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It’s undeniable that the internet has dramatically altered the world. From expanding access to new information to revolutionizing the entertainment industry, practically no element of modern culture and life has been untouched. With over 4 billion people (or 55.1% of the global population) using the internet, more and more importance is being placed on the digital landscape. At a time where television is losing 33 million subscriptions over the course of 2018 in the United States alone, more and more advertisers are seeing potential in the digital sphere.

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Online streaming services are spreading all around the world and are eating away from the traditional cable service. With access to the internet around the world becoming easier as ever and subscription prices to video streaming services dropping every year, there is no reason why online video streaming companies will soon be the norm around the world. Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO NOW are some of the common names that fall under the streaming bucket in the US. However, we now see some of these companies begin to dominate also in international markets as both Netflix and Amazon are now present in more than 190 countries, which represents 97% of the global market.

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Tech firms have been innovating and growing freely with no strings attached for the past few decades. However, governments and politicians in the America and Europe have been growing a negative sentiment towards the freedom of the giant tech firms. Companies that fall under the social media, search engine, and e-commerce buckets have been specifically put under the microscope. The whole world is currently watching Mark Zuckerberg’s, the Founder and CEO of Facebook, testimony where he has been drilled with 100s of questions revolving around Facebook’s business model, monopolistic power, and the company’s lack of responsibility and respect towards its users data. The real question here is: should governments intervene and regulate these industries?

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This is the fifth post in a five-part blog series focused on future trends in business.

Advertising has evolved from traditional print, television, and radio ads to today's multi-channel mobile and online media campaigns. With more data being collected and analyzed than ever before, many aspects of advertising have become integrated and therefore more apt at addressing consumer needs. The future of advertising lies in the connectivity of our devices and in the data derived from our activity. This post will explore the effect these advancements have on consumers and highlight opportunities for businesses.

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As industry processes around the world become more digitized, businesses find themselves increasingly prone to vicious cyberattacks. In May, a ransomware attack named WannaCry infected software in over 150 countries, upsetting procedures in the technology, finance, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, and communications industries. Although a security patch for WannaCry was issued and installed in several systems, it wasn't enough to prevent a separate ransomware attack called Petya, which spread in June and affected thousands of machines in over 65 countries. Virtual epidemics such as these, which have become quite frequent over the past year, can prove devastating to international business, causing technological destruction, operation disruption, and widespread theft of money and intellectual property.

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Have you ever tried streaming a show, watching a YouTube video, or downloading an album, only to discover that the media is unavailable due to your location? This common occurrence in the media and communications industry is known as geo-blocking. Platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and YouTube are entertainment services in which geo-blocking frequently occurs, due to the companies’ negotiations with studios. As media piracy has increased in recent years, studios are becoming more particular about which regions have access to on-demand streaming. Such precautions have been made in certain countries to increase incentive for purchase and to decrease illegal production of copyrighted material.

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In the last blog of the leisure industry series, we take a look at the changing music industry.

In previous blog posts, we have analyzed the state of the global music industry, noting the dominance of streaming services as the default method for popular music consumption. As rates from digital and physical music sales remain in decline, revenues from streaming services have risen sharply: worldwide streaming revenues hit a new high of $5.4 billion in 2016. Major services based in various countries—Spotify from Sweden, TIDAL from the Norwegian company Aspiro, Apple Music from the United States, Deezer from France—have seen massive increases in their paid subscriptions, with further growth projected for the next few years. Countries with large music markets, like China, India, and Mexico, have provided large markets of subscribers and listeners. The effects of streaming have played a substantial role in the development of the global music industry—by the end of last year, the industry had accrued revenues of $16.1 billion, reaching its highest rate of growth (5.9%) in 15 years. 

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In the United States this weekend, the country’s biggest event on television, the National Football League’s Super Bowl, will take place. The Super Bowl has become known not only for the play on the field, but also for the advertisements that accompany the television broadcast. For just 30 seconds of air time, a company must pay $5 million for their advertisement, an incredible price that is justified by the huge television audience and the Super Bowl’s unique focus on commercials. In today’s blog post, we will take a look at how and through what channels companies try to engage the general population.

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Two of the world's most valuable technology companies, Facebook and Alphabet (by means of its subsidiary Google), are working with TE Subsea Communications (TE SubCom) and Pacific Light Data Communication (PLDC, a subsidiary of China Soft Power Technology) to construct the world's fastest trans-Pacific submarine cable. The 12,800 kilometer (8,000 miles) submarine cable will enable a speed of 120 Terabits per second and connect the United States and China by way of two major cities: Los Angeles and Hong Kong (where PLDC is based). The cable, known as the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), will utilize fiber-optic technology to create the fastest possible telecommunication channel, covering twice the speed of the current-fastest undersea cable. The goal of the PLCN is to increase bandwidth and reduce connection delays in the Asia-Pacific region. According to Google, the cable should be built and functioning by 2018.

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The Internet’s impact on international business has been incredible. Nowadays, companies invest large sums of money to grow their business through the internet, and it is normal for a business to be based solely on the web. The Internet has allowed companies to market their products to consumers halfway across the world and has helped connect employees situated around the globe. One of the major features of the internet has been its openness and free content, a business model mainly made possible by advertising revenue. The recent rise in popularity of ad blocking software is threatening to change this model, potentially impacting businesses operating around the world.

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Cybersecurity remains one of the largest concerns for many of today’s largest institutions. Hackers have become more prevalent than ever and are always finding new ways around the latest internet security precautions. There are many different kinds of information that these hackers seek. It can range from medical information from hospitals, staff and donor information from universities, or inside information from public or private companies. Whatever the targeted material may be, hacking is putting companies and even countries at risk to have this information stolen. Multinational cybersecurity corporations such as Cisco and Fortinet have tackled the task of creating cybersecurity systems to protect complex data and operating systems used by many institutions. As the internet grows every day, these cybersecurity platforms need to fend off new and improved cyber threats.

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Following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014, many had hoped that the leader would speed up market reforms in order to attract foreign capital and grow the economy. However, rampant political and social problems throughout the country have caused these reforms to materialize much more slowly than initially anticipated. Many are additionally uncertain on the state of India’s economy due to modest GDP growth and little manufacturing output. In order to combat these issues, Modi is now beginning to prioritize the modernization of India’s digital infrastructure. A digital revolution in the country could potentially boost education and consumption, and consequently contribute to economic growth.

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The commercialized use of virtual reality is on the horizon, and it offers numerous opportunities beyond just video game enhancement. Virtual reality is defined as an environment that stimulates physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds and lets the user interact in that world. It gives users artificial sensory experiences such as sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.  Imagine a world where one could virtually go to a conference overseas without leaving the comfort of his or her home. Or, imagine a world where you could meet a person without physically being there with them. The possibilities are endless with virtual reality, and as producers get closer to unveiling the products to the mass public, corporations are brainstorming more and more ways to utilize the software.

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In this day and age, the internet is an integral part of everyday life. Many people are dependent on the internet for both their social and work lives. Put simply, many people could not live without the internet. This being said, over 60% of the world’s population (roughly 4 billion people) do not access the internet in any way, shape, or form on a regular basis. The leading technology companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) recognize that bringing these 4 billion people “out of the dark” would not only provide immeasurable social benefits, but would also present billions of dollars in untapped revenue for these companies.

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In this high-tech century, news about hackers breaking into corporate information systems is not surprising anymore. Rather, it has become a common administrative issue for businesses and requires special attention from the board of directors, since cyber-security breaches can result in significant business losses if not handled properly. This blog post will review the recent findings from the World Economic Forum and McKinsey and provide the approaches that company leaders can follow to reduce cyber risks.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) connects physical objects with the internet and provides the ability to transfer data over a network. This innovative concept is likely to have an enormous impact on the IT sector. This technology is already revolutionizing the sports industry, as large amounts of data are captured during sporting events to help improve player performance and strategy. IoT is expected to generate data from diverse locations and communicate it through massive networks, thereby increasing the need to better store and process such data. Cloud computing is there to solve this problem, which enables central data storage and remote online access to various resources and services.

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Netflix Inc., an American provider of on-demand Internet media streaming, recently opened their online video streaming service to Cuba. This move made Netflix one of the pioneer American companies to expand in to Cuba, following the loosening of regulations early in 2015.

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In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Michael Porter reported on how the ‘Internet of Things’ is changing everything. The aforementioned phrase has arisen to reflect the growing number of smart, connected products and highlight the new opportunities they can represent. With an estimated impact of $140 trillion, this industrial transformation is the third wave of IT-driven competition in the global economy.

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Alibaba is a Chinese corporation that operates as a bank, marketplace and a search engine. The company is the largest online retailer in the world, handling 80% of all online retail sales in China. The company handled more money in transactions last year than Amazon and eBay put together. It’s made up of three major websites that have millions of users all over the world. The three main sites are Alibaba.com, Taobao, and Tmall.  Taobao is a shopping website that gives seven million merchants a place to sell, and Tmall is a retail site where major businesses such as Apple and Nike are able to sell products directly to Chinese shoppers. Alibaba does not currently have a date listed for its IPO, but it is expected to go public in early August. It will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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As the world continues to embrace technology and its many advantages, business also has begun to rely more and more on technology, storing large amounts of sensitive data electronically. The ease at which computers can store and access information is a major reason for the shift toward electronic storage. With the efficiencies computers bring to the market, a new area of risk has been inadvertently created. The storage of sensitive information on computers opens business up to cyber attacks, with hackers looking to acquire company or customer information such as passwords or credit card numbers. The hackers can then use or sell this information, harming businesses, consumers, and company reputations.

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The evolution of technology has opened the Internet for cross-border collaboration and has enabled a whole new range of economic activity that includes online trades, big data, and online advertising. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, from 2004-2009, the Internet contributed up to 21 percent in GDP growth in the developed world and 11 percent in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). This blog will discuss the international trade benefits created by the Internet and the risks associated with online cross-border trade.

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On January 15, the DC District Court of Appeals struck down the FCC's Open Internet Rules, also known as the net neutrality rules, on the basis that they had no legal grounding.  The net neutrality rules forced broadband providers to have all sources of Internet traffic, from social media to online gaming, to be treated equally in terms of regulation. With these rules gone, the way internet services will be used in the coming future will be very different. Not only will public consumption be affected, but businesses dependent on the internet and the tech industry in general have reason to worry.

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As the world migrates ever more so to the internet it seems like a logical step that a currency would develop for those online. Known as alternative, or more specifically, digital currencies, these relatively new creations have become more popular as internet connectivity has expanded and is also seen as a safe haven for some when more traditional currency markets take a hit.

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is meeting December 3-14 in Dubai for the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (WCIT) in what is being dubbed by some as the “conference to claim control of the internet” due a new internet privacy standard that has been approved. While this claim may be a little extreme, the ITU has adopted controversial changes in the restrictions that would allow internet service providers to examine internet users’ traffic.

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The Dreamforce Expo kicked off this week with a rumored 90,000 attendees from 150 countries there. Sponsored by Salesforce.com, the purpose of this expo is to help businesses around the world realize the power of cloud computing. Cloud computing uses the internet to host data and provide information and services effortlessly to consumers.  While cloud computing is not a new idea, the big revelation from Dreamforce is how important social media is going forward.

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After releasing its high IPO on March 18th, 2012, Facebook has fallen over 50% and does not seem to be headed in the right direction anytime soon. The costly mistake in the first day of trade of a computer malfunction placed millions of dollars in the wrong location, and there was no recovery after that. With social media on the rise worldwide, it was believed that this would be a hot stock early on.  The overly-optimistic buyers were waiting for an early 50%-60% increase, and little did they know it was about to be a failure. Was the IPO too high, or is Facebook just losing its popularity it once had?

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In today’s technology driven society, web browsers are very important as people spend many hours using the internet for business needs or gathering information from sources around the world. A few weeks ago, Google Chrome became the most popular web browser worldwide for a single day, edging out the long-standing dominance of Internet Explorer. Claiming the top spot for only one day may not seem like a noteworthy event, but how Google Chrome was able to take the lead is very important in terms of international business.

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All around the world technology remains a key component of business success and innovation. Places like India, China, and the United States are well known for their innovation and technological development. However, Latin America happens to be one of the fastest-growing technology markets in the world. With Brazil being one of the largest economies in Latin America, many people may assume Brazil is leading the way in technology. Yet, this is not the case. This past year Panama replaced Uruguay as Latin America’s technology leader.

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When people think of online shopping today, paying for goods or services via the internet usually comes to mind. However, in Russia this is not the case. More than 80 percent of transactions at Russian online megastores are in cash. Russian customers are not very comfortable with online transactions so businesses in Russia have developed alternatives for the online shopping model.

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Just as many global businesses are beginning to feel comfortable doing business over the Internet, smartphones and tablets are opening up a whole new avenue to interact with customers.  While still relatively new, the market for mobile applications is expected to grow into a nearly $30 billion per year industry by 2015.  E-Bay’s mobile application has already been downloaded by more than 50 million people worldwide, representing 190 countries and eight languages. 

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Social media has became an extremely important business trend worldwide. It took time for social media to morph from purely a social tool into a business tool, and the transition into the classroom has had its challenges as well. To many professors the words Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube probably provoke some form of frustration. Until recently, social networking sites like these meant nothing in the academic world except distractions. Now, with the business prevalence of social media becoming more apparent, many business schools are starting to see the importance of including social media into their curriculums.

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Do you ever wonder why Facebook and websites always manage to have ads that seem very specific to you? Originally it was the cookie that tracked what you did, where you went, and how you used your internet. After that big scare many people started deleting their cookies every time they surfed the internet. Now? Facebook had the novel idea of the “like” button. Every time a person “likes” something, “magically” they will start seeing more ads geared towards that interest. The next step you ask? The digital fingerprint.

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Since 2000, I have studied how companies localize their web sites for the world's Internet users. In the early days, a company would have been content with half a dozen languages and little in the way of cultural or product-specific localization.

Today, however, web globalization is serious business. Companies such as Google, eBay, and HP generate more than half of their revenues outside of the United States and web globalization plays a fundamental role.

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The internet is becoming a bigger part of marketing and advertising strategies for many companies. However, engaging customers online can be challenging. The following video gives advice and examples of how to achieve this.

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A recent article in Global By Design discusses the possibility of country and city-based domain names for various businesses. This would mean that a business opened in a various city could possibly have the domain name of that city. For example, a small business that opened in Tokyo, Japan could take the domain name, “smallbusiness.JP” or “smallbusiness.TYO” This could be quite beneficial for global businesses trying to create more distinction with respect to their web brands.

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Even in rural areas, people from around the world are beginning to embrace the practicality and convenience of the internet and cell phones. In Charkhai, Bangladesh, the mother of three who needed surgery was able to use mobile internet to schedule an appointment in the capital city, Dhaka, about 140 miles away.