Richard Adhikari

About the Author Richard Adhikari


Enterprise Apps

Salesforce Rejiggers Enterprise Apps Partner Plan

Salesforce on Tuesday launched the AppExchange Partner Program, or APP, for developers, independent software vendors and startups, as a replacement for its current ISV Partner Program. The APP will cost much less. Its baseline percent-net-revenue model for all new APP partners has been slashed from 25 percent to 15 percent. Current partners will be eligible for the new PNR terms on contract renewal.

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Customer Service

Congress Probes United Airlines’ Customer Mishandling

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on Tuesday apologized to the United States Congress for his company causing a passenger to be dragged off a UA flight last month. United failed its customers and failed as a company in that incident, and this has to be a turning point for the airline, Munoz told the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee at a hearing into airline industry practices.

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Consumer Security

Burger King Ad Creates Whopper of a Mess for Google Home

Burger King in essence hijacked the voice-activated Google Home speakers in some consumers’ homes. In a 15-second television ad, the camera zooms in on a young man wearing the company uniform who says, “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” The trigger phrase for Google’s AI Assistant activated Home speakers situated nearby, prompting them to read Wikipedia’s description of the Whopper.

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Smartphones

Bixby Will Be Seen but Not Heard When Galaxy S8 Launches

Samsung on Wednesday said that Bixby Voice will not be operational when its Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones hit the market. Some Bixby features — Vision, Home and Reminder — will be active when the phones become available on April 21, Samsung said, but the Bixby Voice capability won’t show up until later this spring. The delay may be due to a weakness in Bixby’s English language chops.

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Customer Service

United Airlines Gives Appalling New Meaning to Customer Service

United Airlines’ self-made firestorm spread on Tuesday, as a video showing a passenger being forcibly dragged off a plane continued to make the rounds on social media. The passenger had refused to comply after being told he’d been bumped off the Sunday flight. The incident sparked international outrage, including calls for a boycott of the airline and for CEO Oscar Munoz to step down.

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Search Tech

Google’s Fact Check Labeling System Goes Global

Google has extended the Fact Check feature it introduced last fall. Publishers now can display a Fact Check tag in news stories everywhere that Google News is available. The company also has introduced the Fact Check feature globally in Google Search, in all of the languages it supports. Not all stories will be fact checked, though, and only certain publishers will be able to participate.

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Transportation

Zunum’s Hybrid-Electric Planes Could Disrupt Commercial Flight Industry

Zunum Aero, a startup backed by Boeing and JetBlue, on Wednesday announced that it was developing regional hybrid-electric aircraft with backing from Boeing’s HorizonX innovation cell and JetBlue Technology Ventures. The planes, which will have 10 to 50 seats, are scheduled for launch in the early 2020s. Zunum aims to democratize access to fast, affordable travel.

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Trends

AI Confusion Widespread Among Consumers

Most people think they know what the term “artificial intelligence” means, based on the results of a survey Pegasystems released Tuesday. However, their responses suggested that they probably don’t fully understand how it’s being used today, including in the customer service realm. Researchers polled 6,000 adult consumers in the United States, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany.

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Tech Law

House Votes to Kill Privacy Rules Binding ISPs

The House of Representatives has approved the Congressional Review Act, undoing privacy restrictions imposed on ISPs during the Obama administration. The Senate passed the CRA last week in a 50-48 vote along party lines. The White House has expressed support for the CRA. “This is one time I believe the White House,” remarked John Simpson, privacy project director at Consumer Watchdog.

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Social Networks

Trending Storylines Hone LinkedIn’s Relevance

LinkedIn has begun rolling out Trending Storylines, offering curated feeds of the most interesting developing stories in a member’s industry. Storylines are personalized for members through a combination of algorithms and the choices of LinkedIn’s editorial team. The feeds may include perspectives from relevant influencers and news sources, as well as individuals in the member’s network.

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Products

ProsperWorks Adds In-App Comms to its Google CRM Solution

ProsperWorks, which provides CRM for Google’s G Suite business tools, last week announced the addition of in-app cloud communications functionality. The new features are available through a custom integration with RingCentral, which provides enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions. The integration lets users make, receive and log calls without leaving the CRM solution.

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Customer Experience

McDonald’s Puts Mobile Ordering to the Test

McDonald’s has begun testing new mobile ordering and payment functionality at 29 of its restaurants in California. It will expand the pilot to another 51 restaurants in Washington on March 20. The company will run multiple pilots to gather customer feedback, work out any issues that arise, and streamline integration with its IT systems before rolling out its updated mobile app more broadly.

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Call Centers

OpenMethods, Next Caller Join to Streamline Call Routing

OpenMethods has announced an integration with Next Caller’s Advanced Caller ID database that will let contact centers on the Oracle Service Cloud use real-time contextual data for more than 500 million landline, mobile and VoIP numbers to personalize and simplify their agent and customer interactions. OpenMethods integrates IVR and telephony data into the CRM package call center agents use.

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Marketing

IDG’s New Pipeline Activator Aims to Get Sales Timing Right

IDG has launched Pipeline Activator, a global subscription-based service pinpointing verified projects and active sales prospects for those selling to enterprise IT. Pipeline Activator, the latest addition to IDG’s ABM360 suite of account-based marketing services, provides sales and marketing teams with detailed insights on target companies actively researching products and services for purchase.

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Emerging Tech

Autonomous Delivery Robots to Hit Virginia’s Streets

Autonomous delivery robots will be able to travel on sidewalks, crosswalks and shared-use paths throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia this summer. Gov. Terry McAullife recently signed a law permitting the use of Starship Technologies’ Personal Delivery Devices. The six-wheeled robots, which resemble coolers, are designed to deliver parcels, groceries and food within a two-mile radius.

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Servers

Qualcomm, Microsoft to Give Cloud Services a Speed Boost

Qualcomm has announced a collaboration with Microsoft to accelerate next-generation cloud services on the 10nm Qualcomm Centriq 2400 ARM-based platform. The collaboration will span multiple future generations of hardware, software and systems. The two have been working for several years on ARM-based server enablement, optimizing a version of Windows Server for ARM running on the Centriq 2400.

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Deals

Salesforce, IBM Kick Off New Artificial Intelligence Era

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty on Monday announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint solutions leveraging artificial intelligence. Einstein, the AI that powers Salesforce applications, will be connected seamlessly with IBM’s Watson AI platform. The integration is scheduled for availability in the second half, and pricing will be announced at that time.

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