Is This the Real Life or is it Just Fantasy? Peeking into Actual Adoption Rates of the IoT

IoT this, connected devices that. Are companies really delving into the Internet of Things – and if so, how are they going about it? Keep reading for some true insight into IoT adoption, which is based on actual data about real-life IoT trends and challenges for the enterprise.

The IoT has been a hot topic lately. The 2016 holiday season saw vendors like Amazon and Google aggressively promoting a new generation of “smart” devices for the home. The Dyn network outage in October highlighted the new types of security risks that connected devices are posing. These trends helped bring the IoT onto the radar screens of the masses for the first time.

In light of developments like these, you may be tempted to think of the IoT as a revolutionary new type of technology that is rapidly changing the way we compute.

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The Real State of the IoT

But that’s not quite right. Yes, connected devices are an increasingly important part of the tech market. To gain true perspective on the IoT’s past, present, and future, however, it’s worth keeping the following facts in mind:

  • The IoT is not at all a new idea. The term itself was coined more than a decade ago. Smart devices for the home, like Internet-enabled refrigerators, have been around since the late 1990s.
  • The IoT remains a very broad and vaguely defined concept. It includes smart consumer devices like thermostats and Philips Hue light bulbs. But it also involves remotely controlled traffic lights, sensors that retailers use to monitor inventory and even – believe it or not – bulldozers.
  • The extent to which IoT devices integrate with traditional computing infrastructure, and the ways they connect to it, vary widely. Most smart devices in the home connect to commodity servers using traditional networks and IP addresses – a familiar paradigm. But more obscure protocols, like long range wireless, are also an important part of the IoT, especially in settings where implementing traditional network infrastructure is not feasible.

What facts like these show is that – despite the recent headlines made by certain segments of the IoT market – it’s better to think of the IoT as a relatively traditional computing paradigm that is slowly but steadily evolving. It’s also one that encompasses much more than the smart consumer devices that first come to mind when most people think of the IoT.

blog nest app Is This the Real Life or is it Just Fantasy? Peeking into Actual Adoption Rates of the IoT

IoT Adoption Trends

That the IoT is now as new as many people think does not mean that companies aren’t eager to invest in it. A Gartner study in early 2016 found that 29 percent were already using IoT technology, and another 14 percent planned to invest in it by the end of the year. The overall value of the global IoT market will surpass fourteen trillion dollars by 2022, according to Cisco.

IoT adoption rates and valuations are even higher within certain industries. A summer 2016 survey of retailers and logistics providers reported that 64 percent were already using IoT technology, for instance. Within manufacturing, IoT market size is expected to triple between 2015 and 2020.

IoT Challenges, and How to Overcome Them

It’s clear, then, that there is a lot of interest within the enterprise in investing in the IoT. But the fact that the IoT remains poorly understood shows that companies run the risk of making mistakes because they are not prepared to address all of the challenges posed by moving to the IoT. In order to invest in IoT technology successfully, companies should be prepared for the following:

  • Integrating data from diverse sources. 69 percent of CIOs report data integration as the biggest challenge they face in implementing industrial IoT technology. This is no surprise, given the fact that IoT devices and networks vary so widely. To solve this data integration challenge, organizations need tools that can aggregate information from a variety of sources.
  • Making sense of IoT data. The more devices and networks you have on the IoT, the harder it becomes to assure that the data they produce is actionable. To meet this challenge, enterprises have to deploy data analytics solutions that can interpret information in diverse forms.
  • Integrating IoT devices with legacy infrastructure. As noted above, not all IoT devices can simply connect to commodity servers using the standard Internet protocol. Enterprises that want to make the most of IoT connectivity need solutions that can facilitate connectivity and data exchange between new types of devices on the IoT and the old infrastructure that companies already have in place, like mainframes. Enterprises should not expect to rebuild their infrastructures from scratch just to make them IoT-friendly.
  • Securing IoT data. The expansion of the IoT is breeding a whole new generation of security risks. By compromising IoT devices, attackers can wreak real havoc on critical infrastructure. This makes securing IoT data – both on IoT devices themselves and on the servers that help to store and analyze that data – absolutely essential.

Fortunately, tools to help enterprises overcome the challenges to IoT adoption are already here. These include Syncsort’s collection of solutions for easing data storage and data analytics on infrastructure composed of diverse devices and networks.

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Three ways your business can build a better data culture

If you’re already using Microsoft Power BI Pro, you’ve learned how to unify all your data sources and create dashboards and reports that deliver useful business insights to decision makers. We’re sure that’s working out well for the business, and we bet it’s earned you some notice. Here are three tips that will help you get even more out of Power BI Pro and transform the data culture at your organization.

1. Get substantive content to the people who need it, and reduce churn for analysts.

When you create dashboards, reports, Microsoft Excel workbooks, and data visualizations in Power BI Pro and publish them in organizational content packs, they become part of a content pack library. Your colleagues can browse or search the library for content published to the entire organization, to distribution groups, and to Microsoft Office 365 groups they might belong to. Unlike simple dashboard sharing, which offers just read-only access, organizational content packs allow assigned users to dig deeper and even update reports. Data consumers get fewer restraints and a personalized view of the information that matters to them, without creating churn for analysts or consuming IT resources. Learn more about how to create organizational content packs in Power BI Pro.

2. Make it easier for your team to share insights, make decisions, and take action

Create a group in Power BI Pro to organize and distribute all the dashboards, visualizations, and reports related to your team. When you create a group, add members, or share dashboards or content packs in a group workspace, you can assign who can edit which content, who can share it, who they can share it with, and who can just read it. That way key stakeholders can work together easily to stay connected and move projects forward. If you link Power BI Pro with Office 365, then you can also use Office 365 group services such as Microsoft OneDrive for business and Microsoft Exchange Online to store and share group files and manage group messaging, calendars, and tasks. To streamline how your team works together, learn how to create a group and add members in Power BI Pro.

3. Automate all your data refreshes to deliver an up-to-the-moment pulse on the business.

With your data sources unified and continually refreshed, you’re ready for real-time analytics at any scale. But if you have Excel files connected to an SQL database, the data is actually coming from Microsoft SQL Server, not the Excel file, and it won’t refresh in Power BI until you install a gateway. Once you’ve configured the gateway, go into the Excel dataset settings and sign in to the data source. Do it once and you’re set; now you can schedule Power BI Pro to automatically connect to the SQL database and refresh all Excel data. From now on, nobody has to wait for the next report or accidentally use outdated information. Learn how to make decisions based on what’s happening now—not last quarter.

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Bill Bolsters Legal Efforts of Wells Fargo Fraud Victims

United States lawmakers last week introduced legislation to stop Wells Fargo from enforcing arbitration agreements with victims of fraud it perpetrated against them.

wells fargo Bill Bolsters Legal Efforts of Wells Fargo Fraud Victims

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the Justice for Victims of Fraud Act of 2016 in their respective chambers.

Among the Senate bill’s cosponsors are Sens. Patrick Leahy, Elizabeth Warren, Patty Murray, Richard Durbin, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Jeff Merkley.

House cosponsors include Reps. John Conyers, who serves as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Michael Capuano, Matt Cartwright, Judy Chu, Danny Davis, Donna Edwards and Raul Grijalva.

The bill complements an oversight rule prohibiting mandatory arbitration clauses, which the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed this spring.

The CFPB rule would apply only to contracts signed after its adoption, but the Justice for Victims of Fraud Act would apply retroactively to victims Wells Fargo defrauded, even if they signed contracts that included arbitration clauses for legitimate accounts in the past.

Cooperative Courts

Wells Fargo has achieved some success in court with the argument that arbitration clauses applicable to legitimate accounts also cover accounts the bank fraudulently opened for customers without their consent.

In a push to boost its account numbers, Wells Fargo management over a period of years instructed employees to create millions of unauthorized accounts. The fallout from the fraud included the firing of 5,300 employees and the exit of CEO John Stumpf following a grilling in Congress. The CFPB imposed a fine of $ 100 million, and Wells Fargo customers stampeded out the door.

In an apparent effort at damage reduction, the bank now is attempting to avoid harsh legal penalties by forcing defrauded customers into arbitration proceedings.

The odds tend to be stacked against consumers when cases go to arbitration. Among other things, strict judicial rules limiting conflicts of interest don’t apply, so companies can steer cases to friendly arbitrators. Further, there is no public oversight, and decisions tend to be binding.

“It takes a lot of corporate chutzpah to stick people with accounts they didn’t ask for and then tell them they can’t sue because of an arbitration clause in some other account,” Jim Lardner, communications director of Americans for Financial Reform, told CRM Buyer.

Wells Fargo’s Dirty Deeds

“This legislation gives these defrauded customers the opportunity to seek justice in court, and is a step in the right direction in bringing fairness to consumer finance,” said Melissa Stegman,, a senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending.

Opening fraudulent accounts isn’t the only abusive tactic Wells Fargo has used, she told CRM Buyer, noting that it’s also “notorious for manipulating transactions in order to charge excessive overdraft fees.”

Court rulings in favor of Wells Fargo’s enforcement of arbitration with various disgruntled consumers are in error, maintained Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League.

The doctrine of unclean hands should apply in these cases, she told CRM Buyer.

“You come in, commit fraud, and advocate some argument to allow your fraud to be realized — that’s not acceptable,” Greenberg said. Wells Fargo “has come in with unclean hands and has no right to force arbitration.”

Support for the Bill

The Justice for Victims of Fraud Act has received endorsements from a plethora of organizations, including The American Association for Justice, Consumers Union, the National Consumer Law Center, Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for Responsible Lending, the NAACP, and the National Consumers League. end enn Bill Bolsters Legal Efforts of Wells Fargo Fraud Victims


Richard%20Adhikari Bill Bolsters Legal Efforts of Wells Fargo Fraud VictimsRichard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it’s all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon’s Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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Integrated Planning And Simulation: Delivering New Insights At High Speed

These days it seems that we are witnessing waves of extreme disruption rather than incremental technology change. While some tech news stories have been just so much noise, unlikely to have long-term impact, a few are important signals of much bigger, longer-term changes afoot.

From bots to blockchains, augmented realities to human-machine convergence, a number of rapidly advancing technological capabilities hit important inflection points in 2016. We looked at five important emerging technology news stories that happened this year and the trends set in motion that will have an impact for a long time to come.

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Immersive experiences were one of three top-level trends identified by Gartner for 2016, and that was evident in the enormous popularity of Pokémon Go. While the hype may have come and gone, the immersive technologies that have been quietly advancing in the background for years are ready to boil over into the big time—and into the enterprise.

The free location-based augmented reality (AR) game took off shortly after Nintendo launched it in July, and it became the most downloaded app in Apple’s app store history in its first week, as reported by TechCrunch. Average daily usage of the app on Android devices in July 2016 exceeded that of the standard-bearers Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, according to SimilarWeb. Within two months, Pokémon Go had generated more than US$ 440 million, according to Sensor Tower.

Unlike virtual reality (VR), which immerses us in a simulated world, AR layers computer-generated information such as graphics, sound, or other data on top of our view of the real world. In the case of Pokémon Go, players venture through the physical world using a digital map to search for Pokémon characters.

The game’s instant global acceptance was a surprise. Most watching this space expected an immersive headset device like Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard to steal the headlines. But it took Pikachu and the gang to break through. Pokémon Go capitalized on a generation’s nostalgia for its childhood and harnessed the latest advancements in key AR enabling technologies such as geolocation and computer vision.

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images8 Integrated Planning And Simulation: Delivering New Insights At High SpeedJust as mobile technologies percolated inside companies for several years before the iPhone exploded onto the market, companies have been dabbling in AR since the beginning of the decade. IKEA created an AR catalog app in 2013 to help customers visualize how their KIVIK modular sofa, for example, would look in their living rooms. Mitsubishi Electric has been perfecting an AR application, introduced in 2011, that enables homeowners to visualize its HVAC products in their homes. Newport News Shipbuilding has launched some 30 AR projects to help the company build and maintain its vessels. Tech giants including Facebook, HP, and Apple have been snapping up immersive tech startups for some time.

The overnight success of Pokémon Go will fuel interest in and understanding of all mediated reality technology—virtual and augmented. It’s created a shorthand for describing immersive reality and could launch a wave of technology consumerization the likes of which we haven’t seen since the iPhone instigated a tsunami of smartphone usage. Enterprises would be wise to figure out the role of immersive technology sooner rather than later. “AR and VR will both be the new normal within five years,” says futurist Gerd Leonhard, noting that the biggest hurdles may be mobile bandwidth availability and concerns about sensory overload. “Pokémon is an obvious opening scene only—professional use of AR and VR will explode.”

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Blockchains, the decentralized digital ledgers of transactions that are processed by a distributed network, first made headlines as the foundation for new types of financial transactions beginning with Bitcoin in 2009. According to Greenwich Associates, financial and technology companies will invest an estimated $ 1 billion in blockchain technology in 2016. But, as Gartner recently pointed out, there could be even more rapid evolution and acceptance in the areas of manufacturing, government, healthcare, and education.

By the 2020s, blockchain-based systems will reduce or eliminate many points of friction for a variety of business transactions. Individuals and companies will be able to exchange a wide range of digitized or digitally represented assets and value with anyone else, according to PwC. The supervised peer-to-peer network concept “is the future,” says Leonhard.

But the most important blockchain-related news of 2016 revealed a weak link in the application of technology that is touted as an immutable record.

In theory, blockchain technology creates a highly tamper-resistant structure that makes transactions secure and verifiable through a massively distributed digital ledger. All the transactions that take place are recorded in this ledger, which lives on many computers. High-grade encryption makes it nearly impossible for someone to cheat the system.

In practice, however, blockchain-based transactions and contracts are only as good as the code that enables them.

Case in point: The DAO, one of the first major implementations of a “Decentralized Autonomous Organization” (for which the fund is named). The DAO was a crowdfunded venture capital fund using cryptocurrency for investments and run through smart contracts. The rules that govern those smart contracts, along with all financial transaction records, are maintained on the blockchain. In June, the DAO revealed that an individual exploited a vulnerability in the company’s smart contract code to take control of nearly $ 60 million worth of the company’s digital currency.

The fund’s investors voted to basically rewrite the smart contract code and roll back the transaction, in essence going against the intent of blockchain-based smart contracts, which are supposed to be irreversible once they self-execute.

The DAO’s experience confirmed one of the inherent risks of distributed ledger technology—and, in particular, the risk of running a very large fund autonomously through smart contracts based on blockchain technology. Smart contract code must be as error-free as possible. As Cornell University professor and hacker Emin Gün Sirer wrote in his blog, “writing a robust, secure smart contract requires extreme amounts of diligence. It’s more similar to writing code for a nuclear power reactor, than to writing loose web code.” Since smart contracts are intended to be executed irreversibly on the blockchain, their code should not be rewritten and improved over time, as software typically is. But since no code can ever be completely airtight, smart contracts may have to build in contingency plans for when weaknesses in their code are exploited.

Importantly, the incident was not a result of any inherent weakness in the blockchain or distributed ledger technology generally. It will not be the end of cryptocurrencies or smart contracts. And it’s leading to more consideration of editable blockchains, which proponents say would only be used in extraordinary circumstances, according to Technology Review.

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Application programming interfaces (APIs), the computer codes that serve as a bridge between software applications, are not traditionally a hot topic outside of coder circles. But they are critical components in much of the consumer technology we’ve all come to rely on day-to-day.

One of the most important events in API history was the introduction of such an interface for Google Maps a decade ago. The map app was so popular that everyone wanted to incorporate its capabilities into their own systems. So Google released an API that enabled developers to connect to and use the technology without having to hack into it. The result was the launch of hundreds of inventive location-enabled apps using Google technology. Today, millions of web sites and apps use Google Maps APIs, from Allstate’s GoodHome app, which shows homeowners a personalized risk assessment of their properties, to Harley-Davidson’s Ride Planner to 7-Eleven’s app for finding the nearest Slurpee.

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images6 Integrated Planning And Simulation: Delivering New Insights At High SpeedUltimately, it became de rigueur for apps to open up their systems in a safe way for experimentation by others through APIs. Technology professional Kin Lane, who tracks the now enormous world of APIs, has said, “APIs bring together a unique blend of technology, business, and politics into a transparent, self-service mix that can foster innovation.”

Thus it was significant when Apple announced in June that it would open up Siri to third-party developers through an API, giving the wider world the ability to integrate Siri’s voice commands into their apps. The move came on the heels of similar decisions by Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, all of which have AI bots or assistants of their own. And in October, Google opened up its Google Assistant as well.

The introduction of APIs confirms that the AI technology behind these bots has matured significantly—and that a new wave of AI-based innovation is nigh.

The best way to spark that innovation is to open up AI technologies such as Siri so that coders can use them as platforms to build new apps that can more rapidly expand AI uses and capabilities. Call it the “platformication” of AI. The value will be less in the specific AI products a company introduces than in the value of the platform for innovation. And that depends on the quality of the API. The tech company that attracts the best and brightest will win. AI platforms are just beginning to emerge and the question is: Who will be the platform leader?

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In June, Swiss citizens voted on a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all of its citizens, as reported by BBC News. It was the first country to take the issue to the polls, but it won’t be the last. Discussions about the impact of both automation and the advancing gig economy on individual livelihoods are happening around the world. Other countries—including the United States—are looking at solutions to the problem. Both Finland and the Netherlands have universal guaranteed income pilots planned for next year. Meanwhile, American startup incubator Y Combinator is launching an experiment to give 100 families in Oakland, California, a minimum wage for five years with no strings attached, according to Quartz.

The world is on the verge of potential job loss at a scale and speed never seen before. The Industrial Revolution was more of an evolution, happening over more than a century. The ongoing digital revolution is happening in relative hyper speed.

No one is exactly sure how increased automation and digitization will affect the world’s workforce. One 2013 study suggests as much as 47% of the U.S workforce is at risk of being replaced by machines over the next two decades, but even a conservative estimate of 10% could have a dramatic impact, not just on workers but on society as a whole.

The proposed solution in Switzerland did not pass, in part because a major political party did not introduce it, and citizens are only beginning to consider the potential implications of digitization on their incomes. What’s more, the idea of simply guaranteeing pay runs contrary to long-held notions in many societies that humans ought to earn their keep.

Whether or not state-funded support is the answer is just one of the questions that must be answered. The votes and pilots underway make it clear that governments will have to respond with some policy measures. The question is: What will those measures be? The larger impact of mass job displacement, what future employment conditions might look like, and what the responsibilities of institutions are in ensuring that we can support ourselves are among the issues that policy makers will need to address.

New business models resulting from digitization will create some new types of roles—but those will require training and perhaps continued education. And not all of those who will be displaced will be in a position to remake their careers. Just consider taxi drivers: In the United States, about 223,000 people currently earn their living behind the wheel of a hired car. The average New York livery driver is 46 years old, according to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and no formal education is required. When self-driving cars take over, those jobs will go away and the men and women who held them may not be qualified for the new positions that emerge.

As digitization dramatically changes the constructs of commerce and work, no one is quite sure how people will be impacted. But waiting to see how it all shakes out is not a winning strategy. Companies and governments today will have to experiment with potential solutions before the severity of the problem is clear. Among the questions that will have to be answered: How can we retrain large parts of the workforce? How will we support those who fall through the cracks? Will we prioritize and fund education? Technological progress and shifting work models will continue, whether or not we plan for their consequences.

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In April, a young man, who was believed to have permanently lost feeling in and control over his hands and legs as the result of a devastating spine injury, became able to use his right hand and fingers again. He used technology that transmits his thoughts directly to his hand muscles, bypassing his injured spinal cord. Doctors implanted a computer chip into the quadriplegic’s brain two years ago and—with ongoing training and practice—he can now perform everyday tasks like pouring from a bottle and playing video games.

The system reconnected the man’s brain directly to his muscles—the first time that engineers have successfully bypassed the nervous system’s information superhighway, the spinal cord. It’s the medical equivalent of moving from wired to wireless computing.

The man has in essence become a cyborg, that term first coined in 1960 to describe “self-regulating human-machine systems.” Yet the beneficiary of this scientific advance himself said, “You’re not going to be looked on as, ‘Oh, I’m a cyborg now because I have this big huge prosthetic on the side of my arm.’ It’s something a lot more natural and intuitive to learn because I can see my own hand reacting.”

As described in IEEE Spectrum, the “neural-bypass system” records signals that the man generates when thinking about moving his hand, decodes those signals, and routes them to the electric sleeve around his arm to stimulate movement: “The result looks surprisingly simple and natural: When Burkhart thinks about picking up a bottle, he picks up the bottle. When he thinks about playing a chord in Guitar Hero, he plays the chord.”

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images5 Integrated Planning And Simulation: Delivering New Insights At High SpeedWhat seems straightforward on the surface is powered by a sophisticated algorithm that can analyze the vast amounts of data the man’s brain produces, separating important signals from noise.

The fact that engineers have begun to unlock the complex code that controls brain-body communication opens up enormous possibilities. Neural prostheses (cochlear implants) have already reversed hearing loss. Light-sensitive chips serving as artificial retinas are showing progress in restoring vision. Other researchers are exploring computer implants that can read human thoughts directly to signal an external computer to help people speak or move in new ways. “Human and machine are converging,” says Leonhard.

The National Academy of Engineering predicts that “the intersection of engineering and neuroscience promises great advances in healthcare, manufacturing, and communication.”

Burkhart spent two years in training with the computer that has helped power his arm to get this far. It’s the result of more than a decade of development in brain-computer interfaces. And it can currently be used only in the lab; researchers are working on a system for home use. But it’s a clear indication of how quickly the lines between man and machine are blurring—and it opens the door for further computerized reanimation in many new scenarios.

This fall, Switzerland hosted its first cyborg Olympics, in which disabled patients compete using the latest assistive technologies, including robot exoskeletons and brainwave-readers. Paraplegic athletes use electrical simulation systems to compete in cycling, for example. The winners are those who can control their device the best. “Instead of celebrating the human body moving under its own power,” said a recent article in the IEEE Spectrum, “the cyborg games will celebrate the strength and ingenuity of human-machine collaborations.” D!

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Ducks Work At South African Vineyard

Vineyard Keeps Vines Pest-Free with the Help of This Adorable 900-Duck Army.  Oddity Central.

 News24 Video provides the video.

WATCH: Find out how these 800 ducks contribute to wine making

February 2, 2016

See:

China's ZTE To Acquire 48.04% Stake In Turkish Telecom Device Company

Chinese telecom device maker ZTE plans to invest up to USD100 million to acquire a 48.04% stake in Turkish telecom device company Netas.

On the completion of the acquisition, ZTE will become the largest shareholder of Netas. The proposal has reportedly been approved by the board of directors of ZTE.

ZTE signed an equity purchase agreement with OEP Turkey Tech.B.V. via its wholly-owned subsidiary ZTE Cooperatief U.A. on December 6, 2016. Under the agreement, ZTE Cooperatief U.A. will purchase a 48.04% stake in Netas from OEP for no more than USD101,280,539. ZTE will realize the acquisition with cash payment.

Netas’ main businesses cover telecom device manufacturing and sales, project installation, technical support, maintenance service, IT outsourcing service, and project delivery and related services.

ZTE said that Netas’ business area and direction are highly in line with ZTE’s M-ICT strategy. As one of the largest system integrators in Turkey, Netas has rich customer resources. With this acquisition, ZTE will be able to use Netas’ advantageous resources to promote the company’s business expansion in Turkey.

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Help us improve Power BI internationally!

We need your help to test Power BI!

Testing International Power BI

We invite all users who can use localized versions of Power BI or any international data formats to participate in Power BI International testing during 11/28-12/16. Your participation will be greatly appreciated, and will help us improve the quality of Power BI’s international components. Randomly selected participants who file eligible bugs will recieve Microsoft company store credit via https://microsoftmerchandise.com.

Power BI Language Survey

If you speak any language other than English, please take our survey and become eligible to win $ 50 in credit on the Microsoft company store. We will select a random participant every week for 3 weeks during 11/28-12/16!

We appreciate your participation and look forward to making Power BI even better.

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Cubs Win Creates Unprecedented Orders, Online Traffic for Wrigleyville Sports

Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director, NetSuite

When Kris Bryant fielded Michael Martinez’s short chopper down the third base line and threw it to first base, securing the first World Series championship for the Chicago Cubs in 108 years, Eric Castellucci, a lifelong fan, was at home trading texts, emails and group chats with coworkers.

wrigleyville Cubs Win Creates Unprecedented Orders, Online Traffic for Wrigleyville Sports

Customers waiting in line outside Wrigleyville Sports to get their Cub’s World Series merchandise

That’s because Castellucci, the online marketing manager for Wrigleyville Sports, a Chicago-centric sports memorabilia store located right in the neighborhood where the Cubs play their games, was busy preparing for an ordering rush the likes of which have never been seen.

Cubs fans have gone generations without seeing their hometown team win a championship, so when that final out was recorded, people began flocking to Wrigleyville’s retail store and website for commemorative hats, shirts and more.

“That Saturday night was huge,” Castellucci said. “We just wanted to make sure everything was ready to go. We knew it would be big, but it was hard to tell exactly what would happen.”

With the team working late into the night of Game 7, the last game of the championship, all products were up on the site within two to three minutes of the Cubs win.

“We had hundreds of boxes coming in every day and were trying to get thousands of packages out the door,” Castellucci said.

Normally, Wrigleyville operates its warehouse with a staff of five. For the World Series, they brought in staff from the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh stores, rented a temporary warehouse down the street and ultimately had a staff of 50 managing orders and inventory.

One reason Wrigleyville was able to adapt so quickly was it could take advantage of the flexibility and agility of NetSuite, which was running its inventory management, order management, financials and ecommerce software.

“We had the temporary warehouse arranged after Game 5, by the next day it was up in NetSuite,” Castellucci said. “We were able to easily transfer and receive inventory between the warehouses and the store.”

It was a significant amount of inventory as well. Castellucci estimates the business had about 600,000 pieces of inventory come through. Wrigleyville was able fulfill current day orders by the end of the week.

Wrigleyville was able to meet customer expectations with all of the customer support staff able to see order info within NetSuite.

And while Castellucci still hasn’t run the final numbers with a busy holiday season sure to bring in more business, the Cubs win was historic for Wrigleyville as well.

“What we did in the last month probably matched what we did the rest of the baseball season combined,” he said. “I don’t know how we would have gotten through it without NetSuite and without this inventory visibility.”

Learn More: NetSuite for Retailers 

Contact us to learn how NetSuite can help your business prepare for its next big win just as Wrigleyville Sports did with on cloud-based omnichannel commerce platform Learn more.

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How Customer Profiles Can Boost Your Marketing Success

These days it seems that we are witnessing waves of extreme disruption rather than incremental technology change. While some tech news stories have been just so much noise, unlikely to have long-term impact, a few are important signals of much bigger, longer-term changes afoot.

From bots to blockchains, augmented realities to human-machine convergence, a number of rapidly advancing technological capabilities hit important inflection points in 2016. We looked at five important emerging technology news stories that happened this year and the trends set in motion that will have an impact for a long time to come.

sap Q416 digital double feature1  1 How Customer Profiles Can Boost Your Marketing Success

Immersive experiences were one of three top-level trends identified by Gartner for 2016, and that was evident in the enormous popularity of Pokémon Go. While the hype may have come and gone, the immersive technologies that have been quietly advancing in the background for years are ready to boil over into the big time—and into the enterprise.

The free location-based augmented reality (AR) game took off shortly after Nintendo launched it in July, and it became the most downloaded app in Apple’s app store history in its first week, as reported by TechCrunch. Average daily usage of the app on Android devices in July 2016 exceeded that of the standard-bearers Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, according to SimilarWeb. Within two months, Pokémon Go had generated more than US$ 440 million, according to Sensor Tower.

Unlike virtual reality (VR), which immerses us in a simulated world, AR layers computer-generated information such as graphics, sound, or other data on top of our view of the real world. In the case of Pokémon Go, players venture through the physical world using a digital map to search for Pokémon characters.

The game’s instant global acceptance was a surprise. Most watching this space expected an immersive headset device like Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard to steal the headlines. But it took Pikachu and the gang to break through. Pokémon Go capitalized on a generation’s nostalgia for its childhood and harnessed the latest advancements in key AR enabling technologies such as geolocation and computer vision.

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images8 How Customer Profiles Can Boost Your Marketing SuccessJust as mobile technologies percolated inside companies for several years before the iPhone exploded onto the market, companies have been dabbling in AR since the beginning of the decade. IKEA created an AR catalog app in 2013 to help customers visualize how their KIVIK modular sofa, for example, would look in their living rooms. Mitsubishi Electric has been perfecting an AR application, introduced in 2011, that enables homeowners to visualize its HVAC products in their homes. Newport News Shipbuilding has launched some 30 AR projects to help the company build and maintain its vessels. Tech giants including Facebook, HP, and Apple have been snapping up immersive tech startups for some time.

The overnight success of Pokémon Go will fuel interest in and understanding of all mediated reality technology—virtual and augmented. It’s created a shorthand for describing immersive reality and could launch a wave of technology consumerization the likes of which we haven’t seen since the iPhone instigated a tsunami of smartphone usage. Enterprises would be wise to figure out the role of immersive technology sooner rather than later. “AR and VR will both be the new normal within five years,” says futurist Gerd Leonhard, noting that the biggest hurdles may be mobile bandwidth availability and concerns about sensory overload. “Pokémon is an obvious opening scene only—professional use of AR and VR will explode.”

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Blockchains, the decentralized digital ledgers of transactions that are processed by a distributed network, first made headlines as the foundation for new types of financial transactions beginning with Bitcoin in 2009. According to Greenwich Associates, financial and technology companies will invest an estimated $ 1 billion in blockchain technology in 2016. But, as Gartner recently pointed out, there could be even more rapid evolution and acceptance in the areas of manufacturing, government, healthcare, and education.

By the 2020s, blockchain-based systems will reduce or eliminate many points of friction for a variety of business transactions. Individuals and companies will be able to exchange a wide range of digitized or digitally represented assets and value with anyone else, according to PwC. The supervised peer-to-peer network concept “is the future,” says Leonhard.

But the most important blockchain-related news of 2016 revealed a weak link in the application of technology that is touted as an immutable record.

In theory, blockchain technology creates a highly tamper-resistant structure that makes transactions secure and verifiable through a massively distributed digital ledger. All the transactions that take place are recorded in this ledger, which lives on many computers. High-grade encryption makes it nearly impossible for someone to cheat the system.

In practice, however, blockchain-based transactions and contracts are only as good as the code that enables them.

Case in point: The DAO, one of the first major implementations of a “Decentralized Autonomous Organization” (for which the fund is named). The DAO was a crowdfunded venture capital fund using cryptocurrency for investments and run through smart contracts. The rules that govern those smart contracts, along with all financial transaction records, are maintained on the blockchain. In June, the DAO revealed that an individual exploited a vulnerability in the company’s smart contract code to take control of nearly $ 60 million worth of the company’s digital currency.

The fund’s investors voted to basically rewrite the smart contract code and roll back the transaction, in essence going against the intent of blockchain-based smart contracts, which are supposed to be irreversible once they self-execute.

The DAO’s experience confirmed one of the inherent risks of distributed ledger technology—and, in particular, the risk of running a very large fund autonomously through smart contracts based on blockchain technology. Smart contract code must be as error-free as possible. As Cornell University professor and hacker Emin Gün Sirer wrote in his blog, “writing a robust, secure smart contract requires extreme amounts of diligence. It’s more similar to writing code for a nuclear power reactor, than to writing loose web code.” Since smart contracts are intended to be executed irreversibly on the blockchain, their code should not be rewritten and improved over time, as software typically is. But since no code can ever be completely airtight, smart contracts may have to build in contingency plans for when weaknesses in their code are exploited.

Importantly, the incident was not a result of any inherent weakness in the blockchain or distributed ledger technology generally. It will not be the end of cryptocurrencies or smart contracts. And it’s leading to more consideration of editable blockchains, which proponents say would only be used in extraordinary circumstances, according to Technology Review.

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Application programming interfaces (APIs), the computer codes that serve as a bridge between software applications, are not traditionally a hot topic outside of coder circles. But they are critical components in much of the consumer technology we’ve all come to rely on day-to-day.

One of the most important events in API history was the introduction of such an interface for Google Maps a decade ago. The map app was so popular that everyone wanted to incorporate its capabilities into their own systems. So Google released an API that enabled developers to connect to and use the technology without having to hack into it. The result was the launch of hundreds of inventive location-enabled apps using Google technology. Today, millions of web sites and apps use Google Maps APIs, from Allstate’s GoodHome app, which shows homeowners a personalized risk assessment of their properties, to Harley-Davidson’s Ride Planner to 7-Eleven’s app for finding the nearest Slurpee.

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images6 How Customer Profiles Can Boost Your Marketing SuccessUltimately, it became de rigueur for apps to open up their systems in a safe way for experimentation by others through APIs. Technology professional Kin Lane, who tracks the now enormous world of APIs, has said, “APIs bring together a unique blend of technology, business, and politics into a transparent, self-service mix that can foster innovation.”

Thus it was significant when Apple announced in June that it would open up Siri to third-party developers through an API, giving the wider world the ability to integrate Siri’s voice commands into their apps. The move came on the heels of similar decisions by Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, all of which have AI bots or assistants of their own. And in October, Google opened up its Google Assistant as well.

The introduction of APIs confirms that the AI technology behind these bots has matured significantly—and that a new wave of AI-based innovation is nigh.

The best way to spark that innovation is to open up AI technologies such as Siri so that coders can use them as platforms to build new apps that can more rapidly expand AI uses and capabilities. Call it the “platformication” of AI. The value will be less in the specific AI products a company introduces than in the value of the platform for innovation. And that depends on the quality of the API. The tech company that attracts the best and brightest will win. AI platforms are just beginning to emerge and the question is: Who will be the platform leader?

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In June, Swiss citizens voted on a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all of its citizens, as reported by BBC News. It was the first country to take the issue to the polls, but it won’t be the last. Discussions about the impact of both automation and the advancing gig economy on individual livelihoods are happening around the world. Other countries—including the United States—are looking at solutions to the problem. Both Finland and the Netherlands have universal guaranteed income pilots planned for next year. Meanwhile, American startup incubator Y Combinator is launching an experiment to give 100 families in Oakland, California, a minimum wage for five years with no strings attached, according to Quartz.

The world is on the verge of potential job loss at a scale and speed never seen before. The Industrial Revolution was more of an evolution, happening over more than a century. The ongoing digital revolution is happening in relative hyper speed.

No one is exactly sure how increased automation and digitization will affect the world’s workforce. One 2013 study suggests as much as 47% of the U.S workforce is at risk of being replaced by machines over the next two decades, but even a conservative estimate of 10% could have a dramatic impact, not just on workers but on society as a whole.

The proposed solution in Switzerland did not pass, in part because a major political party did not introduce it, and citizens are only beginning to consider the potential implications of digitization on their incomes. What’s more, the idea of simply guaranteeing pay runs contrary to long-held notions in many societies that humans ought to earn their keep.

Whether or not state-funded support is the answer is just one of the questions that must be answered. The votes and pilots underway make it clear that governments will have to respond with some policy measures. The question is: What will those measures be? The larger impact of mass job displacement, what future employment conditions might look like, and what the responsibilities of institutions are in ensuring that we can support ourselves are among the issues that policy makers will need to address.

New business models resulting from digitization will create some new types of roles—but those will require training and perhaps continued education. And not all of those who will be displaced will be in a position to remake their careers. Just consider taxi drivers: In the United States, about 223,000 people currently earn their living behind the wheel of a hired car. The average New York livery driver is 46 years old, according to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and no formal education is required. When self-driving cars take over, those jobs will go away and the men and women who held them may not be qualified for the new positions that emerge.

As digitization dramatically changes the constructs of commerce and work, no one is quite sure how people will be impacted. But waiting to see how it all shakes out is not a winning strategy. Companies and governments today will have to experiment with potential solutions before the severity of the problem is clear. Among the questions that will have to be answered: How can we retrain large parts of the workforce? How will we support those who fall through the cracks? Will we prioritize and fund education? Technological progress and shifting work models will continue, whether or not we plan for their consequences.

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In April, a young man, who was believed to have permanently lost feeling in and control over his hands and legs as the result of a devastating spine injury, became able to use his right hand and fingers again. He used technology that transmits his thoughts directly to his hand muscles, bypassing his injured spinal cord. Doctors implanted a computer chip into the quadriplegic’s brain two years ago and—with ongoing training and practice—he can now perform everyday tasks like pouring from a bottle and playing video games.

The system reconnected the man’s brain directly to his muscles—the first time that engineers have successfully bypassed the nervous system’s information superhighway, the spinal cord. It’s the medical equivalent of moving from wired to wireless computing.

The man has in essence become a cyborg, that term first coined in 1960 to describe “self-regulating human-machine systems.” Yet the beneficiary of this scientific advance himself said, “You’re not going to be looked on as, ‘Oh, I’m a cyborg now because I have this big huge prosthetic on the side of my arm.’ It’s something a lot more natural and intuitive to learn because I can see my own hand reacting.”

As described in IEEE Spectrum, the “neural-bypass system” records signals that the man generates when thinking about moving his hand, decodes those signals, and routes them to the electric sleeve around his arm to stimulate movement: “The result looks surprisingly simple and natural: When Burkhart thinks about picking up a bottle, he picks up the bottle. When he thinks about playing a chord in Guitar Hero, he plays the chord.”

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images5 How Customer Profiles Can Boost Your Marketing SuccessWhat seems straightforward on the surface is powered by a sophisticated algorithm that can analyze the vast amounts of data the man’s brain produces, separating important signals from noise.

The fact that engineers have begun to unlock the complex code that controls brain-body communication opens up enormous possibilities. Neural prostheses (cochlear implants) have already reversed hearing loss. Light-sensitive chips serving as artificial retinas are showing progress in restoring vision. Other researchers are exploring computer implants that can read human thoughts directly to signal an external computer to help people speak or move in new ways. “Human and machine are converging,” says Leonhard.

The National Academy of Engineering predicts that “the intersection of engineering and neuroscience promises great advances in healthcare, manufacturing, and communication.”

Burkhart spent two years in training with the computer that has helped power his arm to get this far. It’s the result of more than a decade of development in brain-computer interfaces. And it can currently be used only in the lab; researchers are working on a system for home use. But it’s a clear indication of how quickly the lines between man and machine are blurring—and it opens the door for further computerized reanimation in many new scenarios.

This fall, Switzerland hosted its first cyborg Olympics, in which disabled patients compete using the latest assistive technologies, including robot exoskeletons and brainwave-readers. Paraplegic athletes use electrical simulation systems to compete in cycling, for example. The winners are those who can control their device the best. “Instead of celebrating the human body moving under its own power,” said a recent article in the IEEE Spectrum, “the cyborg games will celebrate the strength and ingenuity of human-machine collaborations.” D!

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Teradata Receives People’s Choice Award for “Best Analytics Application” in Russian National Government Financial Data Contest

November 21, 2016 | Moscow, Russia

Teradata’s project for open government financial data analysis becomes the audience choice at a tender announced by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation

The Teradata Russia Government Team has been awarded the People’s Choice Prize for the ‘Best Analytics Application’ in the National Open Government Financial Data Contest for BudgetApps 2016, organized by the Government of the Russian Federation. This year, the jury considered 162 entries made by journalists, developers and designers.

Teradata participated in two categories in the contest – “Best Visualization” using open government financial data and “Best Analytics Application” built on Teradata solution AsterBudget.

Also, as part of the contest, The Russian Federation Ministry of Finance recognized   Teradata for ‘Best Software/Online Project Using Open Government Data’.

Solutions showcased by Teradata are capable of making the government’s financial data more understandable and accessible to ordinary citizens. They also greatly simplify the work of experts thus making the budgeting process more transparent. Special applications discover new logic in open data that are widely used by Russian experts and analysts.

One of the applications presented by Teradata in the contest was Wiki Clouds, which analyzes budgetary investments and inter-budgetary transfers to highlight ‘in human terms’ the key areas covered by each specific allocation of funds. This enables anyone to see the end destination of where funds are allocated through use of these financial applications. The Wiki Clouds application demonstrated a high degree of target compliance in the funds spent by the Ministry of Education of Russia.

The Governmental Procurement Constellation is another Teradata application that scrutinizes relationships between companies for signs of affiliation by processing of information about their CEOs, addresses and other publically available data. The resulting chart can also show all customers these companies do business with. In this way, both natural monopolies and those bidders who win tenders more often than others are quickly recognized. This shortens the list of bidders and customers to be checked for possible violations thus simplifying the work of social control bodies and supervising authorities. (Visit: http://asterbudget.info/v1/index.html for more information about this application.)

The solutions presented by Teradata were recognized not only for being the audience choice but also for their interesting approach to further improving the analytic tools being used by the government.

The First Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko presented the Teradata team with a certificate of honor in recognition of their achievements and the contest jury unanimously praised all the winners as being the “best of the best”.

Organizers of the Budget Apps Contest promote the use of open government financial data, improvement of financial literacy, as well as increased transparency and accessibility of financial data.

  

MEDIA CONTACT
Artemiy Pyzhyanov
Business Communications Agency
+7 (916) 570-86-10
pyzhyanov@bcom.ru

About Teradata

Teradata empowers companies to achieve high-impact business outcomes. Our focus on business solutions for analytics, coupled with our industry leading technology and architecture expertise, can unleash the potential of great companies. Visit teradata.com.

Teradata and the Teradata logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Teradata Corporation and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and worldwide.

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