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Amazon Drops Apple TV And Chromecast In Favor Of Their Own Fire TV Stick

Amazon Drops Apple TV And Chromecast In Favor Of Their Own Fire TV Stick | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
In a logical move that may make waves in the Set-Top Box Market, Amazon has decided to stop selling the Apple TV and Google Chromecast products. The reason that this is considered a logical move is that Amazon is trying to increase the sales volume of their own Amazon Fire TV Stick. You wouldn't expect ...
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In a logical move that may make waves in the Set-Top Box Market, Amazon has decided to stop selling the Apple TV and Google Chromecast products. The reason that this is considered a logical move is that Amazon is trying to increase the sales volume of their own Amazon Fire TV Stick. You wouldn’t expect to go to the Apple website and have your pick of their competition’s products, so Amazon.com was sort of unique up until now in that respect. Hopefully for their sake this move will give them the results they were hoping for.  For an under-educated consumer who has not yet used either of these Set-Top devices, they may all seem to be relatively the same on the surface. Each one of them lets you share screens from other linked devices, such as computers or phones, but each one also links to its own manufacturer’s preferred content delivery system. For Apple, their Apple TV links to the App Store, Google’s Chromecast links to Google Play, and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick links to Amazon Prime.

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Google slaps Symantec for issuing fake web security certificates

Google slaps Symantec for issuing fake web security certificates | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Google wants Symantec to stop issuing security certificates for sites it doesn't own.
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Not long ago, Symantec revealed that it had issued bogus security certificates for numerous web domains, including Google's... and as you might guess, Google isn't happy. The search firm is warning  Symantec that, as of June 1st, any Symantec certificates which don't meet its transparency policy may create warnings and "problems" in Google products (read: they'll be deemed insecure). Moreover, it's asking Symantec to explain why it didn't catch some of the fake certificates, the causes behind each slip-up and the steps it'll take to set things right. Not surprisingly, Google doesn't want malicious sites posing as someone else (especially not Google) in order to deliver malware or perpetuate phishing scams.  For its part, Symantec claims that it issued a "small number" of test certificates by mistake, and revoked them before notifying those affected. It also fired a handful of staff who reportedly weren't following guidelines. There's a good chance this won't happen again. However, the antivirus maker also appears to be downplaying the scope of the problem. 

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Innovation’s New World Order

Innovation’s New World Order | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Asia is now the top regional destination for R&D spending, followed by North America and Europe.
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But the biggest movers among industries have been software and Internet companies. The industry increased R&D spending by 27.4% between 2014 and 2015. Software and Internet also had the largest average growth of any industry over the last 10 years — 13.2% — and passed industrials in 2015 to become the 4th-largest industry in terms of R&D spending. This rank change happened despite the fact that industrials companies posted the second-largest year-over-year increase, at 8.9%, and the 3rd-highest 10-year average increase, at 6.3%.

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IDC: Samsung shipped more smartphones in Q3 2015 than Apple and Huawei combined

IDC: Samsung shipped more smartphones in Q3 2015 than Apple and Huawei combined | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it

“Apple may still own the smartphone throne in the U.S., but even with 48 million iPhones sold last quarter, Samsung continues to dominate the worldwide market. In Q3 2015, the South Korean company shipped more smartphones than any other company.”


Via John van den Brink, Jesús Hernández
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Apple's latest earning's call might seem impressive, but hold on, look at who actually shipped more of their smartphones than Apple did, an impressive feat given the competition that Samsung faces.

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Why VCs don’t invest in 'good' companies

Why VCs don’t invest in 'good' companies | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Every VC says they are looking for great founders that are solving real problems in big markets. So why is it that so many “good” companies that seemingly meet these requirements still fail to raise money from VCs?
Richard Platt's insight:

Every VC says they are looking for great founders that are solving real problems in big markets. So why is it that so many “good” companies that seemingly meet these requirements still fail to raise money from VCs?  Venture capital is a hits driven business, with ~4.5 percent of dollars invested generating ~60 percent of total returns. This is why the VC model is built on the expectation that most returns will come from companies that pay 10X+ on investment, and on the expectation that many investments will lose money.  Most founders already know this. But what is less obvious to many is that companies that achieve moderate success are not much better from the VC point of view than those that go bankrupt.  This is why any signals that your startup has limits to its upside potential is a reason to say no to investing in you. With that in mind, here are the top reasons why VCs don’t want to invest in your “good“ startup.  

Top 6 reasons to say no
1. Weak barriers to entry

2. Lack of meaningful differentiation 

3. Unsustainable unit economics 

4. Niche markets without explosive growth

5. Bad cap table

6. Founder bait and switch

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Google's Scientist's: 3 biggest obstacles to Artificial Intelligence

Google's Scientist's: 3 biggest obstacles to Artificial Intelligence | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
We've got a long way to go.
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Artificial intelligence (AI) has always played a huge part in many of Google's applications. Behind the scenes, AI powers Google's translation program, image recognition, and email spam filters.

It doesn't look like Google will stop there. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced during Google's Q3 earnings call that they're "re-thinking" all of its products to include more AI and a method called machine learning.  What those products will be remains to be seen. No one knows exactly what the final frontiers of AI will be like, but three Google researchers told Tech Insider which problems AI researchers face when it comes to building machines capable of exhibiting extreme intelligence.  

The three obstacles are:

1. Getting machines to experience the world like humans do.

2. Getting computers to learn without human teachers.

3. Focusing on the right parts of human intelligence and not getting sidetracked

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Wal-Mart Joins the Race for Drone Deliveries

Wal-Mart Joins the Race for Drone Deliveries | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, wants to test drones for delivering products, entering a race with online competitors Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.
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Wal-Mart on Monday asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for a waiver to test drones outdoors, with a goal of eventually using them to deliver goods to consumers.  “Wal-Mart’s distribution system could become more efficient and consumers could be better served, benefiting the public interest,” the company said in its application. It has already been experimenting indoors where it doesn’t need government approval, according to its filing with the agency.   The company also wants to use drones to assist with tracking merchandise, such as taking inventory of trailers outside its distribution centers, according to the filing. Wal-Mart will have to wait until it does further testing before it can determine if or when drones will become part of its daily operations, spokesman Brian Nick said.

The FAA has issued more than 2,000 waivers to businesses that want to use drones for photography, aerial surveillance, inspections and other purposes. So far, the approvals have been for low-altitude flights within sight of the operator and away from bystanders, making it impossible to use for delivering products to people’s homes. Groceries: The application outlined several types of drone tests Wal-Mart wants to conduct, including delivering groceries in a parking lot outside a store and launching a drone from a truck to deliver packages to nearby homes. About 70% of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Wal-Mart stores, according to the company.

The FAA has fast-tracked drone waiver applications it concludes are similar to previous ones it has granted. If the Wal-Mart application has new features, the agency may take additional time determining whether it meets safety requirements.  Wal-Mart plans to test two models from SZ DJI Technology Co., the Chinese company that is the world’s leading manufacturer of small civilian drones.

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Tesla is not like Ferrari

Tesla is not like Ferrari | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
The Tesla story is just beginning, while the Ferrari story has largely been told. Still, many potential Ferrari customers may also be potential Tesla...

Via massimo facchinetti, Karolina Maria Chachulska
Richard Platt's insight:

So Tesla, FCA, and Ferrari are the only automakers to have IPO'd in US markets since Ford in 1956.  In other words, car-company IPOs are about as rare as black swans, four-leaf clovers, and appearances by the Cubs in the World Series.  Tesla's offering started out modest, with shares priced at $17. But in the last few years, the stock has blasted to epic levels, at one point nearing $300 per share in 2014. Investors who bought early are sitting on a 1,000%-plus return.  Ferrari's IPO was richer and flashier, with the stock debuting at $52 and jumping to $60 on the first day of trading before settling. Still, you might look at both automakers — with their cars that sell for over $100,000 (in Ferrari's case, well over $100,000) and can accelerate from zero to 60 with impressive velocities — and see affinities. And there are a few. But when you get down to it, Tesla is nothing like Ferrari. And it doesn't want to be anything like Ferrari. Excellent overview and analysis of the two brands who are targeting the luxury end of the car market.

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TalkTalk hires BAE Systems to investigate cyber attack

TalkTalk hires BAE Systems to investigate cyber attack | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
British broadband provider TalkTalk said on Sunday it had hired defense company BAE Systems to investigate a cyber attack that may have led to the theft of personal data from its more than 4 million customers.
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British broadband provider TalkTalk said on Sunday it had hired defense company BAE Systems to investigate a cyber attack that may have led to the theft of personal data from its more than 4 million customers.TalkTalk said on Friday it had received a ransom demand from an unidentified party for the attack, which has led to calls for greater regulation of how companies and public bodies manage personal data.   "BAE Systems are supporting us as we investigate this week's cyber attack," a spokeswoman for TalkTalk said, declining to give further details due to the ongoing investigation.  A spokeswoman for BAE's Applied Intelligence division said the company's cyber-specialists were analyzing "vast quantities" of data to help establish how the breach happened and what information was stolen.   The Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit is also conducting a criminal investigation into the attack. While TalkTalk said on Saturday it did not believe the information accessed would enable hackers to steal money from its customers, British newspapers on Sunday carried stories of individuals who said callers posing as TalkTalk employees had taken money from their bank accounts.  Many customers took to social media to complain about their treatment following the attack, TalkTalk's third data breach this year, with media also reporting some had been told they faced hundreds of pounds in fees to leave the provider.  Britain's Information Commissioner watchdog, which can impose fines of up to 500,000 pounds ($765,600), has said it is looking into the incident but security experts said the prevalence of cyber crime showed more needed to be done.

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Hackers demand ransom from British telecom TalkTalk - CNN Philippines

Hackers demand ransom from British telecom TalkTalk - CNN Philippines | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
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British telecom TalkTalk said it has received a ransom demand following a "significant and sustained cyberattack" that put the data of four million customers at risk.  "We were contacted by someone claiming to be responsible, and seeking payment," the company said.  TalkTalk is one of Britain's leading phone providers. It has admitted that its website was hacked earlier this week, and that information including the date of birth, address, credit card, and bank details of its four million customers might have been stolen.

Police have launched a criminal investigation, but no arrests have been made. The scale of the breach is still being investigated, police said.  "We take any threat to the security of our customers' data extremely seriously and we are taking all the necessary steps to understand what has happened here," TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding said in a statement.  TalkTalk said it noticed unusual activity on its website on Wednesday, and took the site offline in an effort to protect data. The company said the initial attack was later found to be a DDOS – denial of service – attack. It admitted not all data were encrypted, but said its systems were "as secure as they could be."

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Elon Musk responds to Consumer Reports' negative rating of Tesla Model S

Elon Musk responds to Consumer Reports' negative rating of Tesla Model S | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Tesla CEO Elon Musk today tweeted out a response to a Consumer Reports giving the Model S a "worse-than-average" rating in its latest report about the predicted reliability of the flagship sedan.
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In two separate tweets, Musk said any problems mentioned in Consumer Reports' user reliability ratings were more related to early production Model S sedans and that they'd already been addressed in new models.  Musk then reiterated what Consumer Reports itself noted: Some 97% of people who own the car said they would buy it again.  "The acid test," Musk tweeted.

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Domino's creates its own delivery car with GM, Google partner

Domino's creates its own delivery car with GM, Google partner | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Domino's Pizza Inc., facing stiff competition and more demanding customers, is working with General Motors to build its own fleet of custom delivery cars.
The company is rolling out 100 test vehicles emblazoned with the Domino's logo and red-and-blue colors, as well as an oven in the rear that...
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Domino's Pizza facing stiff competition and more demanding customers, is working with General Motors to build its own fleet of custom delivery cars. The company is rolling out 100 test vehicles emblazoned with the Domino's logo and red-and-blue colors, as well as an oven in the rear that can keep pizzas warm during transit. Domino's plans to bring the cars to 25 markets, including Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans and Seattle, according to a statement Wednesday.  -  Domino's, the 2nd-largest U.S. pizza company, is attempting to stay ahead of a fast-food industry where delivery is increasingly the norm. McDonald's, Taco Bell, Burger King and Starbucks are all experimenting with delivery services, bringing more competition to pizza chains. Though the modified-car program remains small, the idea is to use technology and custom features to give drivers an edge -- as well as creating a marketing tool that can roam city streets.  Domino's hired Roush Enterprises, the company building Google's self-driving cars, to retrofit GM's Chevrolet Spark models for the project. Chevrolet dealers also will be trained to maintain the pizza vehicles. The car was unveiled at the company's Ann Arbor, Michigan, headquarters during a meeting of the Automotive Press Association.

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Sony to Pay as Much as $8 Million to Settle Data-Breach Case

Sony to Pay as Much as $8 Million to Settle Data-Breach Case | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Sony Corp. agreed to pay as much as $8 million to settle claims from employees over the theft of their personal information in a computer hack linked to last year’s release of the movie “The Interview.”
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Sony Corp. agreed to pay as much as $8 million to settle claims from employees over the theft of their personal information in a computer hack linked to last year’s release of the movie “The Interview.”  Sony will pay the current and former employees as much as $4.5 million, with lawyers getting $3.5 million, according to the settlement.  U.S. officials have blamed North Korean hackers angered over the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy for the attack, which was revealed in November. The breach exposed Hollywood secrets, destroyed company data and caused the movie studio to initially cancel the release of “The Interview,” which was about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un.  Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Tokyo-based company’s U.S. movie studio, in June lost a bid to dismiss allegations that it was negligent in not maintaining adequate security to stop hackers from getting into the company’s computer systems and releasing employee salaries, worker health data, racially tinged e-mail banter and other sensitive information.  Former employees alleged the company knew it had inadequate measures in place to protect its data and suffered breaches twice before last year’s attack. The former employees claimed Sony made a “business decision to accept the risk” of losses associated with being hacked.  Some ex-employees claimed in July that identity thieves had attempted to use their credit cards and were trying to sell their personal data on black market websites. Sony argued the case wasn’t suited to proceed as a class action and told the judge that none of the lead plaintiffs in the case had suffered financial loss as a result of the hacks.

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Google’s Lack Of Product Isolation Would Support A Chrome OS And Android Merge

Google’s Lack Of Product Isolation Would Support A Chrome OS And Android Merge | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Chrome OS, the "cloud" operating system that Google introduced for laptops and Android, the operating system on phones and tablets may become one, according..
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Chrome OS, the “cloud” operating system that Google introduced for laptops and Android, the operating system on phones and tablets may become one, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The “folding” could happen as early as next year…could be introduced at the next developer event, I/O…or not.  I’ve personally spoken to sources over the past few years about it, some play the “one could imagine” game when discussing a “merger” of the two projects. The chatter increased when Android co-founder Andy Rubin left Google last year.  What we do know is that neither operating system is being “killed off.”  Here’s the deal. Mobile rules the world, and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai (he previously oversaw Chrome, Chrome OS, Apps and added Android to his purview in 2013) stated as such during Alphabet’s recent earnings call. It’s no secret. There are elements of Android that make it a far superior operating system than Chrome OS. But you know what, Chrome OS does a hell of a job relying on Google’s browser, which is by the far the top browser among internetters.  What Chrome OS lacks is native apps, and that’s what gets developers excited and consumer’s minds swirling about possibilities. In fact, Chrome OS is quite boring. So boring that schools love them. Big companies are taking a look at them. Because of Google Apps. To me, Chrome OS always felt like it could be a “mode” that you should be able to turn on within Android. For when you had a shitty internet connection or just wanted the bare bones to get work done. Regardless, the ecosystem is alive and well.

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The Next Innovation Opportunity in China

The Next Innovation Opportunity in China | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Multinationals are shifting their R&D focus from cost savings to knowledge-based research.
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Transitioning to knowledge-driven R&D will become increasingly important for foreign multinationals in China. But along the way, they will need to confront several key challenges.  1st, they will have to decide where to locate their R&D centers. Companies have traditionally emphasized one specific type of innovation at a given facility. But it’s often impossible to simply change a facility’s focus.

Cost-driven R&D has had to follow the manufacturing sector into China’s interior, where costs are lower than in coastal regions. Market-driven R&D needs to be close to where the customers are. For example, automakers’ equipment suppliers need their R&D centers to be near the automakers’ factories, which are scattered across the country.  Knowledge-driven R&D, in contrast, needs to be conducted close to research universities and public research institutes. These are predominantly established in the coastal provinces — in 1st-tier cities, but also in 2nd-tier cities such as Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Suzhou. A company pursuing knowledge-driven R&D will therefore typically need to open a new facility. Fortunately, MNCs can often receive incentives from provincial or municipal governments eager to attract investment and create jobs.  -  The 2nd challenge MNCs face involves talent. Companies conducting cost-driven or market-driven R&D are used to hiring people with bachelor’s degrees, but people who conduct knowledge-driven R&D typically need master’s degrees or Ph.Ds. This means building close links with leading universities and research centers to get preferential access to new graduates.

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Where Companies Spend Their R&D Money

Where Companies Spend Their R&D Money | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Comparing R&D spending in 2007 and 2015 reveals the new geography of innovation.
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94% of the world’s biggest innovators now conduct parts of their R&D programs abroad. But where they spend their R&D money has changed dramatically. Asia is now the top destination for corporate R&D spending, followed by North America and Europe.In 2007, the three regions were ranked in reverse order.

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Apple's Record 4Q 2015 Results: $11.1 Billion Profit on $51.5 Billion Revenue

Apple's Record 4Q 2015 Results: $11.1 Billion Profit on $51.5 Billion Revenue | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Apple today announced financial results for the third calendar quarter and fourth fiscal quarter of 2015, setting a number of company records. For...
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Apple today announced financial results for the third calendar quarter and fourth fiscal quarter of 2015, setting a number of company records. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $51.5 billion and net quarterly profit of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $42.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.  Apple's guidance for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 includes expected revenue of $75.5-77.5 billion and gross margin between 39 and 40 percent. 

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Can TiVo make a comeback?

Can TiVo make a comeback? | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
TiVo is now offering a DVR known as the Bolt, but the company's subscriber base is shrinking and its valuable patents may eventually run out.
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TiVo is now offering a DVR known as the Bolt, but the company’s subscriber base is shrinking and its valuable patents may eventually run out.  TiVo was once a household name and among the leading digital video recorder (DVR) makers in the world. Now, though, it’s a shadow of its former self.  Last month, for instance, TiVo announced that during its second quarter, it lost 3,000 TiVo-owned subscribers. While it was able to add 284,000 subscribers through partnerships with service providers (like RCN and Virgin) TiVo-owned subscriptions now hover at about 941,000. Over the last few years, the company has been hemorrhaging subscribers, losing “a couple hundred thousand” TiVo-owned subscribers in the last few years, CFO Naveen Chopra says.  TiVo-owned subscribers are paying customers the company acquired on its own. TiVo also has subscribers that it obtained through partnerships with pay-TV providers that are separate from its own “TiVo-owned” grouping.  Last month, TiVo revealed its latest product: the Bolt DVR, which allows users to skip commercials. Although the new device is a good idea, it (and others on the market) has only earned TiVo just a sliver of the set-top box market and has done little to reverse a revenue slide in its DVR business.   “[TiVo] has never been able to be the definitive market leader as a result of pay-TV-provider DVRs which dominate consumer adoption,” says Greg Ireland, research director at IDC. “[TiVo has] worked hard to offer products with compelling features sets, yet the barriers to entry—upfront costs, set up, service fees—don’t compare favorably with the ease of adoption of a pay-TV DVR box (even when those boxes offer less compelling interfaces).”

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IBM: Modernize your business or risk being Uber-ized

IBM: Modernize your business or risk being Uber-ized | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
At an IBM conference, executives from Kohl's department store, Urban Outfitters, and HSBC talked about they modernized their businesses.
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IBM has a stern warning for big old companies that fail to modernize their technology and business practices. You risk being disrupted by an Uber-like startup.  Big Blue executives took the stage at an IBM conference in Las Vegas on Monday to urge companies to undergo a so-called “digital transformation.” That usually involves using more software and data technology — preferably IBM’s — and paying closer attention to how customers shop online and use social media services like Twitter.  “You better figure it out, because there’s an Uber out there that’s already figured it out,” warned Glen Finch, IBM’s global leader of big data and analytics.   When talking to customers, Finch said he’s noticed that companies are worried about more nimble startups like Uber overtaking their business. Uber, of course, has upended the taxi industry, which was seen as being slow to counter its fast-rising rival.  “The bottom line is that the c-suite is staying up at night,” Finch said  To drive home the point, IBM trotted out executives from Kohl’s  department store, Urban Outfitters, British bank HSBC, and others to explain how they’ve updated their business.  Mark Clare, HSBC’s chief data officer, said his bank no longer thinks of data as something that benefits only its IT department. Instead, his data team has a seat on the bank’s executive team and is highly involved with making business-related decisions.  The bank, for example, is tweaking its mobile banking app and website to make it as simple and easy to use as popular social media sites, Clare boasted. HSBC is also monitoring customers on social media so it “can react and manage that customer experience,” rather than merely collecting data about what they do with their accounts like making deposits.

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Oracle and Intel join up to poach IBM Power customers

Oracle and Intel join up to poach IBM Power customers | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Oracle and Intel are partnering up in a bid to tempt customers away from what the companies describe as aging IBM Power systems.
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Oracle and Intel are partnering up in a bid to tempt customers away from what the companies describe as aging IBM Power systems.

The new scheme, jointly funded by Oracle and Intel, goes by the name of ‘Exa Your Power’, and wants to see IBM Power customers migrate their Oracle Database across to Oracle Engineered Systems driven by Intel Xeon processors.  The firm said that its Oracle Exadata was built from the ground up to fully optimise the performance and cost efficiency of running Oracle, and thousands of customers have already shifted their databases across to Oracle Engineered Systems.

If you are a qualified customer, the Exa Your Power program offers a completely free database migration proof of concept, with a customised report detailing the process and test results, showing how the transition could reduce costs and boost efficiency.

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Apple hires Nvidia’s AI director for possible work on autonomous car

Apple hires Nvidia’s AI director for possible work on autonomous car | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it

The rumors and speculation around Apple's involvement in developing a car continue to rise and subside, just like the ocean's tide. While there's been mentions


Via Karolina Maria Chachulska
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Reinventing the Company

Reinventing the Company | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Entrepreneurs are redesigning the basic building block of capitalism
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NOW that Uber is muscling in on their trade, London’s cabbies have become even surlier than usual. Meanwhile, the world’s hoteliers are grappling with Airbnb, and hardware-makers with cloud computing. Across industries, disrupters are reinventing how the business works. Less obvious, and just as important, they are also reinventing what it is to be a company.  To many managers, corporate life continues to involve dealing with largely anonymous owners, most of them represented by fund managers who buy and sell shares listed on a stock exchange. In insurgent companies, by contrast, the coupling between ownership and responsibility is tight (see article). Founders, staff and backers exert control directly. It is still early days but, if this innovation spreads, it could transform the way companies work.  

Listing badly:  The appeal of the insurgents’ model is partly a result of the growing dissatisfaction with the public company. True, the best public companies are remarkable organisations. They strike a balance between quarterly results (which keep them sharp) and long-term investments (which keep them growing). They produce a stream of talented managers and innovative products. They can mobilise talent and capital.  But, after a century of utter dominance, the public company is showing signs of wear. One reason is that managers tend to put their own interests first. The shareholder-value revolution of the 1980s was supposed to solve this by incentivising managers to think like owners, but it backfired. Loaded up with stock options, managers acted like hired guns instead, massaging the share price so as to boost their incomes.   The rise of big financial institutions (that hold about 70% of the value of America’s stockmarkets) has further weakened the link between the people who nominally own companies and the companies themselves. Fund managers have to deal with an ever-growing group of intermediaries, from regulators to their own employees, and each layer has its own interests to serve and rents to extract. No wonder fund managers usually fail to monitor individual companies.  Today’s startups will not have it all their own way. Public companies have their place, especially for capital-intensive industries like oil and gas. Many startups will inevitably fail, including some of the most famous. But their approach to building a business will survive them and serve as a striking addition to the capitalist toolbox. Airbnb and Uber and the rest are better suited to virtual networks and fast-changing technologies. They are pioneering a new sort of company that can do a better job of turning dreams into businesses.

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TalkTalk cyber-attack: UK Website hit by 'significant' breach

TalkTalk cyber-attack: UK Website hit by 'significant' breach | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Personal and banking details of up to four million TalkTalk customers may have been stolen in a "sustained" cyber-attack on its website, the company says.
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Police are investigating a "significant and sustained cyber-attack" on the TalkTalk website, the UK company says.  The phone and broadband provider, which has over four million UK customers, said banking details and personal information could have been accessed.  TalkTalk said potentially all customers could be affected but it was too early to know what data had been stolen.   The Metropolitan Police said no-one had been arrested over Wednesday's attack but enquiries were ongoing.

TalkTalk said in a statement that a criminal investigation had been launched on Thursday.  It said there was a chance that some of the following customer data had been accessed:

  • Names and addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • TalkTalk account information
  • Credit card and bank details

Dido Harding, chief executive of the TalkTalk group, told BBC News its website was now secure again and TV, broadband, mobile and phone services had not been affected by the attack.

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Here's how Dell is thinking about the IoT

Here's how Dell is thinking about the IoT | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
You think the smart home is a mess? Try connecting oil wells or factories.
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Dell like many of its largest peers (Intel, GE), sees projections around the Internet of things—50 billion connected devices by 2020, or the potential for trillions of dollars in economic value—and wants a piece of the pie.  On Wednesday at Dell World, the company’s annual customer conference, CEO Michael Dell paid lip service to the opportunity without articulating a clear strategy. Dell will sell hardware tailored to the Internet of things, its chief executive said. Beyond that, who knows.  So Dell during the conference introduced a gateway made in partnership with Intel that is, in essence, a computer designed to sit in a factory or field, collect sensor data, and analyze it to send what it deems relevant to the cloud. The idea is to reduce the total information transmitted to the cloud to conserve time and bandwidth. It’s also a bolt-on accessory, so to speak, that can translate data from sensors that use older, non-Internet compliant protocols for today’s digital world. The gateway accommodates the alphabet soup of data created by sensors—once unified, it’s a language that the entirety of the Internet of things can work with.  Cisco, IBM, and Oracle each make hardware offering similar functionality. The devices also serve as a form of lock-in for these companies—a way to ensure that they can squeeze just a little bit more margin out of their traditional hardware businesses before the world transitions to open standards that allow customers to swap hardware more freely.  Rose Schooler, VP and GM of Intel’s Internet of things effort, pointed out that most of the opportunity is in so-called brownfield deployments, where companies are trying to add analysis and connectivity to older sensors. “We can’t start with greenfield because it will take too long,” she said. “It’s hard, and the all-ethernet IP world would be easier, but today that’s the smaller opportunity. We’re only in mile two of the marathon, but it’s important for us to go out there and connect some of this stuff and get some wins.”  To accomplish that, technology companies look to collaborations where they bring the gateways, and consultants help connect the old-line manufacturing gear to the box (and then to the Internet). And then the industry-specific partners come in. For Dell and Intel, for example, KMC Controls assists in building management applications, where reductions in emissions reductions and waste in corporate offices are targeted by analyzing gateway data for opportunities to adjust the air conditioning or lighting.  Figuring out such correlations in the data often requires industry expertise. That’s why we are increasingly seeing, from Dell to SAP, industry partner programs that actually mean something beyond a series of logos on a slide. Such partnerships can make or break a technology company’s relationship with a customer—it’s really the industry experts that are creating the algorithms that will generate the savings or reduce waste. 

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Using the IoT to make wine taste sweeter

Using the IoT to make wine taste sweeter | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
While it is no substitute for a vintner's nose and palate, Ericsson is testing out how the IoT could help in many areas of wine making.
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Ericsson has teamed up with Intel, Telenor Connexion, and MyOmega Systems Technologies aims to build a secure IoT connectivity service that will support "more effective wine production", the company said.

The service will allow winemakers to collect data on air and soil humidity and temperature, as well as solar intensity, using IoT sensors along with Intel-based IoT gateways connected to a cloud service.  According to the companies, the system can be scaled upwards to cover the largest wine companies and scaled out to other industries.  "The data can be used to perform predictive analysis and to support resource management and real-time remote monitoring, leading to higher quality production, lower costs, and reduced environmental impact for winemakers," Ericsson said.  "We see great potential for scaling the service to winemakers globally and to additional industrial applications in the networked society,"  Is Ericsson looking to expand its IoT skills into other areas outside of winemaking?  -  "Yes," said Olin. "This is just an example and one can think of many other industries, for example, further agriculture, transport, real estate, and health."

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