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While Volkswagen cars have always sold

While Volkswagen cars have always sold in large numbers throughout America, it’s a surprising fact that Europe’s largest car manufacturer hasn’t actually had a manufacturing presence in the country since the first Back to the Future movie was in cinemas. However, it seems that all that is in the past now; because Volkswagen have recently opened up a brand-new state of the art production plant in Tennessee.

Although it’s just newly built, this plant is already churning out thousands of their new Passat and Jetta ranges. And whats more, it’s all part of a master plan for the German auto-makers to oust Toyota and GM as the largest car makers the world.

Back in the 70s, with the Middle East Oil Crisis in full swing, VW was the go-to brand for people looking for fuel-efficiency and reliability in their cars. After all, who didn’t want to save money on their gas bills? At the same time, their profile was raised by a certain Love Bug called Herbie – star of a series of Disney movies that really helped to reinforce the VW brand in America. So, just what went wrong that caused Herbie to lose out and become a minor player in the car market of the frugal American? Well, the answer is simple; Japan is what happened.

Before VW could even cash in on its reputation as the go to car for fuel impoverished American drivers, Toyota appeared with its cheap, gas-sipping imports. Since Toyota’s cars were a lot cheaper than VW (in build as well as in price it has to be said), they were also more frugal so, naturally people switched to the Japanese imports and left VW high and dry. Now, Volkswagen wasn’t known for its attention to quality at the time either so, as soon as the oil crisis receded at the end of the 70s, Toyota swiftly moved its focus to adding high-quality build specs to the mix. VW had nothing left to answer back with and to make things worse, they had trouble with labor relations and the American factory workers unions. It wasn’t long before they shut down their plants altogether in America.Ever since the 80s, any VW sold in America has either had to be imported from Germany or from Mexico. You can’t really blame American drivers for not choosing VW cars since the 80’s because the cars that VW tried to sell in America were basically the same ones that were designed for Europe.

However, all that has changed now for, with its new US factories, VW is finally beginning to push out versions of its famous Passat and Jetta models that are specifically designed for America. The Jetta, which is already in dealerships, has actually shown good sales but it isn’t time yet for buyers to rejoice. You see, the reason that demand is so strong is that they’ve been forced to price the car several thousand dollars lower than what last year’s imported Jetta used to sell for. It might take buyers a while to realize that this isn’t the Jetta of last year. VW didn’t just take thousands of dollars off the price of the model; they took away lots of important value-adding stuff from the car as well.

Cost cutting has also found its way into the now-legendary VW build quality. For example, the rear brakes are now cheap drum brakes and not discs. Looking all around, it’s very clear that they’ve cut just about everything from the car. The interior is a sea of bland plastic; the in-car information display is visibly inferior to anything you’ve seen on competing models from Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota. And the moment you see the trunk hinges that are likely to crush your luggage, you’ll weep.

The last decade has been witness to a comedy revival of sorts in Hollywood. A new batch of comedic superstars has hit the scene. Instead of simply being actors who say funny lines, this talented group is heavily involved in the writing and production stages of their movies and television shows.

One of the mainstay comedic actors working today is Will Ferrell. He started his career on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s and is well known for his portrayals of George W. Bush, Harry Caray, and James Lipton. During his enormously popular seven-year career at “SNL,” he had roles in the “Austin Powers” movies and played fashion designer Mugatu in “Zoolander.” He landed his first starring role in “Old School,” and his movie career and popularity skyrocketed. He has starred in such films as “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” and “Step Brothers.” In 2007, Ferrell launched the “Funny or Die” website, which is a streaming video site dedicated to comedic short films. Ferrell also produces the HBO comedy “Eastbound and Down.” Although Ferrell has been relatively quiet on the recent movie scene, 2013’s “Anchorman: The Legend Continues” should see him return to the top of the box-office charts.

Another very funny actor who has been around for a number of years is Zach Galifianakis. Active in standup comedy for years, his first acting role was as a recurring character on NBC’s “Boston Commons” in 1996. Over the next few years, he had parts in the movies “Out Cold” and “Corky Romano,” and he had a Comedy Central special that started with a comedy routine and finished with his playing piano. In 2002, Galifianakis had a talk show on VH1 titled “Late World with Zach.” He was able to bring in many of his friends from the Los Angeles comedy and music scenes, and this helped build his credibility in Hollywood. He then stayed busy with various acting jobs on “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job.” In 2009, Galifianakis had his breakout role as Alan Garner in “The Hangover.” His hilarious portrayal of mentally unstable Alan led to his being cast in such movies as “Dinner for Schmucks,” “Due Date” with Robert Downey, Jr., and “The Campaign” with Will Ferrell. He reprised his role as awkward Alan in the second and third “Hangover” movies, is a recurring contributor to “Funny or Die,” and continues to do standup across the country.

Steve Carell makes audiences laugh across almost every platform imaginable. He got his start on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” where he spent five years as a correspondent. He found great popularity playing aloof boss Michael Scott on “The Office” in the late 2000s. After the release of 2005’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which Carell cowrote, he appeared in “Anchorman” and had starring roles in “Evan Almighty” and the movie remake of “Get Smart.” Carell is also a fantastic voice actor and has been featured in “Over the Hedge,” “Horton Hears a Who,” and “Despicable Me.” With his upcoming roles in “Anchorman 2” and “The Way, Way Back,” Carell will continue to be considered one of the funniest actors working today.

The always outrageous Kenny Powers is played to perfection by Danny McBride on HBO’s “Eastbound and Down.” McBride writes, produces, and acts in this comedy about a down-on-his-luck baseball pitcher whose crude behavior makes him somehow loveable. McBride’s trademark mullet and rapid-fire delivery have landed him some unforgettable roles in “Tropic Thunder,” “Pineapple Express,” and “This Is the End,” in which he plays an exaggerated version of himself. McBride’s distinctive southern accent made him ideal to do voice work in the animated hits “Despicable Me” and “Kung Fu Panda 2.” McBride’s popularity makes him a frequent guest of the late-night television circuit, and he appears in cameos too numerous to count.

A practicing physician in California, Ken Jeong was a regular performer at The Improv and Laugh Factory in Los Angeles when he played the role of Dr. Juni in “Knocked Up.” This role allowed him to quit medicine and devote all of his time to comedy. He quickly received roles in “Pineapple Express” and “Role Models,” and then he pulled off his biggest role as Mr. Chow in “The Hangover” and its sequels. During this time, Jeong also played the role of Ben Chang on NBCs “Community.” Jeong is busy with voice work as well and can be heard in the upcoming “Despicable Me 2” and “Turbo.” Jeong has several writing and producing projects in various stages of development.

Gone are the days when a handsome actor simply recited lines and was considered a comedic success. The current top-tier comedic actors prefer to be involved in all phases of their projects. They also have no problem switching mediums, as most of them are involved in television, movies, and the Internet. With their years of experience and seemingly endless talents, you can expect these actors to keep you laughing for years to come.

If you go with what most people are saying about the NIV Life Application Study Bible you can’t really go wrong if you ever decide buying it. It’s without a doubt the most popular study Bible you can find on the market today. But one good translation you might consider that is also popular is the NLT (the New Living Translation). Those who have it, really love it. And it is not coming too far behind the NIV. You have also the KJ, the NKJ and the NASB. But the NIV and the NLT remain the most popular versions.

You can have the NIV Life Application Study Bible in different formats like hard copy and leather-bound, as well as in normal or larger print. The hard copy is published by Tyndale and the leather-bound mostly by Zondervan.

As for why this type of Bible is so popular I think that by taking a peek inside it is pretty obvious.

If you open the book on the Old Testament you will find – if you are familiar with the Bible – the first book called Genesis along with statistics about who wrote it, to whom it is addressed essentially, as well as where and in what time it was written. And you are also introduced to whom are the most important characters in that particular book and in what period of times they lived.

Introductions to each book is common to almost all study Bible. But what is unique to that Bible is the personality profiles it has on the major characters you will find with their strengths and their weaknesses. You have also a blueprint of the different stories with references to what chapters and verses you can find them in the book in question to make your research easier.

You have a map of the regions to where those events took place as well as notes along with it. Then you have the usual Bible text with cross references on the right margin and notes underneath.

That’s only an example of what you can find in this particular study Bible.

If you go almost to the back-end of it you will find the index to the notes in alphabetic order, as well as maps and charts.

One thing that I like is the harmony of the Gospels incorporated in this Bible. It really puts the life and story of the main and most important personality of the Bible – Jesus Christ – into better perspective.

So there you have it. Of course this is only a pale view of what you can find inside, but you have a small idea. The NIV Life Application Study Bible is found either in local Christian bookstores or with well-known online retailers like Amazon.com at a fair price.

Categories
Uncategorized

Christian bookstores

While Volkswagen cars have always sold in large numbers throughout America, it’s a surprising fact that Europe’s largest car manufacturer hasn’t actually had a manufacturing presence in the country since the first Back to the Future movie was in cinemas. However, it seems that all that is in the past now; because Volkswagen have recently opened up a brand-new state of the art production plant in Tennessee.

Although it’s just newly built, this plant is already churning out thousands of their new Passat and Jetta ranges. And whats more, it’s all part of a master plan for the German auto-makers to oust Toyota and GM as the largest car makers the world.

Back in the 70s, with the Middle East Oil Crisis in full swing, VW was the go-to brand for people looking for fuel-efficiency and reliability in their cars. After all, who didn’t want to save money on their gas bills? At the same time, their profile was raised by a certain Love Bug called Herbie – star of a series of Disney movies that really helped to reinforce the VW brand in America. So, just what went wrong that caused Herbie to lose out and become a minor player in the car market of the frugal American? Well, the answer is simple; Japan is what happened.

Before VW could even cash in on its reputation as the go to car for fuel impoverished American drivers, Toyota appeared with its cheap, gas-sipping imports. Since Toyota’s cars were a lot cheaper than VW (in build as well as in price it has to be said), they were also more frugal so, naturally people switched to the Japanese imports and left VW high and dry. Now, Volkswagen wasn’t known for its attention to quality at the time either so, as soon as the oil crisis receded at the end of the 70s, Toyota swiftly moved its focus to adding high-quality build specs to the mix. VW had nothing left to answer back with and to make things worse, they had trouble with labor relations and the American factory workers unions. It wasn’t long before they shut down their plants altogether in America.Ever since the 80s, any VW sold in America has either had to be imported from Germany or from Mexico. You can’t really blame American drivers for not choosing VW cars since the 80’s because the cars that VW tried to sell in America were basically the same ones that were designed for Europe.

However, all that has changed now for, with its new US factories, VW is finally beginning to push out versions of its famous Passat and Jetta models that are specifically designed for America. The Jetta, which is already in dealerships, has actually shown good sales but it isn’t time yet for buyers to rejoice. You see, the reason that demand is so strong is that they’ve been forced to price the car several thousand dollars lower than what last year’s imported Jetta used to sell for. It might take buyers a while to realize that this isn’t the Jetta of last year. VW didn’t just take thousands of dollars off the price of the model; they took away lots of important value-adding stuff from the car as well.

Cost cutting has also found its way into the now-legendary VW build quality. For example, the rear brakes are now cheap drum brakes and not discs. Looking all around, it’s very clear that they’ve cut just about everything from the car. The interior is a sea of bland plastic; the in-car information display is visibly inferior to anything you’ve seen on competing models from Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota. And the moment you see the trunk hinges that are likely to crush your luggage, you’ll weep.

The last decade has been witness to a comedy revival of sorts in Hollywood. A new batch of comedic superstars has hit the scene. Instead of simply being actors who say funny lines, this talented group is heavily involved in the writing and production stages of their movies and television shows.

One of the mainstay comedic actors working today is Will Ferrell. He started his career on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s and is well known for his portrayals of George W. Bush, Harry Caray, and James Lipton. During his enormously popular seven-year career at “SNL,” he had roles in the “Austin Powers” movies and played fashion designer Mugatu in “Zoolander.” He landed his first starring role in “Old School,” and his movie career and popularity skyrocketed. He has starred in such films as “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” and “Step Brothers.” In 2007, Ferrell launched the “Funny or Die” website, which is a streaming video site dedicated to comedic short films. Ferrell also produces the HBO comedy “Eastbound and Down.” Although Ferrell has been relatively quiet on the recent movie scene, 2013’s “Anchorman: The Legend Continues” should see him return to the top of the box-office charts.

Another very funny actor who has been around for a number of years is Zach Galifianakis. Active in standup comedy for years, his first acting role was as a recurring character on NBC’s “Boston Commons” in 1996. Over the next few years, he had parts in the movies “Out Cold” and “Corky Romano,” and he had a Comedy Central special that started with a comedy routine and finished with his playing piano. In 2002, Galifianakis had a talk show on VH1 titled “Late World with Zach.” He was able to bring in many of his friends from the Los Angeles comedy and music scenes, and this helped build his credibility in Hollywood. He then stayed busy with various acting jobs on “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job.” In 2009, Galifianakis had his breakout role as Alan Garner in “The Hangover.” His hilarious portrayal of mentally unstable Alan led to his being cast in such movies as “Dinner for Schmucks,” “Due Date” with Robert Downey, Jr., and “The Campaign” with Will Ferrell. He reprised his role as awkward Alan in the second and third “Hangover” movies, is a recurring contributor to “Funny or Die,” and continues to do standup across the country.

Steve Carell makes audiences laugh across almost every platform imaginable. He got his start on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” where he spent five years as a correspondent. He found great popularity playing aloof boss Michael Scott on “The Office” in the late 2000s. After the release of 2005’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which Carell cowrote, he appeared in “Anchorman” and had starring roles in “Evan Almighty” and the movie remake of “Get Smart.” Carell is also a fantastic voice actor and has been featured in “Over the Hedge,” “Horton Hears a Who,” and “Despicable Me.” With his upcoming roles in “Anchorman 2” and “The Way, Way Back,” Carell will continue to be considered one of the funniest actors working today.

The always outrageous Kenny Powers is played to perfection by Danny McBride on HBO’s “Eastbound and Down.” McBride writes, produces, and acts in this comedy about a down-on-his-luck baseball pitcher whose crude behavior makes him somehow loveable. McBride’s trademark mullet and rapid-fire delivery have landed him some unforgettable roles in “Tropic Thunder,” “Pineapple Express,” and “This Is the End,” in which he plays an exaggerated version of himself. McBride’s distinctive southern accent made him ideal to do voice work in the animated hits “Despicable Me” and “Kung Fu Panda 2.” McBride’s popularity makes him a frequent guest of the late-night television circuit, and he appears in cameos too numerous to count.

A practicing physician in California, Ken Jeong was a regular performer at The Improv and Laugh Factory in Los Angeles when he played the role of Dr. Juni in “Knocked Up.” This role allowed him to quit medicine and devote all of his time to comedy. He quickly received roles in “Pineapple Express” and “Role Models,” and then he pulled off his biggest role as Mr. Chow in “The Hangover” and its sequels. During this time, Jeong also played the role of Ben Chang on NBCs “Community.” Jeong is busy with voice work as well and can be heard in the upcoming “Despicable Me 2” and “Turbo.” Jeong has several writing and producing projects in various stages of development.

Gone are the days when a handsome actor simply recited lines and was considered a comedic success. The current top-tier comedic actors prefer to be involved in all phases of their projects. They also have no problem switching mediums, as most of them are involved in television, movies, and the Internet. With their years of experience and seemingly endless talents, you can expect these actors to keep you laughing for years to come.

If you go with what most people are saying about the NIV Life Application Study Bible you can’t really go wrong if you ever decide buying it. It’s without a doubt the most popular study Bible you can find on the market today. But one good translation you might consider that is also popular is the NLT (the New Living Translation). Those who have it, really love it. And it is not coming too far behind the NIV. You have also the KJ, the NKJ and the NASB. But the NIV and the NLT remain the most popular versions.

You can have the NIV Life Application Study Bible in different formats like hard copy and leather-bound, as well as in normal or larger print. The hard copy is published by Tyndale and the leather-bound mostly by Zondervan.

As for why this type of Bible is so popular I think that by taking a peek inside it is pretty obvious.

If you open the book on the Old Testament you will find – if you are familiar with the Bible – the first book called Genesis along with statistics about who wrote it, to whom it is addressed essentially, as well as where and in what time it was written. And you are also introduced to whom are the most important characters in that particular book and in what period of times they lived.

Introductions to each book is common to almost all study Bible. But what is unique to that Bible is the personality profiles it has on the major characters you will find with their strengths and their weaknesses. You have also a blueprint of the different stories with references to what chapters and verses you can find them in the book in question to make your research easier.

You have a map of the regions to where those events took place as well as notes along with it. Then you have the usual Bible text with cross references on the right margin and notes underneath.

That’s only an example of what you can find in this particular study Bible.

If you go almost to the back-end of it you will find the index to the notes in alphabetic order, as well as maps and charts.

One thing that I like is the harmony of the Gospels incorporated in this Bible. It really puts the life and story of the main and most important personality of the Bible – Jesus Christ – into better perspective.

So there you have it. Of course this is only a pale view of what you can find inside, but you have a small idea. The NIV Life Application Study Bible is found either in local Christian bookstores or with well-known online retailers like Amazon.com at a fair price.

Categories
Uncategorized

All major issues concerning individual nations like the 2016 Presidential

You might have heard about those metered strikes that never happen. Or the fact that some islands in the world can only exist for a decade or so before being submerged by global warming, but they still exist half a century later. While global warming may be a threat, are we getting fake survival warnings to prepare ourselves when there is still time?

All major issues concerning individual nations like the 2016 Presidential election in US and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom or those issues that are of concern to the whole world like the issue of global warming and climate change are threatened by fake news which can lead to catastrophic results. While the subject of fake news has gained a wider audience following the 2016 US election, fake news has still had a worrisome impact on us.

Fake news is not a recent phenomenon and has existed for a long time but its impact has become more widespread with the spread of the internet and social media. The fake news phenomenon has been aided by the rapid expansion of the digital medium and its capacity to deliver any message across the globe at lightening fast speed. It leads to a situation where such fake news can’t be checked, verified or challenged before it is made available worldwide.

Scientists grapple with fake news. Scientists studying climate change are grappling with this phenomenon of fake news which is able to sow the seeds of confusion in the minds of both the general public whose support is necessary to implement changes to save the environment as well as the decision makers who have the responsibility of making decisions which even if painful are necessary to stop further environmental damage.

In such a scenario it is necessary that scientists step up their efforts for wider dissemination of correct and factual data so that people become more science literate and can appreciate facts as they are and are not swayed by misinformation campaigns and deliberately leaked fake news. World bodies like the United Nations believes that the 2030 sustainable development goals can be met only if scientific literature and discoveries get a wider audience.

The misinformation campaigns and deliberately leaked fake news and controversies have led to a situation where polls both in the US and UK show that even though a large majority of scientists agree to the fact that climate change phenomenon of the modern era is largely fueled by human activities, the general populace is not aware of such unanimity on the issue while many believe that it is still an unsettled issue. Such a large scale denial of climate change and its causes is a direct result of the failure of the scientific community to effectively challenge fake news about the issue.

A change of habits is needed. In their quest of wider dissemination of correct and factual data, scientists must change their long ingrained habit of sharing information among the scientific community as their prime objective and instead must develop the habit of sharing their information not only with the scientific community but with the general public also.

In their pursuit of disseminating scientific information scientists must use the help of latest technological tools so that they are able to develop effective means of two-way communication with the general public. The new interdisciplinary field of translational ecology can help scientists work towards changing environmental research into public policy.

Turning the current scenario into one where society understands and appreciates their point of view and is able to ascertain and understand the facts about climate change is essential if environmental issues are to receive widespread support across the world. One of the ways by which we can support the growth of scientific temper is to know what fake news is and trying to stop it from spreading.

What is fake news? Ever since ancient times, rulers have indulged in slanting and planting news to serve their interests. But giving a slant to a news to suit one’s beliefs or ideology cannot be called fake news. Fake news can be described as a completely fabricated story without any basis that has been floated by vested interests to serve their own purpose.

We are also to blame! Today with the advent of the internet everyone from an individual to media to government have a share in the spread of fake news even though their motives to do so may vary from increasing political clout, to achieving financial goals or any personal agenda. But how to know whether the news is genuine or fake?

In sifting for fake news, look at the origins of the news. If it is carried by a legitimate source of news chances are that it will not be fake but if it has originated from sources you have not heard of or are known to be of dubious nature then you must take such news with a pinch of salt and verify it from a known authentic source before you start believing it. The most obvious solution for checking the spread of fake news is human intervention. Technology by itself cannot sift and segregate fake news. Realizing this dimension Facebook has started such a practice and has enlisted International Fact Checking Network to look into that news that users have flagged as deliberate fakes.

Stopping the spread of fake news, you yourself must start to take responsibility of what you share. Do not share anything on the social media without going into the detail of the story or the photograph. Check the source of the story or the photo you wish to circulate and only if they come from some reputable sources should you share them.

Also start the practice of pointing any fake news to its sender. Maybe they do not know the true facts and forwarded it thinking it to be true and you could help them stop the spread of such news.

Only such collective actions by the scientific community and the general public will help us in tackling environmental issues like climate change.

Plan, prepare, protect, get through, hold on, hold out, make it, and keep body, soul and family together. You need a plan to prepare and to protect yourself and your family. Survival is our Strategy!”

Categories
Uncategorized

Are We Getting False Survival Warnings From Fake News?

You might have heard about those metered strikes that never happen. Or the fact that some islands in the world can only exist for a decade or so before being submerged by global warming, but they still exist half a century later. While global warming may be a threat, are we getting fake survival warnings to prepare ourselves when there is still time?

All major issues concerning individual nations like the 2016 Presidential election in US and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom or those issues that are of concern to the whole world like the issue of global warming and climate change are threatened by fake news which can lead to catastrophic results. While the subject of fake news has gained a wider audience following the 2016 US election, fake news has still had a worrisome impact on us.

Fake news is not a recent phenomenon and has existed for a long time but its impact has become more widespread with the spread of the internet and social media. The fake news phenomenon has been aided by the rapid expansion of the digital medium and its capacity to deliver any message across the globe at lightening fast speed. It leads to a situation where such fake news can’t be checked, verified or challenged before it is made available worldwide.

Scientists grapple with fake news. Scientists studying climate change are grappling with this phenomenon of fake news which is able to sow the seeds of confusion in the minds of both the general public whose support is necessary to implement changes to save the environment as well as the decision makers who have the responsibility of making decisions which even if painful are necessary to stop further environmental damage.

In such a scenario it is necessary that scientists step up their efforts for wider dissemination of correct and factual data so that people become more science literate and can appreciate facts as they are and are not swayed by misinformation campaigns and deliberately leaked fake news. World bodies like the United Nations believes that the 2030 sustainable development goals can be met only if scientific literature and discoveries get a wider audience.

The misinformation campaigns and deliberately leaked fake news and controversies have led to a situation where polls both in the US and UK show that even though a large majority of scientists agree to the fact that climate change phenomenon of the modern era is largely fueled by human activities, the general populace is not aware of such unanimity on the issue while many believe that it is still an unsettled issue. Such a large scale denial of climate change and its causes is a direct result of the failure of the scientific community to effectively challenge fake news about the issue.

A change of habits is needed. In their quest of wider dissemination of correct and factual data, scientists must change their long ingrained habit of sharing information among the scientific community as their prime objective and instead must develop the habit of sharing their information not only with the scientific community but with the general public also.

In their pursuit of disseminating scientific information scientists must use the help of latest technological tools so that they are able to develop effective means of two-way communication with the general public. The new interdisciplinary field of translational ecology can help scientists work towards changing environmental research into public policy.

Turning the current scenario into one where society understands and appreciates their point of view and is able to ascertain and understand the facts about climate change is essential if environmental issues are to receive widespread support across the world. One of the ways by which we can support the growth of scientific temper is to know what fake news is and trying to stop it from spreading.

What is fake news? Ever since ancient times, rulers have indulged in slanting and planting news to serve their interests. But giving a slant to a news to suit one’s beliefs or ideology cannot be called fake news. Fake news can be described as a completely fabricated story without any basis that has been floated by vested interests to serve their own purpose.

We are also to blame! Today with the advent of the internet everyone from an individual to media to government have a share in the spread of fake news even though their motives to do so may vary from increasing political clout, to achieving financial goals or any personal agenda. But how to know whether the news is genuine or fake?

In sifting for fake news, look at the origins of the news. If it is carried by a legitimate source of news chances are that it will not be fake but if it has originated from sources you have not heard of or are known to be of dubious nature then you must take such news with a pinch of salt and verify it from a known authentic source before you start believing it. The most obvious solution for checking the spread of fake news is human intervention. Technology by itself cannot sift and segregate fake news. Realizing this dimension Facebook has started such a practice and has enlisted International Fact Checking Network to look into that news that users have flagged as deliberate fakes.

Stopping the spread of fake news, you yourself must start to take responsibility of what you share. Do not share anything on the social media without going into the detail of the story or the photograph. Check the source of the story or the photo you wish to circulate and only if they come from some reputable sources should you share them.

Also start the practice of pointing any fake news to its sender. Maybe they do not know the true facts and forwarded it thinking it to be true and you could help them stop the spread of such news.

Only such collective actions by the scientific community and the general public will help us in tackling environmental issues like climate change.

Plan, prepare, protect, get through, hold on, hold out, make it, and keep body, soul and family together. You need a plan to prepare and to protect yourself and your family. Survival is our Strategy!”

Categories
Uncategorized

There are no rigid rules, which defines news.

Experienced traders recognize the effects of global changes on Foreign Exchange (Forex/FX) markets, stock markets and futures markets. Factors such as interest rate decisions, inflation, retail sales, unemployment, industrial productions, consumer confidence surveys, business sentiment surveys, trade balance and manufacturing surveys affect currency movement. While traders could monitor this information manually using traditional news sources, profiting from automated or algorithmic trading utilizing low latency news feeds is an often more predictable and effective trading method that can increase profitability while reducing risk.

The faster a trader can receive economic news, analyze the data, make decisions, apply risk management models and execute trades, the more profitable they can become. Automated traders are generally more successful than manual traders because the automation will use a tested rules-based trading strategy that employs money management and risk management techniques. The strategy will process trends, analyze data and execute trades faster than a human with no emotion. In order to take advantage of the low latency news feeds it is essential to have the right low latency news feed provider, have a proper trading strategy and the correct network infrastructure to ensure the fastest possible latency to the news source in order to beat the competition on order entries and fills or execution.

How Do Low Latency News Feeds Work?

Low latency news feeds provide key economic data to sophisticated market participants for whom speed is a top priority. While the rest of the world receives economic news through aggregated news feeds, bureau services or mass media such as news web sites, radio or television low latency news traders count on lightning fast delivery of key economic releases. These include jobs figures, inflation data, and manufacturing indexes, directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Commerce Department, and the Treasury Press Room in a machine-readable feed that is optimized for algorithmic traders.

One method of controlling the release of news is an embargo. After the embargo is lifted for news event, reporters enter the release data into electronic format which is immediately distributed in a proprietary binary format. The data is sent over private networks to several distribution points near various large cities around the world. In order to receive the news data as quickly as possible, it is essential that a trader use a valid low latency news provider that has invested heavily in technology infrastructure. Embargoed data is requested by a source not to be published before a certain date and time or unless certain conditions have been met. The media is given advanced notice in order to prepare for the release.

News agencies also have reporters in sealed Government press rooms during a defined lock-up period. Lock-up data periods simply regulate the release of all news data so that every news outlet releases it simultaneously. This can be done in two ways: “Finger push” and “Switch Release” are used to regulate the release.

News feeds feature economic and corporate news that influence trading activity worldwide. Economic indicators are used to facilitate trading decisions. The news is fed into an algorithm that parses, consolidates, analyzes and makes trading recommendations based upon the news. The algorithms can filter the news, produce indicators and help traders make split-second decisions to avoid substantial losses.

Automated software trading programs enable faster trading decisions. Decisions made in microseconds may equate to a significant edge in the market.

News is a good indicator of the volatility of a market and if you trade the news, opportunities will present themselves. Traders tend to overreact when a news report is released, and under-react when there is very little news. Machine readable news provides historical data through archives that enable traders to back test price movements against specific economic indicators.

Each country releases important economic news during certain times of the day. Advanced traders analyze and execute trades almost instantaneously when the announcement is made. Instantaneous analysis is made possible through automated trading with low latency news feed. Automated trading can play a part of a trader’s risk management and loss avoidance strategy. With automated trading, historical back tests and algorithms are utilized to select optimal entry and exit points.

Traders must know when the data will be released to know when to monitor the market. For instance, important economic data in the United States is released between 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM EST. Canada releases information between 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM. Since currencies span the globe, traders may always find a market that is open and ready for trading.

A SAMPLE of Major Economic Indicators
Consumer Price Index
Employment Cost Index
Employment Situation
Producer Price Index
Productivity and Costs
Real Earnings
U.S. Import and Export Prices
Employment & Unemployment

Where Do You Put Your Servers? Important Geographic Locations for algorithmic trading Strategies

The majority of investors that trade the news seek to have their algorithmic trading platforms hosted as close as possible to news source and the execution venue as possible. General distribution locations for low latency news feed providers include globally: New York, Washington DC, Chicago and London.

The ideal locations to place your servers are in well-connected datacenters that allow you to directly connect your network or servers to the actually news feed source and execution venue. There must be a balance of distance and latency between both. You need to be close enough to the news in order to act upon the releases however, close enough to the broker or exchange to get your order in ahead of the masses looking for the best fill.

Low Latency News Feed Providers

Thomson Reuters uses proprietary, state of the art technology to produce a low latency news feed. The news feed is designed specifically for applications and is machine readable. Streaming XML broadcast is used to produce full text and metadata to ensure that investors never miss an event.

Another Thomson Reuters news feed features macro-economic events, natural disasters and violence in the country. An analysis of the news is released. When the category reaches a threshold, the investor’s trading and risk management system is notified to trigger an entry or exit point from the market. Thomson Reuters has a unique edge on global news compared to other providers being one of the most respected business news agencies in the world if not the most respected outside of the United States. They have the advantage of including global Reuters News to their feed in addition to third-party newswires and Economic data for both the United States and Europe. The University of Michigan Survey of Consumers report is also another major news event and releases data twice monthly. Thomson Reuters has exclusive media rights to The University of Michigan data.

Other low latency news providers include: Need to Know News, Dow Jones News and Rapidata which we will discuss further when they make information regarding their services more available.

Examples of News Affecting the Markets

A news feed may indicate a change in the unemployment rate. For the sake of the scenario, unemployment rates will show a positive change. Historical analysis may show that the change is not due to seasonal effects. News feeds show that buyer confidence is increasing due the decrease in unemployment rates. Reports provide a strong indication that the unemployment rate will remain low.

With this information, analysis may indicate that traders should short the USD. The algorithm may determine that the USD/JPY pair would yield the most profits. An automatic trade would be executed when the target is reached, and the trade will be on auto-pilot until completion.

The dollar could continue to fall despite reports of unemployment improvement provided from the news feed. Investors must keep in mind that multiple factors affect the movement of the United States Dollar. The unemployment rate may drop, but the overall economy may not improve. If larger investors do not change their perception of the dollar, then the dollar may continue to fall.

The big players will typically make their decisions prior to most of the retail or smaller traders. Big player decisions may affect the market in an unexpected way. If the decision is made on only information from the unemployment, the assumption will be incorrect. Non-directional bias assumes that any major news about a country will create a trading opportunity. Directional-bias trading accounts for all possible economic indicators including responses from major market players.

Trading The News – The Bottom Line

News moves the markets and if you trade the news, you can capitalize. There are very few of us that can argue against that fact. There is no doubt that the trader receiving news data ahead of the curve has the edge on getting a solid short-term trade on momentum trade in various markets whether FX, Equities or Futures. The cost of low latency infrastructure has dropped over the past few years making it possible to subscribe to a low latency news feed and receive the data from the source giving a tremendous edge over traders watching television, the Internet, radio or standard news feeds. In a market driven by large banks and hedge funds, low latency news feeds certainly give the big company edge to even individual traders.

News programmes have suddenly become hot property and are vying for attention with other popular programmes telecast in different channels. All major television broadcasters are including at least one news channel to their bouquet. The biggest headache for launching a satellite channel is programme software for round the clock. In this juncture, newsgathering is a major task for the 24-hour news channels. To cater this task, the emerging electronic channels have always made an attempt to cover all the incidents irrespective of position, location and time. These channels not only revolutionized the concept of news on Indian television but also changed the news formats. Before 1990s, Doordarshan had monopolized newscast on Indian television and also turned the news programs into a dowdy exercise. Now the private channels made the news an essential commodity like food, cloth and shelter. The strong point of all today’s news bulletins is their topicality, objectivity, glossy editing and high-quality visuals. News has traveled a long way from the DD era. From Local events to International events, breaking news to news analysis, television soap to page3 news, every happening comes under purview of news. In this article, we have covered some significant changes in news broadcasting in India before and after the Gulf War.

Indian Television – Flash Back

Television in India is undergoing significant changes in the current liberalized environment. To understand these changes, one needs to have some brief idea of the road covered by the television channels so far. The journey started as an experimental basis with a financial grant from UNESCO in 15th September 1959. The makeshift studio at Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi was chosen for location of the experiment. The experiment started with one-hour program, broadcast twice a week, on community health, citizen rights, education and traffic sense etc. As far as news is concerned, it was launched exactly six years after the inception of television broadcasting. Daily one-hour program with a news bulletin was served to the Indian viewers. But one major drawback of television was that you could not enjoy the original colour of the objects because of black and white transmission. First multi-color programme was the Prime Minister’s address to the nation from Red Fort in Delhi on India’s 35th Independence Day. In the same day, DD National channel was launched. The aim of launching the National channel is nurturing national integration, and inculcating a sense of pride in Indians. Indian viewers also enjoyed the colored version of the Asian Games hosted by New Delhi in their drawing room. The coverage of major events and different occasions lend a big hand behind the infiltration of television signals to the nook and corners of the subcontinent. Indian Government had taken all possible steps to expand the television broadcasting demographically and geographically. In 1983 television signals were available to just 28% of the population, this had doubled by the end of 1985 and by 1990 over 90% of the population had access to television signals. In 1984, DD Metro channel was added to provide an exclusive entertainment for the urban viewers. In the beginning, this channel was confined to metropolitan cities.
As a public broadcaster, Doordarshan presented the news in naturalized manner. All controversial issues were pushed under the carpet. The ruling government had a strong hold on the television broadcasting. Doordarshan news bulletins were unable to provide the international news to the national viewers. Objectivity had been the first casualty as news was invariably slanted to suit the party in power. The news was liberated from the confines of the DD newsroom and gained in objectivity and credibility when New Delhi Television (NDTV) produced ‘The World This Week’ in 1988. Everyone was waiting for the Friday night to watch ‘The World This Week’. This was the only India-based programme, which looked out at the rest of the world. The World This Week was the best current affairs programme on the international scenario and carried good stuff of news, which the regular DD news was failed to carry out. This program is ranked as one of the country’s finest and most popular television shows. In 1989, NDTV produces India’s first live televised coverage of the country’s general elections. The critical and commercial success of the coverage sets a new standard for Indian television. After the Gulf War the media panorama has changed forever.

Golf War – The Catalyst

Post-1990 satellite television in India has become transnational in nature. It coincided with the entry of multinational companies in the Indian markets under the Government policy of privatization. International satellite television was introduced in India by CNN through its coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. In August 1991, Richard Li launched Star Plus, the first satellite channel beamed the signal to Indian subcontinent. Subhash Chandra’s Zee TV appeared in October 1992. It is India’s first privately owned Hindi channel to cater the interest of Indian viewers. This ignition followed by Sony and a little later by domestic channels such as Eenadu, Asianet and Sun TV. Entertainment programs had begun to occupy center stage in the organization’s programming strategies and advertising had come to be main source of funding. Doordarshan’s earlier mandate to aid in the process of social and economic development had clearly been diluted. Doordarshan had faced a stiff competition in news and public affairs programming with international channels like BBC and CNN. Doordarshan planned to sell some slots for news programme under sponsored category. In February 1995, NDTV becomes the country’s first private producer of the national news ‘News Tonight’, which aired on the country’s government-owned Doordarshan set a new landmark for Indian television because of its on-the-spot reporting with pertinent visuals. In the same year, TV Today Network occupied a 20 minutes slot in DD Metro channel and aired a Hindi and current affairs programme ‘Aaj Tak’. This programme became popular for its comprehensive coverage and unique style presentation by Late S. P. Singh. Still we remembered the sign-up message “Ye Thi Khabar Aaj Tak, Intizar. Kijiye Kal Tak”. Large number of viewers across India had been watching Aaj Tak as a daily habit because of its innovative style of news presentation. Besides that Nalini Singh’s five-minute fast paced, condensed daily news capsule Ankhon Dekhi, TV Today Network’s Business Aaj Tak and Newstrack was aired on the Metro channel of Doordarshan. This is the period when satellite channels concentrated on entertainment programmes for their respective channels. Doordarshan was still ruled the most wanted area ‘news’.

Major Players

Doordarshan’s monopoly was broken in 1992, when private television channels infiltrated into the Indian boundaries and entertain the viewers as much as possible. In the beginning of 1990s, the private channels offered only entertainment programmes. The entertainment programs include family drama, comedy serials, children programmes, cartoons, movies, talk shows, recipe shows, musical concerts, non-fiction programmes etc. Private entertainment channels added some infortainment programmes to their Fixed Point Charts (FPC). Keeping the demand of infotainment programmes in mind, the media houses started to produce news magazines, entertainment magazines and news programmes for different channels. India’s premier business and consumer news broadcaster and a leading media content provider, Television Eighteen India Limited (TV18) started India’s first ever entertainment magazine ‘The India Show’ on Star Plus in 1993. This emerging media powerhouse provided prime time television content to almost all leading satellite channels in India including BBC, Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television, Zee, MTV and Discovery. After The India Show, TV18 produced a weekly business news program India Business Report for BBC World. Indian viewers had very limited options (like public service broadcaster Doordarshan, BBC and CNN) for watching the television news. For televised news, the viewers had to watch Dordarshan and some international news channels like BBC or CNN. In this race to provide more news, more information, Zee Television jumped into the battlefield by launching the news channel Zee News in 1995. This News and current affairs channel revolutionized the way news was delivered to the viewers. Since its inception Zee News has endeavoured to be the fastest to provide news, working towards a single goal of Sabse Pahle (Always First). The other round-the-clock news channel, the Murdoch-owned Star TV beamed its exclusively 24-hour news channels, Star News in 1998. Star made a contract of five year with Prannoy Roy-owned NDTV (New Delhi Television Company) to provide news content for this news channel.
The untiring exhaustive coverage of the Kargil war between India and Pakistan gained more publicity and attracted more viewers towards the electronic channel. This televised conflict also sets a news benchmark for wartime journalism. During the Kargil war, common citizens witnessed how their brave Jawans fought despite in hostile conditions and watched the war front live by the exclusively news channels, Star-TV and Zee-News. The live coverage of the battlefield helped to create a euphoria of patriotism among the Indian masses, which later facilitated into collecting huge funds for the welfare of the families of Kargil martyrs. Every news programme draws the attention of large number of viewers but Kargil war attracts private broadcasters to invest more money in the broadcasting business by launching a news channel. In November 1999, TV18 entered into a 49:51 joint venture with CNBC Asia to launch CNBC India. TV18 is the sole program provider to CNBC India, and produces 12 hours of local content per day on this 24-hour satellite channel.
After the huge success of news programme ‘Aaj Tak’, TV Today group launched a 24-hour Hindi news channel with the same name ‘Aaj Tak’, in December 2000, which covers India with insight, courage and plenty of local flavour. Within 11 months of its launch, Aaj Tak emerged as India’s number one news channel and was awarded Best News Channel award from Indian Television Academy Awards. Some mega events apart from regular interesting items (such as Kandhahar hijack, September 11 attacks, Afghanistan war, attack on Parliament, Iraq war, Godhra carnage and riots) have driven up the viewership. As time passed, NDTV’s five years contract with Star group for outsourcing of news and related programming expired on March 2003. With the expiry NDTV forayed into broadcasting business by simultaneously launching two 24-hour news channels; NDTV 24X7 – English news channel and NDTV India – Hindi news channel, which targets the Indian diaspora across the world. News crazy Indians received more news at faster speed from different channels. Any unusual happening can be caught by the television camera anywhere form Rastrapati Bhawan to bedroom. The power of TV journalism was become more visible by the major sting operations like Operation West End and Shakti Kapoor Case. This style of investigative journalism has brought about a change in the way we look at news, amidst new notions of editorial freedom. The world’s largest family ‘Sahara India Parivar’ launched a 24-hour national Hindi news channel, Sahara Samay, in March 28, 2003. It is the first ever city-centric satellite news channels covering 31 cities in India with their own city news bulletins. Keeping the demand of news in mind, the Union cabinet approved the proposal to convert the DD Metro to DD news in a meeting held on 3 October 2003. Consequent to these decisions, DD-News channel was launched on 3 November 2003. You might have noticed that the news channels are language specific. But DD’s news channel contains the round the clock news bulletins in Hindi/ English are also telecast twice a day on the National Network of DD National.
‘Aap Ki Adalat’ fame Rajat Sharma, Sohaib Ilyasi, the man behind the highly successful ‘India’s Most Wanted’ and Taun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka roped together and launched a free-to-air Hindi news and current affairs channel India TV on May 20, 2004. Indian viewers had more expectations from this channel. The much-awaited news channel hopes to set itself apart from the existing ones by setting new benchmarks of responsible journalism. Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Rajat Sharma, chairman, India TV, said, “We aim to change the way broadcast news reporting is being conducted in the country. India TV will set new benchmarks by maintaining international standards of responsible and credible news reporting. We will stay away from graphic depictions of violence and sensationalism of news. We will uphold the viewer’s right to correct information and their right to truth and verity. India TV is not just a news channel, it is a movement.” NDTV as a pioneer in Indian television news, set to create a fresh revolution in high-quality business news with the launch of NDTV Profit. NDTV launched this 24-hour business channel on January 17th, 2005.
There is no saturation point in launching of news channel, just booming like sky as the limit. Entertainment channel to infotainment channel, infotainment channel to news channel, news channels to business channel and Business channel to lots more. Now the satellite channels become more topicality with international standard. When we are talking about topicality, CNBC TV18, the only business channel, continues to be the medium of choice for India’s decision makers, affluent audiences across the country since 1999. It has set the pace for the growth in number of television channels by launching a 24-hour consumer channel in Hindi called ‘ Awaaz’. This news channel focusses on empowering consumers on decision-making related to investment, saving and spending. All the programmes are catering to consumers across different walks of life, which included personal finance; variety of markets including commodity, stocks, savings etc.; small businesses; education & career guidance; and verticals like health, shopping etc.
Another news channel was finally launched into the already cluttered news space in Indian television. Jagran TV Pvt Limited’s news channel, Channel 7 up-linked to the air on 27 March 2005. The channel has been set up to cater to the vast Hindi-speaking audiences, already being targeted by a slew of news channels. Channel 7 developed every programme with a bid to cater to all types of audiences and not just pre-dominantly male audiences who get attracted towards news channels.

Regional Leaders

To cater the interest among the Indians, Doordarshan televises programmes in Hindi and associate Official languages. It has launched a number of Regional Language Satellite Channels (DD – 4 to DD – 11 and DD – 13) and telecast programmes in Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Kashmiri, Oriya and Tamil. The Regional channels relayed by all terrestrial transmitters in the state and additional programmes in the Regional Language in prime time and non-prime time available only through cable operators. The Doordarshan regional satellite channels telecast major news programme with some entertainment programmes.
If you think about the private regional channels, they have followed the path of the Big brother (i.e Doordarshan). They are neither completely entertainment channel nor exclusively news channel. They are following the middle path and claiming themselves an infotainment channels. The private channels televise through the state dominant languages. Rising advertising revenues and increasing numbers of viewers have provided the impetus for many big players to enter into the business. Some regional media leaders like ETV, Sun TV, Asianet have a strong grip over the regional market. Some major players tried their luck in different states. Zee television has three regional channels; Zee Marathi, Zee Punjabi and Zee Bangla. Star Network entered into Tamilnadu by launching Star Vijay, one of the most popular entertainment channels in India broadcasting in Tamil. Besides that ETV Network is a part of the well-established Ramoji Group, has created 12 dedicated infotainment regional channels. ETV network is the source of rich entertainment of eight different languages. Those are: Telugu, Bangla, Marathi, Kannada, Oriya, Gujarati, Urdu; and Hindi to viewers in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Every ETV Network channel focuses exclusively on its audience’s unique cultural identity, its aspirations and its distinct socio-political character. Let us think about the south Indian language Telugu, there are around twelve satellite channels are roaming around the sky with different taste and different flavour. These channels include three news channels, one song-based channels and rest are infotainment channels. When we confine ourselves into news, three channels (ETV2, TV 9 and Teja News) exclusively devoted to news programmes.
Sahara India Pariwar is proud to have five news channels as the bouquet of Sahara Samay. These channels are: Sahara Samay NCR, Sahara Samay Mumbai, Sahara Samay Bihar & Jharkhand, Sahara Samay Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh, and Sahara Samay Uttar Pradesh & Uttranchal. Sahara Samay has already managed to gain a loyal audience in India through a bouquet of National & Regional News Channels since its launch. These channels are youthful and vibrant channels targeting students and women, besides that hardcore news stuff. The regional news channels covers the entire spectrum of genre with specific programs on lifestyle, fashion, food, shopping, health and fitness, sports, education, career and city issues, besides giving user-friendly information on traffic updates, city events, train and air timings, etc. Now national news channels cannot confine its boundary to national level. They cannot ignore the regional news because of the stiff competition form the regional cannels. Regional news channels are entering into the competition with a strong will power and also with an aim to portrait regional issues in national and international level.

Conclusion

Now the television industry becomes more specific. In this competitive market, channels are targeting specific viewers. News channels attract more viewers beyond their target by producing interactive and interesting programmes. Every channel needs to do an extensive research on different concepts and different themes to attract more viewers and in the same time more advertisers. After all, advertisements are the bread and butter for the channels. With increased consumer preference for news programmes, television news channels have grown faster than other niche channels. News channels are booming just like sky as the limit. Those days are not far away, when we will get satellite news channel for every major city in India. Staying in abroad, we can update ourselves about all the happening of our hometown. Now news is not restricted to political happenings. It will be extended its limit to every unwanted and hided corners of the society. At last we can reach in the conclusion that anything, which is strange or disgusting, is news. There are no rigid rules, which defines news.

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Trade The News – Profiting From Trading With Low Latency News Feeds

Experienced traders recognize the effects of global changes on Foreign Exchange (Forex/FX) markets, stock markets and futures markets. Factors such as interest rate decisions, inflation, retail sales, unemployment, industrial productions, consumer confidence surveys, business sentiment surveys, trade balance and manufacturing surveys affect currency movement. While traders could monitor this information manually using traditional news sources, profiting from automated or algorithmic trading utilizing low latency news feeds is an often more predictable and effective trading method that can increase profitability while reducing risk.

The faster a trader can receive economic news, analyze the data, make decisions, apply risk management models and execute trades, the more profitable they can become. Automated traders are generally more successful than manual traders because the automation will use a tested rules-based trading strategy that employs money management and risk management techniques. The strategy will process trends, analyze data and execute trades faster than a human with no emotion. In order to take advantage of the low latency news feeds it is essential to have the right low latency news feed provider, have a proper trading strategy and the correct network infrastructure to ensure the fastest possible latency to the news source in order to beat the competition on order entries and fills or execution.

How Do Low Latency News Feeds Work?

Low latency news feeds provide key economic data to sophisticated market participants for whom speed is a top priority. While the rest of the world receives economic news through aggregated news feeds, bureau services or mass media such as news web sites, radio or television low latency news traders count on lightning fast delivery of key economic releases. These include jobs figures, inflation data, and manufacturing indexes, directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Commerce Department, and the Treasury Press Room in a machine-readable feed that is optimized for algorithmic traders.

One method of controlling the release of news is an embargo. After the embargo is lifted for news event, reporters enter the release data into electronic format which is immediately distributed in a proprietary binary format. The data is sent over private networks to several distribution points near various large cities around the world. In order to receive the news data as quickly as possible, it is essential that a trader use a valid low latency news provider that has invested heavily in technology infrastructure. Embargoed data is requested by a source not to be published before a certain date and time or unless certain conditions have been met. The media is given advanced notice in order to prepare for the release.

News agencies also have reporters in sealed Government press rooms during a defined lock-up period. Lock-up data periods simply regulate the release of all news data so that every news outlet releases it simultaneously. This can be done in two ways: “Finger push” and “Switch Release” are used to regulate the release.

News feeds feature economic and corporate news that influence trading activity worldwide. Economic indicators are used to facilitate trading decisions. The news is fed into an algorithm that parses, consolidates, analyzes and makes trading recommendations based upon the news. The algorithms can filter the news, produce indicators and help traders make split-second decisions to avoid substantial losses.

Automated software trading programs enable faster trading decisions. Decisions made in microseconds may equate to a significant edge in the market.

News is a good indicator of the volatility of a market and if you trade the news, opportunities will present themselves. Traders tend to overreact when a news report is released, and under-react when there is very little news. Machine readable news provides historical data through archives that enable traders to back test price movements against specific economic indicators.

Each country releases important economic news during certain times of the day. Advanced traders analyze and execute trades almost instantaneously when the announcement is made. Instantaneous analysis is made possible through automated trading with low latency news feed. Automated trading can play a part of a trader’s risk management and loss avoidance strategy. With automated trading, historical back tests and algorithms are utilized to select optimal entry and exit points.

Traders must know when the data will be released to know when to monitor the market. For instance, important economic data in the United States is released between 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM EST. Canada releases information between 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM. Since currencies span the globe, traders may always find a market that is open and ready for trading.

A SAMPLE of Major Economic Indicators
Consumer Price Index
Employment Cost Index
Employment Situation
Producer Price Index
Productivity and Costs
Real Earnings
U.S. Import and Export Prices
Employment & Unemployment

Where Do You Put Your Servers? Important Geographic Locations for algorithmic trading Strategies

The majority of investors that trade the news seek to have their algorithmic trading platforms hosted as close as possible to news source and the execution venue as possible. General distribution locations for low latency news feed providers include globally: New York, Washington DC, Chicago and London.

The ideal locations to place your servers are in well-connected datacenters that allow you to directly connect your network or servers to the actually news feed source and execution venue. There must be a balance of distance and latency between both. You need to be close enough to the news in order to act upon the releases however, close enough to the broker or exchange to get your order in ahead of the masses looking for the best fill.

Low Latency News Feed Providers

Thomson Reuters uses proprietary, state of the art technology to produce a low latency news feed. The news feed is designed specifically for applications and is machine readable. Streaming XML broadcast is used to produce full text and metadata to ensure that investors never miss an event.

Another Thomson Reuters news feed features macro-economic events, natural disasters and violence in the country. An analysis of the news is released. When the category reaches a threshold, the investor’s trading and risk management system is notified to trigger an entry or exit point from the market. Thomson Reuters has a unique edge on global news compared to other providers being one of the most respected business news agencies in the world if not the most respected outside of the United States. They have the advantage of including global Reuters News to their feed in addition to third-party newswires and Economic data for both the United States and Europe. The University of Michigan Survey of Consumers report is also another major news event and releases data twice monthly. Thomson Reuters has exclusive media rights to The University of Michigan data.

Other low latency news providers include: Need to Know News, Dow Jones News and Rapidata which we will discuss further when they make information regarding their services more available.

Examples of News Affecting the Markets

A news feed may indicate a change in the unemployment rate. For the sake of the scenario, unemployment rates will show a positive change. Historical analysis may show that the change is not due to seasonal effects. News feeds show that buyer confidence is increasing due the decrease in unemployment rates. Reports provide a strong indication that the unemployment rate will remain low.

With this information, analysis may indicate that traders should short the USD. The algorithm may determine that the USD/JPY pair would yield the most profits. An automatic trade would be executed when the target is reached, and the trade will be on auto-pilot until completion.

The dollar could continue to fall despite reports of unemployment improvement provided from the news feed. Investors must keep in mind that multiple factors affect the movement of the United States Dollar. The unemployment rate may drop, but the overall economy may not improve. If larger investors do not change their perception of the dollar, then the dollar may continue to fall.

The big players will typically make their decisions prior to most of the retail or smaller traders. Big player decisions may affect the market in an unexpected way. If the decision is made on only information from the unemployment, the assumption will be incorrect. Non-directional bias assumes that any major news about a country will create a trading opportunity. Directional-bias trading accounts for all possible economic indicators including responses from major market players.

Trading The News – The Bottom Line

News moves the markets and if you trade the news, you can capitalize. There are very few of us that can argue against that fact. There is no doubt that the trader receiving news data ahead of the curve has the edge on getting a solid short-term trade on momentum trade in various markets whether FX, Equities or Futures. The cost of low latency infrastructure has dropped over the past few years making it possible to subscribe to a low latency news feed and receive the data from the source giving a tremendous edge over traders watching television, the Internet, radio or standard news feeds. In a market driven by large banks and hedge funds, low latency news feeds certainly give the big company edge to even individual traders.

News programmes have suddenly become hot property and are vying for attention with other popular programmes telecast in different channels. All major television broadcasters are including at least one news channel to their bouquet. The biggest headache for launching a satellite channel is programme software for round the clock. In this juncture, newsgathering is a major task for the 24-hour news channels. To cater this task, the emerging electronic channels have always made an attempt to cover all the incidents irrespective of position, location and time. These channels not only revolutionized the concept of news on Indian television but also changed the news formats. Before 1990s, Doordarshan had monopolized newscast on Indian television and also turned the news programs into a dowdy exercise. Now the private channels made the news an essential commodity like food, cloth and shelter. The strong point of all today’s news bulletins is their topicality, objectivity, glossy editing and high-quality visuals. News has traveled a long way from the DD era. From Local events to International events, breaking news to news analysis, television soap to page3 news, every happening comes under purview of news. In this article, we have covered some significant changes in news broadcasting in India before and after the Gulf War.

Indian Television – Flash Back

Television in India is undergoing significant changes in the current liberalized environment. To understand these changes, one needs to have some brief idea of the road covered by the television channels so far. The journey started as an experimental basis with a financial grant from UNESCO in 15th September 1959. The makeshift studio at Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi was chosen for location of the experiment. The experiment started with one-hour program, broadcast twice a week, on community health, citizen rights, education and traffic sense etc. As far as news is concerned, it was launched exactly six years after the inception of television broadcasting. Daily one-hour program with a news bulletin was served to the Indian viewers. But one major drawback of television was that you could not enjoy the original colour of the objects because of black and white transmission. First multi-color programme was the Prime Minister’s address to the nation from Red Fort in Delhi on India’s 35th Independence Day. In the same day, DD National channel was launched. The aim of launching the National channel is nurturing national integration, and inculcating a sense of pride in Indians. Indian viewers also enjoyed the colored version of the Asian Games hosted by New Delhi in their drawing room. The coverage of major events and different occasions lend a big hand behind the infiltration of television signals to the nook and corners of the subcontinent. Indian Government had taken all possible steps to expand the television broadcasting demographically and geographically. In 1983 television signals were available to just 28% of the population, this had doubled by the end of 1985 and by 1990 over 90% of the population had access to television signals. In 1984, DD Metro channel was added to provide an exclusive entertainment for the urban viewers. In the beginning, this channel was confined to metropolitan cities.
As a public broadcaster, Doordarshan presented the news in naturalized manner. All controversial issues were pushed under the carpet. The ruling government had a strong hold on the television broadcasting. Doordarshan news bulletins were unable to provide the international news to the national viewers. Objectivity had been the first casualty as news was invariably slanted to suit the party in power. The news was liberated from the confines of the DD newsroom and gained in objectivity and credibility when New Delhi Television (NDTV) produced ‘The World This Week’ in 1988. Everyone was waiting for the Friday night to watch ‘The World This Week’. This was the only India-based programme, which looked out at the rest of the world. The World This Week was the best current affairs programme on the international scenario and carried good stuff of news, which the regular DD news was failed to carry out. This program is ranked as one of the country’s finest and most popular television shows. In 1989, NDTV produces India’s first live televised coverage of the country’s general elections. The critical and commercial success of the coverage sets a new standard for Indian television. After the Gulf War the media panorama has changed forever.

Golf War – The Catalyst

Post-1990 satellite television in India has become transnational in nature. It coincided with the entry of multinational companies in the Indian markets under the Government policy of privatization. International satellite television was introduced in India by CNN through its coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. In August 1991, Richard Li launched Star Plus, the first satellite channel beamed the signal to Indian subcontinent. Subhash Chandra’s Zee TV appeared in October 1992. It is India’s first privately owned Hindi channel to cater the interest of Indian viewers. This ignition followed by Sony and a little later by domestic channels such as Eenadu, Asianet and Sun TV. Entertainment programs had begun to occupy center stage in the organization’s programming strategies and advertising had come to be main source of funding. Doordarshan’s earlier mandate to aid in the process of social and economic development had clearly been diluted. Doordarshan had faced a stiff competition in news and public affairs programming with international channels like BBC and CNN. Doordarshan planned to sell some slots for news programme under sponsored category. In February 1995, NDTV becomes the country’s first private producer of the national news ‘News Tonight’, which aired on the country’s government-owned Doordarshan set a new landmark for Indian television because of its on-the-spot reporting with pertinent visuals. In the same year, TV Today Network occupied a 20 minutes slot in DD Metro channel and aired a Hindi and current affairs programme ‘Aaj Tak’. This programme became popular for its comprehensive coverage and unique style presentation by Late S. P. Singh. Still we remembered the sign-up message “Ye Thi Khabar Aaj Tak, Intizar. Kijiye Kal Tak”. Large number of viewers across India had been watching Aaj Tak as a daily habit because of its innovative style of news presentation. Besides that Nalini Singh’s five-minute fast paced, condensed daily news capsule Ankhon Dekhi, TV Today Network’s Business Aaj Tak and Newstrack was aired on the Metro channel of Doordarshan. This is the period when satellite channels concentrated on entertainment programmes for their respective channels. Doordarshan was still ruled the most wanted area ‘news’.

Major Players

Doordarshan’s monopoly was broken in 1992, when private television channels infiltrated into the Indian boundaries and entertain the viewers as much as possible. In the beginning of 1990s, the private channels offered only entertainment programmes. The entertainment programs include family drama, comedy serials, children programmes, cartoons, movies, talk shows, recipe shows, musical concerts, non-fiction programmes etc. Private entertainment channels added some infortainment programmes to their Fixed Point Charts (FPC). Keeping the demand of infotainment programmes in mind, the media houses started to produce news magazines, entertainment magazines and news programmes for different channels. India’s premier business and consumer news broadcaster and a leading media content provider, Television Eighteen India Limited (TV18) started India’s first ever entertainment magazine ‘The India Show’ on Star Plus in 1993. This emerging media powerhouse provided prime time television content to almost all leading satellite channels in India including BBC, Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television, Zee, MTV and Discovery. After The India Show, TV18 produced a weekly business news program India Business Report for BBC World. Indian viewers had very limited options (like public service broadcaster Doordarshan, BBC and CNN) for watching the television news. For televised news, the viewers had to watch Dordarshan and some international news channels like BBC or CNN. In this race to provide more news, more information, Zee Television jumped into the battlefield by launching the news channel Zee News in 1995. This News and current affairs channel revolutionized the way news was delivered to the viewers. Since its inception Zee News has endeavoured to be the fastest to provide news, working towards a single goal of Sabse Pahle (Always First). The other round-the-clock news channel, the Murdoch-owned Star TV beamed its exclusively 24-hour news channels, Star News in 1998. Star made a contract of five year with Prannoy Roy-owned NDTV (New Delhi Television Company) to provide news content for this news channel.
The untiring exhaustive coverage of the Kargil war between India and Pakistan gained more publicity and attracted more viewers towards the electronic channel. This televised conflict also sets a news benchmark for wartime journalism. During the Kargil war, common citizens witnessed how their brave Jawans fought despite in hostile conditions and watched the war front live by the exclusively news channels, Star-TV and Zee-News. The live coverage of the battlefield helped to create a euphoria of patriotism among the Indian masses, which later facilitated into collecting huge funds for the welfare of the families of Kargil martyrs. Every news programme draws the attention of large number of viewers but Kargil war attracts private broadcasters to invest more money in the broadcasting business by launching a news channel. In November 1999, TV18 entered into a 49:51 joint venture with CNBC Asia to launch CNBC India. TV18 is the sole program provider to CNBC India, and produces 12 hours of local content per day on this 24-hour satellite channel.
After the huge success of news programme ‘Aaj Tak’, TV Today group launched a 24-hour Hindi news channel with the same name ‘Aaj Tak’, in December 2000, which covers India with insight, courage and plenty of local flavour. Within 11 months of its launch, Aaj Tak emerged as India’s number one news channel and was awarded Best News Channel award from Indian Television Academy Awards. Some mega events apart from regular interesting items (such as Kandhahar hijack, September 11 attacks, Afghanistan war, attack on Parliament, Iraq war, Godhra carnage and riots) have driven up the viewership. As time passed, NDTV’s five years contract with Star group for outsourcing of news and related programming expired on March 2003. With the expiry NDTV forayed into broadcasting business by simultaneously launching two 24-hour news channels; NDTV 24X7 – English news channel and NDTV India – Hindi news channel, which targets the Indian diaspora across the world. News crazy Indians received more news at faster speed from different channels. Any unusual happening can be caught by the television camera anywhere form Rastrapati Bhawan to bedroom. The power of TV journalism was become more visible by the major sting operations like Operation West End and Shakti Kapoor Case. This style of investigative journalism has brought about a change in the way we look at news, amidst new notions of editorial freedom. The world’s largest family ‘Sahara India Parivar’ launched a 24-hour national Hindi news channel, Sahara Samay, in March 28, 2003. It is the first ever city-centric satellite news channels covering 31 cities in India with their own city news bulletins. Keeping the demand of news in mind, the Union cabinet approved the proposal to convert the DD Metro to DD news in a meeting held on 3 October 2003. Consequent to these decisions, DD-News channel was launched on 3 November 2003. You might have noticed that the news channels are language specific. But DD’s news channel contains the round the clock news bulletins in Hindi/ English are also telecast twice a day on the National Network of DD National.
‘Aap Ki Adalat’ fame Rajat Sharma, Sohaib Ilyasi, the man behind the highly successful ‘India’s Most Wanted’ and Taun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka roped together and launched a free-to-air Hindi news and current affairs channel India TV on May 20, 2004. Indian viewers had more expectations from this channel. The much-awaited news channel hopes to set itself apart from the existing ones by setting new benchmarks of responsible journalism. Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Rajat Sharma, chairman, India TV, said, “We aim to change the way broadcast news reporting is being conducted in the country. India TV will set new benchmarks by maintaining international standards of responsible and credible news reporting. We will stay away from graphic depictions of violence and sensationalism of news. We will uphold the viewer’s right to correct information and their right to truth and verity. India TV is not just a news channel, it is a movement.” NDTV as a pioneer in Indian television news, set to create a fresh revolution in high-quality business news with the launch of NDTV Profit. NDTV launched this 24-hour business channel on January 17th, 2005.
There is no saturation point in launching of news channel, just booming like sky as the limit. Entertainment channel to infotainment channel, infotainment channel to news channel, news channels to business channel and Business channel to lots more. Now the satellite channels become more topicality with international standard. When we are talking about topicality, CNBC TV18, the only business channel, continues to be the medium of choice for India’s decision makers, affluent audiences across the country since 1999. It has set the pace for the growth in number of television channels by launching a 24-hour consumer channel in Hindi called ‘ Awaaz’. This news channel focusses on empowering consumers on decision-making related to investment, saving and spending. All the programmes are catering to consumers across different walks of life, which included personal finance; variety of markets including commodity, stocks, savings etc.; small businesses; education & career guidance; and verticals like health, shopping etc.
Another news channel was finally launched into the already cluttered news space in Indian television. Jagran TV Pvt Limited’s news channel, Channel 7 up-linked to the air on 27 March 2005. The channel has been set up to cater to the vast Hindi-speaking audiences, already being targeted by a slew of news channels. Channel 7 developed every programme with a bid to cater to all types of audiences and not just pre-dominantly male audiences who get attracted towards news channels.

Regional Leaders

To cater the interest among the Indians, Doordarshan televises programmes in Hindi and associate Official languages. It has launched a number of Regional Language Satellite Channels (DD – 4 to DD – 11 and DD – 13) and telecast programmes in Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Kashmiri, Oriya and Tamil. The Regional channels relayed by all terrestrial transmitters in the state and additional programmes in the Regional Language in prime time and non-prime time available only through cable operators. The Doordarshan regional satellite channels telecast major news programme with some entertainment programmes.
If you think about the private regional channels, they have followed the path of the Big brother (i.e Doordarshan). They are neither completely entertainment channel nor exclusively news channel. They are following the middle path and claiming themselves an infotainment channels. The private channels televise through the state dominant languages. Rising advertising revenues and increasing numbers of viewers have provided the impetus for many big players to enter into the business. Some regional media leaders like ETV, Sun TV, Asianet have a strong grip over the regional market. Some major players tried their luck in different states. Zee television has three regional channels; Zee Marathi, Zee Punjabi and Zee Bangla. Star Network entered into Tamilnadu by launching Star Vijay, one of the most popular entertainment channels in India broadcasting in Tamil. Besides that ETV Network is a part of the well-established Ramoji Group, has created 12 dedicated infotainment regional channels. ETV network is the source of rich entertainment of eight different languages. Those are: Telugu, Bangla, Marathi, Kannada, Oriya, Gujarati, Urdu; and Hindi to viewers in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Every ETV Network channel focuses exclusively on its audience’s unique cultural identity, its aspirations and its distinct socio-political character. Let us think about the south Indian language Telugu, there are around twelve satellite channels are roaming around the sky with different taste and different flavour. These channels include three news channels, one song-based channels and rest are infotainment channels. When we confine ourselves into news, three channels (ETV2, TV 9 and Teja News) exclusively devoted to news programmes.
Sahara India Pariwar is proud to have five news channels as the bouquet of Sahara Samay. These channels are: Sahara Samay NCR, Sahara Samay Mumbai, Sahara Samay Bihar & Jharkhand, Sahara Samay Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh, and Sahara Samay Uttar Pradesh & Uttranchal. Sahara Samay has already managed to gain a loyal audience in India through a bouquet of National & Regional News Channels since its launch. These channels are youthful and vibrant channels targeting students and women, besides that hardcore news stuff. The regional news channels covers the entire spectrum of genre with specific programs on lifestyle, fashion, food, shopping, health and fitness, sports, education, career and city issues, besides giving user-friendly information on traffic updates, city events, train and air timings, etc. Now national news channels cannot confine its boundary to national level. They cannot ignore the regional news because of the stiff competition form the regional cannels. Regional news channels are entering into the competition with a strong will power and also with an aim to portrait regional issues in national and international level.

Conclusion

Now the television industry becomes more specific. In this competitive market, channels are targeting specific viewers. News channels attract more viewers beyond their target by producing interactive and interesting programmes. Every channel needs to do an extensive research on different concepts and different themes to attract more viewers and in the same time more advertisers. After all, advertisements are the bread and butter for the channels. With increased consumer preference for news programmes, television news channels have grown faster than other niche channels. News channels are booming just like sky as the limit. Those days are not far away, when we will get satellite news channel for every major city in India. Staying in abroad, we can update ourselves about all the happening of our hometown. Now news is not restricted to political happenings. It will be extended its limit to every unwanted and hided corners of the society. At last we can reach in the conclusion that anything, which is strange or disgusting, is news. There are no rigid rules, which defines news.

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This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

  • full business itinerary details
  • up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
  • transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
  • travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
  • complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
  • currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.”

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference.

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

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This is rightly named as the age

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

  • full business itinerary details
  • up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
  • transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
  • travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
  • complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
  • currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.”

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference.

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

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The Progress of Web Design: From Tim Berners-Lee to Mobile Website Design

Evolution of Web Design

In the early 1990s, websites were text-based. The use of images and graphics were not yet main stream at the time. The first web design was made of a single column and text-based pages in Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). Website pages were a collection of text documents connected to each other by internal links. Through research and development, significant advancements were made. The first website was published in 1991 by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He is also the current director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) founded in 1994, which oversees the web development and its standards.

In the mid 1990s, table-based websites were introduced. Now web designers were able to organize their web pages within cells of a table. It became possible to create multiple column websites, which in return allowed better web content organization and navigation layout. Table-based websites also enabled customization of each element within the table. Web designers could now insert background images within cells of a table; however, good design principles were not really important. Website designers and clients were interested by the hottest, latest and most advanced web design technology available. As things started to evolve, frames, animated texts and visual hit counters became part of web design. Frames were used to clearly separate the body of a website from the sidebar navigation. Animated texts and GIF images were used to capture the website user’s attention, while visual hit counters became a good way to measure the popularity of a webpage. In 1994, Macromedia introduced Flash, which is essentially a software used to produce Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to create animations and stream videos.

In the late 1990s, Flash became more popular. Most websites became a combination of table-based design and flash elements, with flash animations including the company’s logo, a flash-based navigation and flash-based image galleries. The major Web Design innovation of the late 1990s was the introduction of Personal Home Page (PHP) which according to Wikipedia, is a server-side scripting language designed for web development. PHP gained a lot of popularity because it is free and compatible with leading operating systems and web servers which make it deployment easy across different platforms.

The 21st century brought a lot of innovation to web design with the introduction of CSS. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used to format an HTML webpage. Now web designers could separate the content of a page (HTML) from its styling or design (layout, colors, fonts, etc.). In the early 2000s, Microsoft Internet Explorer became the first web browser to fully support the CSS structure. In stride, the concept of intelligent web was introduced with the advent of JavaScript. Now designers could animate content without flash and perform a complex computation of data. The use of drop-down menus and forms also became very popular. These forms allowed internet users to generate content online, create personal profiles and upload pictures.

In the mid 2000s, the semantic web was born. This movement primary allows machines and computers to understand website pages as well as human do. This was made possible by inserting computer readable Meta tags about pages and their relation to one another through technologies such as XML, TURTLE and N-TRIPLES.

One of the first tasks, when you want to put together a great website for your business is to find a good web designer. Thanks to the internet, we now have the ability to communicate easily and work with people from all over the world.

It’s tempting to outsource work to freelancers and companies who advertise their services on the internet because it’s often cheaper than hiring a local professional or company. If you take that route to find your web designer, you’re likely to regret that decision sooner or later. Here are seven reasons why a local web designer is your best option.

1: You Don’t Want Communication Problems And Timezone Issues

There are some things that are still best done face-to-face. It makes a big difference when you can sit with your web designer and explain your requirements. It also makes it easier to review the work at various stages and make corrections, something which you’re unlikely to do if you have a remote web designer.

You can use video chat or teleconferencing to do periodic reviews, but these methods have their own limitations. If your web designer is in another timezone, you have bigger communication hurdles. You will find that it takes longer to get replies to your emails and there will be other inevitable delays.

These can be quite frustrating when you want to communicate new requirements or changes. With a local web designer, you will also avoid possible language barriers or cultural differences.

2: A Web Designer Who Understands Your Business Has An Advantage

Local people will be able to come to your office and see how your business works. They will be able to better understand the objectives of your web presence and will be able to use that knowledge to your advantage when they actually do the work. They will also be able to give you new ideas and suggest improvements, rather than just creating a design that fits your specifications.

3: Local Knowledge Is A Great Asset For A Local Business

If your business caters only to your locality, city or state, local designers will be able to understand the local aspects of your business and its target market better. For example, people familiar with your area and community will be able to understand better when you’re targeting a sub market that is specific to your area. This sub market could be, say, people in a specific income bracket or living in a certain locality.

4: Local Website Designers Have Their Local Reputations At Stake

When the customer is in the same area, designers have more to lose if they provide poor service. Designers are conscious of the need to maintain a good reputation in the market, be it online or offline. In fact, word-of-mouth reputation is usually more important when they have to deal with other local businesses. You can also ask your designer for local references with whom you can actually cross check the quality of service.

5: You Can Expect Better Technical Support And Training

Everyone needs technical support. Sometimes technical problems may be caused due to design issues. You may also need training for using your content management system or your web hosting control panel. You’re likely to get better support and interactive training if you hire local designers.

6: Local Web Design Companies Or Professionals Are Less Likely To Disappear

The worst part of outsourcing is that it’s difficult to ensure continuity. This is especially true when you’re dealing with individuals and small companies. You may find that your web designer or company is no longer available when you want some changes or more work done, say, one year down the line. When you’re dealing with well-established local companies, you’re less likely to face such a problem.

7: Commitment Is Harder To Gauge When You Work With A Non-local Designer

Local companies and web designers are more likely to be committed to help you achieve what you want to achieve with your website. Two reasons which we discussed before are in part responsible for this. One is the better understanding they have about your goals and requirements. The other is the need of the designers to maintain their local reputation.

Although it may seem easy to hire a web designer from a far-off location, it can prove more difficult and costly in the long run. Web designing is an ongoing process even though the bulk of the work is done in the initial months.

1. Crawl the web

Your search for the perfect web designer starts with familiarizing yourself with the excess of beautifully designed and well maintained websites that are out there in the World Wide Web. Create a list of the features you liked across all the websites you have visited and arrive at a final wish-list of 8-10 features you would like your website to have. It could be aesthetics, page-load speed, ease of navigation, stickiness (addictiveness), relevance of content, level of engagement, or any number of other features. You should also visit potential designers’ websites. A well-designed and informative website of the web designer projects professionalism. It indicates business confidence and application of expertise.

Now you should have 2 lists, one for web designers and one for your desired features.

2. Talk purpose and branding

The first thing you should do with each of your short-listed designers is to broach the topic of branding and the role of your website in creating the online brand presence you had envisioned. Your website is the face of your brand on the internet!

The design of your website must coincide with your overall brand image and sales goals. Website design differs depending on its purpose. If you are a building consultant, you may only want to list information about you, your services and a contact form for service. If you are a home builder, you most likely will need a gallery to showcase your display homes and jobs completed. If you are a building supplier, then you may need a shopping cart feature. Evaluating the purpose of your website will help determine the features you must have and those you can live without ensuring the best return on investment (ROI).

3. Talk Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You should seek out web designers who are familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Of course, it helps if the web designer is an SEO expert themselves.

You should always keep in mind that you are building a site to sell a product or a service. There is no point of having the most fascinating site when it doesn’t serve its purpose.

Think of SEO as this example:

‘When you first publish a website, it is similar to putting up your sign beside a busy highway. When you first put up the sign it is only 1meter square, and in a field 1000 meters from the highway. It is there, but hardly anyone reads it.

As you develop your site, the sign moves closer to the highway and gets bigger. To increase the sign’s size and decrease the distance from the highway you must get your site listed in the major search engines’

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to all the things you can do to improve your website’s visibility in the search engines’ rankings. Search engine optimization techniques focus on increasing the ‘organic’, or natural, traffic that you receive based on your ranking within the search engines.

4. Find out who does the content writing

This is where most website owners go wrong. Website content is generally thought of as commoditized pieces of text that are needed to fill web pages. Your content is what engages the visitor and is uniquely positioned to convert prospects to customers. Some web designers have access to professional content writers to write an optimized content talking directly to your customers. Alternatively, you can provide the content to your web designer

5. Read the inclusions and know what you are getting for your money

Like many builders who have a list of inclusions for each home design, most web designers have 3 or 5 packages with a list of inclusions. It’s very important to know exactly what you are getting for your money.

Watch out for designers who ONLY charge by the ‘page or by a certain page length.’ Or even worse have a very cheap package with a high monthly maintenance fee. This could end up costing you much more money.

6. Find out details of ownership and hosting

Enquire about the ownership of the web site and the domain name. Make sure you are given full ownership of the website and access details so you have control of your website for future updates should you choose to do so without having to pay the original designer. This will ensure you can still use your website domain name in the future, even if you decide to deal with another web designer.

Many web designers and development firms also provide website hosting services. This is not only convenient for you in terms of any website’s updates and speed of portability, but can also work in your favor commercially. Ask your vendor for a competitive quote for a bundled service that includes website design, development and hosting.

7. Ask for wireframes

Before you jump headlong into awarding the contract to your web designer of choice, ask for wireframes. These are schematics of how your web pages will look like and the functionality embedded. It is the norm for designers to provide wireframes for the home page and another page, or to show you a sample version of the sequence of actions from one page to another. This will reveal the thought process of the designer as they go about conceptualizing the design for your website.

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The first web design was made of a single column and text-based pages in Hyper Text Markup

Evolution of Web Design

In the early 1990s, websites were text-based. The use of images and graphics were not yet main stream at the time. The first web design was made of a single column and text-based pages in Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). Website pages were a collection of text documents connected to each other by internal links. Through research and development, significant advancements were made. The first website was published in 1991 by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He is also the current director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) founded in 1994, which oversees the web development and its standards.

In the mid 1990s, table-based websites were introduced. Now web designers were able to organize their web pages within cells of a table. It became possible to create multiple column websites, which in return allowed better web content organization and navigation layout. Table-based websites also enabled customization of each element within the table. Web designers could now insert background images within cells of a table; however, good design principles were not really important. Website designers and clients were interested by the hottest, latest and most advanced web design technology available. As things started to evolve, frames, animated texts and visual hit counters became part of web design. Frames were used to clearly separate the body of a website from the sidebar navigation. Animated texts and GIF images were used to capture the website user’s attention, while visual hit counters became a good way to measure the popularity of a webpage. In 1994, Macromedia introduced Flash, which is essentially a software used to produce Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to create animations and stream videos.

In the late 1990s, Flash became more popular. Most websites became a combination of table-based design and flash elements, with flash animations including the company’s logo, a flash-based navigation and flash-based image galleries. The major Web Design innovation of the late 1990s was the introduction of Personal Home Page (PHP) which according to Wikipedia, is a server-side scripting language designed for web development. PHP gained a lot of popularity because it is free and compatible with leading operating systems and web servers which make it deployment easy across different platforms.

The 21st century brought a lot of innovation to web design with the introduction of CSS. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used to format an HTML webpage. Now web designers could separate the content of a page (HTML) from its styling or design (layout, colors, fonts, etc.). In the early 2000s, Microsoft Internet Explorer became the first web browser to fully support the CSS structure. In stride, the concept of intelligent web was introduced with the advent of JavaScript. Now designers could animate content without flash and perform a complex computation of data. The use of drop-down menus and forms also became very popular. These forms allowed internet users to generate content online, create personal profiles and upload pictures.

In the mid 2000s, the semantic web was born. This movement primary allows machines and computers to understand website pages as well as human do. This was made possible by inserting computer readable Meta tags about pages and their relation to one another through technologies such as XML, TURTLE and N-TRIPLES.

One of the first tasks, when you want to put together a great website for your business is to find a good web designer. Thanks to the internet, we now have the ability to communicate easily and work with people from all over the world.

It’s tempting to outsource work to freelancers and companies who advertise their services on the internet because it’s often cheaper than hiring a local professional or company. If you take that route to find your web designer, you’re likely to regret that decision sooner or later. Here are seven reasons why a local web designer is your best option.

1: You Don’t Want Communication Problems And Timezone Issues

There are some things that are still best done face-to-face. It makes a big difference when you can sit with your web designer and explain your requirements. It also makes it easier to review the work at various stages and make corrections, something which you’re unlikely to do if you have a remote web designer.

You can use video chat or teleconferencing to do periodic reviews, but these methods have their own limitations. If your web designer is in another timezone, you have bigger communication hurdles. You will find that it takes longer to get replies to your emails and there will be other inevitable delays.

These can be quite frustrating when you want to communicate new requirements or changes. With a local web designer, you will also avoid possible language barriers or cultural differences.

2: A Web Designer Who Understands Your Business Has An Advantage

Local people will be able to come to your office and see how your business works. They will be able to better understand the objectives of your web presence and will be able to use that knowledge to your advantage when they actually do the work. They will also be able to give you new ideas and suggest improvements, rather than just creating a design that fits your specifications.

3: Local Knowledge Is A Great Asset For A Local Business

If your business caters only to your locality, city or state, local designers will be able to understand the local aspects of your business and its target market better. For example, people familiar with your area and community will be able to understand better when you’re targeting a sub market that is specific to your area. This sub market could be, say, people in a specific income bracket or living in a certain locality.

4: Local Website Designers Have Their Local Reputations At Stake

When the customer is in the same area, designers have more to lose if they provide poor service. Designers are conscious of the need to maintain a good reputation in the market, be it online or offline. In fact, word-of-mouth reputation is usually more important when they have to deal with other local businesses. You can also ask your designer for local references with whom you can actually cross check the quality of service.

5: You Can Expect Better Technical Support And Training

Everyone needs technical support. Sometimes technical problems may be caused due to design issues. You may also need training for using your content management system or your web hosting control panel. You’re likely to get better support and interactive training if you hire local designers.

6: Local Web Design Companies Or Professionals Are Less Likely To Disappear

The worst part of outsourcing is that it’s difficult to ensure continuity. This is especially true when you’re dealing with individuals and small companies. You may find that your web designer or company is no longer available when you want some changes or more work done, say, one year down the line. When you’re dealing with well-established local companies, you’re less likely to face such a problem.

7: Commitment Is Harder To Gauge When You Work With A Non-local Designer

Local companies and web designers are more likely to be committed to help you achieve what you want to achieve with your website. Two reasons which we discussed before are in part responsible for this. One is the better understanding they have about your goals and requirements. The other is the need of the designers to maintain their local reputation.

Although it may seem easy to hire a web designer from a far-off location, it can prove more difficult and costly in the long run. Web designing is an ongoing process even though the bulk of the work is done in the initial months.

1. Crawl the web

Your search for the perfect web designer starts with familiarizing yourself with the excess of beautifully designed and well maintained websites that are out there in the World Wide Web. Create a list of the features you liked across all the websites you have visited and arrive at a final wish-list of 8-10 features you would like your website to have. It could be aesthetics, page-load speed, ease of navigation, stickiness (addictiveness), relevance of content, level of engagement, or any number of other features. You should also visit potential designers’ websites. A well-designed and informative website of the web designer projects professionalism. It indicates business confidence and application of expertise.

Now you should have 2 lists, one for web designers and one for your desired features.

2. Talk purpose and branding

The first thing you should do with each of your short-listed designers is to broach the topic of branding and the role of your website in creating the online brand presence you had envisioned. Your website is the face of your brand on the internet!

The design of your website must coincide with your overall brand image and sales goals. Website design differs depending on its purpose. If you are a building consultant, you may only want to list information about you, your services and a contact form for service. If you are a home builder, you most likely will need a gallery to showcase your display homes and jobs completed. If you are a building supplier, then you may need a shopping cart feature. Evaluating the purpose of your website will help determine the features you must have and those you can live without ensuring the best return on investment (ROI).

3. Talk Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You should seek out web designers who are familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Of course, it helps if the web designer is an SEO expert themselves.

You should always keep in mind that you are building a site to sell a product or a service. There is no point of having the most fascinating site when it doesn’t serve its purpose.

Think of SEO as this example:

‘When you first publish a website, it is similar to putting up your sign beside a busy highway. When you first put up the sign it is only 1meter square, and in a field 1000 meters from the highway. It is there, but hardly anyone reads it.

As you develop your site, the sign moves closer to the highway and gets bigger. To increase the sign’s size and decrease the distance from the highway you must get your site listed in the major search engines’

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to all the things you can do to improve your website’s visibility in the search engines’ rankings. Search engine optimization techniques focus on increasing the ‘organic’, or natural, traffic that you receive based on your ranking within the search engines.

4. Find out who does the content writing

This is where most website owners go wrong. Website content is generally thought of as commoditized pieces of text that are needed to fill web pages. Your content is what engages the visitor and is uniquely positioned to convert prospects to customers. Some web designers have access to professional content writers to write an optimized content talking directly to your customers. Alternatively, you can provide the content to your web designer

5. Read the inclusions and know what you are getting for your money

Like many builders who have a list of inclusions for each home design, most web designers have 3 or 5 packages with a list of inclusions. It’s very important to know exactly what you are getting for your money.

Watch out for designers who ONLY charge by the ‘page or by a certain page length.’ Or even worse have a very cheap package with a high monthly maintenance fee. This could end up costing you much more money.

6. Find out details of ownership and hosting

Enquire about the ownership of the web site and the domain name. Make sure you are given full ownership of the website and access details so you have control of your website for future updates should you choose to do so without having to pay the original designer. This will ensure you can still use your website domain name in the future, even if you decide to deal with another web designer.

Many web designers and development firms also provide website hosting services. This is not only convenient for you in terms of any website’s updates and speed of portability, but can also work in your favor commercially. Ask your vendor for a competitive quote for a bundled service that includes website design, development and hosting.

7. Ask for wireframes

Before you jump headlong into awarding the contract to your web designer of choice, ask for wireframes. These are schematics of how your web pages will look like and the functionality embedded. It is the norm for designers to provide wireframes for the home page and another page, or to show you a sample version of the sequence of actions from one page to another. This will reveal the thought process of the designer as they go about conceptualizing the design for your website.