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Social Media: How Millennials Are Impacting the Future of Communication




Email was once at the forefront of convenience. Used as a way to quickly send messages and share files from anywhere in the world, it was — and, for many, still is — a primary tool to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues.

However, a Business Insider’s Intelligence report shows that, over the past several years, the proliferation of chat apps, SMS, and social messaging platforms has largely displaced this more traditional form of online messaging.

In 2016, instant messaging and texting (e.g. SMS and chat apps) made up 35% of communication, globally, according to Deloitte, up from 29% in 2014.

Meanwhile, email accounted for 22% of communication in 2016, down from 29% in 2014. And as these communication channels enhance their capabilities and add more functionality, the threat to email’s sustainability will increase.

But is email the next legacy technology to fall prey to obsolescence? The short answer is no. However, it’s worth looking more closely at shifting user behavior when it comes to online communication — whether it’s at home, on-the-go, or in the workplace.

Hand-Held Communication
The saturation of premium smartphones in many mature markets, and the existence of mobile-first economies such as China, means that mobile devices are everywhere.
This gives users immediate and consistent access to other people and businesses with the touch of a button through means like social media, chat apps, and email.

Global MAU
Among these three modes of communication, chat apps are making the biggest waves, largely because they over-index in terms of total number of users and engagement rates. For context, chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger rival email hosts like Google in terms of users, with each reporting over 1 billion people using their services at least once each month.
Moreover, combined, the top four chat apps boast more than 3 billion monthly active users globally, surpassing the top four social networks.

This proliferation is beginning to impact the way people communicate, not only with each other, but with businesses, too.

Chat apps are altering consumer behavior. The wide adoption of chat apps and texting is remodeling the way people communicate online, including via email. A study by Adobe found that almost 70% of respondents believe text messaging is resulting in shorter, less formal emails.

Customer Service 2
Chat apps are replacing email as the preferred mode of business-to-consumer interaction. More and more millennials — those between 18 and 34 years old — are finding that chat apps are a more reliable and convenient way to reach brands and service providers, according to an Ovum survey of millennials in the US and Germany.

Around half of respondents noted they preferred to interact with a service provider via chat for several reasons, including the desire to achieve a swift resolution to a problem and the idea that they don’t have to use a separate service or app to achieve this resolution.

Communication in The Workplace
Several trends that have emerged over the past 18 months or so point to the decline of email as the primary mode of communication in the workplace.

These range from an overall shift in user behaviour to the widespread adoption of chat apps, which boast a growing list of functions and capabilities.

The emergence of less formal, more engaging modes of workplace communication is most obvious in the adoption apps like Slack and the growing trend in using social networking apps such as Facebook Workplace. Chat apps are proving successful in the workplace for several reasons:

Chat apps are convenient. Chat apps support quick and easy-to-access communication, and enable businesses and users to communicate with those who may not have an email address. For instance, many doctors in Brazil use WhatsApp to converse with patients, schedule appointments, and share test results.

They are used as a collaboration tool. Chat apps like Slack offer employees the ability to engage with multiple colleagues at one time as well as instantly upload and share documents and files without having to leave the app, potentially enhancing productivity.

They enable businesses to monitor workplace communication. Some chat apps enable businesses to retain and read employees’ correspondence, and gather statistics on the frequency, volume, and times of conversations.

Internet security is increasingly becoming a priority for both businesses and consumers as threats from hackers become more prevalent.

A survey of 1,250 registered US voters showed that a decisive 84% of respondents consider personal data protection very important, according to Purple Insights.

Chat apps provide an appealing alternative to email by offering superior data security. For example, following Hillary Clinton’s notorious email scandal, her staff began utilizing Signal, a highly secure chat app that encrypts data automatically. And while not all chat apps provide the same level of security as Signal offers, a majority of the big-name apps provide varying degrees of data and communication security for consumers. Here are a few examples of such apps:

WhatsApp supports end-to-end encryption, which makes it extremely difficult for anyone other than the participants of an interaction to gain access to messages’ contents. In fact, the technology is “about one of the best safeguards you can have in place,” according to health data attorney Katie Kenney.

Snapchat, the popular image-sharing app, offers ephemeral messaging, meaning that messages, photos, and videos disappear after being viewed or after a certain amount of time.

Other chat apps offer users the ability to opt in to encryption. That’s because artificial intelligence (AI) powered virtual assistants and software require access to the information users are putting into their messages in order to work. However, these chat apps also recognize the importance of personal security. A compromise is to allow users to choose when they encrypt their messages.

Here are two examples:
Google Allo, Google’s new chat app with baked-in Google Assistant lets users choose to turn on end-to-end encryption for their correspondence. However, turning on this feature comes at the loss of Google Assistant.

Facebook Messenger recently added support for opt-in ephemeral messaging, called Secret Messages.

Like Snapchat, users can allot a set amount of time their messages can be viewed before they’re deleted permanently. As with Google Allo, Messenger requires access to user data to power the increasing number of functions users can access within the app, such as location information and data within messages.

In the workplace, though, businesses still face serious risk to enterprise security by implementing chat apps. Viruses, spam, malware and phishing attacks, data leakage, and inappropriate use are among some of risks associated with employing chat apps in the workplace.

Why Email Won’t Die
Despite current trends, email maintains an entrenched position as a trusted form of communication among consumers. Because of this, email will persist as a legacy mode of communication, both within the workplace and between private correspondence, much as using pen and paper has since the proliferation of the internet. In fact, we project that it’ll be at least five years before most of the younger generation of users join the workforce and further diminish email’s relevance in the workplace.

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Sophos Identifies Top Ransomware Families in Africa



Cyber security vendor Sophos has identified the top ransomware families that affected Africa in 2017.

According to Sophos, the Ceber ransomware accounted for 80% of attacks in Africa, followed by WannaCry (17%), and others like Jaff (1%), Locky (1%) and Petya (0.5%).

One of the most active kinds of ransomware out there, Cerber encrypts the files of infected users and demands money in exchange for enabling access to their files. It works even if a user is not connected to the Internet, so they can’t stop it by unplugging their PC.

Cerber, sold as a ransomware kit on the Dark Web, remains a dangerous threat, says Sophos, adding the creators of Cerber continuously update the code and charge a percentage of the ransom that the “middle-men” attackers receive from victims.

Regular new features make Cerber not only an effective attack tool, but perennially available to cyber criminals, the cyber security firm notes.

“This Dark Web business model is unfortunately working and, similar to a legitimate company, is likely funding the ongoing development of Cerber. We can assume the profits are motivating the authors to maintain the code,” says Dorka Palotay, SophosLabs security researcher and contributor to the ransomware analysis in the SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast.

The WannaCry ransomware attack was a May 2017 worldwide cyber attack by the WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm, which targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin crypto-currency.

“Looking at the whole world, WannaCry was responsible for 45.3% of the ransomware attacks, while in Africa this value is only 17%,” Palotay says.

“In Africa, clearly Cerber was the biggest ransomware threat this year, since 80% of the ransomware lookups was caused by Cerber, while this number is only 44.2% if we look at the whole world. Regarding the smaller families, the results are very similar.”

The SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast report recaps ransomware and other cyber security trends based on data collected from Sophos customer computers worldwide from 1 April to 3 October 2017.

One key finding shows that while ransomware predominately attacked Windows systems in the last six months, Android, Linux and MacOS platforms were not immune.

“Ransomware has become platform-agnostic. Ransomware mostly targets Windows computers, but this year, SophosLabs saw an increased amount of crypto-attacks on different devices and operating systems used by our customers worldwide,” says Palotay.

She notes that for the first time Sophos saw ransomware with worm-like characteristics, which contributed to the rapid expansion of WannaCry.

“This ransomware took advantage of a known Windows vulnerability to infect and spread to computers, making it hard to control.

“Even though our customers are protected against it and WannaCry has tapered off, we still see the threat because of its inherent nature to keep scanning and attacking computers. We’re expecting cyber criminals to build upon this ability to replicate as seen in WannaCry and NotPetya, and this is already evident with Bad Rabbit ransomware, which shows many similarities to NotPetya.”

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Cisco urges Retailers on Network System Skills ahead of Black Friday



Cisco has urged Nigeria retailers to equip their employees with basic network system skills as Black Friday and Cyber Monday begin today.

According to Alfie Hamid, Regional Manager for Corporate Affairs for Cisco Africa, ‘Many retailers have missed empowering their own workforces with, for example, digital collaboration tools, real-time customer insights, and virtual assistance. A workforce that is armed with relevant knowledge and insights is also essential to improving the in-store customer experience, a key differentiator for bricks-and-mortar retailers over their online rivals.’

According to research from Cisco, employee productivity technologies can deliver the greatest value for increasing efficiency, optimising the checkout process and improving worker collaboration. Investments in these areas also contribute to improved shopper experiences and increased loyalty. Just 6% of retailers’ 2016 investment priorities were focused on employee productivity use cases, despite research indicating that use cases deliver the greatest return on investment for retailers; in other words, digitisation is a $187 billion (roughly R2,6 trillion) opportunity, according to Cisco.

“The key initiatives that improve employee productivity all rely on a network that understands how people interact, can be customised easily, and can control access irrespective of the device that the employee is using – all things that today’s retail employees demand,” Hamid says.

In retail, investments in workforce digitisation deliver value to operations, the labour equation, and talent retention. Since all of these support new and compelling customer experiences, digitising the workforce enables a value chain that is critical to retail success.

“A focus on technology investments that empower employees takes on a whole new meaning in Nigeria, which already struggles to overcome education and training challenges,” Hamid says. “With digitisation, companies have an opportunity to improve skills across the board in the retail industry, which will contribute hugely to the growth of the country’s economy, whether on Black Friday or throughout the year.”


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Black Friday: Yudala Records Unprecedented Spike In Online Traffic



By peter oluka

Yudala, Nigeria’s pioneer online and offline e-commerce company is recording an unprecedented spike in online traffic  as eager shoppers thronged the company’s website www.yudala.comfrom midnight to be the first to take advantage of the company’s Black Friday offers.

This year’s edition of Black Friday, a globally celebrated shopping festival, is being marked officially today, Friday November 24th, 2017.

Insights garnered from the shopping activity on the Yudala website show that online traffic on commenced a steady spike from 11:49pm on Thursday night as early bird shoppers began to lay in wait for the official commencement of the Black Friday midnight rush for deals.

From 12am, traffic on the Yudala website had grossed over 50,000 hits, with shoppers who placed their orders between the hours of 12am – 1am enjoying an additional incentive of free shipping of their orders nationwide. Furthermore, Yudala had made available over 500,000 Early Bird deals on its website for shoppers who place their orders between the hours of 12am – 11:59am today, Friday November 24th.

Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, Vice President at Yudala disclosed that the company was determined to make it a memorable Black Friday for its teeming customers.

“If you are yet to visit the website, now is the time to do so.  We had Mystery Products up on the website from 12am at 99% off so, from midnight on Friday, we were already processing loads of orders from shoppers who were taking advantage of our early bird deals. Electronics, mobile phones, home appliances, wines and groceries, consumer goods and computing products are among some of the most ordered items. Remember, the Early Bird Deals run till 11:59am today so there is still ample opportunity for many Nigerians to enjoy our unmatched offerings.

“If you miss the early bird deals, then you can take advantage of our Lunch Time Deals which runs from 12pm till 4:59pm today and if you fall into the class of those who prefer to do their Black Friday shopping later in the day, then you can enjoy our Sunset Deals from 5pm till 11:59pm. Also, shoppers who place their orders on the stroke of 11:11am or 12:12pm will get free tickets to the Yudala Christmas party.

“You also stand a chance to spin a wheel of fortune at six Yudala stores in Lagos today to walk home with a free gift. Simply visit any of the Yudala stores in Bode Thomas, Surulere; Admiralty Way, Lekki; The Palms Shopping Mall; Medical Road, Ikeja; Redemption Crescent in Gbagada or the one at Cherub Mall on Lekki-Epe Expressway to experience what Black Friday is all about, courtesy of Yudala.

“No other company offers you all of these mouth-watering options for Black Friday: best prices, mega deals and genuine products. With Yudala, You Live Well,” he concluded.

Interestingly, Yudala is also adding an extra dimension on social media for its walk-in customers.

For shoppers who find their way to the Yudala Experience Store at The Palms Shopping Mall in Lekki today, there is a unique opportunity to follow the “Make a wish” live feed on Instagram at the store.

Yudala has generated loads of frenzy on its Instagram live feed where the company is giving followers a chance to make a wish and see it fulfilled. Many lucky followers have won amazing freebies including laptops, mobile phones, electronics, shopping vouchers and other exciting give-away items through this medium.

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