Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • The Stagwell Group Acquires Wolfgang

 

The Stagwell Group has acquired a minority stake in a new creative consultancy called Wolfgang. The company was founded by former David & Goliath executives Mike Geiger, Seema Miller and Colin Jeffrey.

“I was immeasurably impresssed with the way [Wolfgang] combined strategic planning with creative,” said Mr. Penn. “We continue to fill out the marketing wheel and it’s important to have people onboard that are at the forefront of advertising and creative,” said Mark Penn, president and managing partner, The Stagwell Group.

Wolfgang is part Stagwell Group’s Marketing Incubator, which also includes digital advocacy shop Targeted Victory. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Stagwell has an option to acquire a majority stake in Wolfgang in the future.

Wolfgang, which is based in Los Angeles, has about 12 staffers at the moment, including freelancers. The company is looking to bring on more people later this year who have a mix of left and right brain skill sets.

The co-founders of Wolfgang liked the Stagwell model because it’s a new type of holding company model that doesn’t have dozens of the same types of agencies. The company acquires shops that complement each other.

In January, Stagwell acquired Nielsen’s Harris brand and the Harris Poll through its Stagwell Media fund. That acquisition, which is the holding company’s fifth since October 2015, was expected to bring Stagwell Group’s revenue up to $250 million by the end of the year. Now, with that capital, Stagwell is up to $750 million in acquisitions.

 

  • Spotify Acquires MightyTV

 

Spotify has acquired content recommendation service MightyTV. Spotify is looking to further enhance the company’s advertising products and its marketing technology platforms. The deal will also see the addition of MightyTV’s founder and CEO Brian Adams to the company, where he will become Spotify’s VP of Technology. Adams will focus on both of these initiatives.

“The content recommendation system MightyTV has built is incredibly aligned with how we think about advertising technology and marketing personalization,” said Jason Richman, vice president of Product, Spotify. “Brian and his team will help us continue to innovate on free monetization and extend our leadership position in programmatic audio.”

MightyTV was a startup that offered TV show and movie recommendations. The company had developed a Tinder-style mobile app for iOS and Android that would allow the consumer to quickly indicate whether they liked or disliked a given title as a means of helping to customize MightyTV’s suggestions to their own personal tastes. The recommendations would then improve overtime with the more the consumer used the product.

“Spotify has built the leading marketplace for fans and creators,” said Brian Adams, vice president of technology, Spotify. “It’s an enormous opportunity for me and the team to help create native brand experiences that stay true to a product that millions love.”

What attracted consumers to MighyTV? From a consumer perspective, what made MightyTV interesting was not necessarily its Tinder-like interface but that it combined different approaches to making its suggestions, which consists of those that came from the aggregated user ratings as well as those that better understood one’s individual tastes.

MightyTV’s team of eight will be joining Spotify as part of the acquisition and will be based in their New York City, Toronto and Stockholm offices. The company has raised $4.25 million in seed funding.

 

  • Publicis Groupe and Microsoft Partners for Custom Experiences Via AI

 

Publicis Groupe and Microsoft have partnered together to create custom experiences for their consumers using AI. The holding company and its agency businesses will gain access to data capabilities and artificial intelligence designed for marketing with Microsoft Azure and the Cortana Intelligence Suite.

“This partnership is critical for us because it’s one of the biggest bets we’re making on the Microsoft platform,” said Samih Fadli, chief intelligence officer, SapientRazorfish. “There’s Google, Microsoft and AWS, but we made a decision … that Microsoft Azure would become our preferred platform to build assets.”

The agency created a customized version of Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, specifically for Publicis with the algorithms and data models embedded into COSMOS. This is the holding company’s cognitive intelligence marketing platform. Because of this, the two companies will jointly create new consumer interfaces and interactions such as facial recognition, natural-language processing and voice recognition.

The relationship began in 2009 when Publicis acquired Razorfish from Microsoft. That acquisition turned into a partnership that now supports artificial intelligence through Publicis’ marketing cloud COSMOS.

 

  • Snapcart Raises $3M for Tracking Offline Commerce Data in Southeast Asia

 

Snapcart, a startup helping to bring transparency to the world of offline commerce in Southeast Asia, has raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding. The company was launched in September 2015.

The goal was to provide data on the largely uncharted world of offline commerce in Southeast Asia, which is a region of over 600 million consumers and a growing middle class. Snapcart gathers shopper and purchase data by incentivizing consumers to upload their shopping receipts into its app in exchange for cash-back rewards.

“It’s a black hole and brands don’t know what is happening,” said Reynazran Royono, CEO and founder, Snapcart.

Snapcart raised $1.7 million in January 2016. This new financing is designed to push it towards a Series A round before the end of this year. This $3 million raise is led by new investor Vickers Venture Partners with participation from existing backers Wavemaker Partners and SPH Media Fund, the investment arm of Singapore Press Holdings.

“Receipts form different formats across the countries where we collect them so there’s a lot of processes done to decrypt them: translating into text, making sure it is accurate and that we understand what is written,” said Royono. “We really invest a lot because we want to make sure the data we capture is captured in a high quality manner.”

Over the past year, Snapcart has expanded from its launch market of Indonesia into the Philippines. Manila is where the startup houses its artificial intelligence and data analysis team, which perfects the systems behind its OCR (optical character recognition) technology that identifies line items within shopping receipts.

 

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Techstars Starts New Startup Accelerator in Paris

Techstars, a global startup ecosystem, has funded a new startup accelerator program in Paris, France. This new program is co-funded by VC firm Partech Ventures.

“I’m happy to announce that we’re launching the first program in France, Techstars Paris,” said Bertier Luyt, managing director, Techstars. “It is a ‘city program’, a program without any specific industry focus, very broad and open.”

The first round will begin in September 2017 and the application process should begin soon. If an applicant gets selected, they will receive $120,000 in funding. Also Techstars will take a 6 percent stake in their company. The good thing is that this program isn’t restricted to French startups. Any entrepreneur who wants to spend some time in Paris can apply.

Techstars has many different programs around the world. The most famous ones are the city programs in NYC, Boulder, Colorado and Boston, Massachusetts. The company also partners with big companies, such as Disney, Barclays and others to run accelerators for them. This allows those programs to create a healthy revenue stream.

Techstars is working with big companies in France. Partech made some introductions for Techstars, and it turns out that Air Liquide, Française des Jeux, Groupama, Renault and Total are all Techstars Paris partners.

“After the batch, we develop another program for Techstars Paris partners, for their teams and employees,” said Luyt. “The first program is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.” This allows the French giants like Total and Renault to get to know how startups actually work.

The launch of Techstars Paris is a good sign for the French tech ecosystem. There are already many different accelerators in France, but the Techstars brand is stronger than many of those.

 

  • TBWA Sydney and GoDaddy launching first all-Aussie campaign

TBWA Sydney and GoDaddy are joining forces for a new all-Aussie campaign. “Cursor Man” is an ad campaign featuring a small business set up like an actual computer, complete with folders and a cursor. The campaign hopes to show the convenience of GoDaddy technology in setting up a website.

“We wanted to create a campaign that clearly shows that you don’t need to rely on tech-savvy relatives or expensive technology to get your business up and running on the web: it takes less than an hour to establish a website that can deliver real value,” said Tara Commerford, vice president and managing director, GoDaddy ANZ.

The campaign is the result of a recent study from GoDaddy. It found that 61% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) still don’t have a website, yet 70% of them want one in the future.

“In this campaign, we wanted to capture the ambition and attitude that drive Aussie SMBs, and show them how they can channel those traits into an online business,” said Derek Craig, marketing director, GoDaddy.

“Cursor Man” is humorous and somewhat unusual. This makes the ad campaign a departure from the infamously controversial American GoDaddy ads of the past.

 

  • London ‘Proptech’ Startup, Nested Raises $9,985,600

Nested, a London startup company has raised 8 millions pounds, which is equivalent to $9,985,600 in US currency. Nested promises to sell houses within 90 days. If they don’t accomplish this goal they offer their client a cash advance.

“We are already helping 5 people a month within a few months of launching and have many more in the pipeline,” said Matt Robinson, co-founder, Nested. “This meant we broke even in our fourth month of trading with revenue at an annual run-rate of more than £1 million.”

Launched in January 2016 by Robinson and Tim Bunting, the company operates similarly to a traditional estate agent to help people sell their houses, but with a difference. In addition to providing a valuation, marketing and sales service, the startup guarantees to sell their clients property for 95-98 percent of market value within 90 days, or they’ll offer them the cash themselves instead. That’s made possible because of how confident the company is in the technology and data that it can price a property accurately enough in the first place. Nested has gotten assistance from Passion Capital who have led the round, with participation from Rocket Internet’s venture arm Global Founders Capital (GFC).

If Nested achieves a higher sale price than the one it guaranteed and offered, either before or after the 90-day window, the company will split the difference, up to 70/30 in favor of the property owner. This keeps the interests of both parties aligned.

What’s the idea? The idea is to help eliminate the uncertainty when trying to both sell and buy a house. This eliminates being caught up in the dreaded property ‘chain,’ which means the client potentially misses out on their desired home, or are kept in limbo indefinitely waiting for their property to sell.

“We are already helping 5 people a month within a few months of launching and have many more in the pipeline,” said Robinson. “This meant we broke even in our fourth month of trading with revenue at an annual run-rate of more than £1 million”.

Nested’s idea is an interested concept. It could revolutionize the real estate industry for a long time.

 

  • Swinburne University inks Deal with MarTech to Tackle Digital Transformation

Swinburne University of Technology has signed a deal with Adobe to transform its own digital offering. The University will present at MarTech’s conference in May 2017.

“Given our integration of Adobe’s platforms, the design of this major offered by Swinburne aligns to our needs and strengthens the pathway of talent flowing through who are able to really hit the ground running,” said Todd Copeland, acting executive general manger, NAB digital.

A total of 40 students at Swinburne, which ranked within the top 3% of universities globally, as assessed by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, took the course as a major in 2016. The students were trained in areas such as digital analytics, search marketing, social media marketing and video marketing.

“We are committed to providing our students with a cutting-edge education and preparing them to take leading roles in an ever-evolving workforce,” said Scott Thompson-Whiteside, professor and executive dean of the Faculty of Health Arts and Design, Swinburne.

The students of Swinburne are equipped to handle the questions and comments that will be fired at them during the conference. The possible outcome from the conference could raise Swinburne’s ranking in the future.

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Okta Acqui-Hires Stormpath for expansion of identity management in Apps and APIs

Okta, the $1.2 billion identity management startup for enterprises, has made an acquisition to expand one of its newer lines of business: managing IDs across APIs and apps. The company announced that it has picked up Stormpath, founded in 2011, to provide a way for developers to implement authentication, authorization and user management into web and mobile apps by way of an API and a few lines of code.

“Our vision for the Okta Identity Cloud is to become the authentication layer for every app, service, device and person, giving developers a better and more secure way to manage user access to whatever they are building,” said Ted McKinnon, CEO, Okta. “The Stormpath team brings great technical talent and a deep understanding of developer needs, both of which are necessary to provide a world-class developer experience.”

This is not a full acquisition and the question of who would retain ownership of the technology wasn’t answered. However, the acqui-hire portion covers 35 of Stormpath’s employees, including co-founders Alex Salazar and Les Hazlewood. The acquisition came relatively quickly after Okta launched a similar, competing product of its own back in August 2016.

Bringing in Stormpath’s team and technology to Okta has two benefits. First, there is a demand for the service and to develop it further. Okta would like to capitalize on that in its bid to compete more comprehensively against others like Microsoft and Ping Identity. Second, Okta is looking to do this quickly, rather than continue to build out a competing product organically.

“We’ve built almost the same stack, which is validating for both companies, but would be duplicative of us to integrate,” said Frederic Kerrest, COO, Okta. “Instead, the teams will move fast to reach feature parity between the two, and then innovate beyond that.”

At the same time that Okta launched its own API product, the company also announced a significant partnership with Google to be its preferred secure identity management layer for Google Apps for enterprises. This would mean that companies already using Okta could add Google Apps to their log-in list which would expand its scope and potentially bring more business to Okta by introducing new customers who use Google Apps.

This acqui-hire between Okta and Stormpath could revolutionize the way consumers manage their companies’ APIs and IDs.

  • Connected Home Solutions are Still a Thing of the Future to Some

The concept of connected home solutions is still up and coming. This idea consists of a set of devices and services that are connected to each other and to the Internet. The solution can automatically respond to preset rules, be remotely accessed and managed by mobile apps or a browser. They also send alerts or messages to the users’.

According to Gartner, the adoption of connected home solutions is still at an early adopter phase. Only 10 percent of households in the US, Britain and Australia utilize such home solutions.

“Although households in the developed world are beginning to embrace connected home solutions, providers must push beyond early adopter use,” said Amanda Sabia, Principal Research Analyst, Gartner.

The survey conducted by Gartner, included 10,000 online respondents in the US, Britain and Australia. Home security alarm systems have nearly double the adoption rates, 18 percent, of newer connected home solutions such as home monitoring at 11 percent, home automation or energy management, nine percent, and health and wellness management at 11 percent.

In the US, where the home monitoring industry is more developed, 59 percent of households with a home monitoring solution indicate they do pay a monthly fee. This proves that consumers see value for these solutions. In Britain, few home automation services are subscription based and 58 percent of households with home automation get their services free of charge.

The concept of connected home solutions will catch on as more and more. When consumers discover that there is so much more that their home requires to order to protect and make life easier they’ll be more open to the idea.

  • New Changes to Netflix in India are Coming

Netflix will be having some updates and they will apply to India. The company will now be partnering with Airtel and Videocon. Also Netflix will come pre-loaded on their Direct-to-Home (d2h) set top boxes.

The movie and television show streamer has announced a partnership with Vodafone to enable carrier billing to let pre-paid and post-paid Vodafone users to pay for their Netflix subscriptions via their phone bills.

“India is one of the most important and vibrant countries in the world and we are delighted to be teaming up with three of its leading companies to make it much easier for consumers to enjoy Netflix,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix.

How does Airtel feel about this change? “Airtel has been a pioneer in bringing the best of global content and products to its customers. We are delighted to partner Netflix to bring their popular content to our customer on one of our key digital platforms,” said Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

With these partnerships, Netflix’s critically acclaimed programs will be easily accessible to consumers across direct-to-home and mobile platforms throughout the country. “We are delighted to have Netflix as a partner on our HD Smart Connect STB. This partnership strengthens our DNA of innovation by providing an instant TV screen experience for Netflix users in a seamless manner,” said Saurabh Dhoot, executive chairman, Videocon d2h.

Netflix launched its service globally in January 2016, including India. “In 2017, we’ll be working on making our Indian service better in every dimension,” said Hastings.

  • A Self-Correcting Robot…What will They Think of Next?

The developers of MIT’s CSAIL department and Rethink Robotics have been busy with creating a robot, which self-corrects its mistakes. The robot hesitates briefly. Then accidentally making the wrong choice, only to self-correct and make the correct choice.

How is this possible? The correction comes courtesy of an observer in an EEG cap, who simply notices that something is off.

“When you put an EEG cap on a user, it measures signals using 48 sensors,” said Daniela Rus, director, CSAIL. “Most of the signals are very difficult to interpret. It’s very noisy. But one signal is much more easy to detect than the others.”

The signal is known as “error potential,” which is a strong reaction emitted in the brain, when an individual notices something is wrong. It’s strong. It’s sudden. It’s relatively easy for the machinery to detect and distinguish among the cacophony of brain waves, making it an ideal candidate for CSAIL’s system.

“Error potential is a very natural reaction,” said Rus. “This is quite a different paradigm to what we use today, which is asking the human to program the robot in the robot’s language. We’re trying to get the robots to adapt to the human language rather than getting the human to adapt to the robot’s language.“

Is it important to have two-way communication? “We want to have two-way communication,” said Stephanie Gil, research scientist, CSAIL. “Being able to read the EG signals of the human and using that as a control signal to the robot will have an effect on the robot’s choice. Whether or not the robot makes the right choice will have an effect on the human’s reactions. That’s a natural two-way communication or a conversation between humans or robots.”

What does the team at MIT hope to accomplish? The team is looking into additional potential applications. This would include interactions for those who can’t communicate verbally, as well as other technologies designed to operate autonomously, but still requiring some level of human interaction to help avoid potential hazards.

“You can imagine this being used in a place where a human is in a supervisory role, watching robots work and detecting where they make mistakes,” said Joseph DelPreto, PhD candidate, CSAIL. “or maybe in a self-driving car where the car can do most of the work, but the human can still be in control and let it know when it’s doing something wrong. “

 

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • IBM’s Watson Isn’t Replacing Cognitive Thinking

One of IBM’s platform is Watson, which is their artificial intelligence platform. The company’s fellow and CTO for its Watson project Rob High has mixed feelings about the cognitive enhancer, however he still hopes that developers use the invention to accelerate their businesses and lives.

“Everybody and their mother is out to create their own specialized voice-activated devices,” Rob High, IBM fellow and CTO for its Watson project.

The company is of the mindset that developers will choose Watson to power their AI apps. They also hope that they will use Watson’s smart chatbots and similar services.

“We, as human beings, should be rightfully proud about the intelligence we possess,” High said but also noted that our intelligence is constrained by how much we can read and retain, for example. “So if we can take that and augment it using a cognitive computer that doesn’t replicate everything we do in our own mental process but analyzes, augments and amplifies it, that to me is the ideal — that’s the goal for cognitive computing for augmented intelligence,” said High.

Frame-based dialoguing is something IBM will launch soon. They will also release more advanced cognitive technologies that will allow for the deeper level of reasoning that’s necessary to sustain a conversation.

High believe that this isn’t about replicating human intelligence, but more about magnifying the ability of human cognition. “Cognitive computing is about amplifying human cognition — whether that is in the context of a conversation or whether that is more of in a discovery scenario where the implicit goal is to come up with new ideas, seeing perspectives you haven’t seen before, seeing through your biases, being called out when your biases may dead-end you or blind you to things,” said High.

The best way to bring this intelligence to users still remains to be discovered, though. High stressed that it takes a sense of “presence” for example maybe through a robot or built into anything from a TV to your phones. The hoped for outcome is for people to be comfortable with uisng a system like this. That takes a system that is highly personalized, too. A system that can recognize what mood you are in to play the right music or that automatically turns down the music when you start a conversation. “That’s where we are going, but that’s beyond where we are today — and not just translations,” said High.

AI and Watson is here to stay and its presence will catapult IBM into the centuries to come.

  • LeoLabs raises $4M for its Space Debris Collision Avoidance Network

LeoLabs has raised $4M for its space debris collision avoidance network. Even though Low-Earth orbit is a prime candidate for explosive commercial growth, it’s also a space where the risk of actual explosions resulting from debris impact is a legitimate concern for businesses focused on the opportunity.

“We provide raw data. Plus, we provide services built on top of this data to address specific customer needs, such as avoiding collisions. Finally, we are heavily investing in the data services platform that will enable third-parties to innovate on top of the data,” said Dan Ceperley, CEO, LeoLabs.

What’s the issue that LeoLabs wants to solve? The issue the company is hoping to solve is helping the growing number of ventures working with cubsats and smallsat networks, as well as emerging ventures looking to put people into low-Earth orbit for short tourist flights. An example of this might be Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

The company has announced $4 million in investment from SRI International, Horizons Ventures and Airbus Ventures. LeoLabs is also adding the Midland Space Radar facility from Texas to its network of ground-based radar monitoring facilities, which will help it track the objects it’s mapping.

Avoiding collisions in LEO is a pressing issue because it’s already a crowded region of space because of objects like existing satellites, as well as debris from spacecraft, defunct equipment and more. Collisions in LEO stand to amplify the problem with objects smashing into one another resulting in more debris and more treacherous navigation of LEO space overall.

There are already some options for keeping clear of other objects in LEO. The U.S. Air Force maintains a public catalog that even alerts those registered to use it about potential collisions. However, with increasing complexity and interest in the space, there’s a need for more advanced tools, the company believes.

What is LeoLabs’ solution? Their solution has unique capabilities including accuracy to within 100 meters, along with verification mechanisms. Data offered up on a predefined schedule. The technology of tracking of each piece of debris and object in LEO multiple times per day, thanks to its network of ground monitoring stations. LeoLabs’ ability to track up to 250,000 new objects that aren’t tracked by public monitoring systems presently. And an API so that customers can use the info with their own systems via tight integration.

LeoLabs is protecting the LEO so that they can send up aircrafts safely.

  • Samsung’s Failures Might be Another Mobile Telecommunications Company’s Success

One’s failure could be another’s success. This is the view of other phone-makers who have followed Samsung’s horrible costly debacle with the Note 7.

China’s Huawei is the most likely contender to fill the hole in the premium end of the market. The company announced the arrival of a new phone in its quest to displace Samsung as the world’s no. 2 smartphone maker after Apple.

However, Samsung isn’t disappearing altogether. The company announced two new tablets pending the launch of its next flagship device, the Galaxy S8, at the end of March.

“The past six months have undoubtedly been one of the most challenging periods of our history,” said David Lowes, European marketing chief, Samsung. “We’re determined to learn every possible lesson.”

Is there strong competition from other phone-makers? “The competition is feisty but I think we have a good chance,” Richard Yu, chief executive of consumer business group, Huawei.

Samsung’s smartphone market share dropped to 17.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Apple’s market share rose to 17.8 percent, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

“Samsung has taken a massive $5.4 billion hit to profits, apologised profusely for the recall and admitted shortcomings in its quality and assurance process but I don’t think that the full effects of this issue have fully hit home,” said Dr. Richard Windsor, independent research analyst, Radio Free Mobile.

Windsor pointed to a survey from Harris Poll, which shows that Samsung’s reputation has fallen from No. 7 in the United States to No. 42. This is just one position above the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Airtel to Remove Roaming Charges on Calls and Data

Airtel will be offering free incoming calls and SMS on national roaming and no premium charges on outgoing calls beginning in April. The company also said that there will not be any additional data charges on national roaming.

“This marks the death of national roaming and the whole country will now be like a local network for our customers, who will not have to think twice before making or receiving calls or using data while traveling outside their home base,” said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

The new change comes after Vodafone had also announced free incoming calls on national roaming last year. Reliance Jio offers free voice calling all over India until April 1st. After this date, service will have regular charges with no extra roaming charges.

Airtel also has a special offer international roaming users. From the beginning of April, Airtel customers on international roaming who are not using an international roaming pack, will get high phone bills as an automatic adjustment that is equal to the daily pack for that particular country will be applied. The moment a customer’s billing reaches the price of a one day pack for that particular country, the customer will be automatically moved to that pack.

“At Airtel, we are changing the international roaming paradigm, which will allow our customers to take their number to every corner of the world. As an industry, operators across the world must collaborate to remove the cost barrier to roaming and offer customers the convenience of staying connected without the fear of exorbitant bill charges,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel.

 

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Are we heading towards a visual minority report?

Two researchers, Xiaolin Wu of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and Xi Zhang of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, have been exploring the technology of face recognition to identify criminals. They have claimed to have developed a system that, when shown a series of faces it has never encountered before, can pick out the ones belonging to convicted criminals.

Their work raises an ethical question of what the software should be used to recognize. The researchers exploited machine learning. They asked the face recognition software to guess whether a person in an ID-style picture was a criminal or not, and then feeding it the correct answer. It learned to tell the difference, eventually achieving an accuracy of up to 90 percent.

Other face recognition experts have been questioning their methodology because one issue is that the criminal images came from a Chinese database of ID photos. The non-criminal images were Internet profile pictures belonging to Chinese citizens. This means the system could have picked up on differences between the two sources rather than in people’s faces.

“The fact that the data comes from two different places is a fundamental flaw. Any differences will be picked up,” said Jonathan Frankle from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Researchers do not always have control over how their work is used. This means that anyone can scrutinize the face recognition software’s validity, but it doesn’t have to be that way. “What would scare me more would be if a private company did this and sold it to a police department. There’s nothing to stop that from happening,” says Frankle.

  • ADMA says, ‘Digital Marketing is the key to marketing’

Digital channels, smart mobility and new marketing and advertising technologies are redefining what is expected of marketing leaders in today’s changing world, according to the ADMA report.

This report written by Oracle Marketing Cloud and the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and titled ‘The CMO of Tomorrow’, looked at how different organizations are meeting the challenges. It also explains the impediments that marketers are facing in today’s digital market and how their investments are likely to change in the year ahead.

“The research has highlighted the disconnect between what senior management define as success; which is revenue vis-à-vis the campaign-specific metrics that many marketers still measure themselves on,” said Mohan Joshi, Senior Director, Oracle Marketing Cloud.

The report, which launched recently after the survey that involved over 450 senior marketing executives from across the Asia-Pacific region, found that executives in the Indian market were more likely to have more experience. The report concluded that there were more senior executives in their organizations.

India was the only country where mobility was rated highly as a strength and not the major weakness. “Indian companies are much more likely to manage their digital advertising internally. Indeed, more organizations reported managing it internally than those using a hybrid or fully outsourced model combined,” the report said.

 

  • OLED screens made from fabric

Korean researchers from KAIST and Kolon Glotech have created a OLED screen made from fabric. It is new OLED technology that allows the displays to work on a textile substrate resulting in a screen that is much more flexible than competing technologies.

OLEDs are self-illuminating displays, which can be formed into thin, flexible screens based on the plastic boards used in producing them. The material is a limiting factor, but so are the displays themselves because OLEDs are not known for their durability and are easily torn.

KAIST and Kolon Glotech have high hopes for the future of fabric-based displays. “Textile OLEDs which are more flexible than plastic and have high device reliability are expected to contribute to the development of comfortable wearable displays,” said Choi Kyung-chul, professor, KAIST.

What’s the life span of this new technology? The fabric OLEDs that were developed had a lifespan greater than 1,000 hours. However if they remained idle, they could last more than 3,500 hours. This doesn’t compare favorably to the displays that are produced in the United States, but it is a huge step in creating wearable displays. In the future, additional research should further refine the tech until we can truly wear displays woven into our clothes.

  • Diversity in tech talent is vital

 

Over the last few years, the subject of diversity in tech has gotten a good deal of attention, but discussions are still happening.

“What I worry about is people are going to lose interest because the narrative is going to be that it’s just too hard or that nobody’s making progress,” said Danielle Brown, chief diversity officer, Intel.

Despite this there are many reasons why diversity in tech matters, but one of the most striking is economic opportunity. The White House stresses the point that there are a half million open jobs in IT, which is an industry that generally pays well. A recent report from consulting firm Accenture projected that if more serious measures aren’t taken, women alone will be missing out on possibly $299 billion by 2025.

In 2014, the American Institute for Economic Research found that when it comes to skilled jobs in tech, Asian, black and Hispanic workers make less than their white counterparts.

“The concern becomes if you’re just hiring them in and the environment is so negative that they then just turn around and leave, you really haven’t made any gains,” Elizabeth Ames, vice president of strategic marketing and alliances for the Anita Borg Institute, which is an organization focused on the advancement of women in technology.

After hiring a woman, keeping them in the company is difficult. Retention is tricky because it’s tied into culture causing it to be not just whether the pay is equal, but whether the environment is conducive to career growth and how far a company will go to help employees stay.

One day this issue will be a thing of the past, but for now we must strive to fill the gap and showcase everyone’s abilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INFORMATION GATHERED

 

1Concerns as face recognition tech used to ‘identify’ criminals

Let’s face it: tech is throwing up many new ethical challenges

Maikid/Getty

 

By Timothy Revell

 

What can your face say about you? Face recognition technology can pick up on things like your age, gender and maybe even your mood. Now, two researchers say it could even tell whether you’re a criminal.

 

They are claiming to have developed a system that, when shown a series of faces it has never encountered before, can pick out the ones belonging to convicted criminals.

 

But other researchers have criticised the results, and say the work raises ethical questions over what face recognition technology can and should be used to detect.

It’s clearly an “emotionally charged” subject, says Xiaolin Wu at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who co-authored the study. He and his colleague Xi Zhang at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, had set out to disprove the idea that there could be a link between someone’s face and criminality – “so we were very surprised by the result”, says Wu.

 

The researchers exploited machine learning, asking face recognition software to guess whether a person in an ID-style picture was a criminal or not, and then feeding it the correct answer. It learned to tell the difference, eventually achieving an accuracy of up to 90 per cent, they say.

However, other face recognition experts question their methodology. One issue is that the criminal images came from a Chinese database of ID photos, whereas the non-criminal images were internet profile pictures belonging to Chinese citizens, meaning the system could have picked up on differences between the two sources rather than in people’s faces.

 

Wu and Zhang tried to counteract this by standardising the images, for example making them the same size and turning them greyscale. But Jonathan Frankle from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that’s not enough. “The fact that the data comes from two different places is a fundamental flaw. Any differences will be picked up,” he says.

 

It’s not a problem to ask a controversial question, says Francois Chollet, a deep learning researcher at Google, but the science has to be well founded. “It is not ethical to make a bad science argument,” he says.

 

Mike Cook at Falmouth University, UK, says that this kind of research risks turning machine learning into the “phrenology of the 21st century”, like deducing a person’s traits from the bumps on their head. Seemingly impartial computer programs give an air of legitimacy to inaccurate or controversial interpretations. “Suddenly, the conclusions drawn by an algorithm have been cleaned up and made to look scientific,” he says.

 

Same biases

 

In fact, these systems are not objective and are often subject to the same biases as humans. “[They] are tools that are forged by being hammered with our own beliefs and observations,” says Cook.

 

That’s not to say computers can’t make accurate observations about a person’s face, sometimes even better than humans. Face recognition software can already easily pick up things like the shape of a person’s nose or whether they are smiling.

 

Researchers at the University of Rochester, New York, even claim to have developed an algorithm that can differentiate between the faces of Chinese, Japanese and Korean people with an accuracy of 75 per cent – significantly better than humans.

 

But even where the science is sound, ethical questions arise over how these algorithms should be applied to real-world situations. Detecting someone’s ethnicity, for example, could be used to better target services, but it could also be used to discriminate.

 

Last year, Microsoft released a web app that used machine learning to gauge someone’s age from their picture. It was intended as a “fun app”, but then some UK newspapers used the system on images of refugees in an attempt to detect adults taking advantage of concessions given to children, forcing Microsoft to respond that it was never meant to offer a definitive assessment of age.

 

And when considering more complex or abstract characteristics than nose shape or age, it’s important to know the limits of what the technology can tell us. Alexander Todorov at Princeton University says you simply can’t glean someone’s general personality or behaviour from a snapshot of their face. It’s “super easy” to tell if a person is sleep-deprived based on paler skin and droopy eyes, he says – and this could even be used to prevent someone engaging in a task that requires alertness, such as operating dangerous machinery. “But if it is used to predict what the person is like in general, this is wrong.”

 

Researchers do not always have control over how their work is used. Making findings public, as Wu and Zhang have done, means that anyone can scrutinise their validity, but it doesn’t have to be that way. “What would scare me more would be if a private company did this and sold it to a police department. There’s nothing to stop that from happening,” says Frankle.

 

Earlier this year, Frankle and his colleagues found that the majority of US police departments using face recognition do little to ensure that the software is accurate. As the technology becomes more widely used, so does the urgency of weighing up the ethics of its use.

 

Computer scientists are gaining increasing power over people’s lives, says Chollet, but they don’t have the ethical education to support that role. “This is something we have to fix.

 

Reference: arxiv.org/abs/1611.04135

 

2.) http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/digital-technology-is-the-key-to-marketing-says-adma-report-350582.html

 

Digital technology is the key to marketing, says ADMA report

 

  30 Nov 2016 , 17:39

Author

Digital channels, smart mobility and new marketing and advertising technologies are redefining what is expected of marketing leaders in today’s changing world, a new report has said. The report, by Oracle Marketing Cloud and the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and titled ‘The CMO of Tomorrow’, looked at how organisations are meeting the challenges and impediments faced in today’s digital market and how their investments are likely to change in the year ahead.

 

The report, launched recently after the survey that involved over 450 senior marketing executives from across the Asia-Pacific region, found that executives in the Indian market were more likely to have more experience and, by extension, be more senior in their organisations. “The research has highlighted the disconnect between what senior management define as success; which is revenue vis-à-vis the campaign-specific metrics that many marketers still measure themselves on,” said Mohan Joshi, Senior Director, Oracle Marketing Cloud.

 

India was the only geography where mobility was rated highly as a strength and not the major weakness. There was also more confidence from Indian executives about their companies’ proficiency across a range of disciplines. “Indian companies are much more likely to manage their digital advertising internally. Indeed, more organisations reported managing it internally than those using a hybrid or fully outsourced model combined,” the report said.

 

Tags: ADMA, data, digital, India, marketing, Mohan Joshi, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Research, technology, The CMO of Tomorrow

 

3.) http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/researchers-develop-textile-oled/

 

Researchers successfully make an OLED screen out of fabric

By Garrett Hulfish — November 28, 2016 3:24 PM

 

We are still far from having truly wearable displays, but thanks to Korean researchers, that future isn’t as far off as we thought. The researchers have created the first OLEDs that are truly wearable.

According to Business Korea, two research teams from KAIST and Kolon Glotech have put their heads together and created an OLED technology that allows the displays to work on a textile substrate. The result is a screen that is much more flexible than competing technologies.

 

More: Other flexible displays have been developed in the past

 

Flexible, foldable, and wearable displays have been developed with OLED before. Because OLEDs are self-illuminating displays, they can be formed into thin, flexible screens based on the plastic boards used in producing them. This material is a limiting factor, but so are the displays themselves. OLEDs are not known for their durability and are easily torn.

 

Simply putting displays on a piece of fabric is difficult. Typical fabrics are too rough and expand based on temperature. The technology is still too fragile. The researchers’ solution was to create something new. They put together a fabric that resembles a glass panel, yet retains the flexible nature of fabrics. The OLEDs were then fixed to this glass-like material.

 

KAIST and Kolon Glotech have high hopes for the future of fabric-based displays. “Textile OLEDs which are more flexible than plastic and have high device reliability are expected to contribute to the development of comfortable wearable displays,” said KAIST professor Choi Kyung-chul.

 

The fabric OLEDs that were developed had a lifespan greater than 1,000 hours. If they remained idle, they could last more than 3,500 hours. This doesn’t compare favorably to the displays we are used to, but it is a huge step in creating wearable displays. Hopefully, additional research will further refine the tech until we can truly wear displays woven into our clothes.

 

4.) https://www.cnet.com/news/diversifying-tech-talent-heres-the-biggest-challenge/

 

The biggest challenge to diversifying tech talent

 

As the effort ages amid slow, but steady, progress, it needs to find ways to keep its momentum.

 

The biggest challenge to diversifying tech talent.

 

Tech Industry

 

In five years, what will the push for diversity in tech look like?

 

Though the conversation seems louder than ever before, this issue is one the industry will be confronting for some time to come. The challenge is how to achieve meaningful progress and keep people caring after years of incremental change.

 

“People shouldn’t have the expectation that next year it’s going to be parity,” said Elizabeth Ames, vice president of strategic marketing and alliances for the Anita Borg Institute, an organization focused on the advancement of women in technology.

 

Over the last few years, the subject of diversity in tech has gotten a good deal of attention — and not always in the rosiest light. Sometimes, it’s been a high-profile conflict, as when former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao lost her sexual discrimination lawsuit against VC firm Kleiner Perkins in March 2015. Other times, it’s been jokes about the difference between the lines for the men’s and women’s restrooms at tech events. Then there was the Department of Labor’s lawsuit against Palantir in September for discriminating against Asian job applicants.

 

There are myriad reasons why it all matters, but one of the most striking is economic opportunity.

 

The White House regularly hammers the point that there are a half million open jobs in IT, an industry that generally pays well. A recent report from consulting firm Accenture projected that if more serious measures aren’t taken, women alone will be missing out on possibly $299 billion by 2025. In 2014, the American Institute for Economic Research found that when it comes to skilled jobs in tech, Asian, black and Hispanic workers make less than their white counterparts.

High stakes, low action. But doom and gloom can be dangerous.

 

How to read diversity reports

 

One step Silicon Valley has taken is to start releasing diversity reports. In 2013, then-Pinterest coder Tracy Chou challenged tech companies to start reporting their demographics.

 

While diversity reports are often released in the name of transparency, that doesn’t mean they’re easy reads, especially when the most obvious takeaway is something like 1 percentage point of change from year to year.

 

There are a few key metrics Ames looks for as signals of progress. The first is the breakdown for new hires. That’s where companies making good efforts in the recruitment and hiring process display change.

 

“What I worry about is people are going to lose interest because the narrative is going to be that it’s just too hard or that nobody’s making progress.”

Danielle Brown, Intel’s chief diversity officer

 

The second metric is retention.

 

“The concern becomes if you’re just hiring them in and the environment is so negative that they then just turn around and leave, you really haven’t made any gains,” Ames said.

 

Finally, there’s the percentage of women and minorities in leadership positions. Are they moving up? Beyond the basic idea of whether they’re being given the chance for advancement, women and minorities in leadership positions tend to attract others. They’re a sign that it’s possible to get ahead at a given company, Ames said.

 

What does 1 percent mean?

 

The change isn’t much to look at.

 

“Whenever I look at these numbers that go up from 16 percent to 17 percent, or 13 percent to 14 percent, what that tells me is they’re not really serious,” said Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe.

 

One percent change can look like no change at all. And it’s often accompanied by head-hanging from companies as they acknowledge there’s still work to do.

The repetition can be demoralizing.

 

“Especially for those who are advocates for diversity and care deeply about it, the feeling is that tech companies and leaders simply don’t care about solving the problem,” Chou said.

 

But there are times when 1 percent is a big difference. For a company like Intel, it represents about 100,000 people.

 

“We’ve increased the representation of women in our workforce by 2 percent in a year,” Intel Chief Diversity Officer Danielle Brown said. “But 2 percent is really significant when you’ve got a huge installed base workforce and you’re not not a startup doubling in size every year.”

 

Beating the perception game

 

Either way, it’s not an inspiring rally cry.

 

“What I worry about is people are going to lose interest because the narrative is going to be that it’s just too hard or that nobody’s making progress,” Brown said.

Will there come a point when tech company leaders throw up their hands and say women and minorities must not want to work in tech?

 

“That’s always the danger because that could be an excuse,” said Catherine Ashcraft, senior research scientist with the National Center for Women and Information Technology. The key to beating this, she said, is strategic planning.

That means having funding, support from the top levels of the company and the ability to measure progress toward goals and adjust as necessary.

 

For instance, Intel started tracking its diversity numbers a decade ago. But Brown said nothing changed until the company set a goal and CEO Brian Krzanich pledged $300 million to the cause, regularly looked at the reports and supported the effort.

 

Upon realizing that its percentage of women fell a full percentage point and that increases among minorities were slim, Microsoft announced in November that it will tie its diversity goals to executives’ compensation.

 

During Klawe’s 10 years at Harvey Mudd, the school has raised the number of women and minorities in computer science. Harvey Mudd is about half women, 20 percent Hispanic and 10 percent black. This year’s computer science graduating class was more than 50 percent women.

 

In education, people like Klawe and Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant are trying to equip students with both the skills and the confidence to survive in companies that are works in progress.

 

“It’s about how do we build even more complex solutions that really get to the root cause of so many of these issues,” Bryant said.

 

The long play

 

Change isn’t just about getting people in. It’s also about keeping them.

“You’re going to have a very expensive zero-sum game if people are leaving out the backdoor,” Brown said.

 

Retention is tricky because it’s so tied into culture — it’s not just whether the pay is equal, but whether the environment is conducive to career growth and how far a company will go to help employees stay.

 

Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer, gave an example of an initiative that started as a request from a new mom and increased the retention of new parents by 30 percent. As many Accenture employees travel for work, the woman asked about the company paying to ship breast milk home. Shook initially agreed.

 

But was pump, dump and ship really the best way to help a mom with a baby?

“I didn’t feel good about enabling what she asked for, but not really getting to the root cause,” Shook said.

 

Instead, Accenture instituted a policy where all new parents, including in cases of adoption, don’t have to travel for a year — no strings or stigma attached.

Part of what this speaks to is focusing on the right initiatives. The Harvard Business Review ran a story recently about why mandatory diversity training often doesn’t work. A measure designed to stave off lawsuits won’t create a healthier working environment.

 

Along those lines, when figuring out how to get minorities into leadership positions, it’s not about sticking them in a leadership class.

“We don’t need to fix [them]. They’re fine,” Ames said, “We need to be looking at the systems and the processes that often embody a certain amount of bias.”

 

 

 

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Flipkart and Microsoft Partner Up for Improved E-commerce Experience

Flipkart and Microsoft have joined forces to create a strategic cloud partnership. The combination has been formed to improve the online shopping experience for consumers in India.

“Combining Microsoft’s cloud platform and AI capabilities with Flipkart’s existing services and data assets will enable Flipkart to accelerate its digital transformation in e-commerce and deliver new customer experiences…At Microsoft, we aim to empower every Indian and every Indian organisation with technology and key to this is forging strategic partnerships with innovative companies like Flipkart,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

Flipkart will move to Azure, a cloud solution created by Microsoft. Flipkart will also adopt Azure as its exclusive public cloud platform.

“Flipkart has always been committed to its vision of transforming commerce in India through technology. Given Microsoft’s strong reputation in cloud computing, coupled with scale and reliability, this partnership allows us to leverage our combined strength and knowledge of technology, e-commerce and markets to make online shopping more relevant and enriching for customers,” said Binny Bansal, Co-Founder and Group CEO, Flipkart.

What are the benefits of Flipkart moving to Azure? Moving to Azure will enable Flipkart to access an additional layer of advanced cloud technologies and analytics. The Indian company plans to take advantage of AI, machine learning and the analytics capabilities like Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI to optimize its data. The data optimization will help the company be innovative in fields of marketing, customer service and advertising.

  • Get Ready for Snap Spectacles!

There’s exciting news from Snap Inc. The company will begin selling its video-recording sunglasses, Spectacles online for $129.99 in the US at on their website, Spectacle by Snap Inc. For the last three months, it only dispensed them from Snapbot vending machines in surprise locations and its NYC pop-up store.

Snap has now closed that pop-up, with “Snapbots will continue to land in surprising locations around the U.S. following a brief ‘nap’.” Buyers should expect to wait two to four weeks for their Spectacles to ship, and they can also buy $49.99 charging cases and $9.99 charging cords, which will no longer be sold on Amazon.

“…When we launched, the idea was: ‘We’re going to take a slow approach to rolling them out,’ said Evan Spiegel, CEO, Snapchat. ‘It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.’ Response has been positive since November’s launch so we’re now happy to be able to make Spectacles more readily available — especially for those in the US who have not been able to make it to a Snapbot.”.

The camera company doesn’t need to make money directly from Spectacles if it can use them to get more people creating and watching Snaps. But showing it can earn real revenue from hardware could bolster confidence in its public offering.

  • Uber: A Workplace of Sexual Harassment and Power Struggles?

Uber, the cab service provider, has been targeted with claims of sexual harassment, sexism and power struggles according to an ex-Uber employee. The ex-Uber employee left the company back in December has come forward with an account of sexism and power struggles within the company.

“In my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR,” said Susan Fowler, former employee, Uber.

Fowler was pressured to work under a manager who turned out to be the harasser. Even though she made several complaints about the issue to the HR department, her manager still tormented her. The HR department said that apart from giving him a warning, there is nothing that can be done. The situation worsened to the point where the HR department began to demean Fowler saying that sending complaints to HR through email was unprofessional.

“…What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It’s the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber — and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired,” said Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber.

Fowler was left with two options: leave the company or continue doing her work while still being targeted. If she chose to stay it could result in a bad performance review by her manager. She chose to leave. “It was an organization in complete, unrelenting chaos,” said Fowler.

  • China is Producing Next Generation Supercomputer

China has been very busy lately in regards to technology. The country has started to build a new-generation supercomputer that is expected to be 10 times faster than the current world champion of supercomputers.

China’s goal is to make breakthroughs in high-performance processors. The country wants to be known for other key technologies to build the world’s first prototype exascale supercomputer.

The prototype will be completed by 2018. “Exascale” means it will be capable of making a quintillion – 1 followed by 18 zeros – calculations per second. That is at least 10 times faster than the world’s current speed champ, the Sunway TaihuLight, which is China’s first supercomputer to use domestically designed processors.

“Its computing power is on the next level, cementing China as the world leader in supercomputer hardware,” said Meng Xiangfei, the director of application, National Super Computer Tianjin Centre.

It would be available for public use and “help us tackle some of the world’s toughest scientific challenges with greater speed, precision and scope”.

The other supercomputers that were made include the Tianhe-1, which was China’s first quadrillion-level supercomputer developed in 2009. It is now working at full capacity, undertaking more than 1,400 assignments each day, solving problems “from stars to cells”.

The exascale supercomputer will be able to analyze smog distribution on a national level, while current models can only handle a district. The other supercomputer, the Tianhe-3 could simulate earthquakes and epidemic outbreaks in more detail, allowing swifter and more effective government responses. The new machine also will be able to analyze gene sequence and protein structures in unprecedented scale and speed. That may lead to new discoveries and more potent medicine.

At this rate China will catapult itself into the future of supercomputers. Meng Xiangfei and the National Super Computer Tianjin Centre will be at a helm as they discover new supercomputers.

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • The UK to Borrow for its High Speed Broadband

The UK government will be borrowing to try to encourage investment in high-speed fiber broadband networks and 5G technology. The government is said to be spending over £1BN (in the United States that’s 1 billion dollars) by 2020-2021 to continue to build the country’s digital infrastructure.

“Our future transport, business and lifestyle needs will require world class digital infrastructure to underpin them. My ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in 5G — that means a full fiber network, a step change in speed, security and reliability. So we will invest over £1BN in our digital infrastructure to catalyze private investment in fiber networks and to support 5G trials,” said Chancellor Philip Hammond.

The UK does well in ranking when it comes to the top 10 countries for average broadband speeds, according to Akamai’s 2016 report. However, the gap between urban and rural broadband speeds remains problematic.

Telecommunications company, BT, whose Openreach subsidiary owns and manages access to the UK’s primary broadband infrastructure, has its focus on its efforts of squeezing higher speeds out of the existing copper based infrastructure. This infrastructure has very limited full fiber to the home rollouts.

This allows rival broadband network providers, such as Virgin Media, to typically focus on urban areas where the volume of paying customers makes the infrastructure expenditure worthwhile. The result of that focus is just two percent of UK premises have access to full-fiber connections.

What’s the government’s plan? They plan to improve that figure by encouraging smaller, alternative players to push in with full fiber offerings. There will be £400M (US – $495,480,000) for what it dubs “gold standard” fiber broadband, with funds needing to be matched by broadband providers, so a potential £800M (US –$998,600,000.) to fund rollouts.

  • President-elect Trump Appoints Two New People to FCC

President-elect Trump has appointed two anti-Net Neutrality opponents to his transition team. Their task will be overseeing his FCC and telecommunications policy agenda.

Jeff Eisenach, one of the two newly appointed advisers, is an economist who has previously worked as a consultant for Verizon.

In 2014, Eisenach testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee. “Net neutrality would not improve consumer welfare or protect the public interest,” said Eisenach.

The anti-net neutrality opponent worked for the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and in a blog post he wrote, “Net neutrality is crony capitalism pure and simple.”

Mark Jamison, the other newly appointed adviser, has a long history of battling against net neutrality oversight. Jamison formerly worked on Sprint‘s lobbying team and now leads the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center.

These two men can be considered leading adversaries of net neutrality who worked hard to prevent the rules from being passed last year. Net neutrality prevents companies internet providers from discriminating against any online content or services. For example, without net neutrality rules, internet providers like Comcast and Verizon could charge internet subscribers more for using sites like Netflix.

 

  • Wi-Fi Rules Five Ways Rules

What would we do without Wi-Fi? The invention has made it so immensely easier for everyone to stay connected. Here’s five ways in which Wi-Fi has assisted us.

  1. People can stream ALL of the movies they want. Streaming subscription services have been able to revolutionize the way we consume movies and TV shows. Most of the top services require at least a 5.0 Mbps connection speed for the best viewing experience.
  2. It helps gamers to level up. “Lag” is a word can strike terror into the hearts of devoted gamers on the verge of completing the final level of their favorite game. Wi-Fi assists any gamer with reaching the highest levels with some ease.
  3. For communication in the workplace. Wi-Fi is glue that holds most businesses and companies together nowadays. Companies would be lost without a good connection. Just like when a power outage occurs, we take Wi-Fi in the workplace for granted. We just assume that it’ll be working properly that is, until it fails.
  4. When you work from home. If you’re self-employed, Wi-Fi is something that runs your business. Having no Wi-Fi for even one day could be a major setback with communicating with interested buyers, sellers, or business contacts.
  5. Because you can’t live without it. Wi-Fi has become something like water, in the sense that you just can’t live without it. The connection is becoming a base necessity for civilization. It’s no wonder, President Barack Obama spearheaded the 2010 National Broadband Plan, designed to get internet into every American household.

 

  • A New Battery Could Charge in Seconds and be used for Days

 

Battery technology plays a major role in our digital lives. While it has certainly been refined over the past few years, there is always room for improvement.

Scientists from the University of Central Florida have developed a supercapacitor battery prototype that works as if it were new even after being recharged as many as 30,000 times. If successful, the research could mean the development of super fast-charging batteries that could last a whopping 20 times as long as today’s lithium-ion batteries.

In other words, you could charge your phone in only a few seconds and not need to charge it again for an entire week,” said Nitin Choudhary, postdoctoral associate at UCF, in a report from Engadget.

The reason that supercapacitors can be charged so quickly is that they store electricity on the surface of a material, instead of having to store it through chemical reactions, as happens in lithium ion batteries. These material sheets are able to hold a ton of electrons.

The research is still in early development and it is nowhere near ready for commercialization just yet. Although it certainly looks promising. Presently, the technology is just a proof of concept. The team behind it is now figuring out the best way to patent the technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INFORMATION GATHERED

1.)

 

 

1.) https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/23/uk-to-put-up-1bn-for-full-fiber-broadband-and-5g-400m-extra-for-vc/

 

UK to put up £1BN for full fiber broadband and 5G, £400M extra for VC

Posted 5 minutes ago by Natasha Lomas (@riptari)

 

The UK government has confirmed it will be borrowing to try to encourage investment in high speed fiber broadband networks and 5G technology — with a plan to spend over £1BN by 2020-2021 to bolster the country’s digital infrastructure.

Giving his Autumn Statement today, Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “Our future transport, business and lifestyle needs will require world class digital infrastructure to underpin them. My ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in 5G — that means a full fiber network, a step change in speed, security and reliability. So we will invest over £1BN in our digital infrastructure to catalyze private investment in fiber networks and to support 5G trials.”

The UK continues to rank well outside the top 10 countries for average broadband speeds, according to Akamai’s 2016 report. While the gap between urban and rural broadband speeds remains problematic.

Incumbent telco BT, whose Openreach subsidiary owns and manages access to the UK’s primary broadband infrastructure, has focused its efforts on squeezing higher speeds out of existing copper based infrastructure — with only very limited full fiber to the home rollouts. While rival broadband network providers, such as Virgin Media, typically focus on urban areas where the volume of paying customers makes the infrastructure expenditure worth their while. The result: Just two per cent of UK premises have access to full-fibre connections.

The government’s plan to improve that figure is to encourage smaller, alternative players to push in with full fiber offerings. There will be £400M for what it dubs “gold standard” fiber broadband, with funds needing to be matched by broadband providers — so a potential £800M to fund rollouts.

Today Hammond also said that from next April there will be 100 per cent business rates relief for a five year period on new fiber infrastructure — “supporting further rollout of fiber to homes and businesses”.

A further £750M will be made available to fund 5G trials.

The chancellor added that the government will be asking the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) for recommendations on the UK’s future economic infrastructure needs — and signaled an intention to increase the proportion of GDP spent here, to between 1% and 1.2% of GDP every year from 2020, up from around 0.8% this year.

£400M to try to help UK startups scale before being bought out

The Autumn Statement also contained a measure specifically aimed at supporting UK startups to scale up, with the Chancellor announcing plans to put £400M into venture capital firms via the British Business Bank — “unlocking £1BN of new finance for growing firms” as, in his words, “a first step to tackle the long-standing problem of our fastest growing startup tech firms being snapped up by bigger companies, rather than growing to scale”.

Eileen Burbidge a parter at VC firm Passion Capital, which has received investment money via the British Business Bank, welcomed the move.

 

“I think it’s an excellent decision,” she told TechCrunch. “Passion isn’t more likely to be a future beneficiary than anyone else (our existing/prior BBB commitments have been done/in the past, 2011 and 2015) but as a previous beneficiary we can attest to how valuable the BBB support was to attracting other investors in support of our fund and activities.

“The BBB was absolutely crucial for us in launching our first fund since we were first time fund managers. Their commitment helped to secure funding from across European and South East Asian family offices and high net worths. So I think it’s brilliant the BBB will be given more funding to support even more fund managers or to greater degrees.”

Asked about the government’s overarching aim of prevent promising homegrown startups from being bought by overseas acquirers before they have a chance to get really big she described it as a “noble aim”, but added: “I see it all as good activity (acquisitions, mergers) and that it’s a good thing the world recognises Britain as a place to scout for great talent, innovation and technology.

“I’ve no doubt as our digital/tech ecosystem continues to mature that we’ll have more and more British ‘tech giants’ as well.”

Another measure announced in the statement is a commitment to spent £390M to build on what Hammond dubbed the UK’s “competitive advantage in low emission vehicles and the development of connected autonomous vehicles”. He also said there will be 100% first year capital allowance for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Also mentioned: support for plans to boost transport links between Oxford and Cambridge, with a view to capitalizing on knowledge sharing between the two universities.

“This project can be more than just a transport link — it can become a transformational tech corridor drawing on the world class research strengths of our two best known universities,” he said, backed the NIC’s interim recommendations on creating an Oxford, Cambridge “growth corridor”, including £110M in funding for East-West rail, and a commitment to deliver an Oxford to Cambridge.

In the speech the chancellor also reiterated the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week of a £2BN per year funding boost for R&D by 2020. And confirmed the corporate tax rate will drop to 17 per cent next April — although Theresa May has also said the government will be reviewing the rate to see if a further cut is possible.

He flagged up, in passing, what he described as “the raft of investments in the UK” since the Brexit referendum — name-checking Softbank, Nissan, Google and Apple, among others.

End: WordPress Article Content FEATURED IMAGE: CHRIS RATCLIFFE/GETTY IMAGES

2.)

http://www.gizmodo.in/news/Trump-Names-Two-Opponents-of-Net-Neutrality-to-Oversee-FCC-Transition-Team/articleshow/55551806.cms

 

 

Trump Names Two Opponents of Net Neutrality to Oversee FCC Transition Team

Michael Nunez

| Gizmodo Media

Nov 22, 2016, 02.42 AM IST

 

DONALD TRUM

Image: AP

President-elect Donald Trump has appointed two new advisers to his transition team that will oversee his FCC and telecommunications policy agenda. Both of the new advisers are staunch opponents of net neutrality regulations.

Jeff Eisenach, one of the two newly appointed advisers, is an economist who has previously worked as a consultant for Verizon and its trade association. In September 2014, Eisenach testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee and said, “Net neutrality would not improve consumer welfare or protect the public interest.” He has also worked for the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and in a blog post wrote, “Net neutrality is crony capitalism pure and simple.”

Mark Jamison, the other newly appointed adviser, also has a long history of battling against net neutrality oversight. Jamison formerly worked on Sprint’s lobbying team and now leads the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center.

Both Eisenach and Jamison are considered leading adversaries of net neutrality who worked hard to prevent the rules from being passed last year. For the uninitiated, the rules passed last year prevent companies internet providers from discriminating against any online content or services. For example, without net neutrality rules, internet providers like Comcast and Verizon could charge internet subscribers more for using sites like Netflix. The FCC’s net neutrality rules would protect consumers from paying exorbitant fees for internet use.

President-elect Trump has also been a vocal opponent of net neutrality. In 2014, he tweeted:

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Donald J. Trump

‪@realDonaldTrump

Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.

1:58 PM – 12 Nov 2014

 

 

 

The latest news from Trump’s transition team spells bad news for more than just the open internet. In addition to opposing net neutrality, Jamison has also publicly opposed FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s attempts to open up the cable industry’s monopoly on set-top boxes. Jamison recently wrote that chairman Wheeler’s reason for revisiting cable set-top box rules relied on “bad math and falsehoods masquerading as facts.”

The appointments should be startling to regular internet users because both advisers are like for deregulation. As it stands, most Americans have only one or two choices for broadband providers. With less regulation, it could encourage companies that are practically running monopolies to start price-gouging consumers. Back in February, four million people sent emails to the FCC in favor of passing net neutrality rules-but it now appears that those rules could soon be revised by a new administration.

 

 

Five ways Wi-Fi rules the world

We’ve come a long way from the early days where internet was all about information and entertainment — the new mantra is all about speed and quality of connectivity. We now expect instant and reliable connection to the internet, for a reasonable price. While mobile data services have improved for the AYCE (All-You-Can-Eat) model for the TV streaming and first-person shooter binges, there is no cost-effective replacement for good old Wi-Fi.

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But, sufficient Wi-Fi speed has been challenging as our devices get faster and our HD/Ultra-HD video streaming subscriptions take over TV; and as broadband speeds have zoomed up to 100-1000 Mbps, the need for a reliable Wi-Fi has never been so important. If your phone or laptop lags or connection lags in certain areas of the house or you see your 200 Mbps Internet service going down to a trickle in that new TV room with the 65 inch 4K screen, hit the pause button before upgrading your speed (and shelling out cash to your internet service provider). Your router has a lot to do with your Wi-Fi experience, so make sure yours is up for the movie/gaming night challenge.

New tech, such as the NETGEAR Orbi a tri-band Wi-Fi system that delivers consistent speeds through concrete walls and canvases up to 4,000 square feet, is the gold standard of dependability and coverage. The NETGEAR Orbi Wi-Fi system uses an Orbi Router and Orbi Satellite to provide you whole home Wi-Fi coverage and speed. Better Wi-Fi benefits us all, in more ways than we might realize. We’ve got five reasons Wi-Fi is already ruling the world.

 

 

  1. You can stream ALL of the movies

Streaming subscription services have revolutionized the way we consume movies and TV shows. Imagine being at a buffet with all your favorite foods, but no fork to eat any of it. That’s the frustration of a slow connection: Top streaming services require at least a 5.0 Mbps connection speed for the best viewing experience. Can you imagine a world where you watched videos, TV shows and movies without Wi-Fi? And what if your roommates want to watch soap operas on the TV, while you’re keen on watching the football game on your laptop? Better triple those figures above — all the more reason to make sure your Wi-Fi is up to snuff.

  1. It helps you level up

Lag. That single word strikes terror into the hearts of devoted gamers on the verge of completing the final level (for the 238th time). Whether you’re a first person shooter or role playing gamer, those teenagers from Costa Rica on your gaming network will show no mercy when your spotty router delivers an ill-timed blip. Especially on nights when friends descend on your living room, consoles in hand, you’ll want the best connection possible to complete the mission and reach legendary status among the global gamer microcosm, whose company is entirely dependent on your Wi-Fi.

 

 

  1. For communication in the workplace

Mere frustration becomes serious anxiety when the Wi-Fi cuts out at work. Especially for corporate types and people who communicate between regional offices, the tedium of reconnecting to a dropped conference call is nothing to laugh about at the water cooler. And for creatives, public relations communicators and anyone who already stresses over deadlines, a slow or dropped signal means utter failure (and convincing the client that it wasn’t your fault, which is never a good time). Just like a power outage, Wi-Fi in the workplace is something you don’t even think about — until it fails.

 

  1. When you work from home

If your cubicle looks more like a bed frame, you’re probably dependent on your internet for your livelihood. You don’t want to try telling clients and employers you couldn’t get on a video conference call because your Wi-Fi went out. They’ll say, “Oh, did your dog eat your homework, too?” Cut the excuses — and the cords — and make sure your home wireless experience is reliable as you are.

  1. Because you can’t live without it

Like water, oxygen and TV streaming, Wi-Fi is becoming a base necessity for civilization — it’s no wonder President Barack Obama spearheaded the 2010 National Broadband Plan, designed to get internet into every American household. And Wi-Fi is continuing to streamline our home lives, with smart home tech such as Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, appliances, security cameras and more becoming the norm. The future is the NETGEAR Orbi’s 200 Mbps internet connectivity throughout your home. The future is now.

 

4.)

Charge your phone in seconds, use it for days? A new battery may make it possible

By Christian de Looper — November 22, 2016 10:40 AM

 

Battery technology plays a pretty major role in our digital lives and while it has certainly been refined over the past few years, there is always room for improvement. Scientists from the University of Central Florida have developed a supercapacitor battery prototype that works as if it were new even after being recharged as many as 30,000 times.

If successful, the research could mean the development of super fast-charging batteries that could last a whopping 20 times as long as today’s lithium-ion batteries. In other words, you could charge your phone in only a few seconds and not need to charge it again for an entire week, according to postdoctoral associate Nitin Choudhary, in a report from Engadget.

More: Tips to make your iPhone battery last longer (and a common myth busted)

The reason that supercapacitors can be charged so quickly is that they store electricity on the surface of a material, instead of having to store it through chemical reactions, as happens in lithium ion batteries. Those material sheets can hold a ton of electrons.

Much of the research with batteries involves using graphene. However, the team at UCF chose to go a different route — it wrapped 2D metal materials, which are only a few atoms thick, around tiny conductive wires, which essentially allows electrons to pass from the core to the shell quickly and easily. The result was a fast-charging material with a lot of energy and power density.

It’s important to note that the research is still in early development and it is nowhere near ready for commercialization just yet, however it certainly looks promising. Currently, the tech is just a proof of concept and the team behind it is now figuring out the best way to patent the tech. While it could go nowhere, like a lot of other battery ‘breakthroughs,’ we could also hear a lot more about supercapacitor research in the near future.

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Are the batteries dying on the future of Smartwatches?

Apple sold 1.1 million of their watches in 2016, which is 73% less than it sold in 2015. And Motorola doesn’t “see enough pull in the market to put [a new smartwatch] out at this time,” you would be excused for thinking the smartwatch world is contracting.

“Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year,” said Shakil Barkat, global product development head, Motorola.

There are a few factors as to why this technology might be failing. First, smartwatches are implicitly polarizing. Unlike a phone, a watch is more an accessory and than an electronics device.
When a customer thinks about purchasing an Apple Watch or a Samsung Gear the question is not whether this device is better than the closest alternative. The question is whether this device will go with their wardrobe. The issue becomes more aesthetic than functional.

The second problem is that watches, unlike phones, are rarely upgraded. A watch is supposed to be an heirloom and the only way to encourage multiple purchases is to price them at lower than a traditional watch, which is a near impossibility. Or make them last longer. This is more of a generational problem, but one that will stymie smartwatch sales for years.

So what’ll happen next? The fashion watch brands such as Swatch, Burberry, Casio, Seiko will probably bring their long experience in making watches people actually want to buy to the smartwatch world.

Smartwatches are a fade. Watches, however, will always be with us but in their original form, as a tool and a bit of ostentation.

 

  • What’s HDR? It’s Explained.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It is slowly changing the way in which television set companies are making their televisions.

Ever since the HDTV standard was advertised in the mid-’00s, screen producers have been attempting to come up with new standards that feel anywhere as impressive. There hasn’t been a baseline image standard that has surpassed the quality jump from CRT sets to clearer panels with 1080p resolution support.

HDTV, 3D, and 4K have all been ready to quickly and accurately describe for every day people as “more pixels,” or “one image per eye”. HDR’s different because people don’t know how to justly describe everything that the standard is capable of.

HDR might be the most impactful addition to modern TV sets since they made the 1080p jump. The images are brighter and more colorful. Because of this the brightness and color are unmistakable to see even to the untrained eye. Content and hardware providers all know it, and they’ve all begun cranking out a worthy HDR ecosystem. The HDR difference is that it’s officially affordable.

“The problem with restricting maximum brightness to 100 nits (as in TV and Blu-ray) is that the brighter the color, the closer it becomes to white, so bright colors become less saturated. For example, the brightest saturated blue on an ordinary display is a mere 7 nits, so a blue sky will never be as bright and saturated as it should be,” said Dolby engineers.

The future of your television set is now HDR and not necessarily HD or 3D.

 

  • HackerOne Bug Bounties of 2016

What’s a bug bounty? Bug bounty programs are a way for software vendors to outsource web domain, app and network security beyond their own in-house security teams. This allows them to acquire as many eyeballs on potential security problems as possible before they become exposed and exploited by attackers.

Apple, Microsoft, Google and other name brand companies run their own invite-only and open bug bounty schemes. The rewards from those companies can sometimes reach as high as $200,000 for the most severe flaws, which could jeopardize users.

HackerOne provides a platform designed to streamline vulnerability coordination and bug bounty program by enlisting hackers to improve companies’ online security. Below is the list of the bug bounties that have been around this year as the most competitive programs.

PornHub’s bug bounty program was launched in May. It has already accepted reports and thanked 311 hackers for their efforts in finding security flaws in the porn provider’s web domains.

LocalTapiola is Finland’s insurance giant’s bug bounty scheme. It was launched roughly eight months ago. It has resulted in hackers being awarded some of the most competitive lures on the platform.

Twitter’s bug bounty program has proven to be a popular avenue for security researchers looking to make some extra cash. One hacker was awarded $15,120 for reporting a critical bug.

Snapchat’s bug bounty scheme, was launched two years ago. It is a relatively successful program, which has resulted in 125 security researchers being awarded over $70,000. The average for a valid bug report is $100. However, some researchers have earned $10,000 out of a $15,000 maximum award.

Uber’s bug bounty program has a response time of around a day. It asks researchers to find bugs in both the transportation company’s web interface and on their app. The bugs found range from cross-site forgery (XSS) issues to remote code execution.

Hack the Pentagon was the US government’s attempt in bug bounty programs. The program ran for 24 days last March. It resulted in 138 vulnerabilities being taken care of and $70,000 awarded to researchers.

From their success, Hack the Army was created. It is a program designed to challenge researchers to find security flaws in the US Army’s front-facing systems in return for thousands of dollars in rewards.

Bug bounty programs are a very lucrative choice of work for those people who have a knack for finding bugs in companies websites or apps.

  • Ericsson ConsumerLab Report – Top Trends for 2017.

The Ericsson ConsumerLab recently published their report, “The 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2017 and beyond”. This report found that 35% of advanced Internet users want an AI advisor at work. And one in four would like AI as their manager. However, almost half of the respondents were concerned that AI robots will soon make a lot of people unemployed.

The IoT? With an increase in IoT adoption, two in five believed smartphones will learn their habits and perform activities on their behalf automatically.

Virtual reality? While mentioning about Virtual Reality, the report pointed out that almost four out of five VR users believe it will be indistinguishable from reality in only three years.

“Beyond real time, I believe we should be talking about reality time. In fact, what we call reality becomes ever more personal and subjective,” said Michael Björn, head of research, Ericsson ConsumerLab.

Over 50 percent of those surveyed are already use emergency alarms, tracking or notifications on their smartphones. Of those people who say their smartphone make them feel safer, three in five say they take more risks because they rely on their phone.

One in three respondents said social networks are their main source of news and more than one in four value their contacts’ opinions more than politicians’ viewpoints.

“Consumers also want the future to remain fully mobile, implying that demand for battery-friendly, instant and fast connectivity is set to grow rapidly. In that sense, reality time means it is time for 5G networks,” said Björn.

The Ericsson ConsumerLab report describes what our society is doing in regards to technology. We can only wait to see what will actually happen in 2017!

NONE TO S.W.I.F.T.

Whenever I read an article, my father’s advice always comes to mind. Ask yourself who wanted the article written before thinking that the article is objective. The article about cyberattacks on worldwide banking is a case in point.

The Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications [SWIFT] has suffered from three successful cyberattacks. Given the trillions that go through the system the attacks were small, remote and isolated. In fact the network (which relies on mainframe non Internet connections) was not successfully attacked. Instead hackers in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ecuador found end user computers they were able to use to penetrate the system.

The resulting fraud was direct point to point and not part of a network breach.

Now if I were SWIFT, I would want the article written to show the network is safe and secure.

If I were someone who wanted to replace swift , I would want to suggest that the problem is not in the edge, but at the core.

So I think this article was written by friends of SWIFT. However, I think this will be used by everyone looking to replace SWIFT with modern technology.

Block chain transactions are the bright shiny technology and has been successfully used to transfer monies internationally. Expect to see more about these alternatives written about as a result of this latest news.