Category Archives: Lists

12 Inspirational Stories of Animals Using Technology

12 Inspirational Stories of Animals Using Technology

12 Inspirational Stories of Animals Using Technology 

Pets bring so much joy to humans. Whether you’re a dog person, a cat person, or a hamster person, there is nothing better than taking time out of a hectic schedule to relax with our your furry friends. Given how much happiness animals bring to us, it’s fantastic that modern science and technology now allows us to give so much back to them – especially in the areas of protection, well-being, and health.

Read on to learn about some fantastically inspirational stories involving animals and tech:

1) Rabbit on wheels…

Lily was taken in by North Texas Rabbit Sanctuary with a broken back, a condition that required her legs to be amputated.

 

2) Bird with a man-made beak… 

Poachers shot this American Eagle’s beak off, but a mechanical engineer saved the day.

Beauty and the Beak

3) Famous pig uses K’nex

 This pig is so famous he’s become the subject of three children’s books.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z-uO5TPQfM

 4) A 3D printed foot… 

Thanks to NovaCopy, this duck with a backwards foot can lead a normal life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ewU8ZIf3Bg

 5) The goldfish that couldn’t swim… 

If you’re a fish that can’t swim you’ve got a huge problem, unless you’ve got an owner who secretly a genius!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsRwn20xAco

 6) The dolphin with no tail…

Winter lives in a marine aquarium in Florida. She lost her tail after getting caught in the buoy line of a crab trap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbtMo3rhSgo 

7) Elephant with a prosthetic foot… 

Chhouk was found alone and unhappy in the Cambodian jungle. He could hardly walk after a poacher’s trap destroyed his foot.

8) A sea turtle with an artificial fin…

Prior to humans’ intervention, Allison the green sea turtle could only swim around in tight circles because she only had one flipper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpzATXGBIqQ

9) Double legged calf…

This calf was the first cow in the world to have two new limbs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99n1OdLDlPU

10) A sheep in a wheelchair…

Summer the sheep lost control of her back legs and it looked like she’d have to be put down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7ZzWTw7P_E

11) Cat with prosthetic legs…

Oscar was the first cat in the world with prosthetic legs after an incident on a farm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqUEraHGHvI

12) Tsunami dog…

Not a case of using robotics, but this dog was found floating on debris 1.2 miles out to sea after the Japanese tsunami in 2011.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dNdbV2jJx4

Do you know of any inspirational stories about pets or animals? Let us know in the comments!

By Dan Price

The Cloud In 2015: Eight Trends To Look For

The Cloud In 2015: Eight Trends To Look For

The Cloud In 2015

For organizations of all sizes, in 2014 the cloud emerged as a critical part of the default consideration set when implementing any new application – in large part due to the cloud’s proven ability to handle data storage and processing demands in an elastic manner, improved verifiable standards around data security and service reliability, and lower overall total-cost-of-ownership.

As we move into the New Year, below are eight big-picture trends in cloud computing for 2015.

preditions

1. Forecast

Cloudy days ahead. Despite the continued incidence of cyber threats and attacks – including the latest against Sony – the market remains optimistic towards the cloud, especially as companies grow and economies scale. Applications spanning HR, sales automation, and governance, risk and compliance (GRC) will become even more widely adopted in the cloud in 2015, a view shared by independent technology and market research company Forrester Research. There is a robust and rapidly growing cloud subscription market, and organizations are continuing to take advantage of pay-as-you-go models, a new norm in the cloud world.

2. Flight to safety

Organizations are continuing to put more and more data in the cloud. With so much critical and sensitive data all in one place, comes increased risk. Some still remain skeptical as to whether existing cloud safeguards are adequate and sufficient. But rest assured – in 2015, we will see unprecedented resources and brainpower used to further strengthen and secure the cloud. While we may see more cyber threats and successful attacks, we will also see the industry rally in response, united by its mission to build bulletproof organizations, and with it, bulletproof clouds.

3. Information security a top concern

security-network

Big cloud and data storage players such as Amazon and IBM have thought about information security from the ground up. This includes everything from the staff, training programs, tools and processes that are needed to run truly world-class cloud and data storage centers. Today, strong information security programs are paramount for every organization and every industry, but even more so for banks and financial services institutions who face increasingly stringent compliance requirements and scrutiny from the regulators. Banks and financial services institutions have led the way when it comes to building out centers of information security excellence, and they are well on their way to ensure that all of the proactive and remedial measures are in place to protect against information security threats today and into the future. We will see similar stringent norms being adopted by other industries too, particularly those with large exposures to customer data and multiple customer touch points. The usage and integration of newer technology trends such as mobility, big data and real-time computing will also be brought into the information security paradigm in order to make it more robust and fool proof.

4. Greater need for industry standards

Broadly speaking, there are insufficient industry standards when it comes to baseline information security. In large part, across industries, everything remains fragmented, and organizations are focused on issues of the moment, such as information leaks, or privacy breaches, rather than bigger picture risks. We need to see organizations and industries get past their current challenges and think more proactively about the future. Cloud vendors, in particular, have realized the need for greater industry standardization when it comes to information security, and the Cloud Security Alliance, and ISO will likely spearhead continued developments in this regard.

5. Information security reviews will become more like audits

It’s a short step from a review to an audit. IT organizations will continue to ask, on a more frequent basis, for a review of their cloud accounts, what information security incidents have occurred, and how they were addressed. Similar to an audit, handling information security incidents requires visibility and transparency. Let’s say a company has put its entire Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in the cloud. Each known information security risk for each operation must be classified by its criticality, which then drives the frequency of the review. There will also be more frequent and random spot checks, just like audits. The IT organization will be on the sharp lookout to ensure their cloud providers are able to proactively identify, assess and mitigate risks.

6. Greater scrutiny on access controls

Currently, cloud providers offer a set of accounts to a company, who then distributes the accounts to its employees. Companies are increasingly asking their cloud providers for more data about their cloud accounts, such as who is using these accounts, and in what capacity. Due to several recent high-profile cases, we will continue to see greater scrutiny around which employees have access to these cloud accounts. Critical questions are also being asked, such as: if an employee is no longer with the company, either through termination or change of roles, whose responsibility is it to ensure their account is immediately terminated? In 2015, we will see more robust segregation of duties, greater assurance regarding the rights to use an application in the cloud, as well as new restrictions around employee access to data and applications operating on a “need to know” basis. We will also see more real-time access management, dynamic rights allocations and revocations, and other such features playing a bigger role to ensure the sacrosanct of information.

7. Hacker robots

hacker-robots

Automatic robots are continually testing applications for availability and performance. In the same way, once security testing is added to the robots’ protocol, this becomes an important new metric for management, who are asking for trending heat maps with green, yellow and red assurances for security, just like they are used to seeing for availability or performance. In 2015, automation will continue to change how we test for information security — testing that was previously done on an ad hoc basis will become more systematic and automatic. “Pen testing” (penetration testing), which consists of programming a hacker to break into an application, is done infrequently, but I predict there will be more automated frameworks to “hack my app” in the coming year. The most sophisticated and security-aware companies will want to frequently bombard their cloud systems, and they will ask for contractual agreements that permit ongoing and real-time information security testing.

8. A whole new C-Suite

Mobility, cloud computing, social media and Big Data have become central to a company’s competitive advantage. As such, we will continue to see greater prominence of organizational positions that are related to and connected with the organization’s data. More and more companies are creating a Chief Data Officer role, with the actual title depending on the company and the industry. This position will work hand-in-hand with other key C-level roles, including the Chief Risk Officer, the Chief Compliance Officer, and the Chief Digital Officer.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Vidya Phalke

Four Considerations for Businesses Who Want To Participate In the Internet of Things

Four Considerations for Businesses Who Want To Participate In the Internet of Things

Businesses Who Want To Participate In the Internet of Things

The internet of things is one of the biggest technology buzzwords at the moment, and with good reason. As more devices come online, more opportunities for enterprises present themselves, and more people engage with the industry, there is a belief that by 2020 we could see almost all our frequently used home appliances become part of our networks.

From a business perspective, there are innumerable possibilities and potential pitfalls. High-speed networks, machine-to-machine platforms, big data and analytics, mobile solutions and enhanced security are all helping companies drive efficiency, increase revenue, and improve their customer experience – but only if implemented properly.

floating-smart-city

Here are four things businesses need to consider:

1) Participation is Key

The internet of things provides lots of new ways for businesses to stay ahead of the curve in their respective markets. Those that don’t embrace the opportunity will struggle to survive as competitors continue to disrupt the market.

For example – companies used to manipulate their inventories to account for unknown expenditures, but machine-to machine technology now lets them able to track inventory throughout its supply chain. It lets businesses significantly decrease inventory and nearly eliminate the guesswork of demand planning. The saved capital can instead be spent on growth initiatives, thus keeping the enterprise on the front foot.

2) A Portal for Innovation

The new revenue streams created by the internet of things are opening the door to innovations that weren’t possible a decade ago.

An example of this is gun crime. Start-up ShotStopper is installing arrays of interconnected computer-powered acoustic devices in a city which can instant detects and locate gunshots, before delivering real-time data alerts to dispatch centres, patrol cars and smart phones.

3) Improved Customer Experience

The advanced capabilities of the internet of things means companies are now able to deliver more personalised applications that can enhance the customer experience – with companies now aiming to engage with their clients at every stage of the lifecycle – from identification and acquisition to service and support.

4) Customers Need Help

While the internet of things offers significant potential for businesses, it could have a negative impact if not managed appropriately. Whereas homes of twenty years only had very limited inter-device connectivity, the home of the future will cause will the number of daily interactions which pair consumers with internet-connected devices and touch points to grow massively.

It means the potential for misunderstanding, malfunction and misuse is vast. It turn, it means companies are likely to have a requirement for a much larger and more technically minded customer support infrastructure.

What do you think?

Does your business use the internet of things? What tips would you give to another business looking to get involved? Let us know in the comments below.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Daniel Price

9 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A Cloud

9 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A Cloud

9 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Cloud

According to Gartner, 50% of enterprises will adopt a hybrid cloud by 2017. While the benefits are too compelling to ignore, every mix of private, public, and hybrid cloud infrastructure comes with a new set of challenges and risks. The industry is learning that increased flexibility also means rethinking availability, security, and compliance procedures. These challenges present themselves at the very outset, when IT managers evaluate the best cloud provider(s) for a given set of applications. Without an in-depth understanding of the new mindset cloud technologies demand, it’s easy to build a new cloud application stack on a rocky foundation by making these common nine mistakes when choosing a cloud:

1. Assume all clouds offer the same services.blog-pict-choose-your-cloud-CloudEndure

Simply making the decision to “move to the cloud” is just a first step. Beyond private, public, and hybrid cloud environments, every cloud setup and provider comes with a set of predefined services along with respective cost/performance levels. The right cloud mix depends on your specific requirements, in addition to the applications and infrastructure in which you’ve already invested. For example, a private cloud will deliver increased flexibility but will also be less scalable. On the public end of the spectrum, if you’re already invested in a vendor (for example, IBM or Microsoft), you are likely better off working with the public cloud offering of the same vendor for a smoother cloud migration ride.

2. Ignore varying performance of different cloud providers

Expect different cloud providers to produce different performance levels for a given application. Moreover, the same cloud provider will deliver different performance in different regions – depending on how you take advantage of the provider’s infrastructure and services. For any given setup, your application will behave differently. It’s up to you to plan for specific performance levels and prepare to tweak them until you reach your goals.

3. Expect any application to run on any cloud infrastructure

Cloud providers are not OS-agnostic. If your infrastructure is heavily dependent on Windows, Google is quite simply not an option. In fact, some legacy systems aren’t supported by any cloud provider. Do your homework before committing to a provider!

4. Forecast the same cost distribution for different resources among provider

Every application stack will consume different levels of resources. A storage management system is a very different animal from a graphic processing engine. The more specialized your application, the more likely your cost is to vary considerably across different providers.

5. Assume cloud providers commit to similar SLAs

Similar to performance, every provider has its own SLA, and even specific SLAs per service. For example, while AWS commits to virtually no long-term data loss, you should expect 99.95% availability at best when it comes to compute resources.

6. Ignore 3rd party service support across different cloud providers

If your application is based on specific virtual appliances (e.g. payment gateways or security firewalls), it’s unlikely every cloud provider will be able to provide the same level of support. Review your application components carefully to avoid missing that critical component at an advanced implementation stage.

7. Design an application in advance without considering unique cloud provider characteristics

Every cloud provider offers a different mix of services, supported 3rd party services, and data center architecture. If you ignore these unique characteristics, your setting yourself up for a project that is virtually impossible to predict in terms of cost, performance, and maintenance requirements.

8. Take an all or nothing approach

Choosing a cloud doesn’t mean you need to move all your applications to a single environment. For each part of every application you run, you may choose a different approach.

9. Ignore disaster recovery and automated migration requirements.

Application downtime is a challenge in cloud environments at least as much as in bare metal infrastructure. It is up to you to ensure your applications remain available through cloud outages, and that it is easy to migrate to the cloud from your existing setups. While specific tools and 3rd-party services exist to help you manage this process, not every cloud provider will support these tools. It’s up to you to plan for RPO (Recovery Point Objective indicating acceptable data loss), RTO (Recovery Time Objective indicating maximum time limit until system is up and running with recent data), and automated migration requirements for the long term.

How to easily automate cloud migration for true workload mobility – Read More >

By Leonid Feinberg, VP Product at CloudEndure

Leonid is VP Product at CloudEndure. He previously served as a prominent technologist and business analyst in the Technology Unit of the Israeli Intelligence Corps, and benefits from over 12 years of experience in senior product management, product marketing and R&D positions in Mind CTI, Digicash, AcceloWeb and Limelight Networks. Leonid has 5 patents to his name.

How To Get Your Apps Ready For The Cloud

How To Get Your Apps Ready For The Cloud

How To Get Your Apps Ready For The Cloud

Unless you’ve just started a brand-new organization, your IT environment is currently running a diverse collection of last-generation and older applications that were deployed with the one-application-per-server approach that unleashed the server sprawl that most organizations are still recovering from.

The full potential of cloud computing, however, will only be realized through advances in lean/agile development of applications that can fully leverage the cloud environment. Instead of having to over-buy to support peak demands, the new generation of applications are capable of automatic self-provisioning and can expand and contract as business requirements change.

The best way to get across the gap that exists between apps that intelligently provide for themselves and your existing app inventory is a step-by-step process that starts with assessing what you’ve got now and dividing it into separate categories you can conquer one at a time. For example:

Identify the applications you don’t want to have to worry about anymore — i.e., email and other utilities that are not part of your core competency. These are good candidates for replacing with SaaS apps. Identify the custom applications you have developed and determine if they can be virtualized as is. This would be a good time to do a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether it is time to revise or replace them. Choose a development environment for new apps, and determine if Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is appropriate.

Tips for Developing Apps for the Cloud

Whichever development environment you choose for new apps, here are five tips for getting the most out of the applications you develop for your cloud:

  1. Learn to Share: Developing for the cloud is different than developing for conventional in-house hardware. Rather than requiring applications to have their own database, storage, communication and authentication mechanisms, the cloud can offer common, shared components accessible via an API.
  2. Don’t Bypass PaaS: The end game of shared services is to provide a suite of services which are easily accessible and a system for managing environments, users and the deployment of code. Developers and testers can easily deploy and promote tested code using the auto deployment features inherent in most Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) environments.
  3. Become Omniscient: Within the cloud, enhanced monitoring tools and dashboards give developers the ability to predict utilization and right-size resources on the fly to meet the needs of the user base much more easily – and cost effectively.
  4. Give Orchestration a Second Look: Clouds can contain an orchestration layer that enables rapid provisioning of whole environments (VMs, software, configuration). A lot of clients believe that because an application is difficult to set up, it is not a candidate for automatic self provisioning, but that is exactly when it makes the most sense.
  5. Rely on Self Service: Most clouds have some aspect of self provisioning of at least VMs, and in the case of orchestration, entire environments. This means developers and quality assurance (QA) teams can have access to applications when and where they need to.

No App Is an Island in the Cloud

One of the biggest challenges in leveraging cloud technology for your applications is the disconnect that exists in most IT departments between the application developers, virtualization experts and the infrastructure team. Venn diagrams of their skillsets rarely overlap.

You need to get these guys talking to each other. A successful application strategy that takes advantage of cloud environments needs to be developed through a collaboration of experts in these three areas. Left to their own devices, your app guys will tend toward anarchy and your infrastructure guys will tend towards locking everything down too tight. If your experts focus only on their needs and priorities, you end up with a three-legged stool with a leg missing. It won’t stand.

My next column for Cloud Tweaks will offer a reality check on the grand vision of integrating IT Service Management (ITSM) and automation/orchestration. This is a path you will need to navigate, but, don’t assume it’s going to be a walk in the park. Automation has the potential to bring tremendous efficiencies to your organization, but unless you very tightly integrate your technology with associated processes and procedures, automation can set loose any number of devils from the details within your IT environment.

By Brian Day

As Senior Director of Cloud Dev/Ops and Solution Development for Logicalis, Brian is responsible for managing the Logicalis Cloud and the development of new solutions.

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 1

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 1

10 Useful Cloud Security Tools: Part 1

Cloud computing has become a business solution for many organizational problems. But there are security risks involved with using cloud servers: service providers generally only take responsibility of keeping systems up, and they neglect security at many ends. Therefore, it is important that clouds are properly penetration (pen) tested and secured to ensure proper security of user data.

There are many tools available that can be used to automate the process of pen testing. Most of them can be found with pen testing distributions like Backtrack or Blackbox. Here is a list of recommended tools for pen testing cloud security:

Acunetix – Web Vulnerability Scanner

acunetix 

This information gathering tool scans web applications on the cloud and lists possible vulnerabilities that might be present in the given web application. Most of the scanning is focused on finding SQL injection and cross site scripting vulnerabilities. It has both free and paid versions, with paid versions including added functionalities. After scanning, it generates a detailed report describing vulnerabilities along with the suitable action that can be taken to remedy the loophole.

This tool can be used for scanning cloud applications. Beware: there is always a chance of false positives. Any security flaw, if discovered through scanning, should be verified. The latest version of this software, Acunetix WVS version 8, has a report template for checking compliance with ISO 27001, and can also scan for HTTP denial of service attacks.

Aircrack-ng – A Tool for Wi-Fi Pen Testers

This is a comprehensive suite of tools designed specifically for network pen testing and security. This tool is useful for scanning Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) models. Having no firewall, or a weak firewall, makes it very easy for malicious users to exploit your network on the cloud through virtual machines. This suite consists of many tools with different functionalities, which can be used for monitoring the network for any kind of malicious activity over the cloud.

Its main functions include:

  • Aircrack-ng – Cracks WEP or WPA encryption keys with dictionary attacks
  • Airdecap-ng – Decrypts captured packet files of WEP and WPA keys
  • Airmon-ng – Puts your network interface card, like Alfa card, into monitoring mode
  • Aireplay-ng – This is packet injector tool
  • Airodump-ng – Acts as a packet sniffer on networks
  • Airtun-ng – Can be used for virtual tunnel interfaces
  • Airolib-ng – Acts as a library for storing captured passwords and ESSID
  • Packetforge-ng – Creates forged packets, which are used for packet injection
  • Airbase-ng – Used for attacking clients through various techniques.
  • Airdecloak-ng – Capable of removing WEP clocking.

Several others tools are also available in this suite, including esside-ng, wesside-ng and tkiptun-ng. Aircrack-ng can be used on both command line interfaces and on graphical interfaces. In GUI, it is named Gerix Wi-Fi Cracker, which is a freely available network security tool licensed to GNU.

Cain & Abel

This is a password recovery tool. Cain is used by penetration testers for recovering passwords by sniffing networks, brute forcing and decrypting passwords. This also allows pen testers to intercept VoIP conversations that might be occurring through cloud. This multi functionality tool can decode Wi-Fi network keys, unscramble passwords, discover cached passwords, etc. An expert pen tester can analyze routing protocols as well, thereby detecting any flaws in protocols governing cloud security. The feature that separates Cain from similar tools is that it identifies security flaws in protocol standards rather than exploiting software vulnerabilities. This tool is very helpful for recovering lost passwords.

In the latest version of Cain, the ‘sniffer’ feature allows for analyzing encrypted protocols such as SSH-1 and HTTPS. This tool can be utilized for ARP cache poisoning, enabling sniffing of switched LAN devices, thereby performing Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks. Further functionalities have been added in the latest version, including authentication monitors for routing protocols, brute-force for most of the popular algorithms and cryptanalysis attacks.

Ettercap

Ettercap is a free and open source tool for network security, designed for analyzing computer network protocols and detecting MITM attacks. It is usually accompanied with Cain. This tool can be used for pen testing cloud networks and verifying leakage of information to an unauthorized third party. It has four methods of functionality:

  • IP-based Scanning – Network security is scanned by filtering IP based packets.
  • Mac-based Scanning – Here packets are filtered based on MAC addresses. This is used for sniffing connections through channels.
  • ARP-based functionality – ARP poisoning is used for sniffing into switched LAN through an MITM attack operating between two hosts (full duplex).
  • Public-ARP based functionality – In this functionality mode, ettercap uses one victim host to sniff all other hosts on a switched LAN network (half duplex).

John the Ripper

The name for this tool was inspired by the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper. This tool was written by Black Hat Pwnie winner Alexander Peslyak. Usually abbreviated to just “John”, this is freeware which has very powerful password cracking capabilities; it is highly popular among information security researchers as a password testing and breaking program tool. This tool has the capability of brute forcing cloud panels. If any security breach is found, then a security patch can be applied to secure enterprise data.

Originally created for UNIX platforms, John now has supported versions for all major operating systems. Numerous password cracking techniques are embedded into this pen testing tool to create a concise package that is capable of identifying hashes through its own cracker algorithm.

Cloud providing vendors need to embed security within their infrastructure. They should not emphasize keeping high uptime at the expense of security.

By Chetan Soni

10 Innovative Cloud-Based Start-ups

10 Innovative Cloud-Based Start-ups

10 Innovative Cloud-Based Start-ups

The growth of cloud computing over the last five years has seen a rapid increase in the number of start-up companies in the sector. Many of these start-ups are doing unique things that are changing the landscape of the cloud industry itself and establishing themselves as new market leaders in the process.

The list of interesting companies is endless, but here we take a look at ten which grabbed our attention…

start-up-image

1. SkyKick

The launch of Microsoft’s Office 365 heralded a new era for the ubiquitous productivity suite, as the company unified its various apps into an always-up-to-date cloud service – but migration to the system could be tedious and problematic. SkyKick was launched in 2013 with the aim of helping SMEs quickly move from legacy systems to Office 365. The app can migrate everything from the legacy email system and architecture to the data and settings.

2. VigyanLabs

VigyanLabs is an Indian start-up that was founded in 2010 by a team of specialists in high-performance computing. The company provide solutions aimed at reducing the massive power consumption of global data centres. By using intelligent power management VigyanLabs can now reduce usage by up to 40 percent.

3. Nebula

With the aim of accommodating the physical scale of big data and web and mobile applications, Nebula has developed a cloud computing hardware appliance that can turn customers’ racks of standard servers into a private cloud. Built on OpenStack framework, the open source architecture is designed to help prevent vendor lock-in.

4. Piston OpenStack

After being founded in 2011, Piston OpenStack has received funding from industry leaders such as CISCO Systems and Swisscom Ventures to help develop their private cloud operating system. The system is highly scalable and focuses on ease of use and advanced security features for highly regulated environments.

5. AtomOrbit

AtomOrbit is an innovator BYOD solutions. Their flagship software – TeamFusion – has been designed around Microsoft SharePoint and provides an agnostic feature-rich user experience on a device of any size. The HTML5 web-app pulls SharePoint data like announcements, lists, calendars, blogs and events and presents it on a single dashboard.

6. CloudVelocity

CloudVelocity offers the only fully automated solution for deploying Windows and Linux multi-tier apps and services into the cloud without the need for modification or virtualization. After being founded in late 2012 the company have already raised more than $18 million in Series A and B funding.

7. Classle

Classle is an entirely cloud-based education provider. The company was founded with the idea of providing post-secondary education to people living in rural areas of third-world countries. Built using open source technologies, students can access content, attend live online classes, review audio and video recordings, ask questions and consult experts on topics they choose.

8. Codename One

Since launching in 2012, Codename One already powers 25 million devices. Operating in the rapid application development market, the platform allows developers make their apps work across iOS, Android, Windows, and RIM while only having to write the code once using Java.

9. Revolve Robotics

Working in the cloud-based teleconferencing industry, Revolve Robotics enables users to look around the room they are conferencing with, including on the opposite side of the connection. The web app allows users to design their own meeting room including personalised saved positions and titles for each team member. The camera can be controlled through any web-capable device.

10. Airpost

With the increase of BYOD it is becoming ever more important for companies to effectively monitor the various security levels of the multitude of apps being used. Airpost allows IT administrators understand all the cloud services being used in their organisation and implement advanced controls to manage and enforce security policies.

What do you are think are some of the most interesting start-ups in the cloud-based sector? Have we missed off your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Cloud Video Streaming And Subscriptions

Cloud Video Streaming And Subscriptions

Cloud Video Streaming And Subscriptions

What is better? Wait… let me start over here. Is ownership with a one time price or a monthly subscription with a constant flux of entertainment a better option with internet based entertainment? I guess this is more of a subjective question with the person but these are really the two options unless you are just being sneaky and torrenting everything. So avoiding a potential FCC fine and jail time let’s just stay with the good old fashion paying for everything and focus on the technology of internet streaming and how the cloud is playing it’s part with your Saturday night stay at home date.hulu

To take a major step to the left from where we are going, Darwin once wrote most famously, that only the strongest and most aptly fit to their surroundings will survive.  While it takes a great deal of time to watch Darwin’s arguments of evolution in the natural realm it seems ever so clear this is how business works as well.  With the recent death of the video rental store for the convenience of internet streaming and downloading we have seen the strongest survive with a society plugged into the internet.  With Netflix, Hulu, Sony’s PSN store, Amazon Instant Videos, iTunes, and many on-demand internet television subscriptions it is easy for anyone with a simple internet connection to ignore the traditional means of watching the latest movie for instant access, with a few limitations.

Unlimited Subscriptions:

With the most common internet streaming companies provide unlimited streaming data with a monthly or yearly subscription.  Netflix and Hulu Plus are the most common companies that provide television and movies that have a month to month payment plan, while Amazon Instant Video comes with the yearly subscription to Amazon Prime. These companies have a similar process when it comes to activating an account.

  • Provide personal information

  • Choose the service options (if provided)

  • Check Internet Connection requirements

  • Provide credit card information

  • Begin streaming on shows and movies.

netflixThese are the most popular choice among most people because it is a simple subscription that is less than buying or renting a movie and you have the option to watch anything on the companies list of movies and television shows. On top of that you can watch what is provided to you at any time without having to pay another price on top of the month subscription.  The only drawback is that you do not personally own the movies on your streaming account and a movie you may like a lot is subject to removal. Yet with the ever expanding cloud technology more and more films, and television shows are able to be placed on the company’s server giving you more options. Of course this isn’t news to even the most amateur of internet users, so we need to compare this option to a buy to own like ITunes or Sony’s option with the personal account cloud.

Pay as You Go:

Moving to the horse of a different color you have cloud operated downloaded purchases with outlets like Amazon Instant Video, Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) store, and iTunes.  This is either pay to purchase or rent but you do not have a monthly subscription option for unlimited access. Sure you have to give up all your personal information and credit card numbers once, so as you don’t have to be bothered every time you buy something, but the real question is how is it stored once you bought it.  On iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, the PlayStation Network Store, and countless others are developing the technology to use the cloud for each of their customers. With that option, many believe hard copies will become a thing of the past. Regardless, once you:

  • Download the companies program

  • Submit private information for an account (including personal information and financial information)

  • Search for the content you want.

  • Pay the fee and the product will be uploaded to your device.

Then you own a digital copy of a movie that is stored on the companies cloud device.  You can watch it whenever you like, and it doesn’t take up much hard drive space as it might if you downloaded the whole movie or television show to your devices hard drive. Of course once you own a film on the cloud it doesn’t mean much unless there is a simple way to pull the content up on a device and enjoy it.  Cloud technology is an important step, but with one step you need to take another step so you aren’t off balanced.

When it comes to the growth of cloud technology the people behind this push for a wider reach need to understand the that general public wants only the minimal effort for it to catch on.  People like to know what it does, but not how it works.  Now in a cloud base technology website that may sound absurd but hear me out.  For something to catch on by all people they need to know the basics so they can trust the technology and it operate it.  If the cloud becomes too technical then it will be abandoned for easier tech.  A perfect example of this would be how many people have made disparaging remarks about Windows 8 because it added a layer of complexity to the start up menu that most people didn’t want. I know many people who have Windows 8 and downgraded to have the straight forward startup screen they are custom to see. So when you use cloud base technology but do not have an easy method to upload your content then your company has a problem.

With most popular internet media companies this is not a problem, but sometimes the technology can become so impressive that it forgets about niche markets that can be an afterthought to a company’s main product.  For instance Sony’s PlayStation Network is great for downloading the latest PlayStation 3 videogames.  It is a simple click and it will download it to a folder straight into the sections labeled games.  It is simple, it is sweet, and it is easy to use.  Now with reports given to me from several different people I talked to wanting to download a television series or film, they found it to be slightly more difficult finding their product after they paid for it.

Comparison:

So which concept is more beneficial to use? Well that is more depended on your wants, and the company’s structure. I, myself, would be considered a hybrid as most of you would.  I enjoy using both platforms, but only when the cloud technology isn’t a hindrance.  Simplicity is the key to internet streaming movies and television series.  Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and ITunes are the nest examples of this is the market, but the market will be shifting quickly.  With Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One being released this year the demand for cloud technology will become even more apparent in today’s market of mass media.  Both systems have implemented a strong backing of cloud technology for better processing power with the machine thus, more and more television and films will be placed on the cloud.  So in the future we are excited to see how the cloud technology will be upgraded and how that might affect our society as a whole.

By Chris Kenealy

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