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September 2, 2014

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer... 09/02/2014

David Siegel, King of Timeshares, Updated
Fifteen years ago BarterNews interviewed the CFO of Central Florida Investments (CFI), parent company of Westgate Resorts, the largest privately held timeshare-company in the world, and a company started in the garage of founder, CEO David Siegel. The interview showed how CFI astutely used barter to cover many of their on-going expenses.
Now, some 15 years later, a new film titled Queen of Versailles is in the movie theatres. It graphically illustrates how the housing balloon explosion of 2008 affected the Siegel family's fortune, and the lives of some 7,000 Westgate Resort employees who were subsequently laid off. 
 The title of the movie refers to the 90,000 square-foot home David and his wife Jackie were building (modeled after the famous French Versailles palace) prior to the real estate downturn. Hailed as the largest private residence in the U.S., their unfinished $100 million home is now in foreclosure.

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ECCO’s Upcoming Vienna Meeting Is About Compliance

The European Club for Countertrade and Offset (ECCO) will be hosting its 9th Symposium in Vienna, Austria, on November 19 & 20, 2014. The venue is the Hotel Le Meridien.
The forum will cover offset practices in South Korea and new offset legislation in Canada, where the Industrial & Regional Benefits Policy (IRB) has been replaced by the Industrial & Technological Benefits Policy (ITB).

Framework To Prevent Corruption

The workshop will be dedicated to discussions on compliance. Offset managers have to be aware of how offsets are perceived globally and must be ready to prove accountability. The emphasis at the symposium will be on offset against the background of the conclusions of the fourth annual high-level anti-corruption conference for G20 governments and business. At this conference, a panel discussion on offset unveiled a world of potential corruption threats, which supposedly were being ignored by the international community. 
In government procurement, the conference heard, there is a risk that offset contracts create opportunities for bribes. In this context, participants agreed that disclosure, transparency and accountability are essential in every step of the procurement process. Participants also agreed that there might be room for a framework to prevent and address the corruption risks associated with the practice of offsets.
An open debate on offset and bribes promises to display various considerations. Participants will include international institutions:

ECCO Academy & Publications
ECCO established a Countertrade & Offset Academy for training and the enhancement of offset management practices. For the third year running, this academy organized with the ESSEC Business School, in association with IHS, will be held at ESSEC CNIT Campus in Paris La Défense from March 2 thru 7, 2015, (session 1) and from March 30 to April 3, 2015. (Download the brochure on the ECCO website.)
Call For Contributions
At Eurosatory 2014, ECCO published its first pocket book in a series focusing on offset and relevant disciplines. The bilingual (French-English) glossary of professional terms represents the first volume of the series Echoes from ECCO and is available online.
Volume 1 of the series includes 100 words frequently used in offset. With the publication, ECCO endeavors to express complex notions in simple terms; diminishing confusion about the meaning of terms in the offset profession.
Contact the editorial committee at if you would be interested in contributing to the following volumes:
Offset and ethics finance
Offset and finance
Offset and the economy
Offset and insurance
Offset and delocalization
Offset and technology transfers
Offset and international law
Offset and corporate and contract law
Offset and social responsibility.
ECCO is an international forum, sharing information and best practices in offset and countertrade. This European association for companies, individuals, and institutions involved in offset and countertrade organizes symposiums where members and guests can unravel matters related to international law, customs, trade and government procurement. Offset research and training are also aims of ECCO. You are invited to become a member today!

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Three Technology Trends Your Company Can't Ignore

By Daniel Burrus

 Technology is evolving ... at lightning speed. For that reason, it's imperative that your company be focusing not just on the changes that are happening today, but also on the technological trends that are emerging and shaping the future of your organization and your industry. Why? Because the more anticipatory you can be in regard to technology, the more creatively you can use it to gain competitive advantage.
As someone who has been accurately predicting the future of technology for over 25 years, I urge all leaders to focus on the following three trends that are emerging and reshaping the business landscape as we know it.
I) Just-In-Time Training
Thanks to cloud-based (storage) technology, we're on the brink of a revolution in just-in-time training. This will enable people to use their laptops, cell phones, and tablet computers as a tool to receive training precisely when they need it. In the current training model used by many organizations, people receive training for a variety of things before they actually need the expertise. Thus taking people away from their jobs, costing the company a lot of money.
With just-in-time training, companies can keep people in the field without the specific training. Then, when the person needs a certain skill set to complete a job or do a task, he or she can receive the training for it in real time via cloud-based technology.
For example, suppose your company specializes in selling and repairing commercial HVAC units. There are a number of different units your repair staff needs to know how to fix. But rather than taking your people out of work and putting them in a multi-day training course, they can receive the training on how to fix it in real time via their mobile device as they are servicing the unit.
Now, suppose the commercial HVAC repair-person is onsite servicing something he's never worked on before. He uses the just-in-time training module via his tablet computer. But he’s still confused about a certain aspect of the repair. All he has to do is touch the "help" icon on his screen and it immediately connects him to a master trainer live on the screen. The repair-person can then put on a headband that has a camera on the front, similar to the headbands with a light that people use for camping or car repair.
By wearing this digital, high-resolution camera that interfaces with the mobile device, the repair-person can show the master trainer exactly what the issue is. Now that master trainer can see what the repair-person sees and can tell him exactly what to do, as if he were standing right there with the repair-person. A dramatic savings and increase in efficiency.
This type of technology could be used to train people on new software, teach salespeople about product upgrades, instruct employees on new policies and procedures, to name a few. And it's better than a standard tutorial, because the training can be accessed via any device, anywhere, and at anytime ... with an option for live help. Thus the applications for cloud-based, just-in-time services are virtually limitless.
II) Processing Power On Demand
The increased bandwidth that our mobile devices now receive enables us to connect to the cloud-based technologies easier and faster than ever before. And one thing we know about bandwidth is that it will continue to increase. Because of this, we'll soon be able to take advantage of another trend that I call processing power on demand — or virtualized processing power.
We have already virtualized many things. We have virtualized storage, where we can store our data on a cloud-based network. Many companies choose this option for data safety and ease of backup, as well as for the ability to access the data via any device. We have virtualized our desktops so it can be seen on anyone else's machine, just the way it's supposed to look.
It only makes sense, then, that processing power will be virtualized too. In other words, a mobile device only has a certain amount of processing power. But if you can tap into additional processing power via cloud-based technology, you can turn your mobile device into a super computer that can do advanced simulations and crunch different data streams together to get real time analytics.
Your hand-held device is now as powerful and advanced as your desktop. Imagine the increase in productivity if each of your employees had the capability to do complex work that required advanced processing power while they were on the road, armed with nothing more than their mobile device. What would that shift do to your company's bottom line?
III) Creative Application Of Technology
For both of these trends and others to fully emerge, business leaders have to consider what their people would do with the technology. It's no longer enough to just deploy technology, you also have to consider how your people can creatively apply the technology in order to gain competitive advantage.
Therefore, you need to go to your internal customers (all the people using the technology in the enterprise) and ask what they want technologically. Give them what they ask for, but realize that they will under-ask because they don't know what's technically possible. So while you want to listen to what people in the organization are asking for and give it to them, realize that what they're not asking for is the bigger and better capabilities — the things they don't even know are possible.
The key is to go to the next level and give people the ability to do what they currently can't do, but would want to do if they knew they could. After all, people really didn't ask for an iPhone or a Blackberry. The hidden need was the ability to access their e-mail and internet without being tied to their desktop or laptop.
This is about putting existing technologies together and using them in a creative way. For example, there are literally thousands of features in Microsoft Word that you can select. Most people are using only seven to ten features. And your competitors are using the same features, which means you're not getting any true competitive advantage. So you need to ask, "What features would be great for our sales group (or HR, or accounting, or logistics, etc.) to use — features that are so buried in the software that no one knows they exist?"
Most IT departments won't ask those questions because they're too busy making sure everything is connected, working well, and safe. And if they're not asking, who is? Who in your organization is looking at the tools you already have and asking if they are being underused? Chances are the answer is no one. As such, it's safe to say that all your tools are underutilized.
Therefore, you need to implement a communication vehicle that engages all the different groups and departments you serve in the enterprise, and you need to engage them in helping understand the power of the tools they have access to. One suggestion is to automatically show them a "feature of the day" and how it can make their life easier.
This is about giving them information in short, fun, engaging ways — rather than a hundred-page document detailing all the features, which no one will read anyway. Some software programs have features that give you get a tip per day. Perhaps you can customize that idea and apply it internally so that the different groups get information tailored specifically to them and their needs.
Many business leaders will say they are too busy to address any of these trends. But if you don't address them, who will? Ultimately, whoever drives these trends within an organization will be perceived as a significant contributor to the enterprise — someone worth keeping. And someone with high value in the marketplace. When that someone is you, you can drive results to the bottom line and be a key contributor to the organization's success.
(Daniel Burrus is considered a leading technology forecaster and business strategist. He's the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends, and the author of six books.)
For more information, click here.

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