the current research could change the way computers are built.

IBM developed the chips along with partners as part of a multiyear research initiative called Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE), which focuses on cognitive computing. IBM and its partners are bringing together the neuroscience, nanotechnology and supercomputing fields to create the new computing platform.

IBM’s research partners include Columbia University; Cornell University; University of California, Merced; and University of Wisconsin, Madison. IBM and its university partners also announced on Thursday that they received US$21 million in additional funding for the project from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), an agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Defense.

See also Tje 11 Most Influential Microprocessors of All Time.”).

Apple & Ibm Combine Watson And Core Ml For The Smartest Ever Mobile Apps

Apple and IBM have announced an exciting expansion of the partnership started back in 2014 to bring enterprise apps to iOS devices. The latest step is designed to combine IBM’s powerful Watson AI system with Apple’s Core ML framework to create the smartest mobile apps yet developed.

The companies said that Coca-Cola is currently testing the setup …

Fortune reports that the Coca-Cola test is intended to see whether it can be used to help field technicians inspect and service vending machines. No specifics were given, but IBM did give what seems to be a relevant example of how the technology can be used, as TechCrunch notes.

For instance, a company may want to help field service techs point their iPhone camera at a machine and identify the make and model to order the correct parts. You could potentially train a model to recognize all the different machines using Watson’s image recognition capability.

This may not be the most exciting application, but it’s just the first step in an approach with enormous potential.

You can build apps that leverage Watson models on iPhone and iPad, even when offline. Your apps can quickly analyze images, accurately classify visual content, and easily train models using Watson Services. Get started with pre-trained Watson models, or customize and train models that continuously learn over time.

The big breakthrough is that the mobile app can do the recognition itself, without the need to send data back to a server. Watson develops the AI model needed to perform the task, which is then converted to Core ML to create a custom app. Effectively, Watson does the hard initial work in figuring out how to recognize the machines, then it teaches Core ML to do the job locally on an iOS device.

Watson’s intelligence comes from the amount of computing power IBM throws at it. It runs on a cluster of 90 IBM Power 750 servers – hardware with a cost of around $3M. To demonstrate an ability to outperform human beings at tasks requiring a high level of natural language processing, Watson competed in – and won – the TV quiz show Jeopardy, beating the show’s greatest champions (video below).

TechCrunch notes that while Core ML may be the junior partner in this setup, it can also help to train Watson.

Over time, the app can share data back with Watson and improve the machine learning algorithm running on the edge device in a classic device-cloud partnership. “That’s the beauty of this combination. As you run the application, it’s real time and you don’t need to be connected to Watson, but as you classify different parts [on the device], that data gets collected and when you’re connected to Watson on a lower [bandwidth] interaction basis, you can feed it back to train your machine learning model and make it even better,” IBM’s Mahmoud Naghshineh said.

IBM said that the partnership with Apple had always been about leveraging the power of big data with mobile devices, and machine-learning would take apps to the next level.

It’s not the first time Apple has teamed-up with IBM’s Watson: back in 2024, the company created a sleep research app that combined ResearchKit with Watson Health Cloud.

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