The Ticker: Modern business life

Red tape isn’t the only thing Abbott is cutting, property clouds on the horizon says Macquarie and shoes that tone your legs while you walk? The ACCC says no.

On today's blog:

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3.30pm - One interactive on how Twitter covered the Ottawa shooting 

Just a quick graphic on the news we all work up to this morning: the shooting in Ottawa.

The incident is huge global news event, but in terms of how it compares on Twitter: Apple iPhone 6 launch earlier this year generated roughly seven times the amount of tweets as the shooting.

1.30pm - Shoes that tone your legs while you walk? The ACCC says no

Here’s a US ad for Reebok’s EasyTone shoes. They’re shoes that the company claims tone your legs while you walk. Reebok has been selling them  in Australia since 2009. 

And here’s what the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission had to say about them

Remind you of anything? This ruling on Red Bull came down earlier this month. 

1pm - A primer on Google’s latest attempt to revolutionise email

The above video really tells you all you need to know about Inbox, Google's new email app. Here's a bit of context from Technology Spectator:

“We think email is really great—it’s open, it’s ubiquitous, you can use it on any device. But the world has changed a lot since it was invented,” said Alex Gawley, the product director of both Gmail and the Inbox app.

“In 2004, when Gmail was launched we were still 3 years away from the first iPhone.” While the world has moved from clam-shells to touchscreens, email hasn’t evolved in step. Inbox is Google’s attempt to bring email up to speed. “We thought, ‘What if we started completely fresh, what if we built a whole new product that was an inbox that really, truly tried to do the work for you?’—an inbox that tried to help you get back to what mattered to you,” Gawley said of Inbox’s inspiration.

And indeed, Inbox does look different than other email apps. It looks more like a social networking feed than a traditional inbox. And that’s the point, said Jason Cornwell, the lead designer on both Gmail and Inbox. “It looks really different than Gmail, but that’s because we’re trying to solve a different problem,” Cornwell said. “We’re trying to be the best place to get back to the things that matter to you.”

Read more about Inbox here. 

11.25am - Property clouds on the horizon: Macquarie

By David Rogers, BusinessNow

Macquarie sees “clouds looming over the domestic property market”, and expects banks to underperform if investor housing cools.

“Recent  announcements around macroprudential regulation represent a significant change in view from the RBA,” the broker says. “Likewise the Government appears about to get serious about foreign buyers.”

“While this is unlikely to result in a ‘train wreck’,  international experience points to 2 to 13 per cent underperformance by banking sectors faced with these kinds of interventions.”

“Domestically we believe the sector hasn’t skipped a beat mainly due to ‘dividend harvesting’leading into FY14 results. Investors should be wary though given stocks may give back the dividend and more post results given the headwinds (property and capital) surrounding the sector.”

“We have factored in the mid scenario which sees a 3 per cent reduction in investor credit growth resulting in up to a 1 per cent reduction in cash NPAT and target prices for each of the majors.”

11.15am - What the end of cheques means for business

Is the end of the cheque nigh? Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens thinks so. Here’s an excerpt from his speech today on payments. We added the graphs, which are from the Australian Payments Clearing Association’s website.  

A more marked decline is evident in the use of cheques. The number of cheques written in Australia peaked around 1995. Since then, the number of cheques written each year per capita has fallen by more than 80 per cent. 

Over the same period, the number of electronic payments per capita has risen by more than 400 per cent. 

More interesting is the implications of this trend. As Stevens explains:

As the use of cheques has fallen, the per-cheque cost to financial institutions and businesses has generally risen. The market has, and continues to, respond to these pressures by looking for more efficient ways to process cheques, but they are clearly the highest cost payment instrument, as will be confirmed when the Bank releases its payments cost study later this year.

This decline in the use of cheques, a very expensive payment instrument, is one that the private and public sector will have to manage. Part of that will involve the introduction of effective and readily available substitutes for users, and initiatives such as Superstream and eConveyancing are likely to be part of this.

10.30am - Sunday is the new cheap flight champion

By Chris Kohler, BusinessNow

New American research shows the cheapest time to buy flights is on the weekend, according to Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal.

It used to be all about tight-arse Tuesdays… but not anymore. The Airlines Reporting Corporation (US) has found that Sunday is the new cheap flight champion and Saturday comes in a close second.

And on a broader note, booking your flights as early as possible isn’t the answer. They key is hitting the cheap-flight sweet spot.

In Australia, experts have said that the best time to buy a domestic flight is between three and 12 weeks before the flight, which lines up with the American research. The US data shows the cheapest time to buy a domestic flight is 57 days before (8 weeks).

10.10am - Red tape isn’t the only thing Abbott is cutting

The Abbott government’s red tape bonfire is about to get even bigger. Yesterday, the government confirmed that it will attempt to save businesses and individuals an additional $1.62 billion in costs with its next ‘Repeal day’. It seems Abbott is pulling out the sheers for this round of cutting, as last ‘Repeal day’ the government less than half of this next event’s ambitious total.

There is nothing wrong cutting red tape, especially if the point is to reduce government duplication of processes. But it’s worthwhile considering the other side of the coin, the government jobs that may be lost as a result of this initiative.

Each year the Australian Public Service Commission releases a statistical bulletin on the size and shape of the public service. The APS has been contracting over the past couple of years, but there has been a noticeable uptick in redundancies this years’ report. Here are five graphs that illustrate this. 

1. Public service redundancies are at a 14-year high.

2. There is an exodus of workers who are over 50.

3. The Australian Taxation Office has borne the majority of the cuts.

4. The majority of redundancies are from middle-management.

5. New hiring has also taken a nosedive. 

9am - Interesting reads from around the web

Another day, another Ticker. If you missed it, be sure to check out yesterday’s posts on Medibank and the negative gearing debate. Now on to today’s reading list:

She knows how to hit her fan base like an “arrow through the heart”. The genius of Taylor Swift’s PR empire.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s missing ingredient? Currency manipulation rules.

Forget Oculus Rift. Meet the cardboard box that can turn your phone into a virtual reality experience machine.

Inside Twitter’s ambitious plan to kill the password. Keep in mind, Facebook and Google are both trying to do the same thing.

The apocalypse is finally bigger than football. The premiere of season five of The Walking Dead outrated the NFL on US cable TV.

Good news for allergy sufferers. A French biotech firm has developed a patch that looks to suppress peanut-based anaphylaxis. Now all it needs is funding.

Oh, and in case you missed it: Jacqui Lambie yesterday suggested that Australia needs to prepare for Ebola-infected suicide bombers. “It’s biological chemical warfare,” she said. 

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