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Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 13th, 2022

Bonhoeffer 3Q21 Commentary: Case Study – Millicom

Bonhoeffer Capital Management commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, providing a case study for Millicom International Cellular SA (NASDAQ:TIGO). Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Partner, The Bonhoeffer Fund returned -2.8% net of fees in the third quarter of 2021. In the same time period, the MSCI World ex-US, a […] Bonhoeffer Capital Management commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, providing a case study for Millicom International Cellular SA (NASDAQ:TIGO). if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Partner, The Bonhoeffer Fund returned -2.8% net of fees in the third quarter of 2021. In the same time period, the MSCI World ex-US, a broad-based index returned -0.7% and the DFA International Small Cap Value Fund, our closest benchmark, returned -2.5%. Year to date, the Bonhoeffer Fund has returned 22.9% net of fees. As of September 30, 2021, our securities have an average earnings/free cash flow yield of 14.3% and an average EV/EBITDA of 4.7. The DFA International Small Cap Value Fund had an average earnings yield of 11.1%. These multiples are lower than last quarter primarily due to increasing earnings and declining share prices. The difference between the portfolio’s market valuation and my estimate of intrinsic value is greater than 100%. I remain confident that the gap will close over time and the portfolio quality will continue to increase as we increase allocations to faster-growing firms. Bonhoeffer Fund Portfolio Overview Our investment universe has been extended beyond value-oriented special situations to include growthoriented firms using a value framework, including companies that generate growth through consolidation. There have been modest changes within the portfolio in the last quarter in line with our low historical turnover rates. We have sold Cambria Automotive which is in the process of being acquired and used the proceeds to increase our holdings in Asbury Automotive, Countryside Properties, and Millicom. As of September 30, 2021, our largest country exposures include: South Korea, United States, United Kingdom, Italy, South Africa, and Philippines. The largest industry exposures include: distribution, telecom/media, real estate/infrastructure, and consumer products. We added to some smaller positions within the portfolio and are investigating additional consolidation plays with modest valuations in industries that have nice returns on invested capital such as fiber rollouts, convenience stores, and IT services. Compound Mispricings (37% of Portfolio; Quarterly Average Performance -8%) Our Korean preferred stocks, the nonvoting share of Telecom Italia, Wilh. Wilhelmsen, and some HoldCos all feature characteristics of compound mispricings. The thesis for the closing of the voting, nonvoting, and holding company valuation gap includes evidence of better governance and liquidity. We are also looking for corporate actions such as spinoffs, sales, or holding company transactions and overall growth. Throughout the year, Net1 UEPS has been accumulating cash from the sale of its non-core assets including a Korean transaction processing network and its stake in a crypto bank. This cash, in addition to issuing some debt, was used to purchase Connect, a merchant transaction processor catering to small and medium businesses. This acquisition will complement its consumer fintech EasyPay transaction and ATM network and expand Net1 UEPS’s total addressable market to include small and midsized businesses and lead to profitability. The Korean preferred discounts in our portfolio are still large (25% to 73%). The trends of better governance and liquidity have reduced the discount in names like Samsung Electronics, and more preferred names trade at a premium to common shares. We continue to like the prospects for LG Corp preferred post LX Holdings spinoff from both a business and discount perspective. The current discount to NAV is 74% for the LG Corp preferred. In addition, this discount is based upon a base value of LG Corp with reasonable implied EV/EBITDA multiples of LG Corp subsidiaries of 4.7x for LG Electronics, 13.6x for LG Chemical (including LG’s EV battery division), and 16.7x for LG Household & Health Care. Public LBOs (37% of Portfolio; Quarterly Average Performance -1%) Our broadcast TV franchises, leasing, building products distributors, and roll-on/roll-off (RORO) shipping fall into this category. One trend I’ve noted in these firms is growth creation through acquisitions which provide synergies and operational leverage associated with vertical and horizontal consolidation and the subsequent repurchasing of shares with debt. The increased cash flow is used to pay the debt and the process is repeated. Millicom, this quarter’s case study, is a public LBO that has financed many of its investment opportunities with debt. The recently announced buyout of its Guatemalan JV partner illustrates this. The debt, when used in situations like this, has been paid down over time as Millicom generates a lot of free cash flow and can increase returns like leveraged rollups, as described below. Distribution Theme (41% of Portfolio; Quarterly Performance +3%) Our holdings in car and branded capital equipment dealerships, convenience stores, building product distributors, and capital equipment leasing firms all fall into the distribution theme. One of the main KPIs for dealerships and shopping is velocity or inventory turns. We own some of the highest-velocity dealerships in markets around the world. There have been challenges in some markets hit by COVID, like South Africa and Latin America; but there should be recovery now that vaccines have been approved and distributed. GS Retail, the second largest convenience store operator in Korea (with 14,600 convenience stores and 320 grocery stores), is the security we received for the buyout of GS Home Shopping. We have applied our growth methodology described in the last quarterly report. The following is a summary: The convenience store business is growing and consolidating worldwide. As a result of the acquisition, management is planning on using the younger customer data from GS Retail, the older customer data from GS Home Shopping, and the GS distribution network (42 logistics centers supporting convenience, grocery, and home shopping customers) to provide older and younger customers their products instore (convenience store) or next-day home delivery across Korea. Management expects 10% growth overall, composed of underlying convenience store growth of 4-5% and 5% from cross selling and digital commerce from the merger. Given the fixed costs in the convenience store network and distribution infrastructure, management expects cost synergies to generate net income margins of 5.0%. If these revenue and growth rates are realized, then a P/E closer to comparable convenience stores BGF Retail (Korea), Seven & I, and Alimentation Couche-Tard of 15-20x is not unreasonable. This range has significant upside from current P/E multiple of 5.9x and five-year forward P/E of 4.3x. Telecom/Transaction Processing Theme (36% of Portfolio; Quarterly Performance -2%) The increasing use of transaction processing in our firms’ markets and the rollout of 5G will provide growth opportunities. Given that most of these firms are holding companies and have multiple components of value (including real estate), the timeline for realization may be longer than for other firms. Telecom Italia continues to work with the Italian government and Fiber Corp to merge their telecommunications infrastructures together. Vivendi has called an emergency board meeting to ensure Telecom Italia will retain control of the combined telecommunication infrastructure after the merger. We view this action as a positive despite the decline in Telecom Italia’s share price. The updated sum-ofthe- parts analysis (as detailed in previous letters) implies an upside of 80–100%. In my opinion, much of the recent decline is due to concerns that Telecom Italia will give up control of the combined telecommunications infrastructure. Consumer Product Theme (10% of Portfolio; Quarterly Performance -7%) Our consumer product, tire, and beverage firms comprise this category. The defensive nature of these firms has led to lower-than-average performance due to the stronger performance from more recoverycorrelated names. One theme we have been examining is the increase in sales of adult products (tobacco, alcohol, and lottery) in convenience stores as other stores are removing these products from their product offerings. GS Retail is taking advantage of this trend in Korea. Real Estate/Construction Theme (23% of Portfolio; Quarterly Performance -3%) In my opinion, the pricing of our real estate holdings has been impacted by both a recession and the communist takeover in Hong Kong. The current cement and construction holdings (in US/Europe via BFS and Countryside and in Korea via Asia Cement) should do well as the world recovers from COVID shutdowns and governments start infrastructure programs. Asia Standard also declined during the quarter due to the concern over the decline in its Chinese real estate developer bond holdings. Asia Standard holds a large number of Chinese real estate developer bonds, including those of Evergrande and Kaisa. The Evergrande bonds have declined to about 20% of face value as of September 30 (they were at 40% of face value on July 31, 2021, the last market-to-market valuation date for Asia Standard’s bond portfolio) while the Kaisa bonds have declined to 85% of face value. I ran a stress test assuming a 25% decline in the bond portfolio from July 31, 2021. This is 2x the 13% decline in the portfolio from Evergrande and Kaisa bond prices between July 31, 2021, to September 30, 2021. The resulting NAV/share is $8.09 versus the $10.09 NAV as of July 31, 2021. The September 30 stock price of $0.85 is at a 91% discount to the stressed NAV and 92% to the July 31, 2021, NAV. Consolidation Frameworks In our Q1 letter, we described how we are examining growth opportunities associated with consolidation in fragmented industries. Growth from consolidation can be a resilient form of growth as it is dependent upon the availability of target firms and associated cost and revenue synergies versus overall market growth. When consolidation growth is combined with modest industry growth, some exciting growth can be realized. If the firms also exhibit operational leverage from economies of scale/scope, then the combined effect can be significant growth in earnings or free cash flows. The advantage of this type of growth is that it is realized over time and not recognized by the market in advance. This can be seen in the price charts of many of these firms moving from the lower left to the upper right over time as the growth is realized. Fragmented markets can have long runways associated with consolidation and economies of scale and scope which can lead to cash flow growth in excess of the market growth for many years. We try to identify these markets and firms that can ride the consolation wave over a long timeframe. Some of these firms have valuations reflecting some of the future growth and some have little to no premium reflecting future growth from consolidation. Currently, the internet (an innovation) is providing more consolidation via additional fragmentation of retail demand from offline, online, and omni-channel selling channels. An example is traditional auto dealers using an omni-channel sales approach and Carvana who is exclusively online. Bonhoeffer is looking for businesses that are adopting the innovation (internet distribution) which will enhance growth going forward but where it is not recognized by the market yet, as evidenced by the current stock price. Some analysts have developed useful frameworks to evaluate consolidation or serial acquirer situations. Scott Capital has developed a useful framework1 for categorizing consolidators, shown below: Scott has categorized these types of firms depending upon the level of target integration. Most of the firms we have been examining recently have been rollups (firms in the same industry) with scale-driven synergies and operational leverage. We also hold one platform (Wilh. Wilhelmsen) and one holding company (LG Corp). Another way to look at these firms is cross-sectionally based on total addressable market (TAM) size and integration of operations, as described by Canuck Analysts Substack2 below: Using this framework for our current areas of interest (rollups), I have been monitoring acquisition multiples in the car dealers (Asbury Automotive), local TV and radio firms (Gray Television), building supply distribution (Builders First Source), Latin American telecommunications (Millicom), cement firms (Asia Cement), equipment leasing firms (Ashtead), and network processing (Net 1 UEPS). In each of these segments, multiples have been modest. None of these firms have done international “diworsifying” deals to date and some have recently divested unrelated firms (Net 1 UEPS, Daelim Industrial and LG Corp). In each of these markets, the market share of the top firms is less than 10% except for GS Retail, where itself and FRB have a dominant share of 31% each, and Millicom, where it has a leading or number two position in eight of its nine markets where it competes. The small market shares provide a large runway for consolidation in its existing industry for years to come. Also, none have made international expansion into new markets outside their existing footprints. A return benchmark developed by the Canuck Analysts Substack3 is shown below: This framework, used in combination with calculating return on incremental capital, can illustrate where the invested capital returns can be modest. As an example, we will look at Asbury Automotive. Asbury’s returns on invested capital averaged 13%, and the return on equity averages 31% over the past 10 years plus an organic growth rate of 2 to 3% per year based upon US auto sales and maintenance service costs. This results in an ROIC plus ½ of annual organic growth of about 15%. The size of Asbury’s acquisitions has been about $1.4 billion over the past five years. Below is Asbury’s return on incremental invested capital over the past 10 years which has averaged in the upper teens during that period. For other serial acquirers like Ashtead, the organic growth rate is 6% and its ROICs over the past 10 years is 14% resulting in an ROIC plus ½ of annual organic growth of about 17%. The size of Ashtead’s acquisitions has been about $2.0 billion over the past five years. Conclusion As always, if you would like to discuss any of the philosophies or investments in deeper detail, then please do not hesitate to reach out. Until next quarter, thank you for your confidence in our work and have a safe and warm year-end holiday season. Warm Regards, Keith D. Smith, CFA Case Study: Millicom International Cellular SA (TIGO) Millicom International Cellular SA (NASDAQ:TIGO) provides mobile and broadband telecommunications services to consumers and businesses in Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama) and South America (Columbia, Bolivia, and Paraguay). TIGO provides legacy voice, wireless and data services, and fiber-based services to firms and individuals. Currently, TIGO has 43.1 million wireless subscribers, including 20.3 million 4G subscribers and 4.9 million home customers, including 8.4 million revenue generating units (RGUs) and 4.1 million broadband subscribers. In addition, TIGO’s network includes 5,400 points of presence and 300,000 business customers. TIGO is the number one or two broadband and wireless provider in eight of the nine markets in which TIGO competes. Recently, TIGO announced the purchase of its joint venture (JV) partner’s share of its JV in Guatemala for $2.2 billion. This transaction will be financed by debt and a shareholder friendly common stock rights offering. TIGO provides mobile money/banking services for five million customers in six countries. TIGO also has 10,000 towers and 13 data centers which can be sold and leased backed. TIGO is in the process of separating its towers and data centers (like Telefónica and América Móvil) and its mobile money/banking service to facilitate sales or investments by third parties. In 2017, TIGO sold 3,410 towers in Columbia, El Salvador, and Paraguay for $417 million or $122,287 per tower. Historically, TIGO operated in both Africa and Latin America. Over the past five years, TIGO has divested its African telecommunications assets and purchased additional assets in Latin America. TIGO’s network passes over 12.2 million homes (24% penetration of total homes) and covers 80% of mobile phones. The firm is in the midst of rolling out fiber to homes to provide broadband connectivity to Latin American customers. This rollout is being funded by cash flow from operations. The firm has been described as building a Charter Communications under a wireless Verizon umbrella. This is similar to our Consolidated Communications play with the additional benefit of having a wireless network and a mobile money business. In most countries in which TIGO operates, they have joint ventures or minority interest local partners. TIGO currently has an average high-speed internet (HSI) penetration rate (a take rate of HSI for homes passed) of about 39% across the countries it serves. This has increased by 1.4% since year-end 2020. To put this in context, most cable broadband penetrations are in the 50% plus range. In seven of the nine countries they serve, TIGO is the number one or two competitor in wireless and broadband in two-player markets (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, and Paraguay) and number three in two markets (Nicaragua and Costa Rica). The Q3 2021 mobile average revenue per RGU was $6.40 per month, and the broadband revenue per RGU was $28.10 per month. The largest shares of proportional EBITDA are from Guatemala (38%), Bolivia (11%), Paraguay (11%), Panama (10%), and Columbia (9%). In terms of regions, 70% of EBITDA is from Central America and 30% from South America. TIGO has developed a customer-focused culture at the corporate and country level using NPS as a metric which is collected and used as a management incentive to increase customer satisfaction. In addition, the countries that TIGO serves have stable currencies versus the US dollar. Since 2000, the EBITDA weighted average currency movements have been only 0.7% per year. Another positive trend is the movement of suppliers to US-based firms moving from China to a closer location with political and currency stability—Central America. If we look at the index of economic freedom for the Central American countries in which TIGO primarily operates, they have a moderately free ranking. For the subcategories most of interest to suppliers (tax burden and trade and business freedom), they all are ranked free or mostly free (highest ratings). Millicom and Fiber-optic Rollout The Latin American telecommunications services market is a local, fragmented market. Consolidation has occurred over the past 10 years amongst these local players, and the next generation of technology (fiber-optic connections) is being rolled out. Fiber-optic rollouts are generating organic growth and economies of scale with high incremental user profitability. Millicom has created economies of scale depending upon the geography of the acquired telecommunications firm. There is also the vertical integration across telecommunications services (like wireless, voice, data, cable, and hosting) in a given geography which can create additional economies of scale. With these rollouts, telecommunications companies compete with the local cable companies—and in some cases wireless providers—to provide HSI and other services to customers in their local footprints. Historically, telecommunications and cable firms have had poor customer service, as evidenced by low net promoter scores (NPSs). Keith Rabois, a founder of PayPal, has tweeted, “Formula for startup success: Find large highly fragmented industry w low NPS; vertically integrate a solution to simplify value product.” Part of simplifying the solution is providing multiple services and good customer service. The telecommunication services market fits this description. The new fiber rollouts are analogous to organic startups and thus can also be successful in the vertical integration into these markets. Business and Service Analysis One way to look at telecom business is to divide it into slowly growing (wireless) and quickly growing segments (HSI). The slower-growing wireless business is mature and is growing about 2% per year. The HSI business is growing at an 8% annual rate driven by fiber rollouts in TIGO’s countries. Millicom’s overall mix of wireless and HSI revenue is 33% HSI and 67% wireless, with 67% recurring subscription revenue (HSI and post-paid wireless) but varies by country. The current revenue growth rate is 4.3% and will increase to 5%, by the end of 10 years and the HSI/wireless mix approach 50%/50%. If we look at unit economics of the fiber rollout, it is also quite favorable. According to management, the estimated cost to pass each new customer is about $150; and the cost to connect a customer is $100. This is similar to the cost reported by Oi, a telecommunications firm rolling out a fiber-optic network in Brazil. If you have a final penetration rate of 45% using the current HSI monthly charge of $28/month, and a steady-state EBITDA margin of 45% (which management believes are both achievable at scale; the current margin is 40%), then the payback time is between six and seven years, and the unlevered IRR is 26% and a levered return of 52%. See Exhibit A for details. Latin America Broadband Telecommunications Market The broadband telecom business in Latin America is a fragmented market on an international basis and a concentrated market on a country-by-country basis. The market is a local market, so the smaller country markets only have a few competitors. This leads to less price competition for TIGO than in larger, more urban markets where there are more competitors. Gig speed internet and wireless are core infrastructure services that will be required in the internet service economy. Currently, broadband usage is growing at a 30-40%/year rate and is expected to increase going forward, as more bandwidthintensive applications are developed and rolled out over time. Since most of TIGO’s competition is from cable companies and incumbent telecom firms (that have low NPSs), TIGO has an opportunity to provide improved customer service versus the cable companies. This highlights the importance of the decentralized management system, incentivized and shareholding country managers, and including NPSs in management’s incentive compensation at the corporate and country levels. Of the other publicly traded Latin American telecommunications firms, TIGO has the largest potential to increase HSI organic revenue growth (by 8%) via a fiber rollout in its incumbent territories. This can be seen in the projections based upon the currently planned and financed fiber rollout shown in Exhibit B. The tilt toward the faster-growing Central American countries (which should get some opportunities to replace China as exporters to the US) versus the slower-growing South American countries will also add a nice tailwind. The countries TIGO services had an average real GDP growth rate of 3.2% per year over the past five years versus the overall 0.7% GDP growth rate for all of Latin America. Downside Protection TIGO has been reducing debt over the past few years with a current proportional debt/EBITDA of 2.7x and a goal of 2.0x. TIGO has a bond rating of Ba2 and yields 3.5% for five- to 10-year bonds. TIGO is in a defensive business—telecommunications services—which has a large amount of recurring revenue. HSI data revenues are increasing, while wireless revenues are increasing at a slower rate. See below for projections and Exhibit B for more detailed projections. Below is the proportional historical and projected revenue, EBITDA, and FCF since 2016 when the Guatemalan and Honduran JVs were deconsolidated. Management and Incentives One of the risks in emerging-markets investing is management, as they may have different incentives than those to which Western investors are accustomed. In this case, you have a management team based in the US (Miami) that has been historically influenced by the firm’s domicile, Sweden. TIGO is led by a former Liberty Latin America executive, Mauricio Ramos. He brings the Liberty Media playbook (a successful leveraged rollup strategy of cable-related properties and associated shareholder friendly corporate actions) to the markets that TIGO serves. TIGO is listed in Sweden and the United States and brings the corporate governance practices, capital allocation, and shareholder renumeration approaches to its operations throughout Latin America. In many countries, TIGO has local JV partners which provide TIGO with access to the local connections. TIGO has management incentives, including TIGO stock (with minimum levels for country managers) at both the corporate and country levels. The capital allocation is also done at both the corporate and country levels. This country-level capital allocation, incentives, and stock ownership is unusual for a Latin American company. The major categories of capital allocation for TIGO are: 1) purchasing minority interests from partners, 2) investing in the HSI broadband rollout described above, 3) selective acquisitions, 4) repurchasing shares, or 5) distributing dividends. Categories 1, 2, 3 and 4 have the most well-defined and highest returns and have been used by management in the past. In 2020, the CEO’s management compensation was 20% base salary and 80% incentive-based bonus, of which short-term incentive (STI) is 50% equity based (TIGO shares) and 50% cash based and long-term incentive (LTI) is 100% equity based (TIGO shares). The 2020 STI compensation was based on service revenue growth, EBITDA growth, operational cash flow growth, NPS, and other operational goals. The 2020 LTI compensation is based upon service and EBITDA growth and relative total shareholder return versus peers. The 2020 equity-based shares were issued at $38.09 per share, and the 2019 shares were issued at $42.70 per share. Overall, 700,000 shares were granted in 2020 (about 0.7% of shares outstanding per year). The management team owns 0.7% of TIGO common stock. TIGO has stock ownership guidelines of 5x the salary for the CEO, 3x for other senior managers, and 1x for country managers. Valuation The valuation of TIGO is an interesting exercise because its expected growth rate is accelerated by the fiber rollout and share buybacks described above. The implied growth using the Graham Formula, adjusted to today’s interest rates ((8.5 + 2g)*(4.4/AAA bond rate)) and the current P/E, is -1.8%, clearly implying that the market expects TIGO’s cash flows to continue to decline. Some benchmarks for growth are the projected sales growth rates of 4.5% per year (based upon the fiber rollout), an EBITDA growth rate of 6% per year, and an adjusted free cash flow growth of 12%. The question is whether this growth rate is sustainable over the next seven years. Given the key penetration, margin, investment, and timing assumptions in the projection model, I believe it is. TIGO is the only Latin American publicly traded telecom firm that has a rollout of this magnitude (adding 18% to revenue) scheduled over the next five to seven years. One firm that also has a Latin American footprint is Liberty Latin America (LILA). LILA has grown revenues and EBITDA at about 8% per year since 2015. The EBITDA margin is similar to TIGO, but historically the conversion to FCF from EBITDA was 50% less than TIGO—25% for TIGO and closer to 12% for LILA. The current FCF multiple of LILA is about 16x. If that multiple is applied to TIGO’s FCF, it yields a value of $74 per share, which I believe is a reasonable 12-month target. If, over the five to seven years, a 12% FCF growth is attained, then the earnings will be $8.19. Applying a 23.8x multiple to these earnings (implying a 4% growth rate over the subsequent seven years) means a value of $195 per share is obtained. Another way to look at valuation is on an enterprise basis. If we value TIGO on a forward EBITDA basis of 9x EBITDA (the current multiple of cable overbuilder WOW!), then the resulting value is $200 per share. If we consider both benchmarks, then a $200 price target is not unreasonable. See Exhibit B for details. This results in a five-year IRR of about 42%. In addition to the core assets, TIGO has about 10,000 towers (with an additional 2,000 under construction), 13 data centers, and a mobile banking division. According to management, these non-core assets are being prepared for either sale-leasebacks or investments by third parties. The estimated value of the towers and data centers is about $2 billion—$1.1 billion for the towers and $900 million for the data centers. The tower valuation of $1.4 billion is based upon an estimated value per tower of $120k based upon tower transaction values (TIGO’s historic transactions averaged $122k/tower and a 2021 Telxius transaction was $110k/tower, 9,300 Latin American towers for €900 million) and Telesites’s current valuation of $252k/tower times 12,000 towers. The data center valuation of $750 million is based upon an estimated value per data center of $58k which is based upon Latin American data center transactions (Anxel data centers were purchase by Equinix for $58k/center, three data centers for $175 million, and Telefónica data centers were purchased by Asterion for $58k/data center, nine data centers for €550 million) times 13 data center. Adding together the towers and data centers, the total valuation of these assets is $2.1 billion. The mobile banking division (TIGO Money) can be valued using a range of values based upon the value of African mobile banking firms and Latin American neobank firms. The mobile banking business had 5 million customers and 48 million transactions in 2020. If we use African mobile banking transactions (20 million Airtel customers were purchased for $2.6 billion and 46 million MTN customers were purchased for $5.0 billion), the average value per user is $121. If we use $121/customer times 5 million transactions, it implies a $600 million value for TIGO Money. If we use recent Latin American neobank transactions (40 million Nubank (Brazil) customers were purchased for a $30 billion valuation and 3.5 million Ualá (Argentina) customers were purchased for a $2.45 billion valuation), the average value per user is $750. If we use the midpoint of the African mobile banking and Latin American neobanks of $435, we get $435 times 5 million customers, and the resulting value is $2.2 billion. This is additional value of $2.7 to $4.2 billion ($27 to $42 per share) in addition to the core business value estimated above. So, for example, if you assume a 12% FCF growth rate and the value of non-core assets, you get a total value of $255 to $270 per share. Comparables Given the fiber rollout and the size of TIGO, the comparable firms include US and Italian small-cap telecommunications firms. One of the larger issues in Latin American firms versus developed markets is currency risk, however; as described above, TIGO’s currency risk is similar to developed markets’ risk. The following are the comparable firms in the US and Italian telecommunications markets. The smaller Italian telecom firms have smaller floats than the US firms and are majority controlled (70%+) by the original owners. There have been some private equity acquisitions in the US rural local exchange carriers (RLEC) space, namely Cincinnati Bell and Alaska Communications. These firms have a similar dynamic associated with their respective fiber rollouts, and private equity firms have invested in these firms for similar reasons that make CNSL attractive. Cincinnati Bell has been purchased by the private equity firm Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, which outbid an original offer from Brookfield Asset Management. Alaska Communications is also in the process of being purchased by ATN International and Freedom 3 Capital. The EV/EBITDA paid by these buyers was 6.5 to 6.9x EBITDA for assets with lower margins than the current price of TIGO (4.6x EBITDA). Benchmarking In comparison to other US and Italian firms, TIGO has above-average (but good) FCF ROE and a high EBITDA margin. With TIGO’s fiber rollout and customer take-up, the fixed asset turns and ROEs should increase. With these favorable operational metrics, TIGO has one of the lowest current and 2021 P/FCF ratios of either group. Risks The primary risks to achieving a target valuation of $72 per share for TIGO include: a lower-than-expected broadband penetration of fiber rollout communities; and a quicker-than-expected decline in the legacy telecom lines. Potential Upside/Catalysts The primary upsides/catalysts include: faster-than-expected penetration of uptake of broadband services; operational leverage due to economies of scale; and re-rating to reflect higher growth. Timeline/Investment Horizon The short-term target is $72, which is more than double today’s price. I think the investment thesis can play out over the next three to five years. By that time, TIGO’s net income and earnings should have appreciated by 75%, and the fair multiple could triple with a 4% increased growth rate. If that is the case, then TIGO will attain a 6.7x return to $235 over five years or 46% annualized. This is similar to a “Davis double,” where both underlying earnings increase along with the fair value multiple. 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Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 1st, 2021

What Makes ADTRAN (ADTN) an Enticing Investment Option Now?

With a modest dividend yield of 2% and healthy fundamentals, ADTRAN (ADTN) appears to be an enticing investment option for the volatile market. Shares of ADTRAN, Inc. ADTN have surged 61.9% over the past two years, driven by an accretive customer base and healthy revenues on the back of software innovations. Earnings estimates for the current fiscal year have increased 25% over the past 30 days, and the same for the next fiscal has moved up 8.4%, implying its robust inherent growth potential. With healthy fundamentals, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) communications equipment manufacturer appears to be a solid investment option at the moment.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchGrowth DriversADTRAN is focused on being a top global supplier of Access infrastructure and related value-added solutions from the Cloud Edge to the Subscriber Edge through a broad portfolio of flexible hardware and software network solutions. These products enable customers to transition to the fully converged, scalable, highly automated, cloud-controlled voice, data, Internet and video network of the future. The company has enabled service providers to leverage the ADTRAN Mosaic Software-Defined Access architecture that combines modern Web-scale technologies with open-source platforms to facilitate rapid innovation in multi-technology, multi-vendor environments. The Mosaic cloud platform and Mosaic OS, combined with programmable network elements, provide operators with a highly agile, open-services architecture. This allows operators to better compete with Web-scale competition by reducing the time and cost to launch new services, technologies and best-of-breed suppliers as they strive to reduce operational costs while creating and deploying differentiated product offerings.Despite challenging macroeconomic conditions, ADTRAN expects solid traction in domestic markets for ultra broadband and Fiber-To-The-Home solutions along with SD access and EPON solutions. Its products and services provide solutions supporting fiber- and copper-based infrastructures and a growing number of wireless and coax-based solutions, lowering the overall cost to deploy advanced services across a wide range of applications. The company also anticipates a pickup in capital spending in Tier-1, Tier-2 and regional service provider market segments with increasing 5G deployments. ADTRAN’s global leadership in software-defined access is likely to ensure a steady stream of revenues as it helps clients reduce costs and accelerate service delivery and deployment.The company expects to gain from increased customer engagements across a comprehensive portfolio of software-defined access, 10G solutions and G.fast products, thereby enabling carriers to upgrade slower legacy networks to state-of-the-art technologies. In order to complement the Network Solutions portfolio and enable customers to accelerate time to market, reduce costs and improve satisfaction, ADTRAN offers a complete portfolio of maintenance, turnkey network implementation, solutions integration and managed services. The company’s network implementation services offer a full spectrum of services related to engineering (pre-construction), installation/turn-up (construction) and provisioning (post-construction), partnering with customers to tailor a program to meet each service delivery need. The ProCloud Wi-Fi service, which has been developed on the company’s virtual Wireless LAN, is opening up new opportunities as Valley Business Solutions is utilizing its technology on a much wider scale. Apart from these products, the company has registered significant growth in its professional service activities that deploy the Total Access System components in telecommunication companies.Additionally, ADTRAN has inked a definitive agreement to acquire ADVA Optical Networking SE in an all-stock deal. The buyout of the leading Germany-based telecommunications vendor that provides network equipment for data, storage, voice and video services is likely to disrupt the fiber networking market with a huge pool of complementary assets. The transaction aims to leverage ADTRAN’s expertise in fiber access, fiber extension and subscriber connectivity solutions with ADVA’s global leadership in metro wavelength division multiplexing, data center interconnect, business Ethernet and network synchronization solutions to create a comprehensive portfolio of fiber networking products. The combined entity is expected to generate $52 million in pre-tax annual cost synergies within the first two years of operation, driven by supply chain efficiencies and optimization of resources. The entity is likely to better serve customers with scalable, secure and assured fiber connectivity along with cloud-managed Wi-Fi solutions and SaaS applications that optimize network performance. The complementary product lines will further enhance the scope of cross-selling opportunities to strengthen its regional presence and achieve a global scale of operations to create significant long-term value for stakeholders.The stock delivered an earnings surprise of 159.1%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. With a modest dividend yield of 2%, this stock appears to be an enticing investment option for the volatile market.Other Key PicksClearfield, Inc. CLFD, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is another solid pick for investors. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Clearfield delivered an earnings surprise of 37.5%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 114.7% since May 2021. Over the past year, Clearfield has gained a solid 49.9%.InterDigital, Inc. IDCC also sports a Zacks Rank #1. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 15% and delivered a stellar earnings surprise of 141.1%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for the current year have moved up 88.5% since May 2021.InterDigital is focused on pursuing agreements with unlicensed customers in the handset and consumer electronics markets. The company aims to become a leading designer and developer of technology solutions and innovation for the mobile industry, IoT and allied technology areas. InterDigital’s global footprint, diversified product portfolio and the ability to penetrate different markets are impressive.Sierra Wireless, Inc. SWIR carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 15% and delivered an earnings surprise of 223.7%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Over the past year, Sierra Wireless has gained 36.3%. Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 616.7% since May 2021. The company continues to launch innovative products for business-critical operations that require high security and optimum 5G performance. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report ADTRAN, Inc. (ADTN): Free Stock Analysis Report Sierra Wireless, Inc. (SWIR): Free Stock Analysis Report InterDigital, Inc. (IDCC): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 25th, 2022

Public-private partnerships can help expand internet access in rural America. Here are the biggest hurdles utility providers and local governments face in solving the issue.

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund works to bridge the digital divide, but it faces challenges like the cost of internet and accessing utility poles. Kazi Awal/InsiderA cell tower on a mountain ridge in the Appalachian Mountains.Alex Potemkin / Getty Images Partnerships like the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund aim to bridge the digital divide in the US. But there are many challenges, like the cost of internet services for residents and digital literacy. Gaining access to utility poles and navigating local rules are additional hurdles. This article is part of the "Financing a Sustainable Future" series exploring how companies take steps to set and fund sustainable goals. About a quarter of Americans living in rural areas lack broadband internet access, the FCC says. But public-private partnerships between governments and internet service providers, like the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), are helping to bridge the digital divide, or the gap that exists between people with access to the internet and those without. Launched in 2020, RDOF is an FCC program that will make $20.4 billion available from the agency's Universal Service Fund over the next decade to finance broadband networks in rural areas. So far, more than $5 billion has been deployed to private utility and cable companies. To access funding, organizations submit a proposal for funding via a reverse auction. The agency greenlit another $200 million for the partnership this month.Charter Communications, a Stamford, Connecticut-based broadband connectivity and cable operator known for its Spectrum brand, received $1.2 billion from the RDOF to install fiber and cable projects in 24 states. The company, which holds a $77 billion market capitalization as of this writing, has been working on broadband expansion in rural areas for several years. It has also committed an additional $3.8 billion from private capital expenditures to the projects.Catherine Bohigian.Courtesy of Catherine BohigianThrough its RDOF commitments, Charter will add more than 100,000 miles of new network infrastructure in underserved areas over the next five years and connect more than one million homes and businesses. Work is already underway on these projects, said Catherine Bohigian, the company's executive vice president of government affairs."We're building as fast as we can to get unserved families connected as quickly as possible, but even though providers like us are responsible for the actual internet connections and service, it takes a village to build and deliver internet service, especially in rural areas," she told Insider, adding that Charter coordinates with local governments, utility pole owners, and highway regulators for each project.Here's a look at how public-private partnerships focused on broadband connectivity work, and the biggest wins and shortcomings that come with pairing utility companies with local governments.Cable companies gain new customers while communities get connectedChristopher Ali.Courtesy of Christopher AliRural communities often lack the knowledge and resources to expand broadband connectivity in their areas and become their own internet service providers, or ISPs. That's where public-private partnerships come in. Communities "don't have to develop the expertise from scratch," Christopher Ali, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and author of "Farm Fresh Broadband," told Insider.Rural communities benefit by getting businesses and residents connected, but they still have to pay for internet service — though the FCC and some ISPs offer programs for low-income households. Cable and utility companies, meanwhile, benefit by gaining customers and growing their networks, Ali said, and local tax dollars and funding from programs like RDOF make it feasible for them to build the infrastructure."We need to be empowering communities and counties to be able to know their own broadband needs so they can approach a provider, rather than the other way around," Ali said.Ensuring that broadband reaches the communities that need it the mostStill, RDOF has been criticized for not going far enough to reach the communities that need broadband the most. And, despite receiving RDOF money, some areas are so remote and rural that broadband providers may be unwilling and not incentivized to build broadband infrastructure there, with few people to pay for monthly internet service.Closing the digital divide also depends on more than expanding broadband networks. Bohigian said it also requires addressing adoption issues, like the cost of internet services, access to computers, and digital literacy. Charter strives to fill these gaps by participating in the FCC's Emergency Broadband Benefit program and Affordable Connectivity Program, aimed at helping households afford the internet, and educating people about these benefits. The company also offers low-cost broadband service for certain households.Utility pole access is also another hurdle providers facePrivate ISPs working in rural areas also have to contend with access to utility poles, which requires working with the local telephone, electric, or cable companies that own the poles. Other issues include navigating local rules and dealing with poles that are outdated and can't accommodate new network infrastructure, Bohigian said.Charter completed projects in El Paso County, Texas, Richland County, South Carolina, and Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, ahead of schedule because pole owners helped streamline the projects, Bohigian added. That's not always the case, though. Sometimes, it can take months for the company to get permits to access poles, which delays projects."Faster access to poles can shave months — or even years — off of the time to deploy and it is essential to getting 100% of the country online," she said. @media (min-width: 960px) { #piano-inline-content-wrapper .content-header .figure.image-figure-image { min-width: 100%; margin-left: 0; } }  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 24th, 2022

Fluent Announces First Quarter 2022 Financial Results

Q1 2022 revenue of $89.1 million, up 27% over Q1 2021 Net loss of $2.0 million, or $0.02 per share Gross profit (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) of $21.5 million, an increase of 12% over Q1 2021 and representing 24.1% of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2022 Media margin of $26.0 million, up 4% over Q1 2021 and representing 29.1% of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2022 Adjusted EBITDA of $4.8 million, representing 5.3% of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2022 Adjusted net income of $1.1 million, or $0.01 per share NEW YORK, May 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fluent, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLNT), a leading data-driven performance marketing company, today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. Don Patrick, Fluent's Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our First Quarter results represent the continued progress we are making towards our long-term strategic growth plan - focused on building high quality digital experiences for consumers while creating more effective, efficient, and scalable customer acquisition solutions for marketers. We continue to lean into opportunities where we can establish and leverage Fluent brand credentials in the marketplace.  We remain confident that this consumer-centric strategy represents the winning road forward and enhances our competitive advantage, and ultimately building enterprise value for our stakeholders. It is foundational that Fluent creates meaningful downstream experiences for our consumers and expanding our relationships with world-class brands in key industry verticals; while successfully positioning us as leaders in an industry environment that continues to rapidly evolve." First Quarter Financial Summary Q1 2022 revenue of $89.1 million, up 27% over Q1 2021 Net loss of $2.0 million or $0.02 per share, compared to net loss of $6.3 million, or $0.08 per share, in Q1 2021 Gross profit (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) of $21.5 million, an increase of 12% over Q1 2021 and representing 24.1% of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2022 Media margin of $26.0 million, an increase of 4% over Q1 2021 and representing 29.1% of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2022 Adjusted EBITDA of $4.8 million, representing 5.3% of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2022 Adjusted net income of $1.1 million, or $0.01 per share Media margin, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income are non-GAAP financial measures, as defined and reconciled below.  Business Outlook Strategic client relationships driving strong demand in the Fluent performance marketplace Monetization, as measured by media margin per registration, is up 50% in Q1'22 vs. Q1'21 enabled by improved quality of traffic, enhanced CRM capabilities and investments in technology and analytics Increasing media footprint while extending our reach into new media channels expansion to provide more relevant content and offers for consumers and our brands Newer revenue streams are generating incremental growth opportunities and enhancing lifetime value of consumers on our platform, reducing reliance on traffic volume for revenue growth We anticipate continued growth, with enhanced consumer experiences and media optimizations yielding margin expansion over time Conference Call Fluent, Inc. will host a conference call on Monday, May 9, 2022, at 4:30 PM ET to discuss its 2022 first quarter financial results. To listen to the conference call on your telephone, please dial (844) 200-6205 (US), (226) 828-7575 (Canada), or +1 (929) 526-1599 for international callers, and use the participant access code 796097. To access the live audio webcast, visit the Fluent website at investors.fluentco.com. Please login at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the call to ensure adequate time for any downloads that may be required. Following completion of the earnings call, a recorded replay of the webcast will be available for those unable to participate. To listen to the telephone replay, please dial (929) 458-6194 (US), (226) 828-7578 (Canada) or +44 204-525-0658 with the replay passcode 911823. The replay will also be available for one week on the Fluent website at investors.fluentco.com. About Fluent, Inc. Fluent (NASDAQ:FLNT) is a leading data-driven performance marketing company with expertise in creating meaningful connections between consumers and brands. Leveraging our proprietary first-party database of opted-in consumer profiles, Fluent drives intelligent growth strategies that deliver superior outcomes. Founded in 2010, the company is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit www.fluentco.com. Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 The matters contained in this press release may be considered to be "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations or anticipations of Fluent and members of our management team. Factors currently known to management that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include the following: Compliance with a significant number of governmental laws and regulations, including those laws and regulations regarding privacy and data; The outcome of litigation, regulatory investigations or other legal proceedings in which we are involved or may become involved; failure to safeguard the personal information and other data contained in our database; Failure to adequately protect intellectual property rights or allegations of infringement of intellectual property rights; Unfavorable global economic conditions, including as a result of health and safety concerns around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; Dependence on our key personnel; Dependence on third-party service providers; Management of the growth of our operations, including international expansion and the integration of acquired business units or personnel; The impact of the Traffic Quality Initiative, including our ability to replace lower quality consumer traffic with traffic that meets our quality requirements; Ability to compete and manage media costs in an industry characterized by rapidly-changing internet media and advertising technology, evolving industry standards; Regulatory uncertainty, and changing user and client demands; management of unfavorable publicity and negative public perception about our industry; Failure to compete effectively against other online marketing and advertising companies; The competition we face for web traffic; Dependence on third-party publishers, internet search providers and social media platforms for a significant portion of visitors to our websites; Dependence on emails, text messages and telephone calls, among other channels, to reach users for marketing purposes; Liability related to actions of third-party publishers; Limitations on our or our third-party publishers' ability to collect and use data derived from user activities; Ability to remain competitive with the shift to mobile applications; Failure to detect click-through or other fraud on advertisements; The impact of increased fulfillment costs; Failure to meet our clients' performance metrics or changing needs; Compliance with the covenants of our credit agreement; and The potential for failures in our internal control over financial reporting. These and additional factors to be considered are set forth under "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Fluent undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results or expectations.   FLUENT, INC.CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS(Amounts in thousands, except share and per share data)(unaudited)       March 31,2022     December 31,2021   ASSETS:                 Cash and cash equivalents   $ 28,944     $ 34,467   Accounts receivable, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $368 and $313, respectively     65,023       70,228   Prepaid expenses and other current assets     2,138       2,505   Total current assets     96,105       107,200   Property and equipment, net     1,298       1,457   Operating lease right-of-use assets     6,369       6,805   Intangible assets, net     34,938       35,747   Goodwill     166,180       165,088   Other non-current assets     1,905       1,885   Total assets   $ 306,795     $ 318,182   LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY:                 Accounts payable   $ 12,782     $ 16,130   Accrued expenses and other current liabilities     28,823       33,932   Deferred revenue     701       651   Current portion of long-term debt     5,000       5,000   Current portion of operating lease liability     2,228       2,227   Total current liabilities     49,534       57,940   Long-term debt, net     39,147       40,329   Operating lease liability     5,213       5,692   Other non-current liabilities     726       811   Total liabilities     94,620       104,772   Contingencies (Note 10)                 Shareholders' equity:                 Preferred stock — $0.0001 par value, 10,000,000 Shares authorized; Shares outstanding — 0 shares for both periods     —       —   Common stock — $0.0005 par value, 200,000,000 Shares authorized; Shares issued — 83,983,587 and 83,057,083, respectively; and Shares outstanding — 79,683,435 and 78,965,260, respectively (Note 7)     42       42   Treasury stock, at cost — 4,300,152 and 4,091,823 Shares, respectively (Note 7)     (11,171 )     (10,723 ) Additional paid-in capital     420,285       419,059   Accumulated deficit     (196,981 )     (194,968 ) Total shareholders' equity     212,175      .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMay 9th, 2022

The 5 best Wi-Fi routers in 2022 for a faster and more reliable Internet connection

A reliable Wi-Fi router with strong signals and fast speeds is a necessity in your home. These are the best routers I've tested to date. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Google, Linksys, Netgear, TP-Link; Isabel Fernández/InsiderA new router is among the best upgrades you can purchase for your home. The router you buy will determine the network speeds of every device you own, from smartphones to game consoles and computers. A cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6 (sometimes seen as 802.11ax) router can deliver speeds many times faster than older Wi-Fi 5 (also known as 802.11ac) routers.But which should you buy? I spent dozens of hours sorting through the hundreds of routers available, testing numerous models first-hand. I judged these routers not only by their Wi-Fi performance but also their ease of setup and use. This led to a clear result: TP-Link's Archer AX73 is the best router for most people. Its Wi-Fi performance is close to the quickest routers I've handled, yet it's affordably priced, easy to set up, and doesn't take up too much space on a desk or shelf. I have also selected several alternatives including budget-priced, mesh, and gaming routers.Here are the best Wi-Fi routers of 2022:Best Wi-Fi router overall: TP-Link Archer AX73, $155 available on AmazonTP-Link's Archer AX73 is an incredible value, bringing class-leading performance to an affordable price. It's even simple to set up.Best budget Wi-Fi router: TP-Link Archer AX50, $120 available on AmazonThe TP-Link Archer AX50 is a tinier, slightly less powerful, and more approachable alternative to the best Wi-Fi router overall.Best Wi-Fi 6E router: Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, $600 available on AmazonNetgear's Nighthawk RAXE500 is an incredibly fast Wi-Fi 6E router that can cover most homes in speeds that keep up with wired Ethernet.Best Wi-Fi 6E mesh router: Linksys Atlas Max 6E, $1,200 available on Best BuyThe insanely fast Atlas Max 6E from Linksys has the final say in Wi-Fi mesh performance, but it comes at a steep cost.Best budget mesh Wi-Fi router: Google Nest Wi-Fi, $220 available on AmazonIn spite of older hardware, Google's Nest Wifi continues to be an easy, low-cost option with helpful smart home support.Best Wi-Fi router overallAmazon$149.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $154.99 | Save 3%The TP-Link Archer AX73 is a fantastic value, bringing top-tier performance to a mid-range price. It's even easy to set up.Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)Ethernet ports: 4x Gigabit LANUSB ports: 1x USB-A 3.0Mesh support: Yes, through TP-Link OneMeshPros: Excellent performance, simple setup process, attractive design, reasonable size, good value Cons: No support for faster wired EthernetThe TP-Link Archer AX73 hits the sweet spot in today's competitive router market. It provides the features and performance you demand but keeps the price just below $200. My tests show the Archer AX73, which supports Wi-Fi 6 and quotes a maximum wireless bandwidth of 5,400 Megabits per second (Mbps), is nearly as fast as high-end routers, like the and Linksys EA9500, Netgear Nighthawk RAX200, and TP-Link AX6600. When near the router, I see sustained real-world speeds of up to 682Mbps, which drops to 106Mbps in a detached home office. The AX73 was no more than 20% slower than top performers across my tests. The AX73 comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports, along with an inbound Gigabit Ethernet wide-area network (WAN) port, and has a single USB 3.0 port for connecting a storage device directly to the router. At this price, I would like support for faster WAN speeds, such as 2.5Gbps or 10Gbps Ethernet. This isn't a concern for most owners, however, as few people have access to internet service that exceeds Gigabit performance.The AX73 is exceptionally easy to set up and use. The company's Tether app, which is used to set up and control most TP-Link routers, is among my favorites in the industry. The app is not required, however: TP-Link also offers a great web interface that can be accessed through a PC or Mac's web browser.I like the look and size of the AX73. It's fairly conventional and, while larger than less expensive models, still reasonably easy to place on a shelf or desk. Other, faster routers take up more space and stick out more in a room.Best budget Wi-Fi routerAmazon$100.17 FROM AMAZONOriginally $149.99 | Save 33%The TP-Link Archer AX50 is a smaller, more modest, and more affordable spin on our top pick.Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)Ethernet ports: 4x Gigabit LANUSB ports: 1x USB-A 3.0Mesh support: Yes, through TP-Link OneMeshPros: Good performance at long range, simple setup process, attractive design, compact sizeCons: Maximum Wi-Fi speeds could be higherThe TP-Link Archer AX50 is an outstanding Wi-Fi router that effectively makes every other budget Wi-Fi router obsolete. You can buy a router for less, but the sacrifice you'll make in performance isn't worth the savings.Performance is good, though not great, with a maximum real-world download speed of 485Mbps. That's very fast but a definite step down from the best.However, the AX50's performance remains respectable at range. It handled our two most demanding test scenarios (a living room chair on the opposite side of the house and a detached office) just as well as the more expensive AX73. This budget router also beats budget mesh systems like Google's Nest Wi-Fi.The AX50 connects to the same intuitive, approachable Tether app used to set up other TP-Link routers. Router setup takes less than five minutes. Power users can still rely on an in-depth web interface accessible through a PC or Mac's web browser. It also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a single inbound Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, which is typical of most modern Wi-Fi routers.It's compact, too – approximately as large as a Nintendo Switch in its dock. This makes the AX50 easy to place out of sight on a desk or shelf.Best Wi-Fi 6E routerAmazon$599.99 FROM AMAZONThe Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is an outrageously quick Wi-Fi 6E router that can blanket most homes in speeds that rival wired Ethernet.Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6EEthernet ports: 1x 2.5 Gigabit LAN, 4x Gigabit LANUSB ports: 2x USB-A 3.0Mesh support: NonePros: Supports Wi-Fi 6E, excellent Wi-Fi performance, performance holds up at range, as a 2.5 Gigabit LAN port Cons: Large, could use more Gigabit LAN ports for its size Netgear's Nighthawk RAXE500 is perfect for those seeking extreme performance from a conventional Wi-Fi router. It delivers incredible Wi-Fi speeds over the new Wi-Fi 6E wireless standard. I measured a maximum Wi-Fi 6E speed of 827Mbps and a maximum upload speed of 802Mbps. That sets a record in our testing. Wi-Fi 6 performance isn't far behind. A Wi-Fi 6 device connected to the 5GHz band measured a maximum download speed of 733Mbps and maximum upload speed of 632Mbps.Performance holds up at range, as well. I saw speeds up to 100Mbps in a detached office 50 feet and many walls away from the router. That's not as quick as the Linksys Atlas 6E mesh router featured below, but high enough to feel fast and reliable. Like most routers, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is easy to set up through the company's Nighthawk mobile app. It includes the company's Armor security, which provides notifications when new devices are connected or suspicious network activity occurs. The Nighthawk app was easy to use and felt quick in my testing. You can also control the router through a web browser.The RAXE500 is a very large router. You might have trouble finding a place to position it. Given it size, the router's inclusion of just four Gigabit LAN ports is surprising. There's room for more. The router also has a 2.5G LAN port and two USB-A 3.0 ports. Netgear's Nighthawk RAXE500 is expensive but justifies its price by providing a flagship experience. It's ideal for mid-sized homes that can place a router in a central location. At close range, it can deliver performance in league with the Linksys Atlas Max 6E mesh system at a lower price.Best Wi-Fi 6E mesh routerBest Buy$1199.99 FROM AMAZON$1199.99 FROM BEST BUYLinksys' absurdly quick Atlas Max 6E is the last word in Wi-Fi mesh performance.Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6EEthernet ports: 1x 5G WAN and 4x Gigabit LAN (per access point)USB ports: 1x USB-A (per access point)Mesh support: StandardPros: Top-tier performance, excellent range, plenty of wired connectivity, access points look attractiveCons: Extremely expensive, large access pointsMesh systems often promise outstanding performance, but don't always deliver. Linksys's Atlas Max 6E is an exception. This mesh system demolished other routers to become the fastest mesh router I have ever used. Performance is outstanding while close to the primary access point, hitting an average of 753Mbps in our benchmark. What impresses me most, though, is the Atlas Max 6E's fast download and upload speeds across all test scenarios. There's even more performance available. This is a Wi-Fi 6E router, which means it has a 6GHz band available for even higher speeds on compatible devices.Wired connectivity is strong as well. Each access point has one 5G Gigabit WAN port and four Gigabit LAN ports, plus a USB-A port for attaching peripherals to the network. This means you can use any of the mesh system's access points as the primary router. The wired ports will not work on the additional access points, however. Setup is easy, though nothing to write home about. Linksys has an attractive app that will guide you through setup and provide a healthy variety of routing options once finished. There's also a web interface available, though Linksys makes some advanced settings hard to find. The real problem is the price: at least $800 for two routers or $1,200 for three. This is a high price for any router. However, it's in line with the price of competing routers with Wi-Fi 6E support.  To be clear, most people don't need a system this fast or reliable. The Linksys Atlas Max 6E targets demanding owners in large homes connected to an internet service with Gigabit speeds.Best budget mesh routerAmazon$219.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $299.00 | Save 26%Despite aging hardware, Google's Nest Wifi remains an intuitive, reliable choice with useful smart home connectivity.Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 5Ethernet ports: 1x Gigabit LANUSB ports: NoneMesh support: StandardPros: Easy to set up and manage, router and points are small and attractive, access points double as smart speakers. reliable performance at range, attractive pricingCons: Wi-Fi 6 upgrade is sorely needed Google's Nest Wifi is an excellent choice if you need a reliable, intuitive mesh router for your smart home.Starting at $300 for a router and secondary node point (and often on sale for much less), you can purchase a three-point Nest Wifi system for significantly less than more capable mesh routers from Linksys or Netgear. Nest Wifi unfortunately remains stuck on the older Wi-Fi 5 standard, so maximum performance tops out around 100Mbps. This is redeemed by the system's reliable performance across all testing locations. At range, the Nest Wifi is often as quick as budget mesh systems that do support Wi-Fi 6. Google's Home app is used to set up and control the Nest Wifi router and any connected access points. This is appealing if you use Google Home to control other smart home devices, like smart lights or a Chromecast. Nest Wifi access points also double as Google Home smart speakers.The Nest Wifi router has one open Gigabit Ethernet port for connecting an external device. This is a bit disappointing but not unusual for an affordable mesh router. Nest Wifi remains the best choice if you want a budget mesh router. The competition has upgraded to Wi-Fi 6, but real-world performance from budget mesh systems fail to maximize its potential. That leaves Google's mesh system at the top – for now.$219.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $299.00 | Save 26%Our methodologyI tested real-world router performance using a file transfer test and the Ookla Speedtest app. To keep the testing objective, all benchmarks are carried out on an Apple iPhone 12 Mini using the same files and app.Benchmark results are measured in four areas around a single-level home.An office desk no more than three feet from the router.A bedroom nightstand approximately 25 feet from the router and separated by several walls.A living room chair approximately 40 feet from the router and separated by several walls. A detached office approximately 50 feet from the router. All testing was conducted while the home network was free from other traffic. The routers were connected to a modem providing Gigabit internet service. To ensure the internet service provider was not a bottleneck, I verified its speed with a desktop connected to the modem. The ISP provided network speeds of 930Mbps on average.What else we consideredWe considered dozens of routers for this guide. These alternatives left an impression (good or bad) in our testing.Asus RT-AX55: Asus's alternative to our favorite budget router, the TP-Link Archer AX50, is similar in price, size, performance, and wired connectivity. I prefer TP-Link's app experience, however.Asus RT-AX82U: This gaming router certainly has the look, and it delivers solid overall performance at a reasonable price. Its gaming specific features don't impress, so I think the TP-Link Archer AX73 is a better choice.Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000: The GT-AXE11000 is a high-end Wi-Fi 6E gaming router with impressive performance and tons of Ethernet ports. It's large, however, and a bit too garish for most homes.Eero Pro: The Eero Pro is a mesh system from Amazon that delivers Wi-Fi 6 at a reasonable price. Its performance is an improvement over Google's Nest Wifi, but Google delivers a better app experience through Google Home. Linksys Velop 4200: The Linksys AX4200 is a mesh router system that provided strong maximum performance in our testing, but I am disappointed by its performance at range.TP-Link Archer AX10: The Archer AX10 is an appealing budget pick, but its performance is behind slightly more capable Wi-Fi 6 routers. The Archer AX50 is well worth its higher price.TP-Link Archer AX6000: The Archer AX6000 is a fast, high-end router that provides strong performance at range, but the Archer AX73 is nearly as quick despite its significantly lower price.Wi-Fi router FAQsWi-Fi 5 vs. Wi-Fi 6: Which is better?Wi-Fi 6 is a newer wireless standard that delivers a huge performance upgrade over Wi-Fi 5. In our testing, Wi-Fi 6 routers are often two to three times quicker than similarly priced Wi-Fi 5 routers. You will only see Wi-Fi 6 performance if you have both a router and a device that supports Wi-Fi 6, but most new smartphones, laptops, and game consoles (like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5) support Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 routers still support older Wi-Fi standards, so they remain compatible with older wireless devices. I generally recommend Wi-Fi 6 routers which, at this point, are the standard. This is especially true when buying a standalone router instead of a mesh router: every standard (non-mesh) router I recommend supports Wi-Fi 6.Standard routers vs. mesh routers: Which is better?A standard router is a single device that you'll typically place near your internet modem. Mesh routers have additional access points that connect wirelessly to the primary router which, again, will be placed near your internet modem. I recommend a standard router for most people. A modern Wi-Fi 6 router, like the top-rated TP-Link Archer AX73, can provide excellent coverage for a typical two-story, 2,000 square foot house. It can handle larger homes when placed in a central location with no nearby obstructions. Mesh routers can improve reliability by using multiple access points to get around objects that cause Wi-Fi dead spots, like a large appliance or a concrete brick wall. Just don't expect higher maximum performance: in my tests, mesh routers didn't impress relative to their price. Ease-of-use is often touted as a perk for mesh routers, but that's not true in 2022. Router companies have brought app-based router controls to all their products. The TP-Link routers we recommend have an excellent app experience that's often even more straightforward than a mesh system, since you don't have to set up or manage additional access points.What is Wi-Fi 6E?Wi-Fi 6E is the latest wireless standard. Routers with Wi-Fi 6E started to hit shelves in the spring of 2021.The standard's key upgrade is a new 6GHz band that joins the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands found on most routers sold in the past few years. This new band is faster than the prior options and opens new portions of the radio spectrum that are less crowded. It's still early days for Wi-Fi 6E. Very few routers support the standard, and those that do are expensive. You can't tap the full potential of Wi-Fi 6E unless you buy a new smartphone or laptop with a compatible wireless adapter, which is also rare right now.However, Wi-Fi 6E is clearly the future of wireless. It provides a big leap in performance at short range. At its best, a Wi-Fi 6E connection can rival the speed of wired Gigabit Ethernet, rendering wired connections obsolete for most homes. What is 2.5G, 5G, 10G Ethernet, and do I need them?Ethernet is synonymous with Gigabit Ethernet, which supports network speeds up to one Gigabit per second (1Gbps), but the 2.5G, 5G, and 10G standards are starting to arrive on mainstream routers. These provide speeds of up to 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, or even 10Gbps, respectively. While fast, Ethernet standards beyond Gigabit Ethernet aren't useful for most people because few internet providers offer service that can exceed one Gigabit. However, this feature could be useful if you have a wired home network that you use to transfer files between computers, and it becomes a necessity if you're among the lucky few with access to superfast fiber internet.Glossary5G: The term "5G" is used by routers to either describe a 5 Gigabit Ethernet port or, in some cases, a wireless router's 5GHz band. It has nothing to do with 5G cellular connectivity found in smartphones.Ethernet: Ethernet is the tried-and-true standard for wired internet connectivity. All routers have at least one Ethernet WAN port that accepts an incoming connection from your internet modem. Most routers also have Ethernet LAN ports that can be used to connect wired devices.ISP: This acronym stands for Internet Service Provider. This is the company or organization that delivers internet connectivity to your home. LAN: This acronym stands for Local Area Network and, for routers, describes the Ethernet LAN ports used to connect wired devices. LAN ports can connect devices on your local network but can't connect directly to your internet modem (unless they are dual-purpose WAN/LAN ports).Mesh: A mesh router system uses multiple access points to create a blanket of Wi-Fi coverage over a wide area. Devices connected to a mesh system will automatically connect to the mesh router or access point that provides the best Wi-Fi signal. WAN: This acronym stands for Wide Area Network and, for routers, describes the Ethernet WAN port used to connect the router to your internet modem. Wi-Fi 5: Formerly known as 802.11ac, Wi-Fi 5 is a wireless standard introduced in 2013. It's now the outgoing standard and is, in most cases, inferior to Wi-Fi 6.Wi-Fi 6: The Wi-Fi 6 standard came to market in 2017 and is now widely supported by new routers, laptops, smartphones, and game consoles. It's a significant upgrade over Wi-Fi 5.Wi-Fi 6E: New for 2021, Wi-Fi 6E adds a new 6Hz band that can achieve even higher network speeds than Wi-Fi 6. It's a good choice for homes connected to gigabit internet service, but compatible devices remain rare.The best deals on WiFi routers from this guideA good router is essential for daily life, whether you're streaming movies in 4K or want to look your best during your Zoom meetings. Our picks are discounted pretty regularly throughout the year, but especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday; TP-Link routers, for example, are usually available for $20 less than retail. We're already seeing some impressive deals, like $200 off Linksys's Atlas Max AXE8400 Tri-Band Mesh Wifi 6E System at Best Buy. We rounded up mesh routers, budget routers, and more at different prices for your budget below.TP-Link Archer AX73$149.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $154.99 | Save 3%TP-Link Archer AX50$100.17 FROM AMAZONOriginally $149.99 | Save 33%Google Nest WiFi Router (2-Pack)$219.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $299.00 | Save 26%Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.Check out our other home tech guidesGoogleThe best streaming sticks and devicesThe best Amazon Echo smart speakers and smart displaysThe best USB-C hubsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 18th, 2022

Why Ryder (R) is a Top Growth Stock for the Long-Term

Whether you're a value, growth, or momentum investor, finding strong stocks becomes easier with the Zacks Style Scores, a top feature of the Zacks Premium research service. For new and old investors, taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals. Zacks Premium provides lots of different ways to do both.Featuring daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank, full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research reports, and Premium stock screens, the research service can help you become a smarter, more self-assured investor.Zacks Premium includes access to the Zacks Style Scores as well.What are the Zacks Style Scores?Developed alongside the Zacks Rank, the Zacks Style Scores are a group of complementary indicators that help investors pick stocks with the best chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.Each stock is given an alphabetic rating of A, B, C, D or F based on their value, growth, and momentum qualities. With this system, an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on, meaning the better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform.The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:Value ScoreValue investors love finding good stocks at good prices, especially before the broader market catches on to a stock's true value. Utilizing ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and many other multiples, the Value Style Score identifies the most attractive and most discounted stocks.Growth ScoreWhile good value is important, growth investors are more focused on a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score takes projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow into account to uncover stocks that will see long-term, sustainable growth.Momentum ScoreMomentum investors, who live by the saying "the trend is your friend," are most interested in taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Utilizing one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, among other factors, the Momentum Style Score can help determine favorable times to buy high-momentum stocks.VGM ScoreIf you want a combination of all three Style Scores, then the VGM Score will be your friend. It rates each stock on their combined weighted styles, helping you find the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum. It's also one of the best indicators to use with the Zacks Rank.How Style Scores Work with the Zacks RankThe Zacks Rank, which is a proprietary stock-rating model, employs earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to make building a winning portfolio easier.#1 (Strong Buy) stocks have produced an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988, which is more than double the S&P 500's performance over the same time frame. However, the Zacks Rank examines a ton of stocks, and there can be more than 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, and another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.But it can feel overwhelming to pick the right stocks for you and your investing goals with over 800 top-rated stocks to choose from.That's where the Style Scores come in.To maximize your returns, you want to buy stocks with the highest probability of success. This means picking stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you find yourself looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, make sure they have Scores of A or B as well to ensure as much upside potential as possible.The direction of a stock's earnings estimate revisions should always be a key factor when choosing which stocks to buy, since the Scores were created to work together with the Zacks Rank.Here's an example: a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one with Style Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings outlook, and a bigger chance its share price will decrease too.Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.Stock to Watch: Ryder (R)Ryder System, Inc., a Florida-based corporation founded in 1933, is recognized as one of the world's largest providers of integrated logistics and transportation solutions. Ryder’s customers range from small businesses to large international enterprises. They are drawn from a wide variety of industries, the most significant of which include automotive, electronics, transportation, grocery, lumber and wood products, food service and home furnishing.R is a #1 (Strong Buy) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. R has a Growth Style Score of B, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 21.6% for the current fiscal year.Five analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2022, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $2.63 to $11.65 per share. R also boasts an average earnings surprise of 57.5%.With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Growth and VGM Style Scores, R should be on investors' short list. Special Report: The Top 5 IPOs for Your Portfolio Today, you have a chance to get in on the ground floor of one of the best investment opportunities of the year. As the world continues to benefit from an ever-evolving internet, a handful of innovative tech companies are on the brink of reaping immense rewards - and you can put yourself in a position to cash in. One is set to disrupt the online communication industry. Brilliantly designed for creating online communities, this stock is poised to explode when made public. With the strength of our economy and record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs, you don’t want to miss this opportunity.>>See Zacks’ Hottest IPOs NowWant the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ryder System, Inc. (R): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 8th, 2022

ADTRAN (ADTN) Appears a Smart Investment Bet Now: Here"s Why

ADTRAN (ADTN) is focused on being a top global supplier of Access infrastructure and related value-added solutions from the Cloud Edge to the Subscriber Edge through a broad portfolio. Shares of ADTRAN, Inc. ADTN have surged 91.9% over the past two years, driven by an accretive customer base and healthy revenues on the back of software innovations. The stock delivered an earnings surprise of 140.4%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. With a modest dividend yield of 2%, this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) communications equipment manufacturer appears to be a solid investment option at the moment. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchGrowth DriversADTRAN is focused on being a top global supplier of Access infrastructure and related value-added solutions from the Cloud Edge to the Subscriber Edge through a broad portfolio of flexible hardware and software network solutions. These products enable customers to transition to the fully converged, scalable, highly automated, cloud-controlled voice, data, Internet and video network of the future. The company has enabled service providers to leverage the ADTRAN Mosaic Software-Defined Access architecture that combines modern Web-scale technologies with open-source platforms to facilitate rapid innovation in multi-technology, multi-vendor environments. The Mosaic cloud platform and Mosaic OS, combined with programmable network elements, provide operators with a highly agile, open-services architecture. This allows operators to better compete with Web-scale competition by reducing the time and cost to launch new service, technologies and best-of-breed suppliers as they strive to reduce operational costs while creating and deploying differentiated product offerings.The company expects solid traction in domestic markets for ultra broadband and Fiber-To-The-Home solutions along with SD access and EPON solutions. Its products and services provide solutions supporting fiber- and copper-based infrastructures and a growing number of wireless and coax-based solutions, lowering the overall cost to deploy advanced services across a wide range of applications. The company also anticipates a pickup in capital spending in Tier-1, Tier-2 and regional service provider market segments with increasing 5G deployments. ADTRAN’s global leadership in software-defined access is likely to ensure a steady stream of revenues as it helps clients reduce costs and accelerate service delivery and deployment.The company expects to gain from increased customer engagements across a comprehensive portfolio of software-defined access, 10G solutions and G.fast products, thereby enabling carriers to upgrade slower legacy networks to state-of-the-art technologies. In order to complement the Network Solutions portfolio and enable customers to accelerate time to market, reduce costs and improve satisfaction, ADTRAN offers a complete portfolio of maintenance, turnkey network implementation, maintenance, solutions integration and managed services. The company’s network implementation services offer a full spectrum of services related to engineering (pre-construction), installation/turn-up (construction) and provisioning (post-construction), partnering with customers to tailor a program to meet each service delivery need. The ProCloud Wi-Fi service, which has been developed on ADTN’s virtual Wireless LAN, is opening up new opportunities as Valley Business Solutions is utilizing its technology on a much wider scale. Apart from these products, the company has registered significant growth in its professional service activities that deploy the Total Access System components in telecommunication companies.Additionally, ADTRAN has inked a definitive agreement to acquire ADVA Optical Networking SE in an all-stock deal. The buyout of the leading Germany-based telecommunications vendor that provides network equipment for data, storage, voice and video services is likely to disrupt the fiber networking market with a huge pool of complementary assets. The transaction aims to leverage ADTRAN’s expertise in fiber access, fiber extension and subscriber connectivity solutions with ADVA’s global leadership in metro wavelength division multiplexing, data center interconnect, business Ethernet and network synchronization solutions to create a comprehensive portfolio of fiber networking products. The combined entity is expected to generate $52 million in pre-tax annual cost synergies within the first two years of operation, driven by supply chain efficiencies and optimization of resources. The entity is likely to better serve customers with scalable, secure and assured fiber connectivity along with cloud-managed Wi-Fi solutions and SaaS applications that optimize network performance. The complementary product lines will further enhance the scope of cross-selling opportunities to strengthen its regional presence and achieve a global scale of operations to create significant long-term value for the stakeholders.Other Key PicksArista Networks, Inc. ANET, sporting a Zacks Rank #1, is another solid pick for investors in the broader industry classification. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 15.4% and delivered a modest earnings surprise of 7.7%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for the current year have moved up 30.4% since April 2021, while that for the next year is up 41.1%.Arista benefits from strong momentum and diversification across its top verticals and product lines. The company has a software-driven, data-centric approach to help customers build their cloud architecture and enhance their cloud experience. Over the past year, Arista has gained 69.6%.Knowles Corporation KN sports a Zacks Rank #1. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 10% and delivered a modest earnings surprise of 14.9%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for the current year have moved up 16.8% since April 2021.The transformation from an acoustic component supplier to an audio solutions provider has enabled Knowles to migrate to higher-value solutions and increase content per device. This, in turn, has empowered the company to capitalize on the positive macro trends in audio and edge processing solutions.KVH Industries, Inc. KVHI, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, delivered an earnings surprise of 20%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Despite global supply chain disruptions, KVH Industries is driving growth and margin expansion through new product introduction and subscriber migration to High-Throughput Satellites. The company aims to make decisive inroads into the still-nascent autonomous transportation markets with a strong balance sheet position and zero debt. If KVH Industries manages to effectively mitigate supply chain woes, there could be further room for cash flow expansion. 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report ADTRAN, Inc. (ADTN): Free Stock Analysis Report KVH Industries, Inc. (KVHI): Free Stock Analysis Report Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET): Free Stock Analysis Report Knowles Corporation (KN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 7th, 2022

Guiding Clients Through the Post-Transaction Journey and Beyond

Mike Schmidt got his real estate license when he was just 18 years old. Today, he’s president of Traverse City, Michigan-based Schmidt Family of Companies—a fifth-generation brokerage firm initially founded as H.F. Schmidt Real Estate in 1927 by his great-grandfather, Harold F. Schmidt, before joining the Coldwell Banker Corporation as a franchisee in 1983. The […] The post Guiding Clients Through the Post-Transaction Journey and Beyond appeared first on RISMedia. Mike Schmidt got his real estate license when he was just 18 years old. Today, he’s president of Traverse City, Michigan-based Schmidt Family of Companies—a fifth-generation brokerage firm initially founded as H.F. Schmidt Real Estate in 1927 by his great-grandfather, Harold F. Schmidt, before joining the Coldwell Banker Corporation as a franchisee in 1983. The parent company to its full-service real estate brokerage firms, Schmidt Family of Companies has grown into a network of 90-plus offices in Michigan, northeast Ohio, both coasts of Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John. “I’ve been around the business my whole life,” says Schmidt, who explains that no matter the market, buyers always have the same questions. And they’re always looking for recommendations as far as the best landscaper, roofer, pool guy, fence installer, etc., to turn their house into a home. This makes it paramount that real estate professionals foster relationships with vendors they know, like and trust who will go above and beyond to ensure that their clients are well taken care of. “REALTORS® have always been the best resource when it comes to connecting the consumer to the people associated with the moving process and home maintenance needs for the lifetime of the home itself,” explains Schmidt. In today’s market especially, where homes are moving faster than ever, it’s mission critical that real estate professionals be able to connect the dots. And thanks to a recent partnership with MoveEasy, a comprehensive post-transaction concierge moving and home-management platform, Schmidt and his team are providing their brokers and agents a personalized custom app—branded as HomeHub Powered By ThisIsOurList.com—and their buyer and seller clients the best moving experience possible. “We get pitched products all the time,” notes Schmidt, “but MoveEasy was the one that provided the most value, so we chose to utilize their white-labeling capabilities to custom-brand our offering as HomeHub Powered By ThisIsOurList.com. This adds to our value proposition for the REALTOR® and the brokerage, but more importantly, it adds exceptional value to the customer.” Part of that value is found in the level of automation built into the platform, which, according to Schmidt, is one of the biggest benefits associated with offering clients the complementary moving concierge services together with the home-maintenance service providers for one’s entire lifetime and real estate journey. “Automating the entire process for the consumer, HomeHub Powered By ThisIsOurList.com makes it easy for them to set up the utilities in their new home, initiate a mail transfer and everything in between,” says Schmidt. But it doesn’t end there. In fact, HomeHub’s powerful concierge tool provided by MoveEasy offers access to a complete list of services including moving, car shipping, home security, TV/internet, home professionals, contractors, utilities, checklists and more. Easing the stress associated with the moving process, Schmidt goes on to explain that time savings is another benefit that can’t be overlooked. “Everything is happening faster today, and the fact that HomeHub Powered By ThisIsOurList.com takes the hassle out of the process, is a real gift to the consumer.” Drilling down further, preferred vendors are only a click away, making it easy to engage and retain clients in today’s competitive market. “Our REALTORS® are the ones who have those relationships, so it’s critical that we work together to get those vendor partnerships in place,” explains Schmidt. “HomeHub Powered By ThisIsOurList.com stays with the client throughout their post-transaction journey and beyond, so its value continues to grow as they settle into the home and make it their own,” concludes Schmidt. For more information, visit www.moveeasy.com. Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her with your real estate news ideas, ptepping@rismedia.com. The post Guiding Clients Through the Post-Transaction Journey and Beyond appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaApr 5th, 2022

Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation

It is not the flashiest or most dynamic part of the real estate industry. The concept of a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, goes back more than 100 years when local boards would meet in a dusty office and exchange paper copies of listings. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger volumes accessible by members of […] The post Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation appeared first on RISMedia. It is not the flashiest or most dynamic part of the real estate industry. The concept of a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, goes back more than 100 years when local boards would meet in a dusty office and exchange paper copies of listings. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger volumes accessible by members of local or regional associations, before the dawn of the internet blurred regional lines and gave broad access to listing data for both consumers and real estate professionals. Today, the MLS landscape retains vestiges of that fractured, paper-driven local data sharing. But as technology has improved, regulations have tightened and consumers have found other avenues to access home listing data, the traditional MLS needed to evolve. Exactly what this means, though, varies widely, and companies across the country are taking very different approaches to consolidation, expansion and tech investments—all of which could upend the traditional methods real estate data is shared and accessed. “The real benefit is modernization, and giving the consumer something they expect in the year 2022,” says Michael Barbaro, President of SmartMLS in Connecticut Like many regions, Connecticut was once divided into dozens of individual MLS organizations, which eventually consolidated into two larger companies with overlapping and sometimes arbitrary boundaries. Barbaro describes all-too familiar scenarios with agents paying multiple fees and signing into different systems, and consumers receiving clunky, redundant and inconsistent listing data. But in 2017, following a blitz of meetings, surveys and compromises, SmartMLS became the state’s main—though still not sole—MLS service, consolidating the two previous systems and staff to serve over 90% of the state. This merger was the subject of a glowing case study report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which lauded Barbaro’s ability to foster relationships and come up with innovative solutions (having co-CEOs for the new company and realigning fee structures, among other things). Almost five years later, Barbaro says this process—which took a lot of work but only about six months to put together—has allowed the combined MLS to better serve both real estate professionals and consumers while also investing in the technology that will be needed to keep SmartMLS from falling behind. “We are looking to change the game of real estate,” Barbaro says. “I’ve been encouraged by the fact that MLSs are starting to see the writing on the wall.” But in the enormous, diverse landscape of the U.S., how applicable is the experience of one small Northeast state? How realistic is it to expect big metros and tiny villages, huge national brokerages and small local teams to use the same platforms and data? Not too unrealistic, according to Jon Coile, vice president of MLS & Industry Relations for HomeServices of America and former chair of BrightMLS, a large, multi-regional MLS in the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia area. Coile is currently helping lead NAR policy studies focused on the MLS industry, which has considered state-wide standards to help eliminate some of the obvious issues with the current landscape. “I have a state license, I can sell anywhere in the state,” he says. “But in states where they don’t share data, I might have to and belong to 15 or 20 MLSs to get access to the data. Meanwhile the consumer, they just go to one website—Zillow or Redfin or whatever—and they can access everything. So, the consumer knows more about real estate than I know as a REALTOR®, and that makes no sense.” Data-sharing, with some number of MLS companies creating a separate database that contains all their listing data and standardizes platforms or entries is not a new concept, and seems like common sense in the face of Zillow. Some have still resisted—Barbaro says there are a couple MLSs in small, affluent Connecticut towns that are holding onto their independence. Brian Donnellan is the CEO of BrightMLS. He made it clear that the data-sharing approach is both “extremely effective” and widely beneficial to consumers, real estate professionals and the MLSs themselves. “By providing both more access to listings on the buying side, and more exposure on the seller side, consumers have more choice among a wider range of listings,” Donnellan says. “The shift toward working from home for many buyers and sellers has opened up a larger area of possibilities for many consumers.  More options presented in a simple and straightforward way helps agents and brokers serve consumers more efficiently.” One solution to the regionalization problem is to disregard these local boundaries entirely. Dawn Pfaff runs My State MLS, which offers a national platform that attempts to create flexibility and an expansive, unrestricted listing landscape—including auctions and manufactured homes. “The biggest advantage to My State MLS, is that you can list anywhere you are licensed,” Pfaff says. “We believe that cooperation is essential, and we agree to cooperate with everyone who is also licensed in the same state.” Joe Rand is the CEO of another national initiative called the Broker Public Portal (BPP), which powers consumer portal HomeSnap.The idea is to create a set of standards behind a Zillow-type national portal that is more agent-focused and doesn’t monetize leads, instead creating a more level playing field that will still provide the national MLS experience for consumers. “I just don’t see how MLS systems can be cordoned off the way they used to be,” Rand says.  “Smart MLSs realize they can’t shield themselves from the outside world. As brokerages get bigger, they’re increasingly frustrated by having to deal with multiple MLS systems that don’t collaborate with each other. Given that MLSs themselves espouse cooperation among brokers, it makes sense that they should also be cooperative with each other. “ Ruth Hackney is the CEO of the REALTORS® Association of Southwest Wisconsin, and former CEO of the Montana Regional MLS. She says Wisconsin has had state-wide data sharing for more than a decade now, with the platform owned by the three largest MLSs in the state while smaller companies maintain some independence. Those relationships have been defined by convivial discussion and consideration of each other—something that not every state or region can claim. “Wisconsin is a very friendly place. Nobody wants to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone upset, so when we go forward, we want to make sure we’re going forward together,” she said. Because everyone is essentially happy with the current system, Hackney says there is no strong impetus for further consolidation right now. But at the same time, having larger, more formal partnerships and centralized resources is becoming vital to the success of any MLS. Tech Savvy New York City is an almost incomparably unique geographic and political area, and therefore unique as far as real estate as well. The Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, is independent of NAR unlike most local associations, having essentially seceded from the national body in 1994 in a dispute over membership fees. REBNY owns its own listing database which technically is not called an MLS, instead christened “RLS,” or “Residential Listing Service.” Other associations around and in the city—which are affiliated with NAR—continue to compete for territory and offer their own MLSs. In this much more cutthroat environment, (REBNY Board of Governors member Fredrick W. Peters described the history of MLS in the city as “warring fiefdoms”) the priority is to provide a better product. Because MLS companies are tech companies at heart, that means having the best technology. Ninve James is the senior vice president of the RLS serving 12,000 agents and $45 billion in listings. Set to launch in the second quarter of 2022, James touts “Citysnap,” a proprietary consumer-facing website and app exclusive to the RLS built by HomeSnap. “I know it’s something the industry has been looking to have for a while,” she says. For real estate professionals, leads are routed directly to the listing agent or broker at no cost, James says, and there are no listing fees. It is also meant to ensure all listings comply with the complex advertising and fair housing laws in the city. Creating that product, which is molded to the unique NYC landscape, along with migrating the RLS to national software and data standards, is the “big thing” for the organization, James says, and Citysnap is an “all hands on deck” project. Though REBNY, as the oldest and most established real estate association in the country’s largest metro, has a huge head start on the competition, James makes it clear that they will not be sitting back. “It’s going to provide much needed data transparency for New Yorkers, which is a huge win for our city’s real estate industry and consumers,” she says. Donnellan highlights BrightMLS’s hub for showing service, which became an especially important tech integration in the “incredibly busy market” of the last year or so. “It’s about speed—what’s coming on the market, what’s available at any given moment, etc. Agents and brokers need to be able to present the fullest, most complete representation of the market to their clients as quickly as possible,” he says. Not everyone in the MLS world has reacted in a timely manner to innovations and opportunities, according to Barbaro, particularly around technology. Companies and products that are pushing the industry forward are being bought out at “ridiculous valuations,” and he argues there is no reason that MLS companies can’t begin investing in these products themselves rather than relying on vendors. “I’ve been talking about this for years, I don’t understand why we don’t own the technology, why we don’t develop the technology,” he says. “We use them, we’re a captive audience. Now we’re finally starting to see come out there.” Barbaro points to one of the largest MLSs in the country, California Regional MLS, which recently invested $15 million in a venture capital fund to take a more direct hand in its own tech future. My State MLS also owns their own tech, and Pfaff says their clients can feel confident knowing their membership fees are being invested directly into improving software and data technology. But even small MLSs can band together, he adds, and take control of their technology future, with Barbaro saying there are numerous cases of half a dozen or so small companies getting together to buy a product or invest in a technology, to the benefit of all. “I think that the most important tech advancements are all about integration of tools by smart tech providers,” Rand says. “People want technology to be seamless, which you can’t achieve if you’re not ethically sharing data across platforms to better service agents and consumers.” In Wisconsin, Hackney says the three largest MLS companies own the software that powers the state-wide shared database. She describes tech advancement as “staff-driven” and mostly starting with leadership in the larger organizations, with any big decision or change inclusive of all the members who share and use it. “We just sit down and start to brainstorm,” Hackney says. “We’re just constantly kind of keeping our eye out—is an MLS already doing something and it’s working? Then how can we adopt that and make it work for our unique system?” The Devil in the Details It is not these big-picture questions that are hampering growth and cooperation in the MLS industry today, according to Barbaro. Nearly everyone has now woken up to the fact that consumers are turning to Zillow and Redfin for listings, and that technology can and must make the MLS experience simpler and more straightforward for real estate professionals. What makes things difficult is every little structural and bureaucratic line that has been drawn. That can be everything from what data fields to use to staffing responsibilities, and can take an enormous amount of effort and time to find consensus among dozens of organizations with their own histories and structure. Barbaro says the case study on SmartMLS did not allow any specific discussions about staff ahead of the merger and created a new streamlined fee structure and had the state association offset costs of legal fees and meeting expenses. A lot of real estate professionals are happy with their MLS staff and service, Barbaro suggests, and even though there were obvious improvements to be made in Connecticut they still wanted to hang on to staff “People are like, ‘I get good service,’ and I thought that was interesting. Most people really care about that, and there is an amount of that,” he says. All these things were worked out, though, in a relatively short time through a lot of conversations and listening to people’s concerns, according to Barbaro—with the NAR case study saying his role was “highly praised” as he “created a partnership atmosphere” through the delicate process. Though REBNY is not in the same situation as far as mergers or consolidation, James says that the RLS also must work hard to listen to their stakeholders, who are made up of a particularly vibrant and diverse real estate community. “We’re in constant communication,” James says. “We have multiple committees across the city that basically get updates and meet on a constant cadence to make sure that we send out communications and stay in touch with our constituents.” Understanding how New York City functions—whether that means adding data fields for things like which buildings have doormen and elevators, or mapping distance to parks and transportation—will be vital to the success of any system in the city, and James says the RLS is building that through feedback. “When you look at Citysnap it will cater to what’s expected in New York City,” she says. Coile says that the Real Estate Standards Organization, or RESO has come up with what he calls a “data dictionary” that can actually translate those regional differences automatically and eliminate the sticking points for MLSs. For example, checking the same box would result in a property being designated “waterfront” in one region or “shorefront” in another depending on the preference. “All the computer knows is that field F42 is on or off,” he says. “There could be 10 different words in there.” Fees and pricing will always be an issue and will definitely need to be worked out, though Coile says that consolidation almost always results in lower costs for technology as companies can get a lower price per agent if they serve hundreds or thousands instead of dozens. Pfaff touts My State MLS for not having any fines or board membership requirements, which is another way to attract more business, and says that they also offer webinars on things like digital marketing to help add value to the service. Membership to a single, national MLS also makes sense in more rural areas where properties are spread out, she says. Even though BrightMLS exists in a limited geographic region, Donnellan agrees that eliminating “digital boundaries” that are often arbitrary and mean nothing to the consumer will be the future of the industry. “We…have the opportunity to continue to lead the way on further market transparency for the benefit of consumers,” he says. “Ultimately, this clear open market is in the best interest of all. Transparency and a complete most accurate picture of the market puts them in a position to help their clients succeed.” MLSs are businesses, and at the end of the day if they are not serving the best interests of clients and consumers, they are not going to survive, and no amount of history or pushback from the old guard will change that. Hackney says that she experienced some of the difficulties in getting different organizations to work together in her previous role in Montana, which was in the process of merging MLSs at the time. Now in the very convivial landscape of Wisconsin, she says she still holds on to that lesson: that an MLS is first and foremost a tool for clients and consumers. While everyone does their utmost to avoid disruption and maintain staffing, there still has to be a willingness—especially at the top—to accept the inevitability of change. “The goal is to create efficiencies, and as staff it’s our job to serve the best interests of the member,” she says. “When you have a really strong MLS executive, those people are going to see the benefit of it, they’re going to be willing to make compromises.” Jesse Williams is an associate online editor at RISMedia. Email him with your real estate news ideas jesse@rismedia.com The post Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaJan 21st, 2022

8 Top CEOs Give Their Predictions for the Wild Year Ahead

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders… (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders from across the world of business to share their priorities and expectations for the year ahead. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, wants to leverage the advances his pharmaceutical company has made in fighting COVID-19 to tackle other diseases, while Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has made improving access to healthcare one of her goals over the next year. GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan says building trust will be at the heart of decision-making at the crowdfunding platform—both with workers and its wider community. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Innovation is key to Intel CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger and Forerunner Ventures founder and managing partner Kirsten Green. And Rothy’s CEO Stephen Hawthornthwaite, Albemarle CEO Kent Masters, and Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, shared their suggestions for how companies and policymakers can respond to persistent supply chains problems. Read on to see how some of the most powerful people in business envision the coming year. (These answers have been condensed and edited for clarity.) What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you expect in the year ahead? Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer: The scientific advancements made by Pfizer and others over the past year have brought us very powerful tools to battle the worst pandemic of our lives. But, unfortunately, we don’t see everyone using them. I am concerned about the limited infrastructure and resources in the poorest countries as they struggle to administer their supply of COVID-19 vaccines to their people. Some of these countries have asked us to pause our deliveries of doses while they work to address these issues. While I am proud of the work Pfizer has done to make vaccines available to low- and lower middle-income countries over the past year, we need to find new ways to support the World Health Organization as they work with NGOs and governments to address these infrastructure issues. Getty ImagesAlbert Bourla, CEO, Pfizer Over the next year I’d like us to help find solutions to issues like the shortage of medical professionals, vaccine hesitancy due to limited educational campaigns, lack of equipment and even roads to allow timely delivery of vaccines. Throughout every chapter of this pandemic, we have been reminded of the importance of collaboration and innovative thinking. We need to work harder than ever before to address these health inequities so that people around the globe are protected from the virus. Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel: Throughout the history of technology, we’ve seen the pendulum swinging between centralized and decentralized computing. And there is still a tremendous untapped opportunity in edge computing as we bring greater intelligence to devices such as sensors and cameras in everything from our cars to manufacturing to the smart grid. Edge computing will not replace cloud; we’re swinging back to where decentralized compute becomes the primary growth for new workloads because the inference and AI analysis will take place at the edge. Technology has the power to improve the lives of every person on earth and Intel plays a foundational role within. We aim to lead in the opportunity for every category in which we compete. Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens: The pandemic affirmed Walgreens as a trusted neighborhood health destination to help our customers and patients manage their health. We provide essential care to our communities, including administering more than 50 million COVID-19 vaccines as of early December 2021. The opportunity ahead of us at Walgreens Health—our new segment launched this past fall—is to create better outcomes for both consumers and partners, while lowering costs across the care continuum. A year from now I want to look back on this time as an inflection point and a moment in time where real, lasting change happened—that we will all have collectively banded together to get through the pandemic and at the same time delivered real change toward improving accessible and affordable healthcare. I feel inspired and hopeful that some good will come out of this very difficult time in our country and the world’s history. Jason Redmond—AFP/Getty ImagesRosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens, speaks in Seattle, Washington on Mar. 20, 2019. Tim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe: We’re going to see continued disruption in the world and the workplace in 2022—this will require more people to come together to help each other. Our opportunity is to use our voice and platform to bring more people together to help each other with all aspects of their lives. Asking for help is hard but coming together to help each other is one of the most important and rewarding things we can do in life. We are continuously improving our product to make it easier for more people to both ask for and give help, whether it’s helping an individual fulfill a dream, working on a global cause like climate change, or supporting a family during a difficult time. Kirsten Green, founder and managing partner of Forerunner Ventures: We are nearly two years into the pandemic, and it is still ongoing. We must embrace this new normal and figure out how to make that reality work for our businesses, our consumers, and our people. Thankfully, we often see innovation come out of these periods of change and fluctuation. At the same time, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that the world has evolved, and it is still important to understand that the ‘reset’ button just got hit for a lot of people. Values, goals, and core needs are being reevaluated and reestablished, and we as a society need to figure out how to move forward during a volatile period. Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles: Our industry needs to help drive the American economic recovery amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The top priority remains getting goods to American consumers and creating a more fluid supply chain. We also need to address the growing trade imbalance. Imports are at all-time highs while U.S. exports have declined nearly 40% over the past three years in Los Angeles. We have to help American manufacturers and farmers get their products to global markets. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, our team is working to get our fair share of federal funds to accelerate projects to improve rail infrastructure, local highways and support facilities. The Port of Los Angeles is the nation’s primary trade gateway, yet east and gulf coast ports have received most of the federal funding in the past decade. The best return on port infrastructure investment is in Los Angeles, where the cargo we handle reaches every corner of the country. Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle: Challenges will likely continue to include competition for top talent, supply chain disruptions due to possible pandemic impacts to raw material availability and logistics, and potential inflation impacts to material and freight costs, all of which we’re monitoring closely so we can respond quickly. With the global EV market growing rapidly, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us for years to come. Next year, we’ll advance our lithium business through new capacity ramp-ups in Chile, Australia and China, and restart the MARBL Lithium Wodgina hard rock resource in Australia to help feed our new conversion assets and meet customer needs. We’re also keenly focused on organizational goal alignment and continuous improvement to drive greater productivity through our global workforce next year. What do you expect to happen to supply chains in 2022? Gelsinger: The unprecedented global demand for semiconductors—combined with the impact of the global pandemic—has led to an industry-wide shortage, which is impacting technology providers across the industry. Intel is aggressively stepping in to address these issues and build out more capacity and supply around the globe for a more balanced and stable supply, but it will take time and strong public-private partnerships to achieve. Read more: From Cars to Toasters, America’s Semiconductor Shortage Is Wreaking Havoc on Our Lives. Can We Fix It? Brewer: We learned a lot over the past two years and companies are taking action with investments in capacity, resiliency and agility for supply chains across the world. We will continue finding creative ways to increase manufacturing and shipping capacity. Manufacturers will continue expanding capacity and increasing the diversity in their supplier base to reduce reliance of single sourcing. Companies will continue to invest to increase resiliency through expanded inventory positions, extended planning horizons and lead-times, and increased agility in manufacturing and logistics capabilities to fulfill customer needs. As the marketplace changes, we must be agile and adapt quickly as we respond to shifts in consumer behavior. Investments in technology, such as real time supply chain visibility and predictive/prescriptive analytics, will enable companies to deliver the speed and precision expected by today’s consumer. Seroka: Goods and products will get to market. The maritime logistics industry must raise the bar and make advances on service levels for both our import and export customers. Retailers will be replenishing their inventories in the second quarter of the year. And by summer, several months earlier than usual, we’ll see savvy retailers bringing in products for back to school, fall fashion and the winter holidays. Despite the challenges, retail sales reached new highs in 2021. Collectively, supply chains partners need to step up further to improve fluidity and reliability. Stephen Hawthornthwaite, CEO of Rothy’s: In 2022, pressure from consumers for transparency around manufacturing and production, coupled with pandemic learnings about existing supply chain constraints, will push businesses to condense their supply chains and bring in-house where possible. I also predict that more brands will test make-to-demand models to better weather demand volatility and avoid supply surpluses—a benefit for businesses, consumers and the planet. Nimbleness and a willingness to innovate will be crucial for brands who wish to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world. At Rothy’s, we’ve built a vertically integrated model and wholly-owned factory, enabling us to better navigate the challenges that production and logistics present and unlock the full potential of sustainability and circularity. Courtesy of Rothy’sStephen Hawthornthwaite, chairman and CEO, Rothy’s Green: The pandemic crystallized what a lot of us knew to be true, but hadn’t yet evaluated: There’s not nearly as much innovation in the supply chain as a flexible world is going to need. What we’re seeing now is a giant wake-up call to the entire commerce ecosystem. This is more than a rallying cry; it’s a mandate to reevaluate how we’re managing our production processes, and 2022 will be the start of change. Expect a massive overhaul of the system, and expect to see more investment building innovation, efficiency, and sustainability into the supply chain space. Read more: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Masters: As the pandemic continues with new variants, we expect global supply chain issues to persist in 2022. To what degree remains to be seen, but I would expect impacts to some raw materials, freight costs, and even energy costs. On a positive note, we can successfully meet our customer obligations largely because of our vertically integrated capabilities. This helps us continue to be a reliable source of lithium, as well as bromine. Worldwide logistics issues are a factor, but more marginal in the supply question when the determining factor is the ability to convert feedstock to product and bolster the supply chain. In lithium, we have active conversion facilities running at full capacity now. As we bring more capacity online (La Negra III/IV, Kemerton I/II, Silver Peak expansion, and our Tianyuan acquisition in China) while making more efficient use of our feedstocks, it will help strengthen the global supply chain. How will the labor market evolve and what changes should workers expect in the coming year? Brewer: The labor market will continue to be competitive in 2022. I often say to my team: as an employer, it’s not about the products we make, it’s not about our brand. It’s about how are we going to motivate team members to feel good about themselves, fulfilled and passionate about their work, to contribute at their highest level of performance. How do we create a culture that means Walgreens Boots Alliance is the best place to work—so our team members say, “Yes, pay me for the work that I do, but help me love my job.” In the coming year and beyond, broadly across the market, we will see that managers will continue to become even more empathetic and listen more actively to their team members as people. Workers will expect that employers and their managers accept who they are as their whole, authentic selves, both personally and professionally. Read more: The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Finally Getting Companies to Take Burnout Seriously. Is It Enough? Gelsinger: Our employees are our future and our most important asset, and we’ve already announced a significant investment in our people for next year. As I’ve said, sometimes it takes a decade to make a week of progress; sometimes a week gives you a decade of progress. As I look to 2022, navigating a company at the heart of many of the pandemic-related challenges, we must all carefully consider what shifts are underway and what changes are yet to come. It will continue to be a competitive market and I expect you’ll continue to see companies establish unique benefits and incentives to attract and retain talent. We expect the “hybrid” mode that’s developed over the past years to become the standard working model going forward. Al Drago/Bloomberg—Getty ImagesPatrick Gelsinger, chief executive officer of Intel Corp., speaks during an interview at an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Dec. 9, 2021. Bourla: The past couple of years have challenged our workforce in ways that we never would have imagined. Companies have asked employees to demonstrate exceptional flexibility, commitment, courage and ingenuity over the past two years—and they have risen to the challenge. I predict that we are likely to see an increase in salaries in the coming year due to inflation—and I believe this is a good thing for workers, as it will help close the gap in income inequality. That said, financial rewards are no longer the only thing that employees expect from their employers. Increasingly, people want to work for a company with a strong culture and a defined purpose. As such, companies will need to foster and promote a culture in which employees feel respected and valued for their contributions and made to feel that they are integral to furthering the purpose of their company. Businesses that are able to create such a culture will not only be able to attract the best talent, but also maximize the engagement, creativity and productivity of their people by enabling them to bring their best selves to every challenge. Green: For many years, Forerunner has been saying, “It’s good to be a consumer. Consumers want what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and they’re getting it.” That same evolution of thought has now moved into the labor market: It’s a worker’s market, not a company’s market, and the relationship between the worker and the employer needs to evolve because of that. Workers should expect to get more flexibility, respect, benefits, and pay in some cases—but they still need to show up and deliver impact at work. It’s a two-way street, and we need to tap into a broader cultural work ethic. As a society, we need to be more holistic in our approach to meeting both company and worker needs. Read more: The Pandemic Revealed How Much We Hate Our Jobs. Now We Have a Chance to Reinvent Work Seroka: There’s a need for more truck drivers and warehouse workers in southern California. President Biden’s new Trucking Action Plan funds trucker apprentice programs and recruit U.S. military veterans. It’s an important step forward to attract, recruit and retain workers. Private industry needs to look at improved compensation and benefits for both truckers and warehouse workers. We need to bring a sense of pride and professionalism back to these jobs. On the docks, the contract between longshore workers and the employer’s association expires June 30. Both sides will be hard at work to negotiate and reach an agreement that benefits the workers and companies while keeping cargo flowing for the American economy. Courtesy Port of Los AngelesGene Seroka, executive director, Port of Los Angeles. Masters: I think there will still be a fight for talent next year. It’s a tight labor market overall and Covid-19 restrictions are a challenge in some regions. Albemarle has a really attractive growth story and profile, especially for workers interested in combatting climate change by contributing in a meaningful way to the clean energy transition. We are embracing a flexible work environment, much like other companies are doing, and upgrading some benefits to remain an employer of choice in attracting and retaining the best people on our growth journey. And, of course, we should all expect pandemic protocols to continue next year to ensure everyone’s health and safety. How do you see your role as a leader evolving over the coming year? Bourla: We are entering a golden age of scientific discovery fueled by converging advancements in biology and technology. As an industry, we must leverage these advancements to make disruptive changes in the way we discover, develop and bring new medicines to patients. Since I became CEO of Pfizer, we have been working to reimagine this process by operating as a nimbler, more science-driven organization, focused on delivering true breakthroughs for patients across our six therapeutic areas. In the past few years, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver on this promise of bringing true scientific breakthroughs through our colleagues’ tireless work in COVID-19. But there is more work to be done to address the unmet need in other disease areas—and now is the time to do it. In the year ahead, my leadership team and I will focus on leveraging these advancements in biology and technology, as well as the lessons learned from our COVID-19 vaccine development program, so that we may continue to push this scientific renaissance forward. This is critical work that we must advance for patients and their families around the world who continue to suffer from other devastating diseases without treatment options. Gelsinger: We are in the midst of a digital renaissance and experiencing the fastest pace of digital acceleration in history. We have immense opportunities ahead of us to make a lasting impact on the world through innovation and technology. Humans create technology to define what’s possible. We ask “if” something can be done, we understand “why,” then we ask “how.” In 2022, I must inspire and ensure our global team of over 110,000 executes and continues to drive forward innovation and leadership on our mission to enrich the lives of every person on earth. Brewer: Purpose is the driving force at this point in my career. I joined Walgreens Boots Alliance as CEO in March of 2021, what I saw as a rare opportunity to help end the pandemic and to help reimagine local healthcare and wellbeing for all. Seven months later, we launched the company’s new purpose, vision, values and strategic priorities. My role as CEO now and in 2022 is to lead with our company’s purpose—more joyful lives through better health—at the center of all we do for our customers, patients and team members. I’m particularly focused on affordable, accessible healthcare for all, including in traditionally medically underserved communities. Healthcare is inherently local, and all communities should have equitable access to care. John Lamparski—Getty Images for Advertising Week New YorkTim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe, speaks in New York City on Sept. 26, 2016. Cadogan: The last two years were dominated by a global pandemic and social and geopolitical issues that will carry over into 2022. The role of leaders in this new and uncertain environment will be to deliver value to their customers, while helping employees navigate an increasingly complex world with a completely new way of working together. Trust will be at the center of every decision we make around product development and platform policies—do the decisions we are making align with our mission to help people help each other and do they build trust with our community and our employees? Green: Everything around us is moving at an accelerated pace, and being a leader requires you to operate with a consistent set of values while still leaning into opportunity. Arguably, the pandemic has been the most disruptive time in decades—a generational disruption on par with the Depression or WWII. People’s North Stars are in the process of transforming, and leaders need to figure out what that means for their companies, their cultures, and their work processes. How does this change require leaders to shift their priorities as a business? Courtesy, Forerunner VenturesKirsten Green, founder and managing partner, Forerunner Ventures Masters: My leadership style is to make decisions through dialogue and debate. I encourage teams to be curious about other perspectives, be contrarian, actively discuss, make decisions, and act. I wasn’t sure how well we could do this from a strictly remote work approach during the pandemic, but watching our teams thrive despite the challenge changed my mind. Our people adapted quickly to move our business forward. We’ve worked so well that we’re integrating more flexibility into our work environment in 2022. With this shift to hybrid work, it will be important for all leaders, myself included, to empower employees in managing their productivity, and ensure teams stay engaged and focused on our key objectives. We’re facing rapid growth ahead, so our culture is vital to our success. I’ll continue to encourage our teams to live our values, seek diverse viewpoints, be decisive, and execute critical work to advance our strategy. Courtesy of Albemarle Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle Seroka: Overseeing the nation’s busiest container port comes with an outsized responsibility to help our nation—not just the Port of Los Angeles—address the challenges brought about by the unprecedented surge in consumer demand. That means taking the lead on key fronts such as digital technology, policy and operational logistics. On the digital front, our industry needs to use data better to improve the reliability, predictability, and efficiency in the flow of goods. Policy work will focus on improving infrastructure investment, job training and advocating for a national export plan that supports fair trade and American jobs. Operationally, we’ll look for new ways to improve cargo velocity and efficiency......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 2nd, 2022

NYSAFAH’s Top 5 Wishlist for the New York City and State

The end of the year traditionally offers an opportunity both to take stock of the past 12 months and look ahead at what’s to come. Thanks to the ongoing economic and physical challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, 2021 was very challenging. New York’s affordable housing crisis has deepened and reached... The post NYSAFAH’s Top 5 Wishlist for the New York City and State appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. The end of the year traditionally offers an opportunity both to take stock of the past 12 months and look ahead at what’s to come. Thanks to the ongoing economic and physical challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, 2021 was very challenging. New York’s affordable housing crisis has deepened and reached emergency status, with an estimated shortage of 591,000 units across the state.  Neither City nor the State can accept the status quo in 2022. The outsized challenges we face require innovative solutions and immediate action. Thankfully, these obstacles also present new opportunities. With millions of dollars in federal funding coming into the state for infrastructure and other priorities, and new leadership at both City Hall and the state Capitol, New York has the chance to take bold action and make a real difference in thousands of lives.  To do so requires significant investments in projects and policies that establish housing as a basic human right for all New Yorkers and helps them obtain critical services they need for success. With that in mind, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) engaged in another time-honored end-of-year tradition – the holiday wish list – of our top five housing priorities we hope the governor and incoming mayor will consider in 2022. New 5-Year Statewide Housing Plan Funding for the current $2.5 billion 5-Year Housing Plan will be exhausted in March 2022. It has thus far created approximately 66,500 affordable units and a commitment to 6,000 supportive units, providing safe, reliable housing for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. New York needs to enact a statutory 5-year housing capital plan, similar to what exists for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), to ensure a transparent and predictable pathway to address our mounting housing needs. Additionally, the 2022-23 state budget must include sufficient funds to support the plan. Governor Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature must pass a multi-year funding commitment to continue the pipeline of affordable housing projects, which often take years of planning and approvals to come to fruition. Developers and lenders require the predictability of a multi-year plan to move forward with much-needed projects. Expedite ULURP for 100 Percent Affordable Housing in New York City  The current and expansive ULURP process can cause lengthy project delays, adding to the already high cost of affordable housing construction in New York City. To maximize affordable housing investment, the city must expedite the process for 100 percent affordable housing projects across the five boroughs. Of course, community input is critical, but to combat the current homelessness crisis, the creation of a dedicated “fast lane” for entirely affordable projects would alleviate costly construction delays and result in more units for those who need them most. Upzone High Opportunity New York City Neighborhoods and Transit Corridors The recent movement to rezone SoHo and NoHo to facilitate the construction of additional affordable housing units is encouraging, but it is not enough. Rezoning can spur increased production of affordable and supportive units, which, in turn, can help address the long-standing residential segregation patterns in New York City. Historically, zoning has decreased density in white, affluent areas while increasing density in Black and Latino and lower-income communities. The current zoning regulations are the result of decades of discriminatory housing policies, preventing residents from accessing critical transit, health care, education and job opportunities, and other services, and this must change. Sustainable Affordable Housing Funding New York State is leading the way with the most aggressive clean energy and climate plan in the country – the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which requires an economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gases by 2040. NYSAFAH strongly supports sustainable housing production and promotion of increased energy efficiency in housing units, both of which will also result in significant savings for tenants. The 2022-23 state budget must include at least $500 million for a new program to finance greater energy efficiency and green construction in affordable housing projects. This program will complement the CLCPA’s goals and help New York satisfy the requirement that it provide at least 35 to 40 percent of the Act’s funds and incentives to historically disadvantaged communities. Promote Digital Equity Through Broadband Access Low-income residents of affordable housing developments across the state are disproportionately impacted by lack of internet access. A recent report by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found 1 million new York households do not have home broadband services – due to lack of affordability, lack of infrastructure or both. The pandemic has underscored the necessity of reliable, fast online access as so many services – from healthcare to education – are now available virtually. Underserved communities are falling behind significantly due to the persistence of the digital divide. NYSAFAH encourages the state to leverage the $100 million it will receive in federal infrastructure money earmarked for broadband to ensure that all affordable housing developments – both new and existing – are fully wired for online access and will be providing a blueprint for making that goal a reality. Jolie Milstein is president and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH). The post NYSAFAH’s Top 5 Wishlist for the New York City and State appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyDec 9th, 2021

Ericsson (ERIC) to Boost 5G Capabilities in Rural Kansas

Ericsson (ERIC) radio solutions will enable Nex-Tech to offer high-speed 5G capabilities in the rural communities of Kansas and help bridge the digital divide. Ericsson ERIC recently inked a contract with Nex-Tech Wireless for an undisclosed amount to augment 5G network connectivity in the rural markets of Kansas. The deal is in sync with President Biden’s initiative to offer broadband access to all Americans by enabling carriers to expand networks in rural areas that lack high-quality Internet service.Nex-Tech offers data and mobile services across 40 central and western Kansas counties. The carrier has long-term business relationship with Ericsson, with the latter serving as its primary vendor for 4G deployment. This premier wireless services provider currently aims to leverage Ericsson Radio Access Network (RAN) solutions for improved 5G connectivity.Ericsson radio solutions will enable Nex-Tech to offer high-speed 5G capabilities in the rural communities of Kansas and help bridge the digital divide. This, in turn, will likely ensure low latency, high bandwidth services for superfast data transfer.Ericsson Radio System comprises hardware, software and services for radio, RAN Compute, antenna system, transport, power and site solutions. It enables smooth and cost-effective migration from 4G to 5G, aiding communication service providers to launch the avant-garde technology and grow 5G coverage fast. The company’s 5G radio access technologies provide the infrastructure required to meet the growing demand for high-bandwidth connections and support real-time, high-reliability communication requirements of mission-critical applications.The company is focusing on 5G system development and has undertaken many notable endeavors to position itself for market leadership. It believes that the standardization of 5G is the cornerstone for digitizing industries and broadband. Ericsson expects mainstream 4G offerings to give way to 5G technology in the future. The deployment of 5G networks is expected to boost the adoption of IoT devices, with technologies like network slicing gaining more prominence. Ericsson currently has 168 commercial 5G agreements with communications service providers (of which 88 are publicly announced) and includes 105 live 5G networks across the globe.The stock has lost 15.2% over the past year against the industry’s rise of 17.1%. Nevertheless, we remain impressed with the inherent growth potential of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchA better-ranked stock in the industry is Clearfield, Inc. CLFD, sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Clearfield delivered an earnings surprise of 50.8%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 68.2% since January 2021. Over the past year, Clearfield has gained a solid 162.1%.Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM, carrying a Zacks Rank #2, is another solid pick for investors. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 15.3% and delivered an earnings surprise of 11.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 35.4% over the past year. Qualcomm is likely to benefit in the long run from solid 5G traction and a surge in demand for essential products that are the building blocks for digital transformation in the cloud economy.Sierra Wireless, Inc. SWIR carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 12.5% and delivered an earnings surprise of 34.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Over the past year, Sierra Wireless has gained 18.9%. The company continues to launch innovative products for business-critical operations that require high security and optimum 5G performance. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Sierra Wireless, Inc. (SWIR): Free Stock Analysis Report Ericsson (ERIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 8th, 2021

Why Web3 Will Change Everything (In Plain English)

Why Web3 Will Change Everything (In Plain English) Authored by Deep Pulusani via 'Moment of Deep' substack, This post was inspired by the following tweet and most popular reply: Some notes before we start: the term web3 today is sometimes used synonymously to mean cryptocurrency, blockchain tech, virtual reality/augmented reality & the metaverse. I find that people already have a more intuitive understanding of how VR/AR may change the future. Therefore, I’ll only be writing about how crypto & blockchain tech in the context of web3 will transform the future, since it’s a bit more challenging to understand and abstract in its concepts. Often this subject is explained with technical specifications or more commonly with political terms, ideas about liberty, decentralization, censorship, and power. These are all important; but what ultimately determines if web3 powered by crypto is the future lies in the economic and productive value it brings, the increases in quality of life it can achieve. These are the aspects I hope to make clear. Where we’ve come from and where we are All of the iterations of the web are digital revolutions, i.e. not only do more of our analog (physical) lives move to the digital realm, but new digitally native (digital-first) experiences are invented as well. Web1 (1990s): a revolution in information availability. Information and content from the real world is put online. Information is no longer a local phenomena nor a physical one, but is available for anyone with an internet connection to access. Early web protocols also allow for file transfers, emails, and web pages. Examples: personal web pages, Encyclopedia Britannica & Encarta online, FTP, MapQuest Web2 (2000-): a revolution in creation, experience, and connection. The static becomes dynamic, and a convergence of hardware and software technologies enable us to experience rich interfaces and interactions on the web. Our lives start to become increasingly digital - compare what percent of your daily attention is focused online in 1999, then 2009, and then 2019. The ecosystem and interface of web2 is now rich enough where people can spend the majority of their lives online - from their careers, relationships, hobbies, investments, etc. - we now spend much of our lives in digital space. We also consume most of our content digitally, create much of our output digitally, and connect most frequently with others through messaging apps and social networks. Examples: YouTube, Google Docs, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Robinhood, smart home & smart health devices Web3 (2015-): a revolution in coordination, ownership, and value transfer. I’ll break down each of these web3 revolutions in the ‘Web3 Paradigm Shifts’ section further below. It’s important to note first, however, that much of what will happen in web3 has its roots in web2. What’s often lost in all the web3 talk is that the web2 era is not over and will continue to produce enormous value and new companies. Let’s see how web3 powered by crypto is the next logical step to some of the revolutions of web2. Web3 Extensions of Web2. New and more powerful networks. In web1 times, your networks might’ve included your local community, your job, your family, and friends you grow up with. Maybe you were part of a mailing list or a forum if you were savvy online. In web2, networks proliferated rapidly, and continue to explode. You might have networks on FB, telegram groups, IG niches, corners of Twitter, or varied family/friend WhatsApp groups. This network creation continues in web3 with the introduction of the value network. Examples include Ethereum, Solana, Polkadot, countless others - each currency representing its own individual network of users. In addition, you have the tokens built on top of these programmable currencies, tokens that any individual or business can issue. The result is a proliferation of value networks that are themselves nested into a larger, more powerful network that it can communicate with and transfer between. This is an extremely powerful new invention because a value network can be added to all of our existing networks in web2 - to our existing social networks, messaging networks, and content networks - or to brand new networks entirely. Essentially any network can be monetized, tokenized, or incentivized, creating supercharged versions of our already rich variety of networks. Explosion of creative activity, niches, and formats. Even if we just include web2 companies launched in the past few years alone - TikTok, Substack, Clubhouse, etc. - there’s so many creative and productive niches for individuals to occupy. Couple that with increasingly easier ways to distribute content among a proliferation of platforms (aka networks), it’s no wonder there has been an explosion of creative activity and individual power over the past 20 years. In the web1 world, we still mainly had movie stars and bestselling authors. In web2, we have stars and activists in every genre, category, and format you could ask for. What progresses in web3 is the further expansion of platforms, niches, and content types. Most notably, you will see more purely digital creation and digital reward (e.g. create an opera in a virtual world that’s monetized by a virtual currency that’s easily tradeable into other virtual currencies or goods). Furthermore, the platforms that creators and producers use will be less intrusive, less expensive, and more malleable than the monolithic platforms of today. Ease of global collaboration Cloud storage & editing, powerful front-end frameworks, and ever-increasing browser strength have made it possible to collaborate effectively with anyone, anywhere, and in practically any field. Figma and Airtable are just two examples of recent web2 companies that have accelerated the ease of collaboration with individuals halfway around the world. The pandemic has further accelerated this phenomena. With web3, we now have organizations that can be independently formed with no underlying platform dependence. These organizations, dubbed DAOs, can be both incentivized to work towards a common goal and govern themselves through tokenization. Anonymous, pseudonymous, or fully public individuals can have their work measured and verified through a publicly available blockchain. Disintermediation and distribution. Web3 will continue the trend of removing distance between producer and consumer. There is a continual disintermediation happening on the web. During web1, to release a successful music album you had to go artist → label → distributer → retailer → consumer. At each step there is profit loss and gatekeepers deciding whether you can continue onward to distribute. In web2 you got to go either 1-step closer (artist → label → platform → consumer) or 2-steps closer for those fully independent ( artist → platform → consumer). Web3 continues this disintermediation, as the platform merely becomes the underlying network or protocol the connection is made over (artist → consumer via protocol or network). There’s no longer gatekeepers or an expensive take-rate. There can still be curators to guide consumers (the difference being that a curator can make money independently of the artist’s margin). The end goal is that all service providers or product creators have the option to be connected directly with service seekers and product consumers. Disintermediation is only possible because of the increasing ability to self-distribute. In the past, middle men at each step were essential to ensure wide distribution. Web2 gave us powerful tools of self-distribution through platforms like Amazon, Shopify, Google Ads, Social Media, SoundCloud, etc. In web3, we can maintain all the tools of web2, but now we introduce tokenized systems. By creating tokens that somehow represent your business or art in your chosen way, early fans and early users become incentivized to spread your art by holding those tokens. Those fans will now distribute that art for you through their own individual networks and tools. Web3 Paradigm Shifts Users become owners. Employee stock options made many tech employees rich with the advent of web-first tech companies. However, for companies that rely on network effects - which is all social media, all sharing economy e.g. Uber, all marketplaces e.g. Amazon, all cloud tools, all games - the early users are equally as important. Without the early users, later users don’t join in, and a company never gains traction. Today, however, early users are not compensated for this essential contribution. In web3, through both fungible and non-fungible tokens, users & early evangelizers will win when a company wins too. In common press about web3, what’s often talked about is that we’ll now be compensated for our data. This is true - unlike our data being owned by the platforms (Twitter, FB, etc.) it will travel with us and be owned by us. However, the more valuable and scarce asset that users give over to apps is their attention, and this will be the far greater reward to users. Power users and heavy users of games, cloud tools, and content platforms, will eventually either be incentivized by the app or move on to companies that do incentivize their valuable attention. Any agreement becomes possible. At each era of the web, we can code increasingly powerful experiences (i.e. code becomes more abstracted from the binary 0s and 1s that the computer actually runs). When web2 rolled around, internet connections were fast enough and devices strong enough to have rich streaming & content experiences. In web3, the game-changing abstraction is smart contracts. Smart contracts essentially allow any agreement between individuals, groups, protocols, or mix of the bunch. Relying on the legal system to enforce billions of agreements small and large on the web is neither desirable nor realistic. A smart contract’s ability to allow for agreements between two untrusted individuals without burdening the legal system creates a major shift in a human’s ability to coordinate behavior and form agreements between groups. In web3, code enforces the agreements and the blockchain infrastructure protects against manipulation of this code. Smart contracts are natively digital, meaning they can be combined and stacked with other contracts to create powerful systems and infrastructures. The implications of this are not yet fully realized, but one hint to the power of smart contracts is the emergence of decentralized finance, which has disrupted a giant sector in a very short period of time. Smart contracts can now be embedded in all the software and hardware we use - any object can be embedded with operating rules, sharing terms, & financial agreements between parties. Combine this with the ability to interface with any other contract on the network, and the creative, collaborative, and productive uses of these contracts become limitless. Everything can be a financial instrument. People often ask why not just use fiat currency through PayPal or Stripe - what’s the functional point of an open-source digitally native currency like Ethereum? The answer is that you can program it, build on top of it, and integrate it with anything digital - whether a smart hardware device or a software application. Even everyday items like your chat groups, gifs, or your writing journal can be made into a financial instrument. That universe becomes bigger when imagine digitally native assets and services that have not even been invented yet. Any individual can perform this integration, not just institutions. Usually when people think of financial instruments, we think of ownership, of buying and selling. But these aren’t the only functions of financialization - we can integrate all financial functions including borrowing, lending, insurance, and merging. With financial functionality, also comes executive functionality, like governance and direction. Now imagine these functions available to any asset or network, both digital and physical. A new identity emerges. Tokens don’t necessarily have to represent money or value - we can use tokens to verify productive work done, or personal and career milestones reached. Because web3 transactions are stored on a publicly available network, our web3 wallet can not only represent transactions we’ve made and tokens we own, but organizations we’re apart of, events we’ve attended, people we know, content we’ve created, and work we’ve done. We can carry this history around to any app connected to the network that we grant access to. Those concerned with privacy never have to expose their physical identity, as wallets are simply avatars which maintain the right to hide or expose the physical identity behind it. Instead of our creative and productive output being spread out and siloed over various companies - LinkedIn, Twitter, IG - our web3 wallet can be carried with us wherever we go. Apps, games, and experiences can then interact with the specific identity the user brings to create tailored and one-of-a-kind experiences for the user’s history. Collaborators and employers can verify your expertise, your skill, your network, and things you’ve created or worked on through your wallet, without requiring a resume or contacting references. Postscript: Why did I write this? There’s something odd about writing articles that predict the future. If the writer is correct, the future is going to happen anyway, so what’s the point of writing an article about it now? What’s the point of another article hyping up a future that is certain? Because web3 is so widely misunderstood, the future is uncertain. The economic and productive value that web3 can bring is deeply threatened by governments and regulators around the world.  This is somewhat expected from authoritarian governments that will naturally crack down on web3 because of what it entails - shared equity and decision making, mass participation and organization - as retaining centralized power is essential to their literal survival. This has already become apparent in China. What’s essential is that major democracies, especially the world’s wealthiest USA and the world’s biggest India, foster the web3 experiment. It’s essential that we let things develop before overzealously legislating in the name of protection. Unfriendly governments could have firewalled the web1 internet and set progress back a decade because it was now easier for criminals to communicate and spread criminal information.  Undoing legislation and regulatory burdens is much harder than waiting to pass them in the first place. Web3 built on crypto has the possibility to be the major boon for wealth inequality (see paradigm shifts listed above), an issue all sides of the political spectrum claim to want to solve. Democratic governments: let’s let web3 grow, develop, and make mistakes. We’re still so early. *  *  * Follow me on twitter @momentofdeep for more content like this. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 4th, 2021

Telecom Stock Roundup: QCOM Sets Growth Goals, ERIC to Boost FIFA Experience & More

While Qualcomm (QCOM) sets ambitious growth targets for fiscal 2024, Ericsson (ERIC) is likely to boost FIFA World Cup experience in Qatar in 2022 through its 5G solutions. U.S. telecom stocks traded relatively flat on average over the past week as the industry treaded with caution, navigating some concerns regarding its interference with aviation safety standards that prevented the industry from going gung-ho about the signing of the infrastructure bill into law. The infrastructure bill includes a $65 billion provision to significantly expand broadband access to Americans, as the administration aims to fortify its technological prowess to thwart the dominance of countries like China. The plan envisions reaching the underserved areas of the country and prioritizing support for broadband networks affiliated with local governments, nonprofit organizations, and cooperatives to encourage strong competition with privately-owned companies.The euphoria surrounding the infrastructure bill was marred by concerns raised by the Federal Aviation Administration about aviation safety being likely compromised by the planned use of spectrum for 5G wireless communications. This, in turn, has forced several leading carriers to defer the commercial launch of the C-band wireless service till January next year as both the industry regulators seek to resolve the issue. Moreover, certain industry experts remain circumspect regarding the implementation of the infrastructure bill and effectively fulfill the President’s vision of “build back better”. Meanwhile, the FCC completed the 3.45 GHz auction for $21.8 billion that makes available 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for commercial use across the country for fixed or mobile uses. The winning bidders reportedly won 4,041 of the 4,060 available generic blocks on offer.Notable company-specific news that grabbed the spotlight over the past week includes Qualcomm Incorporated’s QCOM financial growth targets and Ericsson’s ERIC collaboration to boost the FIFA World Cup experience. Also, Viasat, Inc. VSAT entered into a deal with Embraer, Arista Networks, Inc.’s ANET tied up with Microsoft, and Viavi Solutions Inc.’s VIAV launched Observer 3D v18.6.President Biden continued his hard stance against Beijing and signed the Secure Equipment Act that empowers the FCC to prevent the use of any telecommunications equipment manufactured by China-backed entities in the domestic markets. The bill extended the purview of FCC control to private companies and would not only deter it from approving new requests but also revoke the prior equipment approval on perceived risks to national security interests. This follows an earlier directive to bar China Telecom from operating in the United States over national security concerns and a consequent petition in an U.S. appeals court by the Beijing firm to block the decision in order to prevent irreparable loss to businesses and customer relationships. Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories1.     Qualcomm took the investor community by surprise when it revealed some ambitious growth targets through fiscal 2024. The company expects to witness a stellar rise in its addressable market opportunities from $100 billion at present to more than $700 billion in the next decade, as it continues to diversify its revenue stream to cater to various customer segments across several industries.Management expects fiscal 2024 revenues to reach $46 billion with contribution from IoT devices to be around $9 billion. Revenues from QCT segment of Qualcomm are expected to record a CAGR of mid-teens by fiscal 2024 with an operating margin of more than 30%. Automotive revenues are expected to grow to $3.5 billion in five years and $8 billion in 10 years.      2.     Ericsson and Ooredoo Qatar are collaborating to bring a unique 5G experience for football fans across the Middle Eastern country in the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament. The partnership between the Sweden-based telecommunications equipment manufacturer and the Qatar-based carrier is likely to add a new dimension to this global football extravaganza set to be held from November to December 2022.Per the deal, the two firms will work in unison to offer seamless 5G connectivity in eight stadiums across six cities, as well as in dedicated fan zones, airports, and places of attraction. This will entail Ericsson to provide network optimization by applying industry-leading AI-powered technologies and leverage live and predictive network data to achieve the maximum potential. The firms will also aim to ensure optimum performance by effectively managing Ericsson Radio System products.3.    Viasat has inked a Buyer-Furnished Equipment deal with Embraer to offer its In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) system as a line-fit option on Embraer’s family of E2 aircraft. Viasat is the first Ka-band IFC supplier to have a line-fit IFC solution on the Embraer E2 family.By choosing Viasat’s IFC system as a factory option on the Embraer E2 aircraft prior to delivery, airlines will be able to offer an advanced IFC experience to passengers and flight crew members. They can also avoid costly downtime associated with taking the aircraft out of service for post-production IFC retrofits.4.    Arista has joined the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association — an ecosystem comprising software vendors and security service providers that have combined their solutions to offer better protection against modern cyber threats. Arista was selected based on the integration between its NDR (Network Detection and Response) platform and Microsoft Azure Sentinel. This enables faster remediation of threats by combining network context and threat detection with log-based and endpoint insights within Azure Sentinel. Arista’s Awake Security is an NDR platform provider that combines artificial intelligence with human expertise to autonomously hunt and respond to insider and external threats.  5.    Viavi has unveiled Observer 3D v18.6, which will deliver complete network observability across a hybrid IT environment to proactively identify network issues and their root causes. It has been specifically designed to allow three-dimensional network observability across data sources, locations, and scales of deployment.With increasing data demand, ubiquitous remote users are required to provide critical IT services, irrespective of their location. However, it becomes difficult for the IT teams to manage end-user experience across an ecosystem this broad. In order to tackle this issue, Viavi’s Observer 3D v18.6 fills the visibility gaps and enhances the overall performance that helps the business.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major telecom stocks over the past week and six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past five trading days, Qualcomm has been the best performer with its stock gaining 12.9% while Bandwidth has declined the most with its stock falling 9.3%.Over the past six months, Arista has been the best performer with its stock appreciating 38.8% while Bandwidth has declined the most with its stock falling 54.8%.Over the past six months, the Zacks Telecommunications Services industry has declined 9.3% while the S&P 500 has rallied 14.7%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Telecom Space?In addition to 5G deployments and product launches, all eyes will remain glued to how the administration implements key policy changes to safeguard the interests of the industry and address the bottlenecks to spur growth. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Ericsson (ERIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Viasat Inc. (VSAT): Free Stock Analysis Report Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET): Free Stock Analysis Report Viavi Solutions Inc. (VIAV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 18th, 2021

Best ETFs for the Infrastructure Boom & Megatrends

We discuss ETF areas likely to benefit from massive spending bills and themes for 2022. (1:00) - New Infrastructure Bill: What Are The Big Takeaways Investors Need To Know?(9:20) - What Should We Expect From The Build Back Better Bill?(17:00) - What 2022 Mega Trends Should Investors Keep An Eye On?(26:15) - How Should You Position Your Portfolio For The Remainder Of 2021?               Podcast@Zacks.com In this episode of ETF Spotlight, I speak with Jeff Spiegel, U.S. Head of Megatrends and International ETFs at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with a portfolio exceeding $9.5 trillion.We discuss the $1 trillion infrastructure law, Build Back Better framework and investing themes for 2022.Earlier this week, President Biden signed into law the massive bipartisan bill that provides for the biggest investments in the U.S. infrastructure in decades, including funds to repair aging roads and bridges, modernize rails, ports, and airports and expand broadband access, among other projects.The iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF IFRA has already seen a lot of inflows this year, but investors may be missing an opportunity in digital infrastructure, per Jeff. The iShares Cloud 5G and Tech ETF IDAT provides exposure to the companies that will play a critical role in helping make high-speed internet access for every American a reality.The Build Back Better bill, which calls for spending $1.75 trillion over a decade, is awaiting a vote by Congress. The framework proposes the largest single investment in the clean energy economy. It also includes tax credits to buyers of electric vehicles and other incentives.The iShares Self-Driving EV and Tech ETF IDRV invests not only in EV manufacturers but also the critical input providers for manufacturing. Tesla TSLA, NVIDIA NVDA and Qualcomm QCOM are its top holdings.The iShares Clean Energy ETF ICLN provides exposure to the entire value-chain of companies involved in clean energy, from the power producers to equipment providers, such as solar panel manufacturers.Megatrends are long-term trends transforming the way we live and work. COVID-19 has accelerated some of these trends. We discuss how these trends are likely to play out in 2022.Tune in to the podcast to learn more.Make sure to be on the lookout for the next edition of the ETF Spotlight! If you have any comments or questions, please email podcast@zacks.com Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF (IFRA): ETF Research Reports iShares SelfDriving EV and Tech ETF (IDRV): ETF Research Reports iShares Cloud 5G and Tech ETF (IDAT): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 18th, 2021

Ericsson (ERIC) 5G Gears to Boost Qatar FIFA World Cup Experience

The partnership between Ericsson (ERIC) and the Qatar-based carrier is likely to add a new dimension to the global football extravaganza set to be held from November to December 2022. Ericsson ERIC and Ooredoo Qatar are collaborating to bring a unique 5G experience for football fans across the Middle Eastern country in the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament. The partnership between the Sweden-based telecommunications equipment manufacturer and the Qatar-based carrier is likely to add a new dimension to this global football extravaganza set to be held from November to December 2022.Per the deal, the two firms will work in unison to offer seamless 5G connectivity in eight stadiums across six cities, as well as in dedicated fan zones, airports, and places of attraction. This will entail Ericsson to provide network optimization by applying industry-leading AI-powered technologies and leverage live and predictive network data to achieve the maximum potential. The firms will also aim to ensure optimum performance by effectively managing Ericsson Radio System products.Ericsson Radio System comprises hardware, software and services for radio, Radio Access Network (RAN) Compute, antenna system, transport, power, and site solutions. It enables a smooth and cost-effective migration from 4G to 5G, supporting communications service providers to launch the avant-garde technology and expand the 5G coverage fast. The company’s 5G radio access technologies provide the infrastructure required to meet the growing demand for high-bandwidth connections and support the real-time, low-latency, high-reliability communication requirements of mission-critical applications.With the emergence of the smartphone market and the subsequent usage of mobile broadband, user demand for coverage speed and quality has increased exponentially. Further, to maintain the performance with increased traffic, there is a continuous need for network tuning and optimization. Ericsson, being one of the premier telecom service providers, is much in demand among operators to expand network coverage and upgrade networks for higher speed and capacity. It is reportedly the world’s largest supplier of LTE technology with a significant market share and has established a large number of LTE networks worldwide.The long-term agreement with Ooredoo Qatar will facilitate the nationwide network upgrade to 5G technology. The state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment will further enable football fans to witness live streaming from the sports venues in addition to interactive communication and social networking services. To date, Ericsson has secured 149 commercial 5G agreements with unique communication service providers, of which 97 are live networks. The company is increasingly focusing on 5G system development to capitalize on the upcoming market opportunities. The company believes that the standardization of 5G is the cornerstone for the digitization of industries and broadband. Moreover, Ericsson foresees mainstream 4G offerings to give way to 5G technology in the future.Meanwhile, the impending deployment of 5G networks is expected to boost the adoption of IoT devices, with technologies like network slicing gaining more prominence. Currently, Ericsson is investing in its competitive 5G-ready portfolio to enable customers to seamlessly migrate to 5G. AI and automation remain key enablers for its business development.The stock has lost 10.1% over the past year against the industry’s growth of 16.3%. Nevertheless, we remain impressed with the inherent growth potential of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchA better-ranked stock in the industry is Clearfield, Inc. CLFD, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Clearfield delivered an earnings surprise of 49%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 19.4% in the past 60 days. Over the past year, Clearfield has gained a stellar 194.3%.Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), is another solid pick for investors. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 17.5% and delivered an earnings surprise of 11.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 14.7% in the past 90 days. Qualcomm is likely to benefit in the long run from solid 5G traction and a surge in demand for essential products that are the building blocks for digital transformation in the cloud economy.Arista Networks, Inc. ANET carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 16.7% and delivered an earnings surprise of 6%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Arista is likely to benefit from strong momentum and diversification across its top verticals and product lines. It has expanded its cognitive campus edge portfolio with a new Wi-Fi 6E access point and has introduced an enterprise-grade Software-as-a-Service offering for its flagship CloudVision platform. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Ericsson (ERIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 16th, 2021

Top Marketing Strategies for Finance Industries

When developing a marketing strategy for financial services, you must be smart enough to consider the target market, organization goals, market trends, organization weaknesses and strengths, and most importantly, the resources you have at your disposal. Choosing an effective marketing strategy as a financial service company can help you reach your goals and focus more […] When developing a marketing strategy for financial services, you must be smart enough to consider the target market, organization goals, market trends, organization weaknesses and strengths, and most importantly, the resources you have at your disposal. Choosing an effective marketing strategy as a financial service company can help you reach your goals and focus more on growth. This article looks at some of the most effective marketing strategies for financial services you should look forward to. 1. Perform customer outreach  When creating a marketing strategy for your startup or organization, you have to research more about your customers. Know who your target customers are and learn one or two things about what they like most about your product. Customer outreach is one of the oldest strategies that most professional marketers in financial institutions still use today. In this strategy, you simply reach out to customers to feel their need for brand awareness, education, and help. For large companies, this strategy can be effective when they offer financial education on debt management programs. Small companies can offer a free consultation to customers on all areas of their products and services. This way, companies create awareness of the products, build loyalty, and create interest in their brands. 2. Invest in local SEO  Search engine optimization (SEO) is the way to go if you want your business to remain visible online. When you invest in local SEO, your financial services as a company will get your company to the top of search results. This strategy emphasizes the local pack in the Google search results, making it more effective than the normal SEO. Local SEO uses the information available on the Google My Business (GMB) account. Therefore, you should always optimize your GMB account for local and international SEO. Fill out your business listing on GMB and ensure all the useful information is included. Always include your business phone number, business category, address, business hours, coupons, specials, and photos of your business. 3. Apply omnichannel digital marketing  Omnichannel marketing, simply put, is marketing your business on more than one platform. It is all about allowing customers to access your products and services on different platforms like mobile, tablets, desktops, and many others. You should take the help of a CRM to increase demand generation, forecast sales, and measure the performance metrics across different channels that your business uses. Without a CRM it would be challenging to measure the impact of the marketing platforms. Studies have shown that omnichannel marketing campaigns can gain up to 18.96% engagement. This is way above the single-channel campaigns, which is only 5.4%. Omnichannel campaigns also achieve up to 90% higher retention compared to single-channel campaigns. When you choose integrated marketing campaigns for financial services, ensure it responds to all touchpoints, including adjusting to customer interactions. For example, when customers open your marketing email, there should be a link to your website landing page embedded in the email. Similarly, when customers search for your services using voice assistants like Alexa, your brand should be recommended by the device. Hence, optimizing your site for voice SEO is also crucial. 4. Educate and empower customers using content marketing  A report by Facebook IQ shows that only 8% of millennials trust financial institutions to offer them guidance. There are many reasons why this number is that low. It means financial institutions have an anthill of a task to build trust in their target customers. To build trust for financial services, companies should adopt relationship marketing. This is employing a strategy that helps you connect and engage with your customers more personally. Content marketing inbound methodology is the best tool financial service providers can use to connect with customers. Customer education is the most compelling content strategy in determining client loyalty to financial services. 5. Optimize your branding and messaging  When you decide to market financial services on different platforms, you want to ensure that all the content you share has a common theme and design. It means that header images, pictures, profiles, banner ads, logos, and other elements of your message should be unique to your brand. Customers should be able to recognize your brand whenever they interact with your messaging on different platforms. By creating familiarity and continuity in your branding and messaging, you can inform your target audience on all platforms. Adjust your branding and marketing content for all platforms if you want to achieve results in your marketing. You should adjust the content and massage for authority, imagery, brevity, and searchability. Ensure your content is SEO-friendly if you want to improve its online visibility. 6. Apply video marketing Video marketing is one of the best strategies you can use to engage and market your content to your prospects. According to recent research, it has been established that, on average, U.S internet users spend an average of 15 hours each week on digital video. Also, YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which means most people are probably switching to YouTube for those ‘how to’ videos. Most financial companies invest a lot in video marketing because it is the best tool for increasing awareness and educating customers about their products and services. At least 87% of pro marketers are saying video marketing has helped to increase their sales. You should include these types of videos in your marketing plan if you are starting: Firm history – create a video explaining to your customers where your company is coming from and the steps you’ve been able to make since your establishment. Competitor differentiator – what makes your company stand out from the rest in the industry? Testimonial – use testimonial videos to convince your customers that you are the best out there. How-to video guides – most people are probably going on YouTube to search for a guide on doing something and navigating the financial system. You can create video guides explaining to your customers the financial market. Final Thoughts  When you are thinking of marketing your financial service company or just putting it ahead of the rest, you should choose the most effective marketing strategy. Leverage social media, engage with your customers, and increase leads with email marketing. Apply omnichannel digital marketing, and don’t forget to research what your target audience likes in your brand. There are many options for marketing your brand online, and you should dig more and choose the most effective channel that can help boost your sales and make you an authority in the industry. Updated on Nov 8, 2021, 3:02 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 9th, 2021

Harmonic (HLIT) Revamps SAFnet"s Network With CableOS Platform

Harmonic (HLIT) collaborates with SAFnet to enhance the latter's broadband service delivery on the back of CableOS Cloud-Native Core Platform. Harmonic Inc. HLIT has joined forces with a broadband operator, SAFnet, to enable the latter to install CableOS Cloud-Native Core Platform. The deployment will help in delivering high-speed broadband services by leveraging existing HFC DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) network infrastructure.The industry-leading platform from Harmonic boosts network performance with cloud-native virtualization and prepares for fiber deep and business-as-usual deployments for a smarter broadband network.This cost-effective solution will enable the network operator to deliver enhanced subscriber experiences, thanks to greater flexibility and efficient bandwidth scaling. Thanks to Harmonic’s multi-access, virtualized edge cloud approach, SAFnet will be able to enhance its 10G-powered fiber-to-the-home XGS-PON service delivery.This improved network setup will empower its customers with ultra-fast, reliable Internet services. Further, the revamped infrastructure will support high-bandwidth applications like low-latency gaming and virtual reality.Harmonic has always been focused on developing best-in-class video delivery and virtualized cable access solutions, one of them being the CableOS solution. The innovative platform includes a virtualized Cable Modem Termination System software and is considered ideal for a smarter broadband network.Its shares have gained 35.4% compared with 16.3% growth of the industry in the past year.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe platform also supports turnkey deployment services and offers better connectivity with faster time-to-market. The CableOS virtualized cable access solution integrates DOCSIS functionality with a flexible pricing model while minimizing energy footprint to boost network capacity.Per the partnership, SAFnet has installed the CableOS Platform in a converged PON and HFC DOCSIS architecture. This, in turn, allows the entity to support PON and DOCSIS with a unified software and management solution. SAFnet also tapped the benefits of Harmonic’s another powerful offering — CableOS Central.The CableOS Central solution boosts network proactivity with advanced analytics. It is a real-time monitoring solution that provides network visibility with maximum uptime. The platform resolves network-related issues efficiently and provides steady connectivity to ensure service continuity. These features enable the Denmark-based network services provider to improve network quality with a streamlined deployment process.At a time when the majority of service providers are migrating toward sustainable broadband connectivity to address future digital requirements, SAFnet’s decision to capitalize on Harmonic’s innovative networking solutions seems to be the need of the hour. Harmonic is currently preparing itself for a major broadband network transformation to boost the 10G revolution for multigigabit connectivity. As a result, the partnership is likely to not only make SAFnet ready for delivering 10G symmetric speeds but also bolster Harmonic’s business roadmap in the long run.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderHarmonic currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader industry are Ooma, Inc. OOMA, SeaChange International, Inc. SEAC, and Motorola Solutions, Inc. MSI. While Ooma sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), SeaChange International and Motorola carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Ooma pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 55.2%, on average.SeaChange International pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 28.9%, on average.Motorola pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 9.6%, on average. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Harmonic Inc. (HLIT): Free Stock Analysis Report Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI): Free Stock Analysis Report SeaChange International, Inc. (SEAC): Free Stock Analysis Report Ooma, Inc. (OOMA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 8th, 2021

Telecom Stock Roundup: Qualcomm Buys Veoneer, Viasat Boosts IFC in Brazil & More

While Qualcomm (QCOM) will acquire Veoneer to gain a firmer footing in the self-driving vehicle market, Viasat (VSAT) is offering enhanced in-flight connectivity solutions for the business aviation market in Brazil. Over the past five trading days, U.S. telecom stocks have traded relatively flat as the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill failed to progress in the House despite the best efforts of the government to broker a compromise with the dissident groups. It remained stuck in a potential stalemate as several progressive Democrats wanted it to be tied to the larger $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that is facing massive backlash from both Republicans and Democrats. This, in turn, forced Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay voting on the bill until a wider consensus was reached. The infusion of federal funds to improve broadband infrastructure for greater access and deeper penetration in the underserved domestic markets is likely to bridge the digital divide and help realize President’s Biden goal of providing all Americans with affordable Internet connectivity. However, uncertainty over the much sought-after infrastructure bill has failed to spur any growth momentum in the industry.The Democrats have presently set a deadline of Oct 31 to pass the bill, the day on which major transportation funding programs are slated to expire. President Biden is reportedly negotiating with the progressives and has put forth a range of $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion for the social spending reconciliation package. The ongoing negotiations are expected to lead to a broader consensus on some of the sweeping policies that the government is aiming to implement before November 2022 congressional elections. The infrastructure investments are also billed as a critical factor to better compete with adversaries such as China. While the policy paralysis has continued to cripple operations, the ‘rip and replace’ policy of the FCC has led to widespread resentment among rural telecom firms. The removal of the low-cost gear is likely to affect rural network service, hurt profitability, and risk sustainability as most local operators are forced to reshuffle their existing infrastructure without focusing on infrastructure upgrades for 5G deployment to help realize the President’s broadband objective. Although the FCC is slated to initiate a $1.9 billion program to reimburse the carriers by seeking applications from Oct 29 through Jan 14, 2022, it is unlikely to pacify the huge number of rural telecom operators that are likely to go out of office.Regarding company-specific news, acquisition, strategic agreements, portfolio enhancements, and product launches primarily took the center stage over the past five trading days.Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories1.     Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM has inked a definitive agreement with SSW Partners to acquire Veoneer, Inc. in an all-stock deal worth $4.5 billion, or $37.00 per share. The transaction is likely to be completed in 2022, subject to mandatory regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. The transformative deal is expected to offer Qualcomm a firmer footing in the emerging market of driver-assistance technology, as it aims to extend the Snapdragon Ride Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) portfolio.With the acquisition, Qualcomm aims to incorporate Arriver's Computer Vision, Drive Policy, and Driver Assistance assets into its ADAS portfolio to deliver an open and competitive platform for automakers to better compete with rivals within the self-driving vehicle market. This, in turn, is likely to augment its automotive business as it strives to boost revenues beyond chipmaking for the smartphone market.      2.     Viasat Inc. VSAT has secured a prime contract for Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity (IFC) solutions for the business aviation market in Brazil. The improved IFC services will offer enhanced Internet capabilities with best-in-class in-flight entertainment options to entice more customers and will likely contribute to the gradual recovery of the airline industry from the COVID-19 setbacks.The business aviation market in Brazil is reportedly the third largest in the world and assumes relative importance as the key gateway to Latin American markets. Business aviation is often considered as an economic lifeline for areas with limited options for business transportation and contributes significantly to the local and national economies. With government-friendly policies, the business aviation market in Brazil is likely to witness a healthy growth momentum, benefiting companies like Viasat in the long run.3.    CommScope Holding Company, Inc. COMM has unveiled two avant-garde home networking solutions — ARRIS SURFboard G34 and G36 DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem and Wi-Fi 6 routers. The groundbreaking products have been specifically designed to power and upgrade a customer’s home network with enhanced coverage and capacity on the back of future-proof Wi-Fi 6 technology.The innovative Home Network Management solutions help operators to minimize day-to-day operational overheads on the back of efficient subscriber experience management. The services provide a unified view of subscriber networks with consistent connectivity across business operations and create revenue streams for maximum profitability. ARRIS SURFboard G34 and G36 are two such solutions, which keep up with the modern in-home network service and technology.4.    Motorola Solutions, Inc. MSI recently secured a prime contract for an undisclosed amount from SJ AB to provide VB400 body-worn cameras for the safety and security of employees and passengers across the rail network of Sweden. With train travel gradually picking up pace, the contract will offer the requisite wherewithal to the government-owned passenger train operator that boasts 1,500 departures across 400 stations each day to ensure better passenger and employee security against any untoward incident. The VB400 body-worn cameras are known for their ruggedness and are built to withstand adverse temperature conditions to support the rigors of the job. Designed to capture high-quality video from the wearer’s viewpoint with an intuitive recording function, it delivers transparency with an extended battery life that lasts up to 12 hours of operation. The device can be securely assigned using an employee’s ID badge at the beginning of a shift and is easily activated by the wearer, combining Bluetooth sensors with peer-assisted recording. In addition to live streaming facilities for enhanced situational awareness, the integration with Bluetooth sensors and beacons facilitates automated recording functionality.  5.    Nokia Corporation NOK has launched a charging configurator microservice for its existing Nokia Converged Charging (NCC) monetization solution. Built for the dynamic needs of the 5G economy, NCC provides real-time charging capabilities that enable communications service providers (CSPs) to monetize new revenue opportunities and provide a better experience to their customers.Converged charging brings together online and offline systems to address emerging 5G use cases. Introduced by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, the charging function collects all network and service usage data. In April, Nokia deployed its cloud-native convergent charging solution on Amazon Web Services to accelerate CSPs migration of high-frequency charging applications to the public cloud, and to deliver the benefits of the cloud for 5G.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major telecom stocks over the past week and six months. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past five trading days, Arista has been the best performer with its stock gaining 2.1% while Bandwidth has declined the most with its stock falling 7.9%.Over the past six months, Motorola has been the best performer with its stock appreciating 18.8% while Bandwidth has declined the most with its stock falling 51.1%.Over the past six months, the Zacks Telecommunications Services industry has gained 2.3% and the S&P 500 has rallied 6.4%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Telecom Space?In addition to 5G deployments and product launches, all eyes will remain glued to how the administration implements key policy changes to safeguard the interests of the industry and address the bottlenecks to spur growth. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Nokia Corporation (NOK): Free Stock Analysis Report Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI): Free Stock Analysis Report Viasat Inc. (VSAT): Free Stock Analysis Report CommScope Holding Company, Inc. (COMM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 7th, 2021

12 Groups Behind Protest Of Musk’s Twitter Takeover Have Ties With Gates Foundation, Soros

12 Groups Behind Protest Of Musk’s Twitter Takeover Have Ties With Gates Foundation, Soros Authored by Eva Fu via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A dozen liberal groups that pressured Twitter advertisers to boycott the platform in response to Elon Musk’s plans to acquire it received money from entities backed by Bill Gates and George Soros, an analysis of public filings shows. Bill Gates discusses his new book 'How To Prevent The Next Pandemic' onstage at 92Y in New York on May 03, 2022. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images) In early May, a group of 26 organizations penned a public letter claiming that the Tesla CEO’s takeover of Twitter would “be a direct threat to public safety” and turn the platform into “a cesspool of misinformation.” The letter called for Twitter’s top advertisers to “hold [Musk] to account” by committing to “non-negotiable” standards for doing business with the site, one of which is to not restore the accounts of political and public figures banned for “egregious violations of Twitter Rules.” The letter contained the logos of Accountable Tech, Media Matters for America, and UltraViolet Action. An analysis of the public filings and records shows that at least 11 of the letter’s signatories or their affiliated groups have taken money from organizations funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the three groups leading the letter has received over $1 million from billionaire financer George Soros’s grant-making network Open Society Foundations, while the two others were founded in part by former staffers for Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. Eight signatories also collected roughly $10.25 million in federal grants and loans between 2020 and 2021, public records show. The New Venture Fund, the recipient of more than $500 million in grants from the Gates Foundation since 2012, in 2020 gave $180,000 in total to two signees, Media Matters for America and Center for Media Justice. Another $11.2 million of the New Venture Fund’s 2020 grant money went to North Fund, a shadowy progressive nonprofit based in Washington that funnels money to a number of other activist groups, including Accountable Tech, which published the letter. Accountable Tech’s website shows that two members on its team—its co-founder and digital director—worked for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Founded in 2004, Media Matters for America describes itself as a “progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” A key function of the organization is to provide tools for monitoring what it considers to be “conservative misinformation,” which it defines to be “news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda.” The Center for Media Justice, which in 2019 was rebranded to MediaJustice, aims to promote “racial, economic, and gender justice in a digital age,” its website states. Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on May 2, 2022. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue) Tides Foundation, a Gates Foundation grantee since at least 2013, has handed over $2.34 million to eight of the signatories or their affiliates over a three year-period since 2019. Among the recipients is Indivisible Project and its nonprofit charitable arm Indivisible Civics that work to “defeat the Trump agenda,” of which the signatory Indivisible Northern Nevada is a local chapter. The other seven signatories that received money from Tides Foundation in the past three years are: women’s advocacy group UltraViolet Action; environmentalist groups Union of Concerned Scientists and Friends of the Earth; pro-abortion association NARAL Pro-Choice America; Black Lives Matter South Bend, a local chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation; GLAAD, which monitors media portrayal of LGBTQ groups; and Media Matters Action Network, a partner project of Media Matters for America. UltraViolet Action’s board chair and board member Karen Finney was the Democratic National Committee’s first African American spokeswoman and had served as the senior spokesperson for Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to the group’s website. Another board chair, Arisha Hatch, was an organizer for then-candidate Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. Access Now, which focuses on internet accessibility around the world, in 2021 received funds totalling $1.35 million from the Open Society Foundations that Soros founded and chairs, along with grants from Wikimedia Foundation, Microsoft, governments in Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and the Netherlands. Beginning in 2017, the Open Society Foundation has also awarded three grants with a combined value of 1.625 million to Free Press, a pro-net neutrality group that also signed on to the letter. The Microsoft founder last month admitted to having taken a $500 million short position on Tesla shares, according to a leaked text message string between Gates and Musk said that the latter said was authentic. Tweets by Elon Musk are shown on a cell phone in Chicago, Ill, on April 25, 2022. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) Musk had reacted to the boycott letter by calling for an investigation of the signatories’ funders. “Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let’s investigate …” he wrote on Twitter on May 3, adding: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” He later made note of a report that some signatories received funding from Soros and European governments. “Interesting. I wonder if those funding these organizations are fully aware of what the organizations are doing,” he wrote. Twitter in recent years has drawn criticism for censoring and suspending conservative users. Among its list of banned public figures are former President Donald Trump, Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, COVID-19 vaccine critic Dr. Robert Malone, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Musk has called Twitter’s ban of Trump’s account in early 2021 “flat-out stupid.” He said he would reverse the move if he becomes the platform’s new owner. At a recent Miami tech conference, Musk also said he would be voting Republican after having “voted overwhelmingly for Democrats.” He described the $44 billion deal as “not some right-wing takeover,” but instead a “moderate take over and an attempt to ensure that people of all political beliefs feel welcome on a digital town square and they can express their beliefs without fear of being banned or shadowbanned.” The Gates Foundation connections were first reported by Breitbart. The Epoch Times has reached out to all the named organizations. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/27/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge6 hr. 39 min. ago