Tag Archives: technology

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Technology expands meeting and conference industry

We don’t catch up over coffee anymore, we catch up on Facebook.

Technology has changed the way we date, invite people to parties, and even watch TV. It’s only natural that technology will change the face of business meetings and conferences.

“As a chapter and in addition to our website, we utilize social media outlets — Facebook and LinkedIn — to promote our meetings and events and to share information industry-wide,” says Donna Masiulewicz. president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “We also use these means to educate those outside the industry about the power of meetings.”

Mara Weber, global marketing and communications director for Honeywell Process Solutions in Phoenix, has taken the use of technology a step far beyond Facebook.

“We held a global sales and service kickoff meeting on a virtual platform, with live broadcasts of a general session in two time zones,” Weber says. “The objective was to align our global team on growth initiatives, portfolio offerings, key messages and how to sell the value to our customers.”

While Weber says virtual meetings — which experts expect to triple in the next five years — give companies the ability to create a global footprint and bring content to an audience when and where it’s convenient for them, there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome.

“To be honest, the time and energy required and cost is far more than people realize,” she says. “You need to start with a very specific plan of attack, keeping goals and results in mind and making sure you are creating the right content in the right format. Video format, platform format, firewalls, testing in varied browsers and software versions, ability to convert files and stay flexible at all times is just the start. You also need to think past the technical to the end-user experience and also branding to create a visual environment and help messages that guide attendees or they quickly get frustrated and jump off. It’s not like being lost at a trade show and being able to view a map and ask people for directions. The audience is largely on their own and you have to think about their experience every step of the way, how they behave, how you want them to behave, download, ask, engage.”

Weber believe the best use of virtual meetings are as a component of a live, face-to-face event, extending the value of the content through the web to attendees who cannot travel or have abbreviated schedules.

“We chose to do a fully virtual kickoff meeting because we have over 3,500 sales and service team members in more than 100 countries,” she says. “The cost and logistics of face to face meeting is not reasonable.”

Weber says Honeywell has piloted virtual meeting a couple of times with customers when they can focus on a specific, targeted topic. And even in the high-tech world that Honeywell does business in, change isn’t embraced easily.

“Our customer base does not seem to be accepting,” Weber says. “By nature, they are engineers and like live demonstrations, talking face to face with experts and networking.”

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

Here are five way ways experts say the use virtual technology is changing the face of the convention, conference, meeting, event, and trades how industries: ways he says you can use virtual technology to enhance your meetings.

WEB CONFERENCING: Connects meeting attendees and speakers in different locations by using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), which allows real-time streaming of audio and video. More hotels and business centers are also adding high-definition virtual conference rooms that can be used to host hybrid sessions.

ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS: Open source your meetings and events by allowing virtual participants to share documents, Web pages, whiteboards, slide decks, audio, and video … all in real-time. Some Web conferencing systems allow you to record your events, thereby creating a collective knowledge base. These tools can be used for small meetings or for larger groups of thousands.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Often called the “backchannel,” social media represent the virtual conversations taking place in the background before, during, and often long after your live meeting or event. Take the time to set up and promote social media activity through things like assigning a specific Twitter hashtag for your event, creating event-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and setting up Foursquare check-in locations.

REMOTE PRESENTERS: Use a streaming video feed of a speaker who is in a different physical location. This can be done as a realistic 3-D hologram, or a live feed of your guest speaker. Remote presenter options can be a great way to attract high-profile speakers who may not have the time to travel to a physical event.

LIVE WEBCASTS: Broadcast your keynotes, general sessions and breakouts by streaming your live audio and visual presentations via the Internet in real-time.

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It takes fuel to win tech race

Many of us can relate to thinking of Arizona’s economy as an automobile race. To win, you need a smooth race course, a fast car, a winning driver and high-powered fuel.
Carrying that analogy into Arizona’s technology sector, it’s clear that a lot of resources have been invested and progress has been made in building a world-class race course.  We’ve made tremendous strides in creating a business climate and technology environment for facilitating both private and public sector support to address the needs of Arizona’s technology businesses.

The Arizona Technology Council has worked collaboratively with many different technology champions to build this course. Technology issues are supported by the Governor’s office, the state’s legislature, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and more.

Technology incubators and shared space facilities such as Gangplank in Chandler, Avondale and Tucson; Hackspace and Venture Catalyst at ASU’s SkySong in Scottsdale; BioInspire in Peoria; Innovation Incubator in Chandler; AzCI in Tucson; and AZ Disruptors in Scottsdale are making sure that today’s innovators are being given the right support, tools and environment to create the next big thing.

Collectively, our wins have included the passage of a tax credit for qualified research and development that is the best in the nation, the creation of the first statewide Arizona SciTech Festival and the birth of the Arizona Innovation Institute, to name a few.
Arizona’s technology industry also has great race cars. These are the technologies and intellectual property that create wealth and jobs driven by both Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs.  Companies such as Intel, Microchip Technologies, Freescale, ON Semiconductor and Avnet can all be found here.  Nearly all of the largest aerospace and defense prime contractors in the nation are located in Arizona, including Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.

The state’s entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in companies such as WebPT, Infusionsoft, Axosoft, iLinc and Go Daddy that were founded in Arizona along with the many innovators that are coming to the table every day with new ideas rich in technology.

These companies large and small are driven by some of the greatest race car drivers the nation has produced.

But when it comes to fuel, Arizona’s economy has always been running close to empty. We lack the vital capital needed to win the race. Having access to angel investors, venture capital and private equity as well as debt instruments is critical to Arizona’s success.
The situation has not been improving on the equity side of the fuel equation. To offer some relief, the Arizona Technology Council is proposing legislation that would create a system of contingent tax credits to incentivize both in-state and out-of-state investors to capitalize Arizona companies.  This program, called the Arizona Fund of Funds, would allow the state to offer $100 million in tax incentives to minimize the risk for those seeking to invest in high-growth companies.  The state government’s role would be to serve as a guarantor through these contingent tax credits in case the investments don’t yield the projected results.  Expect more information on this important piece of legislation as it advances.

On the debt side of the fuel equation, there are encouraging signs that the worst of the credit crunch may be over. Early-stage companies need access to debt instruments, or loans. Capital is needed for equipment and expansion. A line of credit can help early-stage companies through ongoing cash-flow issues. But loan activity is still modest in Arizona for small companies. It remains heavily weighted toward the strongest corporate and consumer borrowers.

Capital goes hand in hand with innovation, high-paying jobs and cutting-edge technology, products and services. Before Arizona’s economy can win the race, we will need to become more self-sufficient at providing the fuel necessary to be a winner.

Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.

Eric Marcus, CEO of Marcus Networking.

Tech Q&A: Year-end budgeting

This is the first of what will be a continuing series of technology questions answered by Eric Marcus, CEO of Marcus Networking in Tempe.

Question: What technology or telecommunications products should we purchase before year-end?

Answer: December is an excellent time to evaluate your IT needs for the coming year and with Section 179 Deductions changing, small businesses should take advantage of purchasing new equipment before it’s too late.

According to the IRS, Section 179 of the IRS code allows small businesses to deduct the cost of machinery, vehicles, equipment, furniture and other property. This was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. At that time, the maximum amount that a business could deduct was $250,000. In 2011, the maximum deduction that a small business could make was $500,000, but in 2012, the amount drops to $139,000.

Marcus Networking recommends replacing old laptops, wireless access points, battery back-ups, MS Office, VoIP phone systems, and servers before Dec. 31, 2012.  All of these products and services can improve workplace efficient and save money in the long run.

We’re also available to provide a free consultation and discuss your business needs.  Does some of your staff work remotely? Will you be adding or reducing staff in the coming year? Are you building a new office? Would you like to cut travel costs and have the ability to do presentations remotely? All of these factors determine what products and services we’ll recommend for your business.  And remember, you’ll always want to talk to your accountant before making any large capital purchases to ensure you follow the Section 179 code and take advantage to its fullest.

 

Eric Marcus is CEO of Tempe-based Marcus Networking, which specializes in telecommunications centered on phone systems, cabling, and the network infrastructure also known as the “backbone.” Read more about Eric Marcus in the January issue of Az Business magazine.

technology

Technology and the law

We all know how quickly technology is changing.

But how will changes in technology affect changes in the law?

As Arizona enters its second century, three Arizona attorneys weigh in on the legal changes they see coming as technology continues to rock our world.

Cheryl Walsh, shareholder, Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A.: Just 107 years ago, the Wright Brothers flew a plane for the first time.  Who could have imagined then that we would have the technologically-rich world we have today?  With that in mind, we do have technological advancements in our midst today that are ripe for challenge and examination. For instance, access to information and data as a result of technology can increase safety and efficiency of  law enforcement substantially; however, privacy and personal rights must be balanced in the process. The Supreme Court will be tackling this issue in the current session by considering the admissibility of GPS tracking device information obtained without a warrant. Cameras are everywhere and soon we will enter our homes and businesses with eye recognition technology that will make the individuality of fingerprinting more obsolete than ever.  Protecting our rights while advancing our civilization is a delicate balance.

Yu Cai, associate in Polsinelli Shughart’s science and technology practice group: Intellectual property development and protection will become an essential part of any business plan. Particular attention must be paid to the recent change in patent law from “first to invent” to “first to file,” requiring earlier interaction and involvement between inventors and their legal representatives.

John E. Cummerford, co-managing shareholder, Greenberg Traurig: Until fairly recently, “privacy” — as we think of it today — was a rare commodity. The word “privacy” doesn’t even appear the Constitution, no doubt because it was so uncommon when the Constitution was drafted. Technology has sharply reduced — and in my view, will soon eliminate — the whole notion of personal privacy.  Naturally, this will cause a lot of worry and fear.  But, when nobody’s privacy is safe, how will that affect our own inclination to invade the privacy of others?  I think it will cause people to actually become more respectful of others, and will — for lack of a better term — cause them to avert their eyes.

That is, will the muck-raking reporter who makes a living ferreting out scandals and embarrassing others really want someone to find out, say, his own bank balance, or what websites he has visited, or with whom he has been keeping company and put that information on the web?  Probably not, although that information may be readily available.  And so, I think that recognition that we are all vulnerable to invasions of privacy will foster more civility and I dare say more kindness among people.  And that will be a good thing indeed.

immigration

Tackle Popular Immigration Reforms Now

Following the results of the election, there appears to be a real window in Washington, D.C. to do something meaningful on immigration.

The just reelected president has made immigration reform a first tier priority.  And many Republicans believe that dealing with this issue is essential to restoring to their party some attractiveness with the two fastest growing groups of immigrants: Asians and Hispanics.  Both groups clobbered the GOP in the election, with approximately 66 percent of Hispanics breaking for the president and Asians going into the president’s column at a whopping 73 percent.

The inability of Republican candidates to capture votes from these important demographic blocs is jarring. In 1996, the GOP Dole-Kemp ticket won 48 percent of the Asian vote. In his successful 2004 reelection campaign, President Bush won over 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Much has changed.

But more important than any political gains to be had are the economic benefits. As American Enterprise Institute fellow Ben Wattenberg wrote a few months ago, immigration is a comparative advantage for the United States. We need to take full advantage of the fact that the best and the brightest, the hardest working people from around the world desire to work and live in the United States.  This isn’t a situation that we should run from. This is something we should fully embrace.

While there may be the urge to try to fix the entire immigration system in one fell swoop, an all-at-once approach imploded a few years ago.  A step-by-step approach focused on making incremental gains may make more sense.

Yes, we need to bolster security and continue to work towards operational control of the border, but we also need to work on other areas ripe for reform now.

The three areas that should be addressed first:  1) some sort of codification of the president’s mini-Dream Act; 2) a path to increasing the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and higher-skill visas; and 3) improvements to our existing temporary worker programs.

Already the president has gone forward via executive order with a Dream Act-type plan that provides a renewable work permit for those who entered the country illegally at a young age and who meet certain conditions, such as military service or enrollment in college.

Shoring this up via legislation is not necessarily dead on arrival in Congress. You will recall that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized the president’s process behind this new program, but he did not attack the substance.  And Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida had been working on a similar proposal to the president’s actions before the executive order.

On visa reform, the U.S. House as early as this week is poised to act on legislation that would increase the number of STEM visas and make it easier for those with green cards to bring over family members.  The trade-off would be an elimination of the diversity visa program.

The public support for reform is there. A poll conducted for the Arizona Business Coalition over the summer found support for the president’s action on undocumented immigrants brought here as children, with 56 percent of respondents favoring the president’s policy while 41 percent were opposed.  This proposal was supported by 76 percent of Hispanics with only 21 percent in opposition.

Regarding Arizonans’ support for a proposal similar to the STEM legislation to be considered by the House later this week, the results are clear. The same poll asked the following question:

“The proposal would create a new category of green cards for highly-skilled foreign students who have earned a masters or doctorate degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics from an American university and have received a job offer to work in the U.S. This would allow these foreign-born students to stay, work, and pay taxes here in the United States. ”

The results?  Eighty percent support and only 19 percent in opposition.

In addition to this STEM proposal we should pass something along the lines of what Sen.-elect Jeff Flake has proposed with his STAPLE Act, which would exempt international STEM graduates educated in the U.S. from visa quotas.

There is also support for addressing obvious U.S. temporary worker needs. Arizona voters were asked:

“In general, would you support or oppose a guest worker program that allows workers from Mexico to cross the border legally and register with American authorities to perform seasonal work on a temporary basis in Arizona?”

The results were 83 percent of respondents in support and only 16 percent registering in opposition.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is prepared to help advise policymakers on these items, and we’ve established new policy committees – Federal Affairs and Hispanic Business and Emerging Markets – to help provide the analysis they require.

Forgive the sports analogy, but if immigration were a baseball game, we’re down by four runs. It would be nice to hit a grand slam and solve all of our immigration challenges, but we can get the same results by stringing together singles and doubles.

There’s a real opportunity to make substantive reforms to our country’s immigration system. Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. http://www.azchamber.com/

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IO Attracts Top Tech Talent

IO, the leading provider of next-generation modular data center technology and services, today announced Alan McIntosh, former chief information officer at Groupon has been appointed senior vice president of global technology delivery and Apple marketing veteran Anne Wolf has been appointed senior vice president of global marketing and communications. Additionally, Bob Butler has been promoted to chief security officer (CSO) in charge of global information security and privacy.

These executive appointments follow a blockbuster quarter for IO with the Goldman Sachs adoption of IO Data Center 2.0 technology, the award of the Underwriter’s Laboratories first ever certification for a modular data center product, and a $90 million funding round. IO’s solutions enable organizations to shift from real estate-based data center infrastructure to efficient, sustainable, and software-optimized IO.Anywhere modules. These highly experienced additions to the management team will better enable IO to manage the rapid growth at IO due to the accelerating adoption of Data Center 2.0 by global enterprises, governments and service providers.

McIntosh will help drive this growth and apply his deep knowledge in cloud infrastructure to IO’s global technology delivery strategy and implementation. He has a proven track record in designing and operating web scale global Internet infrastructure at Groupon, CBS Interactive, CNET Networks and Oracle. McIntosh brings both the operations and technical experience that is essential for successfully managing the day-to-day operations at a company that is moving as quickly as IO.

Wolf brings more than two decades of Fortune 500 technology industry experience that includes a ten-year product and solution marketing tenure with Apple. She most recently held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for 41st Parameter, a leading fraud detection solution provider for the world’s top financial institutions and e-commerce companies. At IO, Wolf will drive the global brand, strategic product marketing, corporate communications and Data Center 2.0 market education.

Formerly Vice President of Government Strategies at IO, Butler has been promoted to Chief Security Officer at IO, where he will oversee internal information security, privacy and cyber security readiness for our products and among our global customer base. Butler has over 32 years of multinational experience spanning Defense, Intelligence, National Security and Information Technology positions. Prior to IO, Butler served two years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, where he was responsible to the Secretary of Defense and senior Defense leaders for recommending and implementing policy strategies to improve the Defense Department’s cyber position.

“At IO you are the average of your team,” says George D. Slessman, CEO of IO. “As we approach the tipping point for Data Center 2.0 globally, IO is succeeding by attracting, developing and nurturing world class talent like Alan, Anne and Bob. “

 

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Afterschool Programs Get STEM Grants From Cox

Nine afterschool programs around the state will each receive a $1500 STEM grant from the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence and Cox Communications to support creative efforts to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math into today’s curriculum.

“At a time of shrinking funding in schools across the state, these grants emphasize the critical importance of using an informal STEM approach to curriculum in afterschool and out-of-school-time programs because they remain one of the few opportunities for youth to engage in projects incorporating science, technology, engineering and math,” said Melanie McClintock, Executive Director, Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence.  “The quality of the proposals we received from around the state made the decisions incredibly difficult, but also pointed to the remarkable quality of afterschool programs developed and operating across the state.”
Proposals were submitted from urban, rural, suburban and charter schools across the state as well as from community-based afterschool programs.

Winners are:

Afterschool “All-Stars” Program, Ira A. Murphy School, Peoria:  To purchase iPads for junior high student-led program for students to report, edit and broadcast video morning announcements to the school.

Computer 360 Start to Finish, Introduction to Computer Drafting and Design, Boys & Girls Club of Northern Arizona, Cottonwood:  For implementation of computer technology curriculum teaching youth about basic hardware and software components needed to construct a computer system, basic functionality and operational maintenance.

Gilbert Public Schools, VIK Club, Incorporating Digital Photography into 6 VIK Club sites, Gilbert: Funds will support efforts to increase creative hands-on art projects; enhance and expand children’s passion for books, reading and imagination; and inspire and develop passion for photography as an art form.

Girls Scouts of Southern Arizona, Launch of Gamma Sigma Club, Tucson: To purchase iPads for junior high and high school girls to use current apps to plan their engineering projects, integrate 3-D graphics, spreadsheets, charges and presentations.

JAG Afterschool Program, Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates, Gila Bend, LaJoya, Sierra Linda, Tolleson and Westview High Schools: To help students develop career and college plans and deepen their connection to their school and community through the purchase if iPads for students to use in researching, planning, conducting, editing and producing a series of video interviews with passionate professionals in STEM related careers.

Show Me Light, Tucson Parks and Recreation KIDCO Programs, Tucson: To explore the science of light from a totally different perspective which would end up creating a laser music show as the final product.

Lego Robotic Club, Magnet Traditional School, Phoenix:  To establish a Lego Robotics Club to expose students to STEM in an informal learning setting.

Spartans Science Club, Northland Preparatory, Flagstaff:  To expand STEM projects to include robotics and allow students to identify problems they want to try to solve, design, build, program, troubleshoot and execute by purchasing Lego Education NXT Mindstorm kits.

SPOT 127, KJZZ’s Youth Media Center, Phoenix: To engage youth in project-based activities that build foundational skills in radio and broadcast journalism, music and video production, sound design, media literacy, web design, graphic arts, and social media.

Winners were selected based on their innovative use of science and technology in an informal learning setting, the involvement of students in designing many of the projects and the maximum utilization of the limited dollars available.

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Arizona SciTech Festival Opens Call for 2013 Events

Through a partnership formed between Arizona Science Center,  Arizona State University, Arizona Technology Council Foundation and the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona SciTech Festival is gearing up for its second annual event designed to excite and inform Arizonans of all ages about how science, technology and innovation affects their everyday lives and will expand their economic future. After a successful Festival kick-off conference that brought together over 375 partners in industry, education, research, entrepreneurship, community, arts and culture, now is the time for all Arizonans to submit their ideas for events for the 2013 festivities.

“Our Festival network is growing and so is the excitement for the 2013 Arizona SciTech Festival,” said Dr. Jeremy Babendure, Festival director. “The 2012 inaugural Festival was a great success with over 200 amazing expos, celebrations, exhibitions, discussions, and tours delivered to over 220,000 young people and adults in venues located not only in Greater Phoenix and Tucson, but also in communities such as Casa Grande, Flagstaff and Showlow. We’re calling on all Arizona citizens to help us reach our goal of doubling those numbers by submitting their ideas and spreading the word about the Festival through their networks.”

Become a Collaborator Today! Deadline is November 10.
Although the 2013 Arizona SciTech Festival will take place throughout the state February 9 – March 17, all ideas for activities year round are welcome.  ACollaborator Portal (http://azscitechfest.org/collaborator-portal) on the Arizona SciTech Festival website serves as a place to submit events that are already organized, as well as a repository to match the needs between individuals and organizations that have ideas for content or venues to offer.

Specifically, the Collaborator Portal allows individuals and groups to do the following:
· Sign on as an official Collaborator
· Post an official Arizona SciTech Festival event that will go on the website and program schedule
· Post a venue – if you have a location and are looking for content, the Collaborator Portal can help those with content find your location
· Post your content – if you have content and are looking for a venue, the site can help match you with those who have locations
To become an official Collaborator and submit your events or ideas, please visit the portal today.  November 10, 2012 is the deadline for posting.

“The Arizona SciTech Festival would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “These generous businesses, agencies, institutions and individuals are ensuring that the future of Arizona is full of innovation and growth.”

bioscience - economic outlook - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

Strength Of Bioscience Helps Brighten Arizona’s Employment Outlook

Bioscience brings strength to Arizona’s employment opportunities.

Arizona’s economic doldrums are finally starting to appear in the rearview mirror.

“Here in Arizona, the state ranked No. 12 in job creation (in 2011),” says Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business. “That’s a vast improvement from last year at this time, when it ranked No. 40.”

Twenty percent of the Phoenix-area companies interviewed for a Manpower Employment Outlook Survey plan to hire more employees during the second quarter of 2012, while just three percent expect to reduce staff.

Leading the charge in Arizona job growth is technology, healthcare and bioscience, Ernst says. “We’ve also seen manufacturing pick-up substantially in the last month with roles in accounting and finance,” he added.

According to Manpower spokesperson Frank Amendariz, other job prospects for the next quarter appear best in construction, transportation, utilities, wholesale and retail trade, information, financial activities, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.

“Employers expect stronger employment prospects compared with one year ago,” Amendariz says optimistically.

“There’s a lot more optimism among hiring managers than in years past,” says Andy Ernst, regional vice president of Robert Half International, a specialized staffing services company. “Businesses are looking to hire. As the economy continues to regain its foothold, we anticipate an uptick in hiring as more companies look at ways to market themselves to attract new candidates and retain key members of their team. We anticipate the next 3-4 years being very good on the job front here in Phoenix.”

But no sector has shown the strength or potential that bioscience has shown. During the post-recessionary period of 2009-10, bioscience jobs in Arizona increased by 7.4 percent, compared with a 1.8 percent decline for the state’s overall private sector, according to a new performance analysis of Arizona’s bioscience sector, commissioned by the Flinn Foundation.

The annual study by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice found that since 2002 Arizona has outpaced the nation in generating bioscience jobs and firms, and in winning National Institutes of Health grants, the gold standard for biomedical research funding. Even venture-capital funding, long a challenge for Arizona’s bioscience sector, was on an upswing in the past year.

“Through the most trying economic circumstances of our lifetimes, bio in Arizona more than held its own,” says Walter Plosila, senior advisor to the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. “The bioscience sector is past the ‘promising’ stage. It is now becoming integral to Arizona’s future.”

Since Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap was launched in 2002, bioscience jobs in the state have grown 41 percent to a total of 96,223, versus 11 percent growth for the nation as a whole. Those jobs pay an average annual wages of $55,353, 29 percent higher than the overall average for private-sector wages in Arizona.

With those jobs comes the demand for a better educated workforce.

“In the Phoenix market, there is high demand for experienced professionals with four-year degrees or more who have 2-3 years experience working in their field,” Ernst says. “The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers 25 and older is 4.2 percent and even lower from some specialties such as IT, accounting and finance.”

While the investment in education is paying off for Arizona’s workers, the investment of time and energy in developing a cohesive plan to further the state’s bioscience industry is paying dividends for the state’s workforce and its economy.

Martin Shultz, chair of the statewide steering committee that oversees the Bioscience Roadmap, applauded the commitment of Arizona leaders. “Over the past decade, officials ranging from school principals to mayors to three governors have made long-term investments in our state’s future by supporting the biosciences,” Shultz says. “The excellent return on those investments is undeniable.”

For more information on the Bioscience Roadmap, visit the Flinn Foundation’s website at flinn.org.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

home insurance scottsdale az technology

Home Insurance In Scottsdale AZ Goes Boldly

Do you hear the phrase “turn of the century” and think 1900, then realize people were talking about TWELVE YEARS AGO? Then you think, “Hey, it’s the 21st century!” and the next thought that zips into your brain is “Where the heck is my flying car?”  Well, odds are you are one of those people who had a definite vision about what the future would be like, and there’s a good chance that this vision got its inspiration from the old Star Trek series.

You are not alone if you crave that cool stuff the crew of the Enterprise took for granted. Ok, “The Fly” (both the original 1958 version and the 1986 remake) may have severely reduced our enthusiasm for the transporter, but who doesn’t wish for one of those handheld scanners Dr. McCoy used to determine if someone was sick every time the doctor orders a blood panel, x-ray or some other unpleasant test? If only it were that simple.

Just scan me Doc, and let me know what’s what!

Well, the medical tricorders aren’t available yet, but there is something eerily similar that’s currently being used in Scottsdale, AZ for Home Insurance. Insurers of high-end homes in Arizona typically send out appraisers for a first-hand look, and the technology they’re using looks an awful lot like Dr. McCoy’s medical tricorder. The NY Times describes these devices;

“We’re applying what used to be commercial technology to uncovering hot and cold spots behind walls and beneath flooring,” said Mark Schussel, a spokesman for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies in Warren, N.J. Chubb’s appraisers are using HomeScan cameras that employ infrared thermography to spot water damage and fire risk. Areas that show up as “cold spots” could indicate moisture in a wall or lack of insulation. “Hot spots,” Mr. Schussel said, “could be a sign of electrical arcing, which can lead to a fire.” If moisture is detected, the appraiser will attempt to find its source.

Other insurance companies such as Fireman’s Fund and AIG use similar devices. The focus on risk management and loss prevention is greater on high-end homes so perhaps it’s no surprise that insurance companies are investing in better technology to help them accomplish this. What is a surprise, though, is the range of services that insurance companies employ to protect their clients.

Services like risk-management specialists meeting with clients to develop emergency plans in the event of natural disaster, mobile wildfire units spraying homes with fire retardant when a threat is reported, concierge services that visit customer homes in advance of impending disasters to store valuables and minimize damage are increasingly offered (Wall Street Journal). Companies offer relocation services and restoration teams when disaster strikes, but loss prevention is the more forward-thinking option.

Despite the high-tech devices like tricorders, transporters, and communicators, the real appeal of Star Trek was the crew. The Enterprise held a team of forward-thinking and creative professionals who bravely flew into situations and worked together to avert disaster or rescue the imperiled. Not unlike the crew of the Enterprise, risk management and loss prevention professionals offer home owners in Arizona a similar service, bringing options to avoid loss of property or life that was often not available in the last century; such as tracking the paths of wildfires, or storms, and leveraging resources to keep your family and valuables out of that path.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that many of the companies insuring high-end homes take this approach, since the people in those companies watched the same Star Trek episodes that we did. The Star Trek vision about what the future would be like was a positive one. And we’re on our way to this future. We have our communicators, Dr. McCoy’s tricorders are being used on our homes, and it’s just a matter of time until we can park our flying cars in the garage!

Contact your local insurance agent to find out about the latest technology and services available in home insurance policy.

BAE Systems

BAE Systems Receives $10.8 Million To Manufacture Bradley Survivability Seats

BAE Systems received a $10.8 million award to manufacture Advanced Survivability Seats for Bradley Fighting Vehicles used by the U.S. Army.

These seats, called the Survivor Post Mount 1000 and Survivor Modular Troop 3000, include an energy-absorbing technology that helps protect soldiers from spinal injuries.

“The seat and restraint system are integral components of the overall vehicle survivability capability to protect occupants from blasts and other threats,” said Frank Crispino, director of vehicle protection programs at BAE Systems Support Solutions.

The order, awarded by SSI Technology, Inc., will be carried out at the BAE Systems’ facility in Phoenix, with deliveries beginning this May and will conclude in June 2013.

The facility in Phoenix has been providing occupant safety products for more than 30 years, and the company has produced more than 1,900 Bradley Advanced Survivability Seats since 2009. The most recent upgrades are in association with the Bradley Advanced Survivability Seats–Driver program and will be applied to the Army’s Bradley Urban Survivability Kit program.

BAE Systems provide a range of products and services to meet the needs in readiness and operational support across the land, aviation and maritime domains that support the U.S. Department of Defense and federal agencies.

For more information visit, baesystems.com
Managing Downstream and Upstream Risks

Managing Downstream And Upstream Risks

Examine your company’s cash flow needs and managing downstream and upstream risks

Even the strongest, most sophisticated contractor has probably taken a lump or two over the past year as a result of one of the worst stretches the construction industry has seen in decades. Because of these challenges, there are many ways that you should be examining your own company, your cash flow needs, profit estimate and balance sheet projections.

Managing both your upstream risks and downstream risks will be critical to your success in the coming years. Ask the following questions:

  • How much bad debt can my company absorb before having a critical impact on my balance sheet and cash flows?
  • How long should I perform work without being paid? What does my contract allow for in terms of work stoppages for non-payment?
  • Who bears the risk of non-payment by the ultimate project owner? Do I have any “Pay If Paid” contracts?
  • How is this private project being financed? Has anyone seen a bank commitment letter?
  • What would happen if my receivables were stretched another 30-45 days on average?
  • How would this job be impacted if one of my subcontractors could no longer perform their work (due to bankruptcy or otherwise)? How much would it cost me to replace them?
  • What is my added exposure when I bond a job?
  • How do I address onerous contract terms with my owner/GC/client?
  • How do I know if my subcontractors are still financially viable?

There are landmines at every turn so be sure to not discount the value of doing your homework before signing a contract. What are some specific areas of risk to pay close attention to?

Upstream Risks

We all understand the inherent risks with subcontracting a portion of “your work” to another contractor for whom you will be responsible. How many of us though give a lot of thought to upstream risk? Are you a sub to a general contractor? Sub to another sub? Vendor, supplier? Or a general contractor doing work for a private company? All of these scenarios carry several risks.

The most obvious upstream risk is no pay/slow pay from your client. As a general contractor doing work for a private owner, you will typically have the ability prior to starting the work to inquire about project financing. Do not dismiss this right and take full advantage of this opportunity as you will likely have difficulty getting anything else from the owner once the project has begun. Useful tools here include a “set aside” letter from their bank, loan commitment letter for project specific funding or a bank reference letter stating that the owner has sufficient cash on hand to pay for the project.

Even if you are not prime to an owner, all of these risk factors affect you. Unfortunately, you will not likely have access to your upstream contractor’s financials and will be somewhat dependent on their due diligence with the owner. Even so, don’t be afraid to ask your prime contractor (or upstream contractor) if they have done their homework. Also, check with your peers or any subs/suppliers who are working for your general contractor to see how timely they are currently making payments.

Downstream Risk

If you are a general contractor, part of your normal operating procedure is to monitor subcontractor bids and hopefully that includes a formal prequalification process for the majority of your subs. The amount of data you request is up to you, but the following is a key list of things you should know about your potential subcontractors:

  • What is their reputation? Do they have reference letters? How many jobs of similar size and scope have they performed in the past?
  • What is their safety history? Do they have a dedicated safety director?
  • What is their financial status? Have they ever failed to complete a job? Will they share financials?
  • Do they have a bond company and/or a bond line? If so, what are their single and aggregate limits? Can you obtain a letter from their surety stating these limits and current capacity?
  • Do they have all the required insurance currently in place? How do you monitor and track expiring certificates throughout the year?
  • Do you know how many subs or suppliers they will engage to fulfill the contract? If you are providing a bond as a prime contractor, these parties will all be covered by your Payment Bond and add to your potential exposure for non-payment claims.

This economy has certainly taken its toll on a large number of contractors. Often the smaller, trade contractors are hit the hardest as they did not carry large backlogs of work or large balance sheets into this downturn. They could be dependent on their next job for their very survival so it is critical that all parties are aware of potential risk factors with key subs and suppliers and employ as many additional tools as possible to mitigate those risks and prevent another contractor’s problem from being your problem.

[stextbox id=”grey”]For more information about downstream and upstream risks, visit www.mjinsurance.com.[/stextbox]

 

Incubator Building, AZRE September/October 2011

Education: Incubator Building, Gateway


INCUBATOR BUILDING

Developer: GateWay Community College
General contractor: Core Construction
Architect: SmithGroup
Location: 
44th St. and Van Buren Rd., Phoenix
Size: 18,100 SF

Programmed, designed and built parallel with its sister building (the IEB), the $4M Incubator Building will house research space for start-up companies in bioscience and other emerging technology fields. It is pursuing LEED Silver certification. Subcontractors include Sun Valley Masonry, S&H Steel, Kovach, K.T. Fabricators and Pete King Construction. Tentative completion is 4Q 2011.

AZRE Magazine, September/October 2011
Intel Corporation Headquarters in Santa Clara, CA

Intel To Invest More Than $5 Billion To Build New Factory In Arizona

CHANDLER, AZ., Feb. 18, 2011 – Intel Corporation today announced plans to invest more than $5 billion to build a new chip manufacturing facility at its site in Chandler, AZ. The announcement was made by Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini during a visit by President Barack Obama at an Intel facility in Hillsboro, Ore.

The new Arizona factory, designated Fab 42, will be the most advanced, high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. Construction of the new fab is expected to begin in the middle of this year and is expected to be completed in 2013.

“The investment positions our manufacturing network for future growth,” said Brian Krzanich, senior vice president and general manager, Manufacturing and Supply Chain. “This fab will begin operations on a process that will allow us to create transistors with a minimum feature size of 14 nanometers. For Intel, manufacturing serves as the underpinning for our business and allows us to provide customers and consumers with leading-edge products in high volume. The unmatched scope and scale of our investments in manufacturing help Intel maintain industry leadership and drives innovation.”

Computer component, image provided by Flickr

While more than three-fourths of Intel’s sales come from outside of the United States, Intel manufactures three-fourths of its microprocessors in the United States. The addition of this new fab will increase the company’s American manufacturing capability significantly.

Building the new fab on the leading-edge 14-nanometer process enables Intel to manufacture more powerful and efficient computer chips. The nanometer specification refers to the minimum dimensions of transistor technology. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter or the size one ninety-thousandth the width of an average human hair.

“The products based on these leading-edge chips will give consumers unprecedented levels of performance and power efficiency across a range of computing devices from high-end servers to ultra-sleek portable devices,” said Krzanich.

Fab 42 will be built as a 300mm factory, which refers to the size of the wafers that contain the computer chips. The project will create thousands of construction and permanent manufacturing jobs at Intel’s Arizona site.

About Intel

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available at newsroom.intel.com and blogs.intel.com.

Provided By Flickr

Five Monopolies, Methods of Communication Losing Their Hold

1.

Landlines

According to CITA, an International Wireless nonprofit organization, 91% of Americans carry a cell phone as of 2009, and those numbers have continued to expand.  Now more than ever, with the growing popularity of the iPhone and Droid, cell phones have become both a necessity and an addiction.

In past decades, landlines were an essential part of the home, but with cell phone giants like Apple, wireless communication is quickly eliminating the need for both a home phone and cell.  Now, phones do much more than dial, and let’s be honest — landlines don’t have Angry Birds or Restaurant Finder Apps.

Landline Phones No More

2.

“Snail” Mail vs. Email

Once a monopoly on long-distance communication, mailing letters to friends or loved ones has been virtually phased out of everyday conversation and proven to be the least efficient means of interaction.  What was once a necessity for love notes, bank statements, and college acceptance letters, “snail” mail is quickly becoming replaced with the popularity of social media platforms and widespread use of email.

Since cell phone’s and the internet explosion in the early 1990’s, this generation’s lack of composition skills have been harshly scrutinized.  In 2009, The United States Postal Service stated that 177 billion pieces of mail were delivered in the US, compared to 14.4 trillion by email.  Now, young people rely heavily on a keyboard, 140 characters and auto-correct spelling.

"Snail" Mail Replaced by Email

3.

Newspapers

Electronic tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Pad, Amazon’s Kindle or the BlackBerry Playbook, have been 2010’s newest toy.  According to the Washington Post, “average daily circulation of all U.S. newspapers has been in decline since 1987″ and “has hit its lowest level in seven decades.”

Newspapers have been undoubtedly hit hard — as major stations are reporting record losses, cuts and even closures across the country.  Despite the change in the medium which news is delivered, there will always be a desire and need for the public to be informed and educated on current events.  It’s just that now news is viewed on a 9 x 5 LED screen — not paper.

Physical Newspapers Moving Online

4.

Video Rental Stores

Some of my fondest childhood memories include “Power Rangers:  The Movie” and the newest Nintendo 64 game — both of which were rented from the local Blockbuster.  Video rental stores, like Blockbuster, have been slowly declining in business over the past 6 years as online sites such as Netflix and RedBox have stolen much of the business which these stores once had.

Having closed over 600 stores in just the past three years and reported record losses in the hundreds of millions, it’s no wonder Blockbuster is struggling to stay afloat.  According to an article by MSNBC.com, “Blockbuster Inc. may close as many as 960 stores by the end of next year,” primarily in response to appeal and ease of online streaming — in a society glued to their computer screens.

Video Rentals Like Blockbuster Replaced by Nexflix, Flickr, Scott Clark

5.

In-Person Classrooms

As a current student at ASU, I recognize that most classes still meet in a physical room with a paper syllabus and wooden desks from the Jimmy Carter administration.  However, as technology of educational tools increases, so does the medium with which it is taught.

Arizona State University offered over 700 online classes this spring, which range from Managerial Economics to History of Hip Hop.  It’s not just ASU, but virtually all major universities across the country offer online classes and degrees, and sites like Blackboard allow professors to post assignments and readings for the week online.

Classrooms Moving Online
Delete Exterior Shot

Delete Tattoo Removal Salon Erases The Past

Excuses for not getting an unwanted tattoo removed may be a thing of the past with the opening of the Valley’s first free-standing tattoo removal salon.

Delete Tattoo Removal and Laser Salon, which opened Nov. 8, uses three-wavelength technology combined with Alex TriVantage laser treatment that is safe, effective and affordable.

Owner and founder Marci Zimmerman got the idea for her business while at a spring training baseball game two years ago.

“There were a lot of bad tattoos out there and I said to my friends, ‘That’s going to be a huge business,’” she says. “It was just one of those things that stuck in my head and I couldn’t let it go.”

Zimmerman, two doctors, and three trained technicians are helping clients take the next step in removing unwanted body ink.

The process begins with a complimentary consultation where patients sit down with a doctor to discuss treatments, costs, risk factors and pain reduction options.

Next, a photo is taken to track the removal progress.  Patients are given protective eyewear that is worn throughout the laser procedure and are asked to choose from a variety of pain-numbing options.

“We can either do cold air, ice, a topical numbing or an anesthetic numbing injection that goes under the surface of the skin,” says Dr. Julie Keiffer, medical director and supervisor for Delete. “Most clients choose the anesthetic. They feel a little needle stick and slight discomfort and then they don’t feel anything.”

After each session, patients wait four to six weeks before coming back for another round. The number of treatments and cost both depend on the amount of ink, colors and the location of the tattoo.

Zimmerman says that Delete specifically targets 29- to 45-year-olds who are going through a change in life, whether it is marriage, children or a new job. Clients also include those who never liked their tattoo to begin with and want it removed.

“It’s a need out there and no one deserves to live with something permanently if there’s the technology out there to remove it,” she says.

Samya Cochran, 35, a mother of two, says she felt that it was time to remove two of her tattoos after being overlooked several times for modeling jobs because of her body art.

“It just wasn’t my style anymore,” she says. “I wanted my skin back and I’m just over-the-moon thrilled that this is getting done.”

In addition to its tattoo removal services, Delete also removes unwanted pigment spots on the body such as freckles or birthmarks.

As a sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the company launched All Clear, a complimentary removal service for breast cancer survivors that removes the small mark left from the radiation site.

The removal salon is the company’s first location, but Zimmerman says she hopes to expand and eventually franchise Delete nationally.

“The more salons we have the bigger our messaging can be,” she says. “It’s a huge gamble but I really believe if we provide a superior product at a superior price, great results and great costumer service, then we’ve got a winner.”

Arizona's high technology industry - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Far-reaching Initiatives Are Driving The AZ Tech Council

When it comes to new initiatives to promote and develop Arizona’s high technology industry, there is no telling how far the Arizona Technology Council will go.

Would you believe … China? A 10-day, fact-finding journey — led by Arizona Technology Council President and CEO Steven Zylstra — to one of the oldest nations on the planet ranks as the most spectacular effort to assist Arizona’s technology companies and individuals. But there’s much more.

For example, Consultants on Demand, a program run by Dick Stover, CEO of Go1099.com, connects businesses with consultants and professionals for various contract services. It’s free to all Tech Council members.

With the addition of Consultants on Demand to the council’s website, members can post projects and special assignments without charge. Consultants and professionals can access and bid on these projects, also without charge.

Then there is the Mentoring Program, launched in 2010 to provide Tech Council members with a venue for strengthening and building their business knowledge and network. A pool of talented and experienced business professionals is available to fill the role of mentors. Under the program, a mentor spends a year working with a Tech Council member on mutually agreed upon goals for business and personal growth. In addition, the Tech Council has speakers address the group throughout the year on various business topics.

“As the group progresses through the program,” Zylstra says, “new relationships will be formed via networking, and stronger companies will be built by learning new business practices for strategic planning and efficient operational management.”

Because the technology industry is still somewhat male dominated, Women in the Workforce is a program that provides an opportunity for women in technology to share ideas and experiences. Teresa Snyder, marketing director for OneNeck IT Services, says the program is an attempt to fill a need for women in technology.

Arizona Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

IPic Theaters Image

IPic Theater In Scottsdale Quarter To Offer New Movie-Going Experience

A traditional night out at the movies will be redefined in Scottsdale this December after the opening of IPic Theaters.

The new, eight-auditorium cinema will seat between 71 and 91 people per theater featuring plush seats, pillows, blankets and state-of-the art technology.

IPic movie goers will have the option of choosing between two types of seating: premium seats will feature 30-inch leather chairs or Gold Class seats with custom recliners and foot rests that also offer food-and-beverage service during the movie as well as complimentary popcorn and valet parking.

Dining selections will include a seasonal menu, a 60-bottle wine list, cocktails, beer, breads, salads and desserts. Food and beverage service is available before or after the movie. Those items may also be brought directly into the theater.

A smart phone application is in the works that will enable guests to order food from their seat.
“We will give them as little or as much service as they want,” says Mark Mulcahy, Vice President of Marketing for IPic Theaters. “We’re trying to make sure the people who come in have the greatest experience possible.”

The theater’s opening couldn’t have come at a better time. Its Dec. 17 date will allow it to benefit from the holiday season’s offering of such first-run films including Little Fockers, Tron and True Grit. In an effort to promote a more stress-free environment for its viewers, iPic will not show pre-movie advertisements on the screen.

Apart from bringing an upscale form of movie-going to the Scottsdale area, the theater is also a boon the economy by creating 150 new jobs.

Open-call interviews will be held daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until all positions are filled. Positions include sales and marketing, guest services, and bartending. All new employees will go through a three-week training session.  Training will include educating workers on proper food and wine pairing.
In addition to providing jobs, the theater hopes to further boost the economy by bringing in more business to the surrounding Scottsdale area.

“This is a movie town,” Mulcahy says. “It will be a great asset to Scottsdale’s night life and will increase business for the Scottsdale Quarter as well as driving people over here for movies.”

Until its Dec. 17 opening, IPic is offering a free movie ticket for those who sign up online for its membership services. Members will also receive discounts for online advanced ticket purchases, member-only movie screenings along with weekday promotional events.

“They’re just going to have a better night out,” Mulcahy says. “People like to go out and people like to eat and we’re bringing it all to them.”

For more information on IPic Theaters or to sign up for membership services visit www.ipictheaters.com.

selfservicemakingyourbusinessbetter

Are Self-Service Technologies Making Your Business Better?

Self-service technologies, which automate routine interactions between companies and customers, are a source of convenience and efficiency to both parties — until something goes wrong and the customer cannot make the system work. Many companies should be focusing more closely on the overall customer experience, says Michael Goul, a professor of information systems and a researcher at the Center for Advancing Business Through Information Technology. Curiously, here’s a case where businesses could learn something from government! (12:32)

Old Fashioned Marketing, relationship building

New Year, New Business Ideas!

While working away on planning your New Year’s resolutions, perhaps a consideration for your personal goals is to reach out professionally for new, fresh ideas that make your business work better. We have witnessed the biggest recession in decades, borderline depression, with failing businesses, jobs lost, and homes given back to the bank. Yet, I personally have seen a major shift in spending.

What is working for businesses, for those who have survived, and why?

In years past, many categories of business grew complacent as new clients seemed to just ‘flood’ in without having to reach out to grab them. We witnessed a lack of networking and heavy reliance that the money would never go away.

What is different today? We are going back to the good old days of having to build relationships, networking, and grass-roots marketing. Sure, the influx of the Web, social media, and digital connect is imperative today… however, it does not replace the power of face to face interaction and a “good ‘ole hand shake” to seal the deal.

People want to do business with someone they are familiar with. We all got so caught up in “cyber-space” that it truly put a big fat wedge between us and the potential client! It also cannot offer a reliable way to advertise… by itself. The World Wide Web is a beautiful tool, but on its own, without traditional advertising means to drive people to it, it won’t work properly.

The business owners that are combining a healthy dose of personal touch and face to face time, are those who are winning. So, back to the New Year’s resolution…most business is a means to your end to live your life the way you want to. Do yourself a favor, look at your business and make some personal adjustments. Combine the ways of yesteryear along with the technologies of today to create a win-win that will last a lifetime. You never know… you just may enjoy your business again.

luxury movie theater lobby

Luxury At UltraLuxe Scottsdale Theater

Going to the movies will never be the same thanks to the newly remodeled luxury theater UltraLuxe, owned by San Diego-based UltraStar Cinemas. Located on Indian Bend Road and the 101 in Scottsdale, the renovation of the former United Artists theater was completed by DeRito Partners, an Arizona brokerage firm specializing in retail.

The grand opening was Nov. 16 with former Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzales serving as the guest of honor to cut the “film” to open the theater.

The theater, know as UltraLuxe, is located in the Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center just behind the new Diamondbacks spring training facility in Scottsdale. It will feature 11 auditoriums showcasing state-of-the-art Pure Digital Cinema, which UltraStar Cinemas describes as the crispest motion picture technology available. Each house will have stadium or luxury VIP seating in high-back reclining chairs.

UltaLuxe also will include special D-BOX enhanced motion chair technology, which moves the seats with the motion of the screen. For example, if there is an explosion in the movie that occurs on the left side of the screen, the seats move to the right to simulate the blast — creating a true movie experience.

There will also be five “Star Class” auditoriums, which will include seating reserved for guests 21 and older, special VIP viewing rooms with extra large leather chairs, menus and a call button for servers. Menu items include flavored popcorns, hummus, pizza and a selection of panini sandwiches. Specialty coffees, Italian sodas, beer and wine, and desserts will also be available in the Café and Star Class auditoriums.

If these delicious incentives and exciting amenities don’t get you into the theater, maybe the affordable prices will further entice you. Ticket prices are $7.50 for an adult matinee; $9.75 for an adult evening ticket; $7 for seniors and ages 12 and under; $8.75 for students and military with I.D.; and $5.50 for “early bird” tickets to the first matinee showing of each movie. 3-D, D-BOX seats or star class auditoriums add $2 to $8 to each ticket price.

Cost-Effective Marketing Materials

5 Tips For Creating Cost-Effective Marketing Materials

Don’t work harder: Market smarter

It’s time for that marketing brochure to be updated or to create a direct mail campaign to generate new business, but you are questioning the expense. Before you even begin, there are key considerations that will help control your costs and create a greater impact.

It is no surprise that the most expensive factor in creating new marketing materials can be the cost of production. But, buyers beware: Reducing production costs is possible if you plan ahead.

A collaborative effort between the designer and the print vendor is key. Graphic designers will always have a vision when creating a project. Your job is to ensure your designer and print representative are in communication during the development process. A knowledgeable print representative should and will ask questions in order to determine options that can ultimately lead to cost-saving.

The List

Optimal results in a direct mail campaign can be attributed to a combination of things – cool eye catching designs, attention grabbing message, strong calls to action – but it all begins with the list. Are the addresses on your list accurate? Are you reaching the right audience?

All too often the mailing list is a last-minute thought pulled together after materials have gone to print. Supplying and processing mailing lists ahead of the print run will help reduce waste by establishing an accurate count number of your actual needs. Investing in a service to thoroughly cleanse your list can remove old records and improve accuracy. The cleaner the list is, the higher your return on investment.

Flexibility

Most innovative printers today are running various projects in combination to help offset costs.  If you are able to provide flexibility regarding paper stock and printing time you can take advantage of an opportunity to print your marketing materials in combination with others. This helps save you money up front by sharing the set-up costs.

Finish The Job

A large portion of the costs incurred producing marketing materials derive from the set-up costs, the materials and the cost of labor or time it takes to put your project together. The more finishing services you can complete in-line, the lower your overall cost. For example, if you need 20,000, 16-page, 8.5 x 11 catalogs, think about sourcing it to a printer that can fold and glue the spine on a web press, opposed to a vendor that can only print flat sheets and then must separately fold and spine staple your catalog off-line.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

In any print project the actual size or dimensions of your piece can have a significant impact on production costs. A larger postcard means less pieces fitting on a page. The more units you are able to fit onto a full-size sheet, the less time your job spends on the press, which results in savings. Additional factors to strongly consider are the postal regulations on each direct mailer.  Reducing a standard 8.5 x 11 catalog to 6 x 10.5 can reduce postage by as much as $0.12 per piece depending on the weight.

The Digital Age

When you are printing a large volume and seeking a high quality finish, more conventional, off-set printing is the method of choice. But, advancements in technology now allow a greater level of customization with digital printing, which is typically best for short runs and quick turnaround times. Digital printing is perfect for a short run, four color, print on demand project, like business cards or postcards.

Managing the production budget of your marketing materials can easily get away from you and significantly increase costs with what appears to be small decisions or choices. Adding things like a fifth color or spot varnishes, choosing an out-of-the-ordinary paper stock, or even adding a small foil stamp can put you over budget.

As a former print production manager, I’ve been tasked with controlling costs on marketing collateral for many years. In looking beyond cost saving practices like size reductions, paper selection and combining production, one particular project comes to mind that is a great example of how planning with your team can save on costs.

The client had a limited budget, but needed 25,000 two-piece pull card window mailers, which traditionally require a great deal of handwork to put together. By involving the bindery supervisor in the design process, we created an automated one-piece mailer, with a zip strip opening and perfed-out windows on both sides. The automation not only saved roughly $3,000, the finished piece was fun and very interactive for the end user.

Whatever the project, it is always best to incorporate unique design elements and strong messaging in order to create effective marketing materials without going overboard on cost.

It all goes back to the importance of planning during the design stage and enlisting the expertise of those involved.

Photo: www.designerclothesonline.co.uk

Social Media Hasn’t Reached Luxury Brands, Yet

With celebs tweeting about everything from their morning latte to a product they’re peddling and Facebook taking over the world one movie at a time, you can’t go a day without being involved in social media.

However, luxury brands, like Chanel and BMW, have yet to catch the social media bug.

This Forbes.com article explains why many luxury brands aren’t advertising on social media sites the way most retailers are.

One reason is that consumers looking to buy luxury items are seeking more than just a sleek sports car or a perfectly-fitted suit. They’re looking for an experience that drips luxury from the attentive staff to the chilled champagne they’re sipping. That experience isn’t something a consumer can achieve sitting at home on a computer, even in the plushest of pads.

Luxury retailers are about decadence not convenience, which is why some of them don’t have a huge online presence.

At Oscar de la Renta, online transactions make up only 10 percent of the company’s overall sales, while Chanel doesn’t sell its items online.

If online sales aren’t a big deal to companies, how can they get excited about social media advertising?

The answer is that most of them don’t, even though a recent Unity Marketing survey of luxury brand consumers found that almost 80 percent of them have a social media profile.

Brands like Jimmy Choo and Oscar de la Renta have used social media to reach consumers.  But these retailers are the leaders, not the norm.