Category Archives: Pinup

Pinup: CloudRAIL – Laying Down The IoT Tracks With API’s

Pinup: CloudRAIL – Laying Down The IoT Tracks With API’s

The Internet of Things and API’s

If you have been paying attention to the technology press in 2016, it’s likely that you will view the impending arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) as an inevitability. The IoT, coupled with the rapid global adoption of robust cloud-based technologies, has seen whole industries being developed for a time when homes, workplaces and modes of transport are all connected and sharing information to make our lives easier. Pundits estimate that this new industry will generate billions of dollars, create thousands of jobs and transform our lives.

Internetofthings

While it is certainly true that more and more devices are able to connect to the internet, it remains to be seen whether they can all be connected to each other in such a way that they complement each other and deliver on the promise of the internet of things. The problems of interoperability are a major stumbling block and are the driving force behind CloudRail, a company which was started in 2013 in Mannheim, Germany that seeks to bundle multiple API’s into one single SDK to integrate cloud services and devices in one fast and simple setup.

felix_kollmarFounding partner of CloudRail, Felix Kollmar noticed that developers were spending an inordinate amount of time working on integration for various services, rather than focusing on their core product offerings. “CloudRail has been working closely with our developer community to understand their needs and requirements,” he explained. “Multiple standards, data structures and interfaces from numerous vendors prevent true interoperability. The idea of the Internet of Things is that devices, software and cloud services communicate effectively, efficiently and securely across multiple ecosystems, but as of now this is just a dream.”

There are multiple benefits of having a single API to drive interconnectivity. Chief amongst the benefits is the convenience and the speed of development. Customer reach can be expanded exponentially with easy integrations to more services, developer maintenance costs are eliminated as the API updates automatically, and because it is a peer-to-peer connection, the need for middleware conversion is eliminated.

Poor documentation is another major stumbling block when one is dealing with multiple API’s. It can be enormously frustrating spending time trying to decipher the instructions and understand the internal logic of different API’s developed by different people. One universal API, one SDK to integrate and one manual to read eliminates all of those problems. There’s a growing set of ready to use cloud services and smart devices for integration and, if there is something missing, then its API can be added in minutes. And because the whole data transition is happening within the SDK, with no date being passed through a CloudRail server, there is no change of security breaches or the threat of server down time.

The number of devices and appliances coming online will expand exponentially over the next years and software developers will need to connect and integrate them to drive value for users,” says Marc Langner, Investment Manager at Leonardo Venture, one of the early seed investors in CloudRail. “CloudRail has the chance to become the leader in this Interoperability space.

If the Internet of Things is going to work as seamlessly in the years to come as it is envisaged, then it’s companies like CloudRail who can take the credit for laying that foundation.

By Jeremy Daniel

Cloud Pinup: Analyzing Data With DataRPM

Cloud Pinup: Analyzing Data With DataRPM

Analyzing Data With DataRPM

The transformative power of cognitive data products in the struggle to retain customers

In a world where consumers expect more and more from the products that they buy and the services that they use, the intelligent and effective use of cognitive data services can make all the difference in the high stakes game of customer retention.

One of the most disruptive elements of high-growth companies like Uber, Netflix or Amazon is the way that they seem to improve their understanding of their customers over time. Netflix gets progressively more accurate at recommending content that you like as they receive more data about your viewing habits, while Amazon seems to understand the kind of consumer you are and how best to serve you efficiently. These amazing organizations are mastering the use of big data and machine learning and creating a business environment that other organizations are continuously trying to emulate.

DATA SCIENCE

Data scientists are key players in this new economy, and there is a huge demand for their services right now. It’s a highly skilled and complex field, and a widely cited report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the United States will experience a shortage of over 180 000 data scientists by 2018.

data-science

As a result of this shortage of data scientists, companies are increasingly turning to partners like DataRPM who are able to deploy cognitive data products at lightning speed to solve the specific business problems of recommendations and personalization and delivering actionable insights for the client to implement.

CUSTOMER CHURN

There’s an old adage which states that bringing in new customers is hard but losing them is easy. The phenomenon of customer churn refers to the loss of a customer or consumer to an organization and is a universal problem for companies big and small. For example, analysts estimate that US credit card companies deal with an annual churn rate of over 20% and considerable resources are dedicated to trying to reduce that customer leakage.

Of course, companies that spend most of their energy constantly trying to bring in new customers are rarely able to grow to the extent that they fulfill their potential.

CUSTOMER RETENTION

Why is customer retention so difficult? Online, most customers are young, brand conscious and price sensitive. Fluctuating prices for subscriptions, multiple passwords to remember, complex barriers to entry and shifting tastes can all lead to high customer churn. Of course, the process of attrition is only worsened when a product simply doesn’t operate properly. Recently a leading telecommunication provider in France recently faced a major crisis.

big-data-customer

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

They had a customer base of 10 million customers who were using their ITV set-top boxes, but nearly 42% of their boxes were throwing out errors and customers were deserting them in droves. The clients’ internal data team was able to identify 30% of set-top boxes that were likely to throw errors but that wasn’t getting to the heart of the problem. When DataRPM was engaged to work on the problem, the company deployed a machine-first approach with its Cognitive Data Product customized for the client’s issue and which automated the whole process of predictive model building. This allowed them to test all 50 000 set-top box models and select the one with the best prediction accuracy.

Inside eight weeks, DataRPM built a reusable model that not only predicted the types of errors that could occur, but also the 77% of set-top boxes which were throwing out errors and the reasons behind them. Ultimately, they were able to cut the clients’ operation costs by between US$3 – 5 million (through customer service), and help them retain 36% of their customer base, leading to an increased customer lifetime value of US$6.6 million.

COGNITIVE POWER

The addition of cognitive capabilities to machine learning is transforming the arena of data science and leading to massive leaps forward in customer retention. The ability to let the machine figure out the best algorithms according to the data, as opposed to waiting for a data scientist to run different models, dramatically changes the scale and speed of the solution.

It’s a staggering breakthrough that effectively eliminates the problems caused by the scarcity of data scientists and allows companies to scale as and how they see fit. And the more data they process, the better their insights and recommendations become, leading to a virtuous cycle for clients and consumers alike.

Cognitive data products which positively impact customer retention, such as those offered by DataRPM allow clients to focus on their core products and delegate resources appropriately. For many companies, it’s a complete paradigm shift that helps them rediscover the reasons why they went into business in the first place.

By Jeremy Daniel

Cloud Pinup: CloudMoyo – Compliance Management

Cloud Pinup: CloudMoyo – Compliance Management

Cloud Pinup: CloudMoyo

The burden of security and regulation makes compliance a burning issue in the migration to the cloud

As the international move to cloud computing platforms gathers pace, the issue of compliance is one that comes up regularly, and is often cited as one of the primary barriers to transition. Today’s high-pressure business environment means companies demand that their data is secure as it moves off-premise and into the cloud, and that it complies with the laws that govern a particular industry.

Rules And Regulations

With the staggering number of rules and regulations that companies must comply with, they are increasingly looking to cloud service providers to manage compliance issues as part of the service. In addition to compliance and rock-solid security, cloud providers must offer their customers with a seamless view of their applications on the cloud, and illustrate how they integrate their cloud offerings with those that remain in a legacy environment.

One of the global cloud leaders to establish a solid reputation in the arena of compliance is CloudMoyo, a cloud-moyo-Manish-Kediaglobal company operating at the critical intersection between their clients and the 21st century technology that keeps them agile and competitive. Cloud Moyo forged its reputation in the high stakes arena of Healthcare and Life Sciences, and as a result it has become a pioneer in the field of cloud compliance. “Moving to the cloud presents huge opportunities for agility and cost savings but most customers find this transition difficult or unnerving because of complex security and compliance challenges,” says Manish Kedia, CEO & President of CloudMoyo. “For example, ongoing updates to regulations such as HIPAA and PPACA challenge healthcare organizations to take a fresh look at risks of their cloud migrations. We can help leverage the cloud while mitigating risk & ensuring data compliance with regulations such as PCI, ITAR, SOX, GLBA, PHI, HIPAA, PPACA, and HITECH.”

Compliant Cloud Framework

Their experience in Healthcare allowed the company to build its Compliant Cloud Framework which can be adapted to any business environment in any sector of the economy. What the Framework does so effectively is to allow CloudMoyo “to host, develop, integrate and migrate to the cloud environment by building the right processes, tools and services, and controls.” By working together with its clients, CloudMoyo assesses the industry landscape and selects the right cloud environment, chooses from a set of tools to match the enterprise requirements and then deploys the processes, tools & services and controls to meet the requirements

This level of detail and expertise brings peace of mind to an organization that its migration to the cloud is in safe, experienced hands. Once the data is safeguarded and compliant with regulations, then cloud service providers can look to broaden the cloud’s impact in a number of distinct areas.

The Human Element

human-business

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Companies can have some of the most sophisticated systems ever developed in place, but at the end of the day, the human element is another critical factor in ensuring successful cloud compliance. Both administrators and users need to make sure that they are trained sufficiently on various policies and procedures.

Yet, when it is effectively applied, the cloud can have the very real effect of bringing down costs and simplifying the compliance issue. Once the system is effectively established, then keeping it secure and compliant with governmental and industry regulations is far simpler than it was on legacy systems.

By Jeremy Daniel

Cloud Pinup: Jukedeck – A.I. Based Music Creator

Cloud Pinup: Jukedeck – A.I. Based Music Creator

Cloud Pinup: Jukedeck

Think of that beautiful piece of video you shot over the weekend. Wouldn’t it sound better with a piece of music to go with it? Of course it would. How long is the video? What style do you want it to be and how do you want it to make you feel? Uplifting folk music that finishes in 1 minute and 5 seconds? No problem. Click here and.…hang on…there’s your track. Original, made-to-order music delivered via the cloud and ready to be added to any platform you want.

Rights-free, original music at just the touch of a button.

That’s exactly what the folks at Jukedeck, a London-based startup, have just released, and if they’ve read the market correctly then they’re about to solve the problem of struggling to get music rights to a song or spending hours sifting through stock music folders to find the right kind of aural accompaniment. This is software as a service for the millennial, content-creating generation.

juke-deck-screen

It’s an intriguing notion and one that could find a receptive market for people who don’t have the time, energy or expertise to source a great soundtrack that can be uploaded with all its rights intact onto YouTube. Already Jukedeck claims that over 100 000 tracks have been recorded in 85 countries and it’s music has featured on clips with over 16 million views on YouTube.

You can try the software right here and right now with this link.

The company is the brainchild of Ed Rex and Patrick Stobbs, two Cambridge students who loved music and machine learning. The startup just launched its first product Jukedeck MAKE at TechCrunch Disrupt in London to solid acclaim and has closed a £2 Million round of funding ($3 Million USD), led by Cambridge Innovation Capital. At the heart of the system is machine learning, the effective use of artificial intelligence to create tailored, original music.

Producing On The Fly

The company has set its sights on the growing world of online video and its a huge market where anyone with a smartphone can produce and upload a broadcast-quality piece of video. YouTube is the industry leader and a 21st Century juggernaut but Facebook, Instagram and every other online site is increasingly moving towards the moving image. “300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, a number that’s trebled in the last two years,” they explain. “In addition more TV content and advertisements are being produced than ever before. And all this content needs music.”

The company estimates that the market for music for video is already worth US$2 billion and growing all the time. Of course, music is not only created for video. Think retail, training modules, gaming, all platforms which benefit from the addition of rights-free music.

Music & SaaS Evolution

The unique selling point here is the fact that machine-learning has enabled that music to be original. Music has been evolving into a SaaS business for some time now. The advent of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music ensure that the storage capabilities of the cloud and the slick delivery of content to users is central to the continued use of the product. As TechCrunch explained in its story on “The SaaSing of the Music industry’, “the streaming services also have to play the SaaS game to ensure subscribers don’t churn and join other streaming services. In many respects, the artists themselves become creative talent for iTunes, Spotify and others, much like engineers and product developers are the rock stars behind other SaaS providers, such as Uber and Airbnb.”

Jukedeck is a logical next step in that evolution and will provide a neat solution for thousands of amateur videographers looking to get better quality content online.

By Jeremy Daniel

Cloud Pinup: BrightPoint Security – Hyper Threat Intelligence

Cloud Pinup: BrightPoint Security – Hyper Threat Intelligence

Cloud Pinup: BrightPoint Security 

Cyber threats become more and more sophisticated with every passing year and companies are being forced to respond with full-time, exhaustive security information and event management (SIEM). Precious resources that would otherwise be deployed in the interests of growth and servicing consumers needs are often diverted to maintaining the security of a network.

BrightPoint Security represents a new approach for your online security by “delivering hyper relevant threat intelligence from across your trusted digital ecosystem. Relevant threats are identified in minutes instead of months through the process of automatically curating and correlating threat data from behind your perimeter fences, behind the defenses of trusted organizations and from external sources.”

bright-point-anne-bonaparteThe company works out of San Mateo, California and is led by Anne Bonaparte, the President and CEO, who this year was named as the Female Executive of the Year in the 2015 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Ms. Bonaparte holds an MBA from Harvard and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford and has previously served as the CEO of Solidcore Systems, Tablus, and MailFrontier.

The BrightPoint philosophy is that, in order to win the battle against cybercrime, enterprises need to rethink their security strategies and work together to combat the enemy. As such, the company partners extremely closely with providers such as Apache Hive / Hadoop, CarbonBlack, HP/Arcsight and many other truster providers in order to ‘rapidly identify indicators of compromise that need your attention.’

Predictive Insights

In early December 2015, the company announced a new release of its Sentinel platform which ‘provides immediate evidence-based predictive insight with risk-prioritized threat scoring.’ Detailed data is accessed through the threat-trending dashboard that allows security personnel to drill down and analyze who is being targeted and how to enforce security controls. “Today’s offering helps customers drive security strategy and get the most out of their security investments and resources by now having the ability to respond to the most immediate and relevant impending threats and to mitigate exposure fast,” says BrightPoint CTO Rich Reybok.

BrightPoint Security was formerly known as Vorstack before relaunching as BrightPoint Security in June of 2014 at the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit where it announced ‘a new company with new leadership redefining threat intelligence sharing.’

By Jeremy Daniel

Cloud Pinup: LIMA – Taking The ‘Personal Cloud’ To The Next Level

Cloud Pinup: LIMA – Taking The ‘Personal Cloud’ To The Next Level

LIMA: The Personal Cloud Startup

With every passing week, cloud storage gets easier and moves further into the mainstream. One of the biggest trends in cloud computing right now is the concept of the private cloud, and a new storage device and app called Lima is a logical link in the cloud’s evolutionary chain. The company’s tagline is “Build your personal cloud in seconds”, and it’s an accurate reflection of what they do.

Lima was founded in 2011, but really got going in 2013 after a successful crowdfunding campaign on KickStarter where it was able to raise $1.2 million which gave them the funds necessary to go into production.

Essentially, Lima is a device that plugs into your network router and allows all your devices to work as a group. With Lima, all your devices “contain exactly the same files. Just like if they were one single, unique device.” All of a sudden you can interact with all of your content at the same time, no matter which device you’re using, you can watch thousands of movies and songs on your iPad, play content on your connected TV and share confidential folders with friends and colleagues, without having to send them to third party cloud companies.

lima-features-app

Military Level Security

The company is very proud of its security, terming it ‘military level’. No-one has physical access to your data as it is stored securely in your home and all exchanges are fully encrypted. Your content will also interact easily with whatever apps are appropriate on your connected devices. Plus, if you happen to do something to ruin your content, you can be secure in the knowledge that Lima has saved a version of it at “Home”, so you are able to roll back to an earlier version with just a few simple clicks.

Setup is easy and seamless; all you do is connect the Lima device to your router and then to the external hard drive where all your files will be stored. Then you download the app onto your devices and you’re good to go.

Affordability 

It’s also an extremely affordable option as there is a once-off fee of $99 which gets you the device and the software free for life. Instead of renting cloud space, you are in effect owning your own private cloud service and your only obstacle is the size of your connected hard drive.

Lima is building a groundswell of attention and will feature strongly at CES 2016. Online tech magazine Inc.com listed Lima in its article “22 gadgets that will steal the show at CES 2016″.

It was also honored as one of the Top 10 Tech Projects on Kickstarter for 2013, and in the MIT Tech Review Innovators 35 in 2015.

Lima retains its speed by not transferring entire files between devices, unless you specify that you need to use them offline. Otherwise, it simply uses the metadata of files to give you access, and your storage capacity is entirely dependent on the size of the hard drive which you attach to the device. “Your devices are just like frames, through which you can see exactly the same content, at all times.

lima-specs

Storage Comparisons 

Comparisons with Dropbox and other cloud services are inevitable and the company has gone to great lengths to explain how they are different, noting that they are not providing memory, but rather ‘a way to make your devices store all your content in the same place.’ In addition, you don’t have to move your files into Lima, they are all automatically there.

It’s an intriguing device and is extremely consumer-friendly in its branding, ease of use and simple value proposition. If the company gets it right and the device can do what it is claims, then the word Lima may soon be as commonly used as a verb as, in the same vein as “Google it” or “Dropbox it!

By Jeremy Daniel

Cloud Pinup: Evident.io – Securing Companies Big and Small

Cloud Pinup: Evident.io – Securing Companies Big and Small

Cloud Pinup: Evident.io

Every company should be as secure as the industry leaders with NO exceptions

More and more organizations are placing their faith in the cloud, with both their general everyday and their mission-critical workloads. They trust that the cloud has evolved to a place where their data and processes will be secure while providing all the flexibility and elasticity that defines the cloud in today’s workplace. In its 2015 survey of the Enterprise Cloud, Verizon discovered that 87% of companies surveyed were using the cloud for mission-critical workloads.

tim-prendergastCEO of Evident.io, Tim Prendergast, writes on the Evident Blog that “We can all agree now that the cloud – public, private, or hybrid – is the future of data centers for organizations large and small, and that meansdeveloping new security technologies that support this future.”

This working environment naturally produced a company like Evident, which provides a security platform that continuously monitors the client’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, automatically identifies security misconfigurations and enables rapid mitigation of risk through guided remediation. In their own words: “Evident is united around the concept that every company, regardless of size, can be as secure in the cloud as leaders like Adobe and Netflix. This became our driving goal: to automate security processes while enforcing security and compliance policies.”

An automated, agentless and nonintrusive security service has many benefits to the customer; effortless migration to the cloud, complete visibility across all AWS accounts, regions and services, a proactive assessment of vulnerabilities and guided step-by-step remedial action when necessary.

 

evident-image

(IAM Security Signature Sample/Evident Blog)

The numbers are impressive when it comes to the Evident Security Platform: All 50 AWS Services are protected with results in 5 minutes, over 150 best practices are automated and a staggering 865 000 issues are detected per hour.

The product has been designed for companies both big and small, “From the Fortune 500 to the Fortune 5 000 000”, as it says on their blog, and Evident has already been adopted by organizations as diverse as Adobe, Jobvite and CareerBuilder.com, to name just a few.

Brian Morehead, senior devops architect at Jobvite reports that ‘Evident shows us and pinpoints issues in the way that we’ve configured specific services in our dev, QA and production environments almost instantaneously.’

And it’s not just private organizations that have embraced the work of Evident. The team has also produced a Government Edition which securely delivers Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation to AWS cloud environments. Writing in Signal Magazine, Tim Prendergast explains “Because government servers host so much personal data about Americans, agencies need to have full confidence that when they move to the cloud, security is a top priority.”

The company secured Series A funding of $9.85 million in November of 2014 from Bain Ventures. Managing Director of Bain Ventures, Enrique Salem explained about the funding that “No other solution can deliver this type of comprehensive security for the specific challenges of cloud infrastructure. “

The amount of data produced every day in the business world is staggering and over powering to most people. “Mainstream security strategies and controls were already struggling to keep up with the rapidly evolving threat landscape,” explains Prendergast, “and we are quickly learning that these traditional tools and tactics are mostly – if not completely – inadequate for the challenges we face in cloud computing environments.”

By taking the responsibility off key teams and automating the processes, the Evident solutions free up valuable time and resources that could be better used in other more productive areas.

By Jeremy Daniel

Cloud Pinup: PageCloud – Writing A New Chapter In Webdesign

Cloud Pinup: PageCloud – Writing A New Chapter In Webdesign

Cloud Pinup: PageCloud

One of the most neglected areas of web development in recent years has been around the actual process of building and designing a brand new website. There have been strides in template-driven web design but too often they are limiting, technical and downright clunky to use. But a Canadian startup called PageCloud is set to launch on December 1st with a product that, at first glance, seems too good to be true. Intuitive, user-friendly, flexible and high-end all at the same time. A new way to create a new web.

Here is PageCloud’s motivation for building this remarkable tool: ‘’The internet was always intended to be a place where anyone in the world can create and share something online. Somewhere along the way, we lost that. It became a read-only experience for the average user, who is left to passively browse and navigate the web. PageCloud treats any web browser as a creative tool, so that anyone seeking to build something online can do so, with ease, confidence, and delight.”

Taking On WordPress

217px-Tobias_Lütke,_ShopifyThe SaaS firm out of Ottawa, Canada has received a tremendous amount of buzz following a breakout performance at TechCrunch Disrupt and has amassed over $6 million in seed funding, most notably from Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke and early stage investment firms Accomplice and Singularity Investments. The hype seems to be justified as the company took over $200 000 in pre-sales during August and has doubled its staff complement to cope with the massive worldwide interest.

Much of the confidence in the company comes from PageCloud CEO Craig Fitzpatrick, a man not afraid to make bold statements like, “We’re going to replace WordPress.” In his bio on the site Fitzpatrick explains his motivation for PageCloud: “I want to create a world where everyone has equal access to be creative, and to share with the rest of the planet. I view it as a basic digital human right to create and share from equal footing – and I believe so much more good will come from that experience.”

And what is the edge that PageCloud has over its competitors? Simply that it makes web design easy for anyone to do. You can drag and drop like never before, import straight from Photoshop into your new site, and even find a site that you like, copy all the elements and then remake it in your own style. The browser is a blank canvas and all you have to exercise is your imagination to make it come to life. In its very impressive startup video from TechCrunch Disrupt, the customization for mobile devices seems effortless as well. Take a look:

PageCLoud is a SaaS platform, accessible via any modern browser. All sites built with PageCloud will be built upon Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, AWS. It’s compatible with most e-commerce providers, offers ‘headless’ CMS and the JavaScript API is totally transparent in edit mode. For answers to any other questions, check out their FAQ’s.

Will the company be able to deliver on all its promises? Only time will tell. But with projections of takeup from customers running 12 months ahead of schedule, it seems that the market is betting on PageCloud getting it right and changing the web design game. Speaking to The Globe and Mail, Fitzgerald admitted that “Pagecloud isn’t necessarily for the ‘1 per cent of people’ who build websites full-time using WordPress or customers who need the services of a web designer to build out their brands, but all the rest”.

By Jeremy Daniel

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