Category Archives: Big Data

SAP Digital Consumer Insight: SAP’s Data-as-a-Service Tool Helps Business Owners Know Their Customers

SAP Digital Consumer Insight: SAP’s Data-as-a-Service Tool Helps Business Owners Know Their Customers

SAP’s Data-as-a-Service Tool

There was a point not too long ago when futurologists believed that all retail would be going online, with anonymous transactions and drone deliveries meaning you would never have to leave your couch to satisfy all your shopping needs. In fact, the opposite has happened. Brick and mortar retail stores have embraced and incorporated big data, cloud computing and the internet to deliver a much-improved retail experience for business owners and consumers alike.

When Jud and Julie Soderborg opened the fashion boutique Koan in New York’s East Village, they wanted to really understand the identity and the behaviors of the people who were walking by their store, and could be potential customers. So the husband and wife team initiated a three-day data gathering project using SAP’s Digital Consumer Insight tool. They began by focusing on when foot traffic peaked and when it was at its lowest, then dug deeper to find out where people were coming from, who they were in terms of age & gender and even what sort of devices these people were using.

Peak Traffic

When they collated all the data, they discovered that the foot traffic past their location was primarily millennials from the Williamsburg / East Village area who were using Apple devices. As a result Koan was able to shape their offerings accordingly and target their marketing tone to suit the foot traffic, confident that they were appealing to the correct demographic.

You can read more of their story, as well as many more use cases here: http://digital.sap.com/sap-digital-consumer-insight-case-studies-and-use-cases

E-commerce retailers have known for a long time who their customers are, due to their ability to track their clicks and their online behavior. SAP’s Chief Digital Officer Jonathan Becher explains, “This offering does to retail stores what Web marketing has done for websites.” For example, an online retailer can track the path to purchase, the time to taken to get there and the demographics of a consumer. “What we’ve done for the first time is to take all this information that people have figured out in the digital world, and make it available to the physical world.

Where are they coming from?

The benefit of these insights can be applied in a number of ways for retailers. Everything from proximity marketing to location planning, sales strategies and campaigns will benefit from the snapshots provided by SAP Digital Consumer Insight. Through the data, retailers are striving to achieve a way of delivering a consistent, personalized product mix to customers across multiple channels that local consumers will relate to. It stands to reason that the deeper the understanding of customer behavior that there is, the easier it becomes to attract loyalty and increase the conversion rate and average basket value of purchases.

Consumers need not fear that their privacy is being violated in any way. The data which is collected and presented via Digital Insights is anonymized and aggregated, thus giving the business owner a snapshot of the traffic in the area while maintaining the privacy of the individuals.

SAP built its formidable reputation working with big businesses, but 80% of their customers are small and mid-sized so the company learned how to take what works at enterprise-level and adapt it for smaller businesses that realize how much they can benefit from actionable information.

Small business owners don’t have the time, skills or resources to build complicated data analysis systems. SAP Digital Consumer Insight is the perfect vehicle to address those concerns. Consumers can simply purchase a single data ‘Insight’ for $439.00, or they can select a bundle of five data ‘Insights’ for $1,429.00 – and begin to see their Insights instantly.

Visit the SAP Store to purchase the SAP Digital Consumer Insight package and take a massive step towards understanding who your customers are and what they need.

Sponsored spotlight series by SAP

By Jeremy Daniel

The Value of Business Intelligence

The Value of Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence

Though there’s still some debate around the complete definition of business intelligence, it’s accepted to be a powerful tool that is quickly making its way through the ranks; once gracing only the largest organizations, business intelligence is today available to many smaller businesses thanks to advances in data management, analytics, and cloud developments. It’s generally accepted that business intelligence encompasses the fields of big data, its collection, and the analysis of it, as well as the visualizations of these disciplines for better business management and strategizing. Business Intelligence platforms include complex analytics facilities, predictive modeling, and powerful data mining tools that provide users with the insight and drive to better their organizations.

Better Decisions with Business Intelligence

Though Gartner expects that by 2020 “only 50% of chief analytics officers will have successfully created a narrative to respond to rapid change and link financial objectives to business intelligence and analytics initiatives and investments,” many business leaders recognize to some degree the ability for business intelligence to improve the competitiveness of their organizations through the clear benefits of increased revenue, lowered costs, and the tools to better read their markets for more rapid innovation and transformation. At the heart of this is the ability to make calculated business decisions.

Beyond cost reductions and operational efficiencies, Gartner recognizes the importance of using business intelligence applications to create workable insights which aid companies in superior customer engagement and greater value delivery. Technology and its constant transformation are disrupting and developing most industries today; for those business leaders willing to embrace new intelligence and revolution, business intelligence provides the information for effective decision making and business strategies that keep organizations at the top of their game.

data-security-assist

Integrated Apps

In the past, business intelligence systems were highly complex, requiring trained analysts to operate and extract meaningful information. Though competent analysts are still in high demand to get the most out of such systems, some business intelligence platforms are broadening the user field with applications that allow more direct access to personnel through ‘self-service’ analytics. Such apps integrated into the business environment provide focused intelligence and insight to specific departments and encourage a more complete use of data and its insights.

What Not to Neglect

The benefits of implementing business intelligence solutions should be obvious, but taking advantage of these platforms requires effort and some key failures must be avoided:

  • Data Security: Data volumes grow daily and with it storage requirements. Finding cost effective solutions is necessary; finding secure solutions imperative. Once data is secured, implementing compliance programs can help ensure both secure access and storage is sustained.
  • Setting Objectives: Collecting data is relatively straightforward, but analyzing it and outputting relevant findings will require clearly defined business objectives. Knowing what an organization wants to accomplish ensures business intelligence outcomes don’t muddy the waters with many generalities but instead speak to business development.
  • Identify Irregularities: It’s important not to let the search for a particular pattern blind you to the unexpected; data will often back up notions we already hold, but what would be the point of business intelligence if not to point out original information? Noticing the differences is the start of the process towards shrewd decisions and unique strategies which could be putting the business one step ahead of its competitors.

No matter the absolute explanation of precisely what business intelligence is, the tools and features such platforms provide are delivering the technology that helps us put big data to good, and precise, use leading companies to greater competition, and eliminating both customer and employee frustrations. Exploiting these platforms holds the promise of progressive solutions, innovative products and services, and enhanced business processes.

By Jennifer Klostermann

IBM Redefines Security, Availability and Economics of Storing Data in the Hybrid Cloud

IBM Redefines Security, Availability and Economics of Storing Data in the Hybrid Cloud

ARMONK, NY – 13 Oct 2016: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today is introducing a new cloud object storage service that redefines the security, availability and economics of storing, managing and accessing massive amounts of digital information across hybrid clouds. The company’s breakthrough new IBM Cloud Object Storage offering derives from IBM’s acquisition of Cleversafe and its significant portfolio of patents which are designed to deliver clients better value with industry-leading security.

Though organizations are flocking to the cloud for improved efficiencies and IT agility, clients see a gap in their ability to store increasingly larger volumes of data – on premises and off premises. Presently companies have to choose between storing data on internal servers and storage systems, or in the cloud. It’s a dilemma that has hindered business flexibility and raised infrastructure costs. As data volumes continue to grow across industries, the need to create flexible hybrid cloud storage solutions has intensified.

The new IBM Cloud Object Storage storage-as-a-service offerings will enable clients for the first time to scale large unstructured data volumes across on-premises systems as well as public and private clouds quickly and easily. This will dramatically increase IT system flexibility and security. In a price comparison of identical object storage capacity running on a competitive cloud, the new IBM Cloud Object Storage demonstrated more than 25% lower costs for the capacity, environment and locations compared. Built on an innovation called SecureSlice from industry leader, Cleversafe, (acquired by IBM in 2015), IBM Cloud Object Storage is designed to make storing and managing that data on the IBM Cloud reliable and available across regions and around the clock.

As clients continue to move massive workloads to hybrid clouds there is a need for an easier, more secure and economical way to store and manage mounting volumes of digital information,” said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud. “With today’s announcement, IBM becomes the leading cloud vendor to provide clients the flexibility and availability of object data storage across on-premises and public clouds.”

Bitly Migrates 1 Billion Datasets to IBM Cloud Object Storage; Adopts IBM as its Exclusive Cloud Platform

Bitly, the world’s leading customer experience platform, is continually looking for new ways to help organizations use its software platform to gain actionable insights about their customers. The company has adopted the new IBM Cloud Object Storage service to more quickly and easily analyze historical data that is being produced by the more than 10 billion clicks it processes each month across the world. This historical data, up to 500TB, includes user interactions across online channels – useful information for marketers that are using Bitly to deliver and measure their efforts across all marketing channels.

With more than 400 million new links created every month, the Bitly platform is growing at an explosive rate,” said Robert Platzer, CTO, Bitly. “We turned exclusively to IBM Cloud because of its leadership in data services. Through this partnership IBM will help us transform our business and build a variety of new cloud services – from advanced analytics and data mining to data research – into our software platform. The new IBM Cloud Object Storage service will enable us to manage all the data from our on-premises and cloud infrastructure with ease and flexibility.”

Bitly’s adoption of IBM Cloud Object Storage is part of a deep multi-year partnership with IBM. With today’s announcement, IBM Cloud has become the exclusive cloud platform for Bitly. Earlier this year, the company moved 25 billion data-infused links to IBM Cloud to take advantage of the high performance and global scale of IBM’s nearly 50 global Cloud Data Centers. With that migration complete, the company has turned its attention to managing all 1 billion datasets of the historical interactions behind those links with IBM Cloud Object Storage.

IBM Breaks the Constraints of Today’s Storage Architecture

At the heart of the new IBM Cloud Object Storage service is IBM’s innovative SecureSlice, which combines encryption and erasure coding for greater security and information dispersal which enhances data availability. These fundamental technologies can help clients satisfy their data compliance security requirements and maintain access to critical data even in the face of a regional outage. These capabilities are also delivered without having to make expensive copies of data, resulting in improved economics to clients. Specifically:

Security

IBM is the only company to have combined erasure coding with encryption and decryption. When data comes into the IBM Cloud Object Storage system, SecureSlice automatically encrypts each segment of data before it is erasure coded and dispersed. The content can only be re-assembled through IBM Cloud’s “Accesser” technology at the client’s primary data center, where the data was originally received, and decrypted by SecureSlice.

Availability

Because of these innovations, IBM Cloud Object Storage can tolerate even catastrophic regional outages without interruption of access to data or the need for customer intervention. Continuous availability is inherent in the architecture. Some traditional cloud storage providers, place the burden of data management and the cost for creating and maintaining a second copy for regional fault tolerance on the client.

Economics

As a result of the technology’s robust hybrid capabilities, IBM Cloud Object Storage has demonstrated it can, for the compared capacity, environment and locations, reduce certain overall costs of cloud storage. For example, based on internal IBM testing comparing IBM Cloud Object Storage Vault Cross-Region Services to a leading vendor in head-to-head Cross Region service managing ½ petabyte (PB) of data, the IBM solution was close to 24% less expensive for the location and workload compared, and at 5PB the service was more than 25% less expensive.

Delivering the Flexibility Clients Need to Meet Business Requirements

IBM Cloud Object Storage is offered in two public, multi-tenant services: Cross Region Service, which sends the sliced data to at least three geographically dispersed regions across IBM Cloud data centers; and Regional Service, which holds the data in multiple data centers in a given region. Both the Regional and Cross Region services provide SecureSlice, encrypted erasure coding to protect the data. The new services complement the company’s existing IBM Cloud Object Storage System for on premises object storage, and the IBM Cloud Object Storage Dedicated Service, a private cloud offering that runs on bare-metal servers on IBM Cloud. All of the IBM Cloud Object Storage services on or off-premises support Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift interfaces for greater programming flexibility.

IBM Brings Cloud Object Storage to hundreds of Storage Platforms with Transparent Cloud Tiering

Finally, for the first time, IT organizations with on-premises storage will be able to move data seamlessly to and from the cloud. IBM Spectrum Virtualize will add hybrid cloud capabilities to nearly 400 platforms, both IBM and non-IBM. IBM Spectrum Virtualize, IBM Spectrum Protect and IBM Spectrum Scale, use Transparent Cloud Tiering to extend traditional storage to the cloud with policy driven, automated simplicity, security and control.

IBM Cloud Object Storage is available now for enterprise clients across IBM Cloud data centers in the US and Europe and will be available in the Asia Pacific region in December. Availability via digital channels, with swipe-and-go credit card support, will begin in the US starting in December and Europe soon thereafter.

About IBM

For more on IBM Cloud, visit www.ibm.com/cloud-computing.

For more on IBM Storage, visit www.ibm.com/systems/storage.

For more information on IBM Cloud Object Storage, visit https://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/products/storage/object-storage/.

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

A New Era for Cyber Crime

Last September, the website of a well-known security journalist was hit by a massive DDoS attack. The site’s host stated it was the largest attack of that type they had ever seen. Rather than originating at an identifiable location, the attack seemed to come from everywhere, and it seemed to have been driven through a botnet that included IoT-connected devices like digital cameras. This was something special and unusual, and a stark warning about the future of cyber warfare.

The attack was so large and relentless that the journalist’s site had to be taken down temporarily. The exercise of fending off the attack and then repairing and rebuilding was extremely expensive. Given that the target was a writer and expert on online security and cybercrime, the attack was not only highly destructive but also symbolic: a warning to security specialists everywhere that the war has changed.

Chris Sellards, a Texas-based Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) agrees. He points to the sheer volume of IoT connected devices – a number that is growing exponentially, with Gartner forecasting 6.4 billion devices to be connected this year.

PC users have become a little more sophisticated with regard to security in recent years,” Sellards says. “They used to be the prime target when creating a botnet and launching DDoS attacks because they rarely patched their systems and browser configuration settings were lax by default. However, with automatic upgrades and an increased use of personal firewalls and security apps, PCs have become a little more of a challenge to penetrate. Attackers almost always take the path of least resistance.”

Consequently, IoT devices have become the new playground. They are the new generation of connected machines that use default passwords, hard coded passwords, and inadequate patching. The rush to make everything IoT compatible and affordable leaves little time or incentive for manufacturers to build in sophisticated security layers. In addition, there is an innocence factor at play. Who would ever suspect their digital camera, fitness tracker or smart thermostat of being an accomplice to cybercrime?

future-iot

Sellards points out that one of the most interesting aspects of the attack was that GRE (Generic Routing Encapsulation protocol) was used instead of the normal amplification techniques used in most DDoS attacks. This represents a change in tactic specifically designed to take advantage of the high bandwidth internet connections that IP based video cameras use.

These developments have experts like Sellards worried, given the huge – and growing – number of IoT devices that form part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. “If default and hardcoded passwords can be compromised to install malware that launches DDoS attacks, they can also be compromised to launch more nefarious attacks with significantly higher consequences,” he says. It shows IoT installs are insecure and not hardened. They are exposed to the Internet without firewall filtering. “All best business practices we’ve spent decades developing have gone right out the window.” 

IoT in general represents a fascinating new chapter in convenience and communication for businesses and consumers alike. But as all security experts already know, the bad guys never rest. The way in which they discovered and exploited both the weaknesses and the built-in features of IoT shows a creativity and dedication that must never be ignored. Thus the value of a CCSP having a seat at the executive table has just increased exponentially.

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

By Steve Prentice

Why The Sharing Economy Is The Future

Why The Sharing Economy Is The Future

The Sharing Economy

Today the sharing economy is spreading across the entire economy (check out this infographic via Near Me if you don’t believe me). It is praised by some to be “the future of market capitalism”, and lambasted by others as “the desperate economy”, it’s a psuedo-socialist disruption solution to monopolies that have sprung up across the entire global economy. The latest industry to be taken on by the sharing economy has been financial services, in a vein of start-ups now known as Fintech.

honeycomb-3-0

Fintech and the sharing economy are conceptually intertwined, decentralisation is at the core of what they are each trying to do. Where platforms like YouTube removed publishing and publicity costs to almost nothing, Uber and Airbnb did the same for their respective industries; and now Fintech is following suit. In a financial context this has been focused on on decentralisation of asset ownership, social payments, crowdfunding, and the growth of peer-to-peer lending and insurance.

Blockchain

Development of new tech, such as the blockchain, has provided excellent opportunities for cost reduction and efficiency in money transfers and payments. By reducing fees, small digital payments have become increasingly more viable and cost effective, with the door being opened to an entire market of new products and services, which can be built around smaller, more granular consumption. The vast majority of consumer financial services are driven by the need to conduct peer-to-peer transactions, that is unlikely to change. What is beginning to change is the platforms and institutions that facilitate these transactions; we are moving from large banks towards a broader ecosystem of banks and Fintech companies, with some commentators suggesting that banks could eliminated altogether (though that is some way down the line).

block-chain

(Image Source: Pricewaterhouse Coopers)

The sharing economy and Fintech have already made massive inroads in certain areas of the financial services industry, garnered huge investments and has been forecasted to experience astronomical levels of growth year on year. PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers), has predicted the scale of the sharing economy market, in fields such as P2P lending, crowd funding, automobiles, housing, media and manpower sourcing, to grow from $15 billion in 2013 to $3.35 trillion in 2025. These figures may seem foolishly optimistic, but you only have to look at the successes that Fintech start-ups have enjoyed thus far, as the scale to which they could impact the economy – look at Kickstarter (and crowdfunding in general). Since 2014, Kickstarter has progressed with approximately 20,000 projects, 780,000 investors and generated approximately U$1.5 billion in investment capital. And that is just with Kickstarter, the global crowdfunding economy was worth $34.4 billion in 2015 and is expected to surpass Venture Capital investment in 2016 (which is, on average, around $45 billion).

Yet, that is just one area in which the sharing economy has begun to disrupt traditional financial markets and institutions. With Apple Pay already redefining digital payments, Apple has now filed a patent application for “person-to-person payments using electronic devices” that could allow iPhone users to transfer money between friends and family more easily, imagine Airdrop for money. This has the potential to further commoditize retail banking; instead of using high cost bankers to broker the connection between two parties, technology can allow us to make the cheaper and more efficiently. The sharing economy has also demonstrated its ability to revolutionise more rural or less developed economies. For example, M-PESA in Kenya, handles deposits and payments using customers’ phones and a network of agents. According to a recent report, the service is now being used by 90% of the adult population in the country; the Economist has even declared Kenya the world leader in mobile money, thanks to M-PESA.

Much like many other aspects of the sharing economy, it has the potential to overtake the entire financial services via Fintech platforms. However, traditional banking is unlikely to die quite as easily as some may hope; we are much more likely to see banks and Fintech start-ups working together in an intertwined and decentralised financial ecosystem. The sharing economy is here to stay, and for Fintech that means more innovation and more investment… Sounds alright to me.

By Josh Hamilton

If Not Managed Correctly, The Cloud Can Cost An Organization

If Not Managed Correctly, The Cloud Can Cost An Organization

Cloud Application Management

When organizations implement cloud applications, they do so as a means to be more efficient and in the hopes of saving a great deal of money. What many organizational leaders often don’t realize is that they need some type of solution to help them manage these applications in the background for them to be successful. Without some way to properly manage cloud applications, organizations can actually spend a great deal of time and money to have someone manually managing these processes, rather than saving them time and resources.

While the management of cloud applications doesn’t sound difficult, it is very time consuming. Think about an organization that has frequent movement of employees or has temporary employees working there. To create accounts for each of these employees and make changes when needed, often requires a full-time admin. For the admin, they can quickly become overwhelmed with work and calls for changes to accounts, which can leave them no time to handle other more technical or important projects.

Management

The management of these applications not only effects admins, but also has an effect on other groups. The organization as a whole — the helpdesk or admin and the end users — are all affected. For example, the organization and its managers are concerned with how much the overall cost and ROI is of the technology that they use and how efficiently everything works. If the cloud is not managed correctly it can end up costing more time and money for the organization.

And, of course, what about the end user? They want to be able to access what they need quickly and efficiently and have any changes to their accounts or access made in a timely manner so that they can complete their work and any projects. Who wants to wait around for additional access to work on a project that has a deadline. For example, often an employee needs to contact a manager or admin if they need access to an application or to make a change to their account. If this request is time sensitive, they may continually contact the manager to check up on the progress and see if the change is being implemented.

Why Organizations Are Hesitant

Why are organizations hesitant about a solution, such as identity and access management, to help manage their cloud applications then if they can benefit many different people and groups in the organization? One of the reasons for the resistance is that many of the solutions that were available to help with account management when they first came out were often large scale solutions, which cost a lot, took a long time to implement, and were for larger organizations.

Many organizations also think that they can just do it themselves. The reality is they don’t realize that these tasks are extremely time consuming and are taking time from some of their highly technical employees who could be working on other projects. It also might be costing them more to have a full-time employee manually managing cloud applications and issues. Many IAM vendors now offer the ability to choose exactly which modules are needed so that they don’t need to purchase a large enterprise solution with modules that they don’t need. They can tell the vendor exactly what is needed and have them customize the solution. This drastically reduces both the cost and the time to implement. This allows even smaller organizations to benefit from IAM solutions.

How IAM Solutions Can Help

So now that we talked about why a solution is needed and why many organizations are hesitant to employ the solutions, let’s look at how many types of different IAM solutions can assist with the cloud applications that organizations use.

Account management of cloud applications can easily be automated along with in-house applications. An automated account management allows the organization to link their HR system to the systems and applications that the company uses so that any change that is made in the HR system is automatically reflected in all connected applications. So for example, when a new employee starts at the organization they can simply be added to the HR system and have their accounts automatically generated for them. This allows both the admin to quickly create accounts and the end user to begin work right away without needing to wait around.

Another solution that can be used is workflow management. Using a web portal, employees can request any additional access rights to their current applications or even new applications. A workflow is setup so that when a user requests a change, the request then goes through a predefined sequence of people who need to approve it before the change is implemented. The organization can set up the workflow process however they desire, so that depending on the user, and what they request, the process goes through a specific sequence. There is also no need for the employee to bother their manager to check on the request. They can easily access the web portal and see exactly where the request is and what steps still need to be completed.

These are just some of the many solutions that help with the management of cloud applications behind the scenes. There are many other ways that IAM solutions can be customized to meet the unique needs of each organization. Since we discussed how the management of the cloud has an effect on several groups within the organization lets now look at how an IAM solution can benefit these different groups.

For the admin, they can easily manage user accounts or even delegate this task to a less technical employee so that they can work on other more technical issues and projects. They no longer need to perform tedious account management tasks that are extremely time consuming. For the end user, they can easily get any access or application they need efficiently without needing to continually contact an admin. With the portal in the workflow management module, they have an easy way of requesting any changes if needed. Lastly, for the managers and overall organization they can realize the true benefits of cloud applications without needing to focus on the manual tasks of creating, disabling, and making changes to user account.

By Dean Wiech

Deep Learning and AI in Fintech

Deep Learning and AI in Fintech

Deep Learning

Financial services have been revolutionised over the last 20 years by increasingly powerful technology such as big data analytics, neural networks, evolutionary algorithms, and machine learning. Now, Fintech is on the cusp of a truly revolutionary moment, the integration of AI and deep learning into financial services. This combination really has the potential to revolutionise money and the global financial landscape in ways we never could have imagined 20 years ago. This is hardly by accident, a 2015 report by Accenture tracked the global investment in Fintech; revealing it has jumped from $930 million in 2008 to over $12 billion by the start of 2015.

Data Explosion

The explosion of data over the last 10 years has been incredible, and has been so vast that there has been little way to comprehend it without intelligent automated support. As analytics advances, so does the need for increased computational power to crunch the big numbers, and AI systems are becoming easier and easier to develop adapt and integrate.

Many companies already use programs like Kasisto, a KAI powered conversational UX, to help to improve customer service and connect customers to products and services. Kasisto are currently pioneering the use of their bot to help people manage stocks and portfolios (check it out here). However, this has been around for a few years now, and it really only scratches the surface of how AI is going to transform Fintech. AI and machine learning is being applied across the financial world, this is the next step in financial evolution. Fintech start-ups such as AffirmZest Finance, and Kensho, have applied deep learning to improve decision making and financial processing. Zest Finance are redefining credit scores and challenging the use of “little data”, using big data analytics to provide a much more accurate credit score than is possible in the current system.

big-data-small-data

Machine Learning Algorithms

One of the key features of emerging start-ups has been the use of machine learning algorithms to gain an analytical edge in trading. What tends to vary is the proposed clientele. For example, start-ups like Binatix are aimed more at large data sets and analytics for portfolio and hedge fund management on a wider scale; whereas Williamsburg based Inovance, is attempting to bring machine learning based trading analytics to the rescue of common investors. Similarly, earlier this year, Alpaca (deep learning Fintech start-up) launched Capitalico; a deep learning trading platform, that allows traders to automate their trade ideas without any programming or market investing experience.

This theme runs throughout the evolution of finance, banking is becoming ever-more personalised. Smart wallets like Wallet.ai will help you consider, analyse, price, and consider every single thing you purchase, in a way that no bank, financial advisor or human assistant could begin to attempt. Following many years of having “offshored” repetitive tasks to lower-cost locations, PWC have predicted that this financial revolution will lead to “reshoring” and localisation of banking again thanks to the falling costs of automation and AI innovation.

AI analytics can be applied across the entire financial world, the next level of disruption has arrived, and it spells the end for banking as we know it. In the coming years we will see deep learning infiltrate identity authentication, portfolio construction, automated investment, fraud detection, and transactional safety; not a stone will lay un-turned in the financial world. PWC has predicted that the next three to five years are likely to lay the foundations, with “modest, evolutionary gains”, followed by rapid expansion as the technology becomes cheaper, more widely available, and more accepted by the general populace. The partnership of deep learning and Fintech is still very young, who knows where it could take us?

By Josh Hamilton

Growth Hacking Tweaks for and by Startups

Growth Hacking Tweaks for and by Startups

Growth Hacking Startups

Growth hacking is a relatively new tool in the marketing technologist’s bag that includes early growth strategies, creative promotions, and budget-friendly advertising programs. Successful uses include referral programs which encourage word of mouth product promotion through rewards to both the referrer and referred, cleverly targeting fans of competitors, and personalizing experiences not only to build customer loyalty but for the added benefit of upselling. Some businesses have benefited significantly from automated email campaigns which dramatically increase both qualified leads and revenues, while others create hype around their brand through exclusivity initiatives that leave ‘not-yet patrons’ eager for an invitation while the lucky chosen few smugly enjoy early access perks.

Startup Accelerators

Growth Hacking Startups

It should come as no surprise that startups are often found at the front of the growth hacking race with their cutting-edge concepts and malleable business models, but we don’t always recognise the value of the startup accelerators that sit behind some of the startup success stories. Y Combinator, for example, backed a few highly profitable startups such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit and in the decade since it was launched has provided a host of benefits including their own startup school, research into the sector, and a platform for numerous other startups to present their ideas and compete for backing.

But startup accelerators don’t simply offer a stage for financial backing; they further encourage the success of chosen growth hacking startups through their own growth marketing schemes. 500 Startups recognised early on that a program dedicated to growth marketing was required and launched their own course which targets post-seed startups needing marketing assistance as they prepare for Series A. ‘Distro Dojo’ debuted in London, UK, last year and has now made its way to Berlin, Germany. Though currently in the spotlight, 500 Startups is only one of many accelerators developing startups through financial and marketing aid; Seed-DB offers a relatively comprehensive list of similar programs.

Growth Hacking Tweaks

Covering a range of products and services from education to design, healthcare to cloud services, a number of startups are involved in marketing and advertising technology, both using and providing growth hacks for business success.

Phrasee

This London-based martech company is using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve email response rates and offers progressively optimised subject lines which have been found to outperform the creative attempts of human users. Providing optimised marketing language through AI, Phrasee betters marketing language for increased revenue.

Eventable

Shortlisted in this year’s DMA HOT ZONE competition, Eventable is a novel application that focuses on calendars for improved marketing. With 2.5 billion calendar users worldwide, tapping into customer calendar functions has been found to provide 99% retention over six months with 86% of users more likely to take action.

Nugit

Another AI-based application, Nugit helps marketers through the generation of useful reports based on the big data collected via advertising. By automating data analytics and reporting across user-friendly channels, Nugit makes it easier for marketers to refocus and improve strategies.

The list of startups offering adtech, martech and growth hacking tools is long and distinguished, providing both tailored and generic functions to suit every business category and marketing appetite. There’s no excuse not to be reaping the rewards and what better place to begin than one of today’s trailblazing startups?

By Jennifer Klostermann

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5 Predictions For Education Technology

5 Predictions For Education Technology

Education Technology Although technology has fast influenced most sectors of our world, education is an area that’s lagged behind. Many classrooms still employ the one-to-many lecturing model wherein the average student is catered for while a few are left behind, and others bored. Recently, there’s been a drive to uncover how to use technology successfully…

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

DDoS Attacks October 21st, 2016 went into the annals of Internet history for the large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that made popular Internet properties like Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and Box inaccessible to many users in the US. The DDoS attack happened in three waves targeting DNS service provider Dyn, resulting in a total of about…

Mobile Connected Technologies – The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Mobile Connected Technologies – The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Mobile Connected Technologies Clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities are embracing new mobile technologies in order to be more efficient in their daily tasks. With faster communication and better collaboration, clinicians can spend much less time handling medical devices and more time administering care to their patients. Industry experts are stating that mobile connected technologies…

Why Hybrid Cloud Delivers Better Business Agility

Why Hybrid Cloud Delivers Better Business Agility

Why Hybrid Cloud Delivers Better Business Agility A CIO friend of mine once told me that a hybrid cloud model enables him to “own the base, rent the spike” when it comes to unplanned events. Let’s face it – maintaining unused infrastructure for rare or random IT events is expensive and unnecessary in a cloud…

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring One of the hottest topics in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the Internet of Things (IOT). According to the report of International Telecommunication Union (2012), “the Internet of things can be perceived as a vision with technological and societal implications. It is considered as a…

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing Innovation Sao Paulo, Brazil has had trouble with both energy and water supplies as of late. Despite it is the rainy period. Unfortunately Sao Paulo is very dependent on its rain as a majority of its power is generated from large dams. No water, no energy. Difficult situation for a city of some…

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery  Ok, ok – I understand most of you are saying disaster recovery (DR) is still a critical aspect of running any type of operations. After all – we need to secure our future operations in case of disaster. Sure – that is still the case but things are changing – fast. There are…

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Cloud Beacons Flying High When Apple debuted cloud beacons in 2013, analysts predicted 250 million devices capable of serving as iBeacons would be found in the wild within weeks. A few months later, estimates put the figure at just 64,000, with 15 percent confined to Apple stores. Beacons didn’t proliferate as expected, but a few…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

DDoS Attacks October 21st, 2016 went into the annals of Internet history for the large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that made popular Internet properties like Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and Box inaccessible to many users in the US. The DDoS attack happened in three waves targeting DNS service provider Dyn, resulting in a total of about…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…

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…

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…