Company overview

Company overview

1.0 Company overview.. 2

2.0 SWOT analysis. 3

3.0 Marketing channels. 5

4.0 E-marketing plan. 6

4.1 Brand identity. 6

4.2 Consumer profile. 6

4.3 Situation analysis. 6

4.4 E-marketing strategies and plan of actions. 8

4.5 Budget plan. 11

4.6 Evaluation plan. 12

5.0 What are they doing wrong in their plan?. 12

5.1 Relying on a single revenue generation stream.. 12

5.2 Poor e-marketing strategies and incomplete action plans regarding product, promotion and distribution   13

5.3 Inefficient identification of target stakeholders. 14

6.0 Recommendations for improving their e-marketing program.. 15

6.1 Wire the Company for maximized profit 15

6.2 Devise an effective app (product) strategy and implementation tactics. 16

6.3 Improve on the promotion strategy and implementation tactics. 18

6.4 Devise an effective place/distribution strategy and action plans. 19

6.5 Perform a comprehensive target identification activity. 19

6.6 Evaluate the e-marketing strategies – returns against costs. 19

7.0 Summary. 20

References. 22

 

1.0 Company overview

Floosy (hereafter interchangeably referred to as the Company) is a mobile app development firm that targets high school and university students as the main end users or subscribers. The Company has developed and released Floosy – a mobile app that allows students to lock their smart phones while on campus and when unlocking the phone, the program starts collecting points that may be redeemed with the firm’s main partners as promotions or discounts. For instance, students may redeem the points at Starbucks and get free coffee or a 25% discount on a muffin.  To support these functions, the app is linked to universities and students’ schedules, and can only be used within campuses.

Floosy’s key partners are drawn from diverse sectors, including the following:

  • Clothing: H&M, Forever21, and Converse,
  • Beauty: Wojooh, Sephora and Tips & Toes,
  • Food and beverages: Subway, Starbucks, and Five Guys,
  • Transport:  Uber,
  • Entertainment: Reel Cinemas, IMG world of Adventures, and Wild Wadi,
  • Grocery: Zoom Market, and
  • Services: Enoc.

The Company generates its revenue through exposure of brand awareness for its key partners. This work investigates the e-marketing project for “Floosy” mobile app towards presenting recommendations for improving the Company’s e-marketing program.

2.0 SWOT analysis

Table 1 shows the SWOT analysis for the Company

StrengthsWeaknesses
Floosy has a wealth of household brands as key partners, for example, H&M, Converse, Starbucks, Uber, and Wojooh. This may influence a considerable number of students to become subscribers. The Company has a collection of key resources (like IT experts, software to develop the app, and Floosy – the mobile app) to help it realize its objectives.The Company has a single major revenue stream – brand awareness for its key partners. The Company has not optimized its online/Web presence as it has not adopted social media among other e-marketing channels.    
OpportunitiesThreats
There is a significant number of high school and university students who own and use smart phones, thus there is a ready market for the app. For example, 94.4% of Saudi Arabia’s Najran University students owned smart phones according to a study conducted by Alfawareh and Jusoh (2014). There is a large pool of mobile operating systems (OSs) and app stores that constitute environments or platforms on which the Floosy app may be developed and distributed. Some of these include Google’s Android and Play Store, Bada, Microsoft Windows Phone OS and Store, Apple iOS and App Store, Nokia’s Symbian and Ovi Store, BlackBerry OS, and Kindle (Margaret, 2011; Microsoft, 2011; Protalinski, 2016; Unhelkar, 2008).Android is an open platform, which makes it easy and cost-effective for app developers to create and distribute their mobile programs for download and installation by smart phone owners (in this case students) across the world. The growing global mobile and internet use trends may help enter into new geographical marketplaces.Despite the presence of a considerable number of mobile OSs and app stores to consider, most vendors have adopted a proprietary or closed platform strategy regarding app development, customization and distribution. As such, Floosy may not find its way into all the app stores available in the market.Some app store vendors (notably Apple and Microsoft Windows Phone) have set their quality and security requirements so high that they are overly restrictive when in relation to app scrutiny prior to acceptance into their stores. Developers may be challenged to overcome the constraints of the vast diversity of mobile OSs, screen sizes, and layouts that comes with smart phones. High school and university students may not be willing to lock their phones for a prolonged period of time. Floosy may face stiff competition from other advertisement channels, for example, street signboards, in-store ads, and e-commerce platforms that may be more appealing to the Company’s partners than the phone locking app.

3.0 Marketing channels

Floosy leverages a number of e-marketing channels. To start with, the Company uses e-mails. E-mail marketing entails sending commercial messages associated with advertisements, sales solicitation, loyalty and trust building among others to various customer segments using e-mail. Generally, all e-mails sent to previous, existing or prospect customer could be regarded as e-mail marketing. The approach drives several advantages, including cost-effectiveness, enhanced delivery speed, greater customer behavior analysis opportunity, greater reach, and increasingly high response rate (Dennis & Harris, 2003).

Secondly, the Company markets itself though the Floosy app. Students may be targeted with relevant pop-up messages once they launch the app. For example, marketing content may include offers and deals with Floosy’s partners in order to motivate them to keep the phone locking/unlocking app installed and to continue using it. 

Thirdly, Floosy leverages high school and university websites for e-marketing purposes. Students tend to rely on high school/university websites to access diverse information about these educational institutions, for example, facilities and fees. As such, Floosy places marketing content on these websites from where students can learn about the app development firm and the app itself.

Lastly, the Company markets its app through SMS.  The mobile platform is a major marketing channel that may handle the targeting and delivery of text messages for effective marketing campaigns. SMS marketing solutions is a lucrative channel for Floosy to use mobile communications and increase customer acquisition and brand loyalty performances. Meng (2010) argues that SMS marketing is typically used to send messages related to reminders, notifications, competitions, and surveys.

4.0 E-marketing plan

4.1 Brand identity

Floosy mobile app development firm allowing high school and university students access to lock their phones and earn points while enabling key partners advertise their brands.

4.2 Consumer profile

Demographics:

  • Both men and women.
  • Aged 14 years and above.
  • Either high school or university students.
  • Low or limited income.

Lifestyle:

  • Enthusiastic shoppers with Floosy’s key partners – online or in-store. These can be previous, existing or prospect customers.
  • Technology savvy.

4.3 Situation analysis

Strengths:

  • Establishing and maintaining strong partnerships with household brands like H&M, Converse and Starbucks may make the app attractive to a significant number of students.
  • Floosy has a set of key resources to accomplish its objectives. These range from IT expertise to software needed to develop the mobile app, and others.

Weaknesses:

  • Depending on a single revenue stream, namely brand awareness for its key partners.
  • The Company has not optimized its online presence by failing to adopt e-marketing channels such as social media.

Opportunities:

  • The Company has a variety of electronic marketing tools to choose from, including e-mails, through the app, social media, TV, online events or forums, e-publications, high school and university websites, corporate website, and SMS.
  • Smart phone adoption and usage is on the rise among students, thus there is a readily available market for the app.
  • There is a large collection mobile OSs and app stores to choose from.
  • Some platforms, notably Android adopt an open architecture, which implies greater development and customization efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility.
  • The global mobile and Internet reach signals potential entry into new cross-border markets.

Threats:

  • Since exposure of partners’ brand awareness is the main revenue generation stream of the Company, Floosy stand to face stiff competition from other advertisement channels. Some of these include social media, street signboards, in-store ads, and e-commerce platforms and corporate websites operated by the Company’s partners.
  • Generally, the number and diversity of mobile apps are on the rise.
  • Most mobile platforms are proprietary and some are highly restrictive with respect to app quality and security requirements, which often inhibit app development, customization and portability performances.

4.4 E-marketing strategies and plan of actions

Aims:

  • Increase consumer (in this case students) adoption/usage of and loyalty to Floosy’s app, and promote brand awareness in relation to the Company’s key partners.

Objectives:                    

  • Increase student adoption and usage of the mobile app.
  • Increase app satisfaction, preference and loyalty among students. 
  • Promote key partners’ brand awareness and sales.

Target stakeholders and value proposition:

  • Students: accumulate points for later conversion to free products or discounts, link to attendance and schedule, improved cost savings on Floosy key partners’ products/services, enhanced classroom productivity, better engagement, positive behavioral change, and app customization to meet specific students’ needs and expectations.
  • Partners: leverage the app as a digital channel or platform for brand and sales promotion.

Marketing mix strategies and key tactics needed to implement them:

  • Product –  fundamental customer needs in relation to the app:
  • The mobile app is the product in this case, and it is expected to be a compelling item for high school and university students who are the primary consumers of the venture.
  •  In addition, the app should be compelling to the Company’s key partners as a platform for advertising their brands.
  • Price – matching pricing with actual value of the app and countering competition:
  • The app is offered for free to students, but it delivers tangible value to students and its key partners.
  • Place – distribution or placement of the app according to consumers’ expectations and preferences:
  • The actual app distribution strategy adopted by the Company is not specified.
  • However, the app is intended to be used on students’ smart phones.
  • Promotion – stimulation of demand for the app:
  • Keep students eager by updating and adding the list of the Company’s key partners in the mobile app.
  • Enhanced levels of awareness of key partners among students, thus increasing the likelihood of retaining existing partners and winning new ones.
  • Technical support team to help consumers optimize all the features and benefits of the app.
  • Implement the “Help I’m in class” button.
  • Deliver enhanced customer service for stronger long-term relationships and beating potential competition. Excellence in customer service may also increase the chances of referrals – advertising at almost zero cost to the Company.
  • Implement accumulation of points and linking to students’ smart attendance and schedule.
  • Build better interaction and enhanced app customization, which makes the app stand out for an enhanced Company’s brand. Releasing a bad app and putting it in an app store for so that it can be readily downloaded and installed by students could actually damage the brand.
  • Promote the app through e-marketing channels such as e-mails, through the app, high school and university websites, and SMS.

4.5 Budget plan

Table 2 shows the budgeting plan for the Company.

StrategyImplementation tacticsCost FactorsCost (in $ and for the first year)
Product developmentDesign and develop the “Floosy” appTechnical assessment, design, development, testing and deployment50,000
Technology platform – Appypie.com600
App maintenance5,000
Human resourcingRecruit 3 IT specialistsIT specialists’ salaries135,000 (3 employees each earning 45,000 p.a)
Marketing communicationsImplement SMS marketing and a websiteOutsource keyword and shortcode SMS marketing15,000
Website development, domain name and hosting7,000
                                                                                          Total budget212,600

4.6 Evaluation plan

Table 3 shows the implementation plan in form of a balanced score card.

Balanced Scorecard PerspectiveObjectivesKey performance metrics
Online/Web marketing processesTo promote brand and product (app) awareness and drive  trafficClick through from advertising
Page views
Number of comments posted on Floosy blog
Number of fans on the Company’s Facebook page
To accelerate the process of inquiries/leads to actual salesSale conversion rates

5.0 What are they doing wrong in their plan?

The existing e-marketing plan adopted by Floosy suffers from a number of inefficiencies, and this chapter seeks to unearth what the Company is doing wrong in its plan.

5.1 Relying on a single revenue generation stream

It is worth noting that the company relies on a single revenue stream – exposure of brand awareness for its key partners. As a result, the management appears to have failed to wire the Company for maximized profits. This is a weakness that may exaggerate the threat of experiencing stiff competition from already existing advertisement channels. For example, businesses in the clothing, beauty, food and beverage, grocery and entertainment, from which key Floosy partners are drawn from, often own some form of corporate or e-commerce site from where they execute their advertisements. Therefore, some partners may not be willing to invest in another advertisement channel (in this case the Floosy app), which amounts to decreased number and frequency of partnerships and inhibited revenue generation.

5.2 Poor e-marketing strategies and incomplete action plans regarding product, promotion and distribution

There are many mobile platforms that may be used for Floosy development. Some of these platforms (like Android, Kindle, Bada, Microsoft Windows Phone OS, Apple iOS, Nokia’s Symbian, and others ) for native development are identified in Table 1 above.  In addition, an app may be developed using HTML 5 and JavaScript – Web app, or a combination of native and Web app elements – hybrid app (Heller, 2017; Korf  & Oksman, 2016). However, the Company has not specified the Floosy app development approach. Is it a purely native, Web or a hybrid app? If native or hybrid, which mobile platforms will be leveraged? As such, the Company seems to have failed to comprehensively think about the product development strategy. In addition, phones come in diverse screen sizes and layouts. However, the Company does not specify the screen sizes/layouts that the app is tailored to. And, the app could fail to meet its purpose and expectations.

Floosy only relies on e-mails, the app, university websites, and SMS as its e-marketing channels – promotion strategy. The Company has therefore ignored a couple of other e-marketing channels, including social media and its corporate website among others. Other than exaggerating the threat of stiff competition from other electronic advertisement options available to key partners, the Company may fail to take maximum advantage the global mobile and Internet reach due to its limited Web/online presence. It has failed to leverage social media among other electronic channels that are critical to acquisition and retention of a significant number of customers.

The actual product (app) distribution strategy has not been specified in the e-marketing plan. The Company has also omitted tactics it plans to rely on in the implementation of place/distribution strategy. For example, it has not mentioned any particular mobile app store or Web platform on which Floosy is set to be distributed through. Therefore, it is unclear how the Company intended to enable students download and install the app on their phones.

Evidently, there is some missing information related to product, promotion and place strategies and action plans.  Therefore, it may be difficult to come up with an effective e-marketing plan to help the Company establish a truly strategic direction.

5.3 Inefficient identification of target stakeholders

An e-marketing plan is targeted to several stakeholders, which a company would intend to build and maintain relationships with. In situations where multiple target stakeholders are involved, they ought to be identified, profiled and ranked in the order of most-least important in order to allocate resources based on priorities (Strauss & Frost, 2001). However, Floosy targets high schools and universities, yet it has failed to define the actual value proposition these institutions stand to derive from the phone locking app.  Poor identification and prioritization may influence some school boards/leaders to oppose the introduction of Floosy into their organizations’ smart attendance and schedule systems. After all the leadership may not understand the value proposition associated with the app. Other than high schools and universities, it is important to identify the mobile platform vendors that the Company will engage in the course of app distribution.

6.0 Recommendations for improving their e-marketing program

Developing a sound e-marketing plan requires a company to create a blueprint or roadmap intended to guide its strategic direction. This entails informed decisions regarding desired e-marketing strategies and implementation tactics, resource allocation, and e-marketing performance evaluation to ensure the plan meets its aims and objectives (Dennis & Harris, 2003). When this process is compromised, ad hoc strategies may be formulated and implemented. Consequently, companies are highly likely to fail, mainly due to e-marketing planning flaws (Strauss & Frost, 2001). As such, effective planning is critical to sustained success of e-marketing strategies and the e-businesses implementing them. The case studied in this work also showed some weaknesses regarding its e-marketing plan as demonstrated in the previous chapter. In this regard, this chapter presents a number of recommendations for improving the Company’s e-marketing program.

6.1 Wire the Company for maximized profit

Strauss and Frost (2001) argue that companies committed to e-business should wire themselves for profit. This requires implementing a comprehensive e-business strategy that fosters sustained customer loyalty and competitiveness, which are critical enablers of e-business profitability. According to Rodgers, Yen, and Chou (2002), companies that operate without a physical presence need to come up with ways through which they can take existing and potential customers away from competing brick-and-mortar businesses. Therefore, as a pure dot-com or e-trader, the Company should be highly committed to competitive e-business and e-marketing strategies compared to businesses that rely on electronic tools for mere operational and tactical processes like order processing, customer relationship management, cost reduction, and others. Successful e-businesses are the ones that have managed to redefine their specific industries through new business models and greater value propositions to customers among other stakeholders.

Maybe the Company should expand its offers to students and provide additional incentives for locking their phones as a strategy to amass a larger Floosy user community. This may help attract more key partners and maintain existing ones, and increase the chances of sustaining its profitability.  Moreover, the Company should consider increasing its revenue streams to tackle the threat of competition from other advertisement platforms such as social media, partners’ e-commerce sites, online forums, and others.

6.2 Devise an effective app (product) strategy and implementation tactics

Typically, development options include a fully native, a Web, or a hybrid app in addition to target devices.

Native apps are developed based on a specific platform (like Android, Windows Phone OS, or iOS) and supported development languages and tools (like Java or Objective-C). A fully native app comes with the advantages of running fast and best optimization of device hardware. However, it requires significant time and cost resources to deliver and update. Moreover, adding another mobile platform implies creating a new code (Heller, 2017; Korf & Oksman, 2016).

A mobile Web app is created using common Web development languages/tools such as HTML5 and JavaScript. Such apps are resource efficient in terms of development and updating. Moreover, Web apps adopt the “write-once-run-anywhere” approach that delivers cross-platform capabilities (Korf & Oksman, 2016). However, they face speed, reliability and hardware optimization problems (Heller, 2017).

Lastly, the hybrid app option leverages both native and Web capabilities. Here, a native container/wrapper is built for every supported device. Then, the Web app runs in a native shell to provide access to underlying native platform capabilities. Introduction of a native wrapper means installation and modification challenges, but the hybrid approach promotes speed and hardware optimization at a cost- and time-efficient way. In addition, the resultant hybrid app emulates a native look and feel when effectively implemented (Heller, 2017; Korf & Oksman, 2016).

The recommended product development strategy based is the hybrid approach since it would be more time and cost efficient to create and update the app. In addition, the app would deliver greater running speed and hardware optimization outcomes, but it may not equal the performance of an equivalent native app. Lastly, the hybrid app would run on multiple platforms, thus it can smoothly work on diverse devices used by students.  However, Korf and Oksman (2016) argue that hybrid apps demand concrete Web development skills to optimize HTML, JavaScript and CSS codes towards creating compelling capabilities that emulate native apps’ look and feel. Some of these capabilities include screen layouts, device access (like camera, calendar and geo-location), touch gestures (like swipe and pinch), and connectivity (both offline and online).

The Company may develop Floosy as a Web app and embed it inside a native container provided by different mobile OS vendors. Floosy may consider adopting using containers related to the following platforms:

  • Android: it assures developers a free and open source development and licensing framework, which implies considerable cost savings. The platform also easily integrates different apps.
  • Other candidate platforms include iOS and Windows Phone.

6.3 Improve on the promotion strategy and implementation tactics

The global “mobile internet user” adoption exceeds 50% of the world’s population. As a result, there is an increase in the average time spent online per day among smart phone, tablet and wearable users (Statista, 2017b). As seen from the case study, the Company leverages only a few e-marketing channels. Notably, it has not adopted social media platforms and its corporate website as e-marketing channels. In order to better promote its brand and beat potential competition, the Company needs to leverage an additional collection of e-marketing tools/channels towards establishing a strong Web/online presence.

Social media networks represent a powerful e-marketing channel because they have a considerably high subscriber base. For example, Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube have active subscribers in the excess of 1 billion globally each as of April 2017. Moreover, there are other social media tools that may be used by companies for e-marketing, including Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Flickr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumbrl, and yy among others (Statistica, 2017a).  When combined with existing e-marketing channels, social media may place the Company in a better position to reach a larger student population without geographical limits. Consequently, there will be enhanced customer (app user) engagement and service for greater customer acquisition and retention performance.

When you develop a hybrid app, it is important to build a website that provides crucial details about your mobile app.  Users will visit the site when they want further information about the app or if they come across problems (Bristowe, 2015). Therefore, the Company should consider developing a website that will help students gain access to information of interest regarding the Floosy app. Alternatively, it may establish a corporate blog to provide such information.

6.4 Devise an effective place/distribution strategy and action plans

It is unclear how the Company intends to implement the place/distribution strategy for the Floosy app. The only applicable distribution strategy for the app is publishing it to one or more app stores. For example, the app may be published to Google’s Play Store, Apple’s App Store, or Windows Phone’s Store.  The three app stores happen to be the most popular according to a survey carried out in March 2017 (Statista, 2017b). Students would then visit the app store(s) and download the Floosy app for installation on their phones.

6.5 Perform a comprehensive target identification activity

The e-marketing plan for Floosy ought to identify and prioritize high schools/universities and mobile OS vendors as their key stakeholders. The value propositions applicable to these stakeholders should be well defined to ensure that their needs and expectations are met. For example, Floosy stands to drive enhanced classroom productivity and positive change in behavior among students. These may be achieved through creation of links to students’ smart attendance and schedule. Consequently, the learning institutions could improve their educational quality assurance performance in the process. On the other hand, some vendors are overly restrictive in relation to allowing access to their platforms due to quality and security reasons. Therefore, it could have been important to identify the vendors that may allow the Company to develop and distribute Floosy app using their mobile platforms and technologies.

6.6 Evaluate the e-marketing strategies – returns against costs

Grzywaczewski, Iqbal, Shah, and James (2010) claim that it is important to determine whether or not an e-marketing initiative is worthwhile, which requires the expected costs and benefits or ROI related to each e-marketing strategy to be assessed.  Other than the e-marketing strategies already adopted by the Company, this chapter proposes use of social media and corporate website/blog as additional tools. In this regard, the Company should examine each e-marketing strategy to determine the costs and returns involved. For example, social media could be adopted to increase the level of awareness of the Floosy business or app among students. However, an appropriate brand-mention tracker (like Hootsite that attract an additional cost factor) is required to help monitor social media conversations. In addition, an experienced social media marketer may be required. So, the Company ought to determine whether it is worth investing in social media marketing since the costs involved may water down the expected benefits.

7.0 Summary

This paper has investigated the e-marketing project for “Floosy” mobile app, and provided recommendations for improving the Company’s e-marketing program. The SWOT analysis for the Company shows that it has three major strengths, namely partnerships with a good number of household brands and possession of critical resources.  There are opportunities that the Company may take advantage of, including widespread ownership and usage of smart phones among students, vast mobile OS and app store diversity, presence of Android as an open platform for  easier and cost-effective app development,  and increasingly growing global mobile and internet use trends. However, the Company faces two key weaknesses – operating with a single major revenue stream and poor online/Web presence.  From the perspective of threats, most mobile OS vendors have adopted a closed platform strategy, which inhibits app development, updating, distribution and cross-platform support. The following are other threats: platform and screen size/layout diversity, potential unwillingness to lock phones for a prolonged duration, and competition from other advertisement channels.    

Currently, the Company leverages the following e-marketing channels: e-mails, though the Floosy app, high school/ university websites, and SMS. An analysis of the Floosy’s e-marketing plan has indicated a number of things that they are doing wrong, namely relying on a single revenue generation stream, poor and incomplete product, promotion and distribution strategies and implementation tactics, inefficient target identification, and poor cost-benefit/ ROI evaluation planning.

 The following recommendations are made for improving their e-marketing program:

  • Wiring the Company for maximized profit by increasing the customer base and revenue streams.
  • Develop Floosy as a hybrid app using typical Web development tools (like HTML5) and embed it into a native container across platforms such as Android, iOS, or Windows Phone.
  • Adopt social media and corporate website/blog as additional e-marketing channels.
  • Publish the app to Play Store, App Store, or Windows Store from where students can download the it for installation on their phones.
  • Consider the value propositions of all its stakeholders and meet their desires.
  • Establish a comprehensive cost-benefit or ROI assessment plan.
  • Continuously evaluate the e-marketing program against its key objectives.

References

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Dennis, C., & Harris, L. (2003). Marketing the e-Business. Routledge.

Grzywaczewski, A., Iqbal, R., Shah, N., & James, A. (2010, November). E-marketing strategy for businesses. In e-Business Engineering (ICEBE), 2010 IEEE 7th International Conference on (pp. 428-434). IEEE.

Heller, M. (2017). Approaches, platforms, tools: Sorting out your mobile development options. TechBeacon. Retrieved from https://techbeacon.com/approaches-platforms-tools-sorting-out-your-mobile-development-options

Korf, M., & Oksman, E. (2016). Native, HTML5, or Hybrid: Understanding Your Mobile Application Development Options. Retrieved from https://developer.salesforce.com/page/Native,_HTML5,_or_Hybrid:_Understanding_Your_Mobile_Application_Development_Options

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Electrical engineers are involved in the design

Electrical engineers are involved in the design

Introduction

Electrical engineers are involved in the design, development and testing of electrical devices, for instance, electric motors, power generators, telecommunication systems and radar equipment (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014a). On the other hand, software engineers design, develop, test, maintain and evaluate application and system software in the computing field (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014b).  This work discusses the topic: today’s world needs more electrical engineers than software engineers. Then, it compares the topic with respect to USA and UK.

Today’s world needs more electrical engineers than software engineers

Electrical engineers

Today, there are millions of things that use power, whether mains, water/wind power, petrol, motor, solar, or even batteries (Duderstadt 2010). Electrical engineers are involved in the design and development of different devices that require varying amounts of power, for example, large devices such as electric vehicles, power stations and industrial plants require huge quantities of power generated from the grid or large-scale use of renewable sources of energy; while small devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets require small quantities of power generated from batteries (Sebitosi & Pillay 2008). Duderstadt (2010) asserts that in all issues concerning power and associated things, an electrical engineer was involved, because electrical engineering entails the generation of power alongside its use and storage.

What about the overall impact of electrical engineers to today’s world? Electrical engineers are involved in a number of critical areas, which include:

  • Environmental preservation and sustainability: they help preserve the environment and natural resources through use of fuel efficient and environmental friendly sources of energy. This entails enhanced energy efficiency in home and industrial appliances, and reduced reliance on fossil fuels (such as electric cars) thus help overcome challenges posed by global oil and gas crisis. Electrical engineers are involved in devising small-scale and large-scale generation of alternative power from renewable energy such as wind and water currents, solar and wood (Sebitosi & Pillay 2008).
  • Nanotechnology and everyday consumer devices: electrical engineers are involved in the design of nano-devices like solar cells (Duderstadt 2010).
  • Telecommunication: electrical engineers help keep telecommunication devices reliably interconnected through the internet, cell-based technologies, satellites, radios among others. They also take part in installing emergency communication systems and embedded communications in expansive infrastructures, such as large buildings or metros (Duderstadt 2010).
  • Biomedical and signal sensory technologies: electrical engineers promote safety and health by designing better medical equipment like scanners. These equipment include: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, computing devices for visually impaired people, and mammogram work. The design for smoke, flood and other sensory technologies also involve electrical engineers (Shiavi 2010).

Software engineers

Software engineers are involved in the invention of technologies that we use in our daily lives. Today’s computing systems run under a set of instructions, which are coded by software engineers. In addition, software engineers design and develop mobile apps for entertainment or business purposes. In offices, those computers and software systems which we use for business-critical missions or for personal errands such as social networking, listening to music or personal calendaring involve some aspect software engineering effort (Astrom & Wittenmark 2011).  However, Anderson (2015) argues that, today, there are many tools for software design and development, thus the incidents where software engineers may be required to add true benefit or functionality to software systems have decreased.

According to Astrom & Wittenmark (2011), software engineers undertake highly risky projects, because a small mistake in a mission-critical software system may result to far-reaching impacts on the society. What is the role of software engineers in remedying today’s substantial societal challenges? Today’s grand challenges include: climate change, security and safety, energy, livable cities, transportation, environmental sustainability, and healthcare. Resolving these challenges require software engineers to design complex systems to serve the society in multiple dimensions (eds Gruia‐Catalin & Sullivan 2010). Anderson (2015) points out that software alone may not remedy these societal issues because they tend to lack the desired level of understanding into hardware entities of computing systems, but they play a critical role in catalysing resolution endeavours.

Comparison between USA and UK

The employment rate for software engineers is expected to grow by 22% between 2012 and 2022 (from 1,018,000 to 1,240,600) due to the rapidly increasing demand for software systems. Notably, this is higher than for all other occupations (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014b). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014a) states that there were 174,550 electrical engineers in 2014 representing a 1.4% increase from 2012. The growth can be attributed to emerging technologies in the field. In the UK, based on a survey carried out between April and June 2014, estimates showed that there were 43,497 electrical engineers compared to 274, 160 software developers and programmers (Office for National Statistics 2014).

Conclusion

It is apparent that in the world of computing and its role in our daily life, software engineers are the geniuses behind the innovations we now cannot imagine to live without. However, it is apparent that, today, there are many tools to help develop software projects without actually seeking the services of a software engineer.  The same applies to electrical engineering since engineers in this area may not be required to practically implement wiring projects for individual structures.  

Electrical engineers are actively involved in assessment, design and development of a wide       array of systems, including electrical projects that deliver invaluable benefits in the areas of environmental preservation and sustainability; nanotechnology and everyday consumer devices; telecommunication; and biomedical and signal sensory technologies. Therefore, notably, these accomplishments are far much beyond software engineers’ reach. Most strikingly, electrical engineering extends beyond electrical devices to perform programming logic. Therefore, electrical engineering is a more well-established discipline compared to software engineering with respect to coverage of both hardware and software; therefore, electrical engineers are more required to add true value to an engineering project than software engineers.  On another dimension, if we think about the number of things in our daily life that uses a variant of power, then the critical role played by electrical engineers in today’s world becomes self-evident

The bottom line: it is apparent that there are more software engineers employed than electrical engineers in the U.S. and UK markets. However, software engineers have insufficient skills about underlying hardware elements compared to electrical engineers who are well-versed with the big picture since they possess a stronger understanding of hardware, software, and firmware. The dual purpose capability with respect to a solid understanding of both hardware and software elements is very critical to remediation of our day-to-day challenges based on the foundation of real engineering principles as opposed to singly software programming. Therefore, it can be concluded that today’s world needs more electrical engineers than software engineers despite the fact that the employed software engineers are more than the electrical counterparts.

References

Anderson, R 2015, Software Engineering, Like Electrical Engineering, Communications of the ACM, vol. 58, no. 2, pp. 8-9.

Astrom, KJ, & Wittenmark, B 2011, Computer-controlled systems: theory and design, Courier Corporation.

Duderstadt, JJ 2010, ‘Engineering for a changing world’, in Holistic Engineering Education, Springer, pp. 17-35.

Gruia‐Catalin, R, & Sullivan, KJ (eds) 2010, Proceedings of the 18th at the 18th ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering, November 711, 2010:  Workshop on Future of Software Engineering Research, FoSER. Santa Fe, NM, USA.

Office for National Statistics 2014, Labour Force Survey Employment status by occupation, Office for National Statistics, viewed 27 May 2015, <http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-force-survey-employment-status-by-occupation/index.html>

Sebitosi, AB, & Pillay, P 2008, ‘Grappling with a half-hearted policy: The case of renewable energy and the environment in South Africa’, Energy Policy, vol. 36, no. 7, pp. 2513-2516.

Shiavi, R 2010, Introduction to applied statistical signal analysis: Guide to biomedical and electrical engineering applications, Academic Press.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014a, Electrical and Electrical Engineers: Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, viewed 27 May 2015, <http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronics-engineers.htm>

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014b, Software Developers: Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, viewed 27 May 2015, <http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm>

Qatar potential and plans for solar energy

  1. Qatar potential and plans for solar energy

Qatar National Vision (QNV 2030) 

The Qatar National Vision (QNV 2030) was unveiled in 2008 to set the nation’s targets for sustainability and renewable energy generation. QNV 2030 entails a shorter-term goal of meeting 2% of energy demands through renewable source of energy by 2020. Moreover, the broader vision entails a long-term strategic plan of using solar energy to generate 20% of Qatar’s electricity by 2030. The solar capacity growth vision is expected to be achieved through collaborative public-private efforts and investments. Consequently, the Qatari government and other major stakeholders have laid down a number of plans focused on boosting its solar power generation to from 1,800 MW of installed solar power capacity by 2020 to 10 GW by 2030 (Oxford Business Group, 2012).For example, Qatar Solar, Qatar Development Bank, and SolarWorld AG (Germany) have entered into a joint venture – Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec), creating the pioneer polysilicon at QSTec’s solar energy production plant located at Ras Laffan Industrial City. The high-purity type of silicon is a prime component used across diverse solar PV systems to directly convert sunlight to electricity. The plant plans to initially produce up to 8,000 tonnes per annum. However, over time, 500,000 tons of polysilicon may be produced at optimize cost control (Oxford Business Group, 2017a).

1.2 National Development Strategy (NDS)

The National Development Strategy (NDS) pursued by Qatar embodies QNV 2030’s commitment to conducting development in a manner that is responsible and respectful to human rights. It is intended to enhance the quality of lives of every person and citizen living in Qatar via ambitious initiatives and legislative and policy changes, which will promote sustainable economic and social development (Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2015). Undoubtedly, solar technology is one of the key enablers of QNV 2030 and NDS as it drives a sustainable ecosystem for enhanced service delivery. For example, QNV 2030 incorporates innovation and recommended projects that extend to the large-scale multibillion-dollar Qatar Rail Development Programme (QDRP) installed with ground- and roof-mounted solar PV panels (Oxford Business Group, 2017b).  Therefore, Qatar’s NDS and QNV 2030 seeks to give adequate and proper priority to the rights (human, social, economic, cultural, and political) of persons and communities in the wake of increasing population and economic growth and the consequent pressures on service delivery capacities.

1.3 Qatar’s commitment towards climate change (COP18)

During the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) session held in Doha, Qatar in 2012, parties signed a MoU with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to commit themselves to the UN’s renewable energy and climate change goals, including the Kyoto Protocol for GHG emissions reduction (Štreimikienė, 2013). COWI A/S, a global consultant company carried out a feasibility study and found that Qatar has a huge potential for use of solar energy to meet its electricity demands in a sustainable manner in addition to contributing to global climate change control (Marhaba Information Guide, 2016). Solar energy is a highly viable alternative and the greatest potential for Qatar and other GCC countries to achieve their goals of reducing dependence on fossil fuels (Forstenlechner & Rutledge, 2011). There is a number of ongoing R&D projects that demonstrate Qatar’s commitment to practically deal with climate change challenges, including renewable energy initiatives aimed at replacing 10% of the total electricity generation energy by 2018 and 20% by 2030, green transport technologies, solar desalination, carbon capture and storage/sequestration, and sustainable energy efficiency for the GCC climate (Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2015).

2.0 Qatar solar potential (irradiation intensity)

GCC countries are estimated to contribute to 2.4% of the global GHG emissions. Per capita GHG emissions from the GCC remain large, thus the need to reduce them. Power generation is one of the major sectors that contribute to these emissions; therefore, opportunities exist here (Rao, 2013).  The past decade has seen Qatar invest heavily in its renewable energy sector, whose overall potential is recognized as very encouraging by Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC/Kahramaa) among other organizations (Oxford Business Group, 2017a).  QEWC has stated that the potential to implement solar energy/power projects in the country is considerably high – both practically and economically (Rizzo, 2014). Experts project that Qatar will introduce approximately 16,300 MW of electricity power to its national grid by 2036 to meet the demands of the rapidly growing economy, thus there will be increased pressure on the existing energy network (IBP, Inc., 2015). However, what is the Qatar’s solar potential to meet the demands from the perspective of irradiation intensity.

Generally, expansive tracts of open and unexploited rural fields and desert areas in Qatar allow the country to receive an average of 9.5 hours of sunlight and 5.5 kWh/m2 energy per day throughout the year (Rao, 2013). Notwithstanding, solar power provides Qatar with an equivalent of about “1.5 million barrels of oil” per square kilometer of land annually (Rao, 2013). The annual global horizontal irradiance (GHI) for Qatar is approximately 2,140 kWh per m2, which best suits solar photovoltaic (PV) installations (IBP, Inc., 2015). Moreover, the annual direct normal irradiance (DNI) for Qatar peninsula is roughly 2,008 kWh per m2, which implies considerable opportunities for setting up large concentrated solar power (CSP) plants (Rao, 2013). Therefore, the country is highly suitable with respect to implementation of PV and CSP plants towards increased utilization of solar energy. With adequate sunlight and solar energy in the nation and ongoing solar energy investments, it is expected that this type of renewable energy will contribute to at least 20% of the country’s overall power generation by 2030 (Marhaba Information Guide, 2016).

Evidently, Qatar has a significant potential as demonstrated by its expansive tracts of open and unexploited deserts in addition to considerably feasible solar irradiance, sunshine duration, and solar energy statistics. Solar energy will be used for all power functions required at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar, making the world cup the first ever to be carbon neutral. However, there are many other Qatar solar energy initiatives, including polysilicon at Ras Laffan and solar desalination plants at QN Food Security centers (Rao, 2013). Exploitation of solar energy in the construction and operation of large-scale projects such as the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway and “Green Stadiums” for 2022 World Cup may help reduce overreliance on the country’s energy network, and minimize the amount of CO2 emitted by the two GCC countries that are among the largest per capita globally (IBP, Inc., 2015).

From economic and environmental sustainability dimensions, solar PV and CSP plants would help achieve significant cost margins and zero GHG emissions to the environment during electricity generation (Rao, 2013). Moreover, oil and gas resources are inherently limited and non-renewable, which attracts sustainability and price volatility concerns (IBP, Inc., 2015). Therefore, Qatar should prioritize solar energy as a clean and reliable renewable source towards meeting the demands of rapidly increasing demographic and economic growth. In addition, the solar potential is realistic and economically viable to help the country meet its commitments to climate change.

3.0 Distributed Generation

3.1 Brief overview

Distributed generation (or distributed energy) is an area that has attracted a lot of research, especially due to the need to lessen or overcome the growing environmental concerns, inflexibility, resilience and inefficiency challenges of conventionally centralized power networks or grids – such as nuclear power plants, solar power stations, and hydroelectric dams for long-distance electricity transmission of bulk power (Beck & Martinot, 2004; Kumagai, 2014; Pahl, 2012). So what is distributed generation? Basically, it entails energy generation and storage by diverse, modular, flexible, and distributed or decentralized small-scale and grid-connected (and sometimes disconnected) systems that are commonly referred to as “distributed energy resources (DER)” such as PV panels, batteries, wind power devices, and motors (Marnay, Asano, Papathanassiou, & Strbac, 2008). DER systems integrate multiple energy generation and storage technologies, which are located in close proximity to particular loads they serve as opposed to large-scale generation grids that are mainly far away from load centers. Typically, distributed generation rely on renewable sources of energy, for instance, solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and water, and play an integral role in power distribution as low capacity (about 10 MW or less) hybrid systems (Pahl, 2012). However, other than use of renewable sources of energy, diesel and petrol powered generators may be used to create low-voltage grids (Pahl, 2012).

3.2 Pros and cons of distributed solar energy vs. centralized solar energy

Distributed and centralized grids may be deployed to generate and distribute solar energy only, and using small-scale, decentralized and large-scale, centralized solar PV systems respectively. More precisely, distributed solar energy is the deployment of small scale, usually private solar PV systems to meet low capacity power needs. On the contrary, the centralized solar energy generation approach entails deployment of large scale, public or private solar PV plants that are located in remote areas to provide power to a large pool of consumers (Timilsina, Kurdgelashvili, & Narbel, 2012; Uyar, 2017). However, what are the pros and cons of the two solar energy generation and distribution models?

3.2.1 Energy efficiency

According to Marnay et al. (2008), distributed generation minimizes energy wastages since power is used to serve load centers within close proximity. The distributed solar energy model typically generates energy either on-site or near-site, which results in less or zero losses in voltage (Ochoa & Harrison, 2011). For example, it is possible to install distributed solar solutions as PV panels on rooftops to power the immediate consumption points – such as compound lighting, water pumping, and indoor heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. Hill, Such, Chen, Gonzalez, and Grady (2012) postulate that direct supply of power to load nearby load centers mean better connection security and reduced power losses. On the contrary, electricity in the centralized solar model is transmitted over long distances implies losses in energy efficiency as well as voltage. It is worth noting that close to 30% of electricity generated is lost in the course of its distribution. Even worse, illegal connections and transmission inefficiencies may drive electricity losses to 50-60% (Ochoa & Harrison, 2011). Therefore, centralized solar energy is similar to the conventional grid when it comes to energy inefficiency. Why not adopt the smarter distributed solar generation model whereby solar TV panels are installed adjacent to the electricity consumers?

3.2.2 Reduced and stabilized electricity costs from the perspective of consumers

Distributed solar energy performs better in terms of meeting the diverse power needs of individuals and communities in a certain area (Uyar, 2017). Uyar (2017) further claims that the end consumers often own the distributed solar power systems and enjoys the direct cost benefits of such solar electricity installations. In addition, end users are allowed to deploy the solar systems and configurations that best suits their specific energy needs, which may make it possible to reduce and stabilize power costs (Hill et al., 2012). On the other hand, the centralized solar power model operates in a way analogous to conventional electricity grids powered by fossil fuels in that it is almost impossible to meet the exact consumers’ energy needs. While distributed generation are private investments owned by consumers to lower and possibly stabilize power costs, centralized solar energy farms are owned by investors who generate and sell solar power to make profit (Timilsina et al., 2012). Therefore, residential, commercial, education, government, and commercial customers may generate more than enough solar electricity for selling back to the main grid at an equal price as retail customers purchase from the utility provider. This way, small-scale customers are allowed to generate income and profits by selling their excess generation (Pahl, 2012). Third-party ownership schemes such as residential/commercial electricity purchase agreements and renewable asset leases for distributed generation may help reduce up-front costs related to solar energy generation (Couture & Gagnon, 2010).  Therefore, from the perspective of financial economics, distributed generation drives better cost efficiencies than centralized solar grids.

3.2.3 Flexibility and space efficiency

DER systems may be produced in mass and their installation attracts minimal site constraints. Therefore, communities may use solar energy to set up microgrids that meet power requirements specific to their contexts (Marnay et al., 2008). For example, solartonicTM manufactures vertically mounted and wrap-around lamp poles that may be integrated with solar PV systems to either supplement electrical grid power or to provide off-grid power through on-site battery storage (solartonic, 2017). These poles (an example is shown in Figure 1) may be installed in diverse contexts such as home compounds, parking lots, farms, swimming pools, cycling paths, construction sites, walkways, and streets. Moreover, when implemented in a completely off-grid model, their total cost of ownership (TCO) is substantially reduced (solartonic, 2017).

Figure 1: An example of vertical, wrap-around solar PV systems installed in a street (solartonic, 2017)

Typically, large-scale centralized solar farms require vast tracts of free and open land compared to distributed plants that require small spaces to generate power. The latter model’s minimal space requirement has been demonstrated by solartonicTM products that can be deployed anywhere provided there is sunlight reach. Considering that consumers (like residential homes and urban buildings) have extensive open rooftops, distributed solar energy may be leveraged to generate considerable solar power (Hill et al., 2012). Utility companies are often assisted by government tariffs to lessen the impact of continued losses whereas distributed solar energy systems may deliver sustained electricity to the communities at a low “Levelized Cost of Energy” and with minimal space requirements (Timilsina et al., 2012). Therefore, consumers ought to install private solar PV panels across their open areas as a high-potential social and economic case, particularly for developing countries and rural areas.

3.2.4 Reliability and resiliency to power grid outages

Distributed solar energy systems leverage sunlight and sometimes electrical grid for consistent and low-cost power regardless of weather or season. Moreover, reduced power transmission distance minimizes the risk of intentional destructive acts (Uyar, 2017). This way, the model drives improved resilience against grid interruption, which implies that instances of prolonged power outages and associated costs are minimized with use of distributed generation. On the contrary, centralized solar generates considerable power that is channeled into the electricity grid. This requires a highly dedicated solar farm and infrastructure, electrical substations, and longer length distribution lines are required to feed reliable power into the grid and get it to consumers (Timilsina et al., 2012).  Therefore, poor solar firm efficiency and substation failure may trigger grid interruption and cause severe blackouts. Consequently, critical infrastructure that support services such as telecommunications, transport, and distribution of medical supplies may be interrupted for a prolonged period, adversely affecting millions of people. In addition, millions of dollars stand to be lost within a few hours. Sometimes the financial losses that are incurred in the event a major grid is disrupted are so huge that they are not published (Uyar, 2017). Therefore, the larger the degree of decentralization with respect to solar power generation and distributed, the lower the impact severity grid outage could result into.

Evidently, decentralization in solar energy deployments mitigates the problem of “the single point of failure” that may collapse the primary grid – one of the major issues with centralization of solar power generation. However, energy cogeneration and storage is a major factor that make the initial cost of distributed generation investment prohibitive (Kumagai, 2014). Consumers are increasingly adopting distributed generation to power their residential and commercial facilities to realize perceived environmental protection and cost saving benefits. However, the effectiveness and efficiency of DER systems rests on batteries used to store excess energy (Hill et al., 2012; McFarland, 2014). Practical reliability and resiliency can only be realized if manufacturers will be in a position to design and develop batteries with superior charging, storage capacity, durability, and energy efficiency capabilities (McFarland, 2014; Mundada, Shah, & Pearce, 2016). Therefore, it is only after considerable investments in battery R&D that distributed solar energy generation will deliver sustained operational, energy and cost efficiencies, and may be eliminate the need for power grids.

 3.4 Policy instruments

Apparently, distributed generation refers to electricity that is mainly generated from renewable energy sources and near the target load center as opposed to centralized generation at power plants. Local and state governments formulate policies and initiatives related to distributed generation to help overcome potential regulatory and market barriers to successful implementation and adoption across communities.

3.4.1 Feed-in-tariff (FIT)

The feed-in-tariff (FIT) plan offers long-term contractual agreements between policymakers and renewable energy producers to accelerate continued private investments in renewable energy generation technologies. The cost of power generation related to each technology forms the basis for feed-in-tariffs’ compensation for an agreed period of time – usually 15-20 year timelines. This is as opposed to adopting a uniform payment scheme for energy generation irrespective of the technologies used (Couture & Gagnon, 2010). The renewable energy payment contracts based on FITs have been identified as an enabler of manageable maintenance costs, high energy usage and output efficiencies, and low environmental pollution in relation to distributed generation technologies (Zhu et al., 2012). FITs in the solar and wind power sector in the Europe, Canada, China, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, and U.S. have especially led to rapid advancements in distributed generation with unparalleled grid availability and price certainties (Couture & Gagnon, 2010).

3.4.2 Net metering

With net metering policies, customers generate on-site power and sell surplus generation to utility providers at a specific price. This creates incentives for private venture in distributed generation systems during instances when customers have excess electricity at their disposal (Beck & Martinot, 2004). For effective and efficient net metering, proper interconnection procedures, legal agreements, approvals, and policies are needed to allow customers integrate their small-scale distributed generation projects with the centralized grid (Zhu et al., 2012). Research has also shown that the success of net metering policies is greatly influenced by effectiveness of electricity purchase agreements between customers and utilities (Beck & Martinot, 2004).

3.4.3 Grid parity

Grid parity has become an increasingly common consideration as energy policymakers strive to transform the world while slowing the impacts of climate change. It is reached when an alternative source of energy generates electric power at a cost lower or equal to the retail price of electric grid power. At this point, the alternative energy may be developed in large-scale without any support from the government or other key stakeholders. Advanced distributed generation using renewable energy sources like solar and wind have already reached grid parity in several European countries, Australia, Canada and the U.S. (McFarland, 2014).  Governments and key stakeholders are continually devising strategies through which they can help customers and communities reach grid parity with respect to renewable energy generation.

3.4.4 Lead-by-Example

 Local and state governments are adopting the Lead-By-Example policies to promote renewable energy initiatives. Some common approaches include using electric-vehicle batteries (EVBs) as an alternative to petroleum products and introducing distributed generation techniques into public facilities like streets and schools (Marnay et al., 2008). While leading-by example, policymakers should provide adequate information to customers as majority are often unfamiliar with required technologies and best practices (Pahl, 2012). This necessitates effective distributed generation campaign tools and techniques.

3.4.5 Monetary incentives

There are programs put in place to offer attractive financial incentives for utilization of renewable energy.  Common initiatives include the following: elimination or reduction of certain fees, access to financing – grants and loans, and tax exemption incentives. Beneficiaries could be residential, utility, government, commercial, and industrial customers (Beck & Martinot, 2004; Couture & Gagnon, 2010).

References

Beck, F., & Martinot, E. (2004). Renewable energy policies and barriers. Encyclopedia of energy, 5(7), 365-383.

Couture, T., & Gagnon, Y. (2010). An analysis of feed-in tariff remuneration models: Implications for renewable energy investment. Energy policy, 38(2), 955-965.

Forstenlechner, I., & Rutledge, E. J. (2011). The GCC’s “demographic imbalance”: Perceptions, realities and policy options. Middle East Policy, 18(4), 25-43.

Hill, C. A., Such, M. C., Chen, D., Gonzalez, J., & Grady, W. M. (2012). Battery energy storage for enabling integration of distributed solar power generation. IEEE Transactions on smart grid, 3(2), 850-857.

IBP, Inc. (2015). Qatar Country Study Guide (Volume 1). Lulu.com.

Kumagai, J. (2014). The rise of the personal power plant. IEEE Spectrum, 51(6), 54-59.

Marhaba Information Guide. (2016). Qatar’s Solar Energy Ambitions. Retrieved from https://www.marhaba.qa/qatars-solar-energy-ambitions

Marnay, C., Asano, H., Papathanassiou, S., & Strbac, G. (2008). Policymaking for microgrids. IEEE Power and Energy Magazine, 6(3).

McFarland, M. (2014, March 25). Grid parity: Why electric utilities should struggle to sleep at night. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/03/25/grid-parity-why-electric-utilities-should-struggle-to-sleep-at-night.

Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. (2015, June). Realizing Qatar National Vision 2030: The Right to Development. Doha: Al Rayyan Printing Press. 

Mundada, A. S., Shah, K. K., & Pearce, J. M. (2016). Levelized cost of electricity for solar photovoltaic, battery and cogen hybrid systems. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 57, 692-703.

Ochoa, L. F., & Harrison, G. P. (2011). Minimizing energy losses: Optimal accommodation and smart operation of renewable distributed generation. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 26(1), 198-205.

Oxford Business Group. (2012). The Report: Qatar 2012. Oxford Business Group.

Oxford Business Group. (2017a). Qatar gets serious about solar.  Retrieved from http://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/news/qatar-gets-serious-about-solar

Oxford Business Group. (2017b). Qatar’s commitment to renewables includes connecting solar power to railways. Retrieved from https://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/analysis/qatars-commitment-renewables-includes-connecting-solar-power-railways

Pahl, G. (2012). Power from the people: how to organize, finance, and launch local energy projects. Chelsea Green Publishing.

Rao, P. G. (2013). Proceedings from SOLAR QATAR SUMMIT ’18 & 19 November 2013: ASSESSMENT OF SOLAR ENERGY POTENTIAL IN QATAR. DOHA, QATAR. Corporate Environment & Sustainable Development Department.

Rizzo, A. (2014). Rapid urban development and national master planning in Arab Gulf countries. Qatar as a case study. Cities, 39(2014), 50-57.

solartonic. (2017). solartonic: INNOVATIONS.  Retrieved from http://www.solartonic.com/solutions/innovations

Štreimikiene, D. (2013). The 18th session of the conference of the parties to the united nations convention on climate change (UNFCCC). Intellectual Economics, 7(2), 254-259.

Timilsina, G. R., Kurdgelashvili, L., & Narbel, P. A. (2012). Solar energy: Markets, economics and policies. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16(1), 449-465.

Uyar, T. S. (2017). Towards 100% Renewable Energy: Techniques, Costs and Regional Case-Studies. Springer.

Zhu, W., Garrett, D., Butkowski, J., & Wang, Y. (2012, May). Overview of distributive energy storage systems for residential communities. In Energytech, 2012 IEEE (pp. 1-6). IEEE.

Disaster recovery plan for ABC Company’s network infrastructure

Disaster recovery plan for ABC Company’s network infrastructure

An effective and efficient disaster recovery plan requires that the enterprise’s key devices, data and systems be redundant at many physical locations. This way, a single catastrophic event such as a flood, cyber criminal act, terrorist act, fire or hurricane will under no circumstances affect a company’s primary operations and hence continuity, profitability and competitiveness.  A solid recovery plan is necessary for ABC Company in order to continually generate revenue as the business will always be running and recovering quickly from system and network failure.  Therefore, the company can enjoy maintained availability during periodic upgrades in addition to unforeseen downtime.

With this disaster recovery plan, ABC Company will significantly lower the general high availability costs as well as disaster recovery. The plan employs practical integration of a set of recovery mechanisms and best industrial practices to help boost ABC’s network and system efficiency and performance.  Erbschloe (2003) asserts that a disaster recovery strategy provide techniques to accurately identify susceptibilities in order to assume suitable countermeasures meant for prevention and mitigation of failure threats for an enterprise.

This plan is intended to provide the enterprise network infrastructure including hardware and software for ABC Company in case a disaster occurs. 

Business case driving the need for DR deployment

ABCCompany is aware of potential risks that are posed to its network infrastructure and consequently the business at large. However, no matter the degree of efforts invested, recovery speed and completeness should be balanced with costs incurred.

We have come across shocking stories detailing how simple errors have led to expensive business disasters. Almost every day, we hear of a network infrastructure outage that elicited the need for enterprise to implement measures to curb the resultant mess.  Often than not, companies that have experienced such mess are rendered unable to overcome as they are too great to recover from.  In fact, a study by University of Texas showed that only 6 % of enterprises that survived having experienced a tragic data loss, 43 % never reopen while 51 % close in 2 years (Clemm, 2006).

DR basically involves planning both for the unlikely and unknown thus can be significantly difficult but it has to be done due its capability to finish off an entire business (Discasali, 1999). For example, if customers are unable to access a core ABC’s network service, they may opt out and join its rivals and lose out in the competitive marketplace.  Often companies may prioritize other more pressing issues than issues that have a probability of occurring or not, which is the reason we always hear about disasters that led to the collapse of a business (Clemm, 2006). However, how is a network infrastructure disaster unlikely to happen to ABC Company?  How often is a disaster likely to hit ABC Company? There exists a combination of hardware and software failures, natural disasters, and human errors that ignite the reality that sensitive and vital data can be lost any time.  A simple power loss can potentially put the entire ABC Company at risk.

ABC Company should thoroughly rethink its network infrastructure DR plans due to the following issues:

  • Hardware and software usually fail from adhering to specified performance track record. They are not immune to issues such as device or connection failures thus strict protection should be exercised to prevent service interruptions.
  • Human beings are not 100 % perfect as they also make mistakes either accidentally or even intentionally.  Even the experienced professionals can perform an error leading to wrong data entry and data loss.
  • High customer expectations and desire to retain and re-acquire clients: The emergences of internet revolution have forced businesses to become more competitive with lowered prices and better services.  Trust among customers evaporates quickly in case an extended failure occurs.

A solid network infrastructure disaster recovery plan is necessary to offer speedy recoveries to enable ABC Company proceed with its day-to-day operations and meet ever-demanding customer needs.

Specifications for hardware and software acquisitions

Prior to hardware and software acquisition, ABC will always make disaster recoverability a priority to focus on.  This will ensure that the issue of disaster recovery planning commences from the definition of requirements and analysis.  Furthermore, vendors that take disaster recoverability seriously will be selected. Therefore, vendors must provide full documentation and recovery mechanisms as well as their willingness to be involved in recovery processes as per their reference visits.

ABC’s DR has placed emphasis on recovery planning to guarantee a continued support for customer and services. With connected hardware and software, maintaining business critical operations should be catered for through plans to specifically acquire hardware and software that meets proved industry disaster recovery capabilities. Before developing a recovery plan, ABC will always verify that third-party vendors’ hardware and software systems are focused on supporting its business operations and all times and have a potential to recover quickly from disastrous events.

It must be verified that third-party vendors supply systems with DR features pre-built and allow for extra installation of workable DR capacity. This will by far enable ABC Company to demarcate the in-house and vendor levels and tell the best means to ensure recoverability is achieved before unwanted risk levels impact on its business. This way, internal DR approaches can be seamlessly integrated with the vendor ones thus solidifying the entire ABC’s DR plan.

Given the ever growing complexity of hardware and software systems, ABC Company will actively involve third-party vendors in its disaster recovery planning to guarantee successful disaster recovery of acquired systems.

Network management metrics to ensure adequate service levels

Bandwidth: this refers to the rate of data transfer in the network. To ensure adequate service levels high bandwidth should be provided to enable carriage of enough data to sustain successful network operations.

Throughput: this is the measure of successful bits per second in network access.

Availability: this refers to reduced or no network outages thus reliability is always guaranteed. This will be achieved through quick detection and diagnosis to resolve network outages and performance issues.

Packet loss: this is the measure of the number of network data packets that fail to successfully travel from source to destination.

Security mechanisms

Security is planned for through use of different privilege levels, encryption and locating storage servers in remote locations. Business critical hardware and software systems are also secured from human, mechanical and natural disasters. To protect data and applications, backup and replication is accelerated across the Wide Area Network (WAN) to cover both sensitive data and  other enterprise data to aid in recovery in case of an occurrence of a disaster. Public and/or private cloud may also be used to enjoy the economies of scale and resilience in terms of reduced costs and quick recovery. Cloud computing and security is a match which never seemed possible before; disaster recovery-as-a-service will enable ABC Company recover from unforeseen security disasters.

Security issues arise frequently in network infrastructure including data being accessed or destroyed by malicious attackers or malware (Erbschloe, 2003). ABC Company will have a tough network perimeter in addition to servers that have low failover with some kind of inbuilt continuity. Technologies to identify and manage access are used to proactively manage users as well as devices and applications.

System maintenance and technical support mechanisms

For system maintenance, recovery planning strategies are put in place to identify potential threats through conducting risk analysis to ensure ABC Company realizes business continuity. ABC Company’s systems maintenance and technical support mechanisms entails:

  • Keeping the ABC systems operations smoothly up and running. It involves actively monitoring the network devices and application systems in order to identify issues before business operations are affected.
  • System administrators keep track of enterprise resources to ensure systems are always under control.
  • Provisioning in order to configure network systems to support a specific service. This includes attempts such as setting up a system to enable users and customers receive new or improved services.
  • Performance of system repairs, upgrades and updates, for example, when routers need OS image patching, a switch need to be repaired or replaced. Maintenance also entails preventive and corrective mechanisms to ensure all systems run optimally, for instance, changing the device configurations.

Technologies such as SNMP, CLIs, CMIP, WMI, NETCOF, and JMX among others enable deep data packet inspection to lessen internet bottlenecks and control network congestion (Clemm, 2006).

Support mechanisms will enable ABC Company to keep system users effectively working and improve their operations.  It will be implemented using a number of mechanisms including: help desks to resolve problems and provide advice, automated FAQ databases, training, familiarization tours, and technology integration software to support administrative operations.

Timeline for deployment

Gantt chart

DR Budget summary

Budget ItemCost (US $)
Staffing50,000
Consultancy20,000
Program office45,000
DR Management System & Technology30,000
Education & Training10,000
Travel, Emergency Disaster and Miscellaneous20,000
Total175, 000

Reference

Erbschloe, M. (2003). Guide to Disaster Recovery. Thomson/Course Technology.

Clemm, A. (2006). Network Management Fundamentals. Cisco Press.

Dicasali, A. (1999). Planning for the Recovery of Vendor Acquired Software. DISASTER RECOVERY

JOURNAL. 4(4): 1. Retrieved from https://www.drj.com/drworld/content/w2_058.htm

DHEC surveyor

DHEC surveyor

My career interest entails aspirations to work as a DHEC surveyor in the area of human services, and more specifically for the elderly people.  I aspire to be a member of the DHEC personnel involved in facilitating the emotional and health or medical treatment of the elderly people. As a champion of social change, I have no doubts in my career aspirations and choice for undertaking human services responsibilities involving the elderly people in an effort to help them feel loved and cared-for by the community at large. Woodside & McClam (2014) asserts that the elderly or aging people have played a significant role in an effort to drive family, societal and economic benefits to the current and future able generations, and thus they should be taken care of by the society. Therefore, I am passionate about delivering on the cause of caring for the elderly people in a bid to meet their daily needs by focusing on protection and remediation of problems as well as enhance the quality of life with respect to this service population.  More precisely, I want to make a positive impact in the lives of the elderly people, a cause described by National Organization for Human Services (n.d.) as assisting communities and individuals to function effectively in a universally-oriented and sustaining manner in the major domain of their living.

I believe that my capability to relate well with people coupled with showing patience and understanding others in different interaction settings in the day-to-day social activities and to some extent healthcare issues have prepared me well to look after the welfare of elderly people. In addition, I possess a set of transferrable skills, including communication and interpersonal skills, team work, and IT proficiency.  My IT skills in spreadsheets, word processing, desktop publishing, and databases are great assets toward executing my surveying tasks. Therefore, I expect no upsets in the use of common computer hardware and software applications implemented by DHEC, and I require minimal computer training. I have strong passion for helping others and empathy for other people since my early years; therefore, I easily understand, share and try to help others overcome challenging experiences.  I am also a caring and tender-hearted person with a passion to help others in need. According to Neukrug (2012), empathy is an act of altruism, a feeling of understanding and care for people in need. My emotional endowment will place me on the winning side in execution of surveying duties involving the elderly people, a population that requires a careful emotional attachment when interacting with them based on research findings by Burger (2013). In addition, I appreciate our diversity in physical and psychological capabilities in the human race. As such, I am well placed to understand the physical and psychological deficits in the elderly people. Other vital assets include: ability to effectively multitask and manage time, self-discipline, coordination and a high level of task efficiency and responsibility.

Generally, I find the area of human services very enjoyable, thus there is no any particular area I hold least interest. My love for human services started since my early years when I recognized the health concerns affecting the world population through reading news from newspapers, television and healthcare journals. Therefore, my choice for human services for the elderly people does not restrict me from pursuing other interests such as providing support (emotional and medical) for the juvenile, poor, sick, or disabled people.

In order to become a reliable human services worker I find it compelling to improve on the ability to think outside the box and moving past personal issues. I also look forward to having an open heart and mind in order to help boost my relationship with the elderly people in the course of my service. I look forward to building a strong professional foundation by volunteering and seeking an internship opportunity in health-related environments such as community-based human service organizations, clinics or hospitals to gain hands-on skills and experience. Such settings will also help supplement my coursework (theories and methods learned in my academic work) in health and human services as well as work-shadowing to understand how different tasks are executed by professionals in the area. An internship opportunity will enable me gain relevant work experience, thus reducing the required training in handling actual job responsibilities. Therefore, seeking human services volunteer and/or internship opportunities will be a great resource to my career in terms of bolstering specialized skills in the field. Every job, including human services requires one to have confidence in personal capability (Neukrug 2012). Therefore, I feel it is necessary to engage myself in practical tasks in human services to ensure that my confidence in executing duties is improved, enabling me to perform better.  In addition, going by Woodside & McClam (2014) views, I feel that leadership, advocacy, planning, evaluation, ethics relevant to human services, and counselling are great areas that I must improve on in order to help tackle even the most challenging personal and professional responsibilities. 

References

Burger, W. (2013). Human Services in Contemporary America. Cengage Learning.

National Organization for Human Services. (n.d.). What is Human Services? National Organization for Human Services. Retrieved from http://www.nationalhumanservices.org/what-is-human-services

Neukrug, E. (2012). Theory, Practice, and Trends in Human Services. Cengage Learning.

Woodside, M., & McClam, T. (2014). An Introduction to the Human Services. Cengage Learning.

Data warehouse

Data warehouse

1.0 Introduction

Kimball, Reeves & Ross (1998) defines a data warehouse as a repository of electronic data of an organization designed to aid in analysis and reporting. A specific data warehousing instance requires use of a common collection of attributes to establish the methodology to use. In the past few years, data integration equipments and technologies have gone through an explosive growth; data warehousing has enabled the process of integration (Inmon 2002).

 Data warehousing is an integrated, subject-oriented, non-volatile and time-variant data collection to support managerial and strategic decision making. In this post-millennium era, data warehousing is arguably the highest priority project of almost more than half of all executives and IT personnel. There exists a large number of applicable data warehousing methodologies to support the increasing demand for the growing market (Inmon 2002). However, with several methodologies to select from, there is a major concern for a large number of firms in deciding on which one to use in a particular data warehousing task. 

2.0 Historical changes in data warehouse methodologies

The idea of data warehousing has acquired major recognition from organizations with the growth of the data warehouse field. Traditional data warehouse methodologies followed a stepwise flow of tasks (GAMMA SYSTEMS 2009):

  • Documentation of specifications by the project team.
  • Developers create architectural specifications, data storage and model rules.
  • Creation of data maps to occur during every feed processing.

However, traditional methodologies had several inefficiencies such as (GAMMA SYSTEMS 2009; Dijcks 2004):

  • The developers had to create codes from scratch because the input specification was not actionable. This implies that the development tasks consumed up to half of costs related with the entire warehouse implementation.
  • Any change in input domains lead to iterative coding and retesting, increasing the timelines and costs of the project.
  • It was hard to achieve coding consistency since developers may adopt personal coding style possibly going against architectural specifications. Future support expenses are thus added.
  • The traditional methodologies may damage the evolution of a warehouse system.
  • Errors committed during data analysis stage were only discovered in coding or testing stages resulting to iterative cycles.
  • The input domains may be unclear and be misunderstood by developers leading to errors.

As new features and  technologies in forms of hardware and software are introduced by vendors, traditional data warehouse methodologies are unable to effectively gain from them because that may call for a re-engineering attempt across the whole data warehouse. Data warehouses have grown to become increasingly essential for businesses in today’s business world (Sen & Sinha 2005). The use of warehouses has become vital and expanded to facilitate daily operations, analytics, and decision making and reporting across several business lines. Hardware and software vendors have recognized the market trends and have come up with a wide array of products that assist businesses to plan and implement the data warehouses.  Product families including Business Intelligence, data warehousing usage, and Extract, Transform & Load (ETL) have developed to a standard section of implementations of data warehouses (Brown 1996).

Latest technological inventions and innovations such as virtualizations and DBMSs have indeed helped businesses to cut costs of projects involving data warehouses. Inmon (2002) notes that the current methodologies and technologies may not fully solve many inefficiencies and challenges associated with data warehousing projects.

There is high prices for hardware and software products used in data warehouse implementation but the biggest part of implementation and execution is attributed to operators; an indication that significantly huge manual work is absorbed in these projects as well as inability to reduce the amount of manual work through the current hardware and software (GAMMA SYSTEMS 2009).

3.0 Business intelligence Data warehouse Implementation: Information-modelling Based Methodology on a Multinational Company

The operational data requirements of an organization are addressed by the online transaction processing systems and other transaction systems. However, these transaction systems are not well capable to support business queries and decision support questions that strategic management usually need to concentrate on. Such questions entail analytics such as drilldown, aggregation and dicing or slicing of data. These questions are best addressed by analytical processing systems (Moss & Atre 2003).

Analytical processing systems are supported by data warehouses through storage and maintenance of data in a multidimensional format. The data stored in an analytical processing system warehouse is obtained and loaded from several transaction processing systems data sources such as Oracle, DB2, flat files, and IMS databases using tools referred to as Extract, Transfer, and Load (ETL) (Sen & Sinha 2005).

3.1 Data Warehousing Methodology’s Tasks

Sen & Sinha (2005) asserts that data warehousing methodologies have a common collection of tasks, together with business needs analysis, architecture design, data design, execution and deployment. For analysis of business requirements, techniques such as brainstorming, interviews, and JAD sessions are applied in requirements elicitation. Business requirements analysis is utilized to elicit business queries from the proposed data warehouse users.  Business questions includes analytical and decision support questions that are typically posed by the managers. After elicitation of all business questions, they are prioritized according to user’s rating on each question, or by conducting estimates of the risks related to the solutions required for the questions. Then, an extremely high-level rated conceptual model of the solution for every business question is formed; a conceptual model that serves as the outline for the data needs of an organization.

For the implementation strategy of data warehouse, Kimball, Reeves & Ross (1998) advises against going by the traditional Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) or better described as waterfall approach.  A reverse approach to SDLC should be followed; development of data warehouse should start from requirements and be driven by data.  First, collect data then perform integrating and testing. Then, programs are developed against the data and the outcomes of the programs are examined. Finally, the business and user requirements are devised. In nature this approach is iterative.

Kimball, Reeves & Ross (1998) approach of business dimensional lifecycle is significantly different from the more conventional, data-driven user and business requirements analysis. It is centred on analytics requirements elicited from organizational managers and executives to plan dimensional data warehouses. The lifecycle approach begins with project planning, then definition of business requirements, dimensional modelling, followed by architecture design, design of physical attributes, deployment and other steps. 

The task of development focuses on data warehouse solution integration, tuning and maintenance. Solution integration as well as tuning of data warehouse is essential but maintenance forms one of the major causes of failures in data warehouse.  Failures to warehouse are as a result of not meeting the requirements of the organization, or are so expensive or difficult that they fail to adapt to the evolving requirements of the business. Data warehouse generally undergoes through many versions as a result of increased user enhancements and repeated schema variations (GAMMA SYSTEMS 2009).

3.2 Attributes of Data Warehousing Methodologies Geared Towards Business Intelligence

3.2.1 Core Competency Factor

The source of data warehousing methodologies is classified into 3 major categories:  information modelling firms, infrastructure vendors, and core technology vendors (Kimball, Reeves & Ross 1998). The core technology vendors refer to the companies that retail database engines. Infrastructure vendors are those firms that are in the business of data warehouse infrastructure – means to assist create user solutions to handle metadata by use of repositories, to assist extract, transmit, and insert data to the data warehouse. Some methodologies are independent of DBMS. Information modelling vendors are ERP vendors such as PeopleSoft and SAP, a usual business consultancy firm such as Earnest & young, and IT or data warehouse consultancy firm (Sen & Sinha 2005).

.

3.2.2 Requirement modelling factor

This factor is focused on methods of obtaining and modelling business requirements. It is very important to understand and represent user requirements in the process of creating a data warehouse.  Therefore, data warehouse put more emphasis on obtaining business requirements and building information models centred on those requirements (Sen & Sinha 2005).

There exist several types of strategies for requirements elicitation used in everyday practice; they range from conventional SDLC techniques such as observations, interviews to joint Application Design (JAD) sessions (Kimball, Reeves & Ross 1998). This requirements elicitation is absolutely unstructured thus several methodologies apply streamlining tricks, for example, NCR elicitation and Sybase’s template-oriented elicitation.

3.2.3 Data modelling factor

Data warehousing methodologies make use of data modelling techniques in development of logical and physical data models. On capturing the requirements, a warehouse or information model is formed based on the captured requirements. The model created is reasonably represented in form of a dimensional model, an ERD or some kind of conceptual model like an object model. Then, the logical model is transformed into a star schema, snowflake schema or relational schema during the physical design. SAS provide forms of methodologies that translate an ERD into a collection of relations (Sen & Sinha 2005)..

3.2.4 Normalization and denormalisation support factor

The process of normalization or denormalization is a vital element of any data warehousing methodology. Relational databases need regular table joins to support analytical processing system queries, and can be extra costly. To increase query performance, database methodologies should support denormalization. Moss & Atre (2003) notes that every DBMS vendor explicitly supports the denormalization activity.

3.2.5 Query design and scalability factor

Huge data warehouse record-base takes a lot of time to process. The process may even take longer if the tables involved are to be joined. Due to the importance of query performance, some vendors put more emphasis on the design and processing of queries with some allowing simultaneous generation and execution of queries. Scalability factor applied in various methodologies highly depends on the DBMS in use. Scalability is achieved through addition of more disks (Sen & Sinha 2005).

3.2.6 Implementation strategy factor

The methodology used influences the implementation strategy used ranging from SDLC approach to a RAD approach. Many vendors have followed the RAD’s iterative prototyping method (Sen & Sinha 2005; Kimball, Reeves & Ross 1998).

4.0 SAS data warehouse methodology

This model addresses the whole scope of management of warehouse, its organization and use. It is a comprehensive methodology supported by a wide array of products (Brown 1996).  It takes a rapid approach to ensure an iterative and disciplined implementation and management of data warehouses. According to Brown (1996), it is made up of 5 distinct phases:

  1. Assessment phase

This is the first phase of the methodology where it is determined if a realistic methodology or need to design and implement a data warehouse is there. Here, the highest enterprise sponsor for the development is chosen. A team is also selected to carry out the development.

  • Assessment Phase

This entails performing the first assessment of the ICT infrastructure so as to validate the capacity of the IT environment to handle the demands and needs of the warehouse. It is carried out by the core personnel in connection with the IT members.

  • Requirements Phase

The assessment phase’s outcome is to decide whether a data warehouse should be built. Then, identification of data sources for input into the data warehouse is done, and a logical model is designed. The process of data transformation and information delivery requirements are documented and a strategy for data refresh is developed, existing gaps between requirements and computing constraints are noted, and the project development schedule is completed.

This phase involves two stages: requirements gathering to collect information about business and user needs through interviews among other means and the reconciliation stage in which gap analysis is done between IT and business user needs.

  • Implementation Phase

A physical model is developed to implement the designed logical model. Transactional data need to be first collected and translated into the data to load the data warehouse involving scrubbing, validation and integration.  The validation process involves identification of missing, invalid, duplicated and out-of-range data.  The scrubbing process entails correction of identified data issues by removal and re-coding. The integration process involves bringing data variables to dependable values, measurements and meanings.  Organization stage allows actual loading of data into the data warehouse, indexing of data structures, creation of views to them, and metadata capturing and loading. At the exploitation stage, the graphical user interface is developed for all human interaction with the data warehouse including reports, input areas, and graphs and so on.  The data warehouse and its user access mechanisms are developed and ready for user training and usage.

  • Training and review phase

This consists of two main activities. First, creation of a high-level information and training document for the entire data warehouse including the applications used to interact with it. Secondly, the provisions of training to data warehouse users as well as the administrator.

Once training is successfully carried out and the system is in end-users exploitation for operation, a review or evaluation of the failure or success is necessary to rate its effect on the organization. The results should be documented for reference in the future so as to expand or build other warehouses.

Data warehouse building using SAS requires suitable knowledge and skills of project management, data warehouse techniques, modelling, usage of SAS System and methodologies.

4.1 SAS Methodology’s technology and business intelligence.

Data extraction is performed by SAS/ACCESS Multiple Engine Architecture coupled with SQL pass through for legacy relational transactional systems. However Base SAS is used for other variants (Brown 1996).

Data transformation is facilitated by processes of integration, cleaning, validation, reduction, and time variance on the data. The data loader allows changed data only transfer from traditional systems to and full transfer to the warehouse. The Metadata Manager allows building of metadata from external dictionaries or SAS. Data warehouse organization uses the SAS Database Engine, storehouse, and the additional metadata system, an ODBC compliant system supporting file creation, population, management, backup, query processing, data inventory, and update processing (Brown 1996)..

SAS/Warehouse Administrator presents data warehouse assistants with a merged user interface from where they can manage, cleanse, schedule, maintain extraction and load programs for the warehouse. Additionally, it presents metadata facility tools, for all metadata spanning beyond what can be found in the conventional contents procedure or SAS dictionary (Brown 1996).

The data warehouse exploitation of this methodology includes a volume of exceedingly flexible and powerful analysis, statistical tools and reporting. The tools are (Brown 1996): SAS/EIS, SAS/INSIGHT, SAS/GRAPH, SAS/ASSIST, SAS/AF, SAS/FRAME, SAS/FSP, SAS/GIS, SAS/IntrNet and SAS/STAT for a wide array of usage including user interfaces, visualization, data presentation, interactive query and analysis, client/server development, geographic information systems, web access, graphics, reports and excellent statistical methods.

5.0 Conclusion

Although data warehousing methodologies used by businesses differ in features, all of them focus on the methods of collecting and modelling user needs in a meaningful approach. Therefore, the key competency of data warehousing methodologies is information modelling of user’s requirements.

Data warehousing methodologies are quickly evolving and as the sector matures. Apparently the methodologies that are core vendor-based are appropriate for firms that clearly understand and value their business issues and can form information models or else the firm should use the information modelling-based methodology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            References

Batini, C, Ceri, S, & Navathe, S 1992, Conceptual Database Design: An Entity-Relationship Approach, Benjamin/Cummings.

Brown, T 1996, Data Warehouse Implementation with the SAS System, white paper, SAS Institute Inc.

Dijcks, J 2004, ‘Integrating Data Quality into Your Data Warehouse Architecture’, Business Intelligence Journal, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 18-29.

GAMMA SYSTEMS 2009, Data Warehouse Implementation, whitepaper, Gamma Systems Inc.

Inmon, WH 2002, Building the Data Warehouse, 3rd edition, Wiley Computer Publishing.

Kimball, R, Reeves, L, & Ross, M 1998,The Data Warehouse Lifecycle Toolkit, Wiley  Computer  Publishing, New York.

Moss, LT & Atre, S 2003, Business Intelligence Roadmap: The Complete Project Lifecycle for Decision-Support Applications, Addison-Wesley Professional.

Sen, A, Sinha, A 2005, ‘A Comparison of Data Warehousing Methodologies’, COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 23-41.

Individuals and organizations have utilized cyberspace

Individuals and organizations have utilized cyberspace

Introduction

Individuals and organizations have utilized cyberspace to build a vibrant and solid social place, a market tool and a new business sphere. At the same time, groups, government and individuals are continually exploiting cyberspace to enhance their interests through crime and other malicious activities. Today, terror groups recruit and train over the internet, crackers and hackers steal sensitive data, and national intelligence conduct espionage. The vast environment of cyberspace is occupied by civilians who are businesses, governments and individuals using it for legitimate functions thus it is necessary to offer concrete ways to defend cyberspace interests (Reveron, 2012). Understanding the source of cyberspace insecurity and the motivation factors are key steps in combating threats to business information.  Cyber insecurity may arise from criminal groups, hackers, unhappy insiders, terrorists and others (Kostopoulos, 2012).

According to Kostopoulos (2012), the internet has presented companies to reach global markets and an opportunity to work more effectively and efficiently. A business using cloud computing, e-commerce, emailing should incorporate cyber security in its plan.

How to Achieve Business Information Security in Cyberspace?

Cyberspace attacks are rising at a high rate and they are increasingly becoming sophisticated. How can businesses protect themselves? A strong design and a well implemented corporate policy can militate against cyber risks and allow businesses to operate more effectively and efficiently.  With a well-designed enterprise network and information systems, businesses achieve an IT infrastructure that is difficult to compromise (Reveron, 2012).

Development and adoption of cyberspace have exposed businesses to virtually the entire world thus sensitive information may be stolen or damaged. In addition, attacks such as malware, spyware, denial of service, and man in the middle attacks may be launched from the internet and greatly cause massive damages to a business.

Failure to appropriately manage cyber threats has negative implications to an organization which include (Kostopoulos, 2012; Reveron, 2012):

  • Fines imposed by industry regulators for failing to properly secure sensitive data such as client or staff personal data.
  • Financial losses resulting from theft of intellectual property to business competitors, for example, leakage of patent. Financial losses may also result from disruption of business operations, for example, prolonged downtime after an attack.
  • Damage to organization’s brand and reputation due to exposure showing a security weakness or legal battles arising from disgruntled employees, vendors and clients who may have been impacted negatively by an attack.

To stay adequately protected, businesses should implement a policy that outlines effective ways to achieve business information security in cyberspace. Confidentiality, integrity and availability are the three key security models significant to business information spread out on the internet. In addition, there are concepts that relate to users of that information including authorization, authentication and non-repudiation. To stay free from cyber-attacks that can lead to loss of confidentiality, integrity or availability, a business may perform a number of security measures including (Pesante, 2008; Reveron, 2012):

  • Maintain an effective firewall and intrusion detection and prevention system to ensure that firewall is implemented on a properly designed infrastructure and is well monitored. In addition, the firewall should monitor sites being accessed and provide an alarm in case there is a threat such as unauthorized access so that business data is not exposed to the cyber criminals. Back-end database processes should be constantly monitored to ensure they conform to acceptable and current standards. In addition, open ports and internet facing applications should be kept at minimum to cater for actual productivity and open web browsing should be expressly blocked.
  • Conduct regular infrastructure assessment including both external and internal penetration testing to cover all requirements and future circumstances. This ensures that potential cyber threats are identified and defensive mechanisms put in place to militate against risks. Up to date patches and anti-malware updates are key to realizing a strong security. Additionally, it is important to use strong passwords for strong authentication to eliminate unauthorized actions.
  • Review business information security policy to include updated procedures for cyber space issues, reporting real and expected intrusions and adequately support user actions that may result to security holes. Examples of such actions are online gaming, social networking and open-desk activities.  Enterprises should extremely evaluate the ever changing cyber threats as per their express defensive requirements because threats are dynamically maturing calling for tight defense techniques.
  • Enforce a legal agreement that defines legitimate usage of ICT infrastructure to eliminate issues such as insiders conspiring with outsiders to use computers and networks in an unauthorized manner leading to leakage of sensitive data and other mischiefs that can cripple the business capacity to generate revenue. This is a big step towards achieving security against rogue employees and other insider crimes.
  • Protect computers, networks and information from cyberspace attacks by using the latest and best security software and operating systems to protect against online threats such as malware, data theft and denial of service. Information may be protected by passwords and encryption. Wireless networks should also be protected through passwords and encrypted communications. Strong authentication and authorization techniques should also be implemented to ensure information is created, accessed, or updated by trusted users. When authenticity of a user is indisputable, issues of non-repudiation will be eliminated.  Other measures include use of digital signatures and certificates to enhance authentication.
  • Educate all stakeholders on the security policy to ensure that employees can responsibly and securely use cyberspace by recognizing threats such as malware and the potential gravity of specific security threats. In addition, everyone will be aware of reporting and response means in the event of a threat.

Conclusion

Information security carries a significant business value as a result of risk reduction in the course of doing business-oriented processes. Strong information security decreases the cost of performing day to day business and increases return on investment through improved trust between business players and enhanced business opportunity. By implementing a proper cyberspace security policy, a business is enabled to exploit cyberspace while identifying threats, enjoying cyber resilience and safeguarding information security. However, in order to achieve optimal information security, all stakeholders must work together towards a common goal of achieving business information security while leveraging the benefits of the cyberspace (Kostopoulos, 2012).

References

Kostopoulos, G. (2012). Cyberspace and Cybersecurity. CRC Press.

Pesante, L. (2008). Introduction to Information Security. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/infosecuritybasics.pdf.

Reveron, D.S. (2012). Cyberspace and National Security: Threats, Opportunities, and Power in a Virtual World. Georgetown University Press.

Vodafone Group Plc

Vodafone Group Plc

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Company background

Vodafone Group Plc ventured into the Australian market in 1996 and quickly rose to become a notable telecommunications brand. In 2009, Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited and Vodafone Group Plc (Australia) engaged on a joint venture leading to formation of Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (or simply VHA). VHA is a provider of mobile and/or wireless telecommunication services in Australia operating two key brands (namely the Crazy John’s and Vodafone) and serves nearly 5.4 million customers (Hanssen 2015; VHA 2015).

1.2 How the company supports customer relationship management

Customer service at the company starts when a customer chooses a product or service of interest. More precisely, VHA believes that when customers choose goods and/or services that meet their needs and expectations and are adequately informed about the underlying product functionalities, there are fewer chances of customers contacting the company’s customer service or support personnel for complaints or enquiries. As a result, fundamentally, VHA ensures that customers always receive transparent and precise marketing information prior to or right at the firm’s ‘point of sale’. Additionally, VHA regularly trains its sales and customer service personnel on complaints handling, customer support, and communication skills. Moreover, it offers appropriate resources required to proactively meet customer expectations. Serious customer concerns may be accelerated to senior personnel such as team leaders. The Oracle Siebel CRM solution is the major CRM system used to support the firm’s customer care and sales operations. VHA also uses the following CRM solutions: Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and Salesforce Chatter. Customer-related interactions are actively recorded for analysis to derive crucial insights that may be used to devise improvement decisions (Hanssen 2015; salesforce.com 2016a; salesforce.com 2016b; salesforce.com 2016c; salesforce.com 2016d; VHA 2015).

2.0 Capability and strategies of the company

2.1 Business strategies

An important element of VHA’s business strategic plan is to become of the widely recommended telecommunications brands in the Australian market. This goal impacts on all aspects of the company’s interactions and relationships with its customers – customer service as well as complaints handling. As part of VHA strategy, boosting customer service is meant to minimize churn and differentiate the company’s services in an industry which has stiff competition. The firm maintains a low post-paid mobile handset client churn rate – ‘1.3% per month’. Independent churn studies and surveys have indicated strong levels of customer satisfaction. The commitment to drive ever growing complaints handling and customer service is demonstrated through the following major ways: benchmarking its strategic goals with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) – a higher standards reference; significant investment (resources and time) in customer satisfaction; availing products in VHA stores for real-time feedback regarding their experience; and regular customer satisfaction assessments the company conducts. User friendly testing procedures are conducted to assess the soon-to-be-released handsets to guarantee product quality and attractiveness. Additionally, ‘journey mapping’ involving customers is carried out to understand an end-to-end perspective of customer experiences with the company (VHA 2015). According to VHA (2015), VHA adopts the following major strategies: growing data, enterprise, and new services; improving the efficiency of its processes; transforming society; and building stakeholder trust.

2.2 Mission and vision statement

VHA’s mission is to ‘change how the mobile industry works’ and ‘enrich its customer’s lives through the unique power of mobile communications’. The company’s vision is to be the best network, and provide best value and service (vodafone.com 2016).

2.3 Company values

VHA adopts the following major values (VHA 2015; vodafone.com 2016):

  • A business incentive of adopting customer service processes with minimum high-level standards and regulations such as the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code (TCP Code) to promote customer confidence with respect to complaints handling and other services.
  • The VHA way revolves around best speed (focusing on the market dynamics and quickly solve problems and improve), trust (focusing on reliability, honesty, and fairness), and simplicity (making things easy for people by avoiding unnecessary complexities).
  • Settling for the best after rigorous tests.
  • Encouraging staff to adopt a customer-oriented approach and be ambitious, competitive, and innovative.

3.0 Customer relationship applications

3.1: Overview

A CRM system is a collection of tools, technologies, and strategies implemented by an organization to manage customer information, relationships, and interactions, and consequently drive customer acquisitions, retain customers, bolster sales revenue, and enhance sustainable profitability, competitiveness, and growth (Goldenberg 2008; Shanmugasundaram 2008). VHA drives its retail sales and revenue, enhances productivity and improves customer experience for enhanced business performance through successful customer relationship management (CRM) and processes transformation. The company contracted Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to upgrade its Oracle Siebel CRM system and potentially become an increasingly more customer-centric business. In addition, the project was aimed at meeting the evolving needs of its millions of subscribers. In addition, VHA uses the following CRM solutions: Sales Cloud, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and Salesforce Chatter (Hanssen 2015; salesforce.com 2016a; salesforce.com 2016b; salesforce.com 2016c; salesforce.com 2016d; VHA 2016).

3.2 Contact and account management

The key customer contact centers of VHA are consolidated to on-shore and off-shore facilities at Tasmania, Hobart, and Mumbai. Consolidation offers an appealing environment for both VHA personnel and customers. VHA operates a host of means of contact for enquiries and raising concerns or compliments, including telephone, email, social media platforms such as Facebook, online self-service platforms such as MyVodafone, and web contacts. The Siebel CRM software has increased the customer activation time and improved the agility regarding customer accounts and engagement. In addition, it has boosted user experience in the contact and/or call center channels. At Tasmania call center, Service Cloud supports seamless establishment and management of customer relationships. Service Cloud also enables VHA’s service personnel to automatically route customer queries to the right service personnel (Hanssen 2015; salesforce.com 2016a; salesforce.com 2016b; salesforce.com 2016c; salesforce.com 2016d; VHA 2015).

3.3 Sales

The Siebel CRM solution has transformed the sales management and associated operations. For example, the Siebel system creates a simplified, intelligent, and simplified sales process. It has also led to sales revenue growth through cross-selling and up-selling opportunities through diverse touchpoints. The solutions have improved operational efficiency through better ‘sales cycle time’ (Hanssen 2015).

The Sales Cloud helps close more sales deals by tracking all customer interactions and data in a unified place. Additionally, it accelerates inside and field sales personnel productivity and sales processes – working from anywhere. VHA has a better potential to make all leads successful through the routing capability of Sales Cloud (salesforce.com 2016b).

3.4 Marketing and fulfillment

There has been enhanced agility supported by innovative and competitive product bundling through Siebel CRM. As a result, VHA has benefited from accelerated time-to-market for its products and services. Enhanced operational efficiency implies better fulfillment efficiency by guaranteeing consistent and seamless order and product pricing and management as well as shortened sales and purchase processes (Hanssen 2015).

The mobility of Salesforce Chatter helps VHA’s teams to collaborate at any time and from almost any location. The ExactTarget Marketing Cloud provides a platform for connecting interactions across all channels and devices, thus integrating customer information and behaviors in an effort to build customized real-time communications. Marketing Cloud provides email marketing, campaign management, data analytics, predictive intelligence, and mobile messaging (salesforce.com 2016a; salesforce.com 2016d)

3.5 Customer service and support

The Siebel CRM application has helped improve customer experience across multiple mobile and web-based solutions. Customers greatly benefit from accelerated activation times and better complaints handling, support, and service. Moreover, CRM operations provides customers with a simpler and exciting in-store experience and service agents can easily and quickly for the company’s service personnel to help customers. As a result, VHA is able to offer superior customer service experiences (Hanssen 2015).

Vodafone is committed to ensuring that it listens to all customer voices, thus it has adopted the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to support connections with customers on social media. This way, VHA is able to understand customer needs. Today, the company engages in a host of conversations across the Vodafone community portal, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (salesforce.com 2016a).

Through the Salesforce Chatter, VHA captures immense information from its customers. The enterprise network integrates business processes and customer conversations together across diverse locations, retail stores, products, and teams (salesforce.com 2016d). Service Cloud provides an always (24/7) on customer service platform. In addition, it allows for personalized customer service (salesforce.com 2016c).

3.6 Relationship and loyalty programs

The Siebel CRM system supports relationship and loyalty campaigns through a host of marketing, service, and analytics functionalities. These capabilities help VHA better understand the value of every customer’s contract or lifetime to support service level and promotion designs that optimize the overall potential of the whole set of customer relationships. The following are the major benefits associated with automated relationship and loyalty programs: enhanced customer profitability through ‘right’ rewards based on customer behavior; minimized costs; optimized customer interaction effectiveness and efficiency; and integrated loyalty campaigns with other partner agreements (Hanssen 2015).

Through the Service Cloud, VHA benefits from faster and intelligent customer service which increases retention, satisfaction, and loyalty. Meeting customer needs means offering a personalized service going beyond what business rivals may offer (salesforce.com 2016c).

4.0 Customer relationship management phase – acquire

Basically, customer acquisition encompasses persuading a person to buy a product or service. Acquiring customers is a key phase in customer relationship management operations because it validates that a company is able to establish solid relationships or interactions with customers. A business thrives by acquiring and building a large, enthusiastic, and active customer base through intelligent marketing strategies, referrals, loyalty campaigns, or CSR programs. To acquire new customers, a business needs adequate resources in terms of time, money, strategic tools and techniques, and human resources. The process encompasses making potential customers ‘tick’ and adopting smart strategies for effective inbound marketing, for example, search engine optimization (SEO), content, email and mobile marketing among others (Blokdijk 2015).

 4.1 How the chosen phase helps develop the company

Healthy customer relationships have helped grow VHA’s customer base. The revenue base of the company has been on the rise hitting AU$ 1.77 billion in the first half of 2015 (H1 2015) with growing post-paid and prepaid customers. Over the same financial year, the ‘gross revenue per user (ARPU)’ grew by 2% to AU$ 51.32 thanks to more customer acquisitions. Customer acquisition makes VHA’s business grow. With the right CRM strategy, it is possible for the company run customer acquisition operations cost-effectively (Reichert 2015).

5.0 Web based call centers

5.1 Importance of web based call centers

Web-based call centers have transformed customer service because of the always-on and anytime-anywhere online functionality. The internet has raised customer expectations in the current era of proliferated personal devices with fast internet connectivity and cost-effective data plans. Web-based call centers have emerged as a cost-effective tool for meeting the growing customer service needs. Web-based call centers have also eased the conventional telephone customer service and support. For example, a company may receive thousands of daily online hits, which could have been impossible with phone service. Managing and scaling web-based call centers is relatively easier, and it presents faster, easier and exciting engagement channels such as video and live chats, SMS, and email integration (Fjermestad & Robertson 2015).

5.2 Example of a web based call center used by the company – Salesforce Service Cloud

VHA uses the Salesforce Service Cloud, a web-based call center which integrates business processes and business-customer conversations together to engage customers in real-time and potentially understand their day-to-day needs.  The Salesforce Service Cloud automatically routes customer queries to the appropriate agent. The web-based call center offers 24/7 customer service and support, thus it ensures there are faster responses to customer queries at any time. In addition, the Salesforce Service Cloud provides personalized service, thus it is a vital call center platform in today’s era of increasingly rising customer expectations.  The solution implements a multi-channel approach to customer support encompassing social media and email platforms (salesforce.com 2016c; salesforce.com 2016d).

6.0 Conclusion

It is evident that CRM systems are important for driving customer service, relationship and loyalty campaigns, enhance marketing and order fulfillment processes, bolster sales revenue, and enhance sustainable profitability, competitiveness, and growth. VHA has been as the case study in this work. The company uses a number of CRM programs, including the Oracle Siebel CRM, Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and Salesforce Chatter.  Web-based call centers are cost-effective, easy to manage and scale, convenient, and enjoyable CRM solutions as indicated by the Salesforce Service Cloud.

7.0 References

Blokdijk, G 2015, Customer Relationship Management – Simple Steps to Win, Insights and Opportunities for Maxing Out Success, Emereo Publishing.

Fjermestad, J, & Robertson, NC 2015, Electronic Customer Relationship Management, Routledge.

Goldenberg, B 2008, CRM in Real Time: Empowering Customer Relationships, Information Today.

Hanssen, B 2015, VHA Drives Sales and Enhances Customer Experience through successful CRM Transformation, viewed 29 April 2016, <http://www.tcs.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Case%20Studies/VHA-CRM-Transformation-0315-1.pdf>

Reichert, C 2015, ‘Vodafone Australia grows customer base and losses’, ZDNet, 21 July, viewed 29 April 2016, <http://www.zdnet.com/article/vodafone-australia-grows-customer-base-and-losses>

salesforce.com 2016a, Marketing Cloud: Social Media Marketing Software Solutions, viewed 29 April 2016, <http://www.salesforce.com/in/marketing-cloud/overview>

salesforce.com 2016b, Sales Cloud: Sales force automation and CRM, viewed 29 April 2016, <http://www.salesforce.com/in/sales-cloud/overview>

salesforce.com 2016c, Service Cloud: Customer Service Software & Support Software, viewed 29 April 2016, <http://www.salesforce.com/in/service-cloud/overview>

salesforce.com 2016d, Vodafone’s Social Transformation, viewed 29 April 2016, <http://www.salesforce.com/in/customers/stories/vodafone.jsp>

Shanmugasundaram, S 2008, CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT: Modern Trends and Perspectives, PHI Learning Pvt.

VHA 2015, Reconnecting the Customer, viewed 29 April 2016, <http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib311946/95_vodafone_hutchison_australia-10-09-10-reconnecting_the_customer.pdf>

vodafone.com 2016, About Us, viewed 29 April 2016, <http://www.vodafone.com.au/aboutvodafone>

E-commerce

E-commerce

Summary

With the growing complexity and use of internet-based tools to undertake daily activities such as business and social networking, there has been constant sharing of information coupled with significantly increasing cybercrime. Internet users, for both personal and business purpose are exposed to the risks emanating from sharing sensitive information online.  In broad terms, cybercrime is the type of criminal activity that exploit modern IT networks including internet, whereby computing devices are used to execute crimes (Scott 2000). Despite the obvious impending risks, most internet users underestimate the potential risks.

Cybercrime has dramatically increased over time and appears set to grow further with the proliferation of internet technology reaching all spaces of the world. Many people with IT skills have actively taken advantage of the poorly protected systems holding personal and business information. Without exception, almost every week media reports one or more cybercrime activities, for example, according to Gribben (2009), the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs has forwarded details of tens of thousands of executed and attempted fraudulent cases, including several personal taxpayers and small forms to police. Nevertheless, Gribben (2009) asserts that affected individuals and businesses complain of little counter measures or follow-up to closely try to stop these illegal activities. Stunningly, at the start of 2009, the number of reported scams was running at thousands per week implying that internet crime is real but we are doing little to halt the potential risks.  Winch (2014) estimates that over 23,000 phishing e-mails are sent to unsuspecting internet users per hour and that almost 30 % of users fall victims of phishing scams.

This paper focuses primarily on e-commerce and social networking though there are other avenues where internet users are exposed to risks emanating from sharing of information. Indeed the websites are purposely designed to facilitate information sharing and expansion of networks but users and service providers must be vigilant to safeguard personal and corporate information from cybercriminals.  It seeks to evaluate the growing criminal acts with respect to access to personal information, for example, bank accounts, credit card data, passwords, National Insurance Number and others.

E-commerce

E-commerce involves business conducted through computer networks especially the internet. It draws on a wide range of technologies including: mobile commerce, online transaction processing, data collection, online marketing, electronic funds transfer, e-mails, social media and mobile devices. Moreover, all these technologies are aimed at facilitating electronic data sharing at different stages and aspects of e-commerce process. Though trusted third parties such as VeriSign and COMODO provide addition data protection techniques, personal and business data is at risk of being accessed by cybercriminals (Rush et al. 2009).

Today, Ward (2010) argues that businesses sign up to external services such as Google Analytics to link up with their e-commerce. In addition, businesses may have a number of added apps or widgets to improve the friendliness of their e-commerce. These services collect data about the business and its customers, developing into a third party that the business least expected and might become a critical hole for cybercrime exploits.  Though some data might be completely anonymous, the service providers could still use or sell it to their own benefit.  It is even worse if it reaches a situation of leading customer or business data. Definitely, businesses engage in such services with prior awareness to impending risks but still venture into it because it gives a business a large scope – both by customer base and location. Wray (2009) details of a data theft instance reported at T Mobile where personal information of thousands of phone customers were stolen and then sold to rival companies. Moreover, the government described it as the leading data breach in privacy ever to happen in the land (Wray 2009).

The sustained and promising growth of e-commerce has attracted criminals who constantly develop new and complex techniques and tools to defraud traders and their clients. According to Ward (2010), these cybercriminals persistently devise increasingly complex methods of stealing personal account data from businesses, and to actively accumulate quasi-cash and products by using that e-commerce website information.

 As card system and internet sales continue to be used in place of cash and checks, opportunities for launching cybercrime activities are also increasing in number and complexity. Credit card data may be illegally obtained through phishing, card skimming or by forced access to PCs and databases by hacking or using Trojans. As Rush et al. (2009) notes, credit and debit card theft has hit an average increase of 10 % per year with credit card fraud activities reaching over £ 550 million by the end of 2007.

Social networking

Scott (2000) defines social networking as a social composition involving a collection of individuals and organizations and connecting ties between them. The diversity of sources of data makes social networks information rich and beneficial through social interactions, campaign and business marketing. However, social presence requires an individual or organization to sign up while providing some personal details thus social net working present security holes to personal or business data theft. In social networks, peers or groups exchange various types of information which may lead to loss of privacy if leaked to unauthorized entities.

According to Agranovich (2012), social networks are havens for personal and corporate data loss and identity theft.  It is even more dangerous when third parties steal personal information from social networks and disseminate it over the internet thus rendering users unable to remove or alter it. After all, the cybercriminal is in full control of the stolen data and can use it to taint the reputation of a person or a company.

There is immense loss of privacy arising from security breaches leading to unauthorized access to personal information (ITU News 2014). In case of a security breach such as hacking, Trojans and phishing, social networks expose users to loss of privacy and personal information. Social networking sites have developed into attractive and promising targets for privacy breaches, and any cybercriminal who breaches social site’s security is capable of easily obtaining private and valuable information on large scale affecting millions of users. Consequently, illegally obtained information can be sold or used to launch repeated attacks aimed at discrediting corporate or personal integrity. However, the potential harm to users arising from illegal access to personal data is dependent on the level of user activity in social networking and the quantity of personal data a user is ready to share.

Social networking has grown in apps and feature list to offer technologies such as geo-location thus transforming mobile phones into social compasses. According to ITU News (2014), social networking sites such as Loopt alerts subscribers when their friends are in close proximity. This is a crucial service in social interactions but in case an individual’s friends list is compromised it may put the phone holder into danger. It is a great service to social network users if the alert was sent and received by real friends (Goodchild 2010; ITU News 2014). Otherwise, if real-time location information falls into wrong hands, criminal activities such as rape or murder are easy to launch targeting unsuspecting victims at specific times and locations.

The growth of social networking provides new and improved ways of online user interaction, although it also offers new challenges in safeguarding users’ privacy and protecting personal data. Participation in social networking on the internet leads to significant personal information theft on a scale never thought possible previously. Goodchild (2010) argues that companies have been exposed badly through leakage of sensitive, confidential and private information based on a post on a social site for failure of an employee to observe social networking policy.

The responsibility of protecting personal or corporate information from wrong hands lies on social network site users for they have control over the information they share to the public about themselves. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s suggestion that privacy should no longer be a social custom is significantly controversial (ITU News 2014). People should desist from sharing extensive personal information online as they may soon fall victims of serious identity theft or loss of privacy.

Securing data

The risks of unlawful access to customer data are critical in that they can lead to business closure or excessive costs resulting from rebuilding reputation, conducting PR campaigns, strengthen security and correcting the damage left after data theft (Adhikari 2014).  Adhikari (2014) asserts that close to 23 % of customers changed loyalty to businesses and financial institutions after being hit by credit card fraud. According to Ward (2010), upon occurrence of data breach, the costs are enormous, for example, a research by Ponemon Institute showed that resolving a data breach incident may cost a U.S. company approximately $ 205 for every compromised record and at least $ 750,000 in total cost. Therefore, it is important to beef up data security. The key measures to ensure data security include (Ward 2010):

  • Tokenization of data running on servers to replace numbers and letters with symbols. This feature is provided with vendor security software and some database platforms as a feature.
  • Seek services of trusted third parties with the best data security policies to avoid surprises in case the third party fails to abide by solid measures to provide data security. Trusted third parties provide services such as encryptions, digital certificates, privacy seals and others.
  • Use a concrete authentication mechanism, such as the two-factor authentication instead of single step authentication to raise the degree of challenge to cybercriminals and eliminate dubious personal or business account activity.
  • Ensure that affiliates have proper data security policies to avoid falling into data theft hook by dealing with an affiliate that inappropriately shares customers’ personal information.
  • Educate employees, partners and customers on proper data handling during collection, storage and sharing. Every stakeholder must be aware of proper data handling mechanisms such as verification to identify suspicious activity and appropriate action in case of data breach and

Conclusion

Behind these instances of exploitable internet holes and effected criminal activities, risks related to current sharing of information are very straightforward yet we who are eventually attacked have done little to bring the dangers to a halt. The number of cybercrime activities is a clear indication that loss of information is prevalent on the internet. Many organizations and groups that publish these statistics may not reflect the true picture as they may vest their personal interests to confuse the population. For example, the T Mobile incident was covered for a while before it went viral in order to save possible bad reputation that may keep of potential customers for fear of losing their personal information. However, it is undeniable that internet users are exposed to a myriad of risks as they go about their daily tasks involving information sharing in e-commerce, social networking and others. Apparently, it is not very clear what kind of redress the stakeholders will or are supposed to take in an attempt to curb the menace but initiatives must be put in place (Noyes 2014).

With the increasing volumes of personal data being captured and held in databases, risks of illegal collection and disclosure increases. Public trust in appropriate handling and exchange of personal data should be maintained and effective sanctions are put in place to improve the experience and confidence of e-commerce players.  E-commerce and social network sites are evolving in terms of their nature, subscribers and growth thus occupying a remarkable presence in the cyberspace making them attractive targets for cybercriminals.  For example, ITU News (2014) notes that Facebook only holds data of close to a quarter or more of the global online community. A security breach leading to data theft can damage a business completely therefore it is important for businesses to protect themselves and their customers with a concrete privacy policy that makes security top notch.

References

Adhikari, R 2014, ‘Card Fraud Hits 1 in 4 Consumers Worldwide: Report’, E-COMMERCE TIMES, 25 June, viewed 29 June 2014, <www.ecommercetimes.com/story/80642.html>.

Agranovich, B 2012, Identity Theft and Personal Data Loss Risks Emanating from Social Networks, BrightTALK,  viewed 29 June 2014, < https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/288/44769>.

Goodchild, J 2010, Fear of data loss, social media security risks rising, NETWORKWORLD.

<http://www.networkworld.com/article/2219043/security/fear-of-data-loss–social-media-security-risks-rising.html>.

Gribben, R 2009, ‘Million people may be phishing scam victims’, The Telegraph, 17 February, viewed 29 June 2014, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/yourbusiness/4678785/Million-people-may-be-phishing-scam-victims.html>.

ITU News 2014, The death of privacy, ITU News, viewed 29 June 2014, <http://www.itu.int/net/itunews/issues/2010/08/41.aspx>.

Noyes, K 2014, ‘Verizon to Chromebook Pixel Owners: We’re On It’, E-COMMERCE TIMES, 27 June, viewed 29 June 2014, <http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Verizon-to-Chromebook-Pixel-Owners-Were-On-It-80663.html>.

Rush, H, Smith, C, Kraemer-Mbula, E, & Tang, P 2009, Crime online: Cybercrime and illegal innovation, NESTA, viewed 29 June 2014, <http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/5800/1/Crime_Online.pdf>.

Scott, JP 2000, Social Network Analysis: A Handbook, 2nd edn, Sage Publications.

Winch, J 2014, ‘HMRC warns of scam tax rebate emails’, The Telegraph, 7 February, viewed 29 June 2014, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/tax/10624790/HMRC-warns-of-scam-tax-rebate-emails.html>.

Wray, R 2009, ‘T-Mobile confirms biggest phone customer data breach’, theguardian, 17 November, viewed 29 June 29 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/nov/17/t-mobile-phone-data-privacy>

Ward, T 2010, Strategies for Reducing the Risk of ecommerce Fraud, whitepaper, First Data, viewed 29 June 29 2014, <http://files.firstdata.com/downloads/thought-leadership/ecommfraudwp.pdf>

Proliferation of mobile devices

Proliferation of mobile devices

Introduction

Today, there is proliferation of mobile devices used for both personal and business purposes in an environment analogous to a post-PC world era. Over 60% of today’s traffic emanate from mobile devices, including smart phones, PDAs, tablets and others. This implies that PCs will be fewer on the global communication network soon. Enhanced means of mobile communication has presented novel channels for sales and marketing people to effectively and efficiently reach their customers and meet their needs.  Businesses have discovered the growing trend in novel, efficient and inexpensive mobile communications, thus shifting to mobile advertising (Hof 2014).

Mobile devices provide the benefit of instantaneous readiness because the holder has direct access to information without delays associated with PC’s boot up time and mobility constraints (Microsoft 2014). Increased computing functionality coupled with affordable data plans has placed the Smartphone at a better position to overtake PCs for light computing and communication applications (Rey 2012). The mobile technology has become a worldwide trend and third party carrier and content vendors have bolstered their infrastructure to support the needs of mobile communications.

Different players in mobile device technologies must consider the existing disparate cultures with respect to advertising; because advertising and culture are essentially interconnected (Barwise & Strong 2002). Marketing literature has recognized that consumer attitudes and beliefs, and advertising influence each other (Kotler 2003). Therefore, it is increasingly relevant to assess the consumer attitude towards mobile advertising. This literature review uses secondary data to investigate mobile advertising, and the following themes:  Irritation, entertainment and informativeness impacts on consumer attitude.
What is mobile advertising?

Mobile marketing has many subsets with mobile advertising being one of them. Mobile advertising seeks to use mobile or wireless phones and other kinds of mobile devices for marketing purposes (Barnes 2002; Sarker & Wells 2003). Mobile advertising uses different forms of advertising, including SMS, MMS, Mobile Web Banners and Posters, mobile videos, full-screen interstitials, or audio ads before voicemail connection or during interactions with telephone-based services (Barnes & Scornavacca 2004). Over the years, mobile devices have overtaken PC’s presence globally with the mobile world accounting for over 30% of all web traffic. It is not surprising to find more and more businesses developing strategic mobile advertising plans to enhance their brand awareness. According to Friedrich et al. (2009), businesses have in large numbers adopted mobile advertising targeting the large pool of mobile device users spread globally.

With rapid mobile media evolution and the evident trend of mobile phones to continually be on high usage, it is still unclear whether cellular-based mobile phones or Smartphone using WiFi and WiMAX technologies will advance at a higher rate than the laid down marketing strategies (Friedrich et al. 2009). More precisely, will current marketing strategies appropriately evolve to meet the high rate of advancements in mobile device technologies and usage? Therefore, rushing to mobile media at the expense of PCs and TV networks has unique challenges without forgetting consumer attitudes and beliefs.

Despite potential challenges with respect to rapid technological advancements and cultural difference among target audiences, mobile advertising has grown drastically, particularly with the advent of Smartphone and rich media. Mobile phone users across the world receive ads on their devices mainly embedded in websites such as Google and Facebook. User involvement has matured remarkably, with over 40% clicks among phone owners (users clicking on received ads). In its second quarter of 2014, Facebook reported mobile advertising revenue of $1.67 billion, a 41% increase from the previous year (Hof 2014).

Theme 1: Irritation impact of consumer attitude

In marketing, consumer attitude is a significant element because it governs the mental state therefore structuring the way in which individuals respond to the message presented to them (Aaker, Kumar & Day 2001). Favorable attitudes towards specific mobile advertisements may take the form of likeable and enjoyable or unfavorably elicit annoyance or irritation consumer attitudes (Tsang, Ho & Liang 2004). If irritation is elicited, then the consumer may not like the whole idea carried in the advertisement and consequently reject the product or service being marketed (Aaker, Kumar & Day 2001). Today, there are a lot of instances where consumers provide various contact details, including emails, postal addresses and telephone contacts, yet marketers direct extensive advertisement messages to their phone contact even when it was not the desired mode of correspondence, thus they may feel irritated.  In extreme cases, consumers receive advertisement messages on their personal mobile phones even if they do not need the product on offer at that time, thus hampering the marketer-consumer relationship even further. Lack of personalization complicates the experience further (Xu 2007). Studies by Barnes (2002) and a different one by Denk and Hackl (2004) have shown that consumers tend to ignore a message that carries an ad they never expected.

Aaker, Kumar & Day (2001) argues that while mobile advertising is both an economic as well as a social enabler, it carries with it some unfavorable attitudes among consumers. The goal of mobile advertising is to reach as large customer base as possible, while increasing sales and brand recall (Akihiro & Mamoru 2007). Despite that, mobile advertising strategies have an impact on the audience in that the mobile media affects user or consumer behavior. Depending on delivery means and content, mobile advertising either enrich or deepen consumer attitudes (Tsang, Ho & Liang 2004).  The advertising process involves exchange of messages between marketers and consumers, and there are a number of factors (consumer attitude, credibility of the marketing personnel and others) that influence consumer acceptance with respect to mobile advertising. Therefore, advertisers must choose appropriate medium for conducting their advertisement for them to gain the desired results and instill positive experience among consumers.

Since mobile devices are typically used for private purposes, consumers have varying perceptions regarding the degree of irritation or intrusiveness carried by the advertising message. Consumer may feel that messages targeted to them violate their privacy. This is especially serious if the specific consumer had not exchanged personal contacts with the marketer. Consequently, consumers may feel irritated by the act of intrusiveness that might have been done. Reactions to mobile advertisement have carried both positive and negative dimensions. There are consumers who are annoyed by frequent unsolicited advertising messages reaching their personal phones. On the other side, unsolicited ads hitting their inbox provides important information about products and services they may be looking for or the message content may be carrying some exciting offers (Barnes & Scornavacca 2004; Bauer et al. 2005).

Mobile advertisements are greatly inclined towards intruding the private life of consumers, thus they have a significant influence on people attitudes. When an advertisement activity uses techniques or messages that are offensive, unnecessarily manipulative, insulting or irritating, consumers are more likely to treat them as unwelcome and annoying (Heller 2006). Consequently, such advertisements have an annoying or irritating influence and create a negative attitude among consumers towards advertising. In addition, mobile advertising may provide a wide range of information that can be distracting and confusing to the mobile device holder, and may also overwhelm the recipient with information not likely to be important (Pavlou & Stewart 2000). Meyvis and Janiszewki (2002) notes that consumers may perceive mass advertising directed to them as irritating because the message may not necessarily satisfy their purchasing preferences or needs. Consumers are likely to feel confused by the ads and may lead to negative reactions. Therefore, it is apparent that inconceivable mobile advertisement messages may cause irritation, thus reflect negatively on consumer attitudes towards the advertisement. 

Research by Fennis and Bakker (2001) and Altuna & Konuk (2009) suggests that irritation mediates the impact of irrelevant consumer-targeted information and the need to assess consumer attitudes towards the advertisement, the main brand and image, and their purchasing intentions. Irritation feelings may also be extended to consumer subsequent judgments.

Theme 2: Entertainment impact on consumer attitude

The level of entertainment carried by a specific advertisement message is also a key factor that influences consumer behavior (Stewart & Pavlou 2002). Consumers experience a feeling of enjoyment when presented with interesting messages in mobile advertisements (Kelly, Kerr & Drennan 2010).  It is important to keep mobile advertising message contents concise in order to effectively capture the consumer attention. Entertaining content in mobile advertisements add immense value to consumers and increase customer loyalty, resulting into a positive attitude. Kelly, Kerr & Drennan (2010) claim that entertainment is a critical determinant of the perceived value of mobile-based advertisements; therefore, it determines their effectiveness and efficiency. Entertainment is one of the most crucial features that influence consumers’ attitudes towards mobile advertisements (Aaker, Kumar & Day 2001). Nice and interesting advertisements generate a positive effect on consumers’ attitudes towards specific brands.

 According to Chowdhury et al. (2006), advertisements with sound entertainment, joy and positive surprises have a major positive impact on consumers. Consumers embrace amusing and funny message, thus entertaining advertisements create a positive attitude among customers (Hanley, Becker & Martinsen 2006). Therefore, entertainment is evidently a strong determinant of mobile advertising and product acceptance among customers. It also influences consumers towards having positive attitudes towards mobile advertising (Fennis & Bakker 2001). According to Bauer et al. (2005), entertainment goes beyond funny music, video or messages to cover elements such as improved interactivity and exploration of different brand experiences to generate positive consumer attitudes. Consequently, the products advertised via such entertaining mobile media receive high actual acceptance by consumers. Chowdhury et al. (2006) and Heller (2006) argues that entertaining marketing content cannot be achieved via SMS singly but rich media content, such as interactive ad banners.

Entertainment is an important element of advertising message content in that it captures consumers’ interests and generates favorable attitudes toward a specific product or brand (Fennis & Bakker 2001). Entertainment positively impacts on consumers’ attitudes toward mobile advertising, because it creates the needed aesthetic and emotional enjoyment. According to Tsang, Ho & Liang (2004), consumer’s feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment related to mobile advertisements play a great role in generating their overall positive attitudes towards those advertisements. Most people possess a character of natural playfulness, thus presenting gaming and prizing through mobile media develops high participation. Delivering games accompanied by prizes to target consumers’ mobile contacts is an effective and efficient approach to attract and maintain them (Chowdhury et al. 2006). Interactive gaming and puzzles can also be conducted via text messaging to involve consumers extensively and promote the advertised products. Therefore, it can be concluded that entertaining mobile advertising messages can be perceived more positively by consumers.

A high level of involvement and pleasure during interactions with mobile media results into simultaneous subjective attitudes of positive impact and consumer mood. Consumers’ feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction related to advertisements are vital factors for their attitudes toward building loyalty with regard to advertised products (Fennis & Bakker 2001). Entertainment is a critical influencing factor for consumer attitudes and perceptions toward mobile advertisements (Siau & Shen 2003). Haider (2014) argues that the perspective of pleasure and cheerfulness in consumers constitutes entertainment in mobile advertising. To capture consumers’ favorable attention, marketers should design messages that are amusing and concise to suit a specific customer segment (Pavlou & Stewart 2000; Tsang, Ho & Liang 2004). This way, mobile advertisements capture positive intentions of consumers and increase the degree of interactivity in that customers are motivated to participate in a particular cause (Altuna & Konuk 2009). Video clips, sounds and images play an important role in capturing consumer attentions positively unlike forms of communication such as SMSs.

Entertainment generates the most favorable stance to increase the perceived usefulness of mobile advertising (Haider 2014). Therefore, it is true that entertainment carries a positive effect on consumers’ attitudes toward mobile advertising.

Theme 3: Informativeness impact on consumer attitude

A study by Bauer et al. (2005) and a different one by Tsang, Ho & Liang (2004) suggest that the major aim of advertisement is to create awareness about products among existing and potential consumers. In addition, advertisement seeks to inform consumers about the differences between products from different merchants. Informativeness is the key impact of mobile advertisement to consumers in that with valuable information, consumers feel less irritated and relatively less avoidance to advertisements occur (Blanco, Blasco & Azorin 2010).

The perceived information value or informativeness of the advertisement message is a key factor that influences the consumer attitude in the course of mobile marketing. Majority of consumers finds mobile marketing to be informative because they get product information effortlessly, on-demand, quickly and while on-the-go (Blanco, Blasco & Azorin 2010). According to Reyck and Degraeve (2003), informativeness is a key determinant of the effectiveness and efficiency of advertisements. It impacts on consumers’ attitudes towards mobile advertising because it guides them make purchase decisions. Informativeness make consumers aware about available products in addition to how the advertised product is better compared to similar ones offered by competitors (Chowdhury et al. 2006).

In mobile advertising, information value is an important incentive and recipients (consumers) react positively towards advertisements that are greatly informative. Information relayed to consumers through mobile advertising should possess the following elements: Accuracy, usefulness, and currency (Soroa 2008). These elements generate positive attitudes among consumers as they are appealed by receiving messages relevant to them. Studies by Blanco, Blasco & Azorin (2010) and Haider (2014) revealed that there is a positive relationship between message informativeness and consumer attitudes toward mobile advertisements. Consequently, marketers should give adequate consideration to information quality to instill the much needed positive attitude derived from informativeness.

Siau & Shen (2003) argues that in mobile advertisements with low level information value, consumers perceive the ad to be boring. As a result, they develop negative attitudes toward such advertisements (Reyck and Degraeve 2003). Kelly, Kerr & Drennan (2010) and (Xu 2007) cements this by claiming that mobile advertisements with customized and interesting information matching specific customer preferences and needs are more likely to create a positive attitude towards advertisements.  Moreover, message variety, appropriateness and right frequency may also lead to positive consumer attitudes toward mobile ads (Chowdhury et al. 2006). Some advertisements posted on social sites are also too general to attract the attention of potential customers thus they may be regarded as irrelevant (Meyvis & Janiszewki 2002). Therefore, people do not trust both the ads and the marketers who posted them Reyck and Degraeve (2003). Generally, research has indicated that advertisement innovativeness is a critical element that impact on consumers’ attitude towards mobile advertisement.  

The perceived information value or informativeness of mobile advertising messages create positive attitude among consumers (Siau & Shen 2003).  Through high value information, consumers are able to identify products alternatives in order to decide on the one that best suits their needs. Consumers are presented with quality information that helps them measure the potential benefits of different products to identify the one that yields the best possible satisfaction (Chowdhury et al. 2006). Denk and Hackl (2004) assert that the quality of information presented in advertisement messages directly influences the consumers’ attitudes towards the company brand and its products. Accordingly, Thurner (2008) argues that the advertisement content delivered to consumers through mobile marketing techniques carry qualitative elements such as usefulness, which motivates consumers to seek to know more about the products and eventually make a purchase.

In mobile advertising, information quality is considered to be a greatly valuable incentive because recipients are likely to react positively to valuable information (Thurner 2008). According to Akihiro & Mamoru (2007), consumers tend to transfer valuable information to their friends which may lead to great number of referrals. Consequently, a chain may be formed where each and every recipient of the valuable information passes it to a new person, a context which can pull a large number of recipients together creating a huge customer base. Therefore, it is worth noting that informativeness or perceived information value impacts on consumer attitudes toward mobile advertising.
Conclusion

Mobile advertising has seen great improvements due to introduction of such elements such as rich media and increased number of mobile sets supporting embedded ads. For example, rich media has greatly boosted execution of banner ads allowing for resizing capabilities to enhance interactivity experience. Mobile ads has helped reach consumers on-the-go, make a tangible impact with interactive and rich media displays using content websites, apps, videos and Google searches on Smartphone and tablet platforms. Whether a business is focused on building a brand or performance advertising, mobile is an integral element to reaching the audience. Marketers continuously involve new means of communication to advertise their products, and with proliferation of mobile devices, there is a wide array of channels to drive promotion campaigns.

It is evident that mobile advertising influences consumer attitudes through dimensions of irritation, entertainment and informativeness or perceived information value. First, irritation has a significant impact on customer attitudes toward mobile advertising. Irritation or annoyance creates a negative attitude with respect to advertising itself as well as to products acceptance. Mobile advertising that is irritating tends to worsen consumer attitudes towards a specific product being advertised.  Secondly, there is a considerable relationship between entertainment is message content and mobile advertising. Entertaining contents in mobile advertising affects consumer attitudes toward embracing a specific campaign, adding more value for consumers, and increasing their loyalty. Consequently, entertainment generates a positive attitude among consumers towards mobile advertising. Lastly, perceived informativeness generates positive attitudes among consumers towards mobile advertising. There is a strong relationship between message informativeness and positive attitude towards an advertised brand or product.

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Appendix 1: Operational framework for message content and impacton attitude towards mobile advertising