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Cybercriminals Score Billions in Cryptocurrency Thefts
May 21, 2019
Is anyone surprised to learn that in just the first quarter of 2019 more than $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen? Probably not. This story follows the old line from bank robber Willie Sutton who is credited with saying that he robbed banks "because that's where the money is." So not much has changed. Cryptocurrencies are not exactly money, though, even if they do have a market value.
5G Could Mess With Accuracy of Weather Forecasts
May 21, 2019
Next-generation 5G mobile communications technology could have a harmful impact on weather forecasting in the United States, based on expert testimony presented before a U.S. House committee during a hearing on the future of weather forecasting. Interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of weather forecasts by 30 percent, said Neil Jacobs, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at NOAA.
5 Effective Talent Retention Strategies for Security Teams
May 20, 2019
In IT, we've been hearing about the "cybersecurity skills shortage" for a few years. There is no shortage of statistics and data about it: More than 70 percent of participating organizations reported being impacted by the skills shortage, according to an ESG/ISSA research report. Likewise, more than half of the organizations surveyed for an ISACA report noted unfilled cybersecurity positions.
The Rebirth of the Personal Computer
May 20, 2019
I went to Lenovo Accelerate last week and feasted my eyes on one of the most innovative PCs I've ever seen. However, as I absorbed the rest of Lenovo's announcements, I realized I was looking at just the tip of what could be a significant coming change in personal computers -- one that could eclipse every change we have seen so far. Lenovo's "one more thing" is a coming foldable screen laptop.
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.
How Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping the Workforce
May 17, 2019
Shoppers soon might see a lot more robots in Walmart stores -- but not toy robots or even human assistant gadgets that are available for purchase. Walmart's new robots will be taking over repeatable, predictable and manual tasks that up to now have been carried out by human employees. At Walmart stores, robots will scan shelf inventory and track boxes as part of its inventory management.
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.
US Mobile: Another Bait-and-Switch Disappointment
May 16, 2019
I just dumped US Mobile after less than four months, setting a new speed record for hitting my tolerance-for-b.s. ceiling. I'd had high hopes for this relatively new mobile virtual network operator, but it turns out I chose poorly. Switching wireless service providers is one of those things I don't relish doing, but every few years I find that I'm in a one-way relationship with my carrier.
Walmart Enters High-Stakes Next-Day Delivery Game
May 15, 2019
Walmart has announced free one-day delivery for 220,000 of its most-frequently purchased items. The service will be available first in Phoenix and Las Vegas, because "these locations are major metro markets served by our fulfillment center in Southern California ... where we expect strong customer adoption of our NextDay delivery offering," a Walmart spokesperson said.
Technology Is Filling a Need in Philanthropy
May 14, 2019
It's surprising that philanthropy as an industry has gotten by for so long without technology. That's changing, however. The cost of technology has dropped at the same time that philanthropic organizations have been discovering an acute need for it. Of the more than 1.5 million charitable organizations in the U.S., it's not a stretch to say that the vast majority of them are small and underfunded.
Flexa Launches Crypto-Based Payment App
May 14, 2019
Flexa has launched a new digital payment network that uses cryptocurrencies to cut processing costs, eliminate fraud and preserve users' privacy. The network uses Flexa's Spedn app to process consumer transactions at cooperating merchants. The new payment platform makes it possible to spend Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and the Gemini dollar at any of the merchants currently accepting payments.
SCOTUS Greenlights Apple App Store Antitrust Lawsuit
May 14, 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court has given thumbs up for a class action antitrust lawsuit to proceed against Apple for alleged monopolistic practices at its App Store. In the case, Apple Inc. v. Pepper et al., the consumer plaintiffs maintain the Cupertino, California, company has monopolized the retail market for the sale of apps, and that it used its position to charge higher-than-competitive prices.
Google, Microsoft In Step in New Era
May 13, 2019
Apple, Google and Microsoft are three very powerful companies. Two of them had big events last week -- Google I/O and Microsoft Build. What I found interesting was that both Google and Microsoft largely were on the same page about focusing on the customer. Both Google and Microsoft have been making massive advancements with AI. Both have increased their efforts to make the world a better place.
Baltimore Held Hostage in 2nd Ransomware Attack
May 10, 2019
Baltimore officials have admitted that the city government once again has been victimized by ransomware -- the second such attack in just over a year. City computers reportedly were infected with the RobinHood ransomware virus. Hackers told city officials that they would unlock the computers in return for payment of three bitcoins per system, or 13 bitcoins for the entire system.
What Happens to Sprint if T-Mobile Merger Fails?
May 9, 2019
Sprint's best shot at success is to merge with T-Mobile. Without the merger, I see the company continuing to struggle as a weak player in the competitive wireless battle. Then again, this is nothing new. Sprint has been limping along for decades, for many different reasons. If this merger fails, will Sprint carry on as before? The reality is that Sprint is in trouble.
The Vital Role of Customer Service in the Sharing Economy
May 8, 2019
By 2022, the sharing economy is expected to double, reaching $40 Billion. Pioneers such as Airbnb and Uber are now global titans, taking in billions of dollars per year. From sharing furniture to sharing clothing, every industry seems to be trying to make its way into the lucrative sharing business. With the market becoming more saturated with products, how do companies differentiate themselves?
Amazon Touts Small Biz Success on Its Platform
May 8, 2019
Third-party gross physical merchandise sales on Amazon, made primarily by SMBs, accounted for more than half the units sold in the company's stores and totaled more than $160 billion in 2018, according to Amazon's 2019 SMB Impact Report. SMBs selling on Amazon created about 1.6 million jobs worldwide, up from 900,000 in 2017. Amazon gave startups more than $500 million in AWS credits in 2018.
Einstein Analytics for Financial Services
May 7, 2019
It's not that Salesforce has introduced more artificial intelligence apps for its Einstein analytics tool set -- this time for financial services -- that's important. It's that the clear trend now emerging is that you can't really have an industry market solution-set without analytics tuned to the vertical. There are at least two ways to do analytics.
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.
Get Ready for Feature Deluge at Apple's WWDC
May 7, 2019
Apple plans to introduce a boatload of new apps, features and development tools at WWDC next month, according to a report. As it does every year, Apple will use the WWDC, set to begin June 3, to reveal the next versions of operating systems for its hardware products. For its mobile devices, new additions iOS 13 include speed improvements and interface changes, a Dark Mode and more.
4 Advanced Ways Brands Use Data to Increase Online Sales
May 6, 2019
Data is one of the biggest advantages e-commerce brands have over their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Brands that sell products online can glean insights not only from sales figures, but also from impressions, click-through rates, bounce rates, and numerous other data points. They have a constant stream of visitors to help them optimize every image, ad and product description.
Facial Recognition and the Fight for Diversity
May 6, 2019
I spent a good deal of my educational and early career as an analyst doing research at scale. In fact, the way I got into the executive resources program at IBM was through one of the largest research projects my division had ever undertaken. A recurring issue with those who attempt to address the diversity and inclusion problem is that in the absence understanding it, they focus on the symptoms.
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.
What Everyone's Getting Wrong About Digital Transformation
May 3, 2019
Digital transformation is all the rage right now, and tech companies are working hard to promote it. You can hardly take an action online or go to a conference without being bombarded by digital transformation messages from every angle. Some companies are even using it to sell items only distantly related to digitally transforming. However, digital transformation should not be the end goal.
No Easy Decision: Choosing Between Pay-TV Services
May 3, 2019
Many consumers in recent years have opted to cut the cord -- that is, to ditch cable or satellite TV and instead rely on OTT streaming services for their viewing pleasure. Price has been one factor, but changing viewing habits has been another. As a reporter who covers pay-TV services of all varieties, I actually went the opposite direction and for some time have had both cable and satellite.
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.
AI Raises the Bar for Home Network Security
May 2, 2019
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the hacking of their devices and data as they hear about more data breaches and have their own experiences with issues such as ransomware, identity theft and botnet attacks. Concerns about data security also have been shown to increase with ownership of more connected devices. Currently, U.S. broadband households own an average of 10.4 connected devices.
Cybersecurity Pros Join 'Right to Repair' Battle
May 2, 2019
An advocacy organization formed by cybersecurity professionals has joined the fight for "right to repair" legislation, which would allow consumers and third parties to repair electronic equipment without voiding manufacturers' warranties. Legislators in about 20 states have been working on some form of this legislation, but they have been stymied by a number of tech companies and industry groups.
New CRM Research Shows Awareness Gap
May 1, 2019
CRM guru Esteban Kolsky and I did some primary research earlier this year, paid for by Zoho. We wanted to improve our understanding of what buyers of CRM systems were most interested in, and to discover their highest priorities. Our survey population was comprised of more than 200 highly qualified executives and managers in companies with workforces that ranged from 500 to several thousand.
Facebook's Ad Library API Draws Fire
May 1, 2019
Facebook has come under fire for its Ad Library API, which lets users perform customized keyword searches of all active and inactive ads related to politics or issues of national importance stored there. Released in beta last summer, the archive became available to everyone in March, following pressure from Mozilla ahead of the EU's upcoming parliamentary elections.
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Rakuten Super Logistics
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.