The pace of growth among businesses in the eurozone eased in October as the service sector slowed, a survey has indicated.
From 52.2 in September, the preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) from research firm Markit fell to 51.5.
Nevertheless, a reading above 50 still entails expansion, and activity has now developed for four months straight.
Markit said expansion was “broad-based” across the eurozone, although growth slowed in both Germany and France.
Germany had seen growth slow to a three-month low. It has been the chief economic powerhouse for the eurozone in the past years.
Markit also noted that the eurozone’s jobs market remained weak. Employment fell for the 22nd month in a row, with the rate of job losses picking up from September.
“The survey data have been running in positive territory for four consecutive months now and indicate that the eurozone economy expanded at a quarterly rate of 0.2% at the start of the fourth quarter, suggesting an ongoing, albeit sluggish, recovery,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
Spain was one of the hardest hit by the credit crunch and subsequent economic recession. Spain’s economy has been showing signs this week that it is bit by bit beginning to make progress.
Unemployment rate is one of the highest in Europe. Official figures show the country’s unemployment rate fell slightly in the third quarter of this year, to 26% from 26.3% in the previous quarter.
The Bank of Spain said On Wednesday that the country’s economy had emerged from recession after growing for the first time in more than two years.
The bank projected that Spain’s economy raised by 0.1% between July and September.
The eurozone came out from recession in the second quarter of this year when it grew by 0.3% following a record 18 months of economic contraction.
On the other hand, earlier this month, European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi said the recovery in the bloc remained “weak, fragile, uneven”.
He said further support for the banking sector could not be ruled out, and that the ECB was “ready to consider all available instruments” to maintain financial stability and ensure that recovery in the eurozone took hold.
There has been assumption that the ECB has the possible to offer one more round of not expensive, cheap, long-term loans to banks to keep the cost of credit down.
October 22 this year is the launch of BlackBerry’s BBM messaging app. It has finally begun, with the app rolling out to customers these days after a proposed launch last month was delayed by leaked software.
BlackBerry made the app available to customers in phases, with their blog teaching users to download the app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store and enter their email. Then they will receive a message when the app is ready to use.
According to BlackBerry’s reports, “in just seven hours, about one million Android users were using the unreleased version of BBM for Android,” and that they are currently serving the “next 5 million in line”.
Those users who signed up for email notifications about BBM messenger last September will be the first in line to get access to the app, though BlackBerry are promising that “our team of developers and engineers has been working around the clock to bring you BBM – and make some upgrades while we’re at it.”
The first feedback from customers that had comments reported that the app is essentially a straight port from BlackBerry devices, with the same layout (swipe from the left for access to conversations, contacts and groups; swipe from the right for help, settings, and inviting friends, etc) used in both iOS and Android.
Nevertheless, definite features such as Voice and Video Chat are only available through the BlackBerry 10 operating system, also the app is lacking several functions like that of contact sharing and video file transfers available to competitors like WhatsApp, WeChat and Line.
The attention around BBM must be moving for a company whose future is so unsure, but the messenger-app market has distorted given that BlackBerry had its peak of its success. While in the UK, it may still have comparatively high support but globally the market now belongs to competitors naming WeChat and Line.
Communicating at the NokiaWorld event in Abu Dhab it revealed that rival OTT (over the top) messaging app WhatsApp announced that the company had now hit 350 million monthly active users.
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum also announced that the app would be directly integrated into three new Nokia Asha devices – low-budget handsets aimed at the developing market. WhatsApp aren’t looking for the next 5 million users but they’re looking for the next 350 million now that sales of Asha devices going strong in developing markets.
Financial literacy is the awareness of how money functions and the capacity to handle one’s finances successfully. While it is not a new idea, it is a completely recent phrase frequently used in the UAE.
Why is this so? The reason, it appears, is that we are a not a financially knowledgeable nation.
This can be clearly gleaned from our amount of debt, which constantly increases. In spite of the fact that the Central Bank introduces more rigorous qualifications for individual lending in 2011, banks are still allowed to grant loans of up to 20 times a person’s monthly wage, with instalments not to go above 50 per cent of monthly wage.
The worth of personal debts in the country rose by 3.8 per cent to Dh270.7 billion between January and May this year alone, according to the Central Bank. That sum is over and above the Dh8.8 billion increase in individual loans reported during 2012.
In addition, a survey by The National Family Status Observatory in 2012 revealed that about 60 per cent of Emirati families disbursed about one fourth of their monthly earnings repaying loans from credit cards and individual loans.
Those figures are excessively high, says Keren Bobker, the financial counsellor who writes The National’s “On Your Side” column.
“A major fraction of the population has total monthly loan obligations that surpass their income,” she says. “Inescapably, this will end up in defaulting on payments and other dire consequences.”
So why is the UAE exceedingly financially uninformed? “Many factors can explain this predicament,” Ms Bobker says. “These comprise having to handle financial products in a second language; absence of transparency in terms of many financial products and services; lack of help from banks, and excessive hard selling which are improper.”
Having debts has been embedded into the culture, she says. “So many citizens here simply believe that having large uncollateralized loans is natural and end up paying huge amounts of interest without truly understanding the real cost of spending and, more so, whether the loan is at all needed.”
Not possessing as much consumer protection as other developed countries and without a regulatory agency which can assist citizens with their complaints, aggravates the condition, she adds.
It is not surprising therefore that financial literacy is already a principal subject of discussion in the UAE. And with a portion of the nation’s economic-development program aimed at producing a financially knowledgeable society that will prop up a sustainable, diverse economy by 2030, several financial institutions have initiated programmes to resolve the problem.
Banks, institutions such as the Emirates Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, as well as private firms include the many which have joined in this vital task.
The Emirates Foundation, an autonomous philanthropic organization formed by the Government of Abu Dhabi to support public-private financed projects to enhance the welfare of citizens all over the nation, is coordinating with financial professionals, banks and the private sector to motivate people to administer their finances more efficiently.
With the help of a financial awareness promotion called Isrif Sah (Spend Right, in English), the foundation hopes to form a cadre of 100 Emiratis who will be educated to become experts in personal finance and help others in turn. Eventually, the foundation will tour the country, catering to students in schools and universities as well as consumers in the malls, to assist in disseminating the message.
Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, managing director of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, states: “Financial literacy has arisen as an increasingly vital issue particularly in the light of the global economic crisis, where efficient handling of debt came out as a very crucial matter. We aim to help the youth in the UAE obtain the proper knowledge to help them avoid excessive debt and handle finances in order to support themselves and their families all through their lifetime.”
It is more likely, if you’ve sold popular items on Craigslist or Ebay, that you have been contacted by people that raise the scheme if they can pay by a party cashier’s check. The typical story goes like this; on behalf of the buyer someone else will going to pay you for the reason that that person owes money from your buyer. To make it more believable, they will add some authentic sounding story like the buyer will say they are from a different country and that this is a way to make the payment easier.
As soon as you accept this conditions and the moment you receive the check you will realize that the amount of the check is more than the price purchased. Soon enough the buyer will ask you to send him the difference trough Western Union.
Next thing you’ll know after you sent the buyer the difference, he swiftly runs into some financial difficulty and will ask you to cancel the sale and send the rest of the money.
And almost immediately, you will realize that the cashier’s check is fraudulent and what makes it worst is your bank will try to reclaim the funds from you.
In this case the popular belief that cashier’s checks mean that you are guaranteed the money is unreal. What happens is usually your bank will clear the funds quickly but there is still a window of several weeks which the payment can be determined fraudulent and reversed.
What you can do must take not of are the following:
•Be distrustful of any payment agreement that involves person other than the buyer.
•Become conscious that cashiers checks are not an assurance that the funds will clear.
•Not under any condition you must send money back to an unknown buyer.
•And not under any condition you must send money to someone you don’t know through Western Union or another such untraceable service.
From the observation and experience of an 18 year-old girl, the so-called super capacitor was made.
You don’t have to worry whenever your mobile phone battery gets low. A super capacitor is able to pack a lot of energy into a small and cramped space. At the same time, the device is also able to charge quickly in as little as 30 seconds while holding its charge for a long time.
The said invention of a major science awardee- Eesha khare at Lynbrook High School in Saratoga also capable of lasting up to 10, 000 charge-discharge cycles, and a big jump compared to the usual 1000 cycles for the commercial rechargeable batteries available in the market.
In an interview with NBC News, she shared that her inspiration in developing her invention is her mobile phone battery’s short lifespan. More so, Eesha says super capacitors also allowed her to further study nanochemistry, which she believes allows for significant advances in many other fields in science.
Applications for Eesha’s invention seem very bright. Although she has only tested the super capacitor in powering an LED (light emitting diode), she sees it to be fitted in cellphones, tablets, and other mobile devices that seem to grow more and more power hungry each day. With her invention The Tyler Group Barcelona stresses that it could be possible for tomorrow’s gadgets to last not just hours but days or even weeks on a single charge. Also, her invention is designed to be flexible enough to be used in roll-up displays such as in clothing and advertising mediums. In the long run, numerous other applications could utilize Eesha’s invention.
Myanmar on Tuesday pardoned dozens of political prisoners a day after the European Union agreed to end almost all sanctions against the former pariah state, activists said.
Bo Kyi of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) said, at least 59 political prisoners were included in the latest amnesty.
“More than 200 political prisoners are still in prison,” he continued. “Political prisoners should be recognized as political prisoners and be released unconditionally.”
He said, the amnesty included 40 former rebels from eastern Shan state jailed for drug trafficking while describing them as “victims of politics”.
Nyan Lin, another activist, from the 88 Generation group, confirmed that at least 30 political prisoners were released.
Based from his counting, he included 17 Muslims arrested and charged under the emergency act after religious clashes in the central town of Kyaukse in 2003.
A Myanmar government official said that total of 93 inmates were pardoned but did not identify them. Out of the pardoned inmates, three were foreigners.
He said, “This release aims to allow them to participate in building the country and is also based on humanitarian grounds.”
According to State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell, the United States welcomed the latest release but called for the unconditional freedom of all political prisoners.
Since President Thein Sein took power in March 2011 Myanmar has freed hundreds of political detainees although they have been long denying their existence. The government publicized a reassessment of all politically allied cases in November last year.
Myanmar’s former junta was accused by rights groups of wrongfully imprisoning about 2,000 political opponents, dissidents and journalists.
And activists state Myanmar’s government has used a series of headline-grabbing prisoner releases for political gain.
In November it seems that it was done to coincide with a landmark visit by US President Barack Obama when the country’s new reformist regime pardoned dozens of political prisoners.
“I think the government is releasing prisoners because the EU lifted sanctions. We welcome their release,” said activist Toe Kyaw Hlaing, who has been working to secure pardons for imprisoned dissidents.
Rights groups have cautioned that the EU risk losing leverage against Myanmar by scrapping the measures.
On Monday, New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Myanmar of “a campaign of ethnic cleansing” against Rohingya Muslims in the western state of Rakhine as they cite evidence of mass graves and forced displacement of tens of thousands.
The Rohingya, who are denied citizenship by the country also known as Burma, have faced crimes against humanity including murder, persecution, deportation and forced transfer, the watchdog said.
The government denies but the results of the HRW report were released on the same day that the European Union raised all remaining sanctions against Myanmar, apart from an arms embargo, in a move that HRW described as premature.
Myanmar’s foreign ministry welcomed the EU move, saying it would be “greatly beneficial to the Myanmar people who have demonstrated their strong determination to achieve democratic reforms and have been actively supporting the government’s reform process during the last two years”.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh carried a contrarian note and warned India Inc of unjustified pessimism even as he guaranteed the industry of faster regulatory clearances, mitigation of inter-ministerial disagreements and a comprehensive review of the foreign investment policy to restore growth to its earlier trajectory.
The Prime Minister made a case for prompt and critical actions to realize 8 per cent economic growth yet terming the 5 per cent GDP expansion as clearly disappointing.
PM agreed that the role of the government is essential to take growth back to 8%. “India was growing above 9% before financial crisis,” he said. He further added that the slowdown is partially because of global factors and the government would take corrective actions.
PM Singh said it was nice to see that the industry had realized that the government has a role. That was when reminding the industry of the undue optimism in 2007 when the industry claimed that it grew irrespective of the government in the pre-Lehman crisis.
High fiscal deficit, current account deficit, inflationary pressures were macro problems that country was facing, he said previous to outlining how the government is planning to overturn the investment ambiance.
The PM address his first after Budget 2013 to the captains of industry at the annual general meet of CII. The annual general meet of CII is at the back of a slowing economy, high inflation and current account deficit.
Observing that the high fiscal deficit is unacceptable, Singh said “We are determined to do everything possible to achieve the fiscal deficit target”.
The government aims to bring down the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by 2016-17, according to the road map.
PM Singh had advised the industry to let loose the animal spirits in mid 2012, when he implicit allege of the finance ministry before P Chidambaram transferred into North Block. The growth story that has taken a thrashing with a sub-6 per cent growth in the fiscal just completed and the government is presuming the peddle to restore growth.
Singh said that the government and industries are partners in progress and emphasized the need for more social responsibility by the companies.
PM said, “India is experiencing a temporary downturn in economy and we will prove prophets of doom wrong.” He said that the government financed a Current Account Deficit (CAD) of over $90 billion in 2012-13 without a loss in reserves.
On the other hand, the government is doing its part, working twice as hard through the cabinet committee on investments, this is headed by PM of course, and to continue through clearances and clear projects stuck in inter-ministerial differences. The CCI is the government’s newest decision making arm. It has cleaned projects worth Rs 40,000 core primarily in the infrastructure sector.
Recently, a number of scam cases have been reported on scam-alerts list globally. And most of this can be found on your emails sent by the seeming rank and file name plates in a particular country which would give you interest indeed.
But, how can you tell if an email message regarding job is a scam? It can be hard to differentiate between scams and legitimate employment related email messages. However, many job scams will send you an email saying that you got the job before ever meeting with you in person.
Some job scams do not even use job search websites; instead, they send emails directly to individual email addresses. You may receive an email offering you a job; the email is often from a Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, or Hotmail account, although scammers occasionally use a fake company domain name.
Once again, these unsolicited job offers are not legitimate; no company will offer you a job without even knowing who you are. Below are some of the Tyler Group Barcelona readers’ responses to online job scams:
Cargo Solutions Company Scammers
“We have found your application in job board website database and consider you are a perfect candidate for this job which we offer. Title: Financial Operations Specialist Eligibility Criteria: No Experience is required in Financial Services. Duration: Long term with 2 weeks probation period. Location: Australia or New Zealand. For more information, please reply with your short resume. Have a good day,Basic Cargo Solutions Company”
And there are cases; email message will be sent in your inbox with texts goes like this.
Senior Engineer, IT, Government Administration, Production, Marketing and General Service Departments at the Suzuki Maruti plant in Vasant Kuj.
New Delhi is hiring!
This is also a fraud email that has made its way to the United States, having run its course in other parts of the globe since December 2010. There is no job offer; do not apply.
Be cautious whenever a company requests you to handle money for them; no legitimate employer will ask you to transfer money or pay to get hired. They also pretend to get more information from you since they had received or discovered you resume, they would have already had access to the information they ask for.Then they ask for a deposit of thousands of dollars they claim will be returned to you upon your visit to the New Delhi plant for your interview.
In line with this, the company quoted that Maruti does not solicit payments in its organization’s recruitment process. Therefore, this is a fraudulent mail run by a group of criminals or scammers.Furthermore, the Tribune reported that the India Ministry has also taking action to go after the people behind this scam.
Here are some tips to help you when applying for jobs:
•Exercise Caution. When using social networking sites, such as Facebook, and online employment sites, such as Craigslist, check out the real or original website of the company posting the position to verify it actually exists. If you don’t find it there, chances are it’s a scam.
•Start with Trust. Many scammers use names that are similar to reputable companies in order to trick job seekers. BBB recommends that job seekers check out the company first at bbb.org and to apply through the real company site when possible.
•Avoid Offers to Work at Home. Most jobs that say you can work from home or make so much cash are a ploy to entice you to give away your credit card information, cashing fake checks, or paying for training that ought to be free. Job seekers should understand that employees working from home normally go through the required personal interviews and hiring process and often have necessary experience in what they do, work for a salary, or have spent money and time creating the market for their work.
•Be Careful of the “Perfect Offer.” Job seekers should be wary of any posting advertising exceedingly high pay for short working hours or minimal required job experience. If it sounds too good to be true, avoid it.
•Report Fraud. If you find a job scam or internet fraud, including Craigslist scams report it to the BBB by emailing email@example.com and contact the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at 800.251.3221 or go to www.ic3.gov.
•Protect Your Resumé. Some job seekers have uploaded their resumé online; but make sure you only upload it for a legitimate purpose to a real company. Resumes often contain personal information, ripe for identity-thieves.
•Protect Personal Information. Job seekers should never give their social security number or birth date until they have verified the job is legitimate. Furthermore, job seekers should never give bank account information for direct deposit setup until they have officially been hired.
•Never Pay Upfront Fees. No legitimate job offer will require out-of-pocket expenses from a prospective employee for credit reports, background checks or administrative fees before an interview.
Original article: http://sglinks.com/pages/10621090-iphone-losing-its-charm-in-singapore-hong-kong-report-ndtv
iPhone Apple Inc’s fabled gadget is slowly deficit in terms of appeal among two of the
Asia’s affluent, Singapore and Hong Kong, a victim of changing mobile habits and its
own runaway success.
Apathetic of iPhone fatigue, a desire to be different and a plethora of competing
devices, users are eyeing for other brands. Market are mostly buying from Samsung
Electronics Co Ltd, which causing Apple’s market descend.
By the year of 2010, Singapore was dominated by iOS that almost all devices were ran
by its operating system per capita more than anywhere else in the world.
Lat year was a different story for iOS, according to StatCounter –measure traffic
collected across a network of 3 million websites—the Apple’s share of mobile devices
such as iPad and iPhone declined sharply last year in Singapore. From a max out of 72
percent in January 2012, its share fell to 50 percent this month, while Android devices
now account for 43 percent of the market, up from 20 percent in the same month last
Same story was reported in Hong Kong where devices running Apple’s iOS now
account for about 30 percent of the total, down from about 45 percent a year ago.
Android accounts for nearly two-thirds.
“Apple is still viewed as a prestigious brand, but there are just so many other cool
smartphones out there now that the competition is just much stiffer,” said Tom Clayton,
chief executive of Singapore-based Bubble Motion, which develops a popular regional
social media app called Bubbly.
Other key markets across fast-growing Asia usually follow when Hong Kong and
Singapore lead the trend.
“Singapore and Hong Kong tend to be, from an electronics perspective, leading
indicators on what is going to be hot in Western Europe and North America, as well as
what is going to take off in the region,” said Jim Wagstaff, who runs a Singapore-based
company called Jam Factory developing mobile apps for enterprises.
According to research company GfK Southeast Asia is adopting smartphones fast -
consumers spent 78 percent more on smartphones in the 12 months up to September
2012 than they did the year before.
In with the crowd
The truth behind iPhone fatigue is in fact most seen anywhere, a year ago every other
devices on Hong Kong and Singapore subways are overwhelmed by iPhones but today
they are outnumbered by Samsung and HTC Corp smartphones.
One of the reasons for this is the number of productions of Android devices, from the
cheap to fancy, there are other sings that Apple lost its charm to its market.
An application called BillPin, an app for splitting bills, is recently launched by Singpaore
entrepreneur Aileen Sim but the app only works for iOS because that was the dominant
platform in the three countries she intend to market, Singapore, India, and United
“But what surprised us was how strong the call for Android was when we launched our
app,” she said.
In fact, 70 percent of their target users 20-something college students and fresh
graduates – said they were either already on Android or planned to switch over.
“Android is becoming really hard to ignore, around the region and in the U.S. for sure,
but surprisingly even in Singapore,” she said. “Even my younger early-20s cousins are
mostly on Android now.”
This month BillPin launched an Android version.
Napoleon Biggs, chief strategy officer at Gravitas Group, a Hong Kong-based mobile
marketing company, said that while Apple and the iPhone remained premium brands
there, Samsung’s promotional efforts were playing to an increasingly receptive
For some the thought of standing away from being called as hipsters or standing out of
the norm of iPhone –carrying crowd is their reason for turning to Android. Others find
it better suit to their lifestyles such as the higher-powered, bigger-screened Android
devices are more convenient and user-friendly. Or for some writing Chinese characters
is easier on bigger screens. While the cost of switching devices is lower than they
expected, given that most popular social and gaming apps are available for both
“Hong Kong is a very fickle place,” Biggs said.
“After Steve Jobs died, it seems the element of surprise in product launches isn’t that
great anymore,” Janet Chan, a 25-year-old Hong Kong advertising executive said.
She has an iPhone 5 but its fast-draining battery and the appeal of a bigger screen for
watching movies is prodding her to switch to a Samsung Galaxy Note II.
There are still a number of people buying Apple devices. Over Christmas holidays
stores the sell the product were still full and in Hong Kong were company’s official store
just opened are still full of people on most days.
But its popularity dropped in Hong Kong and Singapore is seen in the market malls of
“iPhones are like Louis Vuitton handbags,” said marketing manager Narisara Konglua
in Bangkok, who uses a Galaxy SIII. “It’s become so commonplace to see people with
iPads and iPhones so you lose your cool edge having one.”
The iPhone “used to be a cool gadget but now more and more people use it.” says
Gatot Hadipratomo an assistant manager at Coca Cola’s local venture in the Indonesian
Samsung had a great marketing strategy as well, as Korean pop music, movies and
TV are hugely popular around the region, Samsung is riding that wave. The impact
of the Apple loosing its popularity is more visible in Hong Kong and Singapore, it also
translates directly to places like Thailand.
“Thais are not very brand-loyal,” says Akkaradert Bumrungmuang, 24, a student at
Mahidol University in Bangkok. “That’s why whatever is hot or the in-thing to have is
adopted quickly here. We follow Korea so whatever is fashionable in Korea will be a big
Netflix users from Canada to South America celebrated their Christmas Eve with a bug found in Amazon.com Inc. where companies take when they move their datacenter operations to the cloud.
While the high-profile failure – at least the third this year – may cause some Amazon Web Services customers to consider alternatives, it is unlikely to severely hurt a fast-growing business for the cloud-computing pioneer that got into the sector in 2006 and has historically experienced few outages.
“The benefits still outweigh the risks,” said Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry.
“When it comes to the cloud, Amazon has got it right.”
The latest service failure comes at a critical time for Amazon, which is betting that AWS can become a significant profit generator even if the economy continues to stagnate. Moreover, it is increasingly targeting larger corporate clients that have traditionally shied away from moving critical applications onto AWS.
AWS, which Amazon started more than six years ago, provides data storage, computing power and other technology services from remote locations that group thousands of servers across areas than can span whole football fields. Their early investment made it a pioneer in what is now known as cloud computing.
Executives said last month at an Amazon conference in Las Vegas they could envision the division, which lists Pinterest, Shazam and Spotify among its fast-growing clients, becoming its biggest business, outpacing even its online retail juggernaut.
Evercore analyst Ken Sena expects AWS revenue to jump 45 percent a year, from about $2 billion this year to $20 billion in 2018.
The service has boomed because it is cheap, relatively easy to use, and can be shut off, scaled back or ramped up quickly depending on companies’ needs. As the longest-running player in the game, Amazon now boasts the widest array of datacenter products and services, plus a broader stable of clients than rivals like Google Inc (GOOG.O), Rackspace Inc (RAX.N) and Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N).
Outages such as the one that took down Netflix and other websites on the eve of one of the biggest U.S. holidays are part and parcel of the nascent business, analysts say. Moreover, outages have been a problem long before the age of cloud computing, with glitches within corporate datacenters and telecommunications hubs triggering myriad service disruptions.
Amazon’s latest service failure comes months after two high-profile outages that hit Netflix and other popular websites such as photo-sharing service Instagram and Pinterest. Industry executives, however, say its downtimes tend to attract more attention because of its out sized market footprint.
Netflix – which CEO Reed Hastings said relies on AWS for 95 percent of its datacenter needs – would not comment on whether they were pondering alternatives. Analysts say the video streaming giant is unlikely to try a large-scale switch, partly because all cloud providers experience outages.
“Despite a steady stream of these service outages, the demand for cloud services offered by AWS, Google, etc. continues to escalate because these services are still reliable enough to satisfy customer expectations,” said Jeff Kaplan, managing director of consultancy ThinkStrategies Inc.