Q&A with Jeanne Hopkins, CMO at Lola.com

MEDIA 7 | October 24, 2019

Jeanne Hopkins, CMO at Lola.com has profound expertise in data-driven, high-velocity customer acquisition and marketing organizations and inbound-based lead gen programs to support global demand for high-growth SaaS companies.

Jeanne is also the co-author of "Go Mobile"​, the #1 best-selling mobile marketing book. She has been named to Sales Lead Management Association "Top 50"​ 3 years in a row and "20 Women to Watch" in 2015/14/13 & 2011.

MEDIA 7: What inspired you to get into marketing?
JEANNE HOPKINS:
 After graduation, I took my first job in the accounting department at Baystate Medical Center. At my annual review, I was told that I was too “noisy” for an accounting department. I went on to work at Milton Bradley Company’s in-house advertising agency, MB Communications, as editor of their in-house newspaper, and later recruited to LEGO Systems to do marketing programs. I found myself at a self-funded start-up tech company in 2000, where I was running an inside sales team and building digital properties to generate leads. I moved into software, digital marketing, and lead generation at companies like MarketingSherpa, then HubSpot, SmartBear, Ipswitch (now Progress Software) – it’s all been a fantastic journey.

M7: How is agile technology transforming corporate travel around the globe?
JH:
Small and mid-sized businesses have to be fast and efficient amidst growth, and booking, re-booking, and managing business travel can seriously impede efficiency and productivity. Finance teams are trying to manage, control, and get visibility into expenditures. Travelers are trying to do their jobs and don’t have time for expense reports. And travel arrangers (executive assistants and office admins) have plenty on their plates. Finally, there are tools that are addressing these direct needs at small and mid-sized businesses. Consumers have had the ease of booking travel through sites like Kayak and big businesses can afford the services and fees associated with high-end travel agencies. But the middle segment has been left out. Now, agile tools like Lola.com are making it really easy for corporate travelers to book, re-book, and take the task of expense reports off the table. And finance teams are able to set up travel policies in minutes, and easily manage, control, and get visibility into expenditures. The corporate travel market is huge, and agile technology is making it much easier for travelers and companies all-around.


"The corporate travel market is huge, and agile technology is making it much easier for travelers and companies all-around."

M7: How does Lola.com ensure a hassle-free modern business travel experience with transparent spending for its customers / business travelers?
JH:
It’s a simple super app to use. For travelers, it has a large inventory of flights and hotels that allows users to avoid having to go between tabs or other sites to compare fares, and it saves preferences, loyalty programs, and payment options in the same place. Traveler profiles are automatically stored so users can book with one click, and the 24/7 support team ensures easy booking and re-booking due to delays and cancellations. Seriously, when someone is in the air, missing their connection due to a delay, many times, Lola.com support has them re-booked on another flight before they land.

For finance personnel, a corporate travel policy can be set up in five minutes for more control over spending, and employees automatically know what they are allowed to book. Takes the guesswork out of the booking process. All data resides in one place so there is complete visibility into travel spend. And we integrate with other tools like Expensify – receipts are automatically sent to Expensify for easy expense tracking and reporting. No messing with receipts (or missing receipts either).


"For finance personnel, a corporate travel policy can be set up in five minutes for more control over spending, and employees automatically know what they are allowed to book."

M7: What trends do you foresee in the ‘Travel & Expense Software Market’ in future?
JH:
Certainly, we are seeing “Bleisure” travel on the rise – those looking to combine business travel with leisure time. Busy people who travel with their jobs want to get the most out a business trip, and many times, even look to extend a business trip last minute to enjoy the area or do something in particular. So companies are looking for faster, agile tools that can respond to quick changes in plans. Companies are also focusing more on keeping their travelers happy and productive on the road, and don’t want them to get caught up in the red tape of corporate travel. So, the trend is simple, faster, more agile tools to make arranging and managing travel a great experience for all.

M7: As the co-author of ‘Go Mobile’, what tactics do you believe modern marketers must focus for successful mobile media marketing campaigns?
JH:  
That book was launched in 2012 and was probably ahead of its time. While at HubSpot seven years ago, I saw the growing influence of mobile search on our blog and website and wanted to make sure we recognized its impact. Today, marketers know that Google prioritizes mobile search and it is imperative to truly understand the need for content that can be delivered in a mobile setting. The ability to auto-fill a form is critical now. The ability to read your email and respond is imperative now. The ability to print from your phone is important - whether an eBook, a recipe or instructions. Your mobile device is your computer now. It wasn’t perceived as that urgent a requirement until 18-24 months ago.


"Companies are focusing more on keeping their travelers happy and productive on the road, and don’t want them to get caught up in the red tape of corporate travel. So, the trend is simple, faster, more agile tools to make arranging and managing travel a great experience for all."

M7: What is your favorite part of working at Lola.com?
JH:
The people. Transparently, everyone really values working alongside each other – all smart, motivated, driven, fun teammates who want to make Lola.com the best workplace ever.  I take a quote from Netflix on how I feel, “Loosely coupled yet tightly aligned.”

M7: What is your superpower or spirit animal?
JH:
 GSD. I just like to get stuff done. I use lists, reminders, notes, etc. to try and stay on top of all that needs to be done. More than anything, I want my team and the company to be successful. I enjoy working, and I enjoy success and - most of all - I enjoy making mistakes and sharing what I did so that others realize that you won’t die from a typo. It’s all fun and I enjoy laughing most of all (remember, I am a loud individual).

ABOUT LOLA.COM

Lola.com makes Agile Travel Management real by providing a super simple way to manage, book and report on business travel, saving employers and travelers time and money. Happy employee travel experiences within a policy can be set up in five minutes. Lola.com uses machine learning and 24/7 support to help travelers easily book trips, while empowering managers to create policies, view budgets and expenditures, and monitor their globetrotting team efficiently. Based in Boston, the company was founded in 2015 by Paul English, co-founder of the travel booking site KAYAK, and is led by CEO Mike Volpe, previously CMO at HubSpot. For more information, connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Blue Planet Automation Accelerates CSP Adoption of 5G and Multi-Cloud

Blue Planet | September 28, 2022

Blue Planet, a division of Ciena has added new software enhancements to its intelligent automation product portfolio, helping communication service providers (CSPs) accelerate their digital transformation and quickly monetize innovative digital services built on 5G and multi-cloud infrastructure. These enhancements deliver end-to-end observability and control to automate service lifecycle management, improve operational agility and optimize customer experience. The latest software innovations across the Blue Planet intelligent automation portfolio address multiple CSP digital transformation challenges and opportunities: 5G automation: The emergence of 5G standalone, network slicing and multi-access edge computing (MEC) allows CSPs to monetize their network in new ways by delivering innovative slice-based services and offering true digital experiences. Blue Planet is providing new 5G automation capabilities that include: An open, productized 5G network slicing solution that incorporates end-to-end orchestration and observability for zero-touch lifecycle management – automating design, activation, assurance, and modification – of slices, including sub-slice management, across the radio access network (RAN) to the core. Dynamic inventory for visualizing the optimal placement of physical and cloud-native resources as well as the end-to-end 5G service topology to help CSPs plan and deploy their 5G resources quickly and efficiently. Multi-Cloud extensibility: Open cloud-based approaches are critical to increasing scale and agility, as well as enabling elastic connectivity models with cloud providers. New Blue Planet multi-cloud enhancements include: Broad Kubernetes support that enables the intelligent placement and orchestration of cloud-based network functions (CNFs) and applications in distributed multi-cloud environments. As a truly cloud-native platform, Blue Planet can be deployed in any public or private cloud and can be consumed in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. As a key player in the multi-cloud ecosystem, Blue Planet has recently joined Nephio, a new Linux Foundation open-source project seeded by Google and focused on Kubernetes-based intent-driven automation of network functions and the underlying infrastructure that supports them. Low-code usability: Low-code technology helps CSPs improve operational agility by empowering them and their system integration partners to design and build new service types and applications for end customers with minimal IT and vendor support. New Blue Planet low-code enhancements include: A single set of integrated development tools across the Blue Planet portfolio to accelerate the onboarding of new network resources and declarative templating abilities that simplify the modeling and creation of new services. "With the rise of 5G and cloudified services, CSPs’ network and service operations will become even more complicated, making automation a necessity. Blue Planet has been making steady incremental progress to enable CSP automation, with its vendor-agnostic, modular, programmable take on service lifecycle management. This latest product upgrade from Blue Planet, with its focus on simplicity for the customer, provides telcos with an opportunity for growth and to engage with the digital economy,” said Francis Haysom, Principal Analyst, Appledore. "Digitization is accelerating for CSPs as they modernize their operations to deliver innovative new services more quickly and cost-effectively,” said Rick Hamilton, At Blue Planet, we are laser-focused on creating intelligent automation capabilities that help our CSP customers digitize operations and deliver exciting new digital services to improve the customer experience.” Senior Vice President, Blue Planet. You can learn more about these new and enhanced features by visiting Blue Planet this week at Digital Transformation World (DTW) 2022, September 20-22 in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Blue Planet is participating in the ‘Supercharged edge-aware marketplaces’ Catalyst demonstration. About Blue Planet Blue Planet provides proven software solutions that accelerate digital transformation through intelligent automation. With more than 200 deployments worldwide, our modular, vendor-agnostic product portfolio enables real-time visibility and control to manage changing network operating environments. Backed by a global team of delivery specialists and an ecosystem of partners, Blue Planet is a division of Ciena that combines expertise across IT, network, and business operations to enable the agility necessary for creating differentiated end-customer experiences.

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CLOUD SECURITY

SoundHound Unveils Full Suite of Edge and Cloud Connectivity Solutions to Boost Accuracy and Privacy in Voice AI

SoundHound | September 19, 2022

SoundHound AI, Inc. (“SoundHound”), a global leader in voice artificial intelligence, today announced the availability of a whole suite of Edge and Cloud connectivity solutions that will allow brands to voice-enable almost any product, device, or service. Businesses looking to deploy voice AI can choose from options that match their available processing power and end-user needs. These include fully-embedded Edge technology (including a new EdgeLite option), exclusively Cloud-connected technology, or a hybrid combination of Edge+Cloud. The new offerings mean that automakers, smart device manufacturers, and service providers can select for faster and more accurate response delivery, reduced manufacturing costs, and improved flexibility. Businesses embracing these connectivity options include car brands like Hyundai and prominent smart device manufacturers. SoundHound’s selection of on-device Edge solutions allow brands adopting voice technology to grant their end-users greater levels of privacy by keeping data stored locally, so it never reaches the cloud. For cloud connectivity, SoundHound allows brands (and not third parties) full control over data privacy so that they can communicate transparently with their users about how information is managed. “Voice technology is now a must for products destined for the consumer market, but that doesn’t mean it’s one-size-fits-all. Here we’re offering a range of connectivity options that deliver fast and accurate voice AI to meet different needs, The availability of more Edge options will allow businesses to store and protect sensitive data locally – which could help brands build customer trust. Our hybrid options help supercharge speed and accuracy. So whatever the use case or computing capacity, we can match it for optimal results.” James Hom, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at SoundHound Available connectivity options: EdgeLite With this fully-embedded voice solution companies can process data locally without cloud-related data privacy concerns. Developers have access to natural language commands with less memory and CPU impact, a bundled wake word, and the ability to instantly update commands. EdgeLite+Cloud All the capabilities of EdgeLite, with the added flexibility to access the cloud to answer queries or push product updates. Edge Fully-embedded voice AI solution with as much Natural Language Understanding (NLU) capabilities to meet customer demand for hands-free convenience – without cloud-related data privacy concerns. Includes full accessibility to custom commands and the ability to create custom domains for proprietary on-device functionality. Edge+Cloud The capabilities of Edge with the flexibility and power of cloud connectivity. Allows companies to deliver the level of cloud connectivity that best matches their products and users. Cloud-Only Equips voice assistants with real-time data and information from the cloud for delivery of the most relevant responses to user queries, with no restrictions from device CPU and memory capabilities (while retaining ownership of your customer relationships and access to data and analytics). SoundHound’s Edge+Cloud solutions use Active Arbitration™ technology to ensure that – regardless of the query – the voice assistant will always return the most accurate answer, fast. Before Active Arbitration, users had to settle for solutions that took several seconds to search one platform and then the other looking for a response. SoundHound's Active Arbitration technology delivers a query to the cloud and the embedded system simultaneously, which facilitates a faster, more accurate conversational experience. “Increasingly, consumers are using their voices to interact with products and devices, and yet many brands are still struggling to settle on the best path when it comes to adopting voice AI,” says Keyvan Mohajer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of SoundHound. “We’re providing this range of solutions to help any company meet customer expectations of speed and accuracy, with results delivered in the style of natural conversation. And with the right technology in place, voice quickly becomes a new channel to strengthen a brand’s relationship with its customers.” From EdgeLite to Edge to Cloud-only, manufacturers can now use the same implementation software to provide any level of voice-enablement possible. For small device manufacturers and those looking for a smaller processing footprint, EdgeLite solutions allow them to add voice commands to make their equipment safer and easier to use—and the users of the product more efficient. Our EdgeLite+Cloud and Edge+Cloud is ideal for circumstances where a cloud connection may not always be reliable—but where the voice user interface is still required to control the equipment or get critical information. Both solutions also use our Active Arbitration technology to get the best, most accurate results by sending the query to the Cloud and embedded system simultaneously. About SoundHound SoundHound a leading innovator of conversational intelligence, offers an independent voice AI platform that enables businesses across industries to deliver best-in-class conversational experiences to their customers. Built on proprietary Speech-to-Meaning® and Deep Meaning Understanding® technologies, SoundHound’s advanced voice AI platform provides exceptional speed and accuracy and enables humans to interact with products and services like they interact with each other—by speaking naturally. SoundHound is trusted by companies around the globe, including Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Pandora, Qualcomm, Netflix, Snap, Square, LG, VIZIO, KIA, and Stellantis.

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