Can HTML5 FutureProof Your Mobile Strategy

first_imgIn terms of dovetailing HTML5 development with standard app product development, Weinberg says the two are separate, but related, operations. “The apps are done in a separate group, but they’re aware of what we’re doing and we’re aware of what they’re doing. We all have shared but slightly different missions in this. For instance, an app in the future can be designed to link to the Web site for certain information or slideshows or content that the user wouldn’t have wanted to download as part of the native app. What’s really cool about that is it gives us a seamless consumer flow opportunity for delivering whatever content wherever they are whenever they need it through whatever device they have. My only issue right now is if we can go faster to implement more of the HTML5 products more comprehensively across all of the brands my life would be much better.”Next StepsGoing forward, Christie says HTML5 Web apps will be built on a case by case basis. The trigger will depend on the brand’s business model. “We are looking at HTML5 for some of the other FT Group titles. They’re more pure b-to-b titles. For some of them we are probably going to come out with more native apps. Some we might do Web apps. We’re looking at the business model for each of those and being quite pragmatic about it because for titles that have no registration, no subscription and are completely ad-based, you don’t have to do a Web app, you can do a native app. It just depends on where you see the future of each of the titles.”As an example, Christie cites the release of FT’s native How to Spend It app, which is available in Apple’s App Store. “From a business model point of view we don’t require registration or subscription and it’s completely advertising-based. It wasn’t going to compromise our business model to launch it in iTunes because we didn’t have an issue with the subscription process.”As for Weinberg, he sees HTML5 as a way to position the brands for whatever new features become available in the near future. “I’m looking down the road and saying this is going to create new creative capabilities that we haven’t had before and to the extent that it’s possible now, great. To the extent that it’s going to become possible later, all the better. But it does start to chart a new course for what the digital desktop is and how it works.” In the case of Hearst, the company is doing both. In September, the company announced that it was beginning the process of converting all of its magazine Web sites to HTML5. The plan was to build out specific components within the sites optimized with the new standard starting in the fourth quarter of this year and continue into 2012. The first to get the treatment was GoodHousekeeping.com, which went live in September and became compatible with the majority of mobile devices—meaning rich media elements were touch and swipe enabled, among other features.“This project forms the basis for the kind of site structure that we expect to roll out to the rest of the network over the next six to 18 months,” Mark Weinberg, vice president of programming and product strategy for Hearst Digital Media, said at the time. “We have a number of sites that we’re in the process of redesigning and relaunching now and they will be relaunched fundamentally on the same kind of code base of HTML5 and they will be designed to be multi-platform. The kind of innovations we’ve baked into the Good Housekeeping relaunch will drive where we go with the rest of the network sites.”Going All-inThe decision to go all-in with the entire stable of Web sites was largely influenced by the belief that mobile is going to be a huge influence on digital content access in the near term. “The major motivator for us was both the recognition that it would create a more future-oriented programming and content delivery approach, given that it is an evolutionary step for the Web as a whole, but also, very importantly, that it was an evolutionary step that would allows us to have a functional site on iOS devices,” says Weinberg. “That’s what really got us started down the road—looking at the iOS devices and the clarity that had about not adopting Flash. Continuing down the road using Flash was not a good idea. While we’re still using Flash in some places, it was very clear that we needed to be compatible.”As the strategy got underway, Weinberg realized that ditching Flash was not the only benefit. Consumers, as they use their devices more often, are expecting to have the same functionality wherever they go on the Web. “Once we got going it became clear that it would allow us to do a number of other things, not the least of which was to be functional on touch-screen devices. And that I think is one of the really future-oriented aspects of this—that people are beginning to expect that. So this really meets consumer expectations. It makes us flexible and functional on all devices and it gives us the functionality that you get with HTML5 that its predecessor didn’t have,” he says.That freedom from the confines of proprietary formats and the ability to give customers what they expect were similar motivators for the Financial Times when it developed its Web app and snubbed Apple’s App Store. But fundamentally, it’s about the explosion in mobile usage. “An obvious trend is device proliferation,” says MB Christie, online product manager for the Financial Times. “Users expect to get everything everywhere. Everything they have on the desktop they are absolutely expecting to get on the phone and on the tablet. They just expect it to be there and don’t think about the fact that there’s a different transition, a different screen size and there will be different interactions [with the content].”Yet with that proliferation of devices comes a proliferation of formats and operating systems, each having unique access requirements. “So as publishers we have to think about how to do this quickly and get on all of the devices without breaking the bank,” says Christie. “Because you’ve got to make sure you’re on all the different sized tablets, all the different sized small screens and still on the desktop—all with an optimal user experience. Otherwise, your users will think, ‘They have a really nice Web site, but I can’t use it when I’m on the go.’ And then they’ll stop using you altogether. It will hurt your brand.”Christie notes that in order to cover the bases in terms of device coverage, HTML5 was the clear path. “You have to think about how you can do it across the board, which is what prompted us to start looking at an HTML5 solution very early on.”Is It Ready Yet? For now, publishers are taking one of two paths. They’re either rebuilding their Web sites with the HTML5 standard that lets users view them from a mobile or desktop machine, or they’re building HTML5 sites designed specifically for mobile devices as a separate option from providing apps through the app store. Now that the early enthusiasm behind generating magazine apps for tablet and smart phone devices has settled into a more or less pragmatic approach for publishers, a nagging question is bubbling ever closer to the top of digital content development efforts for the mobile platform: HTML5 or native apps? A concern from the start for Weinberg and Christie was HTML5’s readiness. The standard was essentially still under development and certainly not as established as HTML4 and there wasn’t yet a large base of developers skilled in the standard. “It does take some skilled developers, but I think the speciality is improving. The more demand there is in the market the more people will pick up the skills needed to do this,” says Christie. And then around that time Apple and the FT bumped heads on App store subscription terms and customer data. “That’s when we decided to seriously focus attention on the Web app,” says Christie. “What was great was we could sell the idea because we already had it in front of us. We weren’t scared, it didn’t feel like such a big leap for us because we had a working prototype.”According to Christie, an early challenge was figuring out how to make offline caching a smoother experience. Mobile browsers limit file sizes for downloading and in order to read the Financial Times offline, users had to take the semi-technical and extra step of boosting the database size to 50 MB. “We had to come up with a way for us to allow people to store a fairly large amount of data. They had to go through an extra step of saving a larger database than the browser would normally allow them to. Making the message user-friendly and not scary was challenging.”The step allows the user to save the file to their homescreen, enabling them to open the FT and read it whenever they want to.That local caching on the device is a critical feature, and one that differentiates a Web app from standard mobile sites, such as FT’s m.ft.com. “The Web app has a lot more advantages. It allows for a lot more richness than the pure mobile site, m.ft.com. We can have videos, images and most importantly, you can read it offline. That is a huge advantage of an app over a straight old mobile site. It’s more like a newspaper. You can take it on the train and read it,” says Christie.Where a reader is directed to depends on the device they’re using. “We can look at your device and the we serve you the right site, whether it’s m.ft.com or the Web app. We look at how smart your phone is and then we serve you the right thing based on that,” adds Christie.center_img At Hearst, the process of rebuilding the sites took a templated approach. Specific components were optimized for HTML5, such as promo players and other features, and then repeated throughout the rest of the sites. “We’re creating products, which are essentially features or functionality that can then be cascaded into all the sights in our network. It’s a build once, use many approach,” says Weinberg.For example, the promo player, which is basically a rotating slideshow that graphically features the top stories on the site, was one of the first to get the HTML5 treatment. “Historically, those were all Flash-based and after we developed the HTML5 promo player for Good Housekeeping, we cascaded that to all of our brands. Now, when you open any of the sites on an iPhone you will have a touch/swipe-enabled promo player that you can actually see. In the old version you couldn’t even see it because it was Flash. And it works on all phones, all devices,” says Weinberg.In all, Weinberg says the process of rolling out HTML5 is more of a design process than a technical one, and the templated approach as made it easier to apply the new features across the Hearst network of sites. “The team has made it very modular, so that the areas where we need to make these kinds of improvements in the near term we can make them in a more seamless way. The implementation of HTML5 is relatively easy. For example, we’re about to roll out our slideshow, or what we call a Flipbook, so there’s an HTML5 version of that that we’re cascading across the network. So by January almost all of the rest of our sites will have it. That’s how quickly it can cascade out. It’s much more of a design iteration than it is a technical challenge.”The FT began experimenting with an HTML5 Web app in the summer of 2010, says Christie. “We worked with one of our development partners and gave them time to play, really. It was just a few months after we’d launched the iPad app. We didn’t do anything really formal, and by January/February we had a pretty nice proof of concept going.” Browser compatibility had been one hurdle, but that has since been resolved says Weinberg. “So we weren’t really as worried at the time we were doing this work as those who came before us that people wouldn’t be able to see it or use it. In fact, we looked at it as the opposite, that this would increase the usability and increase the good functional behavior across more platforms and for more consumers in more circumstances. That actually proved out to be the bigger idea.”Another key motivator is the fragility of print revenues. As a stark reminder, consumer magazine ad pages fell 5.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, erasing the growth from the first six months of the year, per PIB numbers. Prior to the third quarter, consumer magazines enjoyed a run of growth for five consecutive quarters.“Print advertising money is no longer as easy to get as it used to be,” says Christie. “So that means that we all have to look for other solutions and digital is an obvious way. So we need to make sure that we are selling things on digital, whether it be ads, subscriptions or a combination. But in order to pay for the content, to pay our journalists, we absolutely need to make sure that we have a clear and strong digital strategy that will succeed and bring in the revenue needed to do so.”For the FT, the strategy is proving out, as is the theory that mobile is becoming a larger and larger component of media access. According to reports, the FT’s online operation now accounts for 30 percent of its revenues. Digital subscriptions were up 34 percent in the first half of 2011 and FT’s Web app reached the one millionth registrant milestone mid-November.Execution The latest Web standard has opened up new opportunities for building mobile-optimized content that, on the surface, frees it from the constraints of proprietary formats, such as Adobe’s Flash, and Apple’s onerous control of the app store retail environment and customer information. The Flash problem has largely been answered now that Adobe is no longer supporting it for mobile, but some publishers have been moving quickly to optimize both their sites in HTML5 and build products based on the standard to head off what they think is an inevitability: Mobile is going to be core to any content publisher’s product strategy going forward, and HTML5 is promising a seamless access standard that makes it easy for customers to view content on any mobile platform. “It did take a bit of a leap of faith,” adds Weinberg. “From what I understand there was a reluctance for people to move down this road for two pretty obvious reasons. One was it was not yet fully developed and so there were some concerns that people had about how the behaviors would work and what the issues might be; and there wasn’t as full of an understanding as there was with HTML4.”last_img read more

VIDEO Wilmington Man Shares His Kidney Donation Story Encourages Others To Become

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — In the latest episode of “Where’s Wilmington,” host Lisa Kapala interviews Steve Averhart and Wilmington’s Mike Murphy, both of New England Donor Services, on the importance of organ donation.The town recently began flying a “Donate Life” flag outside of Town Hall at Murphy’s request.Watch the 20-minute episode, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below:—Video Playerhttps://objects-us-west-1.dream.io/wilmington/9/1/f/d/9/9/91fd998c-5b5b-4c21-9fef-437224ef4a5c1525887897.955%2B30670596.998%40castus4-wilmington%2B15259622301525961477526698.vod.720p.Where%27s%20Wilmington__%20Ep.%20125%20Steve%20Averhart%20%26%20Mike%20Murphy%20Organ%20Donation.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.—Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedVIDEO: Learn About The New Wilmington Police Explorers ProgramIn “Videos”VIDEO: Meet Wilmington Recreation’s New Program Coordinator Bret SawinIn “Videos”VIDEO: Learn About The Mill City Eagles, A Local Semi-Pro Football Team, & Meet GM Zachary Swale, Of WilmingtonIn “Videos”last_img read more

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Anonymous Internet Troll Is Misusing My Familys Name

first_imgDear Editor,As an Everett, I was irate to learn that my family’s name was used in an attempt to smear a political candidate.  The Everetts were long time residents of Wilmington.  My mother ran a successful dancing school and donated proceeds to help build the Health Center.  My father volunteered for years in Little League, Pony League and Pop Warner.  He helped to build the Little League field by the Police Station and a skating rink behind the South School.  I grew up in Wilmington and taught for 30+ years as Miss Everett, Mrs. Mosca, or Mrs. Farrar.The name Jack Everett comes from the Urban Dictionary. As copied from the Urban Dictionary:“Jack Everett – a strong leader that sticks up for other people and he will always put others first. lovely eyes and hair. good at sports, he isn’t arrogant, girls drop even when he is standing. he will fight to protect his friends and family”Perhaps, the person who hid behind a cartoon character and our name sees this as themselves.  However, I question their integrity.  Our family will fight to protect our friends and family, which is why I am writing this.   We do not want to be attached to negative campaigns.For 63 of my years, I have lived and/or worked in Wilmington.  I am invested in Wilmington.  I am angry that our family name has been used in this way and to have been called on this by another hurts all the more.I hope that the people of Wilmington will vote on Election Day and will vote wisely.Sincerely,Sheryl Everett FarrarLike Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedLETTER TO THE EDITOR: Selectman Mike McCoy Defends Himself From Attacks From Tewksbury Selectman CandidateIn “Letter To The Editor”LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Now I Know Why Residents Don’t Attend Board Of Selectmen’s MeetingsIn “Letter To The Editor”LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bendel & Caira Are Serving For The Right Reasons, Care About ALL ResidentsIn “Letter To The Editor”last_img read more

Snakeshaped UFO spotted in New York skies was it a living alien

first_imgYouTube: Beams Investigations 1As space agencies like NASA and ESA are busy searching for alien life in the deep nooks of space, conspiracy theorists strongly believe that extraterrestrial life is a reality, and they believe that UFO sightings reported in various parts of the world are indications of their existence. Adding up to the heat, a YouTube channel named ‘Beamsinvestigation 1’ has now shared a mysterious video that shows a snake-shaped UFO hovering in the skies of New York.Interestingly, the UFO spotted in the skies during broad daylight can be seen moving, and at times, it can be seen bending its body like a snake.”Look closely and you will see that this unidentified flying object is comprised of segments or spheres… an intriguing, articulated body!” wrote the uploader in the video’s description.As the video went viral on online, conspiracy theorists started arguing that alien life is a reality, and, they outlandishly concluded that the UFO spotted in the skies could actually be a living alien with flying capabilities.After analyzing the video, a section of other conspiracy theorists suggested that these weirdly shaped objects in the skies could actually be secret shape-shifting military craft developed by the United States military. They added that Donald Trump’s space force is already operational in the skies, and these UFO sightings are substantiating this theory.However, skeptics dismissed both these angles, and they made it clear that the UFO spotted in the skies could be a weirdly shaped balloon.The new UFO sighting has been reported just a few days after mysterious lights were spotted in the skies of Cincinnati, Ohio. The unexplained lights pulled many local residents to a state of panic, and they started arguing that aliens have paid a visit to the earth.last_img read more

Explosive materials seized

first_imgMembers of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) recovered six kilogramme explosive making materials worth Tk 328,000 from Yusufpur Padmarchar in Charghat, Rajshahi on Wednesday, reports UNB.Tipped off, a team of BGB-1 conducted a drive in the area and recovered the explosive substance kept in a packet in an abandoned condition, said BGB-1 commanding officer Mohammad Tajul Islam.However, none was arrested in this connection as the smugglers managed to flee the scene.last_img

Students begin hunger strike seeking DUCSU reelection

first_imgFive students of Dhaka University start hunger strike at the foot of Raju Sculpture on Tuesday evening, demanding fresh elections to its central student union and hall unions. Photo: UNBFour independent candidates along with a general student of Dhaka University (DU) started hunger strike at the foot of Raju Sculpture on the campus on Tuesday evening, demanding fresh elections to its central students’ union and hall unions, reports UNB.Among them, Anindya Mondol, a third year student of Philosophy department was a member candidate of Jagannath Hall union, Tawhid Tanjin, a fourth year student of Computer Science and Technology department, was a candidate for transport affairs secretary of Dhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) elections.The others are Soyeb Mahmud, a second year student of Physics department and an independent candidate of literature affairs secretary of Shahidulla Hall union, Md Mainiddin, a second year student of Population Sciences department and an independent candidate of cultural affairs secretary of Mohsin Hall Union and Roni Hossain, a fourth year student of Geography and Environment Science department and a resident of Bijoy Ekattor Hall.Anindya Mondol told UNB, “The results of DUCSU and hall unions are fabricated ones. The university authorities staged a drama in the name of election.”Five students of Dhaka University start hunger strike at the foot of Raju Sculpture on Tuesday evening, demanding fresh elections to its central student union and hall unions. Photo: Prothom AloHe also said they are observing hunger strike demanding re-elections at the earliest.”Or else, we’ll continue our hunger strike.”The long overdue elections to DUCSU and its hall unions were held on Monday.Quota reform movement leader Nurul Haque Nur was elected vice-president (VP) of DUCSU while Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) general secretary Golam Rabbani its general secretary.Eight among nine secretary posts went to candidates from BCL panel in the elections, marred by allegations of irregularities.BCL is the student wing of ruling Bangladesh Awami League.After the results were published, all panels, except that of the BCL, rejected the results alleging irregularities, and demanded re-election to all the posts except that of VP and Social Welfare post, and announced to boycott classes for an indefinite period.last_img read more

Bengal receives investment proposals worth Rs 284 lakh crore at BGBS 2019

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Friday that the state has secured investment proposals worth Rs 2.84 lakh crore in the Bengal Global Business Summit 2019, which is expected to create 8 to 10 lakh jobs in the state.”We have received proposals worth Rs 2,84,288 crore. This is the achievement of BGBS. Investment means business and business means creation of jobs. Whatever investment proposals we have received, will create an additional 8 to 10 lakh jobs in the state,” said Banerjee while speaking at the concluding session of the fifth edition of the two-day summit. Last year, the state had received investment proposals worth Rs 2,19,925 crore. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose”86 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed, 45 business to consumer (B2C) and 1,200 business to business (B2B) meetings were held in these two days. Don’t you think it is a remarkable success? This itself proves the credibility, accountability and sincerity of the participants and the state government,” she said, reiterating that India should tread the path of Bengal in near future. “We don’t allow strikes, suspension of work and workers’ unrest. Our workers are our assets. We have talented youths. Our focus is always on creating more jobs,” she asserted. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata”It is because of you (delegates) that Bengal has successfully organised the conference. No state in India can do the same like this. With our initiatives and vision, we prove that Bengal is not only the best but also the destination of investments for near future,” Banerjee added. She reiterated that while India has lost 2 crore jobs in 2018 due to demonetisation and hasty implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST), Bengal has reduced unemployment by 40 percent. The Chief Minister also announced that the state has already added another 100 acres in the Silicon Valley Hub in New Town, in order to accommodate a host of IT firms and academic institutes, namely Capgemini, Tech Mahindra, ISI, Society for Applied Microwave Research and others. The total area of the Silicon Valley will thus be 200 acres. Later, while addressing a Press conference, state Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra said that 40 percent of the cumulative investment proposals received in the last four summits have been fructified. A report in this regard has been submitted to the Assembly, he said. The state government has also decided that the IT companies of Bantala that are eager to shift to Silicon Valley can do so. “The move will lead to a huge scope for employment in the IT sector,” said Mitra who is also the IT minister. An additional 70 acres has been added in the Bantala Leather Complex to accommodate tanneries from Kanpur and Chennai. The complex currently employs a workforce of 1.2 lakh and with the additional units, it will employ an additional two lakh people. According to Mitra, 51 delegates from UK, 63 from the Republic of Korea, 28 from Italy, 35 from Germany, 35 from Poland, 47 from Japan and 26 from USA participated in the summit. Two apps were launched on the occasion, namely the Shipadisha app for addressing grievances of industrialists and Export Facilitation mobile app for connecting artisans with global exporters. The Chief Minister invited industrialists and overseas delegates to attend the next edition of the global investors’ meet, along with their family members.last_img read more

Young entrepreneur Offers affordable tailoring online

first_imgAiming to give a tech-boost to the traditional tailor-made clothing, a young entrepreneur has set up a new startup D For Darzi that will cater to the poor tailoring community across the Indian subcontinent. Set up by journalist turned entrepreneur Saira Aslam, the startup has already collaborated with renowned beauty expert Blossom Kochhar, while designer and activist Sanjana Jon also promised a future collaboration.After a community event held in Delhi recently, D For Darzi said it will launch its e-commerce website later this month to make custom tailoring affordable and easy to order. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIt invited public participation from women of all ages, backgrounds and colour to model for it and received response from many small and big cities across India. Aslam recalled how an NGO worker had told her 5-6 years ago about the tailors in the interior areas of Bihar and Bengal where they were paid some 25 paise for the stitching of one blouse. And they used to stitch nearly a hundred blouses a day.”I kept thinking what amount they actually took home. The figure of 25 rupees for stitching a hundred blouses was outrageous and kept haunting me. Even if the figure improved in these past few years, it wouldn’t have improved dramatically. We all know about Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh and the crammed conditions under which many tailors work even in India. Through D For Darzi, we want to identify and partner with this poor tailoring community and improve their standards of living,” she said and invited NGOs and investors for collaboration. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveHayat Rafique, Director-Planning and Operation, said that they are trying to fit into small, medium and large size of clothes. The startup also conducted a photo shoot as a celebration of the natural beauty of women and to encourage them to shed inhibitions around their body type and pose as models.”I thought having community ambassadors for the photo shoot was a great idea as it would ensure participation of women and men from diverse backgrounds. The students and trainers from Blossom Kochhar College of Creative Arts and Design did the make up hair of all participants of the community initiative. I wish D For Darzi that seeks to help the poor tailoring community of the Indian subcontinent, all the best in future,” Kochhar said.last_img read more

Carnival Horizon adds long weekend cruises to Bermuda to its inaugural season

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group Share Carnival Horizon adds ‘long weekend’ cruises to Bermuda to its inaugural season MIAMI – Carnival Cruise Line’s new Carnival Horizon is setting its sights on Bermuda with a series of four-day cruises from New York in spring and summer 2018.The voyages are part of the ship’s inaugural season that includes previously announced sailings to Europe from Barcelona and the Caribbean from New York and Miami.The four-day ‘long weekend’ cruises will depart Thursdays and feature a full-day visit to Bermuda. Five four-day Bermuda cruises will be offered, departing May 24, June 21, July 19, Aug. 16 and Sept. 13, 2018.Including the five Bermuda sailings aboard Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line will offer 18 different voyages to the island in 2017-18 departing from five East Coast homeports: Baltimore, Charleston, New York, ‘Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale.Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018 with a 13-day Mediterranean voyage from Barcelona, the first of four roundtrip departures from this Spanish port. Currently under construction, the ship will offer a groundbreaking ‘bike-ride-in-the-sky’ attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and a massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a water tube slide. Plus, a wide range of accommodations will be offered, including spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-room staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropical-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, February 16, 2017 Tags: Carnival Cruise Linelast_img read more

WorldVentures debuts novel DreamTrips travel app

first_imgWorldVentures, the leading international direct seller of vacation club memberships, has launched its highly anticipated DreamTrips app for members and Independent Representatives. DreamTrips are exclusively priced, curate group vacations to some of the most coveted destinations in the world. They are the signature product of WorldVentures which, in its 10th year, is emerging as a technology trendsetter in the direct-selling sector. From trip planning to social media sharing, the DreamTrips app is designed for greater ease, functionality and efficiency.“The DreamTrips app is among ongoing efforts to enhance customer experiences and, coupled with our March acquisition of a world-class software platform allowing for centralised reservation management, is tangible evidence of our strides toward tailored technology,” said WorldVentures Holdings President Eddie Head. “We hope members and Representatives find that travelling with and sharing their adventures within the DreamTrips app elevates their travel experiences to new heights.”Currently available for download through the App Store or Google Play, the DreamTrips app is compatible with the later versions of iPhone and iPad as well as Android. Users can log on with their DreamTrips Membership credentials then browse and book vacation packages. For Independent Representatives, the app has utility as a business tool for enrolling new members, exchanging success stories and viewing training videos allowing them to conduct business from anywhere in the world.last_img read more

German sports broadcaster Sport1 will launch its h

first_imgGerman sports broadcaster Sport1 will launch its high definition network Sport1+ HD via Sky Deutschland in August after striking a carriage deal with the News Corp-backed pay TV operator.The channel, which is a subsidiary of Constantin Medien, will be available to all HD subscribers to the sports or football Bundesliga package. The channel will air sporting events including the ATP World Tour tennis and motorcycle racing from the the Motorcycle World Championship MotoGP.last_img

First Russia and now China US politicians aren

first_imgFirst Russia, and now China. US politicians aren’t doing themselves any favors getting involved in foreign disputes, especially with their track record of failed foreign policy. “Hong Kong affairs fall entirely within China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Embassy spokesman Geng Shuang states. “We hope that some countries and people can be prudent in their words and deeds, refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Hong Kong in any way, do not support the illegal activities such as the ‘Occupy Central,’ and do not send any wrong signals.” Don’t make any mistake about this official statement: this was China’s way of telling the US politicians to zip it and mind their own business. How did all this start? With US Senator Menendez. New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez sent a letter to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying asking that he respect the rights of his people (Hong Kong citizens), and condemning the Hong Kong government’s “excessive” use of tear gas under his watch. Tomorrow, US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. With China already having passed along its “butt out” message to the US, it will be interesting to see if Kerry tries to push his country’s misguided agenda, and if the mainstream media pick up on any of it. But what does this all mean? It means the US is being firmly put in its place by the emerging superpowers in the world. First it was President Putin standing up to Obama over Syria in 2013. Then again in early 2014, Putin stood up to the US sanctions. Now China has sent a sharp official message to the US, warning it to stop meddling. It’s hardly a new US tactic to foment dissent in a foreign state. We saw it in the support of anti-Assad rebels in Syria. We saw it again in Ukraine, where the US financed the February coup. With China, Washington will have to resort to words rather than guns, but it would love to see the people rise up against communism. Last Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest made that clear when he stated, “The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law and we support the aspirations of the Hong Kong people. We have consistently made our position known to Beijing and will continue to do so.” Earnest is just the messenger, of course. That message comes directly from Obama’s Oval Office. China is no backwater nation. It’s a global economic giant. It will stand up to the US on this issue, and not just because of how much it resents outside agitators. The more important reason is that the last thing the government of China needs is a wave of democratic protests across the nation. Remember, China has more than 160 cities with a population over 1 million. Vancouver, BC, Canada, the epicenter of the junior resource sector, doesn’t even have 1 million people (the greater Vancouver region does, but the city core doesn’t even have 750,000 inhabitants). For further perspective, consider that all of Europe only has 35 cities with 1 million people or more. China now has over 160 such cities, and it’s projected that by 2025—just 11 years away—that number will jump almost 40%, to 220! If a wave of protests were to spread across any large percentage of those 160 cities, that would be a disaster for the Chinese economy. And the worse the economy got in China, the worse the protests would become. Things could spiral out of control very quickly, and the government and military would have some serious problems on their hands. Given the dangers, it’s easy to understand why the Chinese government would go to great lengths to suppress any widespread protests. The last thing the government wants is another incident like Tiananmen Square, where hundreds of students were massacred by the authorities in June of 1989. We must bear in mind that what goes on in China may seem mysterious to an outsider who’s been raised on the notion that all the world’s people crave democracy. But for the majority of the Chinese, what they’ve grown up with is completely normal to them. What the governmental authorities feel they need to do to keep order may be repellent to Americans, but that’s their normal. So… how does what happens in China affect you? If you’re an investor, work in the resource sector, and/or have a job that’s involved in international finance, pay attention. All resource investors must realize that whatever happens in China will affect commodities around the world, for good or ill. Napoleon was quoted as saying, “China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.” He was right. China is awake, and it has more than shaken the world. There isn’t a better quote to summarize the importance of China today in the resource markets. Whether you’re talking coal, oil, iron ore, or copper, China matters. Take oil, for instance. In the month of September 2014, the US imported an average of 7.47 million barrels of oil a day. Ten years ago, the US imported an average of 9.73 million barrels a day in the month of September. These are data from the US’s Energy Information Administration website. (By the way, we’ve seen many reports from misinformed reporters claiming that the US imports only 5 million barrels of crude oil a day now. That is incorrect information, as the government data show.) How much oil does China import? A little over 6 million barrels of crude per day. China is the world’s second-largest oil importer after the US, which it is expected to pass in 2015. China also has the second-largest refining capacity of nearly 14 million barrels of oil a day, trailing only the US’s total of just under 18 million barrels. Again, China is projected to forge ahead in 2015. This is just one of the many ways in which China matters. So how do we profit from the information we have? History shows that energy stocks move in cycles. We’ve now completed a major analysis of the best oil producers in North America; we believe they’re on the cusp of a tremendous boom. The only way to position your portfolio for a major upswing in the oil sector is to buy before the boom is in full swing—and that is now in my opinion. Readers who want to understand, hedge against, and even profit from the decline of the petrodollar are advised to sign up for my Casey Energy Report. For most readers, this is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Test my newsletter for the next 3 months, and if you don’t like it or don’t make any money, just cancel within that time for a full and prompt refund. Upon signing up, you’ll receive the September issue of the Casey Energy Report, which will provide you with an in-depth analysis of my favorite companies, including dividend-paying and small-cap companies ready to profit from the Russia/US confrontation that I’ve termed “the Colder War.” So if you want to get behind the real winners in the European Energy Renaissance and the Colder War and make some serious money from the inevitable bull market in oil, click here to get started now.last_img read more

The shelter is prepared to serve up to 1000 peopl

first_imgThe shelter is prepared to serve up to 1,000 people. Red Cross team leader Jaici Murcia urges residents to stay vigilant and to remember that recovery could be a long road. “Not only is there the immediate disaster, but sometimes in heavily impacted communities, there’s the disaster after the disaster, which is the economic impact.”Murcia says she’s not sure how long the shelter site will be open. The Red Cross has access to the Joel Coliseum until September 26th because of the local fair that’s held on the grounds. If needed, Murcia says they will find another location in the area to help those impacted by the storm.To find the nearest American Red Cross shelter click here.*Follow WFDD’s Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news As Florence batters the Carolina coast, thousands of residents have fled the region for shelters farther inland, including here in the Triad.On Friday morning, the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem was home to about 60 evacuees, with Red Cross staff and volunteers providing food, water, medical staff and shower facilities. That number increased to nearly 80 by 2 p.m.Robert Talbot from Wilmington came to seek shelter since a lot of those in his area are full. His family took a bus to get to Winston-Salem. Friends and family say they’re seeing flooding in Wilmington, so his mind is also there.“Some are staying at the shelter, and they are full down there and are sleeping on the floor, and I hear that some places are flooded,” Talbot says. “My vehicle is up there and I don’t know what will happen.”William Mingo from Mooresville was able to get a ride to the shelter. “I left my apartment. Some people went to other shelters and others stayed behind. It concerns me because I have stuff that I’m renting. I have a system and TV, so I’m hoping they will be alright when I get home.”The Red Cross is encouraging volunteers at the Joel Coliseum Shelter to register online. The coliseum is located at 2825 University Parkway in Winston-Salem. KERI BROWN/WFDDHundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina are already without power from Hurricane Florence.Some residents in the Triad anticipate it will happen here too, and they’re not taking any chances. Carrie Russell from Winston-Salem is staying with a family member at the shelter.“My sister is on oxygen 24/7 and we were afraid that if we had a power outage her concentrator wouldn’t give her oxygen and she doesn’t have enough containers to last her one day, so we just want to make sure we have a place to stay and food to eat – and safe.”Officials at the shelter are anticipating the number of evacuees to climb due to the threat of flooding. Sherry Thompson and Cristien Farrior from Winston-Salem came to get shelter for their children.“The power, the flooding, also being able to stay away from the windows and stuff, that’s why I came here,” says Thompson. Farrior adds, “And also, their little needs and stuff. They are going to be hungry and you can’t cook without the power, so it’s best to be here.”Walmart, Krispy Kreme, Deweys and other local businesses have donated food and supplies to the shelter. The Red Cross says it welcomes volunteers and monetary donations. The organization says those who are interested in volunteering their time should register on their website, instead of coming down in person.The organization says anyone who wants to donate clothing or other items should drop them off at the Goodwill located beside the Joel Coliseum on University Parkway and specify that they are for the shelter.Red Cross officials say the Winston-Salem site is also pet-friendly.last_img read more

One of the countrys most influential disabled cam

first_imgOne of the country’s most influential disabled campaigners is to take control of BBC Radio’s flagship news programme for its first show of 2016.Baroness [Jane] Campbell (pictured) has been chosen as one of six guest editors who will each take over the Today programme on Radio Four for one day between 28 December and 2 January.For her slot on New Year’s Day, the BBC has said she will examine reform of the House of Lords by asking a new SNP MP to “find out whether working peers can justify their existence”, while also going “head-to-head with Times columnist Matthew Parris on the right to die”.In its announcement of her guest slot, the BBC referred to Baroness Campbell’s background of activism, which helped lead to the Disability Discrimination Act 20 years ago.But Baroness Campbell is also a patron of the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, and was a co-founder of the National Centre for Independent Living, and has campaigned on independent living issues for most of her adult life, so there are hopes that these subjects could also be aired in the programme.Baroness Campbell told Disability News Service that being a Today guest editor was “a huge privilege and one that carries great responsibility because choosing five or six features, when I have so much to say about the world, was much harder than choosing my Desert Island discs”.She said she could not comment on what issues she had chosen to cover, apart from the two mentioned by the BBC, but added: “I hope listeners (whoever is awake at that time, besides our Labrador, at 6am on New Year’s Day) will appreciate the mix.”Parris has already been interviewed by Baroness Campbell for the 1 January programme about his views, originally expressed in a column in The Spectator, in which he put forward the “Darwinian” argument that “tribes that handicap themselves will not prosper”.He argued in the column in September that “as medical science advances, the cost of prolonging human life way past human usefulness will impose an ever heavier burden on the community for an ever longer proportion of its members’ lives”, and that eventually it will be thought “selfish” to “want to carry on” when life is “fruitless”.Parris wrote about his interview with Baroness Campbell in his Times column this week, admitting that when she asked him if “people like me should be exterminated” his defence was that “we can’t all be in the House of Lords and have vastly expensive help and technology to sustain us”.Other guest editors chosen for the week are cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins; architect David Adjaye; Lord [John] Browne, former chief executive of BP; actor Michael Sheen; and lawyer Miriam González Durántez.last_img read more

Virtual Success

first_img Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Teens bypass after-school jobs for virtual world businesses where the money earned and the skills learned are real. –shares Laura Tiffany 6 min read Next Article In a virtual world, you could be interacting with anyone. That night elf is a night-shift nurse. The girl with the pink hair and iridescent butterfly wings is a mid-level corporate exec. That boy flying by with the floppy brown hair and seriously customized kicks? He may be a high school student who’s figured out there are much better ways to earn summer cash than flipping burgers and busing tables.”Single-player games offer safe, controlled environments, but a virtual world like Second Life adds, ironically, realism. If a young person wants to experiment with running a business, they’re not just engaging in thought experiments and case studies; they’re actually working with real people and real money,” says Joey Seiler, editor of VirtualWorldNews.com, an industry news source that’s part of Virtual Worlds Management, a company that provides trade events, media, research and online services.According to Virtual Worlds Management, more than 100 youth-oriented virtual worlds are either now live or in development, including offerings from MTV and Disney. Research firm eMarketer estimates that 24 percent of the 34.3 million users ages three to 18 used virtual worlds at least monthly in 2007–and that will jump to 53 percent by 2011.Although some MMORPGs (massively multi-player online role-playing games) like World of Warcraft forbid selling in-world items and characters for cash, a few like Entropia and Second Life provide entrepreneurial opportunities for enterprising teens.”Often, the amounts [to be made] are limited and the startup costs are relatively minimal,” Seiler says. “In other words, you get the low cost and ease of setup of a lemonade stand, but you’re competing and selling to a lot more people than just your neighbors.”Designing a FutureBoth Mike Mikula and Eric Lomeli began selling in-world wares within a week of joining Second Life and Entropia, respectively. Mikula, whose avatar is named Mike Denneny and who recently turned 18, started exploring Second Life two years ago when he discovered its teen area. He was intrigued by the in-world design capabilities that allowed him to expand his interest in graphic design by learning 3-D design skills without expensive software.”I’ve designed [in-world] school buildings. I’ve designed stores, homes, furniture, clothing,” says Mikula, who lives in Racine, Wisconsin, and will be a high school senior in the fall. “I’ve made simple scripts that allow showers to go off, doors to open, stuff like that. But I’m most known for my architecture.”His skills have garnered him large projects like building a virtual school for Skoolaborate, a global education project based in Australia. His work in Second Life has convinced him to change his future plans from electrical engineering to architecture, and he even has an offer to visit a leading architect in Australia.During the school year, Mikula brought in $2,000 a month. His projections are a little off this summer as he had to move to the adult Second Life on his 18th birthday.”When I started on the teen grid, I spent my first year just talking and meeting everyone. I learned how the successful people there worked, and then, eventually, I became one of the successful people,” Mikula says.Now that Mikula is on the main grid, he’s restarted and needs to make new friends. Still, he estimates he can make $4,000 a month–without any investment other than his own time.One thing he enjoys about his virtual business is the ability to make a difference.”I can’t be in a job where I can’t progress and get better,” Mikula says. “In Second Life, I can see how I can change things about myself to keep doing better and better, instead of just being stuck doing one thing.”Some of the things he has learned during his Second Life entrepreneurial endeavors are “customer service, strategies to be more effective for the business, how to make sure that you don’t talk bad about any other business, no matter if they’re really competitive with you.”A Valuable ExperienceFor Eric Lomeli, time spent in Entropia cemented what he always knew about himself:”I’ve always planned on owning my own business,” Lomeli says. “[With Entropia,] I learned how to manage a business, how to manage capital and profits, how to watch markets and market trends. The experience that I gained was unmatched by any after-school job I ever had.”Lomeli, 21, started when he was 16. He first acted as a middle man, selling materials gathered by hunters to crafters. He soon had his own shop selling mid-level armor and weapons.”I found most shops either focused on new players or ‘uber’ players. This left a great market void that I capitalized on,” says Lomeli, who now has a non-virtual business, Entropiaoutfitters.com, with business partner Keith Ward. The site sells Entropia-inspired apparel and accessories, and the pair also offer consulting for those interested in Entropia.While still in high school, Lomeli spent about three hours a day on his Entropia business. He invested $300 at one point and had $5,000 Entropia net worth when he graduated. A year later, he sold the company and made $17,000.On the side, Lomeli owns two real-world businesses: one that restores and manages repossessed properties for mortgage companies and one multi-level marketing company that he says is still getting off the ground.While Lomeli acknowledges he had some difficulty playing as a teen–he had limited time and resources compared to his adult competition–he still advises interested teens to start up now.”The [Entropia] universe is only getting stronger, and the best time to get into a good investment is as soon as possible,” Lomeli says. “The great thing about Entropia is it’s fun. It’s not your everyday investment. You get to hunt and play around while you make money. Where else do you get to do that as a teen?”For those who want to get started, Seiler says the skills required aren’t that different from real-world businesses.”You still need interpersonal skills for management or sales, but now it comes in how you operate your avatar.” Seiler says. “You still need product design skills and the ability to manufacture something (unless you’re selling a service), but that comes in scripting or 3-D modeling instead of working with a hammer and nails. You still need to manage finances, but now you work with virtual currencies as well as real currencies.”Seiler does emphasize the need to learn the “ins and outs” of the virtual world you choose, as well as the product or service you hone in on.”There’s an inclination to view this as a get-rich-quick opportunity, where you need only set up a booth/website/virtual island, announce that you’re selling something and wait for money,” Seiler says.Though no business takes such little effort, for teens already glued to a screen for many hours in a day, putting the time and effort into a virtual-world business is not only a fun way to make extra money, but also a way to learn vital business skills and change the course of their future. July 10, 2008 Add to Queue Virtual Success Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Entrepreneurs Register Now »last_img read more

Bitcoin Companies Subpoenaed Over Regulatory Concerns

first_imgTechnology Ray Hennessey Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business –shares New York state financial regulators have issued subpoenas asking Bitcoin-related companies for information into whether safeguards are in place to prevent the virtual currency from being used in illegal activities such as money laundering.The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said the New York Department of Financial Services also wants information on whether the companies have consumer-protection measures in place, in addition to investment strategies for Bitcoin.Leading companies Coinbase Inc, BitInstant and Coinsetter are among the companies receiving subpoenas, according to the Journal. New York regulators also sent subpoenas to companies backed by high-profile Bitcoin investors, including venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the Journal said.The Journal says the subpoenas come as New York plans to issue a memo raising questions over whether Bitcoin companies are following state law. The memo and subpoenas also suggest Bitcoin companies will be subject to a host of new rules and regulations, which, up to now, they have avoided.”We believe that — for a number of reasons — putting in place appropriate regulatory safeguards for virtual currencies will be beneficial to the long term strength of the virtual currency industry,” Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s superintendent for financial services, wrote in a draft memo reviewed by the Journal. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Editor-at-Large August 12, 2013 Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel.center_img 2 min read Add to Queue Bitcoin Companies Subpoenaed Over Regulatory Concerns Image credit: AP Next Article Guest Writer Register Now »last_img read more

I Did Not Create Bitcoin 4 Major Takeaways From Dorian Satoshi Nakamotos

first_img March 17, 2014 Kim Lachance Shandrow Former West Coast Editor Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto wants reporters off his back, out of his business and away from his family. And, no, once and for all, contrary to what Newsweek reported, he did not “create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin,” according to an official statement released last night denying his alleged role in inventing the controversial cryptocurrency.The somber letter of denial, which Reuters financial journalist Felix Salmon posted on Twitter last night, was reportedly issued through Nakamoto’s lawyer Ethan Kirschner.Related: The Obsessively Secretive Founder of Bitcoin Has Been UnmaskedDorian Nakamoto official statement/denial. Very interested to see how @newsweek @truth_eater @jimpoco respond. pic.twitter.com/wfCyK1dQ48— felix salmon (@felixsalmon) March 17, 2014 Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Add to Queuecenter_img 4 min read Nakamoto’s Echo Park, Calif.-based business and entertainment industry attorney also took to Twitter last night to retweet Salmon’s tweet about his client’s written denial. He also retweeted an alleged police report filed by Nakamoto claiming reporters and photographers stalked him outside his Temple City home.  Ever since Leah McGrath Goodman’s Newsweek “The Face Behind Bitcoin” story broke, Nakamoto has been at the center of what TechCrunch writer Pankaj Mishra aptly compared to a “a modern tech manhunt,” with media staking out his home and later chasing the 64-year-old on foot and by car around Los Angeles.  Here are four claims from Nakamoto’s official letter of denial:1. He is not who Newsweek said he was. The publication’s widely criticized “unmasking” story catapulted its reentry into print journalism — and Nakamoto — into the global spotlight. “I am the subject of the Newsweek story on Bitcoin,” Nakamoto’s statement reads. “I am writing this statement to clear my name. I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report.” Nakamoto has repeatedly denied any alleged ties to Bitcoin, though this letter serves as his first written denial.  Related: 6 Things You Need to Know About Bitcoin This Week2. He’d never heard of Bitcoin until about a month ago. He says in the statement that the first time he heard “the term ‘Bitcoin’” was from his son in mid-February 2014. “After being contacted by a reporter, my son called me and used the word, which I had never before heard. Shortly thereafter, the reporter confronted me at my home. I called the police. I never consented to speak with the reporter. In an ensuing discussion with a reporter from the Associated Press, I called the technology ‘bitcom’. I was still unfamiliar with the term.”  3. He has fallen on hard times. The letter seemed to serve two purposes for Nakamoto — to divorce himself from any alleged ties to Bitcoin and to bring attention to his financial woes. “I have not been able to find steady work as an engineer or programmer for 10 years,” he said. “I have worked as a labourer, polltaker, and substitute teacher. I discontinued my internet service in 2013 due to severe financial distress. I am trying to recover from prostate surgery in October 2012 and a stroke I suffered in October of 2013. My prospects for gainful employment has [sic] been harmed because of Newsweek’s article.”Meanwhile, Blockchain chief security officer Andreas M. Antonopoulos kicked off a fundraiser on Reddit to help raise money to help Nakamoto cover his legal and medical expenses. “If this person is not Satoshi, then these funds will serve as a ‘sorry for what happened to you,’ help with medical bills his family is facing, any legal bills they may incur, or anything else,” Antonopoulos wrote in a post on Reddit. “Most of all, it serves to soften the damage caused by irresponsible journalism and to demonstrate the generosity and empathy of the community, which I know is huge.”Related: 3 Big Misconceptions About Bitcoin4. He is pleading for privacy. He said in the statement that “Newsweek’s false report has been the source of a great deal of confusion and stress for myself, my 93-year-old mother, my siblings, and their families.” It appears that Nakamoto hopes his written denial will close what seems to be a very painful chapter in his and his family’s history. He wants further media inquires to stop, asking “that you now respect our privacy.” He also said this will be his last public statement on the matter. Bitcoin ‘I Did Not Create Bitcoin’: 4 Major Takeaways From Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto’s Letter of Denial –shares Register Now »last_img read more

How to Control Increasing EmployeeBenefits Costs

first_img Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Matt Straz Healthcare costs are rising, and that means one thing for employers: more expensive employee benefits. Founder and CEO of Namely How to Control Increasing Employee-Benefits Costs Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Health-care Costs Image credit: Shutterstock –shares 5 min read Enroll Now for $5 Guest Writer Healthcare costs are rising, and that means one thing for employers: more expensive employee benefits. In fact, an August survey of 133 large U.S. employers by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) found that employers surveyed expected health-plan premiums to rise in 2017 by 5 percent.Related: 6 Hacks for Taking Control of Your Healthcare CostsStill, many of those employers are optimistic that they can lower that increase by making changes to their plans. Those changes will target the top factors expected to raise the cost of benefits and will ultimately help make health care more affordable for everyone.Here’s a look at the top cost drivers and how employers plan to control them:Specialty pharmacy benefitsPrescription drugs are driving increases in costs associated with employee benefits. According to a March 2016 report from Express Scripts, the prices of these drugs are expected to increase 7.3 percent in 2017. Spending on specialty drugs has been deemed the most influential factor of these high prices, and the same report expects those costs to rise 16.8 percent in 2017.Employers agree that specialty medications have a huge impact on healthcare costs. Among those surveyed by the NBGH, 80 percent listed specialty pharmacy benefits among the top three cost drivers, while 31 percent rated them number one.Controlling costs: To control specialty drug costs, consider pharmacy-management techniques. The goal is to have employees make the most efficient decisions when it comes to medication, and 68 percent of the surveyed employers planned to give the strategy a try.For general medications, practices here can include requiring prior authorization before filling a prescription and using quantity limits or step therapy to encourage employees to try less expensive drugs, first. There are specific strategies for specialty drugs, as well. For instance, 68 percent of employers said they will require specialty medications to be obtained from a specialty pharmacy, a facility that carries only this kind of drug. Partnering with specialty pharmacies not only helps control employee-benefit costs, but also connects employees with specialty pharmacists who can help them better manage their condition and medications.Related: Diagnosing a Sick Healthcare IndustryHigh-cost claimantsIn the NBGH survey, the next biggest influencer was high-cost claimants. The American Health Policy Institute (AHPI) defines a high-cost claimant as a patient who costs $50,000 or more annually, and 74 percent of respondents rated this issue among the top three drivers of employee-benefit costs.In the AHPI’s recent analysis of claims data from 26 large employers, it found that the average high-cost claimant costs $122,382 each year — 29.3 times the cost of the average member. While these expenses account for 31 percent of healthcare spending among the employers surveyed, these individuals made up just 1.2 percent of all members.Controlling costs: Offering consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) and health savings accounts (HSA) puts employees in the driver’s seat and makes costs more manageable for everyone. CDHPs make employees responsible for a greater amount of their initial healthcare costs. In other words, employers manage less of the insurance cost.But these plans are beneficial for employees, as well. Employees pay lower monthly premiums, and can prepare for future costs by saving money tax-free with HSAs. HSAs are similar to flexible spending accounts, but employes keep the money they save even if they change jobs or retire. HSAs can help employees meet the deductible for medical expenses and can lead to considerable pre-tax savings — especially when employers contribute to those accounts.That’s why more employers will offer CDHPs and HSAs in 2017, the NBGH report found. Thirty-five percent of employers will offer only CDHPs — up from 33 percent in 2016 — and the number of employers offering HSAs will increase from 87 percent to 92 percent next year.Diseases and conditionsEmployers surveyed by NBGH also rated a different aspect of costly claims among the top three drivers of employee benefits costs: high-cost diseases and conditions. In fact, the AHPI analysis found that 53 percent of the healthcare costs for high-cost claimants are for chronic conditions, while 47 percent are for acute conditions.Controlling costs: To control the costs of diseases, employers are going to the source. NBGH found that 80 percent of the employers surveyed planned to offer nurse-coaching for care and condition management, while 72 percent will offer nurse-coaching for lifestyle management.Nurse-coaching and other wellness programs help employees manage their conditions. Programs help workers with everything from taking their medications correctly and consistently to following a proper diet and exercise regimen for their condition. They also make sure employees meet with doctors regularly and take other steps to keep the condition under control.Employers are further turning to telehealth as a low-cost option of condition management. Telehealth provides employees communication with a health provider without their having to travel to a doctor’s office. These services may be especially useful in treating mental health conditions, such as depression, and benefit both the employee and employer. Employees gain convenient counseling services, while employers save on costs.Related: Are Better Benefits the Solution to the Employee Wellness Problem?Among large employers surveyed by NGBH, 90 percent will make telehealth services available to employees, in states where they are allowed, in 2017, up from 70 percent this year and 46 percent in 2015. Next Article Add to Queue September 5, 2016last_img read more

First Edition June 14 2012

first_imgToday’s headlines include reports about how the pending Supreme Court decision is being viewed by investors, and the latest from the campaign trail. Kaiser Health News: AdvaMed’s Nexon: Expect More Health Cost Reduction Pressure (Video)In this Kaiser Health News video, David Nexon, a top health care advisor to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, says that no matter what, tremendous pressure to reduce spending will continue to push lawmakers to find ways to control health care costs (6/14). This interview is part of KHN’s video series “Supreme Uncertainty: What’s Next After The Court Rules,” which solicits views from public officials and policy experts about the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the health law and its implications for the future of health care. Watch the video.Kaiser Health News: Team USA Goes For The Gold – And For Electronic RecordsKaiser Health News staff writer Christian Torres reports: “The U.S. Olympic Committee is digitizing health records this month for the athletes who will be competing in London, as well as for about 3,000 other athletes who have been seen by USOC doctors in recent years. Some say this step is a sign that electronic medical records have made it to the big time” (Torres, 6/13). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Q & A: How Are Retired Military Personnel Affected By The Health Law? (Video)Kaiser Health News’ “Insuring Your Health” columnist Michelle Andrews answers that question from a reader, noting that the Affordable Care Act does affect some retired members of the military over age 65 (6/14). Watch the video.Kaiser Health News: Romney Outlines How He Would ‘Replace Obamacare’This Kaiser Health News video clip offers highlights of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s Tuesday speech. Romney doesn’t usually talk about health care in his campaign stump speeches. But at Con-Air Industries in Orlando, Florida, he blasted the 2010 federal health law and outlined what he would do if elected president (6/13). Watch the video or read the transcript.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Doctors Admit To Unprofessional Behavior In Study At 3 Chicago HospitalsNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Jordan Rau reports: “Working in a real hospital isn’t usually as dramatic as is portrayed in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy or House, MD, but a new study has identified unprofessional behaviors to which hospital-based doctors most frequently admit, including badmouthing fellow doctors and finding medical excuses to get out of having to care for patients” (Rau, 6/13). Check out what else is on the blog.The Wall Street Journal: Republicans See Advantages In Go-Slow Approach On BillsDemocrats accuse GOP leaders of deliberately dragging their feet on legislation that might help the economy, as it might also boost President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects. Republican leaders deny that. They blame Democrats for blocking GOP efforts to extend tax cuts and avert scheduled military spending cuts. Indeed, senior Democrats have political reasons of their own to avoid compromise on major budget issues before the election: They don’t want to undercut their ability to make a campaign issue of Republicans’ support for curbing the growth of Medicare and other popular entitlement programs (Hook, 6/13).Reuters/Chicago Tribune: Analysis: Investors Plot Hedges For Healthcare Law RulingInvestors could be excused for avoiding health insurance and hospital stocks as a U.S. Supreme Court decision nears on President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul law – an outcome that could send the companies’ shares down 10 percent or more. Aside from an educated guess, little real analysis can predict a ruling that has at least a half-dozen possible results for a law that affects wide swathes of the healthcare industry (Krauskopf, 6/13).The New York Times: How Broccoli Landed On Supreme Court MenuSince then broccoli has captured the public imagination and become the defining symbol for what may be the most important Supreme Court ruling in decades, one that is expected any day and could narrow the established limits of federal power and even overturn the legal underpinnings of the New Deal. If the court strikes down the health care law — which many constitutional experts on both the right and left long doubted it would do — many lawyers say they believe one reason may be the role of broccoli in shaping the debate (Stewart, 6/13).The New York Times’ Caucus Blog: Budget Office Director Says Health Law Hasn’t Hit EconomyAs a Supreme Court ruling on the health care law nears, theories abound as to what the economic effects of the court’s decision will be. On Wednesday, Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, wasn’t eager to enter that fray – but he disputed the view pushed mostly by Republicans that the health care law has, to this point, hurt employment (Berg, 6/13).The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Dueling Speeches, Big Day: Obama, Romney In OhioObama will probably pound on the second-term economic vision he began laying out months ago. He will lay out a jobs plan of spending tax money on education, energy, science and innovation and transportation; cutting the debt by reducing spending elsewhere and raising taxes on the wealthy; and taking on the nation’s loophole-loaded tax code to make it fairer. Romney will talk about cutting regulation and spending, overhauling the tax system, doing away with Obama’s health care overhaul and supporting a major oil pipeline known as Keystone XL. Setting his own expectations for Obama, Romney told donors in Cincinnati: “He’ll speak with great rhetoric and eloquence. But actions and records speak a heck of a lot louder than words” (6/14).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Barber’s Win In Arizona Cheers Dems; GOP Says It Shows Obama’s WeaknessesBased on recent precedent, Democrat Ron Barber’s special election triumph in a Republican-heavy Arizona congressional district portends little or nothing about the outcome of this fall’s battle for control of the House. That didn’t stop either party from posting rival claims: Democrats cast the race as a referendum on Republican proposals for Social Security and Medicare. Republicans stressed that Barber’s victory came after he emphasized his differences with President Barack Obama on health care and other issues (6/13).The Wall Street Journal: GOP Scrambles After Aide To Giffords Wins Special VoteLate Tuesday night, Democratic leaders issued a memo saying the Barber win holds “important lessons” for other elections. The “election was a referendum on Republicans’ policy of cutting Medicare and privatizing Social Security to give tax breaks to millionaires,” the memo said. Republicans countered that the outcome was heavily influenced by Ms. Giffords’ popularity after she survived a bullet wound to her head during a mass-shooting last year. Mr. Barber was also injured in the shooting, in which six people died (Audi, 6/13).Los Angeles Times: Are Catholic Bishops Abandoning Nonpartisanship In Contraception Battle?Now, some Catholics are beginning to wonder out loud whether the bishops have abandoned their historic nonpartisanship — or, at least, are at risk of being seen that way — as they press forward with a vigorous campaign against contraception provisions in President Obama’s healthcare plan (Landsberg, 6/13).Politico: Debate Over Government’s Role Fizzes Around Soda BanMany Americans are having a hard time swallowing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on the sale of big sodas – but it’s not just about the sugar. The micro public health policy issue of restricting the sizes of some drinks — and the strong public reaction to it on both sides — has become a touchstone for the polarized and passionate debate over the proper role of government (Mak, 6/13).Los Angeles Times: CalPERS Approves 9.6% Increase In Health Premiums In 2013The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the third-largest purchaser of health benefits in the country, approved a 9.6% increase in health premiums next year for its nearly 1.3 million members (Terhune, 6/14).Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: June 14, 2012 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more