Tech Thursday (5/17): Improving Economy Isn’t Helping the IT Services Industry; and Dell Launch ‘Small Business University’; Epson PowerLite X15 Projector; BrandMyMail Launches Premium Version; TicketLeap Launches Self-Service Reserved Seating Option

Improving Economy Isn’t Helping the IT Services Industry and Dell Launch ‘Small Business University’


Epson PowerLite X15 Projector


BrandMyMail Launches Premium Version


TicketLeap Launches Self-Service, Reserved Seating Option


OnForce Confidence Index Indicates Improving Economy Isn’t Helping the IT Services Industry  

 Study Also Reveals Eye-Opening Trends in Preferred Mobile Device Platforms for IT Service Businesses-


BOSTON Despite positive economic indicators, the IT services industry is increasingly pessimistic about the current economic climate, but expects conditions to improve within the next six months, according to OnForce’s latest Confidence Index, released today. 

Half of professionals surveyed report that current economic conditions are having a negative impact on their business.  Interestingly, professionals surveyed are not as optimistic as they predicted they would be last October in OnForce’s  Q4 2011 index. In fact, the current and future positive perception has remained stagnant this quarter – with a current positive perception of 27 percent and a future positive perception of 40 percent. The overall Current Index stands at 39, though the Future Index stands at 60 – both down one point over last quarter. 

Future Index
(Forecast for the next 6 months)

Current Index
(Current perception)


Q2 2012

Q1 2012

% Change


Q2 2012

Q1 2012

% Change

















No difference




No difference




I don’t know




I don’t know




Future Index




Current Index





This quarterly OnForce Confidence Index reflects the opinion of more than 600 technology professionals nationwide who derive a substantial portion of their income from contract-based IT projects, including cloud computing, networking and vertical applications. These experts are on the front lines talking with customers and have a unique perspective on where the market is and where it is heading.

Signs of Economic Improvement Slow to Reach IT Service Industry

While certain economic indicators, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Consumer Confidence Index, show an improving economy since Q4 2011, there are several factors that may be hindering overall economic growth – and hitting independent field service businesses especially hard.

“Wall Street’s economic barometers report an improving economy, but for techs in the field, things look a little different,” said Peter Cannone, CEO of OnForce. “The sharp rise in gas prices is an immediate, direct and hard-hitting blow to independent field technicians on the road. Q1 is also historically the slowest quarter of the year for tech projects – especially in the retail sector. And the high national unemployment rate is showing clear signs of a jobless recovery in the U.S.” and Dell Launch ‘Small Business University’


Free Eight-week Education Course Offers Expert Guidance to Entrepreneurs Looking to Start and Grow Small Businesses,With Chances to Win a Total Prize Value Of Over $50,000

New York, NY — BLACK ENTERPRISE, the leading small business resource for African Americans, along with Dell, a worldwide provider of innovative technology and business solutions, announced the launch of the Black Enterprise Small Business University Powered by Dell, an eight-week, online video course offering expert advice to entrepreneurs looking to start and grow profitable small businesses. Housed exclusively, the Small Business University includes customized gamification features that allow registrants to compete for a total of more than $50,000 in cash and prizes throughout the program. Small Business University registrants are eligible to win a grand prize package that includes $5,000 in cash, a $10,000 Dell Office Setup, a free one-on-one consultation with a small business development expert, a profile in BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine and 1-year gift subscription to the publication. A runner-up prize of a $6,000 Dell Office Setup, a free one-on-one consultation with a small business development expert, a profile on, and 1-year gift subscription to BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine will also be awarded.

Registration for Small Business University launched on Monday, April 16th powered by Janrain, a leading user management platform for the social web.  The sites gamification features will be powered by Bunchball, a leader in engaging users by applying the same principles that inspire people to play games – achievements, status, and rewards – to websites and other online experiences.

Kicking off on Monday, April 30th with “Your Small Business Checklist: What Every Business Needs to Get Started,” the Black Enterprise Small Business University Powered by Dell aims to assist entrepreneurs in three different stages of business development: the aspiring start-up, the part-time entrepreneur, and those with an already established enterprise. The eight-week course will consist of three original tutorials per week featuring a team of rotating business, marketing and technology all-stars including ‘SmallBizLady’ Melinda EmersonBuzz Marketing Group CEO Tina Wells, Young Entrepreneurs Council founder Scott Gerber, ‘The Money Coach’ and personal finance expert Lynnette Founder James Andrews, digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong, Mel Parker, DellVice President and General Manager, Consumer, Small Office and Member Loyalty, North America, and many more. In addition, our experts, along with the award-winning BLACK ENTERPRISE editorial team, will be available across all Black Enterprise social media platforms including TwitterFacebookTumblrGoogle+ and Pinterest to connect directly with participants, answer questions, and provide additional resources.

“Black Enterprise remains as committed as ever to our core mission of encouraging minority entrepreneurship,” said Black Enterprise President & CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. “The path to entrepreneurship can be a difficult one to navigate, and many get lost along the way.  With the enthusiastic support of Dell, a company which has set the bar in helping small business excel through innovative and practical technology solutions, services and support, we’re able to share the vital lessons of our Small Business University by way of a virtual classroom. We’re excited to partner with Dell on this opportunity to assist our audience in achieving their dream of starting a new business or taking their existing enterprise to the next level.”

For a steady stream of additional information, tools and resources regarding small business success, be sure to visit and to follow the conversion on Twitter @BlackEnterprise using Hashtag #SmallBizU.


Epson PowerLite X15 Projector Delivers Brilliant Images and Future-Ready Connectivity at an Affordable Price


– At $599, PowerLite X15 Delivers 3,000 Lumens and XGA Resolution for Small to Medium-Sized Classrooms and Conference Rooms-

LONG BEACH, Calif.– Epson America, the number-one selling projector brand worldwide, introduced the EPSON® PowerLite® X15, delivering bright images and advanced connectivity to small- and medium-sized classrooms and conference rooms for $599*. Replacing the popular PowerLite 92, this new projector offers 3,000 lumens color and white light output2, XGA resolution and advanced connectivity for today’s budget conscious schools and small businesses.

The PowerLite X15 delivers an advanced feature set, including HDMI digital connectivity to connect to the latest devices for high-quality video and digital audio. The projector also features USB Plug ‘n Play for instantly projecting video and audio from a PC or Mac® computer via a USB connection. In addition, the projector offers easy setup with Easy-Slide technology, an intuitive horizontal keystone adjustment slide control bar that allows teachers to place the projector off-center from the screen and easily make the necessary horizontal image adjustments with the touch of a finger.

The EPSON PowerLite X15 offers several convenient setup and operation features including: 

  • Setup Flexibility: +30 degree horizontal keystone slide and automatic vertical keystone correction provides easy and convenient setup in virtually any classroom setting; Quick Corner® allows the four corners of an image to be moved independently for a perfectly rectangular image; 1.2x optical zoom provides flexibility to suit the space without sacrificing image quality
  • Extended Lamp Life: Using Epson’s exclusive E-TORL® lamp technology, the lamp life can last up to 5,000 hours3 in economy mode, helping to maximize presentation time
  • Convenient Control: Direct Power On and Off allows for an installed projector to be powered on and off with a flip of a wall switch; Instant On and Instant Off® enables presenters to avoid delays when starting and finishing presentations and be up and running in only five seconds; A/V Mute Slide instantly turns off the sound and images to create a quick pause in the presentation, conserving lamp life and energy and helping to save costs
  • Advanced Connectivity: Connect directly to the EPSON DC-06 document camera for added versatility via USB or multiple computers via the two VGA ports; audio out and monitor out ports connect to external speakers and monitors for enhanced sound and presenting ease; RS-232c support offers connection to an AV control device
  • Closed Captioning: Built-in closed captioning decoder makes presentations accessible to students with hearing impairments at no added cost and helps meet ADA section 508 compliance
  • 3LCD Technology: Features the latest 3LCD, 3-chip technology to deliver amazing, true-to-life color and detail for powerful presentations; 3LCD technology provides an energy-efficient light engine which efficiently uses available lamp light to create stunning images; in contrast to 1-chip DLP technology, 3LCD requires, on average, 25 percent less electricity per lumen of brightness


BrandMyMail Launches Premium Version for Active Power Users to Easily Integrate Dynamic Social Media Content into Messages


–  Allows Integration of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Blog and RSS Content Plugins Directly into Multiple Email Platform Messages Including Gmail, Yahoo!, and Outlook –

FUNCHAL, PORTUGAL – BrandMyMail, a web-based platform that seamlessly integrates social media content with a customer’s email messages, announced today the launch of its Premium service that provides users with advanced features at a nominal annual cost.

The Premium level extends the BrandMyMail basic service beyond Gmail through the use of a custom SMTP mail server which allows Yahoo!, Hotmail, and Outlook users the ability to send dynamic BrandMyMail messages. A variety of content sources including Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds, dynamic content from YouTube and Flickr, and blog posts from services including WordPress and Tumblr, can be integrated into the user’s email.

Premium users can integrate plugins from eBay and LinkedIn, in addition to the multiple basic plugins available with the Basic account. With the Premium service, BrandMyMail provides a web service API that can be used with systems beyond email, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

Various account statistics are available to Premium level users, including total counts of emails sent in the year and month, and message-specific statistics such as click rate percentages and open rates for plug-ins. Multiple templates are also available, which allow Premium users to build custom email configurations for different addresses.

“We are very pleased to launch our Premium service, which provides users with a host of new features that makes BrandMyMail a powerful messaging platform, said Limor Schweitzer, Co-Founder of BrandMyMail. “It’s an ideal solution for power users and small businesses that want to selectively promote their own branding and social content through every email communication. The service is now compatible with other email services beyond Gmail and can even be integrated into CRM and ERP systems, making it a complete platform service that boasts many practical applications.”

Pricing for the Premium BrandMyMail service is set at $39 per year. For more information about the enhanced Premium features, visit


TicketLeap Launches Self-Service, Reserved Seating Option for Event Organizers

– Industry-First Feature Allows Instant Customization of the Ticketing Experience-

Philadelphia, PA –Selling tickets to live events just got easier, as TicketLeap today unveiled its new self-service, reserved seating feature. TicketLeap is the first company to offer this capability, enabling live event organizers to design their venue space, build a seating chart, and set different ticket prices all within its platform. Event-goers can also view seating options and select their ticketing preferences when purchasing tickets to an event.

This new feature builds on TicketLeap’s core service of providing event organizers with a robust ticketing platform that allows them to control the entire event lifecycle – from customizable event pages, to pre-event sales and marketing, to at-the-door check-ins – without having to worry about expensive box office point-of-sales equipment or unneeded complexity.

With the new self-service, reserved seating feature, event organizers can:

  • Create a visual representation of their venue; including:
    • Seating charts and rows of seats that can be color-coded based on section and ranked by desirability on a 1-10 scale.
    • Objects, including a multitude of icons, stages, sports fields and more, to create a more accurate physical representation of the venue’s layout.
  • Offer handicapped seating: For any wheelchair accessible or closed caption support seating needs.
  • Save venue creation for future use: Once a venue is created, it will be saved on the TicketLeap platform as an option for all future events.

To use the self-service, reserved seating feature, visit and create an event. Once your event has been created, click on the tab “Manage” and select “Seating Charts” from the dropdown list. For more detailed instructions on how to use this feature, check out this post on the TicketLeap blog.


About Carolyn Crummey

Carolyn Crummey is a business and technology strategist and the owner of VirTasktic (, an agency dedicated to providing high-level virtual services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. A lover of technology and small business, Carolyn has built a career on the intelligent use of technology to increase business efficiency and productivity, which ultimately leads to greater profitability. Carolyn works closely with her clients to understand their challenges and helps them integrate the best technology solutions into their businesses so they too can enjoy great successes. You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at @CarolynCrummey or @VirTasktic.