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eTail 2012: Challenges of the Hyperconnected Shopper

As I fly into Palm Springs for my fourth trip to eTail West, I am growing more excited about the week ahead. I'm thrilled to be meeting up with the best of the Akamai team's Internet and industry experts - from Marilee Rhodes in California to Laurie Findeisen in New York - and the agenda is packed with great speakers and content. We're also launching two new products: Mobile Accelerator 1.0 and Kona Site Defender. Please come by the booth (#32-33) to say hello to us all, and learn more about these brand new products, as well as our Advertising and Site solutions.

I am especially excited to see Tom Leighton, Akamai's Founder and Chief Scientist, give his debut eTail keynote presentation tomorrow morning. Tom is one of the world's authorities on the Internet and network applications and he'll be offering his perspective on the emergence of the hyperconnected shopper - from QR codes to in store maps and coupons - and the challenges of delivering these experiences over the Internet.

Mobile users expectations are higher than ever - more than half expect a mobile site to respond in less than 3 seconds - but response times are on average 3 times higher. Tom will share with us why mobile network architecture was not designed with the web in mind, and the tactics available both today and in the future to overcome these shortcomings.
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Behind the challenges of accessing mobile sites quickly and consistently, is the growing challenge that no one wants to talk about, but is now critical to address - the protection of an ecommerce site against malicious attacks. Attack frequency has grown a remarkable 3500% from 2009 to 2011, with downtime costing hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of dollars an hour. Tom will give us a State of the Internet security primer: what we really need to know about what can go wrong, and all the tools a retailer needs at their disposal to be prepared in the event of an attack.

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Whether an Internet expert or novice, hearing from Tom is always insightful; I've never walked out of a presentation without incredibly useful notes jotted down. I'll be prepared with pen and paper (or my iPad and Evernote!) this week, for Tom's presentation, and for all of the other workshops and content. As the week progresses, I'll be posting updates on the best of the show content. For even more real time insight into the eTail activities, you can also check out the eTail blog

We'll see you at Tom's presentation, and happy eTailing!

Lelah Manz is Chief Strategist, Retail & Commerce, at Akamai.