KC News

2010 is the year that Augmented Reality will become mainstream

Augemented RealityAugmented what? Augmented Reality! Unlike SMS, GPS, and Facebook, this brand new technology has yet to have its potential fully realized. And 2010 is the year that Augmented Reality will go mainstream.

If you have not heard of Augmented Reality, here's a quick definition:

Augmented reality (lets just call it "AR") is a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery - creating a mixed reality.

Still not sure what AR is all about? Here's how it can work: you are walking (or driving) down the street. With AR displays (they may look like a normal pair of glasses) informative graphics will appear in your field of view, and audio will coincide with whatever you see. These enhancements will be refreshed continually to reflect your movement. Sounds futuristic? Nope, this technology is already here! Devices and applications already exist! If you have an iPhone or other smart phone you can try downloading some of the new AR applications using the links below.

The AR market is expected to reach $700 million in only five years.* AR applications are being developed for cell phones, GPS units, and cameras. Search Youtube for "Augmented Reality" and you can watch videos that show how this technology is taking the mobile industry by storm - and how it will soon affect your personal life and business.

Help your business? Sure! Think about advertising your business on AR apps. AR overlays real-world objects or locations shown in a camera display and adds text, links, and images, pointing to specific things. This enables the user to learn more about everything from stores with discounts, available services, special promos, restaurants, and even the latest gadgets.

Traveling? Take it along with your GPS device (or a phone that has GPS) and you've got real-time specific information for your exact location. Coming back from a long weekend and you need a massage? Find the massage therapist nearest to you. Meeting a client at a new location? AR helps you track, locate and describe the spot.

What about education and research scenarios? Imagine a camping trip where you can immediately identifying the terrain you see, or the animals you encounter.

There are so many opportunities for this technology and it is quickly becoming a standard feature for all mobile service providers.

Learn more:

17 Best Augmented Reality iPhone Applications

Yelp MOnocle for iphone - 3GS uses your iPhone's camera, GPS, and compass to show virtual items in the real world

Layar - free mobile phone application shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone

Urbanspoon has an AR app called "Scope." This camera-based app shows the popularity and distance of restaurants.

 Juniper Research


Photo and definition above from Wikipedia

Networking and Referral Marketing with BNI

Kahl Consultants has been a BNI member since 2006.

Who is BNI? Well, Business Networking International is ONLY the World's Largest Business Networking Organization!

BNI members share ideas, contacts and most importantly, referrals. Being in BNI means you belong to a chapter where all the other members act as sales people for your business (and vice-versa). Everyone helps everyone market their products and services.

Do you need to be in a networking group to get referrals and do word of mouth marketing? No!

Nevertheless a networking group such as BNI does provide a structured environment for developing and exchanging quality business referrals and this can be very advantageous.

Are referrals important for your business? Then check out BNI!

BNI Power Lunch

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area then we invite you to visit the BNI Power Lunch chapter which meets in San Rafael every Tuesday at Noon at the Embassy Suites Hotel.

BNI Power Lunch Marin website

Advice about Phishing Scams and Fraudulent Emails

Don't be scammed!

Here is some extremely important advice about fraudulent emails, phishing scams, and identity theft.

E-mail fraud is now an extremely common tool used for IDENTITY THEFT.

These emails can take many forms, and they are often very demanding and contain strong, urgent messages.

Here are four examples:

* Phishing (pronounced "fishing")
- the sender poses as a company to trick users into giving away personal or account information.

* Illegitimate Offers
- e-mails that entice users to purchase popular goods or services at reduced prices (or before they're available to the general public), with no intent to deliver those purchases. Usually, these e-mails are designed primarily to obtain credit card or bank account information.

* Requests for Help
- usually these will offer you large sums of money or attractive rewards in exchange for "short term" financial assistance. One common example is the "sender" who asks the user to supply a bank account number to "hold" large sums of money until the "sender" can retrieve it. In exchange, the recipient is promised a percentage of the deposit. The "sender" uses the bank account number for fraudulent activity, and the recipient never receives the promised funds.

* Vishing
- Phishing scams now have a phone connection. First, it was "phishing," where criminals send e-mail by the thousands in hopes of tricking unsuspecting consumers into sharing confidential information.

These messages often include a link to a fraudulent website. Now, there's "vishing." In this latest twist, they use a telephone number instead. When you call, a person or an automated response asks for your personal and/or account information.

When you call your bank, use ONLY a phone number that comes from a REPUTABLE source, like your STATEMENT, the back of your credit or debit card or the phonebook.

If you have any questions please contact Kahl Consultants for more information!

McAfee Secure Hackersafe: Is it just a Waste of Money or a Marketing Scam?

 McAfeeSecure is a piece of marketing baloney and not a true security product.

Let me tell you why. McAfee acquired ScanAlert's HACKER SAFE in January 2008 and renamed it McAfee Secure. This product has a scanning tool that probes for web application security flaws and allows you to post a logo on your website to help increase trustworthiness with paying customers.

Is displaying a security stamp of approval on your website really mean more business for you? Well yes, a security logo actually might increase web sales, but you can probably achieve the same result without paying McAfee a dime.

Put another way, will the McAfee Secure seal make shoppers less skittish about spyware and identity theft? Probably, but so will some other less expensive logo. McAfeeSecure it is NOT cheap, costing well over $1,000 a year! That's a lot for what amounts to basically a website icon and a few security tests that your webmaster can manage!

Is your ecommerce website on a secure host with SSL? Then save yourself that money.  Just do the following:

  1. Confirm with your web host that your site has SSL and then simply upload your own free "SSL secure" graphic onto your site
  2. Have your webmaster ensure that your website software is all updated and kept current to avoid known security issues.
Don't take my word for it.  Here is one blog comment I found:

At best the McAfee Secure HackerSafe logo means the site at least takes security slightly seriously - and at worst the logo is meaningless.

To learn more read these articles:

False Sense of Security

McAfee competitor WebSafe Shield says 70% Of Customers ONLY Shop With Sites That Display A Security Protection Seal. WebSafe cost much less than McAfee and they even include PCI Certification and Seal.

Speaking of PCi compliance, it is now mandatory that your credit card processing is PCI compliant. For more info on PCI compliance check out the security video at Madeleine Austin Enterprises.

By all means put a free security icon on your website. By all means have your webmaster check to ensure your software is current and secure. And once you are PCI compliant you can also post an icon for that.