Author Archives: Joe Pellicone

Pinup: ClearDATA Brings Quality Services For Health Care To The Cloud

Pinup: ClearDATA Brings Quality Services For Health Care To The Cloud

Pinup: ClearDATA Brings Quality Services For Health Care To the Cloud 

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Technology has gone to great lengths to open up the door for new and exciting devices and software of all types and functions. One of the areas that technology has made the most impact is healthcare, with different devices and information resulting directly from tech advances saving lives each and every day.

However, one of the areas that has been neglected up to this point is a service that provides not only effective cloud solutions for healthcare providers, but also one that complies with the different strictures laid down by HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

In this area, ClearDATA truly appears to be at the top of the pile.

ClearDATA is a cloud-computing startup whose primary goal is to move medical information and applications to the cloud, which would allow users to access it over a private and secure internet connection. ClearDATA has raised over $14 million in series-B funding from firms, Norwest Venture Partners and Excel Venture Management.

“The IT demands on healthcare organizations are greater than ever, and they will continue to grow as Big Data and analytics take hold in the industry,” says Chris Bowen, CPO of ClearDATA. “ClearDATA is addressing major issues in the healthcare industry by improving the manageability and accessibility of patient information. Organizations can now analyze vast amounts of data from multiple sources, resulting in an improvement in patient health.”

HIPAA Compliant Cloud Hosting

ClearDATA is the only provider of cloud hosting that is 100 percent dedicated to the healthcare industry. This hosting covers a wide variety of different areas, including applications, infrastructure, servers and data storage, to name a few.

All hosting is HIPAA compliant, shielding patients from unauthorized access. ClearDATA’s service offers a guaranteed 100-percent uptime, 24/7 systems and network monitoring and end-to-end security, all of which will provide excellent protection, without sacrificing speed and quality.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Storage and access are not the only services provided by ClearDATA. Protection of said data from loss or breach is just as important as having a place to store it. ClearDATA provides both Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO), both of which can be customized to fit your needs perfectly.

Without a clear cloud solution, such as what is found with ClearDATA, the healthcare industry would be unable to take advantage of all the positive aspects of this type of access. ClearDATA aims to provide these services, to any healthcare company, regardless of size.

By Joe Pellicone

Google Glass: Boon To Humanity Or Bane Of Modern Existence?

Google Glass: Boon To Humanity Or Bane Of Modern Existence?

Google Glass

Google Glass is, by far, one of the most anticipated tech devices in recent memory. The capability to view virtual content without having to look down at a screen is something that a wide range of mobile and cloud computing users find very attractive.

Unfortunately, Google Glass is not always the subject of positive content for all types of people A few issues have been brought to light, some of which may have a lasting effect on where Google Glass can be used, as well as in what capacities.

So what exactly are these issues and how will they affect using Glass once it is released? Let’s take a look!

Privacy

When smartphones with built-in cameras first became a big thing towards the end of the last decade, issues concerning where they could be used started to rise. One venue where this came into play the most is at concerts, with artists banning the use of these devices at their events.

This issues has extended to include Google Glass to a much greater degree. According to recent studies, over 72 percent of Americans are so concerned about privacy, that they will not be buying Google Glass. One of the main reasons is covert surveillance by public or private individuals. Since Google Glass is always on, discovering whether or not a person is recording is extremely difficult.

Banning

Certain industries have already begun to identify problem areas where Google Glass should not be used. This has resulted in a whole slew of different companies that have banned patrons even wearing them while they are in attendance. Aside from the aforementioned concert events, chief among these industries are movie theaters, casinos and strip clubs, all venues with concerns about people recording their activities.

Glassholes

Take just one look at this new moniker and chances are you will understand the sentiment it is trying to convey. In essence, glasshole is a reference to people using Google Glass in ways that are not acceptable to other people.

This has become such a relevant issue that Google has released instructions outlining how not to be lumped into this category. These tips range from the obvious, such as not standing in the corner of a room and recording everyone, to not “glassing out,” which refers to stationary staring the prism for long periods of time.

One specific occurrence that has recently attracted many news outlet’s attention is the negative reviews posted on Google+ for New York-based restaurant, Feast. Apparently, one customer was asked to remove her Google Glass, which she refused, then left the restaurant.

This resulted her leaving a negative review, primarily referencing the incident and how it had never happened before. This snowballed into a ton of one-star reviews by people who had never even visited the restaurant, rather they were simply infuriated by the restaurant’s policy.

As you can see, the argument over whether Google Glass will be a positive or negative influence rages on, with advocates on both sides of the aisle hotly contesting the validity of the other side’s claims. Which side of the aisle do you come down on? Are you looking forward to Google Glass or will it be something to be shunned? Let us know in the Comments section below!

(Infographic Source: Online-PHD-Programs.org)

By Joe Pellicone

Pinup: Bitglass Brings Strong Data Security To The Cloud

Pinup: Bitglass Brings Strong Data Security To The Cloud

Pinup: Bitglass Brings Strong Data Security To the CloudBitglass_Logo

Living in a world chock full of cloud computing services and companies allows us a much greater degree of freedom in terms of data activity and organization. However, given just how much information is floating around out in cyberspace, the need to secure your company’s data, regardless of where it resides, is of paramount importance.

This area is where cloud-startup, Bitglass, truly shines.

Bitglass is a cloud-computing startup company originally based out of Palo Alto, California. Bitglass has recently emerged from “stealth funding” to reveal a platform that is well able to handle virtually all data protection a company could need. Bitglass has raised over $10 million from venture-capital firms, NEA and Norwest Venture Partners

Nat-NausikAs Nat Kausik, CEO of Bitglass, puts it: “We wanted to separate hype from reality with regard to cloud adoption in the enterprise. We found that while more strategic, company-wide adoption of the cloud is starting to take hold, there are still basic security mechanisms that have not been put into place. As new technologies to secure cloud apps gain footing, we expect accelerated adoption to occur, especially among larger companies and those in regulated industries.

How Does Bitglass Work?

Bitglass’ service-as-a-solution (SaaS) functions as a “reverse proxy,” securing your company’s data both at the credentials level, such as logins and authentications, as well as all data itself. This is accomplished without the need for any additional software to be installed, either at the network level or that of the end user.

Once a user accesses cloud apps that your company uses, Bitglass will automatically redirect them to Bitglass for authentication. This service can be configured in mere minutes, bypassing the need for a lengthy install or configuration process.

Once the authentication through Bitglass is made, all traffic to and from the end user is intercepted by Bitglass and examined for sensitive corporate data, which is then secured. All content, such as URLs and cookies are then automatically rewritten to ensure that the Bitglass proxy is used.

Security permissions can be set by group, location and device type, allowing the most control over which employees can access which data. Tracking is also made much easier, as watermarks are applied to every file accessed by an employee. This watermark contains information like which user is accessing the data, the date the access took place and which transaction utilized the data in question.

While data security is always a concern for any type of company that has sensitive information, the Bitglass service is a sound solution to cut this possibility as much as possible. Whether your company is a mammoth or a simple mom-and-pop business, Bitglass’ products and solutions are sure to satisfy.

By Joe Pellicone

Pinup: Bitium Consolidates All Of Your SaaS Apps

Pinup: Bitium Consolidates All Of Your SaaS Apps

Pinup: Bitium Consolidates All Of Your SaaS Apps and Credentials Into One Central Location

Each and every day, more and more companies are moving the lion’s share of their business into the cloud. While the benefits of doing so are legion, unfortunately, not all things become easier when things are moved to the cloud.

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For example, once files and data have been put in the cloud, entrance to them must be closely guarded to ensure that no unauthorized access is made. This will cause the number of authentications and permissions that need to be regulated and controlled to increase in step, resulting in huge headaches if they are not managed properly. This area is where Bitium truly shines.

Bitium is a Los Angeles-based startup company that emerged from the Amplify accelerator program in 2012. Bitium was founded by Scott Kriz and Erik Gustavson and was designed as a centralized platform for all SaaS applications.

scott-krizAs Bitium co-founder and CEO Scott Kriz puts it “Our vision is to change how people and companies work by fundamentally changing the way they interact with software. We’ve created an open system that’s self-organizing. It’s like letting people pick what they want off the menu rather than telling them what’s for lunch.”

Bitium has received several rounds of funding from investors, starting with $2.4 million in April of 2013 from a group that included big southern-California names like Double M Partners and Karlin Ventures. This continued in 2014 with an additional $6.5 Million in series-A funding, provided by Polaris Partners.

One Password To Rule Them All

One of the primary benefits of using Bitium is that all of the different logins and authentications needed to access cloud-based apps and projects are boiled down into one. Not only does this bypass the obstacle of each employee having to remember multiple authentications, it also allows managers to keep track of the progress of projects and which apps are being used to complete them.

Delegation Made Easy

Once an employee signs in, supervisors can delegate access to different apps without the need for additional passwords. This is all done in one, central interface, making the processes of monitoring, access and feedback much easier to perform. Bitium is an excellent solution for any corporation planning to make substantial use of cloud-based apps and storage. By combining all login and authentication credentials into one central location, Bitium is poised to save you big in time, money and frustration.

By Joe Pellicone

If you are a new cloud startup and have a promising service, contact us to see if you qualify for free exposure under our CloudTweaks Pinup series. Please mention “Pinup” in the subject title.

The Mechanics Behind A Successful Cloud Video Game

The Mechanics Behind A Successful Cloud Video Game

The Mechanics Behind A Successful Cloud Video Game

The evolution of gaming over the years is fairly pronounced. We can anticipate cloud gaming to grow exponentially with developers and designers having access to inexpensive cloud based resources such as storage, collaboration and development/design tools. This will certainly help drive competition in the world of gaming development.

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Cloud video games, or as they are also known in this capacity as online games and MMOs (massively multiplayer online), are the virtual mainstay of the current video gaming industry. While single-player offerings definitely still exist, the advances in bandwidth speeds, as well as the hardware and software that run modern games, have opened a whole new world filled with virtual universes teaming with other real-world players.

While the number of cloud games out there now are legion, only a relative handful have made any kind of a significant mark. Which begs the question: what exactly makes a successful cloud video game? Is there a clear path to success that future game developers can follow? Let’s take a look!

Performance

Starr Long, one of the driving forces behind one of the first and most successful cloud games to date, Ultima Online, claims that the primary factor behind a successful cloud game is performance. Latency, the number of players and the amount of in-game activity all have to be taken into consideration when it comes to developing a true winner in the cloud. No matter how cool a game is, if it cannot be played without performance hiccups, chances are it will fall flat on its face.

Community

Cloud gamers are social animals. That may not always apply in a real-world situation, with many players actually preferring online interaction over that of the real world. This makes the community behind cloud games of extreme importance.

The development of a successful game community can impact the attraction and playability of a cloud game in many different ways, even more so than with a single-player one. The primary reason behind this is the simple fact that the main reason people play cloud games is to compete against real players, as opposed solely to NPCs (non-player characters). Developing the community surrounding the game is usually one of the best ways to attract more and more players.

Updates and Expansions

One of the coolest aspects of a cloud game is its persistence. Cloud games are designed as whole new worlds or universes, and as such, require new content in order to keep them fresh and exciting. Granted, this is also present with single-player games, with downloadable content usually being made available at some period after the game’s release. However, the updates and expansions released for a cloud game can revamp it completely, as opposed to the optional nature usually found in those released for single-player submissions.

Variety

With so many different cloud games available for play these days, it becomes of paramount importance to offer content that is not only challenging and exciting, but also varied. Cloud games are made to last, which makes a degree of variety a must have. Otherwise, gamers will simply move on to the next offering once they have gotten bored.

Conclusion

As you can see, the defining factors of what make a successful cloud game are a little different than what you would find for a traditional video game, due to its online and persistent nature. Do you have certain things that you look for when selecting a cloud game to play? Let us know in the Comments section below!

By Joe Peillicone

Spectators: The Unsung Champions Of Professional Cloud Gaming Events

Spectators: The Unsung Champions Of Professional Cloud Gaming Events

Professional Cloud Gaming Events

Professional video gaming in the cloud has become one of the most exciting new sports venues in recent memory. Hordes of video gamers from all corners of the earth and walks of life, all vie for their share of lucrative prize packages offered by big names in the video game industry. In fact, professional cloud gaming has become so popular, that the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services has begun issuing visas to players, listing them as professional athletes.

There is, however, a massive group of people that are key to making professional cloud gaming as successful as it has been: the spectators. As with every other sport out there, or even virtually any type of entertainment activity whatsoever, without interested people to watch them, they would ultimately fail and fall by the wayside.

Given that there are no real-world arenas or stadiums designed for spectators to watch their favorite players, how exactly did cloud-game spectating develop such an avid following? One of the most influential services responsible for this severe uptick in the number of spectators is called Twitch.


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Twitch began its fabled run of popularity in 2011, effectively turning professional video gaming from a niche industry to a much more mainstream one. Twitch boasts over 43 million viewers each and every month, with over half of viewers spending over 20 hours per WEEK watching different games!

Like YouTube, Twitch offers a share of the ad revenue that is generated when people watch their “channel.” It is estimated that about five thousand of these partners exist, from a pool of close to one million. One prime example of a highly successful channel would be FatherSonGaming, which has attracted close to 100,000 dedicated viewers

Twitch’s success has not gone unnoticed by the biggest names in the video game industry. In fact, both Sony and Microsoft are integrating Twitch into their consoles, allowing for a much easier process for those who would like to either play or watch exciting gaming events. In fact, if you are gaming on one of the new PS4s, all you would need to do is hit the “Share” button to stream live directly from the console.

Update: Recent reports have been circulating that Google has offered to buy the gaming site Twitch for $1 Billion.

YouTube

While Twitch may be the most popular ways to enjoy eSports as a spectator, it is not the only one. For example, one of the most well-known, first-person shooter franchises, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, has the capability of streaming play to YouTube built directly into the game. In addition, if the user has an elite Call of Duty account, they will be able to access more information on the player they are watching, including a profile and detailed stats.

While video gaming in the cloud may not yet be quite as popular of an event to watch as, say, a baseball game, it is fast approaching that level of success. Have you ever had the opportunity to watch an event on a service like Twitch? Let us know your experiences in the Comments section below!

By Joe Pellicone

Gaming: The Top Cloud Games Slated For Release In 2014

Gaming: The Top Cloud Games Slated For Release In 2014

Gaming: The Top Cloud Games Slated For Release In 2014

One of the coolest things about working in the cloud gaming industry is getting to examine the incredible games slated for impending release. Given that cloud games, also known in this capacity as MMOs (massively multiplayer online) or online games, are still in their relative infancy, new submissions always include exciting improvements and advancements on previous games.

So what does 2014 hold for us in terms of cool new cloud games? Let’s take a look!

Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms

With the incredible amount of hype that George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series have garnered, as well as the wildly-popular television series that it resulted in, a cloud game based on it only makes sense. Granted, Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms is not the first time developers have attempted to make a successful video game based on the series. Cyanide’s development of an RPG based on the series was launched in 2012, unfortunately with dismal results.

(Image Source: Game Of Thrones Mo)

So what makes an MMO based on the Game of Thrones universe a better proposition than a standalone RPG? The answer lies in the “sandbox” aspect of the proposed game, allowing for a large amount of development and added content without ruining the continuity of the story line. Another contributing factor is that the game will be based on the books, rather than the television show. While the story and characters stay the same, this basis allows for a much greater degree of detail found only in the book series.

Elder Scrolls Online

In this author’s humble opinion, the impending release of the online version of the Elder Scrolls universe is one of the most exciting events to hit the world of cloud gaming in a long time. While the PC version was released on April 4th, the launches for Xbox and Playstation have been pushed back by about six months.

Aside from the fact that the Elder Scrolls universe is one of the most popular in the RPG (role-playing game) genre of cloud games, a number of new and groundbreaking features are the primary driving force behind its inevitable popularity. Among the most popular is the introduction of a “justice system” in the game, which allows you to steal from, and kill, NPCs (non-player characters) and brand new storylines for players to enjoy.

EverQuest Next

As one of the very first cloud games to arrive on the scene, Everquest has become an extremely popular franchise, which is virtually synonymous with the cloud gaming industry. EverQuest Next is designed to be a complete reimagining of the world of Norrath, the world in which the game resides.

Everquest Next will combine elements of other MMOs, such as Minecraft and Molten Core, promoting a system that supports building as much as fighting. In fact, it will be possible to build whole towns and dungeons that you can invite fellow players to come and compete in. These factors, in essence, pull EverQuest Next out of the realm of solely an RPG into something with a potential user base far in excess of what an RPG would bring.

By Joe Pellicone

Pinup: Approxy Utilizes Cloudpaging To Bring Instant Gaming Gratification

Pinup: Approxy Utilizes Cloudpaging To Bring Instant Gaming Gratification

Pinup: Approxy Utilizes Cloudpaging To Bring Instant Gaming Gratificationapproxy

There is something to be said about getting what you want, when you want it. Granted, we have all grown up with the saying “Patience is a virtue.” However, while this might be a good motto to live most of your life by, it has no place whatsoever in the world of cloud gaming. Gamers today want to play games without having to download lengthy files. Rather, the prospect of beginning a game right after you select it is one of the Holy Grails of cloud gaming.

This is where the services provided by Approxy come in.

Approxy was spun out from parent company, Numecent, in March of 2012. While the primary goal of Numecent is to deliver solutions to larger issues relating to cloud computing in general, Approxy’s sole concentration is delivering HD-quality games instantly through a white-label service. Approxy’s stealth funding has topped $18 million from an assortment of unnamed investors.

Cloudpaging

The tech behind the exciting prospect of Approxy’s services is called cloudpaging. In essence, cloudpaging divides each game into small pieces and delivers them to the end user in an on-demand capacity. This allows the player to start the game almost instantaneously, thus bypassing the annoyance of having to wait.

As Dr.Yavuz Ahiska, co-founder and CEO of Approxy, puts it: “As modern games cross over the 10GB size, the initial day-long download experience is becoming one of frustration for users and lost revenues for publishers, especially in the free-to-play segment. Cloud-Gaming represents a tremendous global opportunity for the industry, but we need to make it ‘friction free’ for both users and publishers alike. We believe cloudpaging with the Approxy extensions is the right technology platform to make this happen.”

Cloudpaging is a technology that has sprung from the loins of a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) project dating back to the 1990s. Numecent has developed this technology and applied it to many standard cloud activities, including all Microsoft Windows applications. Numecent realized the potential of cloudpaging in terms of gaming, which resulted in the spinoff of Approxy.

The advantages of cloudpaging extend beyond simply being able to start your game without waiting. Cloudpaging uses a virtual memory management unit that is installed on the client’s device. This causes the game to launch in a virtual console, bypassing any need to install huge files on your device. This effectively reduces the amount of installed code needed to play the game, making them playable even on devices with minimal storage capacities.

As more and more of the world embraces broadband internet connections, the expectation of instantaneous cloud gaming rises in step. Approxy aims to satisfy these needs by offering its unique cloudpaging technology as a white-label service to game developers and producers.

By Joe Pellicone

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