Dynamic Digest: Week of 8/29

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, data, and other like topics? We got you covered!

 

This week in the world of technology, a rocket explosion destroys a critical satellite, the FBI investigates the hacks on election databases, VMware launches a cloud software bundle, and Amazon’s IoT button arrives debuts in the UK.

 

Rocket Explosion Leaves Facebook’s Internet Initiative Grounded – The Wall Street Journal, September 1

 

Falcon 9, the SpaceX rocket that exploded during a prelaunch test, took with it a critical satellite that would have brought internet connectivity to a few hundred thousand people in the rural area of Sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite belonged to Facebook’s Internet.org project to bring connectivity to unconnected parts of the world and was meant to be a key milestone for the project. Facebook partnered with French satellite operator Eutelsat Communications SA to develop the satellite, which is estimated to cost $200 million and two years to design and build. If the launch had been successful, the satellite would have reached more than a dozen countries. Mark Zuckerberg has since expressed his disappointment in the launch failure by the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk.

 

Key takeaway: The explosion created major setbacks for Mark Zuckerberg and Internet.org’s ambition of bringing connectivity to the rural places of the world. However, Facebook has shown so much commitment to this initiative of global connectivity that it’s hard to imagine that a destroyed satellite will halt the project. It may take another two years and $200 million, but it definitely won’t stop Facebook from working towards its mission.

 

 

Officials: Hackers breach election systems in Illinois, Arizona – CNN, August 30

 

 

 

The FBI is now investigating the hacks that targeted the election databases in the states of Arizona and Illinois. For those of you who have been out of the loop, the election system in Arizona was breached earlier in May, and the same happened to Illinois in late June. In both incidents, the voter registration systems had to be taken offline for a number of days after the FBI first discovered the attacks. The FBI assessed that up to 200,000 voter records had been compromised in Illinois. These records contain names, addresses, sex, birthdays, and, in some cases, even the last four digits of a voter’s social security number. In Arizona, officials reported that no data has been compromised. While the investigation is still ongoing, officials assert that this will not affect the upcoming election. The hackers are believed to be based overseas, possibly in Russia.  

 

 

 

Key takeaway: In many cases of data breach, the depth of impact is hardly ever evident right away. It isn’t until some months or even years later until the data sets are dumped on the web to be exposed to a wide range of malicious use. Although the election system hacks won’t affect or alter the upcoming election, the Board of Elections should really consider some of the security advice given by the federal government to better safeguard voters’ data.

 

 

 

 

VMware launches Cloud Foundation software bundle, coming to IBM first – VentureBeat, August 29

 

VMware is making it easier for companies to adopt the cloud with its launch of Cloud Foundation, a software bundle that combines existing VMware software such as vSphere, Virtual SAN, NSX, and SDDC Manager. The host of solutions can be used to manage server, storage, and networking resources across various public cloud deployments, including in the AWS, Azure, and IBM clouds. The traditionally on-premises softwares were previously only able to integrate with VMware’s own public cloud, vCloud Air. With Cloud Foundation, customers looking to move more of their workloads to the cloud can do so while using tools that they are already familiar with. Cloud Foundation will be available later this quarter and will initially roll out to the IBM cloud first.

 

Key takeaway: VMware has the right idea here when it comes to driving cloud adoption. Making on-premises software available for use in public clouds helps make the transition from private cloud or on-premises to a public cloud an easier one for customers. While VMware’s vCloud Air has not been as successful as its competitors in the public cloud space, Cloud Foundation can potentially help recapture some of that market share.

 

Other top tech stories:

 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!

 

 

 

Dynamic Digest: Week of 8/1

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, data, and other like topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, Facebook opened a huge research lab, Alphabet was granted permission to test drones in the US, Verizon acquired a telematics company, and Dropbox launched a document-editing app.

Facebook Just Built A 22,000 Square-Foot Hardware Research Lab – Fortune, August 3

Facebook just made it easier for its hardware engineers to collaborate and share ideas – with a brand new 22,000-square-foot hardware lab named Area 404 at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters. Although primarily known as a software company, Facebook does have various hardware initiatives such as its virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, data center projects for its open-source hardware programs, and a solar-powered drone project called Aquila that’s focused on bringing the Internet to remote areas. With its new hardware lab, engineers working on these projects can come together in one place to develop and test prototypes. Area 404 is equipped with a wide range of heavy-duty equipment and machinery, including a CT scanner that can diagnose causes for computer motherboard or device malfunction within a matter of hours or days. There is also a water jet device that can cut into granite, steel, and marble for prototype-building, machines for folding and manipulating metal, fabric cutters, and an indoor crane to help transport heavy materials. The lab took 18 months to build and engineers have already started to work in it since July.

Key takeaway: An all-in-one lab for engineers to work together on hardware projects and build prototypes in-house will encourage collaboration and potentially accelerate Facebook’s hardware initiatives. This is also an indicator of Facebook’s dedication to some of its open-source hardware programs such as the Open Compute Project and the Telco Infra Project.

Alphabet will begin testing its delivery drones inside the US – The Verge, August 2

We may very well be just years away from having autonomous drones deliver our packages to our doorstep. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was given the green light by the White House to test drones that it’s developing in Project Wing – Alphabet’s project focused on creating drones and a traffic control system that can support them. Why is this such a big deal? Previously, the testing of drones could only be done overseas, due to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requiring drones in the US to be operated by a human pilot or within the sight of a pilot. Thanks to a White House initiative aimed at strengthening the drone industry, the FAA has approved six test sites in the US that Project Wing can use to test its delivery drones. While urban cities may not have the necessary air traffic control system to support autonomous drones anytime soon, Zipline, a startup that delivers medical supplies via drones, has launched a program to deliver medical supplies to rural areas in the US.

Key takeaway: Alphabet isn’t the only big player in the drone delivery game. Amazon’s drone program, Amazon Prime Air, has recently been cleared by the UK government to test out its drone delivery system. While we may be getting closer to a rapid delivery system, there is still a long way to go, at least here in the US. For example, a new air traffic control system will need to be implemented across the US to enable the safe operation of drones, especially in crowded urban settings. The FAA will also need to approve new regulations around drone operations.

Verizon buys Fleetmatics for $2.4B in cash to step up in telematics – TechCrunch, August 1

Verizon is taking another step up in the area of mobile workforce management solutions with its planned acquisition of Fleetmatics, a telematics company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. This is the second purchase in a short span of time for Verizon Telematics, Verizon’s subsidiary that offers fleet management, mobile workforce management, and IoT solutions. Just a few weeks ago, Verizon Telematics announced its planned acquisition of Telogis, a startup that offers cloud software for fleet tracking. Similar to Telogis, Fleetmatics offers SaaS-based fleet management solutions that aim to improve the performance and safety of the mobility workforce. Some of the services it provides include GPS fleet tracking, driver and truck safety services, dispatching and billing solutions. Verizon Telematics CEO Andres Irlando said that it will leverage Fleetmatics’ solutions to strengthen its telematics services for small and medium-sized businesses.

Key takeaway: Verizon’s increased investment in fleet management software will help fuel its growth in the telematics and IoT sector. With the slowdown it’s experiencing in its wireless business, now is a great time to expand in another growing industry. Already owning a massive communications network, Verizon has the potential to become a major competitor in telematics and IoT.

Other top tech stories:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!

Dynamic Digest: Week of 7/4

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, data, and other like topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, Microsoft introduced a new cloud platform, Google bought image recognition startup, Facebook revealed its latest networking hardware, and Apple iOS 10 Beta is now available.

Microsoft Makes A Cloud Push With New Dynamics 365 Software Suite And App Store – Forbes, July 6

Microsoft is going full-on cloud with its announcement of Microsoft Dynamics 365, its new cloud platform that combines its customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. The new platform will allow customers to access different business apps all from the same suite, including for marketing, finance, operations, field service, sales, and customer service. Dynamics 365 will also have deep integrations with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud productivity suite, Cortana voice intelligence, and PowerBI data visualization. With the announcement of this cloud platform, Microsoft also revealed a new app marketplace, Microsoft AppSource, where customers can access third-party apps from Microsoft partners. AppSource already has more than 200 available apps and Dynamics 365 will be available to customers in the fall.

Key takeaway: Dynamics 365 is a big product announcement for Microsoft since its launch of Office 365 five years ago. While many may say that Dynamics 365 competes with Salesforce CRM directly, which currently captures 20% of the CRM market share, the two are actually quite different. Dynamics 365 leverages a wide variety of business data from CRM and ERP systems to allow for better business planning, while Salesforce is a system focused on customer experience. Both of these platforms serve businesses differently. The launch of Dynamics 365 will likely allow Microsoft to go deeper in the enterprise space and remain competitive in the tech industry.

Google buys French image recognition startup Moodstocks – TechCrunch, July 6

It seems that Google’s image search service, Google Images, will become a lot more powerful soon. The tech giant has just announced its acquisition of Moodstock, a Paris-based startup that uses machine-learning algorithms to develop image recognition technology for smartphones. Moodstock’s API and SDK allow developers to incorporate their technology into mobile apps. While Google has not yet disclosed specific plans for how it will use the image recognition technology, Vincent Simonet, who heads Google’s R&D Operation in France, confirmed that Moodstock’s work will definitely be used to improve image searches. Moodstock will be discontinuing its API and SDK, but current users will still have access until the end of their subscription.

Key takeaway: Image recognition is a growing area and Google isn’t the only tech giant investing it in. Last month, Twitter acquired startup Magic Pony to improve its photos and videos experience and earlier this year, Amazon acquired startup Orbeus for its photo recognition technology. Google has been ahead of the image recognition game with its image search service, so it will definitely be exciting to see how it integrates Moodstock’s technology. 

Facebook launches OpenCellular, an open source networking hardware project – VentureBeat, July 6

Facebook just revealed its latest networking hardware initiative, CellularOpen, part of its Telecom Infra Project (TIP) that was launched earlier this year. CellularOpen is a low-cost hardware that allows telecom service providers to supply cellular and wireless internet connection in both rural and urban environments. The hardware not only allows for flexibility in configuration, but is also durable enough to withstand high winds and extreme temperatures. CellularOpen is currently going through its testing phase at Facebook’s HQ. Once the hardware is ready, Facebook will be sharing its hardware design, firmware, and software with its telecom partners in TIP. TIP was started with a mission of expanding the availability of cellular and network services without relying on traditionally expensive telecom infrastructure. In addition to OpenCellular, two other hardware projects, Terragraph and Aries, have been initiated since the launch of TIP.

Key takeaway: CellularOpen and TIP help further Facebook’s mission of connecting more people from world through its platform. Facebook wanted to do this by broadening the accessibility of the internet. While the expansion of cellular and wireless network accessibility will not have a direct impact on the growth of Facebook’s user base, the more often people are connected online, the more likely they are to use social media. It’s a win-win for all.

Other top tech stories:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!

Dynamic Digest: Top 5 Takeaways from WWDC 2016

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, and other topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, we cover the top 5 announcements made at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week. Over the 5-day event, Apple revealed major software updates, new apps, and other important news coming this Fall to its developer market.

The New iOS 10

Apple really stepped it up this year with the announcement of the latest version of its operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPodsiOS 10. The new iOS includes major design and feature upgrades. With improved 3D Touch capabilities, Apple redesigned its notifications, lock screen and Control Center to allow users to access apps faster and be able to do more with fewer taps. Apple also introduced a brand new Raise to Wake feature, which allows users to activate the lock screen to view notifications and updates by simply lifting their phones. Apple’s most sexy upgrade to iOS might be its new iMessage app, which now features animation effects, emoji predictions, single tap text-to-emoji conversions, handwritten messages, the ability to play videos, and much more. The Photos app got some revamping as well, with added facial, object, and scene recognition features. Apple also announced a new Apple Home app and updates to Map, Phone, Apple Music, and Apple News apps.   

Read more at Apple announces iOS 10 with 10 major features and redesigns – The Verge, June 13

Key takeaway: The new iOS 10 is focused on simplifying the life of mobile users by allowing users to perform functions quicker with fewer screen taps. Some of these new features are catch-ups to features that Android devices already have. But nonetheless, the new iOS will give iPhone users a new and improved mobile experience.

From OS X to macOS Sierra

With so many exciting upgrades in iOS 10, Apple made sure that it did not disappoint either in its desktop counterpart. A major announcement for Macs was that its operating system, OS X, has been renamed to macOS, with a new version named Sierra. Amongst the many new features debuting in Sierra, one of the biggest highlights was that Siri is finally coming to macOS. Upon command, the virtual assistant familiar to iPhone users will be able to help Mac users send text messages, open certain files, play music, create calendar events, adjust System Preferences, and more. A new shared desktop feature will enable Apple users to view files on their Mac’s desktop using an iPhone or iPad. A universal clipboard feature will also make it possible for the copying and pasting of images, texts, and videos between different Apple devices. Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment service, will also be launching its web version in Sierra. Online retailers will be able to offer Apple Pay as a payment option via Safari in iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. Users who select this payment option will be able to verify the transaction using Touch ID on their iPhones.

Read more at So long, OS X: Apple unveils MacOS Sierra – VentureBeat, June 13

Key takeaway: With new features such as shared desktop and universal clipboard, Apple devices are becoming more connected to each other. This benefits users by streamlining their experience across different Apple products and allowing them to seamlessly shift between devices. Apple Pay for the web will also bring about a secure payment solution for making online purchases.

A Faster Smart Watch

The Apple Watch is getting a makeover, without actually upgrading its hardware. At WWDC 2016, Apple unveiled its latest operating system for its smartwatch, watchOS 3. Upgraded and new features in watchOS 3 will give Apple Watch owners a new and different smartwatch experience. One of the biggest complaints users had with watchOS 2 was that apps could take up to several seconds to load, which could be considered a long while when compared to the app loading times on other Apple devices. Apple’s own president of technology Kevin Lynch demonstrated at the conference that with watchOS 3, apps will load instantly. In watchOS 3, instead of responding to text messages from a selection of pre-set messages, the new Scribble feature will allow users to draw letters on the face of the watch which will then convert to text. Similar to iPhones, watchOS will now have an SOS feature that calls local emergency services when the side button is pushed for an extended period of time. On the fitness front, the new watchOS 3 will have an activity sharing function for sharing fitness activities between Apple Watch users. There will also be exercise suggestions for wheelchair users as well as a new deep breathing exercise app called Breathe.

Read more at WWDC 2016: The Apple Watch Just Got A Whole Lot Better – Forbes, June 13

Key takeaway: The new watchOS will give the Apple Watch a big boost in app loading times and features. Unlike iPhones and Macs, where users experience a boost in speed when they upgrade their devices, the watchOS 3 can fulfill users’ desire for speed without requiring them to invest in a brand new product.

Siri Now Open to Developers

With Siri coming to Macs, Apple is making its virtual assistant an integral part of all its devices. To further push the limits on what Siri can do, Apple announced that it will open up Siri to third-party developers. Developers will be able to access Siri using an open API and configure Siri’s voice commands to perform functions in third-party apps such as calling an Uber, sending a WeChat message, or activating fitness tracking on fitness apps. This is the first time since the launch of Siri in 2011 that Apple is allowing integrations between Siri and third-party apps.

Read more at Apple finally opens Siri to third-party developers – TechCrunch, June 13

Key takeaway: This is huge for the world of mobile apps as Apple has always been strict over app integrations with Siri. Opening Siri up to developers will allow Apple to catch up with Amazon’s Alexa, a major competitor in the voice assistant space, who has been open to developers over a year ago.   

Apple Music Redesign

Apple revealed at WWDC that its music streaming service, Apple Music, has undergone a complete UI redesign in an effort to create a more user-friendly streaming platform. In addition to simplifying the organization of its menu and tabs, Apple added new features as well. A new lyric feature will display the lyrics to the song that is playing. Apple has also added a new “For You” section, where users can find daily playlist recommendations, as well as a Discover Mix, a personalized playlist put together based on the user’s selection of music in his or her own library.

Read more at Apple Catches Up to Spotify with Apple Music Redesign – Fortune, June 13

Key takeaway: Apple took user feedback to the heart when they redesigned the Apple Music UI. With simpler navigation and its new Discover Mix feature, Apple Music readies itself to take on popular streaming services such as Spotify.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below! 

Dynamic Digest: Week of 5/30

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, data, and other like topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, Salesforce agreed to acquire a digital commerce platform, Yahoo disclosed 3 National Security Letters it received, social media giants signed a hate speech agreement, and IBM and Cisco partnered on Internet of Things project.

Salesforce Will Acquire Demandware For $2.8 Billion In Move Into Digital Commerce – Forbes, June 1

Watch out world of digital commerce, Salesforce is coming for you! In an effort to expand into the multi-billion-dollar digital commerce space, Salesforce has agreed to acquire Demandware, a cloud-based e-commerce platform for retailers, for $2.8 million. Demandware, founded in 2004 and headquartered in Burlington, MA, offers e-commerce management and point-of-sale solutions as well as consultant and customer success management services. The acquisition will add another cloud service to Salesforce’s product line, called the Commerce Cloud. After the two companies integrate their services, current Salesforce customers will be able to access the cloud commerce platform from within their Salesforce suite and existing Demandware customers will be able to leverage Salesforce’s extensive suite of customer success solutions.

Key takeaway: Salesforce takes a strong leap into the e-commerce space with a market-leading solution that already has large enterprise customers. Existing customers of Demandware can also expect to see an improved cloud experience along with access to Salesforce’s comprehensive suite of customer success solutions. With Demandware’s expertise in digital commerce combined with the robust cloud service of Salesforce, the Salesforce Commerce Cloud will likely deeply penetrate the multi-billion dollar industry in a short period of time.

USA Freedom Act allows Yahoo to disclose 3 National Security Letters – TechCrunch, June 1

It’s probably no surprise that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) oftentimes turns to tech companies for help whenever they need internet user data of their persons of interest. However, it wasn’t until recently that the general public has confirmation of such demands and insights into the manner in which it’s done. Yahoo has publicly shared three National Security Letters (NSL) it received from the FBI, making it the first time a tech company has released details on such requests from the government. What stopped tech companies from sharing such information before? NSLs were previously required to be kept confidential until the recent passing of the USA Freedom Act. This act required the FBI to do periodic reassessments on whether the non-disclosure component of NSLs is still necessary. With the recent reassessment, the non-disclosure component has been lifted, allowing Yahoo to release redacted versions of the letters. According to the NSLs Yahoo released, the FBI required the tech company to provide information such as account names and addresses, the length of service for each account, and any bank accounts or IP addresses associated with the user.

Key takeaway: According to Chris Madsen, Yahoo’s head of global law enforcement, security, and safety, Yahoo released the NSLs in order to provide some level of transparency into how the government uses its legal authorities to access user data. This will hopefully bring more sensitivity to NSLs and discourage the FBI from exploiting their authority.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft Sign Hate Speech Agreement – Fortune, May 31

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft joined forces with the European Commission in the fight against online hate speech in Europe. The four tech giants have signed a code of conduct, which states that they will investigate and take action on illegal hate speech on their respective platforms within 24 hours of the content being reported. Although this appears to be for the good of the world, European online rights groups, such as European Digital Rights and Access Now, reacted with outrage. These groups felt that they were deliberately left out of the conversations around the code of the conduct and that the agreement fails to preserve free speech rights. Whether this is a move in the right direction or not, each of the four tech companies will be updating their terms of services and community guidelines to reflect their new policies against online hate speech.

Key takeaway: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft have good intentions by signing this code of conduct, but how far can online platforms take matters into their own hands until it becomes a violation of free speech rights? This along with the subjectivity of what is considered hate speech, it would probably be wise for these companies to include online rights groups into discussions before making policy changes around digital hate speech.

Other top tech stories:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!

Dynamic Digest: Week of 5/23

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, and other topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, tech giants introduced a 4,100-mile subsea internet cable, Microsoft helped local regions gain Internet access, and the rise of intelligent applications led the way to meet growing enterprise demands.

Facebook and Microsoft team up to lay a massive internet cable across the Atlantic – The Verge, May 26

Facebook and Microsoft announced a partnership to lay a 4,100-mile subsea internet cable, capable of 160 terabits per second of bandwidth, across the Atlantic Ocean. The two companies enlisted the help of infrastructure company Telxius to manage and expand network hubs from Europe to Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, with dates to begin in August of this year, and a goal to complete the cable by October 2017. This new operation marks a turning point for tech companies to collaborate with telecom consortiums that already operate undersea cables. The ultimate goal is to help both Facebook and Microsoft move information around the world to their data centers at higher speeds using more reliable equipment.

Key takeaway: Investing in subsea cables has been a common practice amongst tech companies. The pros? Customers can now upgrade their equipments at lower costs for higher bandwidth. Many view this as a step forward in optical technology innovation, but concerns in the vulnerability of undersea cables remain at question. These communication fiber optic cables carry all transoceanic digital communication – it’s the reason why you’re able to Skype conference with your office in London, or text a friend in Tokyo. What would happen if these cables were tapped, and your information was compromised? Let’s see what the next steps are in information security and digital privacy.

Microsoft Awards First Grants to Help Expand Global Internet Access – New York Times, May 24

Microsoft’s idle participation amongst tech giants has come to a halt. The enterprise legacy is re-immersing itself with a new initiative, addressing the “the great global disconnect” by funding projects focused on developing local solutions to widen the world’s access to the Internet. Microsoft announced the first winners of their new grant program on Tuesday, called the Affordable Access Initiative, which aims at , with prizes for 12 recipients ranging from $70,000 to $150,000. Microsoft is betting on the idea that funding local projects will be more attuned to regional needs and will create an immediate impact to the existing ecosystem. In contrast, the company believes solutions created and driven by American companies can take years to implement. Future plans for the program call for a larger pool of grant recipients and partnerships with companies. Earlier this year, the company pledged to donate $1 billion in cloud services to nonprofit organizations and universities.

Key takeaway: Investing in subsea cables has been a common practice amongst tech companies. The pros? Customers can now upgrade their equipments at lower costs for higher bandwidth. Many view this as a step forward in optical technology innovation, but concerns in the vulnerability of undersea cables remain at question. These communication fiber optic cables carry all transoceanic digital communication – it’s the reason why you’re able to Skype conference with your office in London, or text a friend in Tokyo. What would happen if these cables were tapped, and your information was compromised? Let’s see what the next steps are in information security and digital privacy.

 

 

The intelligent app ecosystem (is more than just bots!) – TechCrunch, May 24

As more and more companies rely on their software applications, the imminent evolution is the rise in application intelligence. Application intelligence (AI) is the process of using machine learning technology to create apps that use data, past or real-time, to make predictions leading to adaptive and user-specific experiences. You see examples of this everyday if you’ve ever come across virtual help desks or product recommendations on e-commerce sites. AI apps will transform the tech space by expanding the reach of companies to their consumers, defining the end user’s experience with machine learning so it can be applied to all industries using software applications, and ultimately, leading to new innovations in finance, CRM, IT Ops, and other key business functions by its depth of collection of raw data. Lastly, with its continuous growth in big data, intelligent apps will also rise in value to enterprise companies.

Key takeaway: The application intelligence market is thriving and a constantly evolving one.  As the demands of enterprise companies grow to further utilize their software applications, reliance on AI applications will become crucial to their success. With companies placing more of their trust in applications and software, how soon would it be before our entire world becomes digitized?

 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet us or leave a comment below!

Dynamic Digest: Week of 5/16

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, data, and other like topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, Microsoft and SAP built a deeper partnership, Amazon introduced the AWS IoT Button, Google announced a number of new products at Google I/O, and more LinkedIn credentials were revealed to be stolen from its 2012 data breach.

Microsoft and SAP love grows stronger in the cloudTechCrunch, May 17

Don’t you love it when our enterprise softwares play well with one another? At this week’s SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conference, the CEOs of Microsoft and SAP announced that the two tech powerhouses will take their relationship to the next level – SAP’s database management software, HANA, can now run on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Previously, customers were only able to build HANA applications on Azure. With Microsoft now providing full support for HANA, customers are able to run large workloads in production on Azure while benefiting from Azure’s security and management capabilities. This is just the beginning of deeper links between Microsoft and SAP products. We can anticipate integrations rolling out between Microsoft Office 365 and SAP cloud applications such as Concur, SuccessFactors, and Ariba.

Key takeaway: As businesses transform to be ever more software-dependent, we can expect to see an increasing amount of integrations and partnerships between software companies. This is a smart play on Microsoft and SAP’s parts, as they both dominate the enterprise software space with many of the same clients. Having their products more deeply connected will make it easier for customers to fully adopt their solutions.

Amazon Introduces a Dash Button for Cloud Services Because Why Not? – Fortune, May 16

Amazon revealed a beefed up version of its Dash button –  for the Internet of Things (IoT)! What is a Dash button, you may ask? The original Amazon Dash button, introduced in 2015, is a small Wi-FI-enabled device intended for placement near common household supplies and can be programmed to reorder specific household items from Amazon when it’s clicked. The new button, AWS IoT Button, is less consumer-friendly as it is designed for programmers to use to connect with AWS IoT services. Without having to write device-specific code, developers can configure an endless possibility of IoT services for when the button is clicked, including starting a car, remotely controlling home appliances, or placing a pizza order. The non-rechargeable button costs $19.95 USD and lasts an average of 1,000 pushes before its battery is drained. Is it worth it? Many seem to think so – the AWS IoT Button sold out within hours of its release.

Key takeaway: While the highly customizable Dash button can encourage innovation and IoT usage, there is criticism surrounding the battery life of the device. The Dash button can be configured for very useful functions, but for some functions, such as controlling Netflix or opening a garage door – something that a remote can do already, it may not be worth it to pay $0.02 per click, which is what it breaks down to. Additionally, for most Wi-Fi connected “things,” there are existing apps that will allow users to remotely control those objects, making the use of the Dash button unnecessary. In any case, this is still a great tool which enables developers to get innovative with the possibilities of IoT.  

The 10 biggest announcements from Google I/O 2016 – The Verge, May 18

At Google’s annual I/O developer conference this year, Google announced a number of new products. In the world of virtual reality (VR), Google revealed its mobile VR platform, Daydream, and a design for a VR headset. Google also unveiled two new messaging apps – Allo, which comes with a built-in AI assistant, and Duo, a video messaging app. It looks like the Amazon Echo will now have some competition in the smart speaker space as Google announces its own version, the Google Home. And of course, new and improved versions of Google Assistant and Google smart devices are also coming.

Key Takeaway: Google is making strides in some of the currently hottest areas in technology – virtual reality, mobile messaging, and smart assistants. It seems that in areas such as smart assistants, Google’s technology has already reached cutting-edge, while Google’s new focus in VR still has a lot of room for development and maturity.

LinkedIn 2012 Data Breach May Have Hit Over 100 Million – The Wall Street Journal, May 19

Do you recall, in 2012, when LinkedIn was hacked for 6.5 million usernames and passwords? Well, it seems that the data breach is far more serious than everyone had initially thought. Just recently, Russian hackers were found selling over 100 million LinkedIn credentials on a crime forum, believed to be credentials stolen from the 2012 incident. LinkedIn has acknowledged the release of the additional usernames and passwords, and have already began prompting users who are thought to be affected to reset their passwords.

Key Takeaway: Although stories of data breaches are becoming more common, the level of security risks that result from hacked data remain the same. Don’t wait for LinkedIn to prompt you to reset your password (why aren’t they making all their users do it, anyway?), read these account security best practices and change your passwords now.

Other top tech stories:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet us or leave a comment below!

Dynamic Digest: Week of 5/9

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, and other topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, new privacy rules circulated within the House of Representatives, artificial intelligence expanded beyond Siri, and Facebook accidentally leaked documents about their trending topics.

Privacy Rules Shouldn’t Handcuff the S.E.C. – New York Times, May 12

A new bill circulating the House of Representatives, the H.R. 699 is an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 which originally extended government restrictions on telephone tapping, including electronic data transmissions by computer. The ECPA 1986 allows the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to carry out administrative subpoenas under their statutory authority for emails or electronic messages against those who are the subject of investigation. Under the H.R. 699, the government would be required to obtain a criminal warrant to seize a person’s electronic communications from companies that store such data. Civil law enforcement agencies, like the SEC, who are responsible for enforcing federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, would no longer have the power to subpoena electronic evidence of wrongdoings and fraud. If the bill passes, the authority to obtain these warrants will fall under criminal law enforcement’s jurisdiction.

Key takeaway: While this new bill will increase critical privacy safeguards to individuals, it also provides a digital shield for criminals to hide their evidence from civil law enforcements. By removing the SEC’s information obtainment rights to investigate fraudulent activities, such as insider trading or market manipulation, greater concerns in regards to our economy may arise. Technology has evolved since the act passed in 1986, and the law should also evolve. But how can we protect both our privacy interests and the integrity of our financial system?

Beyond Siri: The AI revolution coming from the web – TechCrunch, May 11

We are still far from the artificial intelligence (AI) that we see in movies–robots interacting and coexisting with humans, having the ability to think and make decisions on their own, and the most ubiquitous of all, owning and expressing emotions. With recent breakthroughs in GPU-accelerated deep learning techniques, exceptional improvements in speech and vision recognition drive some tech giants to invest seriously in developing and creating AI. These multi-million dollar acquisitions are proof that time, where AI assistants can help us in our daily lives, is certainly closer than we think! You may even already be using a passive one too: Siri. Teaching computers about human behavior is a huge task that Professor Russell, from UC Berkeley, breaks down the subfields a computer needs to learn: natural language processing, knowledge representation, automated reasoning, machine learning, computer vision and robotics. The trickiest part is learning and using context to “connect the dots” and solve problems–something that humans naturally do. Because human behavior is not always predictable and outcomes of situations depend on a variety of factors, current AI fails to calculate this in their algorithm. However, what we can currently do is utilize technology that already exists, like all the information available on the Web to teach AI’s to understand your intent and anticipate your needs before you request them.

Key takeaway: An AI personal assistant is within arm’s reach, but a robot for companionship is still in the long works–at least if you want one that’s near human. With new advancements in technology, the big question really is, when will this all happen, and when it does, will we be ready? Breakthrough technologies like smartphones and connected cars were just dreams only a decade ago, and today they are common household belongings. With the Internet at the stage it is, we can take advantage of our online data to make the next leap into artificial intelligence.

How has Facebook decided what’s trending? Leaked docs shed light – CNet, May 12

Newsworthy topic guidelines set forth by Facebook’s internal editorial team were leaked to The Guardian, showing that Facebook’s trending topics involve human influence to determine which news should show on the social-media giant’s homepage. After criticized for not including more coverage on news pieces, Facebook employed a small team to handpick news that they want their users to see. Facebook’s VP of Global Operations, Justin Osofsky, says that the social network relies on over 1,000 news sources to verify the credibility of real world events and the buzz around what is trending. Allegations that Facebook’s trending topics are biased towards their employees’ political opinions and viewpoints has caused commotion within Congress and may lead to further investigations.

Key takeaway: To know that someone has specially handpicked the news you see on your Facebook homepage is nonetheless troubling. Especially when users have all along believed that these trending top news were generated by a computer algorithm similar to Twitter’s Trending Topics. With tracking cookies and user information that’s available on Facebook, it’s interesting to see how they would use such information to drive a news influence. As much as we use social media as our only source of news, it may be best practice to seek out unbiased news feeds on credible sites on our own.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!

Dynamic Digest: Week of 5/2

 

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, and other topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, millions of email credentials were hacked, Microsoft expanded its Internet of Things (IoT) solutions by acquiring IoT platform, IBM made a powerful processor available to everyone for free, and Virtustream debuted enterprise storage cloud at EMC World.

Millions of email names, passwords, hacked in giant data breach, report says – Mashable, May 4

If you haven’t changed the passwords to your email accounts recently, you may want to do so… right now! A large data breach has compromised around 250 million email usernames and passwords, according to Alex Holden, a security expert at Hold Security. The breach seemed to largely target Russian email service provider, Mail.ru, with 57 million hacked Mail.ru addresses. Additionally, the hack included credentials to 40 million Yahoo Mail accounts, 33 million Hotmail accounts, and 24 million Gmail accounts. Holden identified the Russian hacker posting the data set for sale at the shockingly low price of less than $1 USD. According to Holden’s report, his firm was unwilling to contribute to “the hacker monetizing on his work”– not even a dollar. Fortunately, Hold Security negotiated with the hacker and was able to retrieve the stolen data in exchange for social media likes.  

Key takeaway: Although this Russian hacker seemed to have hacked the email addresses simply for the purpose of exercising his hacking abilities and bragging rights, incidents like these goes to show just how vulnerable online data can be. To better protect credentials and sensitive data, users should take precaution by frequently changing account passwords, enabling two-factor authentication whenever possible, and avoiding using the same password for multiple logins.

Microsoft acquires IoT platform Solair, will integrate the technology into Azure IoT Suite – VentureBeat, May 3

Microsoft continues to expand its Azure IoT Suite by acquiring Solair, an Italian software company that provides IoT customization and deployment solutions. Since its founding in 2011, Solair has been providing a flexible platform that allows companies to capture and analyze data from smart “things” or devices. One of Solair’s case studies explains how it has made it possible for Italian manufacturer, Rancilio Group, to remotely monitor its espresso machines, leading to reduced operational costs and increased revenue. The integration of the Solair platform with the Azure IoT Suite will allow Microsoft customers building their IoT apps on Azure to be equipped with powerful data management and analytics tools.

Key takeaway: Enterprise solution powerhouses like Amazon and Oracle are going head to head to expand and leverage their IoT solutions in the market. It seems that many companies are gradually moving from trialing smart technology to implementing IoT in their line of business. IoT is currently more widely used in enterprise and as this space becomes more competitive, we can expect that IoT technology will be more accessible to companies of all sizes.

IBM Just Made A Powerful Research Tool Available to Everyone For Free – Fortune, May 4

Did Christmas just come early for the cloud computing world? IBM has announced that its quantum processor will be made accessible for free to researchers, scientists, and any tech-savvy computing gurus via its IBM Cloud Platform. Using the principles of superpositioning, a quantum processor operates differently than traditional computer processors and can allow for far more powerful data processing. Although this breakthrough technology is still considered to be in its experimental stages, IBM has been researching quantum computing since 1993. It is unclear exactly how powerful quantum processors can be, but the technology could potentially “speed up cancer research or even crack encrypted messages.” By making the quantum processor available to the public, IBM hopes to eliminate barriers to innovation and bring more visibility to quantum computing.

Key takeaway: IBM plays a smart move by making its quantum processor available to the public – not only will IBM be able to test its technology, but they are also potentially speeding up the maturity of quantum computing.  

Other top tech stories:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!

Dynamic Digest: Week of 4/18

Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, data, and other like topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, the FBI reportedly paid more than $1M to break into the San Bernardino iPhone, Harvard introduced a new educational coding robot, and Europe announced a plan to collect airline passenger data.

FBI Paid More Than $1.3M to Crack San Bernardino iPhone – Fortune, April 21

It looks like the blood, sweat, and tears the FBI shed hacking into the San Bernardino iPhone was worth… over $1 million dollars?!. Just this week, FBI Director James Comey hinted at how much his agency paid for a hacking tool that helped break into Syed Farook’s phone, stating it was more than his salary for the remainder of his seven-year term. While Comey didn’t specify how much was paid, other than alluding that it was “a lot,” research has confirmed that it was more than $1.3 million. But who received the $1.3M remains unclear and it doesn’t appear the FBI is ready to disclose the unidentified third party quite yet. However, recent reports lead some security experts and spectators to believe it was a group of hackers. Now, the question is – what was on the phone? Earlier reports noted that the iPhone had yielded no results, but newly surfaced reports claim the price tag was “worth it” and FBI has indeed found useful information. According to the agency, Farook was not in contact with any ISIS members, nor did he make contact with any other plotters following the attack. While the phone allowed the FBI to close some missing gaps, the investigation is far from over as many questions are still left unanswered.

Key takeaway: The FBI claims the hefty price tag was “worth it”, but as of late, no groundbreaking revelations have really come to fruition. Additionally, even if the phone yielded no results it’s very unlikely for the government to admit that after spending $1M and cooperating in an intensive seven-week long legal battle with Apple. Unfortunately, criminal investigations happen every day, so how can the government really be sure when to go to excessive lengths to get this type of information? Will the government find a way to access this type of data or will they continue being forced to make mass appeals to the tech world for similar hacks?

Meet Root, the robot that helps students understand programming – Mashable, April 19

Meet Root the Robot – Harvard’s new educational robot designed to “bring coding to life.” In a new effort led by Zivthan Dubrovsky and a small team of bio-inspired robotics researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, the research project aims to ignite interest in coding and spark freeform creativity amongst children. The small hexagonal shaped robot has a plethora of technologies including “magnets, accelerometer, gyroscope, wheel encoders, multicolor LEDss,” and multiple sensors that allow the bot to navigate classroom whiteboards. Additionally, the magnetic robot glides along horizontal surfaces, draws and erases patterns, plays music and scans colors. Children operate the robot through Square, an iOS programming app that teaches kids coding at three different levels – starting with drag-and-drop coding and transitioning to text-based coding. While Root is still a research project, the team is looking for educational organizations to partner with and develop curriculums that will help bring Root into classrooms.

Key takeaway: Gone are the days where computer science is taught as an individual activity through textbooks and websites – Root brings an entirely different dynamic to coding in classrooms. It breaks down the oftentimes daunting and complex world of coding and turns it into a collaborative, creative and interactive environment for children to learn. The importance of computer science is only increasing with the advancement of technology, and Root may be a valuable addition for classrooms that lack such resources.

Europe’s plan to collect airline passenger data raises privacy concerns – The Verge, April 15

Is security more important than privacy when it comes to collecting airline passenger data? This week, the European Parliament passed an initiative that would allow EU intelligence agencies to collect and share information on airline passengers traveling to, from, and within the EU. After the recent tragic terrorist attack in both Brussels and Paris, the intense five-year debate came to an end with a large majority (461 to 179) voting for the proposed Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive. Information, including names, email addresses, itineraries, passport data, and ticket price will be collected, shared, and analyzed by intelligence agencies without any hesitations for up to five years. The directive will aid in the fight against terrorism by increasing border security and enabling intelligence agencies to share data more effectively while also being able to identify patterns of suspicious activity.

Key takeaway: With an estimated 6,000 citizens having already left Europe to join ISIS and an increase in terrorist attacks, the need for additional security becomes an immediate necessity. However, some critics believe the measure goes too far in violating privacy rights and will subject European citizens to potential discrimination and constant surveillance. Is this an effective approach to fighting terrorism or is it simply a “quick and easy solution” that lawmakers are implementing? We guess we’ll find out…

Other top tech stories:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!