Recently I’ve noticed an increasing delay in my commute from Chapel Hill to W5’s office in Durham, North Carolina as more cars congest the roads and pedestrian crossing lights blare a bit too brightly for my not fully caffeinated eyes. Once I could see past the cars blocking my view, I soon realized the cause of traffic: throngs of students.
That’s right, it’s back-to-school time!
While some universities and colleges have a head start on the semester, elementary through high school students and their families are in full swing picking up last minute supplies and the coolest new threads. It’s also the second largest retail season in the US and represents a playground for various marketing and sales tactics.
The second largest retail season in the US has demonstrated the importance of mobile advertisement and understanding consumer preparation and purchasing behaviors. Check out this infographic from AdRoll for a look at the major marketing and sales trends of the 2015 Back-to-School season.
According to the AAA newsroom, 41.9 million travelers will journey at least 50 miles from home this Independence day. It’s no surprise 84.7% of those traveling will travel by car as the average gas price for the 4th of July has decreased significantly compared to recent years. Yesterday, June 29 the national average gas price was $2.77 per gallon, compared to $3.66 in 2014 – that’s a noticable $0.89 difference per gallon. Check out the great graphics below for data on the National Average Gas Price and The Ten Most Expensive Averages. Safe Travels to all!
The 17th Annual Black Hat cybersecurity conference wraps up today in Las Vegas. The conference rallies hackers, cybersecurity researchers and feds to discuss the latest hacks and newly found bugs. The hottest topic this year: challenging the security of Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. A few examples include smart TVs, webcams, wearable technologies, home thermostats, remote power outlets, sprinkler controls and automatic door locks, a natural target for hackers. According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020 and ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020. And, while the IoT marketplace is forecasting to grow exponentially, plenty of us are already connected.
Is it easy to hack common IoT devices? Apparently so. A study by HP reveals that 70 percent of the most common IoT devices had security vulnerabilities ranging from the recent Heartbleed bug to weak password requirements. How Safe is your Quantified Self, a report by Symantec “found security risks in a large number of self-tracking devices and applications,” including the finding that “all of the wearable activity-tracking devices examined, including those from leading brands, are vulnerable to location tracking.”
What happens if your fitness tracker gets hacked? According to Symantec, the perpetrators could know:
• Mileage you are covering
• When and where you usually go running
• Where you live
• Your age, sex, height, and weight
• Your heart rate
• Your altitude
• Where and when you are on vacation
Curious to see how wearable technologies, smartphones, apps and social media have changed the way people use the Internet and interact with technology? Check out this infographic by 4A’s and Statista:
Located in the middle of a college basketball battle zone (Durham, NC), we here at W5 get a “little” excited this time of year. As March Madness approaches, we’re gearing up for the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament. Brackets are being prepared, wagers are being made, and everyone is looking forward to being crowned,
“The Official 2014 College Basketball Championship – Lord of the Office Bracket Pool – Winner”
While many will battle to become the office bracket champion, there can be only one crowned winner. If you want a bracket that is carefully constructed, overanalyzed, and backed by statistically sound data, then you should try to learn how Muthu Alagappan is designing his bracket. In 2012 as a medical student at Stanford and an intern at Ayasdi, Alagappan used statistical data to change the way many view individual basketball positions and overall team dynamics. Alagappan’s model categorizes players into thirteen (13) positions rather than five (5). This model is able to see which teams have a great balance of talent versus teams who don’t. Alagappan has gained a lot of attention as his findings have been a hot topic in the world of sports.
Here is a video of Alagappan explaining his model:
For those less obsessed with winning their office tournament there are a number of other ways to fill out a bracket, all of which may lead to a new and wonderful life at work. Here are just a few:
- Pick your favorite team to win it all – Don’t worry about the odds. Go with your heart.
- Navigate by way of “prettiest” jersey – If you look “good,” you feel “good.” If you feel “good,” you play “good.”
- Copy someone else – Just use the old “I’m just curious, who did you pick?”
However you decide to pursue this journey, good luck and happy “bracketing.”
Over the past few decades, the bottled water industry has seen steady growth. Even in a down economy, sales for bottled water are booming with sales in the United States increasing 6.7 percent in 2012, to $11.8 billion, according to the International Bottled Water Association. It’s no surprise to see a trickle of new brands entering the marketplace in an effort to capture some of this liquid gold.
The latest product launch comes from our good friends at Nestle with the launch of resource Natural Spring Water, its domestically sourced premium still water brand with naturally occurring electrolytes for taste.
Larry Cooper, group marketing manager for resource, said the brand, which was introduced in Whole Foods in 2009, then Southern California in 2012 before its national rollout early this month, is intended for the most discriminating water drinker. “We look at bottled water as being at a more value, mainstream or premium level,” Mr. Cooper said. “And we have incredibly good coverage in those first two tiers, but we haven’t in all these years had a premium entry to compete with the Smartwater, Fijis and Evians of the world,” he continued, referring to the Glacéau, Fiji Water Company and Danone Waters of North America brands.
Keep in mind this is not new territory for Nestle. With over 30 years of experience providing healthy hydration in the bottled water segment, Nestle Waters North America is already a leader in the category producing six regional natural spring water brands in the United States, distributes three international brands, and produces Nestle Pure Life, its nationally distributed purified bottled water.
What is new for Nestle is the premium tier category where resource is making its splash. Speaking of splash, the official product launch was nothing short of premium. Actress Alyssa Milano introduced resource and co-hosted a consumer launch event in New York City. There, the brand also presented “Electrobatique-An Enchanting Discovery,” an original performance featuring water effects, aerial choreography and acrobatic dance and interactive projection design effects.
Shifting gears from water in the bottle to the big picture of water around the world, check out this great infographic produced by Seametrics, a manufacturer of water flow meter technology that measures and conserves water. The Water Rich vs The Water Poor looks at the disparity in water consumption between wealthy and underdeveloped nations.
As a girl who grew up in both Virginia and Ohio, my vocabulary is all over the place. I have some Midwestern sayings and I have some more Southern sayings. Now that I’m in North Carolina, I get made fun of for some of these contradictions. I will randomly say “y’all” but then say caramel without the ‘a’ (car-ml). I also say “Coke” when referring to a carbonated beverage and you can see by the image below it doesn’t really match up.
Back when I was in high school there was a test you could take online that determined whether you were more Dixie or Yankee depending on how you said specific words. All of my friends in Ohio thought I’d be Dixie. All of my friends in Virginia thought I’d be Yankee and sure enough I was right in between. I’m sure this test was completely scientific…
But now there is a legitimate way to understand the language you use based on where you are from! Joshua Katz, a Ph.D student in statistics at NC State, used results from a linguistic study and created maps visualizing areas where pronunciations differ. It’s very interesting to see the regional differences all across the US. Check out 22 maps here and see where you fit in. I still remain a contradiction but it’s fun to see how the results play out especially in such a visually appealing way!
If you are like me and watch an unhealthy amount of professional basketball, it would behoove you to check out Stats.NBA.com and spend the next, oh, 8 hours or so poring over “advanced metrics.” New statistical categories like TS% (True Shooting Percentage), PIE (Player Impact Estimate), and EFF (Efficiency Rating), have been created in the past few years to explain the game in ways plain ol’ points, rebounds, and assists cannot.
The “statistical revolution” in basketball was started by nerds, embraced by bloggers, co-opted by front offices, and is now packaged in friendly charts and graphs. The site is comprehensive, easy to use, and pretty to look at. Check it out.