Category Archives: Big Data

Big Data: Stacking The Deck Or Leveling The Playing Field?

Big Data: Stacking The Deck Or Leveling The Playing Field?

Big Data and Gambling

In recent reports,  Nevada’s casino industry lost $662 million last year, and has been in the red consistently for six years. That is sobering reality that is perhaps attributed to a number of residual effects or perhaps something more ominous awaits the gaming industry. What we do know is that Big Data will play a huge part in the equation for both player and gaming businesses.

Big Data Predictive Analytics

Without the data, you’re just another person with an opinion.

That’s a quote from management guru W.Edwards Deming that jumps out at you when you first sign up on Betegy.com, a website that claims confidently it can “successfully predict the outcomes of 90% of all English Premier League matches.”

That kind of promise is just one example of how radically big data is changing the gambling industry, which will come as no surprise to most people whether they are gamblers or not. In an industry where information is power and where crunching numbers and odds is embedded in its DNA, big data has emerged as an indispensable tool for bookies, gambling houses and even the players themselves. In the case of Betegy and its focus on the English Premier League Football, it uses “a complex algorithm that considers every possible factor that might affect the game, from the coach’s birthday to the weather on the big data”, according to tech blog Silicon Angle.

big-data-gambling

The first use of big data came from the people whose income is dependent on setting the correct odds across all forms of gambling – the bookmakers. “Getting as much information as possible is a crucial aspect of the business,” explains business media company Innovation Enterprise, “so the moment new techniques designed to analyze and transmit that data cropped up, adopting it was a simple decision to make.”

Once the bookies pounced on big data, gamblers were not about to be left behind and a number of services appeared to empower gamblers. One of the best known services for players is SharkScope – the world’s largest database of poker tournament results. It’s an independent site that collates the publicly available results of poker tournaments around the world. They don’t claim to be able to make you a better poker player, but ‘the idea is that players can use SharkScope to track their poker stats and improve their gameplay whilst avoiding the ‘sharks’ who’ll quickly eat up their cash.’

Of course, these statistics need to be available in real time during tournaments, so SiliconAngle explains that “by using TokuDB, Sharkscope’s MySQL database is now capable of ingesting data from over a million games every day, spewing out insights for a diverse set of requests in something that’s about as close to real-time as it’s possible to get – just under two seconds, according to TokuDB.”

That’s a powerful tool to have when you’re constantly evaluating your winning edge.

Sports Data

Sports is another arena where big data is playing a crucial role in understanding which teams, horses or individuals are likely to prevail in any given sporting encounter.

data-world-cup

(Image Source: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock)

It was widely reported during the 2014 World Cup that Google was able to predict the winner of 14 out of 16 matches and Microsoft, 15 of 16 matches, by using big data. The movie Moneyball was another great example of the transformative effect that Big Data has had on all aspects of the sporting industry, not just gambling, but also for the coaching staff and the people who pick the players who play in the big leagues.

There are those who will claim that this use of big data goes against the spirit of gambling and unfairly influences the outcomes. But since gambling first began, opponents have always used whatever tools are available to increase their chances of winning. Big data is no different – it’s just a modern tool that uses the daunting power of cloud computing and the web to give opponents information that they will choose to interpret in any number of ways.

By Jeremy Daniel

The Soft-Edged Cloud: A Security Challenge

The Soft-Edged Cloud: A Security Challenge

The Cloud Security Challenge

The use of the term “cloud” to describe global, offsite, computing and storage technology is apt for a number of reasons; not all of them good. The metaphor succeeds largely when people visualize their data hovering over their heads, no longer tied to a single location, and consequently easy to access from anywhere. But there are other parallels with actual meteorological clouds, specifically their soft, amorphous shape. This causes problems in perception and definition, which naturally lead to potential difficulties with security.

ISC 2 - CCSPDavid Shearer, CEO of cyber, information, software and infrastructure security certification and education body (ISC)2, points out that the enthusiasm or pressure that companies feel to build their businesses quickly into the cloud can potentially lead to a fundamental weakness. “The easier it becomes to purchase cloud solutions,” he says, “the easier it is for organizations to get ahead of themselves. Business lines within a company can easily acquire cloud-based services, and the fast time to acquire and provision cloud services is extremely attractive. Any organization would be crazy not to take advantage of that.” Shearer points out, however, that when a company elects to leverage cloud solutions and services, management needs to be smart about it; and part of that includes proper and continuous security measures:

As recently as a few years ago, security was looked at as a hindrance; something that got in the way. In these situations, sometimes bad things needed to happen for people to pay attention. In the C-suite, if nothing else, CEOs and CxOs are losing their jobs for a perceived lack of due diligence and lack of strategy to protect a corporation’s intellectual property or personally identifiable information – and that gets people’s attention. Increasingly, what is needed is better communication between those actually responsible for making security work, and the C-suite.

In addition to the lack of clear comprehension of cloud in the executive office, there is also a similar disconnect throughout other levels of business.

Defining The Cloud

Adam Gordon is an author, subject matter expert and instructor at (ISC)2. He illustrates a significant challenge to cloud security being the definition of cloud itself. There’s a great interest in anything and everything cloud,” he says, “but the problem is, as individuals and as businesses, we don’t always understand what cloud means. As a result, there tends to be a gap, where consumption is a lead indicator and security is an afterthought.” It is ill-defined in many people’s minds, Gordon adds. “Many people look at it as a marketing slogan or a marketing solution, but they don’t really get it. As a result, I think one of the biggest issues that we face, as security professionals in the cloud, is the idea of how to create a common ground in terms of what it is we are talking about and how we will frame conversation around risk, liability, security, and things that go with that.”

Yet a third challenge to effective understanding of the cloud is the change of mindset needed, especially among managers and decision makers who spent their early years in the company of mainframes, dumb terminals and internal networks. For many, there is a pervasive, almost instinctive sense that data and computing systems are physically safer when they exist inside the actual walls of a company where they can be seen and touched. The notion of storing data on someone else’s computer somewhere in the world just does not feel right. The truth is that data is generally safer when transferred to the vaults of a cloud organization whose sole mandate is secure storage, but adherence to ideas from an earlier age is a very human attribute; one that never fully disappears.

Mobile Employees

Mobile security

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Finally, there is the relatively new phenomenon of mobile employees who see their smart devices as their office, and who expect to use them at home, at work, and in public spaces like coffee shops and transit terminals, accessing Wi-Fi connections with little thought as to security. This soft, boundary-less setting has a direct parallel to actual clouds. Where, after all, does work-related security begin and end, when the device being used shares storage space and connectivity with personal files and pursuits? Adam Gordon worries that enabling individuals to work productively in these non-traditional environments with equally non-traditional capabilities and platforms opens up a collection of unknowns in terms of security and the individualized approach to data.

The softness of the cloud reinforces the need for a new type of security specialist; someone with the experience and wisdom to stay on top of a fast changing environment, and with the skills to communicate the necessary directives to the executive as well as to the rest of the IT team. This is the reason behind the development of the CCSP designation. The cloud will only continue to grow in size and versatility. Successful usage must involve a sound and ongoing security strategy across all levels of operation.

For more on the CCSP certification from (ISC)2 please visit their website. Sponsored by (ISC)2.

By Steve Prentice

Security Survey: Enterprises Unequipped To Detect And Deal With Attacks

Security Survey: Enterprises Unequipped To Detect And Deal With Attacks

Security Survey: Many Enterprises Still Unequipped

Today’s information security teams are expected to mitigate risk in environments where employees are accessing critical and confidential data from anywhere, at any time. The network perimeter has expanded to include cloud services, mobile devices, and global forces that encompass partners and contractors, making it impossible to completely lock down the ecosystem and prevent all attacks. At the same time, preventative solutions are failing to cover the entire spectrum of attack vectors. As a result, security teams are investing in incident detection and response to detect and contain com- promise as soon as it occurs.

Survey Findings

Rapid7 conducted a survey regarding incident detection and response, in order to gain insight into today’s security teams, including strategic initiatives, current tools used, and challenges. The survey includes findings from hundreds of security professionals at organizations of varied sizes across the globe on their biggest security concerns and planned initiatives for 2016.

Punctuating the results were two key points: (1) 90% of organizations are worried about compromised credentials, though 60% say they cannot catch these types of attacks today; and (2) 62% of organizations are receiving more alerts than they can feasibly investigate.

infosec-infographic

Digital Marketing Hubs And The Cloud

Digital Marketing Hubs And The Cloud

Digital Market Hubs

Gartner’s recently released research, Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs, recognizes the big four marketing cloud vendors as leaders, but also points to many challengers. Adobe, Marketo, Oracle, and Salesforce inhabit the leader’s block of the Magic Quadrant, reflecting both their growing capabilities as well as marketing technology platform scopes. Gartner believes that challengers IBM, Epsilon (Conversant), and Experian Marketing Services are equipped with similar abilities as the top four, and considers RocketFuel, DataXu, Neustar, and MediaMath a few of the visionaries not yet able to deliver at the same scale. Gartner’s final quarter points to niche players and includes Nielsen (eXelate), Sizmek, Marin Software, and Teradata.

The Analysis

risk-management

The Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs research suggests that digital marketing hubs offer consistent access to content, audience profile data, messaging, workflow elements, analytics functions, and data collection, manually and programmatically, both online and offline. The various platforms were analyzed according to their ability to cover four areas of capability, including:

  • Mastering audience profiling using a combination of first, second and third-party data sources;
  • Workflow and collaboration tools for end-to-end marketing program management;
  • Intelligent composition for multi-channel marketing activities and automation;
  • Unified measurement and optimization.

The Big Four

While Adobe’s Marketing Cloud platform stands out for its vision, broad range of creative and analytical tools for marketers, cloud-based software delivery, financial strength, and dedication to marketing solutions innovation, the company lost points for its high prices, ongoing integration, and complexity and support around their modular-based Marketing Cloud.

Marketo, meanwhile, was recognized for its extensive set of capabilities for both multi-channel journey mapping and direct marketing use cases, as well as for partner ecosystem and audience management. Ad tech integration, dissatisfaction around pricing and support, and native search engine marketing tools, however, pull the company up short of a perfect product.

Marketing Plan

Oracle’s broad scope of capabilities was also recognized by Gartner, from acquisitions to product integration, big data architecture to workflow. But Oracle’s reliance on acquisition for development was considered a weakness, as well as gaps in their offering which include DSP functions and native multi-touch attribution analytics. Poor customer satisfaction regarding pricing and after sales engagement was Gartner’s final caution to Oracle.

With strengths ranging from intuitive user experiences to cross-cloud forays into sales and service due to its Journey Build features, Salesforce Marketing Cloud rounds off the big four digital marketing platforms well. Gartner highlighted their strong email marketing capabilities, due primarily to their acquisition of ExactTarget, as well as constant investment in product innovation, but inconsistencies in hub adoption, immature data analytics, and concerns regarding declining support quality and pricing suggest room for growth and improvement.

The Digital Marketing Cloud

As digital adoption soars, customer behavior changes, and businesses have to redesign their customer’s journey. Digital marketing platforms are increasingly helping organizations identify, create, manage, and measure these customer journeys, and with the information and insights of big data, the digital marketing cloud is changing how businesses operate as well as how they interact with their customers. Though Gartner recognizes the above mentioned big four as leaders in digital marketing, the challengers, visionaries, niche players, and even novice market entrants are improving the digital marketing landscape and bettering existing business models.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Trends: The CIO’s Business Card – Chief Productivity Officer

Trends: The CIO’s Business Card – Chief Productivity Officer

The Chief Productivity Officer

After years of enterprises hesitating to migrate their applications and data stores to the cloud, it’s safe to say the debate is over and the cloud is here to stay. IDC even goes as far as to predict that by 2020, we will stop referring to clouds as “public” and “private,” and ultimately stop using the word “cloud” altogether. We will simply refer to it as “computing,” because we will think of the cloud as the standard way of doing business and providing IT support. Cloud computing is not just transforming how we get work done, it’s transforming the role of the CIO. In fact, that CIOs may want to begin 2016 by updating their LinkedIn profiles to include a new business title that reflects their primary responsibility: “Chief Productivity Officer.

CEO

For more than 30 years, the CIO has been the keeper of IT systems, but those responsibilities are starting to diminish as enterprises migrate to the cloud. The CIO is evolving into the person who oversees the delivery of services company-wide. There is this awakening to thinking about service management as a discipline, and includes other service-oriented business units such as HR, finance and legal. Typically, the IT department assists all these other departments roll out new services, and that makes the CIO the best candidate for overseeing all services enterprise-wide.

This represents a significant change to how the CIO, and the entire IT department for that matter, will operate, and it’s a positive change. IT will be more visible across the business because it will no longer spend the bulk of its time in the data center. Instead, they can help sales, marketing, HR, legal, finance, customer service and other departments be more efficient and effective. IT can have a broad impact on its organization’s ability to meet its business goals.

Analysing The Data

One of the main factors driving enterprises to migrate to the cloud is the need to collect, manage and analyze ever-growing volumes of information. The Internet of Things trend is producing an ever-growing array of machines and devices that connect to cloud-based applications in order to run entire factory floors to helping oil and gas companies track oil flow through pipelines, to automating a home’s heating and A/C.

Cloud computing is driving the adoption of these IoT devices, and there are no signs of slowing. Cisco Systems reports that in 2008 there were already more things connected to the Internet than people. By 2020, the amount of Internet-connected things will reach 50 billion, and the amount of information companies collect will grow just as quickly.

Big And Small Data

big-data-small-dataCompanies have already been collecting Big Data for years, and while that remains a top priority, so too is the collection and analysis of Small Data, a dataset that contains very specific attributes.

Capturing it through the use of performance analytics will help predict what enterprises should be looking at, not just looking backward at what could have been optimized. The key is to capture the work in a record-keeping system to see what’s going on, and determine what needs to be done. Transparency empowers managers to do their jobs. IT can provide the technologies and services to make this happen – not just in IT, but other service-oriented departments such as HR, finance and legal.

For example, IT can lead the creation and rollout of an online portal for employees to do everything from submit IT help desk requests, request a contract review from legal, to select healthcare benefits. This is why the CIO is the logical person to assume the role of CPO.

The maturation of cloud computing services and applications, be they public, private or a hybrid model, is enabling IT teams to spend less time on maintaining on premise systems and applications, and more time leading more strategic services-oriented initiatives that benefit users across the entire enterprise. These services have become so critical to how business gets done that it will forever change the role and responsibilities of the CIO, so a change in title to Chief Productivity Officer is more than just a ceremonial gesture. It signals that the CIO must oversee the selection and delivery of these services from multiple departments.

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By David Wright

Dave Wright, Chief Strategy OfficeDavid is Chief Strategy Officer at ServiceNow, and serves as the company’s evangelist for how to improve workplace productivity. He enables ServiceNow customers to eliminate their reliance on email, spreadsheets and other manual processes so their employees can work smarter, not harder.

Prior to joining ServiceNow in December 2011, Wright spent more than six years with VMware, Inc. as vice president of Technical Services for EMEA. From 2003 to 2005, Wright headed up the technical division for Northern and Southern Europe at Mercury Interactive. Prior to that he spent six years at Peregrine Systems, Inc., where he held a variety of senior technical and marketing positions. Wright also worked for Boole & Babbage, Inc. and Candle Services (later acquired by IBM).

 

 

How Data Privacy Reform Is Wreaking Havoc In The Cloud

How Data Privacy Reform Is Wreaking Havoc In The Cloud

Data Privacy Reform Is Wreaking Havoc

Nations around the globe are stepping up efforts to better protect the personal data of private citizens. In particular, cross-border data security regulations and legislative reform is on the rise. The laws must evolve in order to mitigate theft, abuse and misappropriation of personally identifiable information (PII), better guard national security interests, and boost local economies. These reforms are all necessary and long overdue.

But as these nations seek legislation-based ways to adequately address how the PII of consumers, customers, employees, partners, and contractors are collected, stored and disposed, we’re also seeing global business strategies and processes being tossed into a sea of uncertainty.

byod

Cloud computing is an established part of today’s international enterprise IT operational landscape, and adoption will continue rising over the next decade. More organizations of all sizes are turning to SaaS and cloud-based collection, storage and collaboration models to streamline efficiencies and share data easily on multiple devices across international locations. This migration to the cloud has been years, even decades, in the making.

Direct Conflict: Cloud vs. Data Privacy Laws

As we shift to mobile and cloud-centric computing platforms in the workplace, we’re also making it more difficult to ensure the proper control of information and awareness of data flows in and outside of the enterprise network. The very nature of the cloud itself – fluid, centrally located, and available anytime from anywhere – is exactly what is creating new challenges for businesses that must comply with data privacy regulatory changes.

Pulse Check: Ovum Research

To develop a sharper picture of where organizations currently stand on their awareness and preparedness level for coming regulatory changes, Ovum Research surveyed more than 300 international IT decision makers. The results of this global research reveal a disturbing worldwide trend: a majority of enterprise leaders are confused about how new data privacy regulations apply to them, and are unprepared for the consequences of failure to comply.

Location, Location

From a legislative viewpoint, the matter of “where data resides” is critical as these new data privacy rules roll out. The Ovum research underscores that when it comes to the physical location of data, there is uncertainty and confusion.

Until now, a key benefit of the cloud was that businesses no longer needed to concern themselves with the physical location of their data. It was stored off-site, for all to share, as needed. Now, with the European Union (EU), Israel and the United States beefing up regulations with the goal of stopping the flood of data leaks and stolen information, businesses must shift their approach to the cloud in a fundamental way. Suddenly, the location controlling the physical path of data matters.

data-policy

The ability to control access to data and achieve regulatory compliance will heavily depend on the data’s location, a key factor in determining what legislation the data is affected by, and the level of access that should be available. Exerting control over data location is a challenge for many organizations, because most systems do not support the concept of data location being a business-related decision, and especially not cloud-based systems. Making matters worse, the exact definition of “data location” for regulatory compliance purposes varies from region to region. Organizations trying to achieve compliance will need options that offer control over data’s physical, logical, legal, and political location.

We are already seeing legal arguments being made in courts around the world that hinge on the fundamental concept of where data is located and controlled, and who has jurisdiction over that data (an example is the Microsoft case regarding data stored in Dublin, Ireland that is being requested by a US judge).

The Ovum research found that 50 percent of respondents’ organizations planned to change the primary approach to this control challenge during the next three years. This may suggest that organizations are waiting for a standard to emerge, and builds a strong case for an approach to cloud collaboration that provides various technical options, such as the ability to offer controls for physical and logical location.

No Control Over Cloud-based Services

It’s important to note that these data privacy regulations apply to cloud vendors, but they also extend to the individual companies using them. For example, the pending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU specifically targets any business that collects, stores, processes, and shares personal data on employees, customers, or partners. Failure to keep that information within the specific geographic location of the European Economic Area (EEA), whether intentionally or by accident (such as a data breach) will result in significant fines for that company.

Yet, the Ovum research tells us that many organizations are not leveraging available technologies to better protect sensitive data, either in the cloud or on-premise. Only 44 percent of survey respondents said they use technology to monitor user activities and provide alerts to data policy violations, and only 53 percent classify information to align with access controls. Almost half (47%) admitted that they have “no policies or controls” that govern access to consumer cloud storage and file-sharing system like Dropbox. This opens them up to enormous risk.

The Cloud: Here To Stay, But in Need of Better Control

While regulatory changes are wreaking havoc, that doesn’t mean that cloud services will fall out of favor. Just a few years ago, conversations revolved around whether the cloud should be trusted at all. Today, businesses do trust the cloud to protect the most sensitive assets, demonstrating a shift in sentiment toward its positive role in business today. The Ovum survey found that 58 percent of respondents trust the cloud for all business operations, despite the potential impact of pending data privacy regulations, all of which intend to change how data is stored, transferred, and processed around the world.

machinery-business

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

So, even with the changing regulatory climate, cloud computing is a decision that’s already been made. And yet, regulating cloud-held data is poised to become the biggest challenge facing legal practitioners, politicians, and businesses as they try to balance privacy with access and productivity. The cloud can still work in this new world of data privacy reform, in reality cloud services may be a more appropriate solution to the data sovereignty challenges as cloud vendors are already having to address the sovereignty issues and architect their solutions to address an ever changing landscape.

Enterprises are likely to lean more heavily on cloud vendors to be a part of the bigger solution rather than try to unravel the ever changing requirements single handedly. However, it will need greater control and visibility in each region where companies operate.

By Daren Glenister

 

The Transformative Influence Of Cloud Computing

The Transformative Influence Of Cloud Computing

The Influence Of Cloud Computing 

The unprecedented disruptive power of the internet on long-established businesses

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” This is a quote from the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, from thousands of years ago but it’s as accurate today as it ever has been.

The internet, software as a service and the transformative powers of cloud computing has upended traditional business in ways that would have been impossible to comprehend as recently as 15 years ago. Long established industries have been decimated in just a few years, while new empires have risen to take their place.

Music Over The Years

evolve-internetLet’s begin by looking at the music industry as an example. Who would have imagined that gigantic music chain stores like Tower Records or HMV would go the way of the dinosaur in the early 21st Century? Instead, the power has returned to artists who can shape their interaction with consumers and deliver music how and when they want to. Between 2005 and 2010, companies like YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and Deezer all launched and changed the way we consume music forever. And the revolution is only accelerating. In 2011, 60% of music sales were in physical albums, by 2014, that was down to only 46%.

Streaming music, while still not perfect, has cemented its hold as the next platform for the music industry in the foreseeable future.

The retail industry has experienced much of the same thanks in no small part to the explosive growth of one company in particular: Amazon.com. As an example, 1 out of every 4 pounds spent in the UK on entertainment over Christmas was spent on the global giant Amazon. The convenience of online shopping, where items can be searched for, purchased and delivered with just a few clicks of a mouse has led to the ‘death of the high street’, with beloved brands having faced cut backs or liquidation including HMV, Woolworths and Blockbuster.

Growth Of SaaS Applications

It’s not just in entertainment or retail where disruption has been so evident. Think of an industry as established as transport. The growth of software as a service has enabled a company like Uber to flourish and become a global phenomenon in just a few short years. It launched in San Francisco in 2009 and this year, it’s projected to amass a global booking revenue of over $26-billion. That’s astonishing growth. The London Taxi Company closed its door in 2012, and physical map sales are down 30% in the UK, thanks to cloud-services like Google Maps and GPS companies like TomTom.

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Spare a thought for travel agents, who were once the gatekeepers deciding where and when you should go on holiday. Today, the internet has placed that power firmly in the hands of travelers, who use cloud-based services like FlightHub and TripAdvisor to decide where they should go and book their own flights exactly the way they want them. And once you arrive at a destination, your accommodation is not the hotel room that you once were expected to accept sight unseen. Today, hotel rooms exist in the cloud and you go online to services like Airbnb to research and book where you would like to be staying for the night. That’s a radical disruption to a way of doing business that flourished for hundreds of years.

Change is inevitable. We all accept that. But the internet and the explosive growth of cloud-based services which can deliver huge amounts of data and information quickly to small, handheld devices is an unprecedented change which has ushered in a whole new way of working that we are only known beginning to get a grasp of.

By Jeremy Daniel

CES 2016: Welcome To The Future

CES 2016: Welcome To The Future

Welcome To The Future

CES 2016 is hitting its stride in Las Vegas as many the leading global manufacturers’ role out their flagship innovations in the hope of attracting the attention of the international tech media.

Let’s take a further look at some exciting innovations in the cloud and SaaS space.

Of particular interest to a lot of marketers will be the launch of a product which could revolutionize advertising as we know it. Innovative data science and media technology company 4C launched a SaaS TV Synced Product onto market. Essentially, it allows marketers to respond to content in real time with appropriate advertising across multiple platforms.

eMarketer reports that only “10 percent of marketers say their messaging, execution, and delivery are aligned across touch points“. 4C claims that it’s new product can “launch online display banners, video, rich media as well as search and social ads on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops within seconds of a specific event or program airing on live TV.”

Imagizer Media Engine

Another cloud application was announced by Silicon Valley image specialists Ambrella, who released the Imagizer Media Engine for app developers who find themselves requiring some form of image processing software. It’s engine is an “on-demand, easy to integrate solution is available on Amazon AWS marketplace, and requires no contracts or long-term commitments. Fees for using this cloud software are simply added to user’s own AWS invoice.

Netflix

While much of the developed world has come to view Netflix as a service that you take for granted, like instant coffee or high-speed internet, for the vast majority of the planet the idea of an efficient, affordable Video-On-Demand service has remained a pipe dream. But all that has just changed.
During Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ keynote address, he casually announced that Netflix had just been switched on for over 130 countries around the world. Reaction from financial markets was instant, with the Netflix share price closing up 9% on the day.

China still remains out of reach, along with countries like North Korea and Syria where there are laws against US companies operating. But other than that, it’s fair to say that Netflix has flicked the switch and become a global entertainment player, and introduced millions of new customers to the concept of video on demand.

e-Golf Touch

Volkswagen had a bruising 2015 and the company is really going to have to work hard to win back the hearts and minds of consumers. The e-Golf Touch is a step in the right direction. It boasts gesture controls for audio and wireless phone charging, which you’ve probably heard about before. But here’s a few unique concepts that are getting people talking. Firstly, there’s the SIRI-like voice control that lets you start the car by saying “Hello Volkswagen”. And “voice amplification, where the driver and front passenger are picked up by embedded mics and piped over speakers in the rear passenger compartment so it’s easier to carry a conversation.” They’re also launching “Personalization 2.0, which lets a visiting driver customize the car according to settings they’ve got in the cloud. That’s great for ride-sharing.

Old School New Tech

A fusion of old school styling with cutting edge software seems to be the major trend at this year’s showcase. Take Sony’s new PS-HX500 as an example. It’s a simple vinyl turntable that will play your records, while at the same time, “it’s busy converting your beloved vinyl albums into Hi-Res audio files, whether in Sony’s own DSD format or in 24-bit WAV files. From there, you can send the DSD copies on to your Hi-Res-playing Sony Walkman and enjoy a transition from the joys of fully-analog vinyl playback to lossless digital format without any MP3 interference in between.

Tech Partnerships 

All around the conference, some really interesting partnerships began to emerge which signaled a growing maturity amongst leading tech developers. Companies are choosing to focus on doing what they do best and working together with others to maximize their potential for customers who desire efficiency and quality over strict brand loyalty. Microsoft and Volvo, Ford and Amazon, HTC and UnderArmour – these kind of working relationships should deliver great products for consumers in the very near future.

By Jeremy Daniel

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

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Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations Everyone knows what the cloud is, but does everybody know where the cloud is? We try to answer that as we look at some of the most unusual data centre locations in the world. Under the Eyes of a Deity Deep beneath the famous Uspenski Cathedral in the…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive The online (or cloud) storage business has always been a really interesting industry. When we started Box in 2005, it was a somewhat untouchable category of technology, perceived to be a commodity service with low margins and little consumer willingness to pay. All three of these factors remain today, but with…

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

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Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

Big Data and Financial Services Cloud Banking Insights Series focuses on big data in the financial services industry and whether it is a security threat or actually a massive opportunity. How does big data fit into an overall cloud strategy? Most FI’s have a positive mind-set towards cloud IT consumption as it not only enables…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Big Data Analytics Trends As data information and cloud computing continues to work together, the need for data analytics continues to grow. Many tech firms predict that big data volume will grow steadily 40% per year and in 2020, will grow up to 50 times that. This growth will also bring a number of cost…

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing Despite the rapid growth of cloud computing, the cloud still commands a small portion of overall enterprise IT spending. Estimates I’ve seen put the percentage between 5% and 10% of the slightly more than $2 trillion (not including telco) spent worldwide in 2014 on enterprise IT. Yet growth projections…

The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

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Privacy in the Internet of Things Revolution The Internet of Things (IoT) has been promising a lot to consumers for a few years and now we’re really starting to see some of the big ideas come to fruition, which means an ever-growing conversation around data security and privacy. Big data comes with big responsibilities and…

Cloud Computing Then & Now

Cloud Computing Then & Now

The Evolving Cloud  From as early as the onset of modern computing, the possibility of resource distribution has been explored. Today’s cloud computing environment goes well beyond what most could even have imagined at the birth of modern computing and innovation in the field isn’t slowing. A Brief History Matillion’s interactive timeline of cloud begins…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions Running a cloud server is no longer the novel trend it once was. Now, the cloud is a necessary data tier that allows employees to access vital company data and maintain productivity from anywhere in the world. But it isn’t a perfect system — security and performance issues can quickly…

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud Cloud computing is more than just another storage tier. Imagine if you’re able to scale up 10x just to handle seasonal volumes or rely on a true disaster-recovery solution without upfront capital. Although the pay-as-you-go pricing model of cloud computing makes it a noticeable expense, it’s the only solution for many…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

Cloud Security Missteps Cloud computing remains shrouded in mystery for the average American. The most common sentiment is, “It’s not secure.” Few realize how many cloud applications they access every day: Facebook, Gmail, Uber, Evernote, Venmo, and the list goes on and on… People flock to cloud services for convenient solutions to everyday tasks. They…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Security In The IoT The network security market is experiencing a pressing and transformative change, especially around access control and orchestration. Although it has been mature for decades, the network security market had to transform rapidly with the advent of the BYOD trend and emergence of the cloud, which swept enterprises a few years ago.…