Entrepreneurship Requires Working Like the Future is Already Here (Watch)

If you’re a movie buff like me, you may have thrilled to the spectacle when movies like “Star Trek” and the latest “Star Wars” hit the screen.

The exciting possibilities of a future in which intelligent robots, speed of light space ships and travel to far flung planets have all become realities are inspiring to say the least.

But as entrepreneurs we don’t have the luxury of waiting for the future to realize our dreams. Instead, the challenge is to make the future a reality today.

Business is a Wild Adventure

But of course, business is more than all this lofty stuff too. Business is also an adventure.

It’s about getting out of your comfort zone, building a team, having fun and building something that will endure for your family.

First, remember that getting into business for yourself in the first place requires leaving your comfort zone behind. You’ll have to put yourself out there to promote your business.

Nervous about meeting new people? Tough! It’s now part of your job description.

But despite all of this, you’ll have to recognize that, in most cases, you still can’t go it alone. You’ll need to find others — people with skills, integrity and the willingness to pull together as a team — to make your vision a reality.

Here at Small Business Trends, for example, it would be impossible for us day in and day out to do the work we do without a dedicated team and a larger community of freelancers and contributors, everyone of which has played a part in our success.

You also need to remember to have fun, of course. Starting a business certainly has its ups and downs. And though it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day — and even to become discouraged during the hard times — remember that those triumphs will come around too. So don’t let the challenges get you down.

Finally, if you’ve launched your business with the hopes of providing something more permanent for your family — perhaps something that can even be passed on to future generations — take pride in that.

And try to make time for them no matter how busy you get.

Work Like the Future is Already Here

Remember, how we talked about making the future a reality? Well, there are a lot of tools and resources that might have once seemed like something out of the future

But they can now help you build your business like never before.

For example, running a business might once have required a lot of overhead in terms of office space and expensive equipment to do the job right.

But today you can often run — or at least start — a small business from the kitchen table or the den using just a laptop or perhaps even a smartphone.

Once upon a time only multi-nationals could gather global teams and compete to market their products and services all over the world. Today both are possible for small businesses with the right technology.

It should be obvious from all this that business really is a great adventure. The possibilities for small businesses seem endless. All you need to do is take that first step.

Rafting Photo, Monkey Driving Photo, Hands Photo, Monkey Computer Photo, Dog Manager Photo, Selfie Photo, Dancing Clip, Tokyo Clip via Shutterstock

More in: Videos

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Do You Have a Blog For Your Ecommerce Site? Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should

Do You Have an Ecommerce Blog? Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should

The internet is so highly saturated with blogs that starting one now can be intimidating and feel pointless. After all, what’s another blog when thousands of similar blogs exist? Who would even read it? Is it worth it? If you’ve ever been curious about starting a blog but have found yourself stumped by questions like these, it may be time to take the next step on creating a blog for your business.

Adding a blog to your business/e-commerce site can impact your brand in ways that paid advertising can’t and that consumers are eager to respond to. In fact, choosing not to participate in the blogosphere could be putting you at a disadvantage and stunting your business growth. If you’re not sold on the idea just yet, here are 5 compelling reasons your ecommerce site needs a blog.

Why You Need an Ecommerce Blog

1. Blogs Build Trust

Ever been to a website that’s selling products or services but has no trace of real people anywhere? An impersonal presence can be particularly detrimental to e-commerce websites, because it strips the buyer experience down to bare bones. Blogs are a great way to restore that consumer trust and interest, because it gives you a place to add a personal, relatable flair on your website. Take, for example, Birchbox.

An Ecommerce Blog Builds Trust

Birchbox is a popular brand among my fellow twenty-somethings that sends a box of beauty products to try with a monthly subscription. What attracts women to this brand over going to the mall and buying their own beauty products is not just the appeal of getting a monthly package in the mail, but rather a trust in the authority Birchbox has. Their blog is a carefully curated display of tutorials, beauty tips, brands to watch and more that asserts a powerful message: you can trust Birchbox to send you your beauty products, because they know what they’re talking about. The blog is relatable, fun, and enforces the message of their products.

You can do the same for your brand by populating a blog with tips, tricks, and news relevant to your products or services. In doing so you’ll demonstrate to users that you’re an authority worth trusting and investing in.

2.  A Blog Can Grow Your Following/Consumer Base

Not everyone who sees your blog will be instantly inspired to purchase something from your e-commerce site. But in keeping with the build-up of trust, you could amass an enormous following through your blog that will gain you the recognition of other industry authorities as well as consumers who are more interested in making purchases.

It can also lead to beneficial relationships, if not with consumers then with other professionals of similar disciplines. After developing your blog and letting it grow a bit, you can start seeking out guest blogging opportunities to get noticed and feature other useful bloggers on your website. For example, pretend you have a business website that sells subscriptions, gifts, and cases of wine. You could invite a popular sommelier to write a guest post on your blog about pairing wines with certain foods, cooking with wine, etc. Your users would gain the tips and advice from your blog and come back to reference you for more helpful information. Even further, the sommelier may share the guest post across his or her personal network, giving your brand exposure, and even feature your business on their own blog. It may be a hypothetical situation, but real opportunities like this are opened up when you have a blog.

3. Blogs Attract New Leads

Adding a blog component to your website opens up new pathways for customers to reach you that might otherwise not exist. By having a blog that consumers can interact with, you can better understand their preferences, styles, concerns, habits, trends, etc. There could be an entire niche you’re unaware of or insights you’re missing due to a lack of customer interaction.

Blogs open up a portal to not only communicate with your client base, but also create share-worthy content that attracts attention from leads you might have previously failed to target or overlook.

4. Blog Content Will Boost Your Site Rank and Grow Links

Long form content doesn’t always have an appropriate place to reside on ecommerce websites, which is why having a blog component is so helpful. You can populate the blog with keywords, phrases, and internal links that search engines can easily crawl and respond to.

Strictly from an SEO standpoint, having a blog for your business site is definitely considered a best practice and is one of the surest ways to out-perform your competitors. The sheer quantity of links produced from a blog shows search engines that your site is active and is getting significant user traffic.

5. It’s a Built-in Content Marketing Tool

Channeling your content marketing efforts towards your blog is a great way to cut your time spent strategizing in half. You can focus on promoting high quality, utility-based information that will sustain publicity across social media and professional platforms. The content generated by and for your blog can be shared across the internet and used as a catalyst for getting your brand the attention it needs to be successful.

Blog Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Publisher Channel Content

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Can’t Get a Loan from a Bank? Here are Alternative Funding Options

Can't Get a Loan from a Bank? Here are Alternative Funding Options

Securing funds to either start or grow business was once every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare. In the past, big banks and credit unions often rejected loan applications, leaving business owners with the only option of borrowing from friends and family or borrowing against receivables.

A lot has, of course, changed mainly because business owners today have more options than before. Alternative lenders and institutional investors have made it easier for entrepreneurs to access funds and grow.

For a small business owner, it pays to understand how institutional lenders and alternative lenders differ and the best options available to get funds.

Small Business Funding Options

Alternative Lenders

Alternative lending took off during the 2008 financial crisis when big banks backed out of small business funding. At that time, online lenders stepped in to fill the vacuum and assist small businesses. They created web-based lending platforms that facilitated a faster loan application process and provided the much-needed respite to small businesses.

Today, alternative lenders are the new normal for small businesses looking for funds to meet their financing needs. Some of the well-known alternative lenders include Kabbage, OnDeck and CAN Capital.

There are four main types of alternative lending options available to small businesses. These are:

  • A line of credit that provides access to a set amount of cash that’s mostly used to meet short-term financing needs.
  • A term loan that allows business owners to borrow and repay the loan amount in about four or five years.
  • Invoice factoring that helps businesses deal with unpaid invoices.
  • Merchant cash advances that help businesses get an advance on future credit card or debit card sales.

Pros and Cons of Alternative Lending

Alternative lending is a good option when you are looking for funds to address an urgent business need. To give an example, if there is a plumbing issue that needs to be fixed immediately, you can use alternative lending options to secure funds in no time.

Another big advantage of alternative sources of financing for small business is simplicity. Unlike big banks, alternative lenders require fewer documents to process loan requests. That’s because for the alternative lenders, the main focus is whether you have the cash flow to repay the loan.

Alternative lenders also offer longer-term loans to invest in your growth. For example, if you want to recruit more workers or open a new store, you can opt for alternative lending options.

For all the benefits associated with alternative lending options, it’s important for businesses to know that the interest rates are extremely high. Most alternative lenders offer business loans with double-digit, sometimes even triple-digit, rates. For a small business owner, such steep rates are not always the best option.

Institutional Lenders

Institutional lenders refer to hedge funds, family funds, insurance companies and other non-bank institutions. These lenders have slowly but steadily emerged as important players in the small business credit marketplace. Some of the well-known institutional lenders include StreetShares, Funding Circle and Kickfurther.

An increasing number of small businesses are opting for institutional lending options because approval rates are high. Institutional lenders are, in fact, surpassing alternative lenders, including merchant cash advance companies and other non-bank finance companies.

In July last year, institutional lenders approved 61.7 percent of small business loans, up from 61.4 percent in June.

Pros and Cons of Institutional Lending

Because institutional lenders invest heavily in technology, they act promptly and approve loans faster than alternative lenders and big banks.

“These pools of money have never been available for small businesses,” Biz2Credit CEO and co-founder Rohit Arora tells Time.com.

For new entrepreneurs, institutional lending is a feasible option because the interest rates are considerably low. That’s because institutional lenders usually have access to a comprehensive profile of businesses that approach them for loans.

Moreover, institutional lenders don’t ask for any specific collateral to approve loans. They mostly require a personal guarantee and may place a lien on your business assets.

On the flip side however, institutional lenders place some very specific requirements to qualify for loan approvals. Further, these loans have typical terms of 1-5 years or even a shorter span. This means they are not ideal for businesses looking for big investments.

How to Seek Small Business Loans from Alternative and Institutional Lenders

To qualify for a loan or small business line of credit, it’s always advisable to know the right way to go about it.

While it is true that your chances of getting approved by an institutional or alternative lender are greater than big banks, it’s important to make note of a few things to ensure you qualify.

To begin with, you should know that unlike traditional lenders, alternative and institutional lenders depend on technology to determine whether or not you can repay the loan amount. They use sophisticated software tools and data metrics, including social media interactions to assess businesses.

If you have just started out, you probably won’t qualify for a big loan. Conversely, if your business is up and running and you can show a good track record of revenue performance, you will find it easier to secure funds.

What’s worth noting is that you need a good business plan in place to increase your chances of qualifying for a loan. It’s also advisable to know which lender is your best option before you approach them. For example, Kickfurther is ideal for small businesses looking for inventory financing. There are similar lenders who specialize in real estate business, purchase order financing and other kinds of small business loans.

It’s important to maintain a good credit score because most alternative and institutional lenders carry out credit checks to ascertain a customer’s credit worthiness.

Another good option for small businesses is to consider collaborative lending opportunities. Banks like JP Morgan Chase are partnering with alternative lenders to offer loans customized to the needs of business owners. In certain instances, such options would make more business sense.

Armed with enough information and insight, you can easily secure funds without borrowing from your IRA or approaching big banks and community banks.

Loans Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Small Business Apple Users, MacOS Sierra Is Here

Small Business Apple Users, MacOS Sierra Is Here

While Apple might not admit it, the company seems to have a clear preference for iOS, leaving macOS and its users a bit under appreciated. But the company is slowly adding new capabilities to its desktop operating system, making its latest major release, macOS Sierra, the closest it has come so far to an iPhone or iPad.

After the new iOS 10 was announced earlier this month, along with the new iPhone 7 and other products, it was finally the Mac’s turn. And just to make sure it didn’t feel left behind, Apple added some of the features you can now find on iOS to Sierra.

For business users, the new additions are incremental changes that will improve some of the tasks you perform on your PC, but there is nothing groundbreaking. Here are some of the features you will find in the new OS. 

Key Business Features of MacOS Sierra

Siri

After some prodding and pressure from Microsoft’s Cortana in Windows, Apple has relented and Siri is now available on Sierra. If you haven’t used the current batch of AI assistants, you will find they can really make your workflow run much smoother.

In addition to asking Siri for directions, the time, and the weather, you can ask for help adjusting system preferences, finding documents, sending messages and email, looking up information, searching a user’s photo library, and more.

Apple Pay

If you want to pay for something on a website with Apple Pay, there are around 300,000 participating websites that will let you complete your purchase with Touch ID on iPhone 6 or newer devices and Apple Watch.

Apple says it doesn’t share your credit or debit card information with online merchants and it uses strong encryption to protect all communication between your device and Apple Pay servers.

This can really simplify the way you pay for the supply and services for your small business.

Picture in Picture

The PIP feature, which has been available on the iPad previously, lets you watch a video from a Web page by extracting it and placing it on your desktop without the other content of the website. If you switch to other desktop applications, the video continues to play.

Continuity

Even the smallest businesses may have more than one device, and with the continuity feature Apple introduced last year, your files can now be synced across your phone, tablet, laptop and desktop with the help of iCloud. So if you make an update on your iPhone, when you go home and use your Mac, you will have the latest changes.

This is a great feature for any business, because it simplifies your workflow by not having to go over any changes you make at your office or home.

Photos

The feature that is getting the most attention in Photos is Memories. It can group pictures and videos from your library based on times, locations and people, and create short slide shows based on the selections.

MacOS Sierra - Photos

It uses advanced computer vision to identify faces, objects and scenes in images so you can search by who or what is in it.

Mail

Mail has a new quick filter that lets you look at messages that you haven’t read, as well as messages with attachments, flagged messages, and messages that you have been CC’d on, are addressed to you specifically or are from VIPs.

If your business email address is out of control, this is one way to ensure you get the most relevant emails.

Notes

Collaboration is on everyone’s list of options when it comes to functionality, and Notes has a real-time collaboration feature that lets you invite a user with Apple ID so you can view and edit the document together. You can send the invite using Twitter, Facebook, Mail, Messages, AirDrop, and more.

Optimized Storage

Optimized storage can detect when your hard drive is running out of room and it automatically frees up space on your computer by sending the files to the cloud if they haven’t been used in some time. The feature also gets rid of junk files.

Universal Clipboard

You can now copy content from an app on your iPhone or iPad and paste it into another app on another Apple device, which in this case would be a desktop or laptop. And with iCloud Desktop and Documents, you can access files on your Desktop from an iPhone and iPad.

MacOS Sierra - Universal Clipboard

More Control for Autocorrect

You now have more granular control when it comes to autocorrect. Whether it is correcting spelling, capitalizing words or adding a period at the end of a sentence you can keep or disable the behavior you want.

More Choices for Encryption

The Apple File System (APFS) encryption on Sierra uses AES-XTS and AES-CBC ciphers for three kinds of native encryption, including no encryption, single-key file and metadata encryption, and multi-key encryption. The multi-key encryption can perform metadata, per-file and per-extent encryption.

With security a persistent problem for anyone with a digital presence, this is a great way to make sure the information on your Mac is protected at all times.

Auto Unlock

This is a security feature which according to Apple will make Macs more secure for users that have an iPhone or Apple Watch. It pairs your Mac computer with your mobile device using Bluetooth and whenever you are nearby, it detects your presence and unlocks your computer.

MacOS Sierra - Auto Unlock

If you are tired of passwords, and who isn’t these days, this is another option.

Availability

The new operating system is available as a free update from the Mac App Store, and it supports all Macs introduced since late 2009. However, Apple has warned some features may not be available in all regions or languages. You can go here to find out more.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Xiaomi MIUI 8 Global Stable ROM Is Here: Top 10 New Features

Xiaomi MIUI 8 Global Stable ROM Is Here: Top 10 New Features

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Mi Cloud Photo Sync feature keeps original files on cloud
  • It also allows two WhatsApp accounts to run simultaneously
  • It also brings the ability to take long screenshots.

Xiaomi first unveiled MIUI 8 in May, and launched the Global ROM in June at an event in New Delhi. After releasing developer previews, the Chinese manufacturer has now started rolling out MIUI 8 Global Stable ROM build for all eligible devices.

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S, Redmi 2, Redmi 2 Prime, Redmi Note 3 Qualcomm, Redmi Note 3 Special Edition, Redmi Note 3G, Redmi Note 4G, Redmi Note 2, Redmi Note Prime,Redmi 3, Redmi 3S, Redmi 3S Prime, Mi 2, Mi 2S, Mi 3, Mi 4,Mi 4i, Mi 5, Mi Note, and Mi Max (32GB variant) are all worthy of an MIUI 8 update.

A few devices will receive the update over-the-air (OTA) gradually over the coming week, while some are set to receive it in the ‘near future.’ In any case, all eligible devices can install MIUI 8 right now, byfollowing the steps here.

x

MIUI 8 was unveiled alongside the Xiaomi Mi Max in India, and the company had then promised for the stable build to release in August. Keeping its promise, the MIUI 8 with all of its new features is rolling out, and here is everything new that is arriving with the MIUI 8 Global Stable ROM.

1) Photos
The MIUI 8 brings in a host of new improvements to the Gallery like the introduction of Mi Cloud Photo sync. It keeps low resolution images locally, and uploads the original full size image to the cloud. Xiaomi also tweaked the way panorama shots are seen on the smartphone, and instead of the cropped square version, MIUI 8 displays them horizontally across the screen. It has also introduced a new video editing option where users can trim videos easily and add video effects. MIUI 8 brings quick sharing to the Gallery app, where the user can share a picture on different platforms by just swiping up.

(Also see: Xiaomi India on the Redmi 3s, MIUI 8, and Mi VR India Launch)

2) Quick Ball
The Quick Ball is nothing but a hovering button that stays on the display screen at all times. Users can customise five shortcuts into the ball, and it reminds you very much of Apple’s Assistive Touch. The Quick Ball button also shows up on the lock screen, enabling users to use to shortcuts even on a locked smartphone.

3) Dual apps
Dual apps is a very nifty feature as it brings the ability to have two instances of any app running on the smartphone – such as two instances of WhatsApp. This essentially means you can run two separate WhatsApp accounts on one smartphone.

miui8_dualapps.jpg4) Second Space
The Second Space feature lets you do the work of two smartphones on one. It lets you have two Google accounts that you can switch whenever you please. By switching on the Second Space feature, and setting up a new account, users can keep their business and personal accounts separate, but on one smartphone. It allows users to switch between accounts through a Switch app, that shows up once the Second Space feature is enabled.

5) Scrolling screenshots
This should come in really handy for all the screenshot lovers out there. A screenshot is typically restricted to capture what is visible on the screen at that particular time, cropping out all the other content on a webpage. With MIUI 8, an entire webpage, no matter the length can be taken as a screenshot. To use this feature, press the Volume down and the power key at the same time. An animated icon pops up on the top right for five seconds. Click it immediately, and options to expand, edit or share show up. Click on expand, scroll up the space you want to screenshot, and press stop when you’re done.

miui8_screenshots.jpg(Also see: How to Manually Download and Install MIUI 8 Right Now)

6) Caller ID and Dialler
With MIUI 8, Xiaomi has integrated caller ID into the system, thereby eliminating the need for third-party apps to perform the function. The dialler now lets you type in T9 Hindi directly from the dial pad, and it even enables T9 Business Search. This feature shows contact information of popular businesses around the area, irrespective if the number is stored or not.

7) Calculator
The Calculator app also sees a major redesign. Apart from doing the math, the app now will even convert weight, currency, and temperature.

miui8_calculator.jpg8) Messages
The caller ID integration expands into text messaging as well. MIUI 8 will detect a message, and if a text arrives from your bank (for example), it will show the name of the bank with a profile photo to make it look prettier. For example, HDFC Bank’s SMS won’t show up as VM-HDFC, but will instead show up automatically as just HDFC complete with a contact photo icon. The Messages app also introduced third-party integration, which means it will prompt users to do various functions depending on the message. A movie ticket confirmation from BookMyShow will allow users to add a reminder, and a low data alert from a carrier should prompt the user to recharge using one of the installed recharge apps. For this to work, Xiaomi has currently partnered with MobiKwik in India.

9) Notes app
The new Notes app in MIUI 8 sees a slight change in design, and can be seen in a grid format. It has a new Memo template feature that gives you a better design to work with, and even allows you to share on micro-blogging sites as is. It also allows users to set a password, or fingerprint access to a note for better privacy.

miui8_notesapp.jpg10) Ringtones and Themes
Xiaomi has partnered with Hungama to introduce latest soundtracks as ringtones for users. The ringtones will be made available free of cost. The company has also partnered with many other companies to provide many new wallpaper options, and because of its Theme Contest held in India, MIUI 8 will also see many new themes as well.

Share a screenshot and win Samsung smartphones worth Rs. 90,000 by participating in the #BrowseFaster contest.

Tags: Dual Apps, Global Stable ROM, MIUI 8, Mi 5, Mi Cloud Photo Sync, Mi Note, Quick Ball, Redmi 3, Redmi 3S,Redmi Note 3, Second Space, Xiaomi
[“Source-Gadgets”]

 

Move Over Facebook! YouTube Messaging App Is Here

youtube screen shot 2

Here’s a bit of unexpected but timely news – YouTube is adding a chat service to its app. The YouTube messaging app is essentially a messaging service that allows you to share embedded YouTube videos right from your chat window.

Share Video With New YouTube Messaging App

YouTube knows that many people are already talking about YouTube videos on other platforms so the YouTube messaging app is ideally designed to allow users to keep conversations in one place. YouTube is calling it “native sharing” because users can share videos within the app and even invite friends into conversation threads.

YouTube’s messaging app is, at the moment, only open to a few selected individuals who are then able to spread it to their friends by inviting them into conversation threads. Friends can talk about the shared video clips right inside the app and they can also keep the conversation going by posting more videos on the thread. The message threads reside within a new tab on the app and users can always catch up on missed conversation and at the same time dip in and out of conversations. If all goes well, the native feature will then be added to a future app update.

YouTube Messaging App Stops Switching

According to Wired, the director of product management at YouTube Shimrit Ben-Yair says that the native sharing feature was developed after her team hypothesized that a streamlined native way to share YouTube videos would result in more sharing, which is exactly what the company wants.

Currently, people copy YouTube links and paste them on other messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.

The sharing feature on the new YouTube Messaging App should ideally stop YouTube audiences from switching to another app and now businesses on YouTube have the opportunity to show their ads to more than 1 billion people who watch videos on the platform.

Last year, Facebook Messenger toppled YouTube to become the second most popular app in the U.S. Businesses such as Staples are also already using the chat feature on Facebook Messenger to offer real-time customer service and personalized updates.

If successful, YouTube might once again prove to advertisers that they are a force to reckon with and they can as well come up with new innovative ways to increase customer attention.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Amazon Said to Be in Talks to Buy Stake in Mapping Company Here

Amazon Said to Be in Talks to Buy Stake in Mapping Company Here

Amazon is in talks with a consortium of German carmakers about taking a stake in high-definition digital mapping company Here, two auto industry sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Last August, BMW, Audi and Mercedes agreed to pay EUR 2.5 billion (roughly Rs. 18,580 crores) to buy Nokia’s mapping business as part of plans to develop self-driving cars.

Since then, the consortium has started negotiations with potential new partners mainly from the automotive industry.

Now, online retailer Amazon has emerged as a possible shareholder.

“Amazon would take a stake as part of a broader deal to lock them in as a provider of cloud computing services,” one source familiar with the talks said.

The consortium needs the capacity of cloud computing to ensure that maps can cope with live updates on traffic and road conditions using data collected from sensors on thousands of Mercedes, BMW and Audi cars.

It has been in talks with cloud computing providers, including Amazon, one of the sources said.

Taking a stake in Here could make sense strategically for Amazon, which is rolling out new one- and two-hour delivery services in major cities in the United States and Europe and needs accurate, real-time maps to compete with rivals for the best logistics.

Intelligent mapping systems like Here’s are the basis on which self-driving cars, linked to wireless networks, can perform functions such as recalculating a route to the nearest electric charging station or around a traffic jam or ice patch.

For the consortium, having more partners will spread the cost and could improve the volume of data about traffic information being fed to the map from vehicles on the road.

Audi, the premium brand owned by Volkswagen, Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, and BMW declined to comment on whether they were in talks with Amazon.

Amazon in Germany and the United States did not respond to requests to comment.

BMW said: “The new owners Audi, Daimler and BMW have said from the start that they are open for new partners to join. We have noticed that there is lots of interest not only from potential partners from within the automotive industry, but also from other sectors.”

Renault and automotive supplier Continental have both expressed interest.

Continental said on Thursday a decision on whether to buy a stake in Here would be made within the next few months.

Ford is also among the companies interested in taking a stake in the Here consortium, a third auto industry source said on Thursday.

Asked whether Ford was in talks with the group about taking a stake in Here, a spokesman for the company said, “We have been and will continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects related to our Ford Smart Mobility plan. We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons and we don’t comment on speculation.”

Self-driving and connected car services could become a $50 billion market, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas have estimated.

Germany’s carmakers decided to club together to bid for Here to accelerate plans for self-driving cars after Internet rival Alphabet unveiled a prototype autonomous vehicle.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Amazon, Audi, August, BMW, Here, Internet, Mercedes, Nokia Here Maps
[“source-Gadgets”]

Daimler CEO Says ‘Here’ Digital Mapping Consortium in Expansion Talks

Daimler CEO Says 'Here' Digital Mapping Consortium in Expansion Talks

Daimler’s Chief Executive told Reuters that a German auto maker consortium which controls the Here digital mapping business is in talks with potential new members.

In August last year, German carmakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes, agreed to pay EUR 2.5 billion ($2.8 billion or roughly Rs. 18,771 crores) to buy Nokia’s high definition maps business, in a step to develop self-driving cars.

The deal closed in December and the German auto makers Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW started negotiations with new potential members, Zetsche said in an interview embargoed for Sunday.

“If there are individual companies that are already raising their finger, then this is fast and pleasing. I do not think it will take very long until the first company gives a binding commitment to join,” Zetsche said at a Mercedes-Benz driving event in Portugal.

The Here mapping business needs additional investments to make it viable for use as a navigation tool for self-driving cars. Having more carmakers join the consortium will potentially spread the cost across more members and could improve the volume of live traffic information being fed to the map from vehicles on the road.

Last week carmakers Renault-Nissan, and supplier Continental said they were considering taking a stake in the Here mapping consortium.

Intelligent mapping systems like Here’s are the basis on which self-driving cars, linked to wireless networks, can perform functions such as recalculating a route to the nearest electric charging station or around a traffic jam or accident.

Talks with third parties only started in the past two months because the consortium waited until the deal closed before talking to other partners, Zetsche said. Having only three members in the consortium made negotiations to close the deal simpler, Zetsche said.

“Interest will not only be limited to Renault-Nissan and Continental,” Zetsche added.

Self-driving and connected car services could become a $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3,35,212 crores) market, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas have estimated. Germany’s carmakers decided to club together to bid for the asset to accelerate plans for self-driving cars after Internet rival Alphabet unveiled a prototype autonomous vehicle.

Now Daimler is ready to expand the business which will form the basis for interactive maps which include live data on traffic flows gathered by thousands of sensors on BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

“It is clear that we want to aggressively expand this platform, we will make the means available to do this,” Zetsche said.

There are talks with the telecommunications industry about how to spread the availability of ultra-high-speed 5G networks, Zetsche said.

Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are also evaluating whether their cooperation on maps can be broadened, Zetsche said.

“When it concerns navigation, we have broadly identical needs. Setting communication standards, which language we should speak and what signals we send, we can decide together,” Zetsche said.

Daimler is on the lookout for software and information technology specialists to help develop its digital businesses, including through further takeovers.

“To get access to the right resources we will continue making acquisitions,” Zetsche said, explaining that there are currently no live talks for a deal. Daimler has already bought the MyTaxi App and any further deals will be about buying smaller companies, Zetsche said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Apps, Audi, BMW, Daimler, Here, Internet, Mercedes
[“source-Gadgets”]