The Car Rental Industry

Market Overview

The car rental industry is a multi-billion dollar sector of the US economy. The US segment of the industry averages about $18.5 billion in revenue a year. Today, there are approximately 1.9 million rental vehicles that service the US segment of the market. In addition, there are many rental agencies besides the industry leaders that subdivide the total revenue, namely Dollar Thrifty, Budget and Vanguard. Unlike other mature service industries, the rental car industry is highly consolidated which naturally puts potential new comers at a cost-disadvantage since they face high input costs with reduced possibility of economies of scale. Moreover, most of the profit is generated by a few firms including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis. For the fiscal year of 2004, Enterprise generated $7.4 billion in total revenue. Hertz came in second position with about $5.2 billion and Avis with $2.97 in revenue.

Level of Integration

The rental car industry faces a completely different environment than it did five years ago. According to Business Travel News, vehicles are being rented until they have accumulated 20,000 to 30,000 miles until they are relegated to the used car industry whereas the turn-around mileage was 12,000 to 15,000 miles five years ago. Because of slow industry growth and narrow profit margin, there is no imminent threat to backward integration within the industry. In fact, among the industry players only Hertz is vertically integrated through Ford.

Scope of Competition

There are many factors that shape the competitive landscape of the car rental industry. Competition comes from two main sources throughout the chain. On the vacation consumer’s end of the spectrum, competition is fierce not only because the market is saturated and well guarded by industry leader Enterprise, but competitors operate at a cost disadvantage along with smaller market shares since Enterprise has established a network of dealers over 90 percent the leisure segment. On the corporate segment, on the other hand, competition is very strong at the airports since that segment is under tight supervision by Hertz. Because the industry underwent a massive economic downfall in recent years, it has upgraded the scale of competition within most of the companies that survived. Competitively speaking, the rental car industry is a war-zone as most rental agencies including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis among the major players engage in a battle of the fittest.

Growth

Over the past five years, most firms have been working towards enhancing their fleet sizes and increasing the level of profitability. Enterprise currently the company with the largest fleet in the US has added 75,000 vehicles to its fleet since 2002 which help increase its number of facilities to 170 at the airports. Hertz, on the other hand, has added 25,000 vehicles and broadened its international presence in 150 counties as opposed to 140 in 2002. In addition, Avis has increased its fleet from 210,000 in 2002 to 220,000 despite recent economic adversities. Over the years following the economic downturn, although most companies throughout the industry were struggling, Enterprise among the industry leaders had been growing steadily. For example, annual sales reached $6.3 in 2001, $6.5 in 2002, $6.9 in 2003 and $7.4 billion in 2004 which translated into a growth rate of 7.2 percent a year for the past four years. Since 2002, the industry has started to regain its footing in the sector as overall sales grew from $17.9 billion to $18.2 billion in 2003. According to industry analysts, the better days of the rental car industry have yet to come. Over the course of the next several years, the industry is expected to experience accelerated growth valued at $20.89 billion each year following 2008 “which equates to a CAGR of 2.7 % [increase] in the 2003-2008 period.”

Distribution

Over the past few years the rental car industry has made a great deal of progress to facilitate it distribution processes. Today, there are approximately 19,000 rental locations yielding about 1.9 million rental cars in the US. Because of the increasingly abundant number of car rental locations in the US, strategic and tactical approaches are taken into account in order to insure proper distribution throughout the industry. Distribution takes place within two interrelated segments. On the corporate market, the cars are distributed to airports and hotel surroundings. On the leisure segment, on the other hand, cars are distributed to agency owned facilities that are conveniently located within most major roads and metropolitan areas.

In the past, managers of rental car companies used to rely on gut-feelings or intuitive guesses to make decisions about how many cars to have in a particular fleet or the utilization level and performance standards of keeping certain cars in one fleet. With that methodology, it was very difficult to maintain a level of balance that would satisfy consumer demand and the desired level of profitability. The distribution process is fairly simple throughout the industry. To begin with, managers must determine the number of cars that must be on inventory on a daily basis. Because a very noticeable problem arises when too many or not enough cars are available, most car rental companies including Hertz, Enterprise and Avis, use a “pool” which is a group of independent rental facilities that share a fleet of vehicles. Basically, with the pools in place, rental locations operate more efficiently since they reduce the risk of low inventory if not eliminate rental car shortages.

Market Segmentation

Most companies throughout the chain make a profit based of the type of cars that are rented. The rental cars are categorized into economy, compact, intermediate, premium and luxury. Among the five categories, the economy sector yields the most profit. For instance, the economy segment by itself is responsible for 37.7 percent of the total market revenue in 2004. In addition, the compact segment accounted for 32.3 percent of overall revenue. The rest of the other categories covers the remaining 30 percent for the US segment.

Historical Levels of Profitability

The overall profitability of the car rental industry has been shrinking in recent years. Over the past five years, the industry has been struggling just like the rest of the travel industry. In fact, between the years 2001 and 2003 the US market has experienced a moderate reduction in the level of profitability. Specifically, revenue fell from $19.4 billion in 2000 to $18.2 billion in 2001. Subsequently, the overall industry revenue eroded further to $17.9 billion in 2002; an amount that is minimally higher than $17.7 billion which is the overall revenue for the year 1999. In 2003, the industry experienced a barely noticeable increase which brought profit to $18.2 billion. As a result of the economic downturn in recent years, some of the smaller players that were highly dependent on the airline industry have done a great deal of strategy realignments as a way of preparing their companies to cope with eventual economic adversities that may surround the industry. For the year 2004, on the other hand, the economic situation of most firms have gradually improved throughout the industry since most rental agencies have returned far greater profits relative to the anterior years. For instance, Enterprise realized revenues of $7.4 billion; Hertz returned revenues of $5.2 billion and Avis with $2.9 billion in revenue for the fiscal year of 2004. According to industry analysts, the rental car industry is expected to experience steady growth of 2.6 percent in revenue over the next several years which translates into an increase in profit.

Competitive Rivalry Among Sellers

There are many factors that drive competition within the car rental industry. Over the past few years, broadening fleet sizes and increasing profitability has been the focus of most companies within the car rental industry. Enterprise, Hertz and Avis among the leaders have been growing both in sales and fleet sizes. In addition, competition intensifies as firms are constantly trying to improve their current conditions and offer more to consumers. Enterprise has nearly doubled its fleet size since 1993 to approximately 600,000 cars today. Because the industry operates on such narrow profit margins, price competition is not a factor; however, most companies are actively involved in creating values and providing a range of amenities from technological gadgets to even free rental to satisfy customers. Hertz, for example, integrates its Never-Lost GPS system within its cars. Enterprise, on the other hand, uses sophisticated yield management software to manage its fleets.

Finally, Avis uses its OnStar and Skynet system to better serve the consumer base and offers free weekend rental if a customer rents a car for five consecutive days Moreover, the consumer base of the rental car industry has relatively low to no switching cost. Conversely, rental agencies face high fixed operating costs including property rental, insurance and maintenance. Consequently, rental agencies are sensitively pricing there rental cars just to recover operating costs and adequately meet their customers demands. Furthermore, because the industry experienced slow growth in recent years due to economic stagnation that resulted in a massive decline in both corporate travel and the leisure sector, most companies including the industry leaders are aggressively trying to reposition their firms by gradually lessening the dependency level on the airline industry and regaining their footing in the leisure competitive arena.

The Potential Entry of new Competitors

Entering the car rental industry puts new comers at a serious disadvantage. Over the past few years following the economic downturn of 2001, most major rental companies have started increasing their market shares in the vacation sector of the industry as a way of insuring stability and lowering the level of dependency between the airline and the car rental industry. While this trend has engendered long term success for the existing firms, it has heightened the competitive landscape for new comers. Because of the severity of competition, existing firms such as Enterprise, Hertz and Avis carefully monitor their competitive radars to anticipate Sharpe retaliatory strikes against new entrants. Another barrier to entry is created because of the saturation level of the industry.

For example, Enterprise has taken the first mover advantage with its 6000 facilities by saturating the leisure segment thereby placing not only high restrictions on the most common distribution channels, but also high resource requirements for new firms. Today, Enterprise has a rental location within 15 miles of 90 percent of the US population. Because of the network of dealers Enterprise has established around the nation, it has become relatively stable, more recession proof and most importantly, less reliant on the airline industry compared to its competitors. Hertz, on the other hand, is utilizing the full spectrum of its 7200 stores to secure its position in the marketplace. Basically, the emergence of most of the industry leaders into the leisure market not only drives rivalry, but also it varies directly with the level of complexity of entering the car rental industry.

The Threat of Substitute

There are many substitutes available for the car rental industry. From a technological standpoint, renting a car to go the distance for a meeting is a less attractive alternative as opposed to video conferencing, virtual teams and collaboration software with which a company can immediately setup a meeting with its employees from anywhere around the world at a cheaper cost. In addition, there are other alternatives including taking a cab which is a satisfactory substitute relative to quality and switching cost, but it may not be as attractively priced as a rental car for the course of a day or more. While public transportation is the most cost efficient of the alternatives, it is more costly in terms of the process and time it takes to reach one’s destination. Finally, because flying offers convenience, speed and performance, it is a very enticing substitute; however, it is an unattractive alternative in terms of price relative to renting a car. On the business segment, car rental agencies have more protection against substitutes since many companies have implemented travel policies that establish the parameters of when renting a car or using a substitute is the best course of action.

According to Tracy Esch, an Advantage director of marketing operations, her company rents cars up to a 200-mile trip before considering an alternative. Basically, the threat of substitute is reasonably low in the car rental industry since the effects the substitute products have do not pose a significant threat of profit erosion throughout the industry.

The Bargaining Power of Suppliers

Supplier power is low in the car rental industry. Because of the availability of substitutes and the level of competition, suppliers do not have a great deal of influence in the terms and conditions of supplying the rental cars. Because the rental cars are usually purchased in bulk, rental car agents have significant influence over the terms of the sale since they possess the ability to play one supplier against another to lower the sales price. Another factor that reduces supplier power is the absence of switching cost. That is, buyers are not affected from purchasing from one supplier over another and most importantly, changing to different supplier’s products is barely noticeable and does not affect consumer’s rental choices.

The Bargaining Power of Buyers

While the leisure sector has little or no power, the business segment possesses a significant amount of influence in the car rental industry. An interesting trend that is currently underway throughout the industry is forcing car rental companies to adapt to the needs of corporate travelers. This trend significantly reduces supplier power or the rental firms’ power and increases corporate buyer power since the business segment is excruciatingly price sensitive, well informed about the industry’s price structure, purchase in larger quantities and they use the internet to force lower prices. Vacation buyers, on the other hand, have less influence over the rental terms. Because vacationers are usually less price sensitive, purchase in lesser amounts or purchase more infrequently, they have weak bargaining power.

Five Forces

Today the car rental industry is facing a completely different environment than it did five years ago. Competitively speaking, the revolution of the five forces around the car rental industry exerts some strong economic pressure that has significantly tarnished the competitive attractiveness of the industry. As a result of the economic downturn in recent years, many companies went under namely Budget and the Vanguard Group because their business infrastructure succumbed to the untenability of the competitive environment. Today, very few firms including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis return a slightly above-average revenue compared to the rest of the industry. Realistically speaking, the car rental sector is not a very attractive industry because of the level of competition, the barriers to entry and the competitive pressure from the substitute firms.

Strategic Group Mapping

As a moderately concentrated sector, there is a clear hierarchy in the car rental industry. From an economic standpoint, disparities exist from a number of dimensions including revenue, fleet size and the market size each firm holds in the market place. For instance, Enterprise dominates the industry with a fleet size of approximately 600,000 vehicles along with its market size and its level of profitability. Hertz comes in second position with its number of market shares and fleet volume. In addition, Avis ranks third on the map. Avis is among one of the companies that is having issues recovering its revenue margins from prior to the economic downturn. For instance, in 2000 Avis returned revenues of approximately $4.23 billion. Over the course of the next several years following 2000, the revenue of Avis has been significantly lower than that of 2000. As a way of reducing uncertainty most companies are gradually lessening the level of dependency on the airline industry and emerging the leisure market. This trend may not be in the best interest of Hertz since its business strategy is intricately linked to the airports.

Key Success Factors

There are many key success factors that drive profitability throughout the car rental industry. Capacity utilization is one of the factors that determines success in the industry. Because rental firms experience loss of revenue when there are either too few or too many cars sitting in their lots, it is of paramount importance to efficiently manage the fleets. This success factor represents a big strength for the industry since it lowers if not completely eliminates the possibly of running short on rental cars. Efficient distribution is another factor that keeps the industry profitable. Despite the positive relationship between fleet sizes and the level of profitability, firms are constantly growing their fleet sizes because of the competitive forces that surround the industry. In addition, convenience is one of the crucial attributes by which consumers select rental firms. That is, car rental consumers are more prone to renting cars from firms that have convenient rental and drop off locations. Another key success factor that is common among competing firms is the integration of technology in their business processes. Through technology, for instance, the car rental companies create ways to meet consumer demand by making renting a car a very agreeable ordeal by adding the convenience of online rental among other alternatives. Furthermore, firms have integrated navigation systems along with roadside assistance to offer customers the piece of mind when renting cars.

Industry Attractiveness

There are many factors that impact the attractiveness of the car rental industry. Because the industry is moderately concentrated, it puts new market entrants at a disadvantage. That is, its low concentration represents a natural barrier to entering the industry as it allows existing firm to anticipate sharp retaliations against new entrants. Because of the risks associated with entering the industry among other factors, it is not a very attractive sector of the marketplace. From a competitive standpoint, the leisure market is 90 percent saturated because of the active efforts of Enterprise to dominate this sector of the market. On the other hand, the airport terminals are heavily guarded by Hertz. Realistically speaking, entry in the industry offers low profitability relative to the costs and risks associated. For most consumers, the main determining factors of choosing one company over another are price and convenience. Because of this reason, rental firms are very circumspect about setting their rates and that generally force even the industry major players in the position of offering more to the consumers for less just to remain competitive. Hertz, for example, offers wireless internet to its customers just to add more convenience to their travel plans. Avis on the other hand, offers free weekend specials if a customer rents a car for five consecutive weekdays. Based on the impact of the five forces, the car rental sector is not a very attractive industry to potential new market entrants.

Conclusion

The rental car industry is in a state of recovery. Although it may seem like the industry is performing well financially, it is nonetheless gradually regaining its footing relative to its actual economic position within the last five years. As a way of insuring profitability, besides seeking market shares and stability, most companies throughout the chain have a common goal that deals with lowering the level of dependency on the airline industry and moving toward the leisure segment. This state of motion has engendered some fierce competition among industry competitors as they attempt to defend their market shares. From a futuristic perspective, the better days of the car rental industry have yet to come. As the level of profitability increases, I believe that most of the industry leaders including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis will be bounded by the economic and competitive barriers of mobility of their strategic groups and new comers will have a better chance of infiltrating and realizing success in the car rental industry.

Sources

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Source by Rodrigue Monestime

Digital Games And Kids – A Different Perspective

The "Wikipedia problem" which means children turning to internet for readymade answers is the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. There are almost equal numbers of teachers who consider technology to be a solution as much as a problem. While a common belief is that technology is hindering the students 'capacity to think and analyze, there is also a strong opinion in favor of video games and digital gadgets' ability to engage students and enhance learning by using more than one sensory stimulators. In spite of the growing concern about the students' deteriorating attention spans, institutions are incorporating them into the process of classroom learning.

Children are inherently inquisitive creatures. They have a curiosity to discover new things and learn by way of discovering and experimenting even before they subjected to methods of formal education such as reading or writing. Science is a discipline of experiments and discoveries. The National Science Education Standards emphasize that "science education needs to give students three kinds of scientific skills and understandings. Students need to learn the principles and concepts of science, acquire the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists, and understand the nature of science as a particular form of human endeavor. Students there before need to be able to devise and carry out investigations that test their ideas, and they need to understand why such investigations are equally powerful. they have learned this way ". Here, it becomes imperative to engage children in science education at an early stage.

Digital games are more capable to gain students' interests and attention than other conventional means of attending education in a classroom. However, some educationists also regard them as culprits of exponential declination in the attention span in children. The next sections in this article discuss the involvement of children in games in the tech age, types of games available in the market and the impact of digital gaming as learning aids in classes.

Gaming and the New Age Kids

Digital technology has expanded the horizons of video gaming in the modern world. Kids are subjected to far more complex and challenging technological environment than their counterparts were from over half a century back. Involvement of kids in digital gaming is a result of many significant changes in the lifestyle and culture of the modern society. Easy accessibility of technology, dispensable income due to dual income families and lack of infrastructure for outdoor activities in many cities are some major contributors in making screen games an important part of the children's' lives. A study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) found that only 20 percent of the census blocks are within half a mile of a block boundary. Also, the effect of peer pressure can not be undermined in these times of social networking.

The digital gaming market is one of the fastest growing segments of the global entertainment industry. US is witnessing unpretended penetration of digital games among youngsters. In the US, 97% of the teens play some type of game on a regular basis. In India, the gaming market has grown manifold in the last few years. Here, it is imperative that educationists are continuously contemplating the use of digital gaming as a learning tool in classrooms. Institutions are also employing innovative ways to leverage the digital advantage for enhancing the learning experience at schools.

What are Digital Games?

There is no concrete definition of games as it may vary with an individual's preference and profession. Games can be defined as a "system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, which result in a quantifiable exit". Technology and digitization add new dimensions to games where simulations, interactivity, augmented reality, alternative reality, collective intelligence and sensory stimulators such as sound and visual effects. Digital games are also characterized by their portability and limitless accessibility.

Role-playing games, simulation games and puzzles are some of the most popular digital games. In role-playing games, the player enacts the role of a particular character in a virtual world moving from one level to the other based on the output of the earlier level. RPGs can be single player such as the dungeons and dragons from earlier days of gaming or multi-player games such as Diablo III, Xenoblade, Final Fantasy XIII-2 or Mass Effect 3. MMORPG or the Massive Multiple Online Role-Playing Games are an extension of the RPGs where large number of players interact in an online virtual world. Simulation games create realistic situations in virtual worlds. The outcome will depend on the player's decision-making and responsiveness and will be nearly similar to what may happen in a real world in the same situation. Widely used in training and analysis, simulation games are also popular due to their unpredictable and personalized opportunities. Flight Simulator X, Live for Speed ​​(LFS) and Need for Speed ​​have been extremely popular simulation games for a long time. Puzzles genre of digital games involves problem solving and analysis with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the nature of the game. Crosswords and treasure hunt games are basic forms of puzzle games in both physical and digital form.

All types of digital games involve a social involvement of players. Some need collaborative efforts to play while others may be discussed or analyzed socially. In spite of some games being accused of outright violent visual effects, a well-designed game can accelerate the thinking process by stimulating, engaging, involving creativity and developing a meta-game ie, social interactions inspired and enhanced inside or outside the game. Incorporating digital gaming in the basic education framework can lead to augmented competitiveness and multi-dimensional growth in children.

Digital Games in Science Education – Why and Why Not?

The 21st century requires the teachers and the students to integrate technology into the curriculum. Although the ultimate goal is to benefit the students in terms of learning and experience, unsupervised, unorganized or irrelevant application can lead to complete failure or have negative effects. Some of the negative impacts of digital games in general and in context with the education are listed below:

  • Digital games have been facing constant rebuke for allegedly enhancing aggression among children and developing a violent streak at an early stage. In a study by Anderson and Bushman (2001), Children involved in violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and reduced prosocial helping. Use of weapons and being rewarded for being violent is a cause of widespread concern.
  • Digital games can be addictive for children and make them physically inactive. Digital games, other than social networking, are considered for reduced physical activity leading to obesity in children and postural and skeletal disorders.
  • Addiction to games is also known to make kids socially secluded. Impulsive behavior, depression and increased anxiety levels are largely attributed to excessive gambling in children. Some studies also suggest that the children playing games are unable to concentrate for a long span and have reduced attention span.
  • Children are prone to absorbing socially unacceptable behavior through some digital games such as using profanities and ill-treating the fairer sex. Lack of adequate knowledge about screening the material available online is a growing concern amongst the parents.
  • Digital games are considered a hindrance to better performance in academies. Students are often found to skip homework to play games leading to deteriorating performance at school. However, despite their reputation as promoters of violence and mayhem, digital games have in fact been shown to help children learn skills, content, and vital "21st-century" skills. From digital games children can learn: content (from rich vocabulary to science to history), skills (from literacy to math to complex problem-solving), creation of artifacts to software code and systems thinking (how changing one element impacts relationships as a whole). Strong arguments in favor of using digital games as learning aids in secondary education are summarized below:
  • Digital games involve extreme hand-eye coordination and enhancement motor and sensory skills. Sensory stimulation theory proposed by academic Laird (1985) validates that effective learning occurs when the senses are stimulated. While some studies show that digital gaming decreases attention span, there are strong evidences of improved concentration in short intervals of time. Digital games involve keeping an eye on every detail, follow the rules and respond procedively to the given situation. Complex digital games help is developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Some games also involve logical analysis of the situation and pattern recognition and improve memorizing that assisting in the cognitive process. Playing by the rules teachers children to accept and respect a certain level of discipline.
  • Multi-player digital games develop a sense of constructive competitive attitude. Collaborative games also improve team-building attitude. They develop time management skills in a team and train the players to cooperate for mutually desired goal. They teach the players to accept defeat as well as strive for better results. Digital games provide an avenue for hyperactive kids to direct the energy in a constructive system based game. They also provide an outlet to release aggression and frustration, thus helping in diffusing stress. Some games also involve physical activity such as Nintendo Wii boxing helping kids to engage mentally and physically with the kids. Complex digital games involve high level of multitasking that improving brain's natural learning process. Brain based learning theory suggests that multi-tasking is an inherent activity of the brain and learning is enhanced by challenges at various levels. Digital games develop efficient situational analysis and strategy making in children. Since games have certain objectives at every level and a final objective of the game, it teaches players to devise short term and long-term strategies such as scoring points, retaining energy and reaching the ultimate goal of the game. Simulation games and the role-playing digital games help players gain expertise or learn by experiencing in replicas of real world situations. Experiential learning and action learning theories are based on the promise that individuals learn faster when they by experiencing and actually participating in action.

"Games require the kind of thinking that we need in the 21st Century because they use actual learning as the basis for assessment. , production, and design by tracking many different kinds of information about a student, over time. "



Source by Deepali Joshi Adhikary

Maxx Mq430 Mobile With Qwerty Keypad

Maxx is the new in the mobile industry. If you are the gadget lover and always seeking for something new then there is no harm in tasting the Maxx mobiles. The company claims for best quality products and the latest tech features at very reasonable price. If we analysis the whole mobile market, every new mobile company is claiming the same thing and also using the similar strategies and planning's. It feels like that every handset is similar to each other only the brand name is change. They all are targeting to same entry level segment. Then what's new in Maxx mobile phones?

Yes it is true that Maxx mobile phones are gaining popularity due to its cheap prices. It has released many handsets in the mobile devices in the market with or without dual sim options. Really it makes so hard for the buyer to select which mobile brand. But the good thing is that there are so many options available for the buyer to choose the mobile phone. They do not have to compromise in purchasing the mobiles.

The recent invention of the Maxx is Maxx mq430 mobile. Let's have a discussion on the Maxx mq430 mobile price, features and specifications.

Maxx mq430 mobile is dual sim mobile phone and the phone gives you the smooth and hassle free typing with the QWERTY keypad. It has a good display screen of 2 inches and have the good internal memory which can be boosted up to 2 GB with microSD card. The phone can store the 1200 contacts easily. It is embedded with 1.3 mega pixel camera with the average picture quality and supports the video playing as well as recording.

This Maxx mobile phone is loaded with various multimedia options such as FM radio with recording and music player. It carries the some connectivity options like Bluetooth, Java, WAP 2.0 and GPRS. If we talk about its looks, it is a simple looking mobile with black and red combination and made from ordinary plastic. Its look is not too attractive but its price will definitely attract you. Maxx mq430-mobile price is range between Rs. 3000 – Rs. 4200 in Indian mobile market. In short we can say that it gives the high tech features in low price.



Source by Simon Jain

Merchant Ship Safety

Any retailer understands that customers now expect choice. In order to compete on the global market, it is important to provide customers with what they want. Without imports, the range of goods on offer would be significantly reduced, so we have become reliant on the ability to transport huge volumes of goods around the world.

As the global population has grown, so has the demand for goods. As the most viable means of cargo transportation, 80% of the products we buy and sell are shipped by boat. In response to the need to ship ever greater loads, advances in technology have enabled the development of unbelievably large vessels. These mega container ships have the capacity to carry over 10,000 containers, yet they can still float.

Merchant shipping fleets have also had to expand, so at any one time there are in excess of 50,000 merchant ships voyaging across the world’s oceans.

This is great news for consumers who want to stock up in the supermarkets, invest in a new car, buy the latest gadget or update their wardrobe. It does, however, impact on the safety of vessels, both in the open seas and in busy ports.

Port Provisions

It is one thing to design and build a mega-sized container ship, but in order for it to operate, it is essential that shipping channels and port provisions can cope with vessels of such a grand scale.

In recent decades many of the world’s largest ports have had to invest in expansion plans in order that the new merchant ships, which can be over 390 meters in length, can reach the port and manoeuvre safely. The cranes, logistics and on-going infrastructure also need to be in place to successfully load and unload the ships.

When at the helm of such an imposing vessel, it takes time for the ship to respond to the controls. External factors such as strong winds or the movement of other vessels impact on how the ship moves. The captain and port controllers have to factor all of this in when bringing a ship into or out of port.

It is now a regular occurrence for large vessels to be passing along narrow shipping lanes in order to dock. This is a high-risk situation, where everyone involved has to be fully engaged in order to prevent a safety disaster.

In addition to providing a safe passage for ships, port employees also need to ensure that every vessel is compliant with marine regulations. This includes onboard checks of equipment, crew conditions, medical supplies for ships and the safe handling of hazardous goods.

Meanwhile, the on-board officers may need to take responsibility for balancing the load, crew safety, navigation, security and medical care in addition to their main duty.

Modern vessels benefit from internal alarms to warn of any onboard issues, along with radar and advanced communication systems. Despite this, there is still a need for paper charts, binoculars and other traditional maritime resources.

Dover Strait

As an island nation, the UK is reliant on shipping to transport goods. Felixstowe, Grimsby & Immingham and the Port of London are amongst the largest trade ports and provide a link with mainland Europe. It is therefore little wonder that the Dover Strait is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world.

Around 400 shipping vessels pass through the Dover Strait every day, along with ferries, fishing vessels, leisure cruisers, scientific research boats and the occasional cross-channel swimmer. In such a congested stretch of water, it takes little imagination to work out the logistics involved in keeping everyone safe. Yet for many crews, this is just the start or end of an epic journey around the world.



Source by Rachel Poulter

Know What Is The Real Potential Of Your Business With Android Apps Development

Do you wish to identify the real potential of your business? WHY NOT go for Android App Development, as from the beginning, android application development has encountered a deluge of apps submitted to the Google Play Store. In the last years, Android apps became one of the most trusted and widely used apps across the globe as multitudes incorporating these applications for their distinct business needs. The most recent studies and analysis have demonstrated that the interest of the business professionals in Android apps has expanded tremendously for fulfilling their various business needs, thus opening up a new business market. So, as well as the rise in the demand for Android phones, Android app development services has too gained importance. Stats show that today Android applications have covered around 75% of the total market share, thus causing an increase in the demand of android app developer and Android App development company as well to satisfy the growing business needs. IDC predicted an increase of 5% in an Android market share in its report submitted in the year 2013-14. But, even with an iOS applications advancement in the today's marketplace, the prediction seems to be true. Beside, the business now appears to be great, as it has officially settled its roots in tablets and PDA applications. Android, which is an open source mobile operating system has no or very fewer limitations, which is why developers now switch over the android apps development.

The growing market of Android mobile apps offers an Android App development Company to focus on the native applications development and games in the cellular dimension. Further, Android is an open source platform that allows a dedicated Android app developer to develop its app and market it in the market.

For Entrepreneurship Android application development service is a Boon

Hundreds of application programs and designers all over the globe have acknowledged Android as a preferred platform due to its open source development environment and free of cost accessibility. Thus, applications created on this platform are too available at low cost for the business professionals.

The application developers take up the help of various advertisers to design and develop the Android apps as well as use the tactical marketing strategy to enhance its outreach and promote the app to reach the maximum number of users. Aside from this, entrepreneurs also play a vital role in making it a platform that offers a number of business & gaming applications to its users, as they are the one who demand various applications from Android app developers for divers business purposes.

Reasons for using Android App development environment

Each person who sets up a business goes for creating the maximum profits and income with the assistance of a successful marketing strategy that is detailed to draw the maximum audience towards their services. The business visionaries who work consistently round the clock to get positive results can attain them through their business android application. Further, they can run on any platform if Blackberry, Symbian or even iPhone. Howbeit, there are some other significant reasons for its preference and is mentioned underneath:

I. The principal reason behind the android applications success is their presence on Google play store, which is contemplated as the largest mobile app market in the technology world. Furthermore, Google Play store too faces a large volume of visitors for downloading various apps for different purposes. So, is a key reason for Android apps to have noteworthy reach than the other apps.

II. The trouble free environment that Android offers is another reason that makes the custom apps development simple. Consequently, it too offers the quality check functionality before submitting it to the App store for business downloads.

III. The regular updates is an another facility that Google Play Store offers to the downloaders of the app, so a reason why they are accredited in the marketplace by analysts, marketing professionals, and business owners.

IV. The aforementioned points are some reasons why Android has established itself as the most well-known application development platform. With the help of the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), the dedicated Android app developers can design their apps and even submit them to the Google Play Store. The vast assortment of libraries on Android is the reason these developers can easily develop whatever they feel.

If you are searching for a platform that offers secure, independent and custom applications for your business then Android app development is the best choice to make. Additionally, the business visionaries who have never felt a need to have an application for their business business advancement then they should need to reevaluate their choice.



Source by Shakshi Shivi

The Wide Application of Zentangle Art Patterns

They say "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see", and I could not agree more. It is the power to help you find yourself and lose yourself at the same time. Such a very simple, yet intriguing and fun method is the one that involves Zentangle art patterns. It is very simple to learn, it is relaxing, and creative approach to make excellent pictures by drawing organized examples.

It is so popular because practically anyone can use it to make breath-taking pictures. Even though it involves specified steps, the result is a pretty creative expression. People all over the world from different ages enjoy the Zentangle method and thousands have found it relaxing enough to help them break free from the chains of stress. So let's take a look at some of its characteristics.

Intuitive

With the Zentangle method, anyone can make amazing pictures from repetitive examples. It is anything but difficult to learn and it is very simple. Also, despite the fact that it is a predefined arrangement of steps, it results in an innovative expression that raises above its own guidelines.

• Fun and Relaxing

The making of Zentangle art is a fun and happy approach that helps you unwind and purposefully encourage a shift in perspective and focus. It is unrestricted by author opinion and cost which can weigh on other methods. However, it is neatly organized and structured so you can really enjoy it and benefit from such an activity that otherwise may be considered whimsical.

• Timeless

The creation of designs, symbols and the mere act of drawing is a part of our human nationality. In a time when the world revolves around computers, cell phones and other sophisticated gadgets that were designed to simplify our lives, the simple strokes that are fundamental of the Zentangle art patterns method make you engage in a comfort of basic, timeless creativity.

• Ceremonial

This exciting method involves some pretty simple and repetitive steps. They support focus, relaxation and are very inspiring. You can practice this method every day and make it your daily ritual – a recipe for happiness.

• Portable

Here comes the best part – all that you really need to make delightful Zentangle art can fit in your pocket. This simple to learn method can be done basically anywhere you might be, whether alone or in a group, without having to invest in any expensive equipment.



Source by Trevor Iseah

Popular Media In Teaching – Can We Find Common Ground?

The use of popular media as a medium of instruction among schools and universities has been the subject of many debates. Before going into the details involving the two sides of the arguments, what is popular media must first be defined. As used herein, popular media refers to all kinds of instructional materials other than the usual books and references used in classroom teaching.

What differentiates pop-media from the traditional modes of teaching is that the former involves the use of a more updated and advanced technology and gadgets, compared to the traditional style of lectures based on books used in the latter. The most common forms of popular media are: internet, radio, television, movies, newspapers and magazines, songs, advertisements, and the like.

The most common argument in favor of the use of popular media in teaching is that it signifies innovation and adapting to change. Proponents of this side would argue that at an early age, children must already be introduced to the latest industrial and educational developments that are key tools to progress. Second, they would say that it would give children a broader avenue for their references to which they could relate more; hence, making learning more fun and practical to them. The children’s learning and education would not be limited to what books and teachers say to them. Instead, lectures are illuminated and enlivened. Teachers would have an easier time getting the interest and attention of the children. Lastly, it is argued that children would have no need to spend much for the purchase of textbooks or for photocopying them. They would not need to bring heavy books and bags in school.

On the other hand, critics would say that popular media would make children lazy as they are being spoon-fed with readily available and accessible materials for their use. For example, children would be tempted to plagiarize and just to copy answers from the internet. This minimizes the practice of critical thinking and analysis among children. Second, this would give children unbridled discretion and leeway to use the available media to their own advantage and personal gratification.

Third, popular media is not appropriate especially for the use of young children because if not properly regulated, younger children will be more unduly exposed to pornography, crimes, violence, games and the social media, which is as yet beyond their comprehension or is unsuitable for their age. Their curiosity will be nurtured without proper adult guidance. As a result, they would be confused and demoralized by conflicting and inappropriate information. Fourth, the use of it would have a discriminatory effect because not all school children have access to all popular media. Lastly, classroom instructional teaching may eventually be replaced by machines and gadgets, and soon, there would be no more need for teachers.

Whether popular media is acceptable and effective to use or not is really up to the teachers and instructors to decide, as both sides of the arguments do have their respective good points. In any case, instructors are reminded of their responsibility to give their pupils the proper guidance and follow-up that are necessary and needed, being persons who have moral ascendancy over the latter in school.



Source by Justin Cooke

Save Your Small Business – 10 Crucial Strategies to Survive Hard Times Or Close Down & Move On

If there was ever a timely business book, "Save Your Small Business: 10 Crucial Strategies To Survive Hard Times or Close Down & Move On" by Ralph Warner and Bethany K. Laurence is certainly it. Promoted as a road map to small business survival, Warner and Laurence provide simple, no-nonsense, steps that can make a huge difference in running, saving, or if needed closing, your small business. Running a small business has always been hard, but currently it can be brutally agonizing, if not downright scary. This guide may just provide you with the information to make today's bad economy, or bad economies in the future, opportunities so that in good times your business will be poised to thrive.

The book starts out saying it will be your small business companion, and recommends you create a business survival plan, prepare a current profit-and-loss statement and cash flow analysis, and establish an advisory board. It the delves into chapters that will provide the tools to help you decide wherever it makes sense to continue, hibernate, close, or sell your business and offers some strategies you can implement to get your business back on track.

Chapter One: Can You Save Your Business? This chapter discusses topics such as planning for short and long term, selling your business, putting your business in hibernation, and saving your business. It also looks at some special considerations for retailers, services, construction, restaurants, wholesalers and importers, and franchises.

Chapter Two: Do ​​not Ignore Bad News. Why you can not wait, cutting costs, changing direction, quitting and selling are addressed. There are also strategies on determining how much to cut expenses and accing slowly to reverse cutbacks.

Chapter Three: Control Your Cash Flow. This area can be one of the most important, especially for the small business. Topics include: Keeping paying your bills on time, how to create more cash, and what not to do, such as using merchant cash advances, maxing out credit cards, and borrowing against your house.

Chapter Four: Minimize Liability for Your Debts. Are you personally liable for business debts? Liability for jointly owned debt. What can creditors do if you do not pay? Prioritizing debt payments, including payroll, taxes, utilities, and many more.

Chapter Five: Concentrate on What's Really Profitable. Face it, the goal of a business is to make a profit. This chapter looks at getting a quick profits plan on paper, making money in a service business, and making money in retail or manufacturing. It is a short chapter, but if it gets you thinking about making a profit, it has done its job.

Chapter Six: Innovate on a Shoestring. Invention, Copying, Serendipity, and Making Innovation a Continuous Process are addressed in this chapter. This chapter may inspire you to brainstorm the next wonder gadget that every household must have. Depending on your business, this may be what you need.

Chapter Seven: Identify Your Customers. Before you can create an effective marketing plan, you need to know who your likely customers are. This chapter discusses aiming at the bull's eye and filling in your target. Topics include current customers, need, price, access, and experience.

Chapter Eight: Do not Waste Money on Ineffective Marketing. If we only knew which of our marketing efforts were producing the best results. This chapter helps you determine things about your marketing such as: Marketing the right products or services to the right people, not spending big dollars on advertising, asking long-term customers for support, encouraging customers to recommend your business, using paid listing effectively, marketing on your own website, and holding a "trying to stay in business" sale.

Chapter Nine: Handle Layoffs Fairly – And Keep Your Best People. Laying people off is often one of a business owners most dreaded tasks. This chapter provides guidance in this area by looking at: Making a wise layoff plan, the logistics of a layoff, and keeping the great people you hire. Some very good advice for this unfortunate part of business.

Chapter Ten: Do not Work Too Much. What? If your business is floundering, you must work more, right? This chapter tackles the subjects of the importance of a sane schedule and how to work less and make more. Priorities and delegation are the keys the authors discuss.

Chapter Eleven: Work With Your Best Competitors. The four areas this chapter covers include: Treating competitors with respect, getting business from competitors, working for competitors, and working with competitors.

Chapter Twelve: How to Close Down Your Business. Most people do not ever want this to happen, but the reality is that it does. This chapter offers some good strategies if you decide it is time to close the business and do something else. Topics include things like creating a closing team, looking at contractual obligations, dealing with landlords, collecting bills and selling off inventory, notifying and paying employees, liquidating assets, informing creditors and customers, paying your debts, paying taxes, and dissolving your business entity . This is not a pleasant topic, but unfortunately an important one if you find yourself having to go this direction. The book provides guidance in the process.

Chapter Thirteen: Dealing With Debt: Bankruptcy and Its Alternatives. Introductory chapter on these topics with some good advice, but you will need more resources if you choose to go down the bankruptcy path, or better yet, seek counsel from a qualified professional.

Appendix A provides guidance on preparing a profit and loss forecast and a cash flow analysis. There are more complete references on these out there for sure, but this short bare bone basics on them will get you started and at least help you determine where you are at.

"Save Your Small Business" is a good guide for the struggling small business owner, and also provides information for the small business owner who does not want to fall into hard times. Educating oneself regarding business is critical for small business success. This is one more Nolo title that will help small business owners hopefully survive, but also liquid and close with less pain if that is the course that must be taken.



Source by Alain Burrese

Top Software Development Trends to Watch Out For in 2017

Software development is a dynamic domain. You have to keep your eye on new and emerging trends in this domain to expect the unexpected. The shift from the use of conventional desktops to the world of smart phones is quickly gaining popularity. Users are becoming more demanding. If your area of specialization is software development, it is quite essential for you to be in sync with the latest trends.

Here are the top 5 trends to watch out for in 2017:

  1. Agile Will Remain One of the Favorite Methodologies

Even though this methodology has been around for a decade now, it is gaining lot of popularity in the recent years. Almost 80% of software companies are dependent on this methodology for the success of their projects.

The reason behind its popularity is the fact that it is less time consuming, which results in quick software development. It also allows programmers to improve software as per their requirement.

  1. Huge Impact of Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT has taken app development to a higher level. Technavio has forecasted that IoT will see a growth of 31.72% (CAGR) between 2015 and 2019. IoT enables the exchange of data by linking smart devices to the internet, which was impossible earlier. With more connectivity and access to network, programmers are expected to come up with upgraded solutions. These solutions may help users control and communicate with their gadgets and equipment of daily use.

  1. Cloud Computing is Gaining Popularity

Organizations with appropriate data centers and complex applications are moving towards cloud-based solutions to run their core business applications. The global cloud market is currently growing at a 22% annually and is expected to touch $146 billion by the end of 2017. Amazon.com, Microsoft, Google and IBM are the major contributors to the high demand for this platform.

  1. Big Data Analysis

Once regarded as hype, big data is now busy transforming the market. IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Big Data and Analytics Spending Guide has revealed that the big data and business analytics market will grow by 13.1 percent to $130 billion by 2020.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Professor Stephen Hawking has warned that full development of AI “could spell the end of the human race”. In spite of this, we will see a surge in many more targeted AI systems like:

  • Robotics – personal, industrial, and retail
  • Autonomous vehicles (cars, drones etc.)
  • Bots -CRM, consumer, and personal assistants
  • Industry-specific AI for finance, health, security.



Source by Terence Lewis

5 Important Facts That You Should Know About IoT Training

Overview

If you wish to upgrade your professional skills in technology, then you may consider online or offline training process and certification to enable you to do business with the Internet of Things. IoT primarily focuses on physical devices networks, homes, vehicles and other items that are embedded in software sensors, electronics, connectivity, and actuators. Everything in an Internet of Things must have the ability to connect with other objects and also exchange data. Poor skills such as the inability to create and maintain network security can significantly affect IoT from transforming the way in which we work and live. This makes the issue of IoT an essential requirement for people who want to focus on the line of technology. After thorough training in IoT, the learner is then certified as a professional who can improve the manner in which business is done, and daily life is lived. IoT is a broad field with diverse components. The article will explain top five critical facts that one should know about the IoT training.

IoT

In the current high technology world, filled with abundant and sophisticated smartphones as well as other gadgets, you can only be forgiven if you think that IoT has integrated itself to modern technology. The good thing is that, once you delve into IoT, you will find yourself striving for even more advanced connectivity. It is estimated that, by 2025, IoT will have over 76 billion connections of devices. In this regard, training must be taken seriously and that is why this article presents some of the best facts that a learner must know about IoT Training.

Things to know about IoT training

1. The value of IoT skills is not only about technology- the real value of IoT training and certification lies in the creation of advanced value propositions as well as potential revenue streams. The aim here is to take this technology and apply it to move to new business models as well as services that may help realize them. As asserted by the leading analysts as well as thought leaders, potential growth in IoT skills is very critical. It is believed that, the more the number of graduates in IoT training and certification, the higher the revenue expected. In fact, it is belied that, by 2020, the total revenue will have risen to about $7.1 trillion for companies that make use of the IoT graduates.

2. The IoT training will give you unique skills that businesses outside your industry knows but you don’t know. A good example is training you to use the new highly powerful development tools for the clickstream analysis. This gives you the power to detect fraud even before it has happened to your organization, enhance strong cybersecurity and do genome sequencing.

3. IoT training is business, customer facing and technology-oriented- the training program is very inclusive as it impacts learners from diverse backgrounds. Whether you are a manager, an investor, an executive entrepreneur or a consultant, IoT business-oriented training is meant for you. The package will significantly help you come up with winning business strategies in an executive way to help you develop IoT businesses, products, and projects.

4. Learner Expectations of IoT training- the course of training focuses on the architecture of IoT, devices, components and software requirements. Trainers will also ensure you have vast knowledge about the layers of IoT, emended systems as well as microcontrollers. Working with big data and analysis will no longer be a big deal to you! Importantly, you will be able to handle any IoT support service, security as well as advanced data management.

5. The basic procedure- for you to be a certified graduate of the IoT course, you must have undergone the compulsory requirements and passed the given tests. The mandatory training module ensures that you have gained a full understanding of the IoT and how it works. Passing an exam is an indication of the high-level skilled graduate produced as the exams cover all the relevant areas required in the job market.



Source by Anjali Sharma