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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
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A top venture capital firm predicts these 8 trends will take over cloud computing in 2018

A top venture capital firm predicts these 8 trends will take over cloud computing in 2018 | Competitive Edge |

Bessemer Venture Partners knows the cloud.

The Silicon Valley venture capital firm meets with over a thousand cloud companies each year and keeps close tabs on its dozens of investments in the cloud market. Just to round things out, Bessemer also researches 78 cloud companies that have already gone public, keeping tabs on their performance so as to better advise their still-private investments.

All of this data comes together in the firm's annual State of the Cloud report, which Bessemer published Thursday. 

In the report, Bessemer investors Byron Deeter, Kristina Shen and Anna Khan share what they see in the year ahead for companies on the cloud. 

Here's what they expect to see in 2018. Read more: click image or title.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's very important to know new trends in technology to stay ahead of the game, no matter what you do.

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Shocking predictions for life after 2020 from Ray Kurzweil, who leads Google's AI effort

Shocking predictions for life after 2020 from Ray Kurzweil, who leads Google's AI effort | Competitive Edge |

Ray Kurzweil is the world's foremost futurist, authoring bestsellers like "The Age of Spiritual Machines"  and "How to Create a Mind."

He's so influential that Google hired him to lead its artificial intelligence efforts.  Kurzweil is known for making predictions, which are right about 86% of the time.  Here are some of his most promising (and terrifying) visions of the 2020s and beyond. Read more: click image or title.

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Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This article will start you thinking about AI - Artificial Intelligence and how it will impact you in this lifetime.

The Asymptotic Leap's curator insight, January 30, 2016 4:56 PM

The G-forces of asymptotic liftoff...

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7 wearable technology roles that will change the world

7 wearable technology roles that will change the world | Competitive Edge |
As the world of wearables continues to grow, Adecco has created an infographic of 7 wearable technology roles that will change the world.

Wearables, wearables, wearables. Along with words like ‘cloud security’ and ‘internet of things’ that’s all I seem to hear about at the moment.

Not that I’m complaining, I love wearables and I am definitely not the only one who does. Wearable devices in the form of smartwatches and fitness trackers have taken the world by storm, with 10 million devices sold in 2014.

There are wearables in the market now that can change your mood, track your sleeping habits and bring an end to jet lag and that’s just in the consumer side; wearables are also being deployed in the enterprise with a host of use cases available.

This industry boom – which is only just beginning – brings with it a wide variety of job roles, some of which are yet to be created, such as IoT trainers, technology implementation managers and IoT-specific engineers.

To shed some light on the new job roles that will become available, Adecco has created an infographic of 7 wearable technology roles that will change the world, which can be found below. Read more: Click image or title.

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Via Richard Platt
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Technology is creating more applications in wearable, IoT, cloud security and more all the time. The new jobs resulting from that are well paid and will need to be filled in the next few years. Follow the trends and be in demand.

Richard Platt's curator insight, June 28, 2015 3:40 PM

The infographic on the webpage is like an all-in-one, definitely a good capture of what is getting traction in the world of wearables.

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Box, Dropbox and Hightail Pivot to New Business Models

Box, Dropbox and Hightail Pivot to New Business Models | Competitive Edge |

Box, Dropbox and Hightail are rethinking their core business models, focusing on specific industries or bolstering customer service.

SAN FRANCISCO — Nothing concentrates minds at a tech start-up like living in the middle of a price war between Amazon and Google.

Just ask executives at companies like Box, Dropbox and Hightail. They pioneered a new kind of Internet service that allows people and companies to store all kinds of electronic files in an easy-to-use online locker. But as often happens, the much bigger companies liked the idea so much they decided to do the same thing — at a much lower price.

“These guys will drive prices to zero,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and chief executive of Box. “You do not want to wait for Google or Amazon to keep cutting prices on you. ‘Free’ is not a business model.”

So how do you avoid free? Box is trying to cater to special data storage needs, like digital versions of X-rays for health care companies and other tasks specific to different kinds of customers. Hightail is trying to do something similar for customers like law firms. And Dropbox? It is trying to make sure that its consumer-minded service stays easier to use than what the big guys provide.

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“It’s very tough just to be in the storage business,” said Brad Garlinghouse, the chief executive of Hightail. “We don’t think that is what we’re selling anymore.”

In the tech industry, they call this sort of reinvention of the core business model a “pivot.” Another way to describe it is a fight for survival.

Box, founded in 2005, has attracted $512 million in investment, and in March it filed papers for an initial public offering of stock. In July, the company said it had 39,000 businesses paying $15 to $35 a month a user. It is hard to know how many people that is, since some businesses have just a couple of people, and others include General Electric and Eli Lilly.

Dropbox has 300 million customers worldwide and actually runs inside Amazon Web Services, as do parts of Box. Many Dropbox customers pay nothing and get two gigabytes of storage capacity a month, the equivalent of 1,000 books or seven minutes of high-definition television. A version for $10 a month offers 100 gigabytes.

Hightail, which used to be called YouSendIt, says it has over a half-million business customers paying $25 a month or more, depending on the features chosen.

“There’s a place for all of them,” said Amita Potnis, an analyst at IDC. “Amazon’s focus is really computing itself. The smaller ones have to focus on ways businesses actually use it.” For example, she said, the services can help companies collaborate with each other online instead of sending emails back and forth with attachments.

While devices and apps get most of the attention, data storage is every bit as important, particularly as objects like phones, tablets, cars and thermostats become appendages of the Internet. Throw in trends like collaboration and big data analysis, and all those bits of data become more dynamic than something in a file cabinet. They are fluid and being entered and retrieved from many points.

Managing all that data should be a good business.

The problem for everyone is price. Amazon and Google have for years decimated competition in their respective fields of Internet advertising and retail. As the two companies move to dominate cloud computing, including online storage, they are turning that relentlessness on each other.

In March, Google celebrated the unification of several cloud computing services with price cuts of 68 percent for most customers, to 2.6 cents a gigabyte a month, about one-quarter the price of Dropbox’s premium consumer service.

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Amazon’s Web Services, which had cut prices at least four times since 2008, responded with cuts of its own, including one cut to 2.75 cents a gigabyte for large amounts of storage, and just a penny a month for data used less frequently. It has made further price cuts on other types of storage since then. Many expect Microsoft, which runs its own big cloud business, called Azure, to follow with similar cuts.

Even by the standards of computing, where services seem almost invariably to become cheaper and faster, storage prices have had an exceptional fall. The first gigabyte storage device in 1980 typically cost $120,000 and weighed 550 pounds. Amazon’s cloud-based storage might cost 12 cents a year.

None of the smaller online storage companies doubt that Amazon and Google can make seemingly impossible pricing moves. Both companies also have a scale that means even the tiniest profit can be huge. A.W.S. brags that almost all of Netflix, and Amazon itself, is inside its cloud, along with hundreds of other substantial companies.

Apple’s iCloud storage service and other parts of Apple, along with operations at several large banks, run inside A.W.S., say people familiar with the service who spoke on the condition they not be named so they could sustain relations with the powerful cloud company.

Amazon would not comment on confidential customer agreements. An Apple spokesman noted that Apple had its own data centers in four locations in the United States and said that “the vast majority” of data in services like iTunes, Maps and the App Store ran on its own computers. Apple uses other facilities as well, he said.

Google does not have anything like the Amazon customer list, but its computer network is probably the largest corporate network in the world. It includes custom-made computing and power systems and several thousand engineers to keep it running. According to one person with knowledge of the system, Google spends about $2 billion a quarter on its computing infrastructure.

Google would not comment on its costs. In an email, Tom Kershaw, a product manager for Google’s cloud service, predicted more cost-cutting. “As more customers store more information, for longer, we’re able to make gains in efficiency and pass these savings along to the customer.”

Both Box and Hightail now say they assume that they will offer customers unlimited storage free and push their costs into the prices they charge for other services. “At this point, it’s better just to say ‘unlimited,’ ” Mr. Levie said. “The thing to do is take into account why someone is storing something online and what their needs are.”

Box has hired people with specialties in health care, media and entertainment, hospitality and retailing. Dropbox still has supposed limits on storage in its business offering, but they start at a terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes, and customers can upgrade from there with seemingly no fee.

This niche approach could work, provided the big companies do not go after these industry-specific storage markets or build more consumer-focused service offerings. Mr. Levie said he thought that was unlikely. “No one is going to build Google Health Care,” he said.

Google’s Mr. Kershaw differed. “Industry-specific solutions are the wave of the future and a key part of what Google is building for our customers,” he said.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Coming up with a great idea in the tech world and putting it out is not a direct road to success anymore. Companies, even successful ones, need to adjust, pivot, and compete with corporations like Google and Amazon. Not an easy task. Complex world.

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Business Intelligence Trends for 2014

Business Intelligence Trends for 2014 | Competitive Edge |
Where's Business Intelligence going?
As anyone working with data these days knows, there is a massive wave of innovation in analytics today. Hundreds of companies from startups to Amazon and Google are making breakthroughs.

n the best spirit of innovation they are building on each other's work to make astounding progress on new concepts like NoSQL databases and cloud data warehouses.

But technology itself is never the whole story. People and organizations must absorb innovation to make it relevant. We see that happening at a mass level with some concepts that have been around for years, such as Agile Business Intelligence.

Flip through the slides on the right to see where we think Business Intelligence is headed in 2014.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Great Jobs for Developers at Excellent Startups! 

at Fibonacci Sequence (US only)

Via Brian Larson, Marc Kneepkens
Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 28, 2013 1:05 PM

Keep on seeing the big picture and following the trends is a must. Great information.

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Tools that help startups scale effectively

Tools that help startups scale effectively | Competitive Edge |

If you wanted to start your own tech business 10 years ago, you needed deep pockets and extensive knowledge of building the various parts of a company yourself. From the ground up. Skype, Amazon and eBay were all well-backed companies given significant capital to grow while making significant early losses.

Building a successful tech company should not be that exclusive — you should neither need a hefty amount of capital nor a degree in engineering, necessarily. If you have a great idea, you should be able to focus on that idea and not have to worry about building non-core parts of your business from scratch, such as hosting or payroll. The good news is that we are closer than ever to that reality, thanks to a more mature ecosystem of tools that help startups scale effectively on a pay-as-you-grow basis. Read more: click image or title.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

"The steam engine became the universal source of power in the industrial revolution, and in today’s digital revolution, the startup stack is emerging as the steam engine for our age. But, coming at a much lower cost and being available globally via the cloud, the democratization potential of this is much stronger. Industrial revolutions have tended to benefit the few at the expense of the many. With the startup stack, maybe this latest revolution will be a lot more distributive than previous ones."

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The 10 Biggest Tech Trends for 2016

The 10 Biggest Tech Trends for 2016 | Competitive Edge |
From immersive experiences to watching video gamers in a stadium, here's a rundown of the tech trends you should expect to pick up steam in the new year.

If you already feel like you are living in a sci-fi futuristic fantasy, just wait.

Technology is getting exponentially faster, more immersive and intuitive. And as technology changes, so does the way we live.

In 2016, we can expect to be increasingly surrounded by virtual reality, watch kiddos play with a personalized robot and possibly watch professional video gamers in a stadium-like setting, according to a report from UK-based market research firm Juniper Research. And this is just the iceberg.

Click through this gallery to get a sense of the 10  technology trends Juniper Research expects to be dominating in 2016. Read more: click image or title.

Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The future is here now. The promise is that the acceleration will be going up exponentially.

finiteswag's comment, December 22, 2015 10:50 PM

Its tremendous :)
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7 IT Startups That Will Change How Businesses Innovate In 2015 | TechCrunch

7 IT Startups That Will Change How Businesses Innovate In 2015  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge |

IT is going through a renaissance right now. New products and services are released every month that dramatically change how we can develop products and manage our IT shops. Innovation is everywhere; it can be hard to keep up, but that is part of the fun.

To help people get a hold of this rapidly changing landscape, I highlighted seven technologies that will help you innovate faster, beat your competition and deliver outstanding customer service. They each address the common challenges of how businesses operate today, and are setting the stage for a new era of IT.

  1. ElasticBox

ElasticBox offers IT-as-a-service. Its platform enables IT and developer teams to collaborate so they can quickly build, manage and deploy applications to any cloud. ElasticBox eases the friction between the two teams. Generally, IT teams want to slow things down and ensure stability, while developers want to speed things up and innovate. ElasticBox is changing the DevOps dynamic into one that’s more collaborative and efficient. It also offers a wide variety of features for businesses. This gives companies more flexibility with how they move to the cloud by not locking them into a single cloud provider or a specific way of deploying applications.

ElasticBox will be interesting in 2015 because it is in the midst of greatly expanding the scope of its platform. I look forward to seeing how they build more features around their clever solutions to longstanding developer and IT pain points.

  1. Zimperium

Zimperium has solved the puzzle of protecting mobile devices against advanced mobile threats. Too many players in the security space are stuck on mobile device management (MDM) like the common “Find My iPhone” apps. This has resulted in a lack of truly intelligent enterprise security apps. Zimperium has found a way to fully secure the devices that employees carry everywhere they go, which when exploited, can be a vulnerable entry point to a company’s network and intellectual property.

MDM leaves much to be desired for forward-thinking organizations, and Zimperium will become even more noteworthy in 2015 as MDM continues to die an all-too-slow death. People will soon realize that putting “shackles” on their devices is a losing proposition. This will cause solutions that secure data at rest/transit, as well as support strong authentication (Cert-Based-Auth) and “app stores” to be more broadly deployed.

  1. ZenPayroll

Startups and SMBs are getting some very cool tools nowadays to give them the power to act like a more established company with greater resources. ZenPayroll takes care of all the payroll legwork for SMBs, vastly simplifying the process of managing employee pay. The startup automates things like tax calculations, payments and direct deposits, which is a godsend for businesses that don’t have a corporate office to deal with managing paying employees.

ZenPayroll will be particularly intriguing in 2015 as the next wave of SaaS solutions meets the challenge of the old-guard of traditional applications like SAP and Oracle. ZenPayroll and others in this new crop of HR upstarts are eliminating the one-year-notice prior upgrade cycle, contentious pricing true-up (which enables revision to pricing after a contract commences), and a few other things that cause IT schedules to fall behind schedule and over-budget.

  1. OneLogin

OneLogin provides single sign-on and identity management for cloud applications. It eliminates the need for lengthy integration and provisioning projects, manual de-provisioning, protracted on- and off-boarding processes, username and password resets, shadow IT policing, and other inconveniences caused by too many digital identities.

As the security perimeter becomes more and more elastic and location agnostic with further cloud adoption, there will be a slow migration of identity management services such as Active Directory and LDAP hosted on-premises to cloud identity providers. OneLogin will be among the preferred cloud identity providers. Furthermore, stronger authentication factors will be adopted by those who truly understand the shortcomings of password authentication.

  1. Conjur

The underlying infrastructure of cloud-based apps is pretty complex. There are many moving parts that are often strung together across several servers and databases. This complexity creates friction between the developers who need to write new code and the operations team who needs to watch all the components to make sure nothing crashes. Conjur is great because it easily manages who has access to what code. So for instance, a developer can’t accidentally mess with live code when he should be in a development environment. It can also set rules for what certain pieces of code are allowed to do.

In 2015 and beyond, cloud adoption will surely continue to grow across businesses. This means more and more people will be looking for tools that help them manage the complexity of their cloud apps, so I expect to see lots of growth for companies like Conjur that bring order to the system.

  1. Illumio

Illumio takes a new approach to securing enterprise applications specifically designed for the cloud-based world. Instead of putting a firewall around everything, its approach is more granular. Illumio secures individual computing workloads as they are en route to the appropriate servers, whether they are in the cloud or bare metal. It’s security regardless of what the underlying infrastructure is.

Enterprise security was a hot topic in 2014 due to massive breaches at consumer retailers and enterprise vendors. Companies in every vertical are more aware now of their vulnerability and more committed to protecting themselves from threats. In 2015, I expect to see increased adoption of tools like Illumio that close dangerous security gaps. Illumio made headlines this year by raising $42.5 million from an A-list group of investors, before even coming out of stealth mode. Now with this funding under its belt, I expect to see continued headlines in the year to come.

  1. RelateIQ

RelateIQ uses searches of unstructured data from email, social networks and calendars to automate large portions of the sales process. Its system eliminates the need for manual data entry to track sales leads, and adds greater insight into business relationships. Like other companies on this list, it takes complex, unstructured data from a variety of sources and integrates it into a workflow that helps people deliver real business results. In this case, with sales.

Salesforce’s acquisition of RelateIQ earlier this summer points to a strong market demand for the product. Following the acquisition, it will be interesting to see what other boutique CRM options continue to innovate in this space, like Propeller CRM and Insightly.

The market for cloud technologies is experiencing disruption at an exhilarating pace. What seemed unfathomable or impossible just five years ago is now a reality, and the possibilities are endless for what lies ahead. I, for one, am looking forward to what 2015 brings.

What about you, developers and IT folks, what trends do you see coming for 2015? What tech is helping you drive results and get things done faster?

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3 Small Business Sucess Strategies You Can Implement Today

3 Small Business Sucess Strategies You Can Implement Today | Competitive Edge |

In a landscape of big business and towering corporations, small business owners have it tough. The Small Business Association reports that only 69 percent of startups survive more than two years, and

just 51 percent make it longer than five. It’s tough running a David LLC in a city of Goliath Inc’s, but you can help prevent your small business from joining the ranks of failed startups. There’s no trade secret; implement these business strategies early, and you can survive the five-year mark and flourish well beyond.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Advice for small businesses in the age of the internet and technology.

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