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Integrating court system computers will be challenging

first_img January 15, 2004 Managing Editor Regular News Integrating court system computers will be challenging A ccording to a senate interim report Integrating court system computers will be challengingcenter_img Mark D. Killian Managing Editor A permanent statewide board should be created to oversee the construction of an integrated computer system for the state court system, according to an interim project report commissioned by the Florida Senate’s Committee on Appropriations.The report also recommends that the legislature clarify statutory integration definitions and requirements and that integration of the court system’s information technology should be addressed at two levels — intra-circuit integration and statewide integration. The report also suggests that boards be set up in each circuit to develop and implement integration solutions to meet the minimum requirements established in law.“The entities in the state courts system must be able to share and report information relating to revenues, performance accountability, case management, data collection, budgeting, and auditing functions,” the report said.“The integrated computer systems must also enable the electronic exchange of case information, sentencing guidelines and score sheets, and video evidence stored in integrated case-management systems over secure networks.”F.S. §29.008 requires counties to provide computer systems for court functions pursuant to Revision 7 to Article V. The law also requires the integrated system to be operational by January 1, 2006.Since enactment of §29.008, representatives from the various court system entities have questioned what would constitute an “integrated system” under the law, how such a system would be implemented, and what their obligations and responsibilities would be.This Senate interim project found:• Availability of information technology infrastructure in Florida’s court system is widely diverse. Some entities or jurisdictions have up-to-date technology, but some are poorly equipped and not capable of participating in significant integration strategies without acquiring better hardware and software. There is currently no source of funding for such acquisitions, the report said.• There are so many different applications and systems in use that integration strategies requiring replacement of systems or developing hundreds of complex interfaces may be impractical due to the high cost and disruption of the local court operations.• State and local funding and control of IT systems are enmeshed and diverse to such a degree that broad statewide integration mandates that account for these differences will be difficult to craft. The report said different court system entities across the circuits and counties may need to be responsible for selected components of such mandates.• Significant local efforts to share data and integrate systems have been recently achieved or are being implemented in many jurisdictions. “Statewide integration strategies that ignore these efforts may generate unnecessary costs, operational disruptions, and political opposition,” according to the report.• More progress has been made to integrate information relating to criminal cases than for civil and all other types of cases and state requirements that provide for integration of data for all types of court system cases will require more work than for only criminal cases.• The state’s requirements for IT integration found in §29.008 need clarification to include some mechanisms for establishing standards, procedures, and governance for statewide and intra-circuit IT integration.The report said the permanent statewide board should be comprised of appointed representatives of the counties, the clerks of the court, the courts, the state attorneys, the public defenders, the sheriffs, and the State Technology Office to establish for the court system: “principles and requirements for minimal horizontal integration within any given circuit, and minimal vertical integration across circuits and with state entities; standards and protocols needed for integration; and strategies for achieving the statewide vertical integration.”The report said the permanent boards in each circuit should be comprised of representatives from each of the counties in that circuit, the court, the state attorney, the public defender, the sheriff, and each of the clerks of the court in that circuit.In order to implement Revision 7, the legislature enacted Chapter 2000-237 to specify the elements of the state court system and the responsibilities of the state and counties in providing those elements. The law further defines the responsibility of counties to fund communications services, which includes all computer systems and equipment, maintenance, support staff and services necessary for an integrated computer system to support the operations and management of the state court system.The study found that it has been generally understood by judicial system participants that the IT infrastructure and organization in Florida’s judicial system is very diverse in several major ways and an understanding of this diversity is essential to formulating goals and strategies for integrating information technology.The report said the availability of efficient technological tools varies significantly from county to county and circuit to circuit. The report found that many circuits manually process the same data that other circuits process with technology. Various specialized technologies are in use in some circuits, including video conferencing, digital court reporting and video evidence systems. In contrast, many jurisdictions have few or none of these technology tools.The degree to which existing technology systems are outdated varies as well. The report found that 72 percent of the court environments use technology that is nearing obsolescence. The courts in a number of Florida counties are using personal computers and servers considered by the Office of the State Courts Administrator to be below current standards and many circuits still use older mainframe programming technologies developed several decades ago.“These applications have been extensively modified through the years and are no longer supported by vendors,” the report said. “Those processes and data that are automated use a wide range of different hardware and software solutions across counties and circuits. Many applications have been developed in-house using county or court system entity programmers, and other applications have been purchased from various vendors as off-the-shelf solutions. Many of the off-the-shelf solutions have also been customized to varying extents.”With regard to the operations of the 20 circuit court administrators, there are at least 139 different versions of court applications in the 20 circuits/67 counties.Funding for IT staff support is yet another significant difference within and across circuits. The study found court administrator’s offices may have in-house IT staff that program and maintain case management systems owned by the court, but the county may provide the funds for those staff, while in other entities such staff are state-funded.“This variation in support staffing is significant both across the entities within one jurisdiction and across jurisdictions,” the report said.Besides the diversity of systems, funding, ownership/control, and business processes, other cited obstacles to integration of court entity data include:• Inadequate delineation of the goals and definition of the “integrated” system in §29.008. Several of those interviewed indicated greater specificity is needed in law as to the data elements to be integrated, the court system participants that must be involved, and the functional requirements that must be achieved. There is uncertainty as to whether integration requires the use of a common computer system or application by all parties, or simply a mechanism for efficiently sharing data electronically. The term “integration” can mean different things to different people.• Lack of standards and protocols for data element definitions, data transfer (e.g., via extensible markup language, XML), and security. A state standard for digital signature technology will be needed also.• Lack of a common personal identifier to be used by all entities. Some interviewees suggested the use of a biometric identifier based on fingerprints or eye scans (although this would be impractical for civil and probate cases), while others felt that algorithms using person-specific data, such as is used for a driver’s license, would suffice.• Inadequate standard statute table for use in charging and recording dispositions. Many state attorney and public defender interviewees indicated that the FDLE statute table lacks the level of subsection/subparagraph detail necessary for accurate charging. Many state attorneys and public defenders maintain their own statute table.• Lack of a governance mechanism that can facilitate the needed cooperation of all the constitutional officers, judicial officers, and counties.• Insufficient data accuracy and timeliness. In some cases, entities are having to correct data submitted by another entity before it can be used, and in some cases data is simply not entered in an automated system soon enough after the event to make the automated data useful to other entities.• Difficulty and cost of changing proprietary applications, whether off-the-shelf or customized programs. Many applications have been purchased and licensed from private vendors. In-house programs are more easily modified than applications restricted by licensing and changed only through cooperation of private vendor programmers.• Inadequate security mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access to data shared in an integrated system.• Lack of funding.The study found that in general, “the vast majority of court system entity representatives recommended that integration of court information should be approached in a manner that allows local jurisdictions to maintain their existing systems and independent processes, but provides technological linkages between data systems.“Integration is perceived more as efficient data sharing than implementation of common systems statewide,” the report said. “Furthermore, several circuit interviewees indicated that proposals to segregate county versus state responsibilities for court system IT are not feasible because the current technology today does not allow for clear distinctions between communications services, for which counties are responsible for under Revision 7, and computer processing.”last_img read more

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Ivy League cancels season for local standout

first_imgMatthews graduated from Sidney last month,after committing to play football at Cornell in October. Matthews then hopes he can return to playing the game he loves in the near future. Matthews still plans to pack his things and head to school in just a few weeks. The school is planning to begin in person classes on Sept. 2. In March the IVY league was the first to shutdown it’s basketball tournament and now come football season the league is once again ahead of the rest SIDNEY (WBNG) – Last week, the Ivy League became the first conference to cancel sports. The news crushed the hopes of Liam Matthews and the rest of his Cornell teammates. The Sidney graduate was preparing to head to Cornell to begin his first season of division one football. Now, Matthews said he isn’t sure what is next.center_img “They’ve just been telling us to stay strong,” he says. “They are really excited to have us come to the campus still, we don’t know what anything is going to look like yet.” “It doesn’t decrease it at all for me, I don’t know about anybody else but I am still able to go up there and get a great education,” Matthew says. “It kind of hit all the players hard so we’re a little heartbroken but we’re excited to still go and see what we can do up there,” said Matthew. He says he is gonna try to stay in shape and prepare for college in the next few weeks.last_img read more

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From raincoats to video calls, COVID-19 adds unusual wrinkle to typical Indonesian weddings

first_imgTopics : “That’s how it should be – for our own safety. The wedding went [according to plan]. It was done in about 30 minutes,” Muhlisun said, adding that several health workers from the local Puskesmas were also present during the ceremony to ensure public safety.Central Java has reported 104 confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.Meanwhile, a South Sulawesi couple held their wedding ceremony with a dash of physical distancing, getting hitched via video call.The groom – a South Sulawesi native who holds a job in Surabaya, East Java – and the bride, who lives in Kolaka district in Kolaka regency, decided to tie the knot digitally and call off their wedding reception to help curb the spread of COVID-19.Kolaka district head Amri said the ceremony went according to plan. The marriage officiant was present with the groom in Surabaya, while the bride was miles away in her home in Kolaka, he said.He went on to say that the couple had intended to comply with the government’s appeals to limit physical contact and avoid crowds.Read also: Indonesian couples hold off wedding plans for better days … after COVID-19“It was a heartfelt and happy occasion. It was the first time such an event had ever taken place in Kolaka. We are grateful the groom, the bride and their families have complied with the government’s policy,” Amri said.East Java has recorded 104 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nine fatalities as of Wednesday, whereas South Sulawesi has reported 66 confirmed cases and five deaths from the disease.Similarly, a couple in Lhokseumawe, Aceh, canceled their wedding reception, but still held a modest wedding ceremony on Sunday.The couple had originally expected 2,400 guests at the reception.“So, there’s no wedding reception. We only held a wedding ceremony on March 29 at my in-laws’,” said Mirza, the groom.He said the family of his bride had removed the tent previously assembled for the wedding reception.“We chose to comply with the government’s orders, for our own good,” Mirza said.Of Indonesia’s 1,677 coronavirus cases to date, Aceh has recorded five confirmed infections with zero fatalities. The archipelago has recorded a total of 157 fatalities linked to the disease, with the country’s mortality rate of 9.3 percent currently the highest in the world. (rfa) Apart from hitting the economy hard and throwing the entire healthcare system into disarray, the novel coronavirus pandemic has also served as a particularly unprecedented hindrance to many Indonesian couples who hoped to tie the knot in the recent weeks.Some had no choice but to call off what was supposed to be one of the happiest occasions of their lives, postponing their plans until after the health crisis has abated, while others have taken the bold approach and gone ahead with their weddings.In Ngadirejo district, Temanggung, Central Java, the COVID-19 pandemic added an unusual wrinkle to a local wedding ceremony. Instead of being dressed in formal or traditional attire to mark the important milestone, those in attendance – including the groom and the bride – were clad in red translucent raincoats.center_img As seen in a viral photo, the couple appeared to have tied the knot before the presence of a wedding officiant who was also wearing a facemask and gloves – visual signifiers of the ongoing public health emergency.Prosesi akad nikad di tengah wabah.Lokasi: Ngadirejo, Temanggung, Jateng pic.twitter.com/CeVSEbhqds— Novia🧣 (@NoviaFm) March 26, 2020Local religious affairs office head Muhlisun confirmed the authenticity of the image to kompas.com, saying that the bride and the groom had undergone a medical check-up at a local community health center (Puskesmas) prior to the ceremony.“The groom and the bride first underwent a check-up at a nearby Puskesmas. After the medical screening, the groom was found to have a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius,” Muhlisun said on Wednesday, adding that the groom was then designated a suspected patient under treatment (ODP).In compliance with the advice from the local Puskesmas, the groom and the bride were told to wear plastic raincoats during the wedding ceremony to minimize the risk of infection, he said.last_img read more

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Gambling Act to face scrutiny regardless of election outcome

first_img BGC: Government must ‘act fast’ and extend furlough scheme August 11, 2020 StumbleUpon Share Share John O’Reilly – Erratic orders have placed UK casinos on life support August 4, 2020 Submit Related Articles BGC dismisses ‘arbitrary’ deposit limits in SMF report August 5, 2020 The 2005 Gambling Act will come under scrutiny from three of the major UK political parties, after the Conservatives, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have all outlined changes to the legislation in their manifestos ahead of the upcoming General Election. Speaking in Telford yesterday, Boris Johnson described the current Gambling act as “analogue” in a “digital age”, while also emphasising that the use of credit cards on online gambling sites will come under review alongside loot boxes in video games. Johnson highlighted that the government will protect children from online harm and ‘the most vulnerable from accessing harmful content’, stating that it will ‘legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online’. The Labour Party has underlined that it will roll out further restrictions to advertising during sporting events, as well as a review of football governance and regulations. The party plans to focus on ownership rules, the funding of clubs, treatment of supporters and further community dynamics.The manifesto outlined that a Labour government would ‘legislate for accredited football supporter trusts’, which would be able to purchase communal shares and appoint or remove ‘at least two club directors’.“In football, the professional game has become divided between the extremes of the very rich and the very poor with clubs in Bury and Bolton facing collapse,” explained Jeremy Corbyn. “We will review the ‘fit and proper person test’ for club owners and directors and ensure that supporters’ trusts have a proper role so that the professional game is properly run for all its fans and all its clubs.”Beyond advertising, a new Gambling Act under Labour would include the introduction of ‘gambling limits’ and the imposition of a direct levy on operators which would be used towards funding UK problem gambling support networks.Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats appeared to combine both Labour and Conservative policies by promising a ban on credit cards, tighter advertising restrictions and an independent ombudsman.Layla Moran, the Lib Dems’ spokesperson on culture, explained: “Problem gambling often has a pernicious and incredibly sad impact on the lives of thousands of people up and down our country.“It is heart-breaking to see many vulnerable people fall further into debt as gambling becomes ever-more consuming.“But, as ever with this mean-spirited Government, the Conservatives have neglected the problem. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support the Lib Dem-led initiative to reduce the maximum stake for FOBTs and have no interest in protecting the vulnerable any further.“Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats will take bold and decisive action to tackle problem gambling.”The Scottish Nationalist Party has yet to publish its manifesto, however since the party wishes to have devolution to Holyrood of the nation’s gambling laws, in effect it also supports a review of the Gambling Act. But regardless of which party ends up in 10 Downing Street on the 13 December, a review of the legislation is clearly on the cards, with the industry due to face further restrictions.last_img read more

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POSTPONED! Sterling House Brain Games Lollapalooza this Saturday

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Sterling House of Wellington has postponed but not cancelled the “Brain Games Lollapalooza” for this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.  Sterling House is still looking for teams. Call Yazmin Wood, sales and marketing manager of Sterling House in Wellington at 620-506-1390 – the sooner the better.This will be Sterling House of Wellington, a Brookdale Senior Living community, second annual “Brain Games Lollapalooza” January 12 to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.Four person teams will compete for the title of “Brainiacs 2013” by earning points solving puzzles, crosswords and other challenges! Teams are encouraged to brand themselves with a fun team name and dress-up!Teams may also bring snacks and table decorations. The Sterling Houses will provide popcorn, tea/water/coffee and plenty of teasing for your brains!Registration for the four person team is $50 (that’s just $12.50 per person). The public is welcome to attend and cheer on their favorite team! Additional donations will also be accepted. Checks should be made payable to Alzheimer’s Association. Your participation will support Alzheimer’s care services, programs and vital research.Gather your friends and register today! For more information and to register contact at [email protected], or (620) 506-1390. Help us put an end to Alzheimer’s and have fun in the process!last_img read more

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Dr Paul Wright: Swift decision needed to fix horse racing industry

first_imgLast week, the best kept secret in horse racing in Jamaica was officially exposed. There was a statement from the Government that Supreme Ventures was now the preferred bidder in the much ballyhooed divestment of Caymanas Park, the only racetrack in the island. Although everybody at the track knew that Supreme Ventures had won months before, the comments from the vice president of the trainers’ association and the president of the Jamaica Racehorse Owners Association (JROA) reflected sentiments at the track that racing NEEDED divestment. Some of the older (and wiser?) fans and punters at the track were very wary of the announcement, however, as they remembered that there were two previous ‘preferred bidders’ in the planned divestment of racing out of the hands of Government and into the hands of private individuals (or companies) with the knowledge and the money that is so vital in the successful promotion of racing, as the Danny Melville-led Board showed some year s ago. Both bids came to nought. So after the collective sigh of relief from the representatives of the stakeholders in racing, came the return to reality by statements from Paul Hoo, a representative of Supreme Ventures and from lawyers representing the present champion jockey at the track, Shane Ellis. TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES Betting terminals at Off Track betting stations are turned on up to one hour late on race days because of “technical difficulties”, which on investigation revealed that crucial operatives “came to work late”. Horses are withdrawn from races because of lameness or illness the day before racing are not declared as late non-starters until a few minutes before the scheduled start of the race, playing havoc with the important exotic wagers of punters whose selection is now transferred to the ‘on time favourite’, which in some case have very little or no chance of winning and therefore depriving the knowledgeable punter from choosing another horse with a more realistic winning chance. I could go on and on. Racing cannot continue like this. The Chinese ambassador has praised the present Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, for his penchant for making “quick decisions”. Racing people are now calling for a swift decision by his Government to try to correct the present promotion of racing. First, Mr Hoo reminded all of us in racing that the title ‘preferred bidder’ only means that negotiations for the divestment will now begin in earnest and the lawyers for Mr Ellis obtained an injunction in the courts that restrained the planned divestment until the promoting company, Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), settled a lawsuit brought by Mr Ellis against the CEO of the track, who made comments (deemed derogatory by Mr Ellis and his lawyers). Those comments were made after Mr Ellis fell from a horse during a race some years ago. So for at least the next 9-12 months the status quo at the track remains – no Board in place and management that has become decidedly worse after the ‘preferred bidder’ official statement. For example, ‘technical difficulties’ is now the official response to queries about race day incidents that reek of incompetence. Last Saturday, a race was held up for at least 15 minutes because of ‘technical difficulties’ at the starting gate. It turned out that the gates “malfunctioned” because of a “lack of power”. This was quickly remedied by the frantic call for an electrician – obviously transported in a van racing from the starting gate to the grandstand area over and over again – to correct a problem that scheduled and regular maintenance checks could have prevented. The first race, on more than one occasion, has been delayed by “technical difficulties” when investigations revealed that a crucial member of the management team was “late” coming to work. NEGOTIATIONSlast_img read more

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Former Man United youngster aiming to win Blackpool deal

first_img1 Chris Eagles Former Manchester United midfielder Chris Eagles is training with Blackpool in a bid to earn a contract.The 28-year-old, who came through the ranks at Old Trafford, has been without a club since leaving Bolton at the end of last season.It has been reported that he decided against joining Ian Holloway’s Millwall earlier this month after a period of time training with the south London club.And now he is hoping to be offered a deal at Bloomfield Road if he impresses on trial.He has already played – and scored – in a behind-closed-doors friendly for the Seasiders and will get another chance to impress against his former club United in a similar clash on Tuesday.last_img read more

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Warriors 117, Kings 116: Warriors escape with Durant, Thompson leading the way

first_imgOAKLAND – Soon enough, the Warriors will no longer slog through games or have poor shooting nights.Although they do not have a definitive timetable, the Warriors said they expect Stephen Curry to play at some point on their upcoming five-game trip within the next two weeks.That moment cannot come soon enough. The Warriors prevailed with a 117-116 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday at Oracle Arena. But it required a valiant effort from Kevin Durant (a season-high 44 points) and …last_img read more

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Why Do Users Trust Mozilla More Than Google On Privacy?

first_imgTags:#Browsers#Chrome#Do Not Track#Firefox#Mozilla#privacy 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts center_img john paul titlow A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… The privacy-obsessed don’t seem to think much of Google.A survey of consumer confidence found Mozilla to be the most trustworthy pure Internet company when it comes to user privacy, the organization eagerly announced. Out of companies generally, Mozilla broke into the top 20 in the study, which was conducted by the Ponemon Institute.The top 20 includes plenty of other tech firms, including Amazon, eBay, Intuit, IBM, Microsoft, HP and even oft-loathed telecom carriers Verizon and AT&T.Notably absent? Google.It’s worth noting that this survey is a measure of consumer sentiment, not actual privacy features. Google gets very high ranks from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in its annual Privacy Scorecard, which tracks how major tech companies score on major issues of privacy. Twitter and the ISP Sonic.net topped the EFF’s list last year, but Google ranked third thanks to its privacy policies, transparency about user data requests from governments and legal and legislative advocacy on behalf of protecting user privacy.The EFF doesn’t include Mozilla in its Privacy Scorecard and declined to offer an off-the-cuff score for the nonprofit. Mozilla vs. Google – Who Can You Really Trust More? Mozilla is making a big deal of its ranking, and has been making user privacy a very public priority for some time. Despite questions about its effectiveness, the organization has been proactive in incorporating Do Not Track technology in its browsers. Mozilla espouses a six-point philosophy when it comes to user privacy and generally tends to be transparent about its intentions and activities related to how it shares and protects user data. At the same time, Google – which has more complex privacy issues to contend with as a search engine, email provider and major player in mobile computing – has itself been pretty transparent on privacy, doing things like publishing regular transparency reports outlining the growing number of government requests it receives. Google tends to comply with those inquiries, but does so judiciously and has decried the ease with which governments are legally able to snoop on users’ electronic communications. At the end of the day, both Chrome and Firefox are secure, privacy-friendly browsers – as are their other competitors. But defending privacy for Google is inherently more challenging given the company’s enormous size and broad product line. And it appears that Google is not doing a great job of portraying itself as a privacy-friendly organization.That could be a big problem. Moving forward, such perceptions – even more than objective actions and policies – could be crucial competitive differentiators.Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock. last_img read more

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How to Differentiate Your Startup in a Red Ocean Industry

first_imgTags:#Blue Ocean#Brand Differentiation#Competition#Red Ocean#Startup Marketing We all dream of coming up with the next ingenious idea that redefines an industry, or creates one from scratch. Netflix opened the floodgates to the world of streaming content, and they benefited enormously from being the only players in town (at least, for a few years). Uber capitalized on an existing need–transportation–but provided a fast, convenient, and cheap service that essentially created the new industry of ride-sharing.These are examples of “blue ocean” opportunities, as defined by the popular book Blue Ocean Strategy by professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. In case you aren’t familiar, they posit that there are two types of market opportunities when you create a startup from scratch. There are red oceans, which are filled with blood from fierce competition. These oceans, representing mature industries in a free market, are incredibly difficult to enter—at least without paying a price, either in more aggressive marketing and advertising costs or by settling for a smaller market share. Blue oceans, by contrast, are all but free from competition, giving you more flexibility, lower costs, and domination over nearly 100 percent of the market share.To many aspiring startup entrepreneurs, this is disheartening news, and a borderline tragic way to look at things. Coming up with a blue ocean strategy is hard, if not impossible. But the good news is, red oceans and mature industries aren’t as hard to enter as the root analogy would imply; there may not be quite as much opportunity to become a tech unicorn or acquire Bezos-scale wealth, but you can certainly succeed in a mature industry, provided you take the right marketing approach.The Truth About “Red Oceans” If we’re following the ocean analogy here, then we need to address the true nature of the competition. These red waters aren’t uniformly infested, nor are they infested in every corner. Instead, there are pockets of blue ocean to be found within those red oceans. In more literal terms, even mature industries, filled to the brim with competition, have untapped market segments and new opportunities for those willing to look.For example:Specific product features. The product itself may not change, but you can certainly add something to it. New product features may be enough to differentiate the product, and enter a world free from competition, even within a competitive industry. For example, the fast food industry is currently saturated with burger joints, but McDonald’s has introduced and maintained the Big Mac, a unique burger that can’t be replicated without violating copyright laws; if you want this specific taste, you can’t simply go somewhere else.Target demographics. You can also target a different demographic, or capitalize on consumer preferences that aren’t being met by the leading competitors. For example, in the past few years, Dollar Shave Club practically took over the subscription razor industry, and giants like Bic and Gillette quickly followed suit. Yet in the razor battle, Shave.net was able to enter the mature shaving industry and make a name for itself by focusing on the smaller niche of wet shavers who prefer straight razors and safety razors.Price points. One of the more obvious points of differentiation is price. If all your competitors are selling something around the same price, you could easily capitalize on their existing audience, or target a new audience by offering it cheaper. You could also capitalize on a luxury market by charging more (assuming you can offer a higher-quality product). A key example here is the Fidget Cube, a stress-relieving toy that was crowdfunded successfully at a roughly $20 price point; a competitor, Stress Cubes, hijacked the idea and sold cubes for far less, reducing profit margins and beating the Fidget Cube to market.Geographic locations. You could also feasibly find more opportunities in a different geographic area. If there’s a specific business, product, or service that’s popular in one area of the country, you could bring it to a location that’s unfamiliar with it. Rural areas tend to be fantastic opportunities here.Peripheral services. It’s also possible to stand apart from the competition by offering services that aren’t available from mainstream competitors. For example, the Home Depot initially stood out as a competitor to traditional lumber yards because they offered a wider variety of products in one location, as well as classes to help DIYers.The Role of Brand Differentiation The secret to finding success in a mature industry is twofold; first, you need to find a way to differentiate yourself, and second, you need to make that differential element evident to the people you’re trying to persuade. That often means adjusting your brand values, your core products, or your overall marketing strategy for these key benefits:Competition reduction. Pursuing a path of your own instantly reduces the number and ferocity of competitors you’ll face. Fewer competitors means you won’t have to worry about someone else poaching customers from you, and you’ll probably spend less on marketing and advertising.Increased visibility. Being different immediately helps you stand out. Capitalizing on what makes you different from the major players in a mature industry is a strategy certain to attract attention naturally, aiding you in your marketing and advertising efforts.Niche exploration. Exploring a specific niche within the mature industry can help you cultivate and nurture a sub-industry. The more you learn about these customers and the more you cater to them, the more loyal they’ll become—especially if they never had an options like yours before.Marketing an Undifferentiated Startup Of course, these brand differentiating factors aren’t exactly valuable unless you have a method of making them visible to the public and explaining why they’re valuable. This is where marketing comes into play. You can build up your brand’s visibility and perceived value with these strategies, at a minimum:Define your differentiators (or make new ones). The most obvious answer here is to play up what makes you different in your advertising strategy. A simple message, like “sick of paying high prices for ____?” can be a good start (though you’ll want something a little more original). Are you cheaper? Higher-quality? More convenient? Targeted to someone different? Make this clear in your ads from the get-go, and try to include at least one brand element that encapsulates this, like a company name or tagline.Leverage untapped channels and outlets. There are invariably marketing and advertising strategies that your main competitors aren’t currently using. That could be because the strategies are new and unfamiliar, or because these channels haven’t historically worked for the industry. But because your company is different, it may be able to leverage these channels more efficiently. For example, if your competitors are all over Facebook but you’re differentiating yourself by targeting a more professional, older audience, you could turn to LinkedIn for your needs.Exploit key differences. Chances are, what makes you different from your existing competitors is a pain point for their current audience. You can use this to your advantage by portraying these unpleasant experiences or perceptions. For example, if existing customers are frustrated with waiting too long for a product or service, you could use a video ad that depicts someone waiting indefinitely—and someone beside them who gets the task done much quicker.Piggyback on existing brand value. As long as you aren’t lying about your competitors, you can mention them directly in your marketing and advertising campaigns, as a way to capitalize on the brand value they’ve already established. You can do this with a side-by-side comparison, or with a catchy tagline, such as “like COMPETITOR, but ________.”Truly creative startups that disrupt an industry or attempt to create a new one will naturally have advantages over those that attempt to move into already-claimed territory. However, entrepreneurs who know how to differentiate their brand, and are willing to discover and exploit niche opportunities can easily enter “red ocean” mature markets, and succeed. The trick is to learn which markets or needs aren’t currently being addressed, and find a way to work them into your business model. How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Frank Landman Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture Related Posts The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who …last_img read more