Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – August 2016

first_imgShare This![Disney World Crowd Calendar Reports are back after a lengthy hiatus to fix an issue with some of our crowd calendar calculations. Here is a report for the month of August with a report for September coming soon.]How Crowded Was Disney World August 7 – 13, 2016?Crowds at Walt Disney World in early August lagged behind what we saw during the same period last year, especially in the second half of the week. Animal Kingdom was the most unpredictable park of the week with low wait times dragging the resort wide crowd level down a few points most days. Crowd levels at the other three parks were close to predicted levels almost every day.Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between August 7 and August 13, 2016: 4 6 Magic Kingdom9 3 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Hollywood Studios hit a crowd level ‘8’ as predicted on Sunday thanks to average wait times like 64 minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (predicted 69) and 31 minutes at The Great Movie Ride (predicted 27). Crowds at Magic Kingdom and Epcot were within one of the predicted crowd level. Animal Kingdom saw lower than expected wait times. Epcot5 Epcot5 Hollywood Studios8 Animal Kingdom5 Animal Kingdom7 Animal Kingdom7 Epcot2 5 6 Hollywood Studios1 2 Magic Kingdom8 1 Hollywood Studios8 One day later we saw a completely different picture, with Magic Kingdom surging from a ‘1’ on Friday to a ’10’ on Saturday. In fact, all four parks saw a large increase in wait times from a day before. 6 Animal Kingdom7 8 Crowds dipped a bit on Friday with Epcot and Hollywood Studios coming in three points lower than predicted. This seems to be the point in the month when we started to see crowds diminish at Walt Disney World relative to historical patterns. Magic Kingdom9 5 10 Magic Kingdom5 More rock bottom crowd levels on Friday thanks to average wait times like 12 minutes at Jungle Cruise, 11 minutes at Mission Space, 18 at Star Tours and 8 minutes at Expedition Everest! That means Everest was basically a walk-on all day. Hollywood Studios8 6 5 Epcot6 Hollywood Studios4 Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 2 Sunday’s wait times matched predicted levels at Magic Kingdom and Epcot while Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom came in two levels lower than expected. Guests at those two parks saw average wait times like 34 minutes at Kali River Rapids and 47 minutes at Toy Story Midway Mania. So much for the back-to-school lull! Magic Kingdom saw a major bounce-back day on Saturday reaching the top level on our scale. Surprisingly, it was only Magic Kingdom that saw the big spike. Hollywood Studios was as crowded as predicted and Animal Kingdom was slightly less crowded than predicted. 4 6 1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Wednesday, August 31, 2016 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS All four parks saw crowds below what the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted on Thursday. The biggest differences were at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Toy Story Midway Mania averaged only 43 minutes while Kilimanjaro Safaris averaged 19. Monday’s predictions missed only at Epcot and Animal Kingdom with wait times pulling the park crowd level down two points from what the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted. Magic Kingdom saw average wait times like 39 minutes at Buzz Lightyear (predicted 37), 44 minutes at Jungle Cruise (45), 70 at Peter Pan’s Flight (75) and 79 at Space Mountain (predicted 75). 7 Monday’s crowd levels were one level higher than the day before at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios while the other two parks saw significant drops in wait times. It is rare to see crowd levels so different at the four parks although the Disney World Crowd Calendar did correctly predict that Epcot and Animal Kingdom would be the least crowded parks. 8 6 Predictions did well on Saturday with the slight exception of Hollywood Studios which saw average wait times like 48 minutes at Toy Story Midway Mania. Test Track Averaged 71 minutes (predicted 70). WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Animal Kingdom7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Tuesday, August 30, 2016 8 6 Magic Kingdom8 Magic Kingdom8 Animal Kingdom4 Epcot2 Tuesday’s crowd was a level ‘4’ at Magic Kingdom as predicted with average wait times like 33 minutes at Splash Mountain and 13 minutes at Pirates of the Caribbean. Meanwhile, wait times at Epcot and Animal Kingdom were nearly walk-ons all day. Magic Kingdom8 Epcot7 2 3 (Click to view overall details for this day)Saturday, August 13, 2016 8 (Click to view overall details for this day)Thursday, August 18, 2016 Magic Kingdom9 6 Epcot7 Animal Kingdom6 Hollywood Studios8 5 1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Monday, August 22, 2016 Magic Kingdom9 6 8 (Click to view overall details for this day)Sunday, August 14, 2016 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 3 Magic Kingdom4 7 Tuesday saw equivalent crowds as the day before at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios but Epcot and Animal Kingdom were much more crowded. Soarin’ averaged 72 minutes (predicted 62), Test Track averaged 78 (72) while Expedition Everest averaged 38 minutes (predicted 35) and Primeval Whirl averaged 19 (16). Animal Kingdom2 Hollywood Studios8 (Click to view overall details for this day)Thursday, September 1, 2016 5 Animal Kingdom6 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Hollywood Studios3 Hollywood Studios9 8 Hollywood Studios3 The second week of August also saw wait times lower than expected across the resort with no day hitting a crowd level as high as predicted by the Disney World Crowd Calendar. Once again it was Animal Kingdom that saw wild swings in wait times depending on the day that tended to pull the resort wide crowd level lower than expected.Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between August 14 and August 20, 2016: Hollywood Studios8 6 7 3 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 5 Magic Kingdom9 2 Tuesday’s crowd at Magic Kingdom was near the top of our scale again on Tuesday, continuing a strong trend of peak summer crowds at that park. Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom continues to suffer from extended hours without additional attractions. Wait times there are very low compared to what we have seen in years past. 2 We saw a crowd level ‘1’ for the first time in a while on Friday, even though it was at Animal Kingdom. Perhaps this is a sign that summer crowds are making way for the back-to-school lull that we typically see in late August – or perhaps the rain kept crowds at bay. Magic Kingdom9 Hollywood Studios1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Friday, August 26, 2016 9 4 1 6 9 Magic Kingdom7 How Crowded Was Disney World August 21 – 27, 2016?In 2015, with the early Labor Day many schools were back in session by August 23 whereas this year crowds looked more like summer crowds during the same week since labor day fell later. We did see a strange spike in attendance on Saturday however with Magic Kingdom hitting a crowd level ’10’ for the first time since July 4th.Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between August 21 and August 27, 2016: 6 Epcot1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Saturday, August 20, 2016 Friday’s crowds were as expected at Magic Kingdom thanks to average waits like 44 minutes at Jungle Cruise (predicted 41) and 62 minutes at Peter Pan’s Flight while Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom pulled the resort wide crowd level lower once again. Hollywood Studios7 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 3 Magic Kingdom9 7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Tuesday, August 23, 2016 5 6 Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown Hollywood Studios7 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Monday’s predictions did well, missing by more than one index level only at Animal Kingdom. Magic Kingdom was very crowded with average wait times like 72 minutes at Peter Pan’s Flight and 100 minutes at Space Mountain. Epcot7 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 9 Epcot8 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Hollywood Studios8 1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Tuesday, August 9, 2016 Hollywood Studios4 4 5 Animal Kingdom7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Thursday, August 25, 2016 Animal Kingdom2 Epcot7 Animal Kingdom6 6 (Click to view overall details for this day)Monday, August 15, 2016 6 Epcot8 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 7 Animal Kingdom8 8 Animal Kingdom6 Epcot2 Animal Kingdom2 Hollywood Studios7 Animal Kingdom6 Epcot6 6 5 7 Animal Kingdom6 1 7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Magic Kingdom8 8 8 Predictions for Magic Kingdom and Epcot hit the mark on Thursday while Animal Kingdom ended up one level below expectations but one level higher than the day before. Hollywood Studios saw three of its headliners average wait times 20 minutes lower than usual. Animal Kingdom3 8 Epcot2 3 3 Magic Kingdom1 9 Magic Kingdom surged back up to a level ‘7’ on Monday which was surprising considering that last year on the equivalent day that park hit a crowd level ‘3’. The other three parks were near empty though, with wait times in the lowest third of what we see over the year. 8 Tuesday’s crowd at Magic Kingdom continued a month long trend of hitting crowds levels at ‘7’ or above for that park. Peter Pan’s Flight averaged 66 minutes (predicted 64). The other three parks were no slouch either, with crowd levels above the middle point of our scale. 8 Magic Kingdom4 Animal Kingdom5 6 Magic Kingdom9 (Click to view overall details for this day)Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Magic Kingdom5 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Magic Kingdom7 Hollywood Studios8 6 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Hollywood Studios8 Animal Kingdom dropped incredibly from the crowd level ‘7’ on Tuesday to a level ‘2’ on Wednesday, way lower than history would suggest. That means wait times averaged 12 minutes at Kilimanjaro Safaris, 13 at Primeval Whirl and 47 at Kali River Rapids. How Crowded Was Disney World August 28 to September 3, 2016?We can see that by the time August 28 arrived, crowds at Disney World had entered the slow fall season as many school boards began a new year. Although, for the second week in a row, Saturday’s crowds surged well above what we saw other days of the week. It will be interesting to see if September crowds mirror what we have seen historically or will we see the large crowds we saw last year.But first, let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between August 28 and September 3, 2016: 2 Hollywood Studios8 6 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 7 7 Animal Kingdom2 (Click to view overall details for this day)Friday, September 2, 2016 (Click to view overall details for this day)Friday, August 12, 2016 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Epcot7 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Magic Kingdom3 Thursday saw the most evenly distributed crowds of the week with all four parks at a level ‘6’ or ‘7’. Both Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios saw crowd levels two points lower than the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted while the other two parks also saw wait times lower than expected. All four parks were at a level ‘5’ or higher on Saturday, the first time that happened since Tuesday. Magic Kingdom and Epcot led the way again with the highest average wait times. Animal Kingdom continued to be unpredictable with wait times surging back to a level ‘6’, as predicted. WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 6 (Click to view overall details for this day)Saturday, September 3, 2016 3 4 8 6 Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown Magic Kingdom7 Animal Kingdom7 Magic Kingdom9 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Sunday’s crowds were most significant at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios although the difference between the four parks was minimal. We saw average wait times like 39 minutes at Jungle Cruise and 57 at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. All four parks were within one of predicted levels. Hollywood Studios8 3 Animal Kingdom5 4 Epcot6 3 Epcot7 Hollywood Studios9 7 1 8 Epcot1 For the first time in a long time, Sunday saw no park hit a crowd level higher than a ‘5’ on our scale – a sure sign that Fall crowds have arrived. All four parks stayed within one index level of what the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted. Epcot2 3 6 (Click to view overall details for this day)Thursday, August 11, 2016 Animal Kingdom2 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Epcot7 2 Thursday’s crowd levels represent the least crowded day we have seen at Walt Disney World in a very long time, it doesn’t get better than this for crowd averse guests. The highest average wait time was 48 minutes at Peter Pan’s Flight. Epcot4 4 7 4 Epcot5 3 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 1 5 6 7 7 Animal Kingdom2 Epcot2 Hollywood Studios9 Hollywood Studios3 Animal Kingdom6 (Click to view overall details for this day)Saturday, August 27, 2016 8 Epcot4 (Click to view overall details for this day)Monday, August 29, 2016 5 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS (Click to view overall details for this day)Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Another crowd level ‘9’ at Magic Kingdom on Wednesday, and another crowd level ‘3’ at Animal Kingdom. Space Mountain averaged 72 minutes while Kilimanjaro Safaris averaged 17. Meanwhile crowds were moderately crowded at the other two parks. 8 Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown (Click to view overall details for this day)Sunday, August 28, 2016 (Click to view overall details for this day)Sunday, August 7, 2016 Magic Kingdom6 Hollywood Studios9 5 Magic Kingdom3 Magic Kingdom2 (Click to view overall details for this day)Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Animal Kingdom7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Friday, August 19, 2016 Hollywood Studios8 1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Monday, August 8, 2016 1 How Crowded Was Disney World August 14 – 20, 2016 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 1 9 10 Animal Kingdom dipped back down to a level ‘2’ on Wednesday, another significant jump after a busy day. Kali River Rapids was the busiest attraction at Animal Kingdom thanks to an average wait of 37 minutes. (Click to view overall details for this day)Sunday, August 21, 2016 Animal Kingdom5 Animal Kingdom2 Magic Kingdom7 Epcot6 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Epcot5 Epcot5 Hollywood Studios4 More low wait times for Epcot and Animal Kingdom on Wednesday and low to moderate waits at the other two parks. Certainly, light Fall crowds have arrived. Hollywood Studios8 5 Magic Kingdom8 1 5last_img read more

All-New Character Meal Announced For Trattoria al Forno

first_imgShare This!©Rikki NiblettCan you feel the love in the air? It’s not just because Valentine’s Day is quickly coming up. No….it’s because today Disney announced that an all-new character breakfast will be debuting this spring at Trattoria al Forno.This table service restaurant located at Disney’s BoardWalk will feature a great way to start your day with a fun meal that not only includes some of your favorite Disney Princesses, but also their Princes, as well! Characters will include Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled and Ariel and Eric from The Little Mermaid.Not much else is known about this new dining opportunity. Stay tuned to the blog for further information about this great breakfast option.last_img read more

Photo library: Buildings and structures 7

first_img{loadposition tc}Click on a thumbnail for a low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below it to download a high-resolution copy of the image.» Download Buildings & Structures contact sheet (1.1MB) » Download full image library contact sheet (10.5MB) Cape Town, Western Cape province: Inside the Cape Town International Convention Centre, in the city centre. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Cape Town, Western Cape province: First National Bank offices displaying the 2010 Fifa World Cup logo, indicating that the bank is a national sponsor of the tournament, with Table Mountain behind. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Cape Town, Western Cape province: Buildings in the commercial district. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Cape Town, Western Cape province: The Baxter Theatre. Photo: Jeffrey Barbee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com Download hi-res image Cape Town, Western Cape province: The historic clock tower at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, South Africa’s most popular tourist destination. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Cape Town, Western Cape province: The manor house at Groot Constantia, one of the oldest wine farms in the Cape winelands. Photo: Mary Alexander, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Western Cape province:The bell at Altydgedacht Wine Estate in the Durbanville Valley.Photo: Durbanville Wine Valley » Download high-res image Western Cape province: D’Aria Poplars restaurant in the Durbanville Valley.Photo: Durbanville Wine Valley » Download high-res image Western Cape province: The farmhouse at HillcrestEstate in the DurbanvilleValley.Photo: Durbanville Wine Valley » Download high-res image BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES 7: {loadposition bd}Having trouble downloading high-resolution images? Queries about the image library? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.last_img read more

Football – South Africa style

first_imgThe colourful makarapa – headgear thatstarts off humbly as a miner’s helmet,and is lovingly and completely transformedinto an essential item for the SouthAfrican football fan.(Image: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more freephotos, visit the image library.)Find out more about using MediaClubSouthAfrica.com materialFlying in from Canada to experience African football first-hand, Peter Severinac, from Ontario, was blown away by the electric atmosphere inside the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Wednesday evening, when Bafana Bafana took on New Zealand in a 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup match.Surrounded by thousands of celebrating South African fans, all making their way out of the stadium, Severniac could hardly contain his amazement at what he experienced during the game.“Those trumpets are great, I have never experienced anything like it,” Severinac said, referring to the air horns (vuvuzelas) that distinguish football matches in South Africa from anywhere else in the world. “Nothing compares to the feeling of being in the stands with all that dancing and noise.“They treated me like a member of their family when they found out I was from outside South Africa. I will definitely be back next year for the World Cup, and will bring back as many friends as I can,” said Severinac before he was swallowed up by the moving crowd.Once-in-a-lifetime experienceBenito Lenon, who travelled from Madrid, Spain, to watch La Furia Roja play in Fifa’s “Festival of Continental Champions”, said South Africa “seems like such a good country.“I have been here for six days now watching football, and I really love the friendly people here,” Lenon said. “I must tell you, South Africans are the most friendly and hospitable people I have met.”Although Spain were playing Iraq in Bloemfontein on the same day, Lenon chose to experience a Bafana Bafana match in Rustenburg instead, having heard from friends that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to celebrate football in South Africa.He certainly wasn’t disappointed.As tens of thousands of spectators made their way to the Royal Bafokeng Stadium before the game, the city of Rustenburg, in South Africa’s North West province, came alive with the sound of a distinctively African Fifa Confederations Cup.The drone of vuvuzelas competed with hooting and cheering as fans made their way toward the stadium through the city, hoping for – and getting – a night of celebration as South Africa beat New Zealand 2-0.Hours before the match had even started, crowds were gathering outside the stadium as music and dancers entertained the excited crowd.“I am here to support my country, and the vibe around the city is great,” said Lebogang Molefe, adding that the Confederations Cup was all about showing the world what South Africa is all about.“We are a nation that likes to sing, and we are a happy nation,” Molefe said. “I hope our visitors see this now and on television, and I hope they come back for the 2010 World Cup.”Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising CommitteeRelated storiesViva the vuvuzela orchestra!Big teams qualify for World CupUseful linksMakarapa 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup South Africa 2010last_img read more

SA, China prepare for BRICS summit

first_img20 February 2013 South African President Jacob Zuma and International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane have held separate meetings this week with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Jiechi and his delegation are in the country to assist with preparations for the next BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit, which he is “certain will break new ground”. The summit takes place in Durban on 26 and 27 March, and preparations for it are at an advanced stage, according to Nkoana-Mashabane. “South Africa is a very important country in Africa and the world,” Jiechi said after his meeting with Nkoana-Mashabane in Cape Town on Monday, adding that China and South Africa had to work harder for the benefit of developing countries. Annual China-South Africa trade has reached almost $60-billion, and the two countries have economies that are “highly complementary” to one another, he said. Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa’s relationship with China had moved to the highest level with the signing of a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement with China in 2010. “We are looking forward to not only signing agreements, but also building on the strong pillars that have been laid by this comprehensive strategic partnership treaty.” Nkoana-Mashabane also invited Chinese companies to take full opportunity of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, which South Africa is co-hosting with Australia. China has also expanded by 200 the number of scholarships available to young South Africans to study in China, and Nkoana-Mashabane said the South African government would continue to assess the first batch of about 60 scholars sent to China. Jiechi said China would welcome more students from South Africa, and encouraged more Chinese students to also come to study in South Africa. Earlier this month, Nkoana-Mashabane celebrated 15 years of formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and China at a function hosted at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria. Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

E Wants To Be The Future of Networking

first_imgIn this web-enabled world of ours, you have to wonder why business cards are still so popular. Shouldn’t there be a better way? A number of startups have attempted to address this problem with ingenious solutions that range from iPhone apps to custom URLs. Others are calling for the use of QR Codes for mobile data exchange. Unfortunately, no one service has hit the sweet spot just yet, but newcomer “E” thinks they have it figured out. Will “E” succeed where the others have failed? Or is this one industry that refuses to become digitized?HelloMyNameIsE.com You have to appreciate E’s creative URL – it’s memorable, but also makes you curious. E? What’s E?, you wonder. When I first encountered the URL, it was in a tweet which read “I’m now using E to add friends to my Twitter account. More info on http://hellomynameise.com.” Did I click though? You bet. “E,” as it turns out, is a new spin on digital contact exchange. Instead of using paper business cards, you use your phone to exchange data. At first, you may think that sounds very much like mobile contact service Dropcard, but it’s not. The only similarity between E and Dropcard is that they both allow you to customize your profile online and share it with others, but the similarities end there. To use Dropcard, you either text or use a mobile app which emails your contact info to the person you just met. With E, you go to a mobile web URL that lets you exchange a passcode with your new contact. The passcode is simply a five-digit code which is entered into the mobile web app itself. They show your theirs, you show them yours…that sort of thing. Once connected, you don’t receive an email message with their contact info like with Dropcard. E goes a step further and actually adds that contact to all the services you’ve already integrated with E. Service IntegrationAt the moment, E allows you to integrate Twitter, PICNIC (a network for the PICNIC conference), and Soocial. However, Delicious, European social portal Netlog, and LastFM are listed as coming soon. After you integrate these services with E, when you add a contact they’re immediately added to all those other web services, too. And thanks to Soocial, an address book solution, E contact info can also synchronize with your email address book in Gmail, Highrise, your OSX address book, or the address book on your phone itself. Barriers To AdoptionE faces one of the typical problems that many web 2.0 startups do – they don’t work for you until a lot of people are using it. Just because you have a profile on E, that doesn’t mean that those you meet do. And unlike a service like Dropcard, there isn’t a way to use E without the other person’s involvement. In addition to the service itself, the developers of E came up with a crazy but interesting idea for a hardware device called the “Connector.” With this device, you can exchange contact info with others just by touching the two connectors together. While gadget junkies and shiny object collectors may find this device appealing, it could easily remain a niche gadget that ends up sitting on the shelf next to your Chumby and Nazbaztag. To cross the adoption barrier, those at E would be smart to sponsor events where everyone gets a Connector at registration. After a few high-profile events, they would have industry movers and shakers on board, and that’s always a good place to start. Sponsoring events may be just what the company is planning, though, since their site mentions that the “Connector will be released at large events in the near future.” Will It Work?At present, the E service is very basic. Twitter integration is the only service of note that works yet. (Soocial looks great, but is in private beta). The profiles themselves are also not as flexible as those with Dropcard are. You can easily add and remove services with Dropcard, but with E, I wasn’t even able to add a second company that represents my second job. The services section of the web site is confusing – it doesn’t allow you to do anything more than customize which services are connected. The actual profile information is entered under “Settings,” so you can’t specify that only personal contacts get your home address, for example. It appears to be all-or-nothing. E still has far to go to become a truly successful digital contact exchange service, but at least they’re trying something different. Because they operate via mobile URL, not an app specific to any one device, they’re better positioned for more universal adoption that a service that designates itself as iPhone-only, for example. The service is in private beta testing now, but you have the opportunity to make an impassioned plea as to why they should invite you on the signup page here. (If you get in, feel free to add me: 17975.)Check out the video below to see E in action:Hello, my name is E from Renato Valdés Olmos on Vimeo. Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Features#Product Reviews#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… sarah perez 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

EAS Merchandise Protection Strategy

first_imgUnicodeIn recent years, Gap Inc. has implemented a number of electronic article surveillance (EAS) solutions, including in-store applied hard and alarming tags, factory-applied source/soft tag labels, and factory-applied hard tags (FAHT). This 2009 article explores the key decision points, financial rationale, infrastructure requirements, and benefits of why Gap Inc. moved toward a blended solution, the key component of which was the FAHT program. This article also seeks to provide a framework for your company to evaluate the appropriate strategy that Gap Inc. found very effective.Source TaggingAs of 2009, Gap Inc. had implemented the FAHT program in each of its three brands—Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy—in North America and Europe. However, each brand had an existing soft tag/security label infrastructure in place prior to the transition to the FAHT program.FAHT differs from traditional in-store applied hard tags and factory-applied source/soft tags in three key ways. The key differences will vary depending on your current EAS strategy—that is, if you are using in-store applied hard tags, source/soft tags, or if you do not have any tagging program.- Sponsor – Labor Savings. By moving tagging out of the store, there are significant labor savings. As you can imagine, paying factory wages in Vietnam to tag is significantly less expensive than paying for domestic store labor in New York City.Shrink Savings. The well-established benefit and deterrence of applying a hard tag not only reduces inventory shrinkage in the store, but (with FAHT) throughout the supply chain, by placing EAS pedestals at the entry way of distribution centers.Ongoing Cost. With in-store hard tags, there is a one-time expense to purchase the tags with limited replenishment due to in-store tag attrition in later years, while there is ongoing annual expense with FAHT.These differences force retailers to consider the following five key areas when exploring the feasibility and financial benefit of implementing a FAHT solution.• Shrink rate/dollars and sales impact • Cost of tags and product coverage • Store payroll savings • EAS infrastructure and vendor consideration • Location of shrink in your real estate portfolioGap Inc. built a strong business case by successfully triangulating these five components. In other words, the company was able to show that a FAHT strategy reduces overall expenses, through lower shrink and payroll, even though these savings are partially offset by higher expenses associated with purchasing the factory-applied hard tags on an ongoing basis.Shrink Rate/Dollars and Sales ImpactNot surprisingly, factory-applied hard tags have a greater positive financial impact when a company has higher shrink dollars and/or a higher shrink rate. Simply stated, the greater the shrink, the greater the dollar savings from tagging. This is the case for almost any tagging technology.At the time of this article’s original publication in 2009, Gap Inc. had experienced shrink savings of 5 to 70 percent in product categories protected by FAHT, with the lower-end savings experienced in categories previously protected by in-store hard tags and the upper-end savings on categories without any previous protection.The most astonishing impact of Gap Inc.’s FAHT experience was the shrink improvement realized in departments that were previously covered by in-store applied hard tags. No benefit had been expected in these categories. However, due to the near-perfect tagging compliance from the factories and the uniformity in tag placement, the company experienced an improvement in shrink. In conjunction with merchandising and store operations, loss prevention communicated specific placement standards to the factories for all product tagged.The other key benefit associated with reducing shrink is the opportunity cost of not being able to sell the merchandise. Without a doubt, sales and margins improve when shrink is reduced because the product is sold rather than stolen. The challenge is estimating the recapture in gross margin dollars due to the reduced shrink. The recommended method to include this benefit is to use a weighted average gross margin of the tagged product multiplied by the estimated shrink savings. This way, not only is the benefit from shrink savings included in your business case, but the margin upside as well.Cost of Tag and Product CoverageThe second critical component for evaluating FAHT for your stores is to understand the price your company would pay for tags. Pricing largely depends on the expected volume of tags your stores will use annually. Tag cost is the most crucial component of the FAHT evaluation because the business case is more sensitive to the tag cost than any other input. This is a result of the significant number of tags that will be purchased each year.Depending upon the size of your company and the number of units tagged, your tag purchases may reach into the tens of millions or more. The price that you pay for each tag on a per unit basis from the electronic article surveillance provider will rarely be the final cost of adding the tag to the merchandise. The same holds true for any source tag or label.There are typically five factors to consider when determining the total tag cost, referred to as the “fully loaded tag cost.”• Tag price • Cost to ship tag to factory from point of manufacture • Duties applied by country of production • Retailing country customs duty • Applicable rebate if, for example, you recycle or reuse the tag and can negotiate a rebate from your recycling company or providerFully Loaded Tag Cost. Duties vary by factory location and may be applied to both the tag and the freight costs. The customs duty may not apply and therefore lower your total cost of ownership if your company uses a recirculation program for sending the tags back to the factory (the factory cannot be in the retailing country) and your company has a government customs ruling in place to identify that the tag will be removed from the merchandise and recirculated.It is advisable to partner with your company’s finance and/or production departments to determine the exact fully loaded cost for your tag. You should research this important aspect of the FAHT program because it can have a significant impact on your tag cost and business case.Product Categories to Tag. When evaluating what product categories to tag, it is important to consider the shrink improvement, incremental cost of the FAHT program, and payroll savings. Generally, higher-priced, lower-unit categories are more likely to show a positive return on investment as the savings on shrink and payroll exceed the incremental cost of the tags. In contrast, lower-priced, higher-unit categories are less likely to demonstrate a positive return because the cost of the tags overwhelms the shrink and payroll savings.Shrink-reduction estimates due to FAHT should be a combination of historical rates from your company in conjunction with improvements ranging from 5 to 70 percent, depending on your current EAS solutions. As a rule of thumb, Gap Inc. used a 20 to 25 percent improvement.Gap Inc.’s decisions regarding which products to tag were based upon both financial and production-level analysis; that is, the financial benefit of applying a FAHT at the product department level and the ability to apply a tag without damage to the merchandise. When these two decision points met, a FAHT was applied.For example, categories tagged generally include denim, bottoms, outerwear, dresses, suiting, sweaters, and woven shirts. Categories not tagged often include knits, furnishings, and accessories. At this point, select product may receive a soft tag/label or stores may elect to use an in-store hard tag or an alarming tag applied to high-shrink items, such as leather handbags or silk dresses to minimize shrink in these categories with a high average unit retail.Another key consideration for Gap Inc. revolved around how to protect children’s merchandise (0 to 12 years). In order to meet Gap Inc.’s stringent product-safety standards, tags with sharp points cannot be applied at source to this product category. In addition, tags with metal components may activate a factory’s needle-detection machine. Therefore, Gap Inc. elected not to include children’s merchandise in the initial FAHT program.Interestingly, results indicated that theft has migrated to children’s merchandise as it was not protected with a tag. To mitigate loss in this category, the company began testing a tag developed specifically for children’s merchandise in an effort to overcome the safety and needle-detection issues.Store PayrollAs stated earlier, moving tagging out of the back of the store to the factory provides opportunities to reduce store payroll, likely your company’s largest controllable expense category. Gap Inc. realized this payroll decrease through higher productivity in store receiving, with a 30 percent increase in units per hour (UPH) standards.To assess the payroll allocated to tagging, you will likely have to partner with your finance and store operations teams. Once potential payroll savings are determined, this can be included as a benefit in your business case. Reducing payroll expense not only provides additional benefit, but it is also an opportunity to simplify store operations and gain support from your field and store operations business partners. Without fail, Gap Inc.’s in-store field teams recognized the positive impact on workload and morale through the elimination of in-store tagging.EAS Infrastructure and Vendor ConsiderationSince tags are applied at the factory and merchandise flows to all stores, it is important to emphasize that a FAHT program requires a consistent, single-technology EAS infrastructure in all stores. This requirement may cause you to add and/or replace existing EAS equipment.If necessary, the sales on the secondary market of your existing EAS pedestals, detachers, and tags can be used to pay for or offset the cost of new equipment for a FAHT program. You may also need to consider any remaining book value associated with the existing equipment and the potential accounting implications.Moreover, your existing equipment will likely play a role in your decision about a FAHT vendor. The ability to leverage existing equipment can reduce the overall cost of rolling out FAHT and provide a strong return on your equipment investment.Additional considerations when evaluating a vendor is the aforementioned cost of the factory-applied hard tags, and the vendor’s ability to reuse and/or recycle the tags to reduce tag costs over time. The vendor also may be able to provide opportunities to reduce the tag cost through volume discounts and long-term contracts. This is an important evaluation because the lowest possible tag cost is crucial to developing a successful business case.Location of Shrink in Your Real Estate PortfolioThe final decision point requires an understanding of where your shrink is occurring across your store base. One of the greatest benefits of a FAHT program is its universal coverage in all stores. This can also be its greatest downfall.For example, if your shrink is highly concentrated in one region with little to no shrink in the remaining regions, a FAHT strategy is, in all probability, not the right solution for you to reduce shrink. In this scenario, the greatest financial benefit would likely come from using a regional in-store hard-tag strategy where you are concentrating the expense and savings associated with tagging where the shrink is occurring.However, if your real estate portfolio covers a larger, more geographically dispersed area with shrink less concentrated in any particular region, a FAHT program may be the right strategy for you.Implementation of FAHTIn addition to realizing the shrink savings associated with the FAHT program, solid program execution is a valuable way of gaining support for the success of your overall merchandise protection strategy. The program is essentially a production program with the tag or label considered “trim,” just like a shirt button or denim rivet. Partnerships with the production, sourcing, and store operations departments are critical to the program’s operations, and it is important that they understand the entire business case.For example, increasing merchandise manufacturing costs by adding a security tag or label may not be well accepted by a merchant, which may lead to poor compliance in adding the tag to the merchandise bill of materials. However, when the same merchant understands that the program will enable stores to retain the product to sell at full price, they will understand that the tags provide a significant benefit.Sourcing and production teams will be important points of contacts for your tag provider and factories. They can provide planning forecasts and factory details to yield on-time tag deliveries, as well as directing vendors on placement, costing, and ordering details via technical bulletins.Store operations may support the program by evaluating and providing timely feedback, including tag application and factory compliance to adding the tag.It is noteworthy that tag recycling/recirculation programs also support many environmental principles and practices that both customers and employees value todayIn-Store TaggingAs of 2009, Gap Inc. had largely moved away from in-store tagging for the reasons described above except in particular circumstances. However, depending upon the factors involved, in-store tagging can have a greater financial return than FAHT. This can occur when one or more of the following criteria are met:• A lack of a fleet-wide EAS infrastructure, • An acute shrink issue in a particular geographic area, and/or • A product mix where significant hard tagging may not be suitable.The first and foremost challenge with FAHT is the requirement to have the aforementioned fleet-wide consistent technology platform. The financial return from shrink reduction may take years to pay off the cost of the infrastructure. This depends upon your company’s existing infrastructure and the size of your shrink opportunity. Your company may obtain a higher return on investment with a more surgical, less capital-intensive approach by using in-store applied hard tags.Second, as was previously stated, FAHT is a “shotgun” or “blanket” approach, whereas in-store tagging can leveraged in a “rifle” or “scalpel” approach. For example, if there is an acute shrink issue in Dallas, the city and surrounding area can be covered while not simultaneously covering Phoenix, where there may not be an issue. This way, your resources can be focused on reducing shrink in specific geographic areas of concern.Third, the product mix found in your stores may not be best suited to a FAHT solution. For Gap Inc.’s predominately soft-lines product mix, FAHT was an optimal solution. However, your stores and product mix may be different and in-store tagging may operationally be a favored solution.This was the case for one of Gap Inc.’s brands where these three factors combined to favor the continuation of in-store tagging. First, this brand did not have a fleet-wide infrastructure to enable FAHT. Second, there was not enough shrink savings associated with fleet-wide tagging to justify the infrastructure investment. Finally, the average unit cost/unit was lower in this brand, which further made the ongoing cost of FAHT less palatable versus the one-time cost of in-store tagging.Overall BenefitGap Inc. gained relative short-term benefit following the transition to source-tag labels. Stores that had not previously protected their merchandise with an in-store hard-tag program realized a significant improvement in shrink; however, the opposite held true for stores that used hard tags. Therefore, the larger benefit of the soft tag program was the operational framework it set to build the FAHT program upon.Gap Inc. realized significant savings and success from implementing the FAHT program. The framework of five factors included in this article helped the company to effectively and successfully evaluate the financial, store, and production impact of moving to a FAHT program. Presenting a holistic review of the optimal shrink-mitigation strategy, whether it be FAHT or in-store tagging, enabled Gap Inc. to gain internal buyoff from business partners in finance, store operations, production, and merchandising in addition to our own loss prevention team.By consistently applying this methodology, by being transparent with our assumptions, and by ultimately delivering on what we promised, LP has gained traction and credibility internally. Hopefully, by sharing our experience and successes, your company can leverage the framework described in this article to make informed decisions about the right merchandise-protection strategy for your stores.This article was originally published in 2009 and was updated February 3, 2016.  Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Security: Zero Trust Model for Cybersecurity

first_imgThe Zero Trust model is just that, no matter where access to a particular system is coming from, whether it is from inside or outside the perimeter of an organization, it should not be automatically trusted until it is verified.  The historical way security was implemented was like a castle and moat — security focused on the perimeter but assumed that anything inside and that had gotten past the external line of defense was okay.Charlie Gero, CTO at Akamai, said that “the strategy around Zero Trust boils down to don’t trust anyone. We’re talking about, ‘Let’s cut off all access until the network knows who you are. Don’t allow access to IP addresses, machines, etc. until you know who that user is and whether they’re authorized.”Jeff Pollard, analyst at Forrester, said that “the reason why we rely on the idea of zero trust is because it solves the problem of the disappearing perimeter. Your users don’t work from the places they used to work. Your systems aren’t spun up in the way they used to be spun up. [With zero trust], you move from implicit permission to explicit permission.” Chase Cunningham, analyst at Forrester Research, said that “people buy technology and Frankenstein it together and think if they keep throwing tech at the issue they will get it right. The reality of it is, when I ask them ‘What is your strategy?’ most of them don’t even have an answer.”last_img read more

Shifting Platforms: What Mobile Can Do for Entrepreneurs

first_imgTags:#Analysis#start Move the mobile industry forward with The RWW Team at the 2010 ReadWriteWeb Mobile Summit in Mountain View, CA on May 7!The numbers behind the growth of mobile usage are absolutely staggering. Consider the data compiled by Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley this April showing the comparative growth of mobile and desktop Internet. The iPhone and iPod Touch, which have been around for almost three years now, have roughly 85 million users. At the same point in their histories, Netscape and America Online (AOL) had just 18 million and 8 million users, respectively.In other words, the mobile Internet revolution ignited by the iPhone has grown over 10 times faster than AOL, and nearly 5 times as fast as Netscape. In her report Meeker also estimates that the number of mobile Internet users will surpass desktop Internet users in just two years. But there are more reasons than research projections to be excited about mobile, so here are a few.LocationOne of the biggest advantages mobile devices have over desktops is their ability to go anywhere. Desktop computing experiences can now be modified and expanded to include location-based features on mobile devices, and best of all, location has gone social. With Foursquare and Gowalla battling for the check-in throne, Twitter implementing geodata into its meta-data, and Facebook rumored to be dabbling in location features, there are millions of people embracing location technology on the social Web. Other technologies like augmented reality are pushing devices to their limits and providing truly unique and engaging location-based experiences. Advertising platforms are beginning to use location awareness to provide localized ads, but there is still plenty of room for development in this and other location-based avenues.Google made an interesting statement regarding location last week when introducing Google Places. According to the search leader, one of every five Google searches is related to location. Just think about that.New Consumer HabitsThe proliferation of online marketplaces selling applications on smartphones has created a new culture based around making purchases on mobile devices. Not only are people more willing to spend $.99 on an app they’ve never tried before simply because it looks cool, they are willing to have a wider selection of apps on their device that they use regularly. I can count the number of desktop applications that I use daily on one hand, but the number of iPhone apps I depend on each day is much higher. Part of the reason the next version of the iPhone OS will include folders is that users have tons of apps they need to use each day, and they want more without all the clutter and hassle. Mobile apps have bred a new type of consumer that will pay for what was once free, and a new type of application user that will keep more regularly used apps on their phones than on their desktops.It’s Where the Kids Are I got my first cell phone halfway through high-school. Today, it’s not uncommon to see third graders with their own phones texting away with their friends. A recent study from Pew found that text messaging is the favored method of communication by teens, surpassing cell phone calls and face-to-face conversations. More telling, however, is that mobile communication is more popular than activities traditionally used on desktop computers, such as instant messaging, social networks and, of course, email.Kids these days are growing up with iPads, iPhones, Android phones, PSPs and other portable devices as a standard for their perspective on technology, and that’s their baseline. The next generation of early tech adopters is not going to like power cords, mice, and anything else they can’t use without remaining sedentary. These are just a few of the many reasons why the mobile platform is growing and why entrepreneurs should pay serious attention to the possibilities that growth presents. This is not to say that desktop Internet applications are useless, in fact the opposite is true. There is still plenty of audience for these types of products, especially those that can inter-operate with a mobile version, but the rapid expansion occurring in the mobile sector makes it a ripe market for development.Move the mobile industry forward with The ReadWriteWeb Team! These and other hot mobile topics such as the merits of native vs web based mobile apps will be discussed and debated at the ReadWriteWeb Mobile Summit 2010 with you and other industry luminaries in Mountain View, CA on May 7. See our announcement post for more details or register now.If you’re a company in the Mobile Internet market, you may be interested in becoming a sponsor for this event. Please contact our COO Sean Ammirati for more information about sponsor packages. And a big thank-you to our current event sponsors: CallFire, WorldMate, Alcatel-Lucent and Ipevo.Photos by Flickr users topgold, PictureYouth and William Hook. Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting During a graduate school entrepreneurship class, my classmates and I were challenged to come up with an idea for a mash-up or venture without describing it as “a website for (fill in the blank).” What I believe our professors were trying to teach us was that when forming an idea, you shouldn’t anchor yourself to a specific platform. These platforms are never in a state of rest, and right now there is a large shift occurring from traditional computing to mobile computing. As the mobile platform continues to increase its usage share, entrepreneurs should be keeping the opportunities provided by mobile at the forefront of their minds. chris cameron A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more