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Fake News: Amazon Wants a Key to Your House
October 30, 2017
I'm getting tired of headlines that present something you might want to do as something you'd have to be crazy to do. Last week was a case in point: Headline after headline shouted out that Amazon wanted to get a key to your house. The initial reaction was hell no -- but the reality is far more nuanced. You see, there are a lot of folks who live in places where their front entrance isn't secure.
With Gamification, CRM Is a Brand New Ball Game
October 27, 2017
Advances in technology -- including speech analytics, metrics, a wider array of scrabble data, and perhaps even big data -- are making gamification a must-have tool in customer relationship management, call centers, collections, sales and other business areas. Technological advances have enabled the design of games that offer employees incentives to make customers happy.
Amazon to Let Delivery Drivers Open Your Front Door
October 26, 2017
Amazon has announced a new service that will allow Prime members to receive in-home delivery of packages with the help of high-tech smart locks that allow drivers to open their front doors. Amazon Key will launch officially on Nov. 8 in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding communities, with additional locations to be added over time. The service will be available at no extra cost to Prime members.
Taking the News Out of Facebook's News Feed Could Hurt Publishers
October 25, 2017
A new feature that Facebook recently has been testing in a handful of countries could hurt publishers everywhere if it should roll out globally. The feature removes users' Liked pages from their main News Feed and aggregates them in a separate space called "Explore." In the six countries where Facebook has been testing the idea, traffic to news outlets reportedly has dropped 60-80 percent.
Screen Burn-In, Piercing Sounds Beset Google's Pixel 2s
October 24, 2017
Complaints have been mounting over display and audio issues with Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Consumers have reported a screen burn-in problem with the Pixel 2 XL, which refers to embedded functions leaving a ghost-like image on the display. In addition, there have been numerous reports of high-pitched noises and strange clicking sounds occurring during calls on the Pixel 2.
E-Commerce Firms: Get Ready for New Privacy Laws
October 24, 2017
The Federal Trade Commission regulates privacy in the United States, and under the FTC rules, a website need not have a privacy policy at all. However, a website must comply with and not violate its policy if it has one. ifeLock learned that lesson the hard way when " target="_blank">the FTC sued it for failing to abide by its privacy policy. How do other countries' privacy laws apply to U.S. businesses?
Fighting Off the Harvey Weinsteins of the World Through Technology
October 23, 2017
Harvey Weinstein just went from most powerful man in Hollywood to punching bag -- and while he deserved this, perhaps greater attention should go toward taking aggressive measures to prevent future Weinsteins -- and there will be future Weinsteins. We need to stop acting surprised when this stuff comes out and instead take stronger steps to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Counting Down to ASC 606
October 19, 2017
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do.
Artificial Intelligence vs. Echo's Eavesdropping and Google's Home Invasion
October 19, 2017
There's a lot of excitement about all the new artificial intelligence technology hitting the market -- like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home smart speakers, among many other products. However, there's also growing concern over how these devices may invade our privacy. Despite the companies' assurances to the contrary, some people worry that they could be listening to every word we utter.
Companies Turn Blind Eye to Open Source Security Risks
October 18, 2017
Many software developers and enterprise users have been lax or oblivious to the need to properly manage open source software. A new report highlights the consequences of failure to establish open source acquisition and usage policies, and to follow best practices. Flexera polled more than 400 commercial software suppliers and in-house software development teams within enterprises.
Evolution of the 4th Utility: Fixed Broadband
October 17, 2017
In-home broadband has become "the fourth utility" in United States households, many of which have multiple connected devices and viewing screens. More than 85 percent of U.S. homes have broadband service, according to Parks Associates, 93 percent of those have DSL, fiber or cable high-speed, fixed-line Internet services. Fixed broadband demand is a key contributor to operators' ongoing profits.
Salesforce's IoT Strategy
October 16, 2017
Salesforce is a large and well-disciplined development company. It's pretty good at marketing too. It continues to innovate in all product areas, from core platform to applications, and the one criticism I'd make is that it's information overload at times. Lately Salesforce has made a big deal of adding its AI product, Einstein, to every application area to provide insights and stack rank options.
Retailers Slowly Embracing In-Store Tech Tools
October 16, 2017
Most retailers don't have the in-store technology to view customer information across various touchpoints, suggests a new study from Kibo. Fifty-eight percent of retailers who participated in the study, released last Thursday, acknowledged they did not have that capability. The study was based on questions posed to 115 retail executives during the Future Stores 2017 conference.
Could HP and Dell Get Together Again?
October 16, 2017
Technology companies tend to have very fickle relationships. For instance, Microsoft helped launch Apple, worked to kill the company, provided money to save it, and then got its butt kicked by it. Dell first partnered with EMC, then competed with it, then bought it -- and the CEOs remained friends throughout. Dell and HP have had a rather interesting relationship as well.
Study: Music Improves Customer Experience, Even in Serious Settings
October 14, 2017
Music can enhance the customer experience even in nontraditional retail environments, suggests a study released Thursday by Mood Media and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers. The study was conducted in France. Customers had a more favorable experience in five business locations -- including gas station, optical, banking, sports apparel and pharmacy locations, the study found.
Salesforce Reshuffles SaaS, PaaS in Internet of Things and AI
October 13, 2017
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets.
Report Probes Social Media's Threat to Democracy
October 13, 2017
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may pose a threat to American democracy, suggests a new report from The Omidyar Group. The report follows recent disclosures about targeted dark post advertising, fake news and other abuses propagated by Russian troll farms during the 2016 election. Among the questions the report raises is whether the U.S. government may need to step in.
Walmart Throws Down Gauntlet to Amazon
October 11, 2017
Walmart on Tuesday outlined plans to grow its critically important e-commerce business in the U.S. by 40 percent over the next fiscal year. The company intends to leverage a series of key acquisitions and its more than 4,600 brick-and-mortar locations to mount a direct challenge to Amazon for millennial customers. Walmart is the largest retail operation in the world and the leading U.S. challenger to Amazon.
OpenWorld 2017
October 10, 2017
I spent last week at Oracle's OpenWorld 2017 in San Francisco. When I wasn't drinking from an information fire hose, it was alternately fascinating and exhausting. There were major announcements in database, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other stuff I'm associated with only tangentially. For instance, my eyes glaze over when they start talking about bare metal servers.
Zuckerberg Pays Virtual Visit to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
October 10, 2017
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday used virtual reality tech to "teleport" to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and soon was dubbed a "heartless billionaire" by critics who felt he had exploited the dire situation in the U.S. territory. That likely isn't what Zuckerberg intended when he provided the Facebook Spaces video demonstration.
Small Companies Often in the Dark About Cyberattacks
October 10, 2017
Nearly 60 percent of small businesses have been the victims of a cyberattack over the past year, but the vast majority didn't realize that they had been attacked, according to Nationwide's third annual survey of 1,069 businesses with fewer than 299 employees. Initially, only 13 percent of the participating companies said they had been victims of a cyberattack.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
HPE Gave Russia Deep Dive Into Security Software Used by Pentagon
October 6, 2017
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has allowed experts working with Russia to review the source code of cybersecurity software that is used by the U.S. Defense Department. The Pentagon uses HPE's ArcSight software to protect sensitive computer networks. The review of its code was conducted by Russian firm Echelon on behalf of a Russian defense agency that deals with cybersecurity issues.
Gadget Ogling: Same Old Apple
October 6, 2017
Watching Apple's product announcement showcase is a bit like celebrating New Year's. People from all over the world are drawn to this annual event with the promise of something new and exciting, a vision of tomorrow and untold promise. Yet the more it comes around, the more disappointed we are. That promised kiss from a stranger at midnight is a dud. Our best intentions fall by the wayside.
Are You Ready for a RoboCEO?
October 5, 2017
Here's a disturbing thought: A RoboCEO powered by artificial intelligence -- possibly based on IBM's Watson -- could be running some companies within the next decade. Not every company will warm to the idea, to be sure, but it's conceivable that the practice could begin. This idea has started to bubble to the surface, with leaders like Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma apparently taking it seriously.
Show Season
October 4, 2017
Autumn officially kicked off about a week ago -- not with some celestial convergence but with show season, with companies like HubSpot and SugarCRM holding conclaves of their faithful. This is traditionally the beginning of attempts at closing the calendar year on a high note, as CRM vendors work to garner customer dollars based on the promises of new technologies unveiled at conferences.
'Invisible' Technologies: What You Can't See Can Hurt You
October 3, 2017
There are times when it seems like technology can work almost too well. Now, if working too well sounds to you like an impossibility, reflect that there's more to a technology than end-user experience. In addition to the experience of using the technology, there are other considerations that play a role: things like maintenance, operations and ongoing support.
Google Adds a Brick to Online Publishers' Paywalls
October 2, 2017
Google on Monday announced that it was dropping its decade-old policy of requiring media and news publishers to provide a limited amount of free content. The so-called "first click free" policy meant that publishers had to make a certain amount of content available to users who conducted a search on Google, even if their stories, videos or images otherwise were behind a paywall.
Anticipating the Smart World of 2027: A Billion Cameras and AI, Oh My...
October 2, 2017
Nvidia went to China last week and made a series of interesting announcements having to do with smart cities and autonomous cars. IBM made an announcement on advancements in tying the Weather Channel to its Watson artificial intelligence engine, and improvements in targeted marketing. We also found out about Oculus' Fall in Love VR project which is kind of like the The Bachelor.
Digital Hub Returns
September 28, 2017
Digital Hub is not a new idea. It's been percolating for a few years, and its roots can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, where in a cluster of eight buildings, there exists what might be the original hub. In Dublin, it's made up of 97 companies employing 725 people, and it was given a jumpstart by the government in 2003. Elsewhere, we might be more attuned to the idea of a tech incubator.
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What effect is social media having on the current discussion of sexual misconduct?
It's enabling many more people to engage in serious discussions.
It's functioning mostly as an echo chamber.
It's giving everyone a voice.
It's creating much more divisiveness.
It's enabling a cultural re-education.
It's making my news feed so unpleasant I'm staying away.