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Panasonic Enters Cloud-Based Communications Market with Phone System for Small Businesses

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:30 AM on November 30, 2011:

"The mission of a manufacturer is to overcome poverty by producing an abundant supply of goods... The mission of a manufacturer is to create material abundance by providing goods as plentiful and inexpensive as tap water. This is how we can banish poverty, bring happiness to people's lives and make this world into a paradise."

- Matsushita Konosuke announcing in 1932 a 250-year plan to implement his vision for the company that would become Panasonic

Panasonic Cloud Phone SystemI have been inspired by Panasonic's mission.  When Panasonic contacted me to share news of its new cloud-based phone system, I was honored to do so.

From Panasonic System Networks Company of America, a unit of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC):

Panasonic System Networks Company of America has launched its first Cloud-based services solution, Panasonic Cloud Business Phone System for small businesses. 

This marks the first step into the services industry from a company that has provided state-of-the-art telephony systems for business owners nationwide.  Recognized as the number one choice for small business phone systems*, Panasonic is now expanding into services to meet changing market needs by pairing its highly regarded business phones with equally reliable Cloud-based voice services.
 
“The Cloud is the new frontier for major technology companies like Panasonic, and we’re excited to harness it for the benefit of our customers,” said Bill Taylor, President, Panasonic System Networks Company of America.  “Our small business customers tell us they want a simple, easy to manage and feature-rich, customizable business phone system.  Panasonic values this feedback and we have hand-picked the leading companies in their fields to help us reliably meet our customers’ requests. With support from these industry leaders, we created a top-of-its-class Cloud-based hosted-voice solution to help small businesses maximize their potential.”
 
The nation’s 5.5 million small businesses are the fastest growing business segment in the U.S. today. Collectively they account for more than $92 billion in spending on telecommunications equipment and services. Despite the size of their investment, many smaller businesses are underserved by service providers who have prioritized the needs of larger enterprises. Panasonic, with its history of providing hardware solutions for small businesses, will now use its expertise to provide convenient and cost-effective services to fit small business needs. 
 
Panasonic Cloud Business Phone System is designed in collaboration with BroadSoft, the leading global provider of software that enables the delivery of real time voice and multimedia communications services.
 
“We believe Panasonic’s expansion into the hosted unified communications services market exemplifies its dedication to innovation and desire to meet the communication needs of its small business customers,” said Michael Tessler, president and chief executive officer, BroadSoft.  “Panasonic has been a trusted brand by small businesses for decades; we share its commitment to serving this market segment, and we believe small business will benefit greatly from this comprehensive device and cloud-based communications services offering.” 
 
Panasonic Cloud Phone PackagingAn affordable, off-the-shelf communications solution, the Panasonic Cloud Business Phone System includes easy, web-based set-up and account management.  Installation is as straightforward as registering the phone online and then plugging it in directly out of the box.  The suggested retail price for the basic package, which includes one corded phone and one cordless phone, is $299.99, plus $39.95 per line per month, which includes popular features such as remote office, voicemail to email, conferencing and call forwarding, all of which can be tailored to fit a variety of business needs. 
 
The Panasonic Cloud Business Phone System is currently available (links lead to product) at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, OfficeDepot.com, Staples.com, and Frys.com. For more information, please visit Panasonic Cloud Business Phone System.

* For full calendar year of 2010 and first quarter of 2011.  By the Parsippany, NJ based information technology market research firm T3i Group.  Defined by T3i Group as the sum of key/hybrid, PBX, and IP-PBX business phone systems with 2-40 extensions.

VT KnowledgeWork Blog Offers Global Handshake

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:21 AM on November 29, 2011:

On November 30, 2011, Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, the blog for business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, will celebrate its fourth anniversary.

Inside VT KnowledgeWorks was founded in 2007 to report and share news of its entrepreneurs, start-ups, member companies, partners, sponsors and events at VT KnowledgeWorks. I, and then the company I founded through VT KnowledgeWorks, Handshake Media, Incorporated, have operated the blog since its beginning.

Global matters.

From reflecting upon operating the VT KnowledgeWorks blog for four years and from analyzing four years of traffic to the VT KnowledgeWorks blog, I discovered these beauties:

  • When we started the blog in 2007, the top source of traffic was direct i.e. people knew of the blog and typed in the URL or clicked on a link in an email. Four years later, the top source of traffic is Google search results. 
  • From 2007 to the present, Google search users from 136 countries have found what they sought on the VT KnowledgeWorks blog.
  • In 2007, VT KnowledgeWorks was an incubator serving technology companies and entrepreneurs in the Blacksburg, Virginia, USA area, home of Virginia Tech. Today, it is in partnership with universities and companies around the world. In 2011, its global site, VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership, surpassed its home site as a top source of traffic to the blog.

Inside VT KnowledgeWorks began in 2007 in a town when one person said, "How about a blog?" and a person at an organization said, "Yes."

Four years later, that blog offers a global, entrepreneurial handshake and that town is a global destination for the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership

I am honored and delighted to have been part of reaching a handshake out to the globe's people on behalf of VT KnowledgeWorks.

***

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Directory mobile application, offering members of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership a way to find and connect with each other, is a Handshake(R) mobile app from Handshake Media.

Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0, is a member company of VT KnowledgeWorks. VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated.

Who's in FRONT?

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 5:01 AM on November 28, 2011:

"It's still who you know!"

Handshake 2.0's tagline perfectly highlights our weekly series, Who's in FRONT?, featuring photographs of the people in the news in Valley Business FRONT.  We're nearing 100 posts in the series.

Even Handshake 2.0's cat is a fan of Valley Business FRONT.

Handshake 2.0's cat is a fan of Valley Business FRONT.

Valley Business FRONT is the monthly magazine for in-depth business news in the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia. You're invited to view Who's in FRONT? on Handshake 2.0, to read Valley Business FRONT's blog, moreFRONT, and to keep up with Valley Business FRONT on Twitter and Facebook.

The Apps Women Want Report

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:30 AM on November 22, 2011:

From Anne Piedmont, Piedmont Research Associates:

Piedmont Research AssociatesIt is hard to believe that “apps” - software applications for mobile devices - were non-existent before 2007. Fewer than five years later, about half the mobile phone users in the United States have apps on their phones, according to a Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report released November 2, 2011.

The Pew number includes users who bought phones with preloaded apps and those that have downloaded them. U.S. adults who’ve downloaded apps doubled from 2009 to 2011, according to the report. Pew’s figures put the percentage of adults with mobile phone apps at 42.

Pew's survey shows that app downloaders skew younger and male, but that the gap is narrowing. Tablet owners who download apps tend to be female.

Handshake Media asked Piedmont Research Associates to help answer the question of what women want in mobile apps. It follows the survey and report we did in the fall of 2010 on how women use their mobile devices, The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps.

The 13-question The Apps Women Want Survey ran from October 4 through November 8, 2011. It was distributed virally through social media platforms and emails to members of various networks. Tracking data from the bit.ly link used showed 170 clicks. Seventy-three women actually took the survey, a higher percentage – 42.9 – than the 36 percent of female mobile phone owners who’ve downloaded apps (according to Pew).

The Apps Women Want Report - Conclusions

After we asked women what apps they liked and used, and how – or whether – they spent money on apps, we asked them what apps they wanted.

Some of the mobile apps they described are incredibly well thought-out. Some are pie-in-the-sky dreams. Many speak to women juggling busy lives, wanting easier ways to do the things they do. None listed games or entertainment.

More specifically, they asked for

  • better ways to coordinate recipes, ingredients and shopping
  • the ability to comparison shop throughout their local areas for gas and products
  • ways to bring together the various parts of their lives
  • better ways to work.

For the most part, these women wanted to bring clarity and simplicity to the palms of their hands. 

Download the full The Apps Women Want Report (9-page .pdf)

Reports by Piedmont Research Associates for Handshake Media:

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps, December 2010
The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps - Survey Results, January 2011
The Apps Women Want - Survey, October 2011
The Apps Women Want Report, November 2011 (this post)

***

Anne Piedmont is the founder of Piedmont Research Associates, an organization specializing in community research and statistics, competitive business intelligence, corporate writing services, and public relations.

For further reading:

Thought Full - an app to remember

Best Mobile Apps for Women
Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones 2011
How Much Does a Mobile App Cost?
Women and Mobile Apps category on Handshake 2.0

Who's in FRONT? Ann Shawver

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:00 AM on November 21, 2011:

Ann Shawver

Ann Shawver, who works for the City of Roanoke, Virginia, was featured in the November, 2011 issue of Valley Business FRONT.

Photo: Susan Ayers

Valley Business FRONT is the monthly magazine for in-depth business news in the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia. You're invited to read moreFRONT and to keep up with Valley Business FRONT on Twitter and Facebook.

What You Need to Know About Facebook Insights

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 5:45 AM on November 18, 2011:

An excerpt from What You Need to Know About Facebook Insights (.pdf) a new white paper from Patsy Stewart, The Social BUZZ Lab:

What You Need to Know About Facebook Insights from The Social BUZZ LabFacebook recently launched a new version of its page Insights.  As a page administrator, you can find helpful data about your published content and discover how it performs with your fans. You can also determine which content best resonates with your audience for optimal engagement.

Analytics Help You Optimize Your Content Strategy

The ultimate goal of the content you post on Facebook is to reach and engage with your fans. This data from Facebook's Insights can help you understand which type of post gets the most engagement and reach.

  • Date – day your post was published
  • Post – the type of content (post, photo, video, link) and an excerpt from your post
  • Reach – the number of unique individuals who saw your post. Clicking on the number will drill down the channel that delivered the message
  • Engaged Users – number who clicked on your post
  • Talking About This – the number who engaged or created a story from your post
  • Virality – the number of unique people who created a story from your post as a percentage of the number who have seen it

Download the free, 7-page report: What You Need to Know About Facebook Insights (.pdf)

More on Facebook for business from Patsy Stewart:

Ten Things You May Not Know About Facebook Business Pages
Why Doesn't Your Business Facebook Page Have a Custom Profile Image?
Top 3 Facebook Tips from The Social BUZZ Lab (by Z. Kelly Queijo)

Patsy Stewart is a social media practitioner and owner of The Social BUZZ Lab. Her posts for Handshake 2.0 generate top ten buzz.  You're invited to read more from Patsy Stewart on Handshake 2.0.

On Inventing Mobile Apps

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:00 AM on November 16, 2011:

Handshake Media, Incorporated released its first Handshake(R) mobile application on August 9, 2010 and its sixth on October 7, 2011.  We'll release the She Chooses(TM) mobile app soon. 

I've now been in the mobile app biz over one year, primarily as an inventor, project manager and producer.  I've been reflecting on the experience and shared my first mobile app mock-up as a mobile app inventor.  If I had known at the start what I know now, these two additional insights would have saved me time, money and strain on valued relationships.

Think of apps as proofs.

First mock-up of She Chooses(TM)Maybe the world didn't have Mrs. Hooper for eighth grade algebra, Miss Helms for trigonometry, or Mrs. Pace for calculus, but I did, and each of them taught me the logic of algebraic and geometric proofs. "If this, then that," "if this is true, then that is true," "because of this, then that," and "how do we get here from there" - all of these are guiding phrases in my mind as I'm now figuring out the way a mobile app will work.

Think of apps in screens.

For the user of a mobile app, the experience flows. For the designer or developer, that experience is comprised of a frame-by-frame, stop-action series of screens with which the user interacts in specific ways.

Breaking an idea down to component parts can feel for the inventor like a violent imposition of simplicity upon something beautifully and perfectly complex. But if the idea can't be "spec'd out" - i.e. described in specifications suitable for building - then drama ensues. The developer tries to guess what the inventor's idea is and codes that in a series of screens. By definition - a phrase used with proofs - those screens are smaller than the vastness of the inventor's imagination and he or she is appalled. The coder doesn't feel valued and the inventor doesn't feel understood.

If mobile app inventors can't - at least in some primitive form - depict the interrelatedness of portions of their ideas in a logical way, and then mock-up those portions as screens, the project can result in frustration and disappointment for all.

Image is very first mock-up via whiteboard, May, 2010, of what has become She Chooses(TM)

Other posts of possible interest:
Mobile App Design Infographic
How Much Does a Mobile App Cost?
What to Do with a Great Idea for a Mobile App

Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Roanoke, and Salem, Virginia real estate and homes This post was sponsored by Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS (R). Coldwell Banker Townside specializes in in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Roanoke, and Salem, Virginia real estate and homes and national and global relocation services to the Blacksburg, Virginia and Roanoke, Virginia areas.

The Coldwell Banker Townside App is a Handshake(R) mobile application.

Coldwell Banker Townside REALTORS is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Managing by the Numbers

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:00 AM on November 15, 2011:

From Kelly Kendrick, First Bank & Trust Company:

With just over a month left in 2011, most of us are beginning to think of business strategies for 2012.  As a business owner, how can you continue to weather the current economic climate and come out on top?  Here are some tips that can give you a fresh perspective on your business in 2012.

Kelly Kendrick of First Bank & Trust Company reviews a profit and loss statementReview your company’s P&L (profit and loss statement) and Balance Sheet monthly.   Realize the direct correlation between the two statements - an increase or decrease in one directly impacts the other.   

Examine your Cost of Goods Sold and your Operating Expenses on your P&L.  Determine where you can make adjustments in these categories to achieve a Net Profit.

Plan to use your cash inflow from Net Profit to fund a portion of your company’s growth; this will result in a greater company Net Worth (assets – liabilities).  Remember, company growth is not always a good thing when it’s only financed by debt.

Increase your company’s Current Assets such as cash, accounts receivable and inventory without increasing your Current Liabilities such as accounts payable, lines of credit, and current portion of long-term debt.

Manage by the numbers and make a commitment to your company to increase profitability and establish a strong capital position by increasing your company’s net worth.

***

First Bank & Trust Company, one of the top community banks in the United States, is a diversified financial services firm with office locations in southwest Virginia, northeast Tennessee, and the New River and Shenandoah Valleys of Virginia. Financial objectives are addressed by offering free checking products for personal and business accounts, and assessing lending solutions managed by mortgage, agricultural and commercial lending divisions. Comprehensive financial solutions are available through trust and brokerage service representatives. For businesses, First Bank & Trust specializes in business loans, business credit, and business finance.

You're invited to read more from Kelly Kendrick and First Bank & Trust Company on Handshake 2.0.

Kelly Kendrick, Assistant Vice President, First Bank & Trust Company, is a client columnist for Handshake 2.0. First Bank & Trust Company is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Who's in FRONT? Cynthia Lawrence

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:00 AM on November 14, 2011:

Cynthia Lawrence
Cynthia Lawrence of Design Marketing is featured in the November, 2011 issue of Valley Business FRONT.

Photo: Dan Smith

Valley Business FRONT is the monthly magazine for in-depth business news in the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia. You're invited to read moreFRONT and to keep up with Valley Business FRONT on Twitter and Facebook.

A Thought Full Collaboration

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on November 11, 2011:

Talk about "It's still who you know"!

Smart College Visit, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.  Both Smart College Visit and Handshake Media are clients of creative professional Kelsey Sarles.  Kelsey Sarles designed the mobile app Thought Full(TM) - an app to remember and Handshake Media produced it.  Smart College Visit kindly featured a post by Kelsey Sarles about Thought Full on the Smart College Visit Blog

Whew!  And how exciting to learn that Kelsey's post made October, 2011's top ten list of most-read posts on SmartCollegeVisit!

An excerpt from An App for College-bound Students to Remember by Kelsey Sarles on SmartCollegeVisit:

You're 17 going on 18. You can't wait to get out of high school. You're over the drama, the cliques, having to ask permission to go to the bathroom, the cafeteria with its plastic cutlery. You're an adult now. You're ready for sweet, sweet freedom. You're ready for college!

Planning college visits with Thought FullDid you remember to...

  • Meet with your guidance counselor?
  • Study for the SATs?
  • Sign-up for financial aid?
  • Plan your college visits!
  • Submit your college applications?

Whether you've realized it yet or not, all this new found freedom comes with a price. Yes, the plus side is that you no longer have to listen to your mom nagging you about homework. The downside is – you have to remember to finish it yourself!

For the rest of your life, it's up to you to remember all the things you need to do. Fortunately, there's an app for that, and it's called Thought Full™.

Thought Full is designed to solve the problem we all seem to have – keeping our acts together...

To read the rest of the post, "An App for College-bound Students to Remember," please visit SmartCollegeVisit.com.

You can learn more about Thought Full™ at www.thoughtfullapp.com.  Thought Full is available in the iTunes App Store and is coming soon to the Android Market.

SmartCollegeVisit has apps, too! Learn more about SmartCollegeVisit's Mobile Campus Guides on SmartCollegeVisit.com.

Smart College Visit, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.