All posts on April, 2018


Trends

Insurance and the Consumer IoT

Smart home and consumer IoT solutions promise significant opportunities for the insurance industry in terms of reducing costs, alleviating risks, deepening customer engagement, and creating new services and revenue streams. There are many barriers ahead to overcome, but given the tremendous upside, insurance companies have begun attacking these challenges with a multi-tiered strategy.

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Tech Buzz

Could BlackBerry Displace Apple?

I spent a day with BlackBerry last week and it brought back memories of how Apple displaced the company around a decade ago. I, like a lot of folks, thought what Apple was attempting was impossible. However, after the fact, it didn’t even look difficult. BlackBerry largely has completed its pivot to software and services, but a wave of new phones from its partners suggests new possibilities.

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Software

Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 18.04: Multicloud Is the New Normal

Canonical has released the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS platform for desktop, server, cloud and Internet of Things use. Its debut followed a two-year development phase that led to innovations in cloud solutions for enterprises, as well as smoother integrations with private and public cloud services, and new tools for container and virtual machine operations.

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Customer Data

AI-Based Customer Data Platform Supports ABM Operations

Lattice Engines, a provider of account-based marketing tools driven by AI, has announced the launch of Lattice Atlas, calling it the first customer data platform for ABM. The new platform synchronizes all customer data across a single, integrated view, making it easier for customers to see their data, no matter the source. Customers often have to view data across multiple tools and workflows.

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Wearable Tech

Snap Doubles Down on Spectacles Wearable Cam

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, on Thursday released the second generation of its Spectacles, a wearable video camera that captures short clips that can be synced to a smartphone. The new version also takes still photos and is designed to be water-resistant. The new Spectacles sport the same basic Ray-Ban style design as the first iteration, but they have been slimmed down and are less bulky.

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Social Networks

What’s Next With Facebook?

Facebook and other social networks appear to have crossed the line with respect to privacy and censorship. Facebook has been accused of helping one side while hiding the other side in many important debates. It has been accused of exposing the personal information of its users, violating their privacy. These perceptions are problems that must be fixed. What’s the next step?

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Strategy

The Scaling Challenge

There is a meme making the rounds and I have no idea how old it is or its origins but I’ve heard it twice in the last week. It’s easier to start a company than it is to scale one. You can’t say it’s a revolutionary thought, but for the last 20 years the emphasis has been decidedly on founding, so this is something of a departure. Startups don’t grow to the moon on average.

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Consumer Security

Researchers Create Hack to Unlock Millions of Hotel Room Doors

A flaw in certain electronic hotel door locks could allow hackers to access guest rooms and other secure locations at millions of properties around the world, F-Secure researchers have discovered. Software updates were issued to fix the flaw in the smart locks after F-Secure notified and worked with the manufacturer over the past year. The researchers had found a way to make a master key.

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Software

New Ubuntu Rethinks Desktop Ecosystem

Canonical on Thursday released Ubuntu Linux 18.04, which utilizes live patching and a new metric data collection system. Notably missing is the Unity desktop that had distinguished the distro but was poorly received. Canonical last year made the switch from Unity 7 to upstream GNOME as Ubuntu’s default desktop environment. Unity is not an option in Ubuntu 18.04 and will not be available in desktop offerings moving forward.

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Web Apps

Gmail Privacy and Security Get Ruggedized

Google has rolled out a number of new features designed to make its G Suite collaboration and productivity apps more efficient and safer to use. G Suite currently has more than 4 million paying business customers. The updates include a new design, enhanced security and AI components, and better integration of G Suite apps — including Gmail, which is getting a brand new look.

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E-Commerce

Amazon’s Latest Delivery Scheme Involves Handing Over Your Car Keys

Amazon has added a new option to its Amazon Key service for Prime members: in-car delivery, which allows drivers to place packages inside a locked trunk or elsewhere in a car that is parked in a publicly accessible area. The Amazon Key In-Car delivery service is available at no extra charge to millions of Amazon Prime members who drive certain cars.

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Chips

‘Holy Grail’ Exploit Puts Nintendo Switch Consoles at Risk

Devices built on Nvidia’s Tegra X-1 mobile processor are at risk of attack from a flaw security researchers have revealed. The exploit chain discovered by Katherine Temkin and others affects any device running the chip, including the Nintendo Switch gaming console. Called “Fusée Gelée,” the vulnerability allows anyone to run code on the chip by overloading a critical buffer when a system boots.

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Consumer Security

Google Puts a Lid on Mysterious ‘Self-Spamming’

Users of Google’s Gmail have been receiving spam that appears to have been sent from their own accounts. Google said it was aware of a spam campaign impacting a “small subset of Gmail users” and was taking measures to protect against it. The attackers used forged email headers to make it appear that users were sending emails to themselves, which led to those emails appearing in their sent folders.

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Home Tech

A Home Robot Could Be Amazon’s Next Gamble

Amazon could bring a home robot to market as early as 2019. Codenamed “Vesta,” after the Roman goddess of home and family, the project is several years old, but hiring for it recently has ramped up with an eye toward placing prototypes in employees’ homes this year. The robot could be a mobile smart speaker. Some versions of the product apparently have cameras and computer vision software.

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E-Commerce

5 Ways to Build Community Around Your Brand

Building a community around a brand is an important part of being successful in e-commerce. “Community solidifies the relationship between your brand and your customer,” said e-commerce consultant Ian Rhodes. “It creates loyalty. Whilst the majority of retail brands are seeking people to buy from them, the community-minded brand invites people to buy into their brand.”

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E-Commerce

Honesty Proves Best Policy for Closing B2B Deals: Study

Vendors have a better shot at closing deals for large-scale B2B software purchases when they are upfront and honest about the quality of their products, a new study suggests. There is a bit of a trust gap between what is promised in negotiations for these deals and what actually is provided, indicates the poll of more than 650 technology vendors and buyers.

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Tech Buzz

Fighting Fake News and Forging Real Diplomacy

Two new initiatives — a concerted effort by Apple and a massive educational effort called the “Pro-Truth Pledge” — could help eliminate much of the fake news BS that is really messing up the U.S. at the moment. On another front, President Donald Trump’s plan to meet with Kim Jong-un reminds me of a pivotal meeting between former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and then Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

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Audio/Video

With Custom Skills, Alexa Inches Closer to Being One of the Family

Amazon has introduced Alexa Skill Blueprints, adding personalization capabilities to its smart speaker devices. The new tool provides pre-crafted templates for users to create customized experiences, such as skills for particular users. With Alexa Skill Blueprints, users can build into their devices experiences that are personalized for themselves, their friends and their families.

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How Munich Re built a data lake fit for all its employees

German reinsurance company Munich Re has built a self-serve portal for employees to access a data lake in the hope that they will unearth innovative new business models.Speaking at the Dataworks Summit in Berlin this week, Andreas Kohlmaier, head of…

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Government

Federal Programs to Spur Private Sector IT Engagement

The U.S. government has launched two new programs designed to modernize and upgrade IT performance at federal agencies. Each program will involve significant participation of private sector providers as both advisors and contractors for IT equipment and services. The first program involves the creation of a federal Information Technology Modernization Fund to facilitate IT investments.

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Reviews

Nix This Innovative OS for Its Uninviting Complexity

NixOS is a modern and flexible GNU/Linux-based distribution that is both archaic to install and maddening to set up. That combination makes NixOS a reach too far for new users. That result may be an unintended consequence for a Linux operating system that is built around a very novel design approach. It is far more complex than other innovating options.

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Privacy

Facebook Rolls Out European-Style Privacy Protections

Facebook has unveiled a comprehensive series of privacy enhancements designed to extend protections required by the European Union’s GDPR to all of the social media company’s users around the world. The updates, which include major changes to the company’s terms and data policies, fulfill promises CEO Mark Zuckerberg made to House and Senate members in Washington D.C., Facebook officials said.

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Deals

Amazon, Best Buy Unite on Smart TV Strategy

Best Buy will be the exclusive retailer for Amazon’s next generation of Fire TV Edition smart TVs in the U.S. and Canada, under a new multiyear partnership. Best Buy will carry more than 10 4K and HD Fire TV Edition models starting this summer. The new smart TVs will feature the Fire TV experience built-in, allowing viewers to enjoy live TV
programming as well as streaming content.

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Hardware

The Electronics Industry: A Pawn in the US vs. China Chess Game

Rising tensions between China and the United States have led to growing concerns that a tariff war will have a negative impact on the electronics industry. Amazingly, the industry has been spared thus far, and with good reason. However, even if tariffs aren’t imposed, there is a silent battle between the two countries that already has impacted the global electronics ecosystem.

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E-Commerce

Planned Apple News Subscription Service Could Address Fake News, Pay Walls

Apple plans to launch a news subscription service within the next year. The new service reportedly will combine features from its recent Texture acquisition and Apple’s existing news app. Texture’s technology and its employees will be integrated into the Apple News team, which will build the new service. The company will split revenues with publishers.

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Marketing

Demandbase Debuts ABM Analytics for Optimal Marketing Performance

Demandbase officially announced ABM Analytics during its annual ABM Innovation Summit. The new tech, part of the company’s account-based marketing platform, leverages its account identification technology to help marketers analyze performance from advertising to pipeline and revenue figures. “AI gives B2B marketers a clear view into the behavior of their target accounts,” said CMO Peter Isaacson.

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Mobile

Vulnerabilities Abound in Popular Android Apps: Report

About 20 percent of the most popular Android Apps available through the Google Play Store contain open source components with known security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers, according to a report Insignary will release next week. The findings are the result of the company’s recent comprehensive binary code scan of the 700 most popular Android Apps on the Google Play Store.

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Cybersecurity

Microsoft, Facebook, Oracle Among 34 Firms to Join Cybersecurity Tech Accord

Microsoft, Oracle and Facebook, along with 31 other companies, have signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, an agreement aimed at defending against cyberattacks, whether coming from rogue hackers or nation-states. The 34 tech firms committed to stronger defenses, no offensive attacks, capacity building and collective action. Security remains a major issue in the tech world.

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Enterprise Security

Closing the Enterprise Security Skills Gap

The security skills gap has become a topic of acute interest among practitioners responsible for building security teams for their organizations — and keeping them running smoothly. It impacts everything from how they staff, how they cultivate and develop their workforces, and how they train, to the operational controls they put in place, and potentially numerous other things.

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Enterprise

McAfee’s Upgraded Cloud Security Protects Containers

McAfee has introduced its Cloud Workload Security v5.1, which represents the first solution for open source containers. McAfee CWS v5.1 secures Docker workload and servers in public and private cloud environments by quarantining infected workloads and containers in a single click. McAfee CWS addresses “key security, compliance and governance requirements,” said SVP Rajiv Gupta.

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