The Republic of Upper Volta was the predecessor to modern day…

The Republic of Upper Volta was the predecessor to modern day Burkina Faso.  The area was under French control till 1958, but changed its name and governmental structure when a 
military coup d’état occured in 1983.

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A Historian Walks into a Bar . . .

Webcast: Data Quality-Driven GDPR: Compliance with Confidence

If you happened to miss our recent webcast, “Data Quality-Driven GDPR: Compliance with Confidence,” it’s now available to view on demand.

Explore key insights on how data quality can help you achieve your GDPR compliance with confidence, including:

  • GDPR readiness: What companies must be prepared for
  • Why Data Quality is so critical for GDPR compliance
  • How to address data-related GDPR challenges through a practical, structured approach

Data Quality Driven GDPR Compliance with Confidence banner Webcast: Data Quality Driven GDPR: Compliance with Confidence

Before regulations like GDPR, enterprise-grade Data Quality tools might have been viewed as “nice to have” or driven by pockets of the organizations, such as marketing or sales. Today, Data Quality is easily recognized as a critically important data-based challenge that can jeopardize regulatory compliance.

Make sure to watch the on-demand webcast today!

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TIBCO Boosts Cloud-Native Offerings with New Support for Cloud Foundry Platform

Screen Shot 2018 04 19 at 12.31.47 PM TIBCO Boosts Cloud Native Offerings with New Support for Cloud Foundry Platform

TIBCO BusinessWorks Container Edition now supports Cloud Foundry’s Container Runtime and Pivotal Cloud Foundry 2.0 and higher.

With BusinessWorks Container Edition now supporting Cloud Foundry’s Container Runtime and Pivotal Cloud Foundry 2.0 and higher, TIBCO is proud to announce its strengthened partnership and continued support for Cloud Foundry.

“TIBCO and the Cloud Foundry Foundation have partnered since the initial launch of BusinessWorks Container Edition, providing highly scalable and enterprise-ready applications necessary for digital transformation,” said Abby Kearns, executive director, Cloud Foundry Foundation. “We’re excited to see our collaboration grow as the market continues to evolve.”

Cloud Foundry Container Runtime gives large enterprises the opportunity to run containers at scale and in production.

Cloud Foundry realized that Kubernetes was winning the container management race, so they worked hard to create Cloud Foundry Container Runtime, a solution that incorporates Kubernetes, to help enterprises manage their containers more efficiently.

On the heels of this announcement, TIBCO has also extended support for using Project Flogo with Project RIFF, an open-source project that packages functions as containers, connects them with event brokers and allows functions to scale with events. This allows developers to take the flows built in Project Flogo and deploy them as functions in Project Riff.

Both of these announcements allow customers to leverage the best combination of cloud tools available on the market today to reach their business goals in a more efficient, effective manner.

To learn more, please read the press release.

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The TIBCO Blog

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A Historian Walks into a Bar . . .

GoDaddy wants to help small businesses compete using AI

 GoDaddy wants to help small businesses compete using AI

GoDaddy may not spring to mind as a developer of cutting-edge AI technology, but the internet company is currently employing new tech to help small businesses compete with tech giants.

“If you have the local bookstore that has built their website on GoDaddy, that local bookstore needs to compete with Amazon,” GoDaddy director of engineering Jason Ansel told VentureBeat in an interview. “And Amazon’s using a lot of machine learning. Amazon is a machine learning powerhouse. [So] basically, how can we use our machine learning expertise at GoDaddy to help that little bookstore compete in an increasingly machine learning-dominated world?”

One of the most significant issues facing those small businesses is a shortage of data compared to their huge competitors. But Ansel says GoDaddy is in a position to pool information across its massive customer base to create intelligent systems that help them all.

The first project in that vein is a system the company claims can value internet domain names better than a human can. It uses new advancements in artificial neural networks to achieve superhuman results, with the goal of creating a valuation metric for domain names that works much as Zillow’s Zestimate works for homes.

“You have this domain valuation industry, which is dominated by a small number of experts who know a lot about how to value domains and have these really large portfolios,” Ansel said. “And it’s also an industry where there’s a huge variation in prices. People don’t really know what domains are worth. And so there’s a lot of people who either pay too much or pay too little.”

GoDaddy tested its system against a group of human experts using a random sample of domain names and their sale prices. The algorithm was more than 20 percent better than the human expert, judged on root mean square error.

To get there, GoDaddy created a new system to better generate prediction ranges for the price of a domain, since many previous techniques assume data distributions that don’t match those the company has observed.

Fueling that system is a complex set of features designed to capture all the complexities of valuing a domain name. To begin, GoDaddy trained a model to separate and evaluate the words in a domain to help determine its value. That’s a complicated task in itself since domain names typically don’t have characters separating them. The system also considers over 100 other features beyond the words in the domain to understand additional factors that would affect its value.

“There’s also things like how long [the domain name is], which you’re better off encoding directly because the value of three-letter dot com often has nothing to do with the words, it’s just that it’s really short,” Ansel said.

In addition to length, GoDaddy’s AI analyzes factors like top-level domain use (.com, .net, .de, .pizza, etc.); which company hosts a particular domain; when it was sold; and where the sale took place. All of those factors help paint a better picture of the demand for a specific piece of digital real estate.

To create this system, GoDaddy needed a massive amount of data, which it has in spades. Ansel said the company has millions of historical data points on domain name sales, which can then be used to perform transfer learning on the resale data set, which has 250,000 data points.

“So really, GoDaddy is one of the very few companies in the world that could produce this, because we’re the only ones with the data,” Ansel said. “GoDaddy in the United States is around 60 percent of the primary domain market, so we’re the largest domain name registrar in the world. In the domain name aftermarket — which is basically reselling domains from person to person — we’re also the largest by the count of sales.”

Right now, the domain name valuation tool is available in open beta.

Correction 9:40 a.m. Pacific: This story initially said that the domain valuation tool was not yet available. GoDaddy has released it in open beta.

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions, an initial comparison. Microsoft has released their Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing module, this article is an initial review of the module and high-level comparison to ClickDimensions (the other mainstream marketing automation option for Dynamics 365).

Availability – There are a few different subscription options for the Marketing module. Let’s first compare the pricing models between Dynamics Marketing and ClickDimensions.

Dynamics Marketing is priced based on the number of contacts. There has been a lot of um let’s say feedback on this model. As a partner we work with many Dynamics 365 clients, we see even small businesses that have lots of leads/contacts in their Dynamics database. Often times there is a large number of leads/contacts that will never be marketed to, under Microsoft’s pricing model you are paying for these leads/contacts even if you don’t market to them. The upside to Microsoft’s pricing is that there are no upcharges for functionality, you get all the goodies with any subscription level.

ClickDimensions has two pricing/subscription levels, Basic and Advanced/Business, different levels of functionality. Also, the levels include certain numbers of email sends, Basic includes 50,000/year and 200,000 with Advanced/Business. An email send is each copy of an email you send, for example, if you have the contact Bob Smith in your database and you send 4 different email campaigns that include Bob that is 4 email sends. Basic is priced at $ 499/month, Advanced/Business is $ 699 per month. You can purchase additional email sends ($ 100 for 100,000, $ 200 for 200,000 etc.)

The Advanced/Business subscription level adds functionality – Automation, Landing Pages, Lead/Contact Scoring, Event Management, Surveys and Subscription Management. For a fair comparison with Dynamics Marketing you should use the ClickDimensions Advanced/Business subscription level.

ClickDimensions also offers Social Engagement that is an add-on, $ 250/month for Basic and $ 600/month for Business. Microsoft includes their Social Engagement tool in the base price of Dynamics Marketing. The Social components of each solution are different so look at each closely to determine which solution meets your Social needs.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Pricing/Packaging

Standalone – The Marketing module is offered as a standalone option. This is a differentiator, ClickDimensions is only available as an add-on to Dynamics 365. The standalone marketing module also includes Microsoft Social Engagement, Voice of the Customer for Microsoft Dynamics 365, 1 Portal, Non-Production/Production Instance, and Storage. Pricing is $ 1500 for the base package with 10,000 contacts. You can add more contacts for $ 250/month for 5000 contacts.

“Attach” Plan – If you already have Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement plan licenses you can attach Dynamics Marketing to your subscription for $ 750/month, 2000 contacts included. Additional contacts cost $ 600 for 1st 8000, then $ 250 for each additional 5000. If you already have Dynamics 365 application licenses (like Sales Enterprise vs the full Customer Engagement Plan licensing) you can attach Marketing for $ 750/month, includes 10,000 contacts and $ 250/month for each additional 5000 contacts.

If you license the Marketing module standalone you get Microsoft Social Engagement, Voice of the Customer for Microsoft Dynamics 365, 1 Portal, Non-Production/Production Instance, and Storage. If you are a Customer Engagement Plan customer you get portals, Social Engagement with your Customer Engagement subscription. If you have the Sales app. licenses you don’t get Social or Voice of the Customer, they can be added on to your subscription.

Dynamics Marketing limits the number of emails you can send monthly, 10 times the number of contacts in your database each month. You can also have up to 100 active customer journeys.

To truly compare pricing you will need to know the number of leads/contacts in your database and the number of emails you plan to send annually.

Confused? We can help you determine the proper solution and subscription level.

Functional Differences

ClickDimensions leverages standard Dynamics 365 functionality (Marketing Lists for example). ClickDimensions looks and feels like any other area of Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 Marketing is deployed in the new Unified Client (if you try to access the functionality via the standard browser interface you will be confused as all the functionality is not there(at least not that we could see). There is no clear instruction on this, to access the Marketing functionality log into your portal – login.microsoftonline.com, click on Dynamics 365, then find the tile for Marketing, this will get you to the unified client.

MDM Capabilities 625x327 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Capabilities

ClickDimensions Capabilities 625x555 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

ClickDimensions Capabilities

I have used Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365 for over 14 years, the Marketing module is different. Yes, it looks very new and fresh but that comes with a learning curve. When I first logged into the Marketing tool I could not easily perform simple tasks (like building a segment, more on that later). I had to revert to the documentation.

Things are different and the standard Dynamics 365 entities are not used in some areas. For example, Marketing Lists. If you have put a lot of time and effort into building Marketing Lists and try to use them in Dynamics Marketing you will likely be upset as you cannot use them unless they are set as a “subscription list” (not that we could see anyway). Here comes the new “fresh” functionality… lists in Dynamics Marketing are called Segments. Ok, no problem I go over to the Segments. You would think that Segments are built using Advanced Find right? Nope… whole new system for querying and adding Leads/Contacts to a segment. Again if you spent a lot of time and effort building Advanced Find queries you cannot use them (again not that we could find). Going to a Segment and then clicking on Definition will let you build a segment:

MDM Segment Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Dynamics Marketing Segment

You can build your query one of 3 ways, Designer (point and click), Flow or Query. I cannot understand why the standard entities like Marketing Lists and Advanced finds are not used. Now users need to learn multiple ways of querying.

ALSO – I found the Marketing module not to work with Microsoft Edge…. I had to open it in Google Chrome.

You cannot just pull together a list and send an email, you must build a Journey even for one-off emails. The Journey functionality is nice and I think will ultimately prove to be a good tool. ClickDimensions has very similar functionality in their campaign automation (very similar UI for building Journeys/campaign automation).

MDM Journey Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing Journey

Pages, Forms and Websites are pretty nice in Dynamics 365 Marketing. Very visual and drag/drop based editing. LinkedIn lead generation is also built-in allowing you to create forms on LinkedIn to collect leads. There are some advantages in these areas over ClickDimensions in our opinion.

Reporting in Dynamics Marketing is good with some builtin dashboards. There is a PowerBI content pack also available however we could not get it to connect to our Dynamics Marketing instance. ClickDimensions also has builtin dashboards available as well as a PowerBI content pack, builtin views.

MDM Dashboard Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Dashboard

All-in-all we are impressed with the Microsoft Marketing offering, especially for a V1 release. I like that it is available as a standalone application for businesses that are not ready for full CRM or just need a marketing application. I am not thrilled about the pricing model (based on leads/contacts), that will limit sales in a lot of accounts who are smaller but with large databases.

I admit I am biased having used ClickDimensions for a lot of years. I try not to let that sway my opinions. I am a Microsoft and Dynamics 365 evangelist, I love what Microsoft is doing with the Dynamics 365 platform but our job and first loyalty is to our clients and to help guide them to the best solution for their needs/requirements. From where I sit today we will need to spend more time with the new Marketing module and will be writing additional reviews on the solution.

If you would like guidance on selecting the best marketing automation platform for your business, a demo of Dynamics Marketing or ClickDimensions please reach out to us – 844.8.STRAVA (844.8.7282) or email me at [email protected]

About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 14 years experience with Microsoft CRM and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement and support CRM initiatives. In 2017 he founded Strava Technology Group, a firm that is focused on helping businesses achieve success with Microsoft CRM and Dynamics 365. To reach David connect with him on LinkedIn. To learn more about Strava Technology Group visit www.stravatechgroup.com

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New Automotive DNA: How IoT Is Transforming The Automotive Industry

In 2013, several UK supermarket chains discovered that products they were selling as beef were actually made at least partly—and in some cases, entirely—from horsemeat. The resulting uproar led to a series of product recalls, prompted stricter food testing, and spurred the European food industry to take a closer look at how unlabeled or mislabeled ingredients were finding their way into the food chain.

By 2020, a scandal like this will be eminently preventable.

The separation between bovine and equine will become immutable with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, which will track the provenance and identity of every animal from stall to store, adding the data to a blockchain that anyone can check but no one can alter.

Food processing companies will be able to use that blockchain to confirm and label the contents of their products accordingly—down to the specific farms and animals represented in every individual package. That level of detail may be too much information for shoppers, but they will at least be able to trust that their meatballs come from the appropriate species.

The Spine of Digitalization

Q118 CoverFeature img1 spine New Automotive DNA: How IoT Is Transforming The Automotive Industry

Keeping food safer and more traceable is just the beginning, however. Improvements in the supply chain, which have been incremental for decades despite billions of dollars of technology investments, are about to go exponential. Emerging technologies are converging to transform the supply chain from tactical to strategic, from an easily replicable commodity to a new source of competitive differentiation.

You may already be thinking about how to take advantage of blockchain technology, which makes data and transactions immutable, transparent, and verifiable (see “What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?”). That will be a powerful tool to boost supply chain speed and efficiency—always a worthy goal, but hardly a disruptive one.

However, if you think of blockchain as the spine of digitalization and technologies such as AI, the IoT, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and drones as the limbs, you have a powerful supply chain body that can leapfrog ahead of its competition.

What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?

Here’s why blockchain technology is critical to transforming the supply chain.

Blockchain is essentially a sequential, distributed ledger of transactions that is constantly updated on a global network of computers. The ownership and history of a transaction is embedded in the blockchain at the transaction’s earliest stages and verified at every subsequent stage.

A blockchain network uses vast amounts of computing power to encrypt the ledger as it’s being written. This makes it possible for every computer in the network to verify the transactions safely and transparently. The more organizations that participate in the ledger, the more complex and secure the encryption becomes, making it increasingly tamperproof.

Why does blockchain matter for the supply chain?

  • It enables the safe exchange of value without a central verifying partner, which makes transactions faster and less expensive.
  • It dramatically simplifies recordkeeping by establishing a single, authoritative view of the truth across all parties.
  • It builds a secure, immutable history and chain of custody as different parties handle the items being shipped, and it updates the relevant documentation.
  • By doing these things, blockchain allows companies to create smart contracts based on programmable business logic, which can execute themselves autonomously and thereby save time and money by reducing friction and intermediaries.

Hints of the Future

Q118 CoverFeature img2 future New Automotive DNA: How IoT Is Transforming The Automotive IndustryIn the mid-1990s, when the World Wide Web was in its infancy, we had no idea that the internet would become so large and pervasive, nor that we’d find a way to carry it all in our pockets on small slabs of glass.

But we could tell that it had vast potential.

Today, with the combination of emerging technologies that promise to turbocharge digital transformation, we’re just beginning to see how we might turn the supply chain into a source of competitive advantage (see “What’s the Magic Combination?”).

What’s the Magic Combination?

Those who focus on blockchain in isolation will miss out on a much bigger supply chain opportunity.

Many experts believe emerging technologies will work with blockchain to digitalize the supply chain and create new business models:

  • Blockchain will provide the foundation of automated trust for all parties in the supply chain.
  • The IoT will link objects—from tiny devices to large machines—and generate data about status, locations, and transactions that will be recorded on the blockchain.
  • 3D printing will extend the supply chain to the customer’s doorstep with hyperlocal manufacturing of parts and products with IoT sensors built into the items and/or their packaging. Every manufactured object will be smart, connected, and able to communicate so that it can be tracked and traced as needed.
  • Big Data management tools will process all the information streaming in around the clock from IoT sensors.
  • AI and machine learning will analyze this enormous amount of data to reveal patterns and enable true predictability in every area of the supply chain.

Combining these technologies with powerful analytics tools to predict trends will make lack of visibility into the supply chain a thing of the past. Organizations will be able to examine a single machine across its entire lifecycle and identify areas where they can improve performance and increase return on investment. They’ll be able to follow and monitor every component of a product, from design through delivery and service. They’ll be able to trigger and track automated actions between and among partners and customers to provide customized transactions in real time based on real data.

After decades of talk about markets of one, companies will finally have the power to create them—at scale and profitably.

Amazon, for example, is becoming as much a logistics company as a retailer. Its ordering and delivery systems are so streamlined that its customers can launch and complete a same-day transaction with a push of a single IP-enabled button or a word to its ever-attentive AI device, Alexa. And this level of experimentation and innovation is bubbling up across industries.

Consider manufacturing, where the IoT is transforming automation inside already highly automated factories. Machine-to-machine communication is enabling robots to set up, provision, and unload equipment quickly and accurately with minimal human intervention. Meanwhile, sensors across the factory floor are already capable of gathering such information as how often each machine needs maintenance or how much raw material to order given current production trends.

Once they harvest enough data, businesses will be able to feed it through machine learning algorithms to identify trends that forecast future outcomes. At that point, the supply chain will start to become both automated and predictive. We’ll begin to see business models that include proactively scheduling maintenance, replacing parts just before they’re likely to break, and automatically ordering materials and initiating customer shipments.

Italian train operator Trenitalia, for example, has put IoT sensors on its locomotives and passenger cars and is using analytics and in-memory computing to gauge the health of its trains in real time, according to an article in Computer Weekly. “It is now possible to affordably collect huge amounts of data from hundreds of sensors in a single train, analyse that data in real time and detect problems before they actually happen,” Trenitalia’s CIO Danilo Gismondi told Computer Weekly.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, will change Trenitalia’s business model, allowing it to schedule more trips and make each one more profitable. The railway company will be able to better plan parts inventories and determine which lines are consistently performing poorly and need upgrades. The new system will save €100 million a year, according to ARC Advisory Group.

New business models continue to evolve as 3D printers become more sophisticated and affordable, making it possible to move the end of the supply chain closer to the customer. Companies can design parts and products in materials ranging from carbon fiber to chocolate and then print those items in their warehouse, at a conveniently located third-party vendor, or even on the client’s premises.

In addition to minimizing their shipping expenses and reducing fulfillment time, companies will be able to offer more personalized or customized items affordably in small quantities. For example, clothing retailer Ministry of Supply recently installed a 3D printer at its Boston store that enables it to make an article of clothing to a customer’s specifications in under 90 minutes, according to an article in Forbes.

This kind of highly distributed manufacturing has potential across many industries. It could even create a market for secure manufacturing for highly regulated sectors, allowing a manufacturer to transmit encrypted templates to printers in tightly protected locations, for example.

Meanwhile, organizations are investigating ways of using blockchain technology to authenticate, track and trace, automate, and otherwise manage transactions and interactions, both internally and within their vendor and customer networks. The ability to collect data, record it on the blockchain for immediate verification, and make that trustworthy data available for any application delivers indisputable value in any business context. The supply chain will be no exception.

Q118 CoverFeature img3 cheers ver2 New Automotive DNA: How IoT Is Transforming The Automotive Industry

Blockchain Is the Change Driver

The supply chain is configured as we know it today because it’s impossible to create a contract that accounts for every possible contingency. Consider cross-border financial transfers, which are so complex and must meet so many regulations that they require a tremendous number of intermediaries to plug the gaps: lawyers, accountants, customer service reps, warehouse operators, bankers, and more. By reducing that complexity, blockchain technology makes intermediaries less necessary—a transformation that is revolutionary even when measured only in cost savings.

“If you’re selling 100 items a minute, 24 hours a day, reducing the cost of the supply chain by just $ 1 per item saves you more than $ 52.5 million a year,” notes Dirk Lonser, SAP go-to-market leader at DXC Technology, an IT services company. “By replacing manual processes and multiple peer-to-peer connections through fax or e-mail with a single medium where everyone can exchange verified information instantaneously, blockchain will boost profit margins exponentially without raising prices or even increasing individual productivity.”

But the potential for blockchain extends far beyond cost cutting and streamlining, says Irfan Khan, CEO of supply chain management consulting and systems integration firm Bristlecone, a Mahindra Group company. It will give companies ways to differentiate.

“Blockchain will let enterprises more accurately trace faulty parts or products from end users back to factories for recalls,” Khan says. “It will streamline supplier onboarding, contracting, and management by creating an integrated platform that the company’s entire network can access in real time. It will give vendors secure, transparent visibility into inventory 24×7. And at a time when counterfeiting is a real concern in multiple industries, it will make it easy for both retailers and customers to check product authenticity.”

Blockchain allows all the critical steps of the supply chain to go electronic and become irrefutably verifiable by all the critical parties within minutes: the seller and buyer, banks, logistics carriers, and import and export officials. Although the key parts of the process remain the same as in today’s analog supply chain, performing them electronically with blockchain technology shortens each stage from hours or days to seconds while eliminating reams of wasteful paperwork. With goods moving that quickly, companies have ample room for designing new business models around manufacturing, service, and delivery.

Q118 CoverFeature img4 roadblock New Automotive DNA: How IoT Is Transforming The Automotive Industry

Challenges on the Path to Adoption

For all this to work, however, the data on the blockchain must be correct from the beginning. The pills, produce, or parts on the delivery truck need to be the same as the items listed on the manifest at the loading dock. Every use case assumes that the data is accurate—and that will only happen when everything that’s manufactured is smart, connected, and able to self-verify automatically with the help of machine learning tuned to detect errors and potential fraud.

Companies are already seeing the possibilities of applying this bundle of emerging technologies to the supply chain. IDC projects that by 2021, at least 25% of Forbes Global 2000 (G2000) companies will use blockchain services as a foundation for digital trust at scale; 30% of top global manufacturers and retailers will do so by 2020. IDC also predicts that by 2020, up to 10% of pilot and production blockchain-distributed ledgers will incorporate data from IoT sensors.

Despite IDC’s optimism, though, the biggest barrier to adoption is the early stage level of enterprise use cases, particularly around blockchain. Currently, the sole significant enterprise blockchain production system is the virtual currency Bitcoin, which has unfortunately been tainted by its associations with speculation, dubious financial transactions, and the so-called dark web.

The technology is still in a sufficiently early stage that there’s significant uncertainty about its ability to handle the massive amounts of data a global enterprise supply chain generates daily. Never mind that it’s completely unregulated, with no global standard. There’s also a critical global shortage of experts who can explain emerging technologies like blockchain, the IoT, and machine learning to nontechnology industries and educate organizations in how the technologies can improve their supply chain processes. Finally, there is concern about how blockchain’s complex algorithms gobble computing power—and electricity (see “Blockchain Blackouts”).

Blockchain Blackouts

Q118 CoverFeature img5 blackout New Automotive DNA: How IoT Is Transforming The Automotive IndustryBlockchain is a power glutton. Can technology mediate the issue?

A major concern today is the enormous carbon footprint of the networks creating and solving the algorithmic problems that keep blockchains secure. Although virtual currency enthusiasts claim the problem is overstated, Michael Reed, head of blockchain technology for Intel, has been widely quoted as saying that the energy demands of blockchains are a significant drain on the world’s electricity resources.

Indeed, Wired magazine has estimated that by July 2019, the Bitcoin network alone will require more energy than the entire United States currently uses and that by February 2020 it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

Still, computing power is becoming more energy efficient by the day and sticking with paperwork will become too slow, so experts—Intel’s Reed among them—consider this a solvable problem.

“We don’t know yet what the market will adopt. In a decade, it might be status quo or best practice, or it could be the next Betamax, a great technology for which there was no demand,” Lonser says. “Even highly regulated industries that need greater transparency in the entire supply chain are moving fairly slowly.”

Blockchain will require acceptance by a critical mass of companies, governments, and other organizations before it displaces paper documentation. It’s a chicken-and-egg issue: multiple companies need to adopt these technologies at the same time so they can build a blockchain to exchange information, yet getting multiple companies to do anything simultaneously is a challenge. Some early initiatives are already underway, though:

  • A London-based startup called Everledger is using blockchain and IoT technology to track the provenance, ownership, and lifecycles of valuable assets. The company began by tracking diamonds from mine to jewelry using roughly 200 different characteristics, with a goal of stopping both the demand for and the supply of “conflict diamonds”—diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance insurgencies. It has since expanded to cover wine, artwork, and other high-value items to prevent fraud and verify authenticity.
  • In September 2017, SAP announced the creation of its SAP Leonardo Blockchain Co-Innovation program, a group of 27 enterprise customers interested in co-innovating around blockchain and creating business buy-in. The diverse group of participants includes management and technology services companies Capgemini and Deloitte, cosmetics company Natura Cosméticos S.A., and Moog Inc., a manufacturer of precision motion control systems.
  • Two of Europe’s largest shipping ports—Rotterdam and Antwerp—are working on blockchain projects to streamline interaction with port customers. The Antwerp terminal authority says eliminating paperwork could cut the costs of container transport by as much as 50%.
  • The Chinese online shopping behemoth Alibaba is experimenting with blockchain to verify the authenticity of food products and catch counterfeits before they endanger people’s health and lives.
  • Technology and transportation executives have teamed up to create the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a forum for developing blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.

It’s likely that the first blockchain-based enterprise supply chain use case will emerge in the next year among companies that see it as an opportunity to bolster their legal compliance and improve business processes. Once that happens, expect others to follow.

Q118 CoverFeature img7 milk New Automotive DNA: How IoT Is Transforming The Automotive Industry

Customers Will Expect Change

It’s only a matter of time before the supply chain becomes a competitive driver. The question for today’s enterprises is how to prepare for the shift. Customers are going to expect constant, granular visibility into their transactions and faster, more customized service every step of the way. Organizations will need to be ready to meet those expectations.

If organizations have manual business processes that could never be automated before, now is the time to see if it’s possible. Organizations that have made initial investments in emerging technologies are looking at how their pilot projects are paying off and where they might extend to the supply chain. They are starting to think creatively about how to combine technologies to offer a product, service, or business model not possible before.

A manufacturer will load a self-driving truck with a 3D printer capable of creating a customer’s ordered item en route to delivering it. A vendor will capture the market for a socially responsible product by allowing its customers to track the product’s production and verify that none of its subcontractors use slave labor. And a supermarket chain will win over customers by persuading them that their choice of supermarket is also a choice between being certain of what’s in their food and simply hoping that what’s on the label matches what’s inside.

At that point, a smart supply chain won’t just be a competitive edge. It will become a competitive necessity. D!


About the Authors

Gil Perez is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President, Futurist, and Internet of Things Evangelist, at SAP.

Hans Thalbauer is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Dan Wellers is Global Lead, Digital Futures, at SAP.

Fawn Fitter is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology.

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

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Here’s How to Give Back at SuiteWorld

Posted by Morgan St. Clair, Oracle NetSuite Social Impact Communications Manager

The Oracle NetSuite SuiteWorld conference isn’t just about growing your business. It’s also about giving back to our community. Here are two ways to give back at this year’s annual conference.

HackathonBlog one Here’s How to Give Back at SuiteWorld

Hackathon 4Good

Hosted by Oracle NetSuite Social Impact, the 5th annual Hackathon 4Good on April 23rd in Las Vegas brings together more than 100 developers, customers and partners to develop innovative prototypes to address the challenges posed by nonprofit customers Abilities Centre and Girl Scouts of the USA. Teams will present their challenges to a panel of judges at the end of the day and compete for prizes.

“These may be the most interesting and evocative challenges we’ve ever had at the Hackathon 4Good,” said Peggy Duvette, Senior Director of Oracle NetSuite Social Impact.

The two participating organizations are enthusiastic about how NetSuite could be further “hacked” to address their unique uses.

“To be innovative as a charitable organization means finding fresh and collaborative approaches that increase our effectiveness. We’re thrilled to be a part of this year’s Hackathon 4Good,” said Matthew Shaw, Director of Revenue Development of the Abilities Centre, a community hub based in Ontario, Canada that delivers programs to enrich the quality of life and citizenship for people of all ages and abilities.

At the Girl Scouts of America, anticipation for Hackathon 4Good is building up.

“We attempted to create a challenge that truly challenges the contesting teams and results in interesting solutions,” explained Steve Welner, NetSuite Administer at Girl Scouts of USA.

Write a Card, Send a Smile

SuiteWorld attendees will be encouraged to stop by the nonprofit booth and participate in a charitable activity for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a national childhood cancer foundation.

Attendees can take a break from the hustle and bustle of SuiteWorld to write notes to children living with cancer and learn about how the organization is changing the lives of children with cancer through impactful research and awareness.

#GiveBack2Alex

While at Alex’s Lemonade Stand on the expo floor, attendees will have the opportunity to post about the booth to social media with the hashtags #GiveBack2Alex and #SuiteWorld18. If we reach our goal of 3,000 social media shares, NetSuite will donate $ 10,000 to Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

NetSuite is cloud accounting software for nonprofits of all sizes. Oracle NetSuite Social Impact offers software donations to eligible nonprofits of all sizes regardless of ability to pay. Key benefits include improved financial transparency, simplified reporting and compliance, and increased constituent stewardship.

To learn more about Oracle NetSuite Social Impact, check out our website or email socialimpact@netsuite.com

Posted on Thu, April 19, 2018
by NetSuite filed under

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Setup Inactivity Timeout in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online

In Microsoft Dynamics 365 online, we have the option to set up an inactivity timeout, which automatically logs the user out of CRM after a certain period of time. The setup process is quite easy and in this blog, I will go through the steps to make such changes.

  1. In Dynamics 365 online instance, go to Settings → Administration → System Settings. Then click on General tab.
  2. Under the section Set inactivity timeout, we need to set “Enable session timeout due to inactivity” to Yes. This will allow us to set the duration of inactivity and how long before the warning is shown to the user.
  3. In my case, I wanted the user’s session to expire after 6 minutes of inactivity, and show a warning 4 minutes of inactivity. We have the option to set the values between 1 and 1440 for both fields.

    image thumb 2 Setup Inactivity Timeout in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online
  4. Then click on OK once the changes have been made.

Following screenshot shows what a user can expect to see upon being inactive.

image thumb 1 Setup Inactivity Timeout in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online

Note: Only users with the System Administrator security role can make these changes.

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How Alexa is spurring brand competition in the race for AI compatibility

 How Alexa is spurring brand competition in the race for AI compatibility

Alexa may be the most important name in business this year. During the 2017 holiday shopping season, the Echo Dot device was the top-selling product on Amazon, putting Alexa in millions more living rooms. Software, electronics, and appliance companies are rapidly building in Alexa compatibility to stay relevant. If Amazon’s Alexa continues expanding its market dominance, the lack of such compatibility could spell doom for even the biggest brands.

Amazon offers several devices that utilize Alexa, including the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and the Echo Spot. Each device acts as the central nervous system in a smart home, allowing thousands of voice-activated commands and skills. Alexa’s use in American homes is exploding with tens of millions of devices sold in 2017. What’s more, roughly 16 percent of Amazon Alexa users have more than one device.

Alexa sales are so high for a reason. Hundreds of products from a range of brands integrate seamlessly with Alexa, allowing voice control on everything from light bulbs to washing machines. This connectivity lets customers build their own smart home according to what they need and want. The astounding number of compatible devices separates Alexa from other AIs (like Siri and Google Assistant), and the rate of growth in the AI market could leave brands that won’t integrate with Alexa in the dust.

Smart home tech

Alexa’s rapid success has spurred nearly every major brand to integrate a Wi-Fi-connected smart device into its lineup. Companies from all corners of the home appliance market are racing to add compatibility with Alexa’s growing list of over 15,000 skills.

Larger appliances are one of the big surprises in the smart home market. Many brands didn’t expect customers to want more conversation from their refrigerator, but the success of early adopters like Samsung quickly set a trend in the market. Today, appliances of every kind are Wi-Fi enabled and integrate seamlessly with an Echo hub, and all signs point to an expanding market in 2018.

Alexa also brings a few advantages to common home appliances. With Alexa, you can start the dryer just before you leave work and set the oven to preheat while you relax on the couch. Alexa can even keep up on refills of common home products like dish detergent and dryer sheets — about 90 percent of Echo owners are also Amazon Prime members.

Streaming services

Amazon, Google, and Netflix are vying for the top spot in video streaming services, and this growing viewership is challenging other entertainment giants from cable and satellite TV. In the past year, Amazon announced in February, music streaming on Amazon devices tripled and video-on-demand streaming is “up 9x year-over-year.” Alexa’s popularity as an entertainment hub is driving more and more users away from traditional services, and big investments from streaming giants are keeping pace with audience demand.

Cable companies are mostly seeing the writing on the wall. Dish Network now offers Alexa compatibility on its Hopper DVR and Wally receiver, carving out a niche with smart home users. Comcast still hasn’t built in compatibility, however, requiring users to jump through hoops with third-party remotes.

Amazon has no trouble sharing space with the TV veterans. The company has added several new Alexa tools for compatibility with cable companies, but it’s up to the companies to build the technology into their devices. Cable users who can’t integrate their TV services with Alexa are cutting the cord. It’s a win-win scenario for Amazon — and life or death for cable companies.

The next AI battleground

Despite Alexa’s dominance in the smart home market, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant remain the leaders in the smartphone and computer markets. Amazon is taking notice, and the release of the HTC U11 with Alexa built in signals the next big competitive arena for the AI giants.

Google and Apple are not backing down without a fight, and 2018 could be the year that a new front-runner emerges. On the HTC U11, Google’s Assistant works right alongside Alexa, allowing users to choose freely between them. Meanwhile, Google and Apple are rapidly expanding their smart home lineups.

Google’s Assistant is furthest ahead in AI development; natural language capabilities and the ability to answer follow-up questions puts it at the top of the ladder for ease of use. The Google Home smart speaker is compatible with some devices and appliances in just about every category and has IFTTT services for programming routines.

Apple is catching up, too. Its new HomePod speaker leverages what it claims to be the best sound quality on the market, and it’s betting on the entertainment market to compete with Alexa. Even Microsoft is getting in on the competition, with a new speaker from Harman Kardon that comes equipped with its AI, Cortana.

With top brands embracing the sea change in home technology, Wi-Fi connections are becoming as common as power cords on home devices. Innovation in the AI market could help brands pull ahead of their competition, while late adopters risk extinction in the face of the Internet of Things.

Allie Shaw is a freelance writer who writes for PopSugar, SWAAY, and WebDesignerDepot.

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