3

Facebook building a 100-gigabit switch to keep up with video, VR traffic

acebook is more than doubling the speed of its Wedge open-source network switch, which is good news both for Facebook users and for anyone who may want to build a 100-gigabit switch.

The Wedge sits at the top of a rack of servers to connect them to Facebook’s network. It was announced in June 2014, and thousands are already deployed in the company. Plus, the social network made the design of the Wedge open source so other manufacturers could build switches like it.

Networking server data centre

However, less than two years later, the 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports in the original Wedge are proving no match for the fast-growing traffic on Facebook’s network. To keep up, the company is now developing a version of the switch with 100-Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. It gave more details in a blog post but hasn’t said when the new switches will be ready.

Much of the traffic in Facebook’s data centers is just among the company’s own switches. But it’s growing along with much more bandwidth-intensive content on the social network, including big video files and virtual-reality content like 360-degree videos that Facebook recently introduced.

“Whenever there is capacity, people will build stuff to consume it,” said Jay Parikh, vice president of global engineering and infrastructure, at the Structure conference in San Francisco on Thursday. Facebook says it has more powerful servers, and more of them, than it did when the first Wedge was introduced. As many as four servers can be hooked up to each port of the Wedge.

The Wedge 100 will have 32 100G ports, the same maximum number as on today’s Wedge but all at the higher speed. Like the current switch, it has a non-blocking design, meaning that it can fully feed all of its ports at the same time if necessary. Thus the total capacity of the Wedge 100 is 3.2Tbps.

Facebook designs its own switches and writes its own software for them because it wants the flexibility to meet its own rapidly developing needs. In addition to the Wedge, earlier this year it introduced the 6-pack, a modular switch for connecting server racks to each other. The 6-pack is based on the Wedge and can have as many as 128 40-gigabit ports. Facebook has also developed its own data-center network design.

What Facebook invents in network hardware, it makes available for others to use. At least one vendor, Accton, already sells a customizable top-of-rack switch based on the 40-gigabit Wedge. The design has been accepted by the Open Compute Project, which Facebook founded in 2011 to share open-source hardware designs. It also plans to share the Wedge 100′s design.

The company uses an internally developed OS, called FBOSS, on its own switches. But it has also joined up with Big Switch Networks to offer an open-source network operating system called Open Network Linux for others to use.

The advent of so-called “white box” networking gear based on open hardware and software could trickle down from giant IT shops like Facebook to provide enterprises with an alternative to traditional systems from companies like Cisco Systems. But Cisco says its overall architecture costs customers less in the long run.

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P.O.S SYSTEM

Why sell abroad?

An online business looking to expand will naturally open up to selling abroad. The first and arguably most difficult step is deciding which country to enter. Understandably, certain countries are more culturally similar to your home country (e.g., you may share the same language) and should be your first choice. However, there are other deciding factors. Read on to learn about the starting points to consider as you step onto the global onlinestage.

Black and white photo of Paris

  1. Cultural research

Every culture has its own habits, characteristics, values and principles. Understanding the consumer of the country in question is integral. Their values, preferences and needs will determine your site’s content, how you choose your products and any communications with your customer base — essentially, your entire eCommerce strategy. Are these consumers price sensitive? Do they expect free shipping? Do they tend to abandon their carts? What kind of customer service do they expect?  Have you researched local holidays and cultural sensitivities around imagery and metaphors? All of these points will help you tailor your customer experience and make a positive mark on local shoppers.

  1. Language

This may seem obvious, but perfect language is key to connecting with locals. Certain pages are of particular importance, such as payment pages — confusion at this stage can certainly lead to cart abandonment.

  1. The competition

What better way to learn about a new market than looking at the competition. What are they doing right? What kind of feedback are they receiving? You want to stay on top of current and future local trends.

  1. Payment habits

Preferred payment methods differ between countries. Some are credit card-centric, others go for debit cards or online payment sites such as PayPal. Some users don’t feel comfortable filling out credit card numbers online, while others don’t hesitate. Spanish consumers, for example, tend to not fully trust online payments and rather choose cash on delivery.

  1. Shipping

Running a successful international eCommerce business requires an in depth understanding of logistics and local geography. Is delivery more common to homes or drop-off points? Certain areas may not provide the same standards of delivery as others, some may even be known for their notoriously unreliable services.

  1. Social media and online marketing

Understanding local usage of social media is invaluable. Are users social media savvy? Connecting with users on their platforms of choice can do wonders for your business, instantly creating increased brand awareness. You should also look for opportunities to post banner ads, get sponsored content and appear on price/product comparison sites to increase local exposure.

  1. Google AdWords

Initially, when you enter new territory, you’re not going to have a strong organic following on Google. A great tool to help improve your ranking isGoogle AdWords. Identify local keywords and go from there, to increase online visibility.

Image for moving your ecommerce business abroad

Certain countries adopt online shopping habits faster than others, so you must be careful when deciding which foreign markets to enter. In certain markets, the trend of buying online may be growing and you could jump on at the right moment, while other markets may be saturated with similar products to yours and should be avoided.

The key to your success is having a good reason for entering a particular market and ensuring you have the ability to adapt your business to its cultural standards. This applies to all elements of your business, such as  design, language, product, online promotional strategies such as Google AdWords, shipping and payment options.

5

Why your café needs a POS system

Perhaps you’ve been running your café successfully with only a pen and paper for years — and it works. Have you been using an old-fashioned cash register without any issue? Maybe an older POS system did the trick.

While there are many ways to successfully go about something, there are certain ways to improve the efficiency of your business and work in a streamlined fashioned. A modern, cloud-based POS system could help you manage your business day to day, so you can focus on growing and delivering exceptional customer service.

How can a cloud-based POS system help your café or bakery grow?

Create your ideal setup
Take payments wherever you are! With integrated credit card payments offered by POS systems like Lightspeed, you can print customizable receipts and finalize bills from your iPhone or iPad — in your café, terrace, market stand, kiosk or even food truck.

Lightspeed adapts to your way of running things. Take orders at the counter or table with an iPad or iPhone/iPhone touch, or create a more traditional counter setup.

Offer superior service and get to know your customers better
Give your customers the freedom to pay as they prefer. Depending on your payment processor, you can take cash, debit, credit card — even Apple Pay!

A POS system that allows you to print customizable receipts also allows you to build closer relationships with your customers. You can include anything you like on your receipts, such as QR codes linking to your website or Facebook page, or messages about upcoming specials.

Make well-informed menu and business decisions
Update your menu based on the information you gather from your POS. A cloud-based POS system with reporting features lets you track inventory, determine top sellers and analyze profits, giving you the tools to make the business decisions needed to move forward.

Don’t worry about losing information
With a cloud-based POS system, you’ll always have access to your menus, reports and sales data. Lightspeed POS also offers back-up 4G/LTE and offline server solutions to ensure you don’t run into any issues.

Link the front-end and back-end staff
When orders are taken on an iPad or iPhone, they’re sent directly to the kitchen (or anywhere else you choose), ensuring orders are completed quickly.

Save space with a modern POS
Lightspeed Restaurant’s POS doesn’t take much counter space — a printer, cash drawer and an iPad or iPhone are all you need to take orders and run your business.

6

How Restaurants Can Benefit From Self-Service Kiosks

Order, pay and seat yourself without talking to anyone. This is common in European and Asian quick service and fast casual restaurants, and now Americans are catching on by using self-service kiosks.

Kiosks are electronic ordering systems that provide a touchscreen menu for guests. Kiosks integrate directly with your point-of-sale (POS) system, making order processing extremely easy.

Take Panera Bread for example. The restaurant chain started to modernize their customer experience in 2014 by releasing Panera 2.0, a self-service kiosk featuring online payment, customized ordering, links to the loyalty program, and more. This year their CEO plans to replace all cashiers with kiosks.

While there are reasons economically that make this a good change, we’ll focus on the benefits that a kiosk can bring to a restaurant. In the right environment, Bepoz’s kiosks could:

  • Increase Revenue – Some restaurants claim to experience anywhere from 10 to 30% increase in revenue when implementing a self-service kiosk. This happens because every customer receives suggested upsells during the ordering process. They can also receive lists of the best menu items first, as well as any specials.
  • Increase of Accuracy – Guests feel like orders are more accurate because they are directly involved in ordering, and that perception can help improve a restaurant’s overall customer service.
  • Eliminate Long Lines – A set of kiosks can help speed up the check out process by offering guests multiple places to order.
  • Reduce Labor Costs – Since kiosks replace cashiers, this helps to reduce labor costs.
  • Focus on Expediting – Employees can spend their focus on creating and expediting the food. This can also increase the output of food delivered.
  • Showcase Promotions – Guests can view the newest menu item, special prices/discounts, as well as participate in a customer loyalty program.