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The comics are free to reuse and share on personal, non-profit and educational websites related to technology. For commercial uses, please contact us for licensing information.
Paper or plastic? Which form of payment do we use the most? A Federal Reserve study reveals cash still accounts for 40% of all transactions, but credit cards surprisingly only command 17% of total transactions. Debit card payments makeup a quarter of total transactions, showing that even in 2014, cash is still king. The same Federal Reserve study shows electronic payments account for the highest value transactions, representing 27% of the value of all transactions across payment types, and over 30% of all transactions worth $100 USD or more are made with electronic or digital payment.
As consumers have become more aware of the benefits of digital payments, startups and tech producers have been swift in their production and delivery of digital payment products to the market. The digital credit card will make our wallets thinner, perhaps even make them obsolete, and facilitate electronic transactions at the point-of-sale; three electronic payment solutions have made their way to the forefront:
But which of these digital credit card alternatives will make its way into consumers’ wallets? One of the consolidated physical options, or the all-digital, cloud-based direction Apple has taken with Apple Pay?
With Coin, Plastc and Apple Pay, users can connect all of their ATM, debit, credit, (and in some cases gift) cards to the device, allowing for seamless transactions at the point of sale. With their payments connected, consumers can change the form of payment from the device as needed. Coin, Plastc and Apple Pay produce transaction reports for users via mobile apps and email receipts, affording record management with a log of all purchases made.
Coin and Plastc both look and function like traditional credit cards, processing transactions with the “swiping” motion. Both can also complete transactions by “passing” over or “tapping” with swipeless payment technologies like Near-Field Communications (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
Without testing the product, it appears that Plastc stands superior to Coin, storing up to 20 cards versus Coin’s 8-card storage capacity. Plastc also displays full card information on its E link strip across the front of the card, whereas Coin can only display basic information on its small LED screen. Apple Pay, however, is functions as part of the Passport app in the iPhone 6’s iOS 8 operating system, rather than using a physical medium to substitute for the cards. It only has the capability to complete swipeless transactions with NFC or RFID technologies, unlike Coin and Plastc.
Apple Pay has the advantage of using a cloud-based platform for its storage – you can link your credit card and bank account information using the Passport app on your iPhone 6 or 6+, and instantly use Apple Pay using that same card. Also, there is no purchase required, as with Coin or Plastc – all that is required is one of the newest Apple smartphones.
Security remains the largest concern for all three digital payment options, as consumers look for the safest payment methods available. Plastc and Coin can both be connected to a user’s smartphone, alert the user when the card and phone are “too far” apart. By 2015, all credit cards in the U.S. will be required to have new security technology called the Eurocard Mastercard Visa chip (EMV) as standard. This chip incorporates a PIN technology that makes credit card transactions safer. Plastc and Apple Pay will come to the market with the EMV standard, but Coin has delayed its August 2014 product launch to Spring 2015 as its producers look to integrate it to the new EMV standard. All in all, it seems that these three products will likely be about the same in terms of safety for the consumer. However, with Apple Pay, there remains a question of security in their cloud services. If you do not have the utmost confidence in Apple’s iCloud security, then Apple Pay may not be the most prudent choice for linking to your bank account.
If you are looking for the best all-around option that incorporates as many aspects of the new payment technologies, then Plastc stands out as the most versatile competitor, incorporating contactless NFC technology as well as the standard swipe-to-pay capability. However, if you are looking to taking your payments fully digital and slim down your wallet, then Apple Pay is likely the best choice for you.
By Jason Edelman
Autodesk, Inc. has announced that it intends to invest up to $100 million in 3D printing companies over the next several years. The Spark Investment Fund, which will
Google, Apple, Samsung and Amazon – the leading tech companies of the world would have you believe that designing devices and software for the internet of things is technically challenging, expensive, and requires great expertise. How else could they justify charging some of the sky-high prices for their latest products?
A twenty three year old is now challenging that notion with ‘SAM’ – dubbed as being the ‘lego of the internet’. Its aim is to offer an electronics kit made up of wireless, rechargeable, Bluetooth-connected modules that enable kids – along with anyone else without coding knowledge – to build everything from smart doorbells to intelligent home appliances.
Its developer – an entrepreneur called Joachim Horn – hopes to encourage budding engineers and inventors to create games, products and apps for the ‘Internet of Things’, where everyday objects can send and receive data through the web. “I was always scared of the dark magic of electrical engineering,” he said. “Stuff never works, there’s always a bug, and you can’t duct tape it into correctness… I wanted to find a way to make it fun for people to learn circuitry and coding. [I wanted to build a] human-centred model that would be easy to use and that taught you while you worked with it”.
By using crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, Horn has easily smashed his £50,000 target, eventually closing with 817 backers and £125,546 when the investment window closed. He plans to use the raised capital to make SAM networks accessible from smartphone, and design more aesthetically pleasing casings for the components. Ultimately he hopes to add another round of funding that will be in the region of £1 million – thus allowing him to develop more advanced components such as accelerometers, LCD screens, and camera modules.
Currently SAM is only three months old, and while Horn thinks it will help “level the playing field” to allow more people and start-ups to enter the sector with low levels of investment, easy prototypes, and increased autonomy, it has already seen some impressive products developed by enthusiasts and early adopters.
An eight-year-old used the SAM app, two motors, and three proximity sensors to build a self-driven car that moves round his room and dodges obstacles, a British man in a long distance relationship with a woman in Rome made a mailbox flag that is raised whenever he gets an email from her, and SAMs were used to create glasses that tell a blind person where to walk to depending on their surroundings.
Given how much can be designed and stylised with Lego, the possibilities for SAM appear endless at this stage. What do you think? What would you design if you had a SAM kit? Let us know in the comments below.
By Daniel Price
Many years ago I was introduced to the concepts that comprise the visual architecture process. During the process of learning about the concepts and process of visual architecture, I adopted many of the concepts, ideas and tools to use in my own processes.
In particular, there was a component that has resonated for me all these years later. To create a positive vision statement about a solution by looking forward 5 years after a successful implementation of the overall solution and reviewing the what and how of success.
I’ve been talking and arguing quite a bit about the need for a unifying theory related to the overall concept of a cloud transformation framework. The loosely coupled solutions companies, governments and even individuals could use to securely and happily move their solution to a cloud service provider. The Rosetta Stone for cloud migrations.
How did we end up with a flexible vendor-neutral cloud transformation framework?
First off it wasn’t easy. A number of CSP’s built their own cloud transformation frameworks (CTF) so the initial work we had to do was sort through all the different frameworks to find the right mix of components to have a rationalized framework.
The creation of a standards body that was comprised of CSP’s, SI’s, interested organizations and members from various leading cloud standards groups was the next step. That took some time more because of all the different CTF’s that were out there and because of the overall politics. Luckily there were the cloud neutral sites such as CloudTweaks, that kept us on track. See the whole cloud not just the part you are considering.
The biggest hurdle ended up being the move. We had to push CTF programs to governance within the various architectural groups that were out there. CTF’s weren’t just moving data and applications from on premise solutions to cloud solutions they were about shifting governance to a new model.
Getting people to see in the end that it was about governance and shifting governance to a new cloud-based solution brought the whole thing together. The last hurdle that we cleared recently, in fact, was the terminology. That was a kettle of fish to open. Different parts of the industry (customer, provider, support) had different views of words and their meaning.
Developing building and in the end agreeing to the common taxonomy of cloud transformation terms was the fun part. We agreed that the term migration meant you were moving the user’s security information, the application, the data and in the end any connections and interfaces to any other system. We agreed that a cloud transition could have steps but for the most part should be an automated move of resources from one system to another. A cloud transformation was the concept of improving the processes, procedures and the application itself.
We got there. We developed common data standards, common definitions of terms and words and finally we had a great party. The first successful cloud transitions happened within weeks. The first big cloud transformations began happening almost right away.
It’s how we built the Cloud Transformation and Transition Framework.
By Scott Andersen
A new report from Kantar WorldPanel ComTech reveals that huge iPhone 6 demand helped Apple last quarter, with the company seeing market share increases in various European markets. However, Apple’s market share actually dropped in Apple’s home country during the period, hitting 32.6% in the September quarter, a 3.3% drop compared to last year. FROM EARLIER: You might not be able to find an …
Since users of Fitbit have unwittingly shared their ‘sexual workouts’ with the whole of the world wide web, the reasons why 8 out of 10 people have privacy concerns over wearable devices become apparent rather quickly. As wearables surround us, the things they measure — and potentially make public– become more important to us, in the sense of us not willing to share them with the rest of the world.
Users of wearables want not only control over their data, but also, as in the case of Fitbit, expect the handlers of data not to expose such information that may embarrass or harm the user.
After taking a quick look at some random user profiles at Endomondo, a popular app with mobile tracking software, I was positively disenchanted with the way they handle data. The default policy seems to be that the duration and time, along with the actual route (in the case of activities for which GPS tracking is used) of the workout is shared publicly with the users of Endomondo. At least that it was so for a dozen or so accounts I checked.
It goes without saying that the data I saw is only important for me as I write this article. I can only guess what someone would do with my Endomondo stats–the best conclusion would be that I’m terrible at schedules and am a lazy runner. On the other hand, thieves (or someone worse) can use a user’s statistics as ‘data leverage’ for their misdeeds. It becomes a matter of waiting for the victim’s long weekend run before burglarizing their home once you know at what times and for how long someone exercises.
Similarly, Adam Tanner of Forbes chronicled the debates within the company of Yale Zhang, a medical device entrepreneur in Atlanta. The data his company’s health trackers collect, like the blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, and perfusion index, is interesting not only to their users. It potentially appeals to data buyers and marketers as well, especially if coupled with the possibility to advertise directly to or identify the users.
Zhang is wondering whether or not, and if so — in what way — to monetize that data. One might say what the article lacked was an image of Zhang holding the proverbial skull, but the question still lingers. It is clear that it’s not the responsibility of the carrier to merely wipe their legal hands clean with lengthy Terms & Conditions. They have to make sure that, if users do want to share their data, they are given direct control over how it gets shared and with whom. Otherwise, things are bound to get ugly, or embarrassing, quick.
(Image Source: Shutterstock)
By Lauris Veips
Over the last two days we’ve looked at whether or not Shadow IT is a opportunity or a threat, and the security risks that unapproved apps pose to businesses and organisations. To conclude the mini-series, today we look at a new report that’s been released by Netskope. The ‘Netskope Cloud Report’ typically compiles the most interesting trends on cloud app adoption and usage based on aggregated, anonymised data from the Netskope Active Platform.
The key theme in the Q3 report for 2014 is how mobile devices have been using the cloud. They note that more than half of all ‘send’ or ‘approve’ activities occur on mobile, and a shockingly high number of activity-based policy violations also occur on the platform. The most frequent offenders aren’t social, but largely “prosumer” apps – demonstrating that IT departments are still finding it difficult to move employees on to a single, approved app for a single, specific purpose.
In total, businesses are using on average a mammoth 579 cloud apps, of which a worryingly high 88.7 percent are not enterprise ready – failing to meet standards in either security, auditability, or business continuity. To reinforce the belief that Shadow IT is spiralling out of control, Netskope cite one business which used more than 3,000 apps. As we discussed on Monday, this is a huge problem for IT departments, especially given more than one-third of all policy violations are currently occurring via mobile apps.
With the exception of ubiquitous apps such as Dropbox and Evernote, line-of-business apps are the most common. Marketing apps are the most common (60 per business), then human resources (36), finance/accounting (29), and CRM (24). Of those apps, the threat posed to an organisation’s security is vast – 98 percent of marketing apps are not enterprise ready, 96 percent of HR, 98 percent of finance and 91 percent of CRM.
Policy violations can take many forms – ranging from downloading personally-identifiable information from an HR app to a mobile device, to alerting when users share documents in cloud storage apps with someone outside of the company. With 44 percent of all download activities occurring on mobile devices, and with 40 percent of all sharing happening via mobile, it’s quickly apparent why IT departments struggle to track, update and manage the Shadow IT within an organisation.
In terms of the apps with the largest volume of policy violations, the top five categories which offend most frequently are cloud storage, CRM, collaboration, HR, and finance. From these categories, the five activities which most frequently constitute policy violations are logins, views, downloads, edits and uploads.
The top ten apps that violate IT policy were also highlighted in the report. The high usage of these apps by employees should provide yet another serious concern for IT departments.
What do you think? Do you use these apps at work? Perhaps your employer has banned them? Let us know in the comments below.
By Dan Price
DYN DDOS Timeline This morning at 7am ET a DDoS attack was launched at Dyn (the site is still down at the minute), an Internet infrastructure company whose headquarters are in New Hampshire. So far the attack has come in 2 waves, the first at 11.10 UTC and the second at around 16.00 UTC. So…
DDoS Attack: Update 2 6 days after the DDoS attack that rocked the internet to its core, Dyn have released detailed analysis of the attack and further details have emerged. The attack has been confirmed to have been the largest of its kind in history, and the Mirai botnet has been cited as the official cause.…
Security, Security, Security!! Get use to it as we’ll be hearing more and more of this in the coming years. Collaborative security efforts from around the world must start as sometimes it feels there is a sense of Fait Accompli, that it’s simply too late to feel safe in this digital age. We may not…
IoT Device Failures I have, over the past three years, posted a number of Internet of Things (and the broader NIST-defined Cyber Physical Systems) conversations and topics. I have talked about drones, wearables and many other aspects of the Internet of Things. One of the integration problems has been the number of protocols the various…
Botnets and DDoS Attacks There’s just so much that seems as though it could go wrong with closed-circuit television cameras, a.k.a. video surveillance. With an ever-increasing number of digital eyes on the average person at all times, people can hardly be blamed for feeling like they’re one misfortune away from joining the ranks of Don’t…
Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…
Hybrid-Cloud Approach For over 20 years, organizations have been attempting to secure their networks and protect their data. However, have any of their efforts really improved security? Today we hear journalists and industry experts talk about the erosion of the perimeter. Some say it’s squishy, others say it’s spongy, and yet another claims it crunchy.…
Identity and Access Management The identity and access management market continues to grow in a wide variety of industries of all sizes. As has been much discussed in many headlines, this is primarily because of three main reasons: 1) It is much more cost effective to implement than in past years; 2) Solutions can be…
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 Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything…
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.…
Password Challenges Simple passwords are no longer safe to use online. John Barco, vice president of Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock, explains why it’s time the industry embraced more advanced identity-centric solutions that improve the customer experience while also providing stronger security. Since the beginning of logins, consumers have used a simple username and password to…
The Importance of Cloud Backups Cloud platforms have become a necessary part of modern business with the benefits far outweighing the risks. However, the risks are real and account for billions of dollars in losses across the globe per year. If you’ve been hacked, you’re not alone. Here are some other companies in the past…