The Tabletop tablet

Increasingly, we believe, they are likely to become more popular in casual dining outlets.

The reasons why are primarily increased revenues and reduced costs both helping the bottom line:

  • Many suppliers boast food revenue increases of over 10%
  • and some, drinks/wine increases up to 25%.
  • There can also be “background” advertising revenue income
  • The number of waiters/waitresses (or the unisex servers) can be reduced.

We really can see it replacing/enhancing POS to a great extent in certain markets.

For an interactive trial we suggest you go over to Ziosk who have an excellent tour of their product.  They claim around 100+ locations existing and planned throughout the US.

Another vendor Ela Carte  with its own 7″  tablet called Presto ( love the name but possibly a missing “S”)  boast over 600 restaurants in  20 US states and 7 countries with over 20,000 Pressto’s. They have a couple of US chains signed up Pizzeria Venti and Umami Burger.




With an international flavour eMenu claims over 1200 locations and some well known customers such as Planet Hollywood  (London) TGIF (East Europe) Hilton and the Fine Burger Co.

 eTab are yet another vendor, with not only an interesting name, but also their own tablet and system which integrates with existing POS systems. It so far is the only one we’ve come across with a generally portrait positioned tablet ….hmmmm.










There are no doubt many other vendors out there who we haven’t mentioned but we did rather like the “social” angle to Trivnets latest video.

Click to configure and order!

Virtually all of them have payment facilities to swipe cards and get an emailed receipt. We are sure there will be many who have or will soon acquire the M2M ability of simply waving your smartphone at them.Until then certain outlets could always simply invest in the latest Cashbox from the Happy Owl Studio which we rather liked





We have no commercial relationships with any of the companies referenced in this article.

“It is my oxygen….” Tim Cook on and of Apple

Tim Cook was interviewed by Walt Mossberg  & Kara Swisher  both Technology Corespondents for The Wall Street Journal on stage last night at the AllThingsD D10 conference.

There are a series of videos  from which we’ve selected 3. Whilst the highlights video is lengthy (17 minutes) they are all, in our view, well worth watching.

If you prefer the written word there is a, sort of, transcript over at  AllThingsD .

The key points we believed noteworthy were:

  • iPad loved by Consumers, Business, Education and by all ages. The Tablet doesn’t come with the encumbrances/baggage of a PC
  • He learnt a lot from Steve Jobs “focus is key”  “joy isn’t a journey” “life is fragile” “Steve was an original. I don’t think there’s another one being made” his 180º turns/flip-flops were an art form.
  • Patent wars are “a pain in the arse” Patent system is broken in standards-essential area.
  • Apple TV sold 2.8 million last year but already have sold 2.7 million this year.
  • Siri – “Customers love it” “Lot of people working on it” “Siri as a feature has moved into the mainstream”
  • On large acquisitions “I wouldn’t rule it out. We’re not looking at a big one right now, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”
  • Companies can get lost, he says, focusing on revenue, profit or stock price.“ You have to focus on the things that lead to those,”

Video 1 - Highlights iPad Apple TV Steve Jobs Patents +

Video 2 -  Steve Jobs was an awesome flip-flopper!

Video 3 – Apple & Facebook  “stay tuned” & possible acquisitions and Apple practice

Some Brands are Social

Click for complete version

Headstream  The Social Brand Agency have just published their Social Brands 100 rankings (pdf – reduced file) with its own dedicated website

Innocent comes out on top with the first Technology brand at #11 for HTC.

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Their methodology comprises two elements/scores. One for Data & one from a Panel of ten human beings! The Data Score is based on these 19 observable markers.

The human beings are from Headstream, Brandwatch, Twitter, Google, Brand Republic, IAB, PwC, IPA (Digital), YouTube and



Click to enlarge

Some interesting/noteworthy outcomes include:


Their Brand classifications shows the following outcome by numbers of brands:

1= Charity (17)

1= Travel & Luxury (17)

3    FMCG (14)

4    Technology (12)

5    Retail (8)

6=  Media (7)

6=  Telecom (7)

8= Financial Services (4)

8= Services (4)

10= Entertainment (3)

10= Fashion and Beauty (3)

12= Automotive (2)

12= Manufactured Goods (2)

An interesting, and different, brand view & they’re  having a social gathering as well! “At 4pm today (May 29th) a launch event in London will bring together the Social Brands 100 to discuss the ranking, and what makes a brand social.”

Follow them and it @SocialBrands100  #SB100

iTotal control of everything everywhere

AGA Rangemaster  have recently added an “i”  to their Total Control range of cookers.

It enables distance control, theoretically, from anywhere in the world via a dedicated website  where you register, after purchase, and thereafter forever stay iTotal Control.

Further product detail from AGA

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Apps (free) are available both from iTunes & Google play. Searching for AGA TC seems the easiest bet

Effectively a router (see pic) is connected to the cooker and a sim card from everything everywhere   slots in to the router to receive all your instructions. This uses their M2M Management Platform.

And the cost well for a 12 month contract the everything everywhere sim is a mere £5.95 a month but unfortunately the cooker will set you back just over a five figure sum!

It also cropped up last week at the Chelsea Flower Show per the World according to Lady AGA!





And a very lucky lady won one at Cheltenham.


Keep an “I” on our week (May 26)

The top three articles this week were

  1. Arise Sir Jony
  2. Internet April Retail Sales power ahead +18% as the rest tumble
  3. The Net-centric age introduces the Digital RPI

A brief mention of the  Facebook IPO (where we would tend to agree with  some who described it as simply aggressive), the share price  ended the week at $31.91 a discount of 16% to the flotation price. Current prices from Google Finance  or directly on Nasdaq

The Net-centric age introduces the DIGITAL RPI

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A fascinating piece of work by the Centre for Economic and Business Research Ltd (CEBR) at the behest of  the TalkTalk group  who have just published their first Digital Retail Price Index (DRPI). pdf  Its calculated quarterly – the latest information is to March 2012.

The CEBR conclude that:”

  •  “The Digital Retail Price Index (DRPI) shows online prices growing by around 2.2% between Q1 2007 and Q1 2012, averaging an annual rate of 0.4%.
  •  In contrast the In-store Price Comparator Index shows in-store prices rising by around 6.4% over the same period, averaging 1.2% annually.
  •  Based on this evidence, this suggests that a consumer faces a rate of inflation that is three times higher if they replicated their online spending habits in-store.”

TalkTalk’s Press release is headlined “Online inflation ten times lower than high street”

“TalkTalk launches Digital RPI quarterly index

Annual Retail Price Index (RPI) Inflation is currently running at around 3.5 per cent but if you do most of your shopping online it’s only around a tenth of that broadband firm TalkTalk has calculated.  The annual Digital Rate of Inflation – (DRPI) the equivalent rate if you buy your household goods, food and clothing online rather than in-store – is just 0.3 per cent.”

Basically the Digital RPI is derived from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Internet Retail Sales volume & value information with a weighting of Food 39% Household goods 34% and clothing 27%. We’re not sure if the ONS statistics used are the new ones introduced with respect to March or not and the weighting apparently differs from those being used by the ONS mentioned earlier this week.

They then compare this with a derivative of the ONS’s RPI basically using the above weighting to give a like for like comparison that’s the rather unfortunately titled “In-store Price Comparator Index” ie ISPCI?

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There’s an online international retailers element included in their index which due to weak sterling in 2008/09 (or one might argue strong US $) caused some horrendous increases in the 25%-30% range which are reflected in the peak in the DRPI at 1.7%

We’ve done a comparison with the ONS’s RPI & CPI just to prove that they all show the same picture which of course they do.

It does give a loud and clear picture that Digital/Online Inflation is way less than the bricks & mortar variety AND they forecast that it could stay that way over the next year or so.

“We expect the DRPI to be lower than the In-store Price Comparator Index over the next twelve months as energy prices still remain elevated – disproportionately affecting high-street businesses with relatively higher overhead costs. Furthermore, Internationally-based internet retailers are expected to benefit from lower air freight costs whilst consumer goods prices in global markets are expected to remain broadly stable.”

Great work – we hope they continue to produce it or even better persuade the ONS to take it on – exactly the sort of useful statistical analysis required in a net-centric age.

Arise Sir Jony

Jony Ive (Apple’s Senior Vice President, Industrial Design) attended an investiture ceremony  at Buckingham Palace yesterday held by  the Princess Royal on behalf of the Queen where he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE).

Or, more simply, he is now Sir Jony!

The Telegraph have (quite rightly in our view) gone to town with:

Apple have still to update his bio  but we are sure this will happen fairly soon.

A couple of videos:

The investiture – looks like Princess Anne had quite a chat with Jony. The BBC commentary is not the most inspiring we have encountered!



An old interview with him way back when …….. (iPods were king).

Many congrats all round, richly deserved!

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In other Apple news IDC released today effectively updated smartphone shipment, this time by operating system, estimates for quarter 1. No real surprises we don’t think with Samsung ahead of Apple with 45.4% of the Android market ie circa 40.8 million units v’s Apples 35.1.This is a little lower than their May 1 estimate of 42.2m but total shipments are up by some 7.3 million at 155.3 million.


Here’s their iChart to play with!


Chart: Worldwide Smartphone OS Market Share, 1Q 2012Description: IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

Internet April retail sales power ahead +18% as the rest tumble

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS)  have just published the monthly retail sales figures for March (pdf17) We’ve cut the pdf down to exclude the 94 pages of tables etc. If you want these the full version is on the ONS site. May’s release is scheduled for 21 June returning to the 3rd Thursday of the month scenario!

Overall the figures are very disappointing  and, sort of, overcompensate for the positivity reported last month, no doubt due partially to the wettest April ever and other key economic factors such as no panic fuel buying this month – in fact the opposite!

Our Internet sales headlines are:

April increases:

  • Year on year +18.1%.(15.5%) This is the greatest increase this year
  • Year to date April 2012/2011 + 14.9% (14.0%) another move upwards making three so far this year
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on March 2012 annualised + 14% (2) on April 2011 +15.8%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group (Non store retailing) showing 23.9% growth on 2011 and contributing 9.8% to the overall growth of 18.1% (This is an area which is likely to just grow & grow unless further meaningful analysis is undertaken by the ONS)

The more observant amongst you may notice that some of the “history” has changed  – this is due to regular revisions by the ONS which this month went back as far as April 2011

The ONS words are:

Internet Sales

Key points

• Internet average weekly sales values (non-seasonally adjusted) in April 2012 were estimated increased to be £489.0 million, an increase of by 18.1 per cent when compared with April 2011.

• Internet sales are now estimated to account for 8.5 per cent of all retail sales values excluding automotive fuel.

• The non-store retailing sector has the largest proportion of Internet sales in April 2012 and now accounts for 60.6 per cent of all sales in this sector, up from 54.8 per cent in April 2011.

• The food sector has the lowest proportion of Internet sales which now accounts for 3.2 per cent in April 2012, up from 2.8 per cent in April 2011.

• The average weekly value of Internet sales in April 2012 (non-seasonally adjusted) is estimated to be £489.0 million, up from £485.4 million in March 2012.

Internet sales in detail

The Internet sales statistics measure how much has been spent online through retailers in Great Britain. Figures are non-seasonally adjusted and the reference year is 2010=100. The table below shows the year-on-year growth for total Internet sales, each sector and the contribution that each sector makes to total Internet sales.

Category Weight Year on year Contribution
(YOY) growth to YOY growth
All retailing 100.0 18.1%
(a) All food 17.3 14.3% 2.5%
(b) All non-food 41.4 14.0% 5.8%
Department stores 7.0 28.2% 2.0%
Textile clothing & footwear stores 11.7 16.5% 1.9%
Household goods stores 8.2 22.6% 1.9%
Other stores 14.5 0.3% 0.0%
(c) Non store retailing 41.3 23.9% 9.8%

We have added our annotations to the ONS table – The bold categories/ figures in the table are the primary constituents of the total (ie (a) + (b) + (c) = All retailing). Dept. stores, Textile etc, Household etc and Other stores are simply an analysis of (b) All non-food.

* Whilst the ONS will not confirm the names of specific retailers within categories they did say that retailers selling wholly online with no physical outlets would be included in the Non store retailing category along with eg online  mail order retailers.

As detailed last month the figures are no longer experimental.

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The moving annual total, which we now also report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since October 2007) to an all time high of £26.1bn an increase in the month (adjusted re restatements and revisions) of 1.16% annualised 14%. This is below the long term compound average growth rate (from 2007) of 26%.

Our forecast for April at £500 million weekly sales wasn’t quite achieved  and we missed the MAT by a point. For May we will again go for the £500 million with a MAT reaching £26.4

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million ish!

We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from late 2007 by month. As before it highlights that high street sales have been and continue to go nowhere! As, we have mentioned before, the Boston Consulting Group forecast  in their report (The $4.2 Trillion opportunity) that this trend is likely to continue with the high streets market share contracting at around 2.75% a year from 2010 through 2016.

Further details and explanations are either in the ONS release on the statistics or on their website. As previously mentioned a retail convention of a 4, 4, 5 week quarter is used by the ONS. To cater for the inconvenience of years not having 364 days every 6 years or so an extra week is included in the statistics. The ONS adds this in January

Top Global Technology & Telecom brands worth over $1 trillion

BrandZ™  part of Millward Brown a WPP  company have just published their 2012 Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands.

Their exceptionally well presented and comprehensive report is available as a flipbook  or can be viewed & downloaded from their site There is also a most useful WPP “store”  where all the downloadable content including apps etc etc  can be readily accessed.

“Apple stayed Number 1, with a 19 percent gain in brand value to $183 billion ….” and “Four of the Top 5 brands were in technology” (2, 3 and 5 are IBM Google and Microsoft). The dreaded MacD was at #4. Facebook is the “Top Riser” going up to 19th position overall. amazon is one place ahead of them but the second retailer behind Walmart

“The total value of the 2012 BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands rose marginally last year by 0.4 percent to $2.4 trillion, as a perfect storm of economic stress, political uncertainty and natural disasters affected brands across categories”.

“Technology and telecom brands together comprised about 44 percent of the value of the 2012 BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. They accounted for about one-third of the value in 2006”.

So having fired up our calculator 44% of $2.4 is just over the $1 trillion level. There are we reckon 16 technology and 15 telcom brands in the top 100.

We were not surprised to see that in spite of the “ …perfect storm of economic stress, political uncertainty and natural disasters ….” The technology sector and other internet-centric brands weathered the storm comparatively well.

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We particularly liked the “Buzz means money .. “ section linking successful social media engagement with brand value where as the 100 “… Brands comprises many of the great and the good, the different and the special, and the most talked about….” “But the crucial finding is that brands with more fans and “Earned Buzz” levels are much more valuable. And brand value growth is significantly better if buzz is better. The Top 10 “Earned Buzz” brands grew on average by 5 percent in value last year, while the bottom 10 declined 8 percent.” ” Brands with higher value have more fans and more “Earned Buzz.” More buzz and fans means more value” “… the privilege of being talked about is one of the assets of an interesting, meaningfully different brand.”

On the retail front they comment  “The Internet has catalyzed fundamental changes across the entire retail system. At the heart of the changes is a dramatic shift in retailing priorities. Location, location, location is giving way to customer, customer, customer. This transformation is so pervasive that any business that merely tries to adapt piecemeal will struggle”.

There is a Technology sector video:

For completeness we have shown the Top 10 UK most valuable Global Brands and just outside this list is Burberry who feature at # 10 in the Luxury sector and they also figure in the Top 20 risers in the year.

Narrowing the Digital Divide

The Federation for Small Businesses  (FSB) have today published their report The Missing Links – Revitalising our Rural Economy (pdf)

Their forward states “The rural economy is dominated by small businesses. Across Britain small firms make up 99.3 per cent of all businesses, contribute 51 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employ 58 per cent of the private sector workforce.

The Government believes, and the Federation of Small Business (FSB) is in full agreement, that it is these small businesses in rural areas that will provide the engine for economic growth.”

“ ….rural entrepreneurs need to be further encouraged and the barriers blocking their future growth removed. This paper sets out a comprehensive approach to restore and sustain the vitality of our rural economy ….”

“There is no panacea to unlocking the power of the rural economy. It requires a concerted, shared effort from national and local government and local communities. However, if implemented in full and in a co-ordinated way, the range of policy measures covered in this report will help improve the conditions in which our rural businesses can survive and thrive and create jobs.

Specifically, it requires high speed broadband to be rolled out to all rural areas ….”

We thought it appropriate  to quote them at length as their points are well made. Clearly they have many other recommendations, on in particular, but not restricted to, transport and planning measures, but we will limit ourselves to their discussion of the rural “digital infrastructure”.

Their recommendations are:

  • Broadband – The FSB calls for the delivery of high speed broadband (20Mbps) to 98 per cent of rural communities and businesses by 2015.
  • Mobile provision – Government should urgently proceed with the spectrum auction to allow small rural businesses to benefit from a full range of 4G services.

Their research shows that both urban (84% ) and rural (85%)  businesses expect their reliance on the internet to increase, fueled no doubt to an extent by the Governments “digital by default” policy, following Martha Lane Fox’s report, whereby most mandatory communication with Government Departments agencies etc must be carried out online.

The FSB have ascertained though that a significant proportion of small rural businesses 34% are dissatisfied with their internet reliability and 24% believe they don’t get value for money from their internet services provider (ISP). As far as speed is concerned over 63% of rural small firms are dissatisfied v’s less than half (48%) of urban firms. This digital divide must be narrowed/eliminated in their view which we wholeheartedly endorse.

They mention that this divide could widen with the Governments super connected cities programme which was extended in the 2012 Budget to a further 10 cities over the original 10

To help achieve their broadband recommendation they believe that “Internet Service Providers should prioritise areas for network expansion by not just the number of households, but by the number of businesses weighted to reflect the economic potential of those businesses to the national economy”.

It certainly strikes us that if the Governments three main priorities are growth, growth, and growth then the digital infrastructure is a key area where investment and pump priming should be a priority in conjunction with the private sector and involving the encouragement and support of projects  such as  B4RN on the rural front.

The divide does need to be narrowed and we fully support the FSB’s recommendation.