Government to remove barriers to secondary annuities market

first_imgAutumn Statement 2015: The government has confirmed that it is to remove the barriers to creating a secondary annuities market to enable individuals to sell on their existing annuity income stream.Further details on the move, which was announced in the Autumn Statement 2015, will be set out in the government’s consultation response in December this year.Legislation will then be introduced in the Finance Bill 2017.Stewart Hastie, partner, tax and pensions at KPMG, said: “Despite the concerns over protecting pensioners, the government is now confident it can remove the barriers to creating a secondary market for annuities. The devil will, however, be in the detail of how consumers will be safeguarded, which will be released next month.“We can see demand for this market, but it needs to be heavily regulated in order to ensure pensioners are protected from making poor decisions.”Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, added: “This is a welcome development; the secondary annuity market can work well for consumers provided insurers are prevented from directly buying back their own policies as this would risk investors losing out.“Market competition through annuity brokers, combined with appropriate consumer safeguards should ensure the market will work well, however existing annuity holders may in some cases be disappointed by the relatively low sums they are offered in return for their existing guaranteed income.”last_img read more

Read More »

83 value employer pension contributions

first_imgMore than four-fifths (83%) of employee respondents whose employer currently contributes to their workplace pension value these contributions, according to research by The People’s Pension.Its survey of 1,008 UK employees and 500 UK-based HR decision makers also found that 54% of employees would increase the amount of money they contribute to their workplace pension if their employer did the same.The research also found:46% of employer respondents do not promote their pension scheme as an employee benefit to prospective staff, yet 69% of employee respondents consider employer pension contributions important when looking for a new job.57% of employer respondents think the amount they contribute to their employees’ pension does not make a difference to recruitment, and 56% believe the amount paid in employer pension contributions does not make a difference employee retention.24% of employer respondents will increase the amount they pay in pension contributions for some or all employees over the next 12 months, and 18% will promote their organisation’s pension scheme to existing staff over the upcoming year.90% of employee respondents think that auto-enrolment was a good idea.Darren Philp (pictured), director of policy at The People’s Pension, said: “Employers have played an important part in making auto-enrolment a huge success and helping millions of people save towards their retirement. Five years on from its introduction, the majority of employees now value their employer pension contributions as an important benefit, yet there’s a clear disconnect between how highly they regard it and how much their employers think they do.“This research shows the high value that employees put on employers’ pension contributions as part of their wider reward package. Under auto-enrolment, employers have to provide a pension for their staff, so they might as well make the most of it.“By promoting their pension contributions when recruiting, reminding staff about the importance of saving for retirement, and where possible, increasing employer contributions above the minimum requirements, [employers will] not only help their staff plan for the retirement they deserve, but also benefit their business by helping them to recruit and retain staff.”last_img read more

Read More »

Twofifths say their workplace does not offer mental health support

first_imgTwo-fifths (39%) of employees’ organisations do not offer mental health support at work, according to research by employee services organisation Personal Group.The survey of 1,089 employees, which took place in September and October 2018, also found that two-thirds (66%) of respondents feel that their employer does not offer enough support for mental health in the workplace.While 80% of employees told the survey they had noticed an overall increase in awareness of mental health generally in the UK, 62% said they had noticed no corresponding change in the levels of awareness in their own workplaces.Rebekah Tapping (pictured), group HR director at Personal Group, said: “It is surprising, not to mention a real shame, that such a large number of employees still feel there isn’t enough mental health support available in the workplace, especially surprising as the topic has significantly increased awareness in recent years.”Although 64% of respondents said they believe they could provide support for someone struggling with a mental illness, 58% said they would still prefer to be provided with mental health awareness training by their employer, to help develop their understanding and skills.Among the respondents, 28% of men wanted their organisation to offer mental health support via an employee helpline, compared with 23% of women.Three-fifths (60%) of respondents said they thought they would be able to notice the signs of someone suffering from a mental health problem, while 36% said they were unsure.Tapping said: “It is more important than ever that business leaders and decision makers break the culture of stigma and silence around mental health and start making it a management priority and ensuring that a range of support is available for those who need it.”last_img read more

Read More »

Westpac Group replaces incentive awards with fixed pay increase for 2300 tellers

first_imgAustralian banking organisation Westpac Group is replacing its teller incentive programme with a $500 (£266.27) increase to fixed pay for 2,300 customer-facing employees.The change, effective from 1 April 2019, has been designed to simplify Westpac Group’s remuneration structure, by removing all teller incentives and implementing a new fixed pay only arrangement instead.George Frazis, chief executive officer, consumer bank at Westpac Group, said: “Westpac was the first bank in Australia to remove product-related incentives for branch tellers in 2016, in a move to provide our customers assurance they are being served over-the-counter based on their banking needs, not sales outcomes.“A simple fixed pay only model takes us a step further to reinforce the importance of putting the customer first and providing our 2,300 tellers with more clarity and fairness around how their work is remunerated.”The current teller incentive scheme is based on customer satisfaction measures, which can be influenced by factors separate from customer service, such as product features and branch location. The fixed pay increase, however, works to ensure Westpac Group’s tellers are recognised for the individual service that they provide.Westpac Group is liaising with both employees and the Finance Sector Union (FSU) on implementing this change.All tellers working at Bank of Melbourne, Bank SA, St George and Westpac will benefit from the fixed pay increase.Frazis added: “Our focus remains on putting our customers at the heart of everything we do. We believe these changes complement our ongoing focus on helping our people deliver an exceptional customer experience.”last_img read more

Read More »

Taylor Swift is highestpaid woman in music with more than double Beyoncés

first_imgSomething for the weekend: American singer and songwriter Taylor Swift definitely does not have a Blank Space in her bank account, as Forbes has ranked the 29-year-old as the world’s highest-paid woman in music.Swift tops the 2019 list, ‘The World’s Highest-Paid Women in Music’, with earnings amounting to a cool $185 million (£152 million), before tax, in the past year.Hot on her dancing heels is Diva Beyoncé, ranking second as one of the women to Run the World with an annual income of $81 million (£66,408,660), while singer-come-mogul Rihanna has put in the Work to place third, totting up $62 million (£50,831,320) from her ventures last year.There is nothing Hot n Cold about Katy Perry’s career, as she pipped Pink to fourth place, with the two stars earning $57.5 million (£47,130,450) and $57 million (£46,732,020) respectively, while 26-year-old Ariana Grande is in sixth spot, taking home $48 million (£39,343,680), before tax, in the last year.Other songstresses completing the top 10 line-up include Jennifer Lopez, proving she is far from Jenny from the Block with an income of $43 million (£35,245,380), Lady Gaga with a less than Shallow pot of $39.5 million (£32,376,570) in pay, Canadian star Celine Dion, who earned $37.5 million (£30,737,250) last year, and Shakira, who was paid $35 million (£28,688,100) in the past 12 months.Here at Employee Benefits, we hope Swift’s music rivals do not have too much Bad Blood as a result of Forbes’ final rankings; maybe her fellow starlets will simply Shake it Off and try to knock her off the top spot for next year…last_img read more

Read More »

Day after reelection Mayor Gimenez feels great to be back

first_imgMIAMI (WSVN) – One day after Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez was re-elected for a second term, the incumbent mayor is as hopeful as ever.Gimenez beat his opponent Raquel Regalado for the seat, Tuesday night, during the 2016 general election.On Wednesday, Gimenez said he was eager to focus his full attention back on running the county, and its $7 billion budget.Related: Miami judge tosses Raquel Regalado’s lawsuit against Mayor Carlos Gimenez“It feels great to have been re-elected as the Mayor of Miami-Dade County,” he said. “We will be known as one of the great cities of the United States by the end of this century.”Gimenez won over his opponent with 56 percent of the vote. Regalado received 44 percent.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Read More »

Police Couple found dead in apparent murdersuicide in SW MiamiDade

first_imgSOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – A man walked into his parents’ Southwest Miami-Dade home to find both of them shot dead in what police are calling a murder-suicide, Monday afternoon.According to Miami-Dade Police, the son of the deceased walked into the residence, located along the 19700 block of Southwest 244th Street, to find his parents dead, reportedly from gunshot wounds.7Skyforce HD captured crime scene investigators at the home, as well as yellow tarps over what appear to be couple’s bodies.Police have not provided further details about the discovery of the bodies.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Read More »

Ohio students pepper sprayed for extra credit

first_img Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. (WSVN) – A viral video shows high school students in Ohio pepper sprayed in exchange for extra credit as part of their Criminal Science Technology class.The viral video racked up hundreds of thousands of views since it was posted Monday and depicts students yelling and writhing in agony from the chemicals near their eyes and nose. The video has spurred controversy with many believing the exercise went too far.“It hurt for a couple days, like if you went to go get in the shower. It was still in your eyes, and it still burned,” said Zach Steinhour, one of the students hit with the pepper spray.The activity was conducted by a class instructor and students were required to have parental permission as well as consent to participate, according to a statement released by the school district.The instructor was a “former police chief and an experienced professional,” according to the school district.“I obviously had no idea it would be that painful, but I was proud of them, I was proud of all the kids that did it,” said Melody Steinhour, the student’s mother.Most of the students in the class want to go into law enforcement, where part of their training includes getting pepper sprayed. last_img read more

Read More »

Childrens Trust holds annual Family Expo

first_imgMIAMI (WSVN) – It was a fun weekend for families in South Florida, thanks in part to a local organization dedicated to improving the lives of Miami-Dade County’s youngest residents.The Children’s Trust held its annual Family Expo at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds, Saturday. The all-day free event provided family-friendly activities, including arts and crafts, a robotics demonstration and science projects.More than 20,000 visitors were expected to attend.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Read More »

Man caught burglarizing house by homeowner arrested

first_imgFORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – A thief caught by a homeowner as he rummaged through her things faced a Fort Lauderdale judge in bond court.The subject, Cristian Silva Yanten, was arrested after investigators said he got away with $30,000 worth of stolen items.The homeowner arrived to her Fort Lauderdale house and discovered the subject going through her things. He then jumped out the second story window and fled on foot.Officers managed to take him into custody shortly after.Yanten was charged with burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and grand theft.He is currently being held on $15,000 bond.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Read More »

No injuries after boat catches fire in Haulover Beach

first_imgHAULOVER BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – No injuries were reported after a boat caught fire in Haulover Beach.Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the scene near the sandbar on Sunday night.The fire was extinguished, and the boat was towed to a nearby marina.The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

Read More »

HyperLocal Magazine Develops National Franchise

first_imgMembership BenefitsToday, Edible Communities features 54 titles, ranging from Edible San Francisco to Edible Shasta Butte. Licensees pay $90,000 (although the price will soon go up) to buy in (one-third upfront, the rest financed over five years) and agree to certain conditions, such as being four-color, publishing a certain size of folio and publishing at least four times per year. Franchisees also kick back a royalty fee of five percent of the total ad revenue for their magazines.Participants receive training (ad sales, production, distribution) and can fall back on the experience of their affiliates. Topalian shoots a photo archive of 2,000 to 3,000 images that participants can use for their magazines and Web sites. “We spend the whole first year someone starts a magazine working with them, training them, going to their location,” says Ryder. “The beauty of this organization is each publisher sends a copy of the magazine to all the other publishers. They have a listserve online and can ask each other questions. It’s very collaborative—they’re not competing with each other.”A Second CareerWhile Edible Communities will work with distribution companies in larger markets, the majority of participants are putting their titles directly into local retailers. On the edit side, the company offers columns from high profile writers such as Barbara Kingsolver, as a supplement to the local content. Edible Communities also does a competitive analysis in each market to help set ad rates. Edible Ojai—still the smallest region served—offers a full-page rate of $1,200 while titles in the Boston and Atlanta areas are in the high $3,000 to $4,000 range.Many of the franchisees are younger retired couples looking for a second career. Doug Langeland, a former pharmaceutical executive, and his wife Diane, a former marketing executive, were the pilot franchise with Edible Cape Cod. “We went from complete novices to having magazines on the newsstand in seven or eight weeks,” says Doug Langeland, who adds that the publication has taken off within the last 14 months. “We’ve consistently been ahead of expectations with ad revenue. People teased us when we started that we’d be just writing about cranberries and cod, but we haven’t had to write about either one yet.”Each magazine has a supporting Web site while the national site has a blog. In 2008, Edible Communities is looking to ramp up its online component, including peer-to-peer content. Edible Communities became profitable in the fourth quarter of 2006, and in 2007, it reached $1 million in sales, according to Ryder. “We’ve received a lot of interest from parties about acquisition and we heard from three major media giants interested in acquisition,” Ryder adds. “We did consider it with one but we’re not at that point yet. I won’t say it won’t happen in a few years but right now it doesn’t make sense.”More on this topic Tracey Ryder & Carole Topalian Former Prevention Editor Taps ‘Edible’ Franchise for New York Edition The 2008 FOLIO: 40 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Set to Launch Dead Print Magazine Tally Tapers Off Report: Number of Magazine Launches Continues to DecreaseJust In The Atlantic Taps Creative Leadership | People on the Move This Just In: Magazines Are Not TV Networks Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest Restructuring Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the Move BabyCenter Sold to Ziff Davis Parent J2 Media | News & Notes PE Firm Acquires Majority Stake in Industry DivePowered by Magazine publishing does offer a low barrier to entry and like restaurants, would-be entrepreneurs often dream of starting their own. Now the publisher of a local food title serving a region of 8,000 has built a national franchise of regional titles where starting up is even easier (provided you’ve got the bucks to join).In the spring of 2002, Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, owners of a successful graphic design and marketing firm, launched Edible Ojai, which focused on local foods in Ventura County, California. The magazine sparked a nice local response but business consultants and even other publishers didn’t grasp the model. “They basically patted us on the head and said ‘You’re doing a great job with Ojai but we can’t help you,’” says Ryder.Then two separate events put Edible Ojai on the map. Ryder and Topalian became acquainted with D. Hawk—founder of the Visa card, and whose son is an entrepreneur who works with startup businesses. Ryder and Topalian developed a hybrid Visa model in which franchisees could launch their own Edible publication. In 2004, Edible Ojai was profiled in the Saveur 100 as one of the 100 best things related to the food world. “We got a lot of inquiries from that article—more than 200 people,” says Ryder. last_img read more

Read More »

People on the Move 010710

first_imgUnited Business Media’s Global Trade—formerly Commonwealth Business Media—appointed Gavin Carter executive vice president of PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions, replacing Lenny Corallo. Most recently, Carter served as CIO of UBM Global Trade. The company said Corallo will oversee the transformation of PIERS from a pure data provider to a software as a service (SaaS) business.D.W. Pine was named art director at Time magazine, replacing Arthur Hochstein, who retired. Previously, Pine served as the magazine’s deputy art director.Hearst announced that a pair of ex-Gourmet advertising-side staffers has joined Marie Claire: Diane DePaul was named associate publisher of advertising and Anne Yost Carroll was named account director.  DePaul replaces Tami Eagle and Carroll replaces Rachel Schauman—both of whom have left the company.San Diego-based Competitor Group said John Duke, senior vice president of print media, is leaving the company. Executive vice president of media Andrew Hersam will assume oversight of print, digital and sponsorship sales for all of the company’s media and event properties, as well as the responsibilities previously handled by Duke. Competitor Group also announced the promotion of TJ Murphy—editor-in-chief of Triathlon and former editor of Triathlete—to editorial director of the company’s multisport media publications.Ascend Integrated Media announced a pair of staffing additions to its business development team: former Penton Media senior vice president Eric Jacobson will focus on incoming business leads from non-profit and charitable foundations while Barry Gordon, who previously served as president and publisher of Monarch Publications International, will handle incoming business leads from federal and state organizations, the company said. The Woman of King—the reincarnation of shuttered King magazine—has named Sean A. Malcom editor-in-chief. Malcom previously served as King’s lifestyle editor.CurtCo Media appointed Gary DeSanctis associate publisher of Robb Report. Most recently, DeSanctis served as publisher of ShowBoats International, and formerly served as publisher of Yachting and Motor Boating magazines.Playboy magazine landed a new photo director. Matthew Doyle, who previously served as photo director and chief photographer at Complex, will oversee photo acquisition for the magazine as well as acquisition and quality judgment on still photography across Playboy Enterprises. He reports to founder Hugh Hefner and art director Rob Wilson.last_img read more

Read More »

People on the Move 042210

first_imgMark Stanich has taken on the added responsibility of president of digital media at American Express Publishing. Stanich will continue to serve as senior vice president and CMO.About a week after leaving the Reader’s Digest Association as president of its recently-created Emerging Businesses division, Alyce Alston WAS named CEO at the American Achievement Corporation. Alston replaces Don Percenti, who previously served on the company’s CEO and will stay on as a member of its board of directors.Meanwhile, RDA expanded the responsibilities of North American Affinities president Suzanne Grimes. Moving forward, Grimes also will oversee Reader’s Digest Canada and RDA’s business in India, the company says.Scientific American announced a pair of personnel changes: former Newsweek deputy editor Fred Guterl was named executive editor and Michael Mrak, who most recently served as a consulting art director at Architectural Record, was named design director.Kelly Rae was named fashion and grooming director at Complex Media. Previously, Rae served as executive fashion director at Spin magazine.The Air Force Association named Adam J. Hebert editor-in-chief of Air Force Magazine, replacing Robert S. Dudney, who is retiring. Previously, Hebert served as the magazine’s executive editor. Bauer Media Group has named Ed Romaine group director of sales and marketing for the company’s teen group. Romaine previously served as the group’s marketing director.Joe Adalian has been appointed West Coast editor of New York magazine’s online entertainment blog Vulture. Most recently, Adalian served as TV editor at TheWrap.com and as a columnist for TV Week before that. Also joining Vulture is former Fader staffer Willa Paskin as associate editor in the New York office.Hearst named Jill Herzig editor-in-chief of Redbook, replacing Stacy Morrison who resigned. Most recently, Herzig served as executive editor at Glamour.last_img read more

Read More »

UBM Buys Medical Industry Publisher Canon Communications for 287 Million

first_imgIn what most likely is the largest acquisition the b-to-b publishing world has seen in several months, London-based United Business Media announced early Thursday morning that it has agreed to acquire medical industry publisher and events producer Canon Communications for $287 million. The sellers are chairman and CEO Charles G. McCurdy’s management/investment company Apprise Media, and Spectrum Equity Investors, its private equity partner.According to UBM CEO David Levin, the acquisition of Canon is a strategic fit for the company because it “gives us a complementary portfolio of market-leading branded tradeshows and related products which serve highly attractive growth markets experiencing globalisation. The combination of Canon’s brands with both our worldwide infrastructure and our existing electronic engineering business offers us exciting growth opportunities, particularly in Canon’s core medical device design and manufacturing markets.”Canon’s principal focus is on the medical device design and manufacturing and electronics engineering markets,which combined make up more than 65 percent of its overall revenues. The company publishes 24 industry magazines, which represent about 35 percent of its annual sales. Nearly half (48 percent) of its revenues come from the more than 40 tradeshows it produces each year in the U.S., Asia and Europe. Canon also produces 45 Web sites and more than 100 e-newsletters. “David [Levin] and I have known each other for quite a while and the conversations eventually evolved into negotioations to buy Canon,” McCurdy tells FOLIO:. McCurdy says those negotiations began in earnest earlier this summer. McCurdy says the deal is a good fit since Canon has a strong hold on the medical market in the U.S. while UBM has held a stronger share of the market abroad. UBM says its plan is to leverage Canon’s existing global tradeshowinfrastructure to create similar events in “fast-growing” economies such as China, India and Brazil.In the 12-month period ended June 30, Canon generated $106 million in revenues and $37 million  in EBITDA on a pro forma basis. Apprise acquired Canon in 2005 for approximately $200 million.“This is an impressive sale and one of the largest in the b-to-b sector in some time,” says DeSilva + Phillips managing partner Reed Phillips. “It’s a great benchmark for the continuing importance of b-to-b.”Apprise Media says it will be involved in the transition period following UBM’s formal acquisition. CEO McCurdy and manaing director Michael Behringer say they plan to “continue their roles as managing investors in media companies through Apprise Media.”UBM says it will fund the acquisition from its existing bank facilities. As of June 30, UBM’s net debt was roughly $471.4 million.last_img read more

Read More »

The ReDesign Myth

first_imgThe re-design is something that inspires both rapture and fear, depending upon your perspective. Marketing people love them because it lets them ignore thousands of pages of well thought through consumer research and simply say things like “make it green”. Agencies dream about them because what was once a fairly simple exercise now involves armies of engagement leads, interaction designers and brand strategists that are all conveniently billable by the hour. And boy, do they bill.The IT group generally hates them because it means their wildly inappropriate and bloated infrastructure might have to change in order to accommodate the very expensive recommendations from the agency. And the rest of the company – the non-digital crew – view them with suspicion and dispair that the free-spending, extravagant digital people are throwing money around again without any real plan to ever turn a profit.But the fact remains that companies LOVE re-designs because it’s much easier to blame all your problems on the way a site looks, than it is to worry about the substance of the product itself. Revenue down? Re-design! Page views down? It must be because people don’t think our site is pleasant enough to look at. Sales down? Bust out Photoshop and let’s create a new masterpiece, only this time with even BRIGHTER colors.The re-design is like the Hydrogen Peroxide of the medicine cabinet. People think it will cure or help practically any minor medical condition, but the reality is that it just froths and fizzes in a mildly impressive way for a couple of minutes without actually having any impact at all. But all that frothing and fizzing makes us feel like we’ve done something!And therein lies the point of the re-design. We love it because it makes us feel like we’re actually doing something. It’s kind of like the elderly grandmother pottering around the kitchen before mealtime. She’s not actually making a gigantic contribution to the meal, but it makes her feel useful – and sometimes that’s important. Just not in a business setting.Now let me be clear that I’m not some kind of anti-design, utilitarian maniac who’s looking to wipe any glimpse of creativity of the face of the earth. Maybe in another life. But the point I’m making is that while design is very closely tied-in with usability and functionality, for the majority of companies it’s rarely the problem. In fact it’s all too easy to hide behind the re-design shield to ignore other more pressing problems, such as my content is awful, I have no idea who my audience is, and my staff are just here because it’s too easy and have no desire or enthusiasm for growing this digital business beyond happy hour drinks on Friday.Some of the most successful sites on the Web have designs that would make many designers shudder. Craig’s List. Wikipedia. The list goes on and on. I’m certainly not advocating **poor** design, but you need to make sure that the DNA of the product is compelling and that the features of the product make people want to use it. Design certainly plays a role in this, but the pig in lipstick is ultimately still a pig and that’s what counts.So the next time you hear somebody say “We REALLY need to redesign this site?” – and then produce a bunch of wildly inflated traffic projections or metrics based off said redesign – it’s worth asking them what their reasoning is. Because while good design is a critical part of a well developed digital product, it’s never the sole solution to all your woes.Jonathan Hills is a User Experience and Content Strategist who helps clients build digital products that resonate in the real world, and not just in PowerPoint presentations. He has worked for some of the leading brands in the media space over the last 15 years and is a tireless advocate of building simple, focused, accessible digital products. Follow his daily postings at The Spinning Hamster This post is reprinted with permission and originally appears here.  If you’ve ever held a job in the digital group of a large-scale corporation it’s highly likely that you’ve been:a) Sneered at by others in the company with slightly frightened eyes for being “one of the Web people”b) Involved in a major re-designWhile there are plenty of amusing stories to tell around point a), the subject of this post is everybody’s favorite this-can-solve-all-our-problems-and-serve-as-a-great-emotional-crutch-to-make-us-all-feel-better about-ourselves project. The re-design.last_img read more

Read More »

Google Play Newsstand for Android an Antidote to Flipboard

first_imgA big problem with newsstand apps has been discoverability. Not to mention they lack the impulse-buy characteristic that traditional analog newsstands have benefited from. But with The Play Newsstand, matching relevant content to the individual user mitigates the discoverability dilemma, and could spur more impulse buys.Like with Currents, publishers will continue to have access to tools that enables branded customized feeds.”There are some basic templates to start with, along with the ability to customize the style sheet directly,” product management director, Scott Dougall tells FOLIO: in an email.  Also important to note, The Play Newsstand will roll out an iOS app early next year, which will replace Currents on the platform. Wednesday, Google launched its latest content-aggregation app for Android–Google Play Newsstand. The app combines elements from Google Play Magazines and Google Currents to create one hub for news and information.According to TechCrunch, The Play Newsstand currently has around 1,900 free and paid publications-including magazines, newspapers, blogs and pureplay websites. Users will have the flexibility to view free content or subscribe to premium content. The app also allows users to store content for offline viewing. The new app is designed to better organize content based on a user’s interests through a proprietary algorithm. So, like with Netflix, the more content you consume, the more the app learns about your tastes.It’s far too soon to tell if this app model will be an archetype for future newsstand apps. However, this iteration is more in line with products like Flipboard, which now has over 4 million “magazine” producers on its network.last_img read more

Read More »

Ceremony Marks Demolition of Aging Housing at Ft Hood

first_imgFort Hood’s garrison commander took the first ceremonial swipe with an excavator on Tuesday as installation officials celebrated the beginning of an 18-month effort to demolish 518 residences built in 1953 and 1954 to house enlisted families.The project is part of a larger plan to modernize the Texas post’s housing, reports the Killeen Daily Herald. Since assuming responsibility for family housing at Fort Hood in 2001, Lend Lease Public Partnerships has built 232 single-family homes and 974 duplexes, and renovated more than 1,600 units. Not counting the homes slated for demolition, the installation has 5,351 homes for families.Lend Lease still is building new homes, including 64 energy-efficient residences in the North Wainwright housing area. The developer also is converting 272 duplex units to 86 single-family homes in another neighborhood.Much of the concrete and metal siding from the homes will be recycled, according to the story. When the contractor finishes destroying the one-story duplexes, the site will return to Army control and remain as green space until the post needs it in the future. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Read More »

Army Commission Failed to Reassess Armys Priorities Experts Say

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The National Commission on the Future of the Army missed a significant opportunity to make bold recommendations redefining the scope of the Army’s missions and its force structure, a number of defense analysts said in response to the group’s final report released last week.“The commission’s recommendations on end-strength, readiness and modernization were ‘steady as she goes’ — a bit surprising given the world is going to hell in a hand basket,” Jim Thomas, vice president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Federal News Radio.The panel said that a force of 980,000 soldiers — with 450,000 in the active component, 335,000 in the Army National Guard and 195,000 in the Army Reserve — is the “minimally sufficient force to meet current and anticipated missions with an acceptable level of national risk.” Current Army plans call for active-duty forces to drop to 450,000 by the end of FY 2018.“That’s the biggest disappointment or problem with the commission is that it seems to OK an Army of 450,000 active-duty soldiers, a level that senior Army leaders have testified as too low to meet our national needs. It’s a level that’s below what bipartisan commissions have recommended,” said Justin Johnson, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.The commission, though, said it was required to issue recommendations reflecting the level of available resources.“We were given specific parameters in our authorization to look at anticipated future resources and current resources versus an acceptable risk,” Vice Chairman Thomas Lamont told Federal News Radio. “We don’t see those numbers going up. We don’t have the money to increase the number of our soldiers,” Lamont said.The experts split on the prospects for the commission’s proposals to be carried out.“Nothing is going to get done this year. Next year, [we have a] new president, new national security strategy, the budget will change,” said Dan Goure, vice president at the Lexington Institute. “Where this document sits is if it’s not a clarion call, it’s going to get buried.”Johnson said that more robust funding would satisfy one chunk of the report’s recommendations. “There’s a second larger group of recommendations in here that aren’t really political, they are just good policy and steps in the right direction of what the Army should look like,” he said.last_img read more

Read More »

Indiana Universities Collaborate to Capitalize on Innovation at Crane

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Purdue University and the University of Southern Indiana (USI) are partnering with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division to help bring technologies developed at the facility to market and spur the growth of startup businesses in the region.“Part of this initiative involves Purdue taking over 130 Crane innovations and running them through their MBA students,” said Daniela Vidal, director of USI’s Center for Applied Research. “It’s a way to get Crane in a more usable format and out into the world.”The two schools have collaborated with Crane for years, with Purdue supplying its expertise in entrepreneurship to the partnership. The school has been marketing technologies developed at Crane, including warhead sensors and anti-tampering technologies. Purdue students conduct market analysis studies and business-canvass modeling, reported the USI Shield.“There is a lot of [technology] coming out of Crane and various other places and we just wanted to assist them in any way we could,” said Cliff Wojtalewicz, managing director for the Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Purdue.USI recently led four sessions to map and catalogue the resources used by startups, and received funding to allow the firms to start prototyping their ideas. The Indiana University of Law will become a partner as well, allowing the collaboration to use its intellectual law clinic. The Indiana Office of Defense Development provides funding for the effort.“At the end of the day, the goal is to build and grow this innovation ecosystem so we can generate more jobs and economic growth because of these technology-based startups,” Vidal said.last_img read more

Read More »