OnTheMarket battles continue

first_imgHome » News » Marketing » OnTheMarket battles continue OnTheMarket battles continue27th April 20160701 Views It’s been a tortuous few weeks in the property industry, fears about online agents, portal battles, tax hikes and the EU Referendum have combined to make many property people just a bit jittery.Certain people are searching for a fall guy. And they’d like it to be a big one.OnTheMarket is one of the current bookies’ favourites for the role, as disappointed members (some saying 200 disappointed members) attempt to get out of their contracts without paying their fees.As if an internal ruck isn’t enough, coincidentally (or perhaps not) the Competition & Markets Authority, published a statement warning online property portals which prevent those listing homes on them from also listing on rival sites that they may be breaching competition law.One of the founding principles behind it was that any agent wishing to list properties on OnTheMarket would have to choose between either one of its rivals – meaning either Zoopla or Rightmove would lose out.Ann Pope (left) Senior Director, Antitrust, at the Competition and Markets Authority who has a holy name and a worrying title, wrote in an Open Letter to all estate agents that “when an estate agent makes a commercial decision about its choice of online property portals, the law requires that it makes that decision without colluding with estate agents that are its competitors.”“The CMA is taking this step after becoming aware that estate agents in some local areas may have made a collective decision to join the OnTheMarket portal and, at the same time, to remove their business from other portals that compete with OnTheMarket. The CMA has already been in contact with some agents and trade associations in this regard.“However, given some evidence that such collusion may be happening between estate agents in more than one local area, we are issuing this open letter to all estate agents, advising them that this kind of conduct may break competition law and that agents engaging in it could therefore face significant fines.“Separately, the CMA will be contacting individual estate agents it suspects may have been involved in this potentially anti-competitive collusion.”This is a serious matter, not only for Agents Mutual, the organisation that owns OnTheMarket, but for every one of its members. The CMA stressed that “If an estate agent discusses with its competitors its commercial intentions or agrees to make joint decisions with them (such as which supplier or portal to go with), this may break competition law.”Adding that the CMA ‘continues to monitor the conduct of estate agents’ and that “the sites on which homes are listed are “an important aspect of competition between estate agents,” she said that, “The choice of portal must be decided independently and not agreed with competitors.”Just in case the 6000 or so OnTheMarket customers hadn’t quite got the point, Ann Pope helpfully restated the consequences of breaching competition law. “Estate agents that are found to have breached competition law can be fined up to 10 per cent of their annual worldwide turnover, and directors of such companies can be disqualified from UK company directorships for up to 15 years where their conduct in relation to such a breach makes them unfit to be concerned in the management of a company. In addition, individuals involved in certain very serious cartel activity, such as agreements between estate agents to fix prices or allocate markets, may be prosecuted under the criminal cartel offence and, if convicted, could go to prison for up to five years and/or have to pay an unlimited fine.”For eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, commented, “The first thing that strikes me about this latest announcement is that it’s about time given that I submitted a complaint to the CMA over a year ago.“The success of the online estate agency sector to date has been based on its consumer-first approach. But since day one OnTheMarket has moved against this consumer and has subjected its member agents and their customers to a dated, anti-consumer way approach that narrows choice. As a result, it’s downfall was bound to be a swift one and that is certainly playing out in front of us all now.“Given the portal’s monumental failure, it’s beyond me why any agent would still be considering listing with OTM at the expense of either Zoopla or Rightmove, let alone conspire with other agents to do so in number.”OnTheMarket OTM portals CMA Competition & Authority competition law 2016-04-27The Negotiator Related articles “Millions have been thrown against the top portals for years with no effect”30th April 2021 Rightmove property listing lands estate agency in NIMBY hot water29th April 2021 OTM or Boomin? Agents won’t pay for four portals, warns industry leader28th April 2021What’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.last_img read more

Converged Infrastructure: The Emerging Imperative in IT

first_imgBy now IT professionals have seen enough trade shows, listened to enough vendor briefings and read enough product releases to understand the changing direction of the enterprise data center for enabling cloud environments.IT leaders have evolved from deciding “if” they’re adopting an internal cloud strategy, to “how” they’re deploying and operationalizing their own private cloud configurations. The evolution toward a more agile delivery model for IT services has led them to realize that the legacy “do it yourself” approach to infrastructure deployment is becoming marginalized.“It was fun while it lasted, but IT departments can no longer sustain the increasing demands of their users. They are struggling to stay relevant to their business constituents, while being consumed with managing day-to-day activities associated with maintaining individual infrastructure components.ShareMarket differentiation has become more reliant on time-to-market for new and creative application-enabled features and services. Administration of the bespoke infrastructure silos deployed through years of project-based application rollouts has also deferred the movement toward infrastructure convergence.That is, until now.Strategy conversations with IT leaders have been changing. More and more frequently I’m hearing the same comments from IT leaders:“IT Leader: Our CIO and line of business leaders are going outside IT to public cloud providers for applications, development and testing, because it’s faster and easier than waiting for us to provide an internal capability, but can lack the compliance and control organizations require. “We’d like to build our own cloud platform, but my IT staff doesn’t have the time and budget available. I’m not sure how we’ll reprioritize the workload to build our own infrastructure. We have a backlog of projects for my staff to complete. And we don’t have the training or skill sets to do this in a reasonable amount of time – along with everything else we have to do.ShareThis dilemma is not an uncommon one. What options are available to the IT leader looking to adopt an innovative approach to lead them out of this situation? What’s the next step?Enter converged infrastructureVCE Vblock Systems provide converged infrastructures that are pre-integrated, pre-tested and pre-validated using Cisco compute and networking, EMC storage and data protection, and VMware virtualization software, and are proven to expedite customer private cloud deployments. In fact, as a result of VCE’s manufacturing processes and deployment expertise, VCE can deliver a production-ready Vblock System from thefactory with a specific configuration within 45 days from order.  Following a fast (48-hour) deployment and installation cycle by VCE technicians, end users can quickly consume applications and services and reduce time to market.The Vblock System’s deterministic, tightly integrated architecture enables a highly reliable level of service and provides a streamlined approach to ongoing operations – this removes the time and resources required to stand up production-ready infrastructure while enabling IT to refocus their efforts on projects that drive business value and results. What used to take a dedicated support staff from various siloed infrastructure teams can now be managed with a Vblock System administrator, allowing the opportunity to optimize the operational expense associated with core infrastructure management.Results from industry surveys have shown a 30 to 50% reduction in operational expenditures associated with the ongoing management of a Vblock System over the “business as usual” approach required for separate server and storage implementations.[footnote]IDC White Paper: Convergence with Vblock Systems: A Value Measurement September 2013.[/footnote] The VCE release compatibility matrix (RCM) maintains tested and validated quality assurance, coupled with our world-class customer support service provides the emerging imperative of converged infrastructure to the enterprise.The evidence is in, the market has spoken and the results are documented. The key question becomes not if customers are moving to a converged infrastructure application platform, but how their converged infrastructure will evolve their organization, improve agility, simplify operations, reduce costs and elevate IT’s status within the enterprise.last_img read more

IMO Eyes Tougher Measures to Reduce Marine Plastic Litter from Ships

first_imgThe International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted an action plan which aims to enhance existing regulations and introduce new supporting measures to reduce marine plastic litter from ships.The action plan stipulates actions to be completed by 2025, which relate to all ships, including fishing vessels. The concrete measures and details will be further considered by MEPC 74.The reduction measures being targeted on behalf of the shipping industry’s include a review of the application of placards, garbage management plans and garbage record-keeping in MARPOL Annex V. It is also being proposed to establish compulsory mechanism to declare loss of containers and identify number of losses; and consider ways to communicate location of containers lost overboard.Dumping plastics into the sea is already prohibited under regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which also oblige governments to ensure adequate port reception facilities to receive ship waste.Only permitted materials can be dumped and this waste – such as from dredging – has to be fully assessed to ensure it does not contain harmful materials like plastics.However, studies demonstrate that despite the existing regulatory framework to prevent marine plastic litter from ships, discharges into the sea continue to occur. Marine litter has a substantial harmful effect on the marine life and it can also pose dangers to shipping.For example, abandoned or lost fishing nets can become entangled in propellers and rudders.Specific identified measures in the action plan also include:a proposed study on marine plastic litter from ships;looking into the availability and adequacy of port reception facilities;consideration of making marking of fishing gear mandatory, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO);promoting reporting the loss of fishing gear;facilitating the delivery of retrieved fishing gear to shore facilities;reviewing provisions related to the training of fishing vessel personnel and familiarization of seafarers to ensure awareness of the impact of marine plastic litter;enhancing public awareness; andstrengthening international cooperation, in particular FAO and UN Environment.last_img read more

Damen Stan Tug 1606 for Gerd Stensen

first_imgImage source: DamenDamen Shipyards Group has signed a contract with Gerd Stensen AS from Norway for the delivery of a Damen Stan Tug 1606. According to Damen, the client will apply the new vessel to their dredging operations.Gerd Stensen, like Damen, is a family company. Their dredging work includes but is not limited to the extraction of coral sand for the French agricultural industry.They have previously operated a Damen Stan Tug 1, still going strong after 36 years and recently sold to a vessel operator in the Baltics.Commenting the latest news, Damen Sales Manager Norway, Eirik Eide, said: “This is yet another example of how beneficial standardized stock building is for the maritime industry. Not only will the client receive a product that has proven itself in operations many times already, but the vessel is ready built for the fastest possibly delivery. In this way, Damen supports its clients of all sizes and all locations, throughout the world.” The order for the new Stan Tug 1606 came about when the client received a new contract for a dredging operation in the north of Norway.The tug will provide support to the dredging operation, manoeuvring a pontoon in the Norwegian fjords.last_img read more

Why Your Eyes Jitter

first_imgThe coach’s advice “Keep your eye on the ball” is impossible, because your eyes are constantly in motion with tiny jerks called fixational eye movements or saccades.  Why do the eyes move all the time?  Some scientists at Boston University decided to find out.  Reporting in Nature,1 they found that saccades help you discriminate fine details in the visual field.  Rucci et al said,Our eyes are constantly in motion.  Even during visual fixation, small eye movements continually jitter the location of gaze.  It is known that visual percepts tend to fade when retinal image motion is eliminated in the laboratory.  However, it has long been debated whether, during natural viewing, fixational eye movements have functions in addition to preventing the visual scene from fading.  In this study, we analysed the influence in humans of fixational eye movements on the discrimination of gratings masked by noise that has a power spectrum similar to that of natural images.  Using a new method of retinal image stabilization, we selectively eliminated the motion of the retinal image that normally occurs during the intersaccadic intervals of visual fixation.  Here we show that fixational eye movements improve discrimination of high spatial frequency stimuli, but not of low spatial frequency stimuli.  This improvement originates from the temporal modulations introduced by fixational eye movements in the visual input to the retina, which emphasize the high spatial frequency harmonics of the stimulus.  In a natural visual world dominated by low spatial frequencies, fixational eye movements appear to constitute an effective sampling strategy by which the visual system enhances the processing of spatial detail.The brain compensates for these movements so that we are not aware of them (03/29/2002, 11/24/2005, 11/10/2006).  This was known, but the reason for the saccades was only suggestive till now.  Using new methods, the Boston University team found that subjects with the stabilized vision lost more than 16% of their ability to discriminate fine details in the high-frequency gratings, but showed no change with low-frequency gratings.  This result was unexpected:Thus, fixational eye movements improved discrimination of the orientation of a high-frequency grating masked by low-frequency noise but did not help with a low-frequency grating masked by high-frequency noise.  This result is surprising because it contradicts traditional views of the influence of fixational eye movements on vision.  Indeed, the pronounced reduction in contrast sensitivity at low spatial frequencies measured by previous experiments with prolonged retinal stabilization predicts a more significant drop in performance with low-frequency than with high-frequency gratings.Nevertheless, their experiments were robust: the saccades helped most in distinguishing fine detail.  The researchers found, furthermore, that the eye movement also helped distinguish detail in very low contrast scenes.    For a controlled experiment, they kept one axis stable and the other in natural motion.  As expected, image discrimination was improved on the moving axis.These results are consistent with the informational content of the modulations of luminance introduced by fixational eye movements.  These modulations only convey information about the pattern of noise during motion parallel to the grating, but provide maximal information about the grating when motion occurs on the axis orthogonal to the grating.    The authors provided some differential equations that described how the motions of the eye provide more information from the visual field.  In conclusion, they said:Our results show that vision is impaired at high spatial frequencies in the absence of fixational eye movements.  This finding is consistent with the spatial frequency dependence of the temporal modulations resulting from fixational eye movements.  Neurons in the early visual system are sensitive to these input modulations.  As with the stimuli of experiment one, natural visual environments possess substantial power at low spatial frequencies.  Our results indicate that sampling visual information by means of a jittering fixation is an effective strategy for analysing natural scenes, facilitating the processing of spatial detail in the face of otherwise overwhelming low-frequency power.As indicated, they figured that there must be a function for the phenomenon.  This approach motivated them to experiment and find the answer.  It was not possible to determine this function with earlier technologies, they said.    Science Now weighed in on this story, commenting that these findings “mark an important step toward settling a 50-year-old controversy.”  The article said we still have known surprisingly little about saccades.  This new work shows that “the eye’s jitters help the brain pick out fine details, the kind involved in locating a single tree in a forest or a berry in a bush.”  This ability is shared with other mammals: “Most animals with sharp central vision, such as humans, monkeys, and cats, make microscopic eye adjustments when they fix their gaze.”  Saccades have also been observed in the eyes of birds.21Rucci, Iovin, Poletti and Santini, “Miniature eye movements enhance fine spatial detail,” Nature 447, 852-855 (14 June 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05866.2See Journal of Neuroscience where researchers described saccades in the eyes of two species of predatory birds possessing binocular vision.  The authors did not comment on whether this represents a case of “convergent evolution.”There was no mention of evolution in this paper.  We do not know their feelings about evolution, but these authors have demonstrated in deed that assuming design leads to productive science.  They saw a phenomenon; they assumed there was a reason for it.  Now we know more about the eye than we did: and it’s a wonderful thing.  There is more information and functional design behind these strange eye movements than we imagined.    Their results make sense in hindsight, too (if you’ll pardon the expression).  Continuous eye motion allows the neurons and the brain to take numerous snapshots from slightly different angles, so as to glean the maximum amount of information from the visual field.  For widely spaced details, this does not add much information, but it adds a lot in low contrast and high-detail situations.  Think about that the next time you are reading fine print in low light, like the small black lettering on black plastic that manufacturers are fond of embossing on the backs of TV sets to frustrate consumers when they need to plug in the cable in dim light.  Your eyes are subconsciously helping you out.  This could have been vital for our primitive ancestors.  How could they have plugged in the cable before the flashlight was invented?    Compare this finding with the one about birds that bobble their heads when they walk (04/12/2004).  When you see something in nature you don’t understand, try the approach that there must be a reason for it.  Science is supposed to be an organized method for finding out the reasons for things.  Now, ask yourself the meta-question: what is the reason for reason?(Visited 150 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Leadership and Two Types of Growth

first_img Free Webinar Series! Create a culture of value creation. Signup for this free webinar! In three, short, power-packed webinars, you will learn what you need to do to create a culture of value creators who create and win new opportunities. Download Now Leaders are responsible for envisioning the future and executing the plan to make that future a reality. This is growth: current state, new results, better future state. Leaders manage two types of growth.Company GrowthThe leader is responsible for the growth of their company. They’re responsible for things like revenue growth, profit growth, increased market share, and the growth of new capabilities. This is true whether you are the CEO, COO, CFO, CSO, department head, manager, shift supervisor, or team leader.This type of growth as a responsibility is expected of leaders. But the second kind of growth is the catalyst for the first type of growth. And often it isn’t given the same attention as the first.Individual GrowthThe growth of a company is accelerated when the leader focuses on the second, equally important type of growth: the growth of the individuals that the leader is responsible for leading.In order for a company to grow, the individuals within that company also need to grow. They need to grow by adopting new beliefs of what is possible, new beliefs of what is necessary, and new ideas about who they are. Einstein said it this way, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”The individuals inside the company also need to grow by gaining new capabilities, new competencies, and new skill sets. The greater the capabilities and skill, the more easily and more certain you produce new results.Leaders spend a lot of time and energy working on the first type of growth, the growth of the company’s results and financial metrics. Great leaders invest time in the second type of growth, the growth of the individuals that produce the first type of results, knowing that this is the fastest, surest way to produce those results.last_img read more

Bar Refaeli wants $10,000 donations to make sex tape

first_imgSupermodel Bar Refaeli has reportedly appealed to her fans to donate 10,000 dollars so she can make her very own sex tape. Obviously the whole thing is just a joke for a new video from comedy website FunnyOrDie.com.I know what youre thinking,?? the Mirror quoted the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model as saying in the video.Who would watch that? Im not sure myself. But maybe a small audience might want to watch me have sex. After all, Im really good at it,?? she says.In the video, she said, “Hi, my name is Bar, and Im currently working as a model and actress – you know, just to pay the bills – but I need your help to make my real dream to come true. I want to make a sex tape.??Just to be clear, this would be a tape of me having sex with some dude, in many different sex positions, for at least a few hours,?? she said.In the video, she offers some incentives if the donation is made through Kickstarter (the donations website) – for 50 dollars you get an autographed picture of her having sex, if youre into that kind of thing??, for 200 dollars you can visit the set of the sex tape if you have time?? and for 1,000 dollars, shell put you in the running to be in the film.last_img read more

10 months agoReal Madrid coach Santiago Solari: Isco can play anywhere

first_imgReal Madrid coach Santiago Solari: Isco can play anywhereby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid coach Santiago Solari insists he has no set position for Isco.Solari was happy with the midfielder for the 2-2 draw with Villareal.He said, “I believe that Isco’s a player with that much quality that he can operate anywhere on the pitch. “Sometimes it’s not all about making the difference with pace, but rather by using your quality, creativity and technique. “Each player has their own qualities.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Homebuyers Optimistic Despite Affordability Fears

first_imgHomebuyers Optimistic Despite Affordability Fears in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News On Monday, Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) showed little change since September, dropping slightly from 88 to 87.7. Three of the six major factors used to assess the index dropped overall, including sentiment toward the mortgage rate and U.S. household income. The net share of those who felt less secure in their jobs since last month dropped slightly, by 1 percent, while the share of those expecting mortgage rates to decrease over the next year also dropped 4 percentage points. The total number of those who believe home prices will only increase went up 1 percent, which itself reflects the actual increase in home costs nationwide, Fannie Mae said.The total number of Americans who said it was a good time to sell a home remains the same, however, while the net share of those who believe the housing market toward buyers rose 5 percentage points. Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae, stated that the numbers chiefly reflected concerns among homebuyers about rising mortgage rates and rising home prices. “The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased for the second consecutive month, which is up 4.63 percent and has reached the highest level since May 2011,” Duncan said. The HPSI also indicated that the net share of Americans who said that now was a good time to buy rose 5 percentage points from September to 26 percent. It also revealed that the net share of Americans who said they would buy if they were going to move fell 1 percentage point to 66 percent and the share who said they would rent rose 2 percentage points to 30 percent.The Federal Open Market Committee’s interest rate projections for members indicates that there will likely be four additional rate increases before 2019 reaches its end. But downside risk appears buffered by the strength of the U.S. economy overall. The HPSI’s latest numbers reaffirm this general optimism, with those who responded with a belief that the current market favors buyers also indicating a belief that the economy is doing well.The new HPSI numbers by Fannie Mae can be found here. October 8, 2018 666 Views last_img read more