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Omnichannel Retail: Big Data Is Nice, Fast Data Is Necessary
May 18, 2019
Any retailer that wants to be competitive knows it must offer a seamless omnichannel experience to its customers. However, many retailers aren't aware that the key to powering that customer experience is IT system performance. Why? Omnichannel retailers must process, analyze and use huge amounts of data for a multitude of equally important functions.
Digging for Bitcoin Is a Labor of Love
May 16, 2019
It would have been reasonable for those attending Josh Bressers' session at CypherCon -- myself included -- to expect a presentation by a cryptocurrency expert. It was billed as a talk about plumbing the depths of the bitcoin blockchain. When Bressers admitted that his material grew out of a hobby, I was surprised. Still, the talk was far from disappointing.
Zombieload, Fallout, and 2 Other CPU Flaws Have Intel on the Hop
May 16, 2019
The high-tech industry once again is in a tizzy over flaws discovered in Intel CPUs -- four new MDS vulnerabilities have come to light. MDS is a sub-class of previously disclosed vulnerabilities that sample data leaked from small structures within the CPU using a locally executed speculative execution side channel. The practical exploitation of MDS flaws is a very complex undertaking, however.
Google Showcases AI, Preaches Privacy at I/O Keynote
May 8, 2019
Google showed off its chops in AI and ML, renewed its commitment to giving users greater control over their data, and introduced a new economically priced smartphone during a keynote presentation at its annual I/O conference. "They were there to hammer home the point that when it comes to AI, they are ahead of their peers," said Paul Erickson, a senior analyst at IHS Markit.
Spring Cleaning Your Network Security
May 7, 2019
Spring may be my favorite time of year. The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and the air smells just a little bit fresher. It's as though the world is setting an example for the rest of us, letting us know that it's time to start fresh. It's time for spring cleaning -- and in the security world, spring cleaning means more than just wiping down countertops and lighting a few scented candles.
Small Biz Reaps Major Benefits With Oracle Autonomous Database
May 4, 2019
Drop Tank is a small company in footprint -- it started with only 22 people -- but it has an outsized mission: to provide loyalty and discount programs to thousands of gasoline retailers. It has been decades since gas stations offered incentives to purchase their products. Last time, in the 1960s, retailers routinely would offer silverware, glassware and china with fill-ups.
The Critical Role of Artificial Intelligence in Payments Tech
May 2, 2019
Long an obsession of science fiction writers, "artificial intelligence" in the modern era of fast-paced technological innovation is a term that is as ubiquitous as it is nebulous. For the payments technology industry, however, the term describes advanced analytical technology that has an outsized potential to improve the payments ecosystem for banks, payments processors, merchants and consumers.
EU Gives Nod to 'Big Brother' Biometrics Database
April 24, 2019
The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved two measures that would integrate the region's fragmented law enforcement and home affairs databases into a centralized one that would include biometric information on some 350 million EU and non-EU citizens. It approved creation of the new system on two votes -- one to merge border control systems, and one to merge law enforcement systems.
Zuckerberg Tries, Tries Again
April 6, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg's most recent effort to change the conversation about Facebook seems like just another attempt at self-justification. In a recent op-ed, he places the onus squarely on the shoulders of government to regulate how social media works. "I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," Zuckerberg wrote.
With More Than 8 Billion Things, Where Are the IoT Privacy Laws?
April 4, 2019
No one knows for sure how many "things" are connected to the Internet, but the Federal Trade Commission reported last year that it was more than 8 billion, and that it would exceed 20 billion by the end of 2020! Astonishing as it seems, it turns out that U.S. privacy laws do not apply to all of those devices and the data they collect. So, for the third time in three years, the Senate has proposed a new law.
FTC Eyeballs ISPs' Data Privacy Practices
March 28, 2019
The United States Federal Trade Commission has announced an investigation into the privacy policies, procedures and practices of seven Internet broadband providers and related entities: AT&T Inc., AT&T Mobility LLC, Comcast Cable Communications doing business as Xfinity, Google Fiber Inc., T-Mobile US Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Cello Partnership dba Verizon Wireless.
Breaches: Fix the Issue, Not the Blame
March 5, 2019
Following a natural disaster that causes property damage to businesses and homes -- say a hurricane, fire or flood -- how often do you hear suggestions that the victims were at fault for their misfortune, or that they could have done something to prevent the event from occurring in the first place? Not often, right? We all know that events like that are possible. We plan around those possibilities, and we don't blame the victims.
Wireless Carriers Caught Playing Fast and Loose With Location Data
February 8, 2019
AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have sold access to subscribers' real-time location data to aggregators, which in turn have sold it to about 250 bounty hunters and related businesses, according to a report. In some cases, the data allowed users to track individuals to their specific locations inside a building. Some companies made thousands of location requests to data brokers.
E-Ticketing Flaw Exposes Airline Passenger Data to Hackers
February 7, 2019
The e-ticketing systems of eight airlines, including Southwest Airlines and Dutch carrier KLM, have a vulnerability that can expose passengers' personal data, mobile security vendor Wandera has reported. They use unencrypted links that hackers can intercept easily. The hackers then can view and, in some cases, even change the victim's flight booking details, or print their boarding passes.
Dutch Doc Wins 'Forget My Suspension' Case
January 23, 2019
Google must remove search results about medical regulators' conditional suspension of a Dutch physician in the first "right to be forgotten" case of its kind in the European Union. After Google and Dutch data privacy watchdog Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens rebuffed the doctor's initial attempts to get disciplinary actions purged from online search results, a district court in Amsterdam sided with the surgeon.
Microsoft, Kroger Ring Up Retail as a Service
January 9, 2019
Microsoft and Kroger announced a collaboration on Retail as a Service to equip stores with Kroger Technology products that run on Microsoft Azure. The technology utilizes the IoT, connectivity, the cloud, and data collection and analysis to improve both customer experiences and store bottom lines. Two stores will pilot a smart technology system connected by IoT sensors, running on Microsoft Azure.
IBM Chief Sounds Cautionary Note on Deep Data, AI, Quantum Computing
January 9, 2019
Powerful technologies like deep data, AI and quantum computing should be introduced into society carefully, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty declared in opening remarks at CES. "These tools are so powerful they will solve some of the most enduring problems -- like food safety, waste," she said, "but like all powerful tools, we've got to usher them in safely into society."
Oracle's Customer Transition Challenge
December 19, 2018
Oracle narrowly missed its number last quarter, so it was good to see the company come roaring back -- it made a lot of money. More importantly, many analysts have conceded that Oracle has reached a point in its infrastructure deployment where it can mount a serious challenge to other providers and supply the needed cloud services for its ERP and cloud database businesses.
E-Commerce Success Strategies: Think Local, Not Global
December 14, 2018
The borderless promise of e-commerce doesn't mean one size fits all. Your business can have customers from around the globe, but if you want to keep them and grow, it is crucial to understand local shopper preferences and behaviors, and be able to respond to them. Without localization, you won't have an effective go-to-market strategy, and your opportunity for growth will stall.
Oracle and the JEDI Contract
December 13, 2018
Oracle has filed a suit in federal court over the $10 billion Pentagon JEDI contract to be awarded to a single vendor. Oracle claims that the single-vendor award is unfair and illegal, a claim it first filed with the GAO, or Government Accountability Office. The suit followed the GAO's denial of Oracle's claim. My first instinct was to call this legislative entrepreneurship.
Location Data Selling Threatens Consumer Privacy
December 11, 2018
Selling location data collected by mobile phones has become a lucrative business, according to a report that noted location advertising sales are expected to reach $21 billion this year. At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from applications with the location services feature activated. Several of those outfits claim to track 200 million mobile devices in the U.S.
AWS Thinks Inside the Box With Outposts Data Center Revival
November 30, 2018
Amazon introduced AWS Outposts at its AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. The new system, which provides AWS-branded boxes for use in traditional data centers, will allow the company to make advances into the world of on-premises storage, taking on legacy hardware vendors including Cisco, Dell, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Outposts technology can run on rival vendors' data center equipment.
Amazon's Shift
November 29, 2018
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, announced that AWS customers would be off all Oracle databases by the end of 2019 and running on one of Amazon's database products. This is not the first time the market has heard something like this, but this time could be different. The statement comes on the heels of Amazon spending significant coin on Oracle licenses a few months ago.
Amazon Comprehend Medical Makes Sense of Scattered Healthcare Data
November 29, 2018
Amazon has announced Amazon Comprehend Medical, a language processing service that lets users gather information -- such as a patient's medical condition and medication dosage, strength and frequency -- from sources including doctors' notes, clinical trial reports, hospital admission notes and patient health records. Most health and patient data currently is stored as unstructured medical text.
Oracle, the Hardware Company
October 31, 2018
For all of the dazzle of its rapidly evolving software portfolio, which includes a self-monitoring and self-patching database that also configures itself, as well as numerous cloud applications, Oracle has begun showing its credibility as a hardware vendor. Hardware has commoditized and will not return to the prominence it had in the early days of the tech era.
The 4-Step Method for Developing Strong Product Content
October 25, 2018
Many brick-and-mortar shops have been expanding their business to the online realm. It's no wonder why, considering global retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. However, brands making the move first need to consider the differences between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce, and implement SMEA: set up, manage, enrich and audit.
Will Oracle Roil the DB Market?
October 23, 2018
When we write the history of the IT era, the big factor that has played an important but not well recognized role will be hardware -- specifically, the Oracle Exadata appliance that puts databases into memory. All of the cloud software starting with the autonomous database on view this week at OpenWorld would be vastly different if the database was still running primarily on disk drives.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday Is Coming - and It's Only the Beginning
October 19, 2018
Are you a retailer trying to get ready for the 2018 holiday season? Well, I'm afraid I can't help you. Just kidding. Sort of. I could just sit here and share yet another checklist to remind you of all the standard e-commerce table stakes you need to master. However, what I really want to do is help you get ready for Cyber Monday 2019 -- and beyond.
6 Tips for Managing Data Before an Emergency Strikes
October 18, 2018
Think about planning for a natural disaster emergency that might affect your home. You'd likely store some water, flashlights, food, blankets and other essentials. The key element of your planning would be proactivity. You'd do all of the work before an emergency occurred, not during the actual crisis. If your supplies were used up after the emergency passed, then you quickly would restock.
Silo Buster: Salesforce Attacks the Data Sprawl Problem
September 25, 2018
I have never been a big fan of the term "360-degree view of the customer," mostly because you never can have a complete view of your customers. It's simply impossible. Things happen that you don't capture in the data, as CRM guru Paul Greenberg has pointed out. They get divorced, their dog dies, they get a really nice birthday gift. Those things can affect customers' buying behavior.
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Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.