May 31, 2016

Will blockchain make the leap from cryptocurrency to smart machines?

This is despite something of a crisis of confidence in Bitcoin’s own cryptocurrency heartland, where some insiders are arguing that the model and the specific software architecture have been tested and found wanting. Some of the issues they raise inevitably apply to the extension of the Blockchain to IoT; if, as they allege, the Blockchain is itself failing to scale to support its core business, then it’s not going to be much good for IoT either. There are also concerns about the processing power and the associated electrical energy that would be needed to perform the encryption needed for all those objects. The underlying data for a blockchain-based IoT application doesn’t have to be stored on a centralized server architecture paid for by the enterprise, but it still has to be stored — and the need to maintain multiple copies surely increases rather than obviates the storage requirement.


Death or rebirth: What does the future of the PC really look like?

Microsoft's vision was to put a (Windows) computer on every desk and in every home. It pretty much managed it, at least in the richer parts of the world. But many of those PCs - especially the ones at home - are now forgotten and covered with dust. That's because smartphones and tablets are easier and quicker to use, and can do the vast majority of things you can do with a PC. Indeed there are plenty of things that a standard PC or laptop cannot do that a smartphone can. To put it another way: PC makers have struggled - and most failed to answer the question posed by Apple CEO Tim Cook last year: "Why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?" Now this doesn't mean the PC is dead: selling 232 million this year shows that. But it does mean that the PC is going to change, and so will PC makers.


Gartner's Litan Analyzes SWIFT-Related Bank Heists

Litan, who recently blogged about the lessons the SWIFT-related heists should teach U.S. banks about authentication weaknesses and lacking security controls, says banks need to implement the same controls for interbank transactions that they have in place for customer-to-bank payments. Fraud detection and risk mitigation is a shared responsibility, she adds. "We read a lot in the media about finger pointing, where SWIFT was saying it was the banks' responsibility and the banks were saying it was SWIFT's responsibility," Litan says. "Everyone needs to wake up and realize this is a shared responsibility."


What did one car say to the other car? If you make that turn I'll hit you!

It works because your car and that pickup are exchanging their location, speed, acceleration, direction and steering faster than we can blink. Many consider this conversation -- called vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V -- the most important lifesaving technology to hit the auto industry in the past 10 years. If V2V did nothing more than warn you not to turn left or enter an intersection, it could prevent about half a million crashes and save around 1,100 lives a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But automakers, universities and government organizations are exploring V2V for more than just intersection safety. ... "Whoa, don't pass that horse trailer, because there's oncoming traffic you can't see." Because of benefits like these, the US Department of Transportation is pushing automakers to adopt V2V within the next few years.


EMC and smaller players planning open-source storage middleware

The company has been quietly updating its community website, emccode.com, with a roadmap via the GitHub code repository. That's a long way from when the old hardware-centric EMC began its storage diversification push more than a decade ago, at the time being ribbed as "Expensive, Monolithic, Closed" by then-new storage networking competitor Sun Microsystems. Bernstein said EMC's early successes in open-source storage include Rex-Ray, which links containers to storage, and Polly, which provides storage resource management to virtual machines. His team will keep churning out open-source storage container projects, including some contributed by customers, as long as the container market keeps developing. "The biggest challenge right now is there's a lot of fragmentation in the market. There's no clear winner," he observed.


Raspberry Pi: The smart person's guide

Windows was another recent addition to the board. The Pi runs Windows 10 IoT Core, a cut-down version of Windows 10, not designed to run a desktop PC but instead to help hardware hackers prototype Internet of Things (IoT) appliances using the Pi. Not only are there three different generations of Pi but there are two primary models, the Model B and the lesser specced Model A. The Model A lacks Ethernet, has less memory than the B and only has one USB port. However, it sells for the lower price of $25 and draws less power. Generally the Pi 3 is the better choice than the Pi 2, as it's more powerful and is the same price. However, the Pi 1, while a good deal less powerful, is cheaper than the Pi 3, and also available in the more compact, less power hungry Model A configuration. That said, a Pi 3 Model A is due to be released this year.


Back-end integration a struggle for IoT companies

Augury is exploring several different possibilities including reducing the cost of diagnostics for commercial repair firms, improving customer outreach for appliance vendors and enabling new insurance models. The company has already lined up contracts with some of the largest HVAC repair companies in the U.S. for the on-demand diagnostic service. Yoskovitz expects appliance makers to eventually embed low cost sensors into their washing machines and refrigerators. This would make it easier to proactively send out repair technicians or recommend upgrades when machines have reached the end of their life. "After the one-year warranty, most manufacturers lose contact with the customer," he said. "If anything goes wrong, a customer will call someone on Craigslist, and the spare parts will be Chinese knockoffs.


Parallel Processing and Unstructured Data Transforms Storage

New approaches to application virtualization are also having a revolutionizing effect on the use of data storage. Operational requirements for big data analytics on unstructured data is driving the adoption of "application specific storage architectures" and real-time storage configurability. Tiering is also an enabler for the adoption and efficient operational deployment of container and microservice technologies. This reality presents a compelling case for rapid enterprise adoption of advanced tiered storage architectures. When selecting storage technologies, the smart money goes to those solutions that support the industry’s need for high performance and economical high density online storage. In order to enable the highest degree of storage automation, the solution should be able to manage the various storage technologies through a consistent interface or API.


Devops: A Culture or Concrete Activity?

The DevOps philosophy cannot be entirely divorced from processes, much like the branches of a tree cannot be disassociated with the trunk. This is where development models come into play. Schmidt supplies the example of continuous delivery, which entails building a solution in such a way that it can be released at any point in production. This doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be released in its crudest form, only that it hypothetically could, and that any potential loose ends would be tied up. Achieving this model requires extremely well-choreographed collaboration among developers, QA management, designers and other departments – so basically, an unremitting adherence to the DevOps philosophy.  Continuous delivery is essentially agile software development testing on steroids. The objective of agile is still to make defined builds for delivery.


Exercises for Building Better Teams

The concept of work organization has been evolving for years. Not only agile practitioners have discovered that self-organized teams are highly effective. A strong manager is not a requirement for a well-performing team, but that does not mean that self-organized teams lack leadership. ... To ensure that such a balance exists, Alexis Phillips and Phillip Sandahl proposed a Team Diagnostic model based on Blake’s leadership grid. They translated “concern for people” at the management side to a measurement of team positivity that reflects team spirit and joy of work. They transformed “concern for result” into team productivity, which means effectiveness in delivering results. They identified critical competencies for each of those areas and it is amazing how well this list aligns with the agile mindset.



Quote for the day:


"Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." -- Calvin Coolidge


May 30, 2016

The enterprise technologies to watch in 2016

More tactical, though still important to carefully consider throughout the phases of tech planning, pilots, growth, and maturity are technologies that are likely to add something significant to the way enterprises operate and which therefore have non-trivial impact to competitive advantage. The tactical technology additions that made the cut this year including contextual computing, workplace application integration, so-called low code platforms, smart agents/chatbots, adaptive cybersecurity, microservices architectures, ambient personalization, and fog computing. Looking farther out, some adjustments have also been made to the list of horizon technologies, or anticipated technical innovations of significance that most enterprises are probably not only not ready to experiment with yet, but are still in the process of being made viable in R&D departments and startup incubators.


The latest cybersecurity risk? Our homes and offices

Then there’s regulatory liability. Not only can hackers steal financial data, but they can steal other kinds of data as well—including consumer’s personal information. In the United States, for example, theft of medical information means the property owner could face a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violation if a medical office or health insurance tenant is compromised through the building system. “Laws are becoming much stricter with regards to how companies protect consumer information,” says Edward Wagoner, Chief Information Officer, JLL Americas. “In some countries, your name, email, phone number and physical address are all considered private information and any unauthorized release of this data is against the law.”


Surging Ahead: Fintech Startups In The Middle East

Sometimes, existing financial institutions are slow to adapt their sales channels and products to an online world, or their products are too complicated to be easily understood, which in the UK and US led to a growth in financial services comparison websites and what CB Insights has outlined in their The Unbundling of Banks infographic. But it also allows for new products and services and new ways for traditional financial institutions to reach customers. Feloosy is looking at companies like Acorn, who have made saving money faster and simpler for millennials, but with an Arab twist. With a Feloosy account, you’ll be able to put small amounts of money into an investment account towards a specific goal, whether a car, television, or education. This can be a very exciting prospect if they can tie it into PayFort’s payment gateway and souq.com’s merchants.


Fintech Report 2016: Asia Fintech Funding Hits new High of US$2.6b in First Quarter 2016

“Global VC investment into the technology sector may be experiencing a bit of a pause, however FinTech, propelled by some very large mega-rounds, has proven to be an exception to the rule,” said Warren Mead, Global Co-Leader of FinTech, KPMG International. “Investors are putting money into FinTech companies all over the world – from the traditional strongholds of China, the US and the UK – to up and coming FinTech hubs like Singapore, Australia and Ireland.” Anand Sanwal, CEO at CB Insights, added: “While FinTech startups continue to attract large investment both in the US and abroad, and investors gravitate to areas yet untouched by much tech innovation including insurance, recent events and public market performance suggest that growth-stage FinTech fundraising will be harder to come by moving forward in 2016.”


A digital crack in banking’s business model

Digital start-ups (fintechs)—as well as big nonbank technology companies in e-retailing, media, and other sectors—could exploit this mismatch in banking’s business model. Technological advances and shifts in consumer behavior offer attackers a chance to weaken the heavy gravitational pull that banks exert on their customers. Many of the challengers hope to disintermediate these relationships, slicing off the higher-ROE segments of banking’s value chain in origination and sales, leaving banks with the basics of asset and liability management. It’s important that most fintech players (whether start-ups or China’s e-messaging and Internet-services provider Tencent) don’t want to be banks and are not asking customers to transfer all their financial business at once. They are instead offering targeted (and more convenient) services.


Cloud Databases: What’s the Worry?

The three key issues most central to an organization are performance, security, and compliance in the database. Many companies want their databases to deliver these capabilities while remaining on-premise, thinking closer proximity translates into better results. However, it’s actually the cloud that offers the best opportunity for maximizing performance, security, and compliance. And while storing all data in a public cloud can make a majority of today’s companies uncomfortable, a well-designed hybrid cloud database not only assuages common fears and meets companies’ database needs, it also gives enterprises a new level of scalability. Here are a few additional facts architects can bring to the table when discussing the pros and cons of a hybrid cloud architecture:


Cloud and Big Data still haven't breached the enterprise core, survey shows

Overall, cloud is gaining traction for business services around the enterprise, such as those offered through Salesforce.com -- used by 40% of respondents. But adoption of cloud-based ERP/core enterprise applications (I use the two terms interchangeably) itself, or databases remains tepid. For ERP/core enterprise suites and enterprise databases, at least eight in 10 remain on-premises, and will remain that way. Security, potential loss of control, data integration and potential migration difficulties are all seen as obstacles to moving more core enterprise applications into the cloud. That's not to say people aren't interested in exploring moving particular applications or data sets to cloud. What is evolving are hybrid environments, in which key applications and data remain on-premises, but newer applications may be hosted somewhere else besides the corporate data center.


IoT Security – The Trojan Horse Is In The House

How ironic is this? You buy a smart device to help you, but it rather hacks you. Collects your data. More like a Trojan horse. You get it in the house because it might be good for you. In fact, once the gadget is in the house, things can get quite scary. You see, most of these IoT devices are going to collect your credit card details. Your date of birth, your name and even your address. A bigger problem is caused by the fact that most of these IoT devices are sending your data to the cloud, by using your home network. The data is not encrypted; hence, you are just a network misconfiguration away from exposing your data to the world, via your own WIFI network. Not what you would call IoT security, is it? But it does not stop here. In fact, it gets even worse. Some of the cloud services that these devices use, come with privacy concerns. More and more third party companies race to take advantage of the cloud platforms.


Transparency system means ‘sneaky algorithms’ can’t hide

“Consider a system that assists in hiring decisions for a moving company. Gender and the ability to lift heavy weights are inputs to the system. They are positively correlated with each other and with the hiring decisions. Yet transparency into whether the system uses the weight lifting ability or the gender in making its decisions (and to what degree) has substantive implications for determining if it is engaging in discrimination,” the researchers write in their report The researchers want to particularly focus on the areas of healthcare, predictive policing, education and defense as they feel these areas deserve the most attention in achieving algorithmic transparency. It remains to be seen whether this system will be adopted by companies but it is important and necessary – especially in an age where algorithms are subtly shaping our lives.


Design for Mobile: App UI Best Practices

The first step to defining what your app does is understanding which needs your app is solving. With the millions of apps already in existence, there’s a good chance that there’s already an app (or maybe hundreds of apps) that does something similar to what you’re envisioning. You need to consider how your app is different, and what will make it stand out from the crowd. Which specific scenarios are you targeting? Is there a specific audience you’re looking to attract? Understanding the mindset of the user is the next step in defining your app. You can think of this as one step below your app’s genre. What is the user’s situation and what are they trying to accomplish? Are you a productivity app? I need to complete a task. Entertainment? I’m bored and looking for something fun to do. Travel? I’m in San Francisco and looking for sushi.



Quote for the day:


"In programming simplicity and clarity are not a dispensable luxury, but a crucial matter that decides between success and failure." -- Dijkstra


May 28, 2016

Can blockchain tech transform the investment industry?

Blockchain technology has already been described as a game changer in light of recent developments, having changed the existing rules of the traditional investment market. As a decentralised database, blockchain technology has already made the online investment market more fluid whilst acting as an interesting tool for the secondary market, enabling smaller investments and trade volumes. These smaller investments were not possible before due to the cost of the middle man. For example a £5,000 investment did not make sense if the notary and the trustee would take a cut amounting to £2,000. In my opinion, blockchain technology makes much more sense for secondary markets such as real estate investments and equity crowdfunding. This is especially because previously these investments would not be viable due to the high transaction costs.


Anonymity, Transparency and Privacy are not Incompatible

With regards to “privacy” and the protection of personal data, the use of pseudonyms cannot be considered to be an anonymization procedure, because by definition anonymization should be irreversible and ensure that the data cannot be traced back to an individual. Hence, “privacy” and anonymity cannot be considered as synonyms but antonyms. Anonymization is a technique used to erase the personalization of the data when it is not required for the purpose of the data processing activities (i.e. statistical data). This technique allows companies such as financial institutions to retain and process data after the expiration of their legal conservation period or for other purposes. In this case, the data no longer fall under the scope of the personal data protection regime because they are no longer identifiable.


5 Reasons Enterprises Still Worry About Cloud Security

Cloud computing has seen Moore’s Law-style exponential growth over the last ten years or so and there seems to be no plateau in sight. World-wide spending on public cloud infrastructure -- hardware and software -- is expected to reach $38B this year and $173B by 2026, with Amazon holding the largest infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market share. Schulze believes we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg and that Amazon as a cloud provider will be more dominant and influential than the likes of Microsoft, Apple, or any of the major tech giants.  “Most [security] vendors were not surprised but overwhelmed by the rapid adoption of cloud and they may not have ramped up enough,” says Schulze. He also notes that cloud computing is just a whole lot more complex than traditional environments.


5 practical uses for blockchain — from Airbnb to stock markets

For those not up to speed, blockchain is a database protocol developed to underpin bitcoin. Rather than having a central record keeping system, identical records are spread across everyone connected to a network. They are all updated simultaneously and transactions only go through when enough parties on the network sign off on them. This technology eliminates the need for costly middle men in financial transactions, but also presents plenty of other opportunities for new ways of record keeping and decentralising markets.  Goldman's report, titled "Blockchain: Putting Theory into Practice", says that "the discussion often remains abstract," and so is trying to "shift the focus from theory to practice," by looking at real-world applications for blockchain technology.


How Blockchain Technology Could Change The World

Worldwide, the financial services market is the largest sector of industry by market capitalization. If blockchain technology can replace just a fraction of that by enabling peer-to-peer transactions in other sectors then it clearly has the potential to create huge efficiencies. The technology was initially pushed into the headlines several years ago thanks to the virtual currency Bitcoin. The value of one unit of the currency (which is underpinned by blockchain technology) rose from pennies to over £$1,000 between 2011 and 2013, making a handful of early adopter enthusiasts very wealthy. Of course, this generated press interest. Since then, while Bitcoin’s value may have fallen and the currency established a more stable rate of growth, the buzz around the blockchain concept has intensified.


Former Googler Lets Us In On The Surprising Secret To Being A Good Boss

For all of us raised in a culture that preaches, "If you can’t say something nice…", that criticism might not sound so nice. But Scott knows now that it was the kindest thing Sandberg could have done for her. "If she hadn't said it just that way, I would've kept blowing her off. I wouldn't have addressed the problem. And what a silly thing to let trip you up." (Incidentally, she did work with that speaking coach, and kicked her um habit handily.) In the years since, Scott has worked to operationalize what it was that made Sandberg such a great boss. It sounds so simple to say that bosses need to tell employees when they're screwing up. But it very rarely happens. To help teach radical candor—this all-important but often neglected skill—to her own teams, Scott boiled it down to a simple framework: Picture a basic graph divided into four quadrants.


Mobile backend as a service: Features and deployment options

Enterprise IT organizations have been slow to build and deploy mobile apps due to a lack of development expertise, tight budgets, new languages and development environments, unfamiliar Agile methodologies and release cycles, and the complexity of supporting two major operating systems with hundreds of device permutations. Indeed, a 2015 Gartner survey found that "the average number of custom apps per company that have been developed so far is less than 10, despite huge internal demands to mobilize." Without C-level IT leadership, IT organizations will languish behind their more innovative and aggressive peers in building the mobile skills and applications necessary to succeed in what some call the app economy. Software automation and services, along with what the above Gartner analysis called "lightweight Web and mobile-style app integration," are the only way to cross the technological chasm without unrealistic injections of money and manpower.


Is the end of the U.S. tech market upon us?

In fact, it often takes months to years of planning to make a major platform shift. Losing a vendor and resources suddenly can create a catastrophe because the needed support organizations collapse with the company and IT often doesn’t have the internal resources and competing vendors with the skills to pick up the slack.  Given these increasing financial pressures are forcing company executives to sacrifice long-term corporate viability in exchange for short-term performance I’m suggesting another attribute be taken into account other than price. In fact, you might want to devalue price in anything that requires long-term support given a practice of focusing on quarterly returns can drive below cost pricing to support revenues over the short term and actually reduce the long-term viability of the tech vendor you need to support this too good to be true pricing.


Google's victory over Oracle: A win for developers

Part of Google's winning argument was that APIs serve more of a functional purpose, rather than a creative one. The Federal Circuit has already established that APIs show a degree of creativity meriting copyright protection -- but Thursday's ruling set a very high bar for the level of creativity needed to exempt APIs from fair use, said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. Clearly, "Oracle and others with strong, widely adopted platforms like Java have a higher bar," he said. "It seems natural that the design of complex APIs involves creativity; however, the court has decided that this creativity bar is not reached by this relatively complex set of Java APIs." All that said, Thursday's ruling doesn't actually set any real legal precedent. Every "fair use" claim is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. And while Google's victory may seem to set a high bar for the level of "creativity" that APIs must show to merit legal protection, the jury simply answered a yes-or-no question.


Basis Peak Review – Intel’s Best Fitness Tracker

The sleep tracking was one of the strongest selling points in the first Basis tracker and, with Peak, it remains one of the most accurate sleep trackers we have tested so far. The watch can monitor three levels of sleep. Deep sleep, light and REM and also mark every move and turn you make while sleeping. As a downside, the Basis is not displaying the resting HR as one of its sleep metrics. It is a very useful sign in telling you if you are overtraining. However, it appears that the company is aware of the issue and working on a new firmware update. All the data captured by the Basis Peak tracker syncs to your smartphone, via a dedicated app. The app is free to download and compatible with both, Android and iOS mobile owners. You can also access your data via a web browser, thanks, to the online portal provided by Basis.



Quote for the day:


"A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power." -- Brian Tracy


May 27, 2016

A Reference Architecture for the Internet of Things

When it comes to context management we first have to agree on a context situation for the fridge and an action that is sent to the fridge. The context management is complex on the power plant side but rather simple on the fridge. The power plant side can be seen as a black-box here because we will most likely have to integrate already existing systems that detect and predict peaks. Once a peak is detected the action for the fridges triggers and is passed to the thing integration that distributes it to registered fridges. The fridge then just receives the action, decides if it wants to cool (this can be implemented with simple time constraints in a first prototype) and replies to the power plant if it will cool or not. Similarly data management is very simple on the fridge, but more complex on the power plant side. 


Obama wants more cybersecurity funding and a federal CISO

"In particular," Daniel adds, "we believe it is critically important that we begin to address the underlying structural weaknesses that we have in federal cybersecurity by modernizing our underlying IT, by updating the governance structures that we have so that agencies can actually manage their cybersecurity more effectively by accessing much more common and shared services across the government, and investing in or people so that we have the adequate resources concentrated in the right places so that agencies can effectively carry out their cybersecurity missions." The budget proposal also expands on the government's efforts to transition to cloud-based systems, adopt provisioned services and move toward an agile software development model. At the same time, departments and agencies are shedding hardware as they consolidate data centers and incorporate shared services into their IT operations.



Designing For The Internet Of Emotional Things

Emotion-sensing technology is moving from an experimental phase to a reality. The Feel wristband and the MoodMetric ring use sensors that read galvanic skin response, pulse, and skin temperature to detect emotion in a limited way. EmoSPARK is a smart home device that creates an emotional profile based on a combination of word choice, vocal characteristics and facial recognition. This profile is used to deliver music, video and images according to your mood. Wearables that can detect physical traces like heart rate, blood pressure and skin temperature give clues about mood. Screens that detect facial expressions are starting to be mapped to feelings. Text analysis is becoming more sensitive to nuance and tone. Now voice analysis is detecting emotion too. Affective computing, where our devices take inputs from multiple sources like sensors, audio and pattern recognition to detect emotion, is starting to become a real part of our experience with technology.


The Internet of Things (IoT) – creating a whole new ‘place’ in marketing

With increasingly sophisticated Generation Y customers, with a clear understanding of what they want, companies able to provide an exceptional, flexible and agile product or service configuration platform can by-pass their intermediaries, by allowing the customer to do for themselves, what the intermediary may have done for them. But there’s more. Advanced and predictive analytics can directly include the buyer in every stage of the production process at the touch of a button – so you can not only see how the product is coming together…but where the components are in the supply chain (and even change them if you find something better) – to truly customise your product or service. The ubiquity of sensors is increasing all the time. Cost has dropped significantly making them much more viable for lower value ‘devices’ which means individual components can be IoT enabled.


What the heck is RegTech?

One of the main areas for potential disruption through RegTech is the communication between different systems, be it internally between existing ones or with new systems, or between different institutions. Most financial institutions work with legacy systems that have been tweaked and amended over several years to become individual configurations that struggle to talk to other systems. A senior IT colleague ones told me that overcome these issues would be like a heart transplant surgery, where the old one basically needs to be removed first before the new one can take its place only that it would be like replacing several hearts at the same time. However, new regulation and notably MiFID II is going to bring challenges, in particular with respect to reporting requirements and the management of data for firms and service providers that will make significant investments in technology inevitable.


Steve Blank on the Tech Bubble: 'VCs Won't Admit They're in a Ponzi Scheme'

To back his point, Blank referred to a scene from the classic 1942 film, Casasblanca. In it, Captain Renault, the French head of police, orders the immediate closure of a cafĂ©, insisting he wasn't aware that gambling was occurring at the restaurant -- then, moments later, a lackey approaches him with his "winnings, sir." Blank isn't the only voice decrying the Silicon Valley tech bubble. The root of the problem, as Inc.'s Jeff Bercovici has detailed at length, is that investors are valuing more companies in the multimillion and billion-dollar range, though the risk is unlikely to pay off down the line. Many of these companies bring in little (sometimes zero) revenues, and often aren't profitable. Even the biggest names in tech boast valuations that are well-above their revenues: Uber's $50 billion valuation represented 100 times its sales, and Airbnb's $25 billion represented 28 times its sales, according to 2015 data from CB Insights.


Data Governance: Information Is the New Security Perimeter

The term “choose to allow” is used intentionally to indicate that if we have something of value, we need to apply appropriate management and protection. In other words, we need more than ever to apply data governance. Data governance is all about putting appropriate management and control directly over our information, no matter where it is. ... There is no point protecting my public author bio pic with the same security I would apply to a finance system. Data classification helps us appropriately categorize our information based on: Confidentiality—The required level of secrecy and cost impact of unexpected disclosure Integrity—How tolerant (or not) any section of the information can be to being changed or lost entirely Availability—How important it is to have timely access to the information when we need it Consent—Whether there are legal requirements or restrictions in place that impact where the information can go.


U.S. CIO aims to cut legacy spending, proposes IT modernization

In that sense, Scott explained, the proposal would take a page from the business world, where new capital expenditures are carefully vetted with a review committee examining the urgency of the project and the cost/benefit analysis. That would mark a fundamental shift in the traditional ways that the tech teams within government agencies, often operating in a silo, develop and execute IT projects. "Comprehensively, what it does is it marries management, money and a different mode of operation than the pattern that we've been in," Scott said. "This modernization fund relies on principles that we've borrowed from the private sector. If you're in the private sector, you go to a capital committee and you come in and make a business case for why you want to do what you're going to do."


Living in the Matrix with Bytecode Manipulation

Many common Java libraries such as Spring and Hibernate, as well as most JVM languages and even your IDEs, use bytecode-manipulation frameworks. For that reason, and because it’s really quite fun, you might find bytecode manipulation a valuable skillset to have. You can use bytecode manipulation to perform many tasks that would be difficult or impossible to do otherwise, and once you learn it, the sky's the limit.  One important use case is program analysis. For example, the popular FindBugs bug-locator tool uses ASM under the hood to analyze your bytecode and locate bug patterns. Some software shops have code-complexity rules such as a maximum number of if/else statements in a method or a maximum method size. Static analysis tools analyze your bytecode to determine the code complexity.


The real problem with Google's mobile messaging strategy

The underlying issue with the company creating new apps like Allo and Duo is that messaging platforms are useful only if your friends and family also use them. All the cool features in the world won't mean a thing if you go onto Allo later this year and find no one you know signed in and available to chat on it. In other words, Google's "more is more" messaging strategy depends on users continuing to migrate and adopt the latest newly branded offering (even when it confusingly overlaps with an existing option they'll also continue to need). As anyone who's ever tried to get family and friends to switch messaging apps knows, that's not something most typical users do regularly or willingly. And since these apps depend on your social circles embracing them in order to be effective, the situation rapidly turns into a self-defeating cycle.



Quote for the day:


“Make your team feel respected, empowered and genuinely excited about the company’s mission.” -- @TimWestergren


May 26, 2016

Augmented Reality’s Plan to Change Everything About Computing

“My vision is to build an OS that’s 100 times easier to use than a Macintosh,” Gribetz said. "We’re excited to remove the start menu—all of these metaphors and buttons and icons that take your brain extra steps to decode, and that are making my grandmother’s job of using computers much harder.” Gribetz, 30, founded Meta in 2012 after studying neuroscience and computer science at Columbia University and working in the Israeli intelligence corps. He built the first Meta prototype with an oven-heated knife and hot glue gun the same year he founded the startup, and in 2013 debuted its first augmented reality headset after raising funds through Kickstarter. Mann, a professor at the University of Toronto, has been inventing wearable devices for more than three decades, including his EyeTap augmented reality glasses in the late 1990s. 


New IT roles to put on your hiring radar

A close cousin of big data analytics roles is the machine learning expert or cognitive systems expert. These roles include the ability to sift through and process huge amounts of data, and then use the results to model and drive evolving machine knowledge and responses. For example, a machine learning expert might help a company use big data analytics and behavioral models to identify weather patterns or cyberattacks. This is a sophisticated role, and so new that it's difficult to identify a typical skill set. Of course, using data implies that you have that data in the first place. While there's no shortage of data, the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to connect billions of new devices to the Internet over the next few years.


Blockchain Startup Develops Identity App with Major Airline IT Firm

Using a blend of blockchain-based data and facial recognition techniques, the app is aimed at both streamlining how airlines verify passenger identities as well as facilitating real-time data flows at the airport. With the app, a passenger uploads their travel documents, which are then encrypted and hashed on the bitcoin blockchain. The system provides the passenger with what is called a "Single Travel Token", which can be presented to the airline in order to call up those documents using a public key. Any airline terminal connected to this system could then verify the identity of that passenger wherever they present this token. Though the app is in the early stages, in remarks, representatives for SITA pointed to the project as a means to allow the company test the use of blockchain.


IT Innovators: Developing a Data Exit Strategy—What’s Your Next Move in the Cloud?

When you have confirmed that data is securely operational in the new location, you must remember to take care of your previous location. That’s where data erasure often comes in as a mandatory requirement. Today, you have specific known malware that can penetrate networks and get access to different hosting environments. As an attack, the malware will start recovering previously left behind data that has just been deleted, which is not the same thing as securely erased. ... It’s hyper-converged, so you have tools in place to manage everything at your fingertips. You are managing everything from a control center. Following virtualization as a trend in the market is something that all of us security suppliers must do and, in the end, that makes life easier for the enterprise administrator who needs to actually perform these exercises.


5 active mobile threats spoofing enterprise apps

Enterprise employees use mobile apps every day to get their jobs done, but when malicious actors start impersonating those apps, it spells trouble for IT departments.  David Richardson, director of product at Lookout, and his team recently researched five families of malware doing just that: spoofing real enterprise apps to lure people to download their malware. The dataset of mobile code shows that these five, active mobile malware families often impersonate enterprise apps by ripping off the legitimate app’s name and package name. These apps include Cisco’s Business Class Email app, ADP, Dropbox, FedEx Mobile, Zendesk, VMware’s Horizon Client, Blackboard’s Mobile Learn app, and others.


Effective design thinking

Innovation involves making multiple judgment calls about what to express and how, from a project’s big strategic idea to the fine details of implementation. Sensibilities not only guide these decisions, they also ultimately influence how people experience the resulting product, service or brand ... Designers use observation and prototyping methods of different kinds to help them figure out the best ways to express certain sensibilities. With sketches and models, they try things out to explore their effects, experimenting with physical elements (finishes, forms, fonts, materials) and control sensory inputs (contrast, rhythm, sound, space, pattern, pace) to determine what works and what doesn’t. And, ultimately, they discover how to deliberately evoke particular feelings to support the desired experience.


IT Assurance in the Cloud–A Journey Between Trust and Obligation

As the risks are better understood, businesses rely less on trust and put information security obligations on their cloud providers. Where security had been one of the main obstacles for cloud adoption in the past, vendors now understand the security and privacy concerns of their global customers and have adopted a business model built on enhanced security features such as encryption, and identity and access management, to name two examples. The result: cloud services are heading to the next level of maturity. A 2015 cloud survey conducted by ISACA Germany and PwC (in German) found about one-third of organizations expected to achieve a better security risk profile by adopting cloud computing.


APM strategy should focus on user experience, not just IT metrics

"It's not just an issue of maintaining an adequate infrastructure. Now it's essential to the business," said Forrester Research Inc. analyst Milan Hanson. Indeed, it's hard to imagine any company that isn't heavily reliant on applications to connect with its customers, communicate with partners and enable employees. So how those applications perform is vitally important, Hanson and others said -- much more so today in this "application economy" than it was in past decades when computerized work processes were in their infancy. Yet application performance management, although of strategic importance for most businesses, is an IT discipline in urgent need of an update at many companies.


Bloomberg and “the magic” of machine learning

Machine learning is an increasingly important area at Bloomberg, a company that manages massive amounts of data in a real-time environment. While machine learning is generally about giving computers the ability to learn by using algorithms to analyze data, find patterns or predict outcomes, much of Bloomberg’s efforts today in this area are focused on helping the company’s customers to pluck intelligence and insight from the financial information and data coursing through its network that feeds the Bloomberg Terminal. Fresh off of his presentations at two key industry events, Gary explains what he and his team are doing and how that is helping investors and Bloomberg customers make better, more informed decisions.


Faception can allegedly tell if you're a terrorist just by analyzing your face

An unnamed homeland security agency has signed a contract with a company that claims it can “reveal” your personality “with a high level of accuracy” just by analyzing your face, be that facial image captured via photo, live-streamed video, or stored in a database. It then sorts people into categories; with some labels as potentially dangerous such as terrorist or pedophile, it is disturbing that some experts believe the science behind it is antiquated, has previously been discredited, and the results are inaccurate. Israeli start-up Faception, a facial personality profiling company, told The Washington Post that “a homeland security agency” has signed a contract to use Faception to help spot terrorists.



Quote for the day:


"Your success will be the degree to which you build up others who work with you. While building up others, you build up yourself." -- James Casey


May 25, 2016

How Colocation and the Cloud Killed the Data Center

It’s clear that the cloud should be part of your IT strategy, even if your team has yet to determine how to leverage it. Many CIOs are stuck, having moved some workloads to the cloud but facing obstacles as they attempt to migrate the rest of their business. According to Gartner, security and IT complexity are the top reasons cloud strategies grind to a halt. For these teams, it’s important to remain educated about their companies’ individual needs, and seek services that can help meet them. In any case, when you’re dealing with the cloud, you’re dealing with remote IT resources. These require private networks with high levels of bandwidth and resiliency, and support from a robust data center provider.
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Insurers might be reluctant to populate cyber incident database, says expert

"But cyber is the biggest insurable risk that the industry will have to meet, and it is critical to the economy. We’d like to see a not for profit, anonymised database covering things like business interruption costs, ransom demands, privacy breach claims and damage to IT systems." "If it is not a requirement to report these losses, then insurers are not going to have the data they need to provide the right cover. It would have to be mandated by parliament, but it would need to be proportionate and manageable," he said. Birdsey said that the UK's cyber insurance market is still "in its infancy" and that there is "limited cyber data available to insurers". However, he warned that insurers and businesses that buy cyber insurance might be wary of the de-anonymisation of data about cyber incidents input into a new database.


4 Questions that every Enterprise has before Migrating onto Cloud

Cloud migration should follow a well-defined strategy that weighs out the pros and cons of moving to the cloud. The major roadblocks could emanate from basic assumptions that lead to damage if not evaluated prior to the actual migration. Security gaps, interoperability issues, incompatibility of systems, rework of existing software applications can throw up unpleasant surprises. Before a business decides to move one or more processes to the cloud, it needs to understand that all applications may not benefit from the migration. Hence they need to ask the following questions to decide when to migrate, what to migrate and how to migrate, to unleash the power of cloud for their organization.


DevOps model, a profile in CIO leadership, change management

IT leaders must be able to articulate why and how a DevOps model of working will bring improvements, and they must be able to sell their vision to colleagues and staff alike. CIOs also need to shepherd their teams through the changes -- keeping workers on track and moving forward even though some will resist (as is typical anytime people are asked to do their jobs differently). CIOs will likely need to juggle staff, too, hiring new talent, retraining others and developing new skills in some so that those employees who once worked in isolated buckets can actually understand each other's work and how each role contributes to the final product. ... Berkholz said IT executives looking to bring DevOps into their environment need to focus on three pillars: culture, automation and measurement. But he also acknowledged that moving the dial in each of those areas is a challenge in and of itself.


More CIOs report to the CEO, underscoring IT’s rising importance

Snyder says the CIOs' rise to direct report and partner to the CEO means that talk of turf wars among CMOs, and more recently with CDOs, is fading. For example, while the number of CDOs spiked to 17 percent in 2015 from 7 percent in 2014 in their previous surveys, Harvey Nash and KPMG found that the number onlyrose only 2 percent to 19 percent for 2016. This suggests the CDO hype has peaked and that CIOs remain the most integral C-suite leader to shepherd the current transformation wave. Moreover, Snyder says that evidence that CMOs will control the bulk of technology spending is not materializing. While marketing may be spending more money on technology than it has in the past, it still requires CIOs to connect systems of engagement to back-end systems, including connecting newer cloud software to legacy systems.


A 2020 roadmap for corporate sustainability

"Look at your business, look at your household and think about why an electric vehicle makes sense," Britta Gross, director of advanced vehicle commercialization policy at General Motors, told more than 550 attendees on the first day of the conference. "There’s no good reason why there isn’t a plug-in vehicle in every driveway in this country right now." Our updated Ceres Roadmap expectations call on companies to prioritize electric vehicles in their logistics and fleets, and to provide employees with the infrastructure needed to charge their vehicles at work. I also heard about food companies upping their ambitions on climate and water issues, including General Mills, which is devoting far more attention these days to reducing water and carbon footprints in its vast supply chains compared to five years ago.


IoT increases cyber and legal risk, say experts

“The ability of IoT devices to sense, connect and react, their inability to carry complex circuitry or be upgraded, and their ability to create a physical attack vector such as disable the brakes on a vehicle also mean that we have to change the way we think about internet or cyber security,” said Kawalec. “Developers of IoT devices and systems need to consider everything from actuating physical attack, to connectivity and the importance of data, and the systems to support these devices going forward. When you embed them in concrete and build them into homes and hospitals, you need to think completely differently than you would about a Wi-Fi printer.” From a legal perspective, the dawn of the IoT era also means a potential increase in liability, especially in the light of new and planned data protection, privacy and information security regulations emerging in Europe and internationally, said Mark Taylor, partner at Osborne Clarke.


DevOps 2.0

For organizations, DevOps 2.0 brings the power of DevOps to non-technical team members. While this may sound risky, it actually empowers marketing, design, and business teams to control targeted visibility and testing without consuming engineering resources. Because feature rollout will be decoupled from code deployment, non-technical team members would be able to control the visibility of particular features without compromising the app’s integrity. This is primarily achieved by harnessing a feature flag user interface – or a comparable control panel that allows team members to target users via a GUI.


SD-WAN benefits create serious competition for MPLS

SD-WAN architecture aims to solve many of the problems with previous iterations of WAN technology through increased flexibility. Since SD-WAN technology is based on an overlay, it can be provisioned over any type of WAN connectivity: dedicated or Internet-based circuits. In addition, SD-WAN benefits include provisioning and management that is abstracted into a controller and configured from a central location. Even if you're comfortable with the existing Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network, applications around segmentation and encryption make using SD-WAN over MPLS more attractive. ... SD-WAN abstracts any existing circuits, or underlay networks, into a single logical WAN connection. We can then classify traffic by connection and even aggregate links of disparate types together.


Even Strong Passwords Don't Cut It for Bank Payment Systems

2FA dramatically improves upon the lone password by requiring users to provide two verifying pieces of information (factors). Typically, the two factors are a password and a one-time code sent by SMS or email. Sometimes, a push notification, key fob, or fingerprint scan serve as the second factor. Payment systems should be the last place where a login ID and password alone are sufficient to send and receive money. Sadly, that’s not the case. Consider that most consumer payment systems allow users to access online accounts with a name and password only. Successful hackers can easily change the notification settings and transfer controls before filling their pockets, and the account holder might not notice the robbery for weeks. 2FA solutions would deflect more attacks, and properly implemented solutions would actually alert the account holder of suspicious activity.



Quote for the day:


"Nothing is more obvious than a product or service becoming a brand when it is has values that translate into fact." -- Richard Branson


May 24, 2016

What Are Hackers Up To These Days

"That large jump shows you that organizations are starting to do things correctly. They're not just earmarking security as [a secondary concern delegated to] their IT departments. They're actually paying attention, and paying attention in a really important fashion," says Sigler. Still, 41 percent is not a majority, and Sigler says he hopes to see a majority of organizations detecting breaches on their own in the future, because the sooner a company detects a compromise, the sooner it can "contain the damage." Ultimately, sticking to the security basics will go a long way toward keeping your systems safe, Sigler says. Even though attackers are savvy and getting savvier, if you set up firewalls and make sure you’re properly logging and monitoring your systems, your organization will rise above the "low-hanging fruits and easy targets criminals tend to target," he says. "It's not sexy, but a lot of organizations aren't even doing that much."


Cyber security is the biggest risk to the global financial system

"What we found, as a general matter so far, is a lot of preparedness, a lot of awareness but also their policies and procedures are not tailored to their particular risks," she said. "As we go out there now, we are pointing that out." White said SEC examiners were very pro-active about doing sweeps of broker-dealers and investment advisers to assess their defenses against a cyber attack. "We can't do enough in this sector," she said. Cyber security experts said her remarks represented the SEC’s strongest warning to date of the threat posed by hackers. A former member of the World Bank’s security team, Tom Kellermann, who is now chief executive of the investment firm Strategic Cyber Ventures LLC, called it "a historic recognition of the systemic risk facing Wall Street."


The inside story of how the Jeopardy-winning supercomputer was born

"There were fundamental areas of innovation that had to be done to go beyond Jeopardy - there was a tremendous amount of pre-processing, post-processing and tooling that we have added around the core engines," added Saxena. "It's the equivalent of getting a Ferrari engine then trying to build a whole race car around it. What we inherited was the core engine, and we said 'Okay, let's build a new thing that does all sort of things the original Jeopardy system wasn't required to do'." To get Watson from Jeopardy to oncology, there were three processes that the Watson team went through: content adaptation, training adaptation, and functional adaptation - or, to put it another way, feeding it medical information and having it weighted appropriately; testing it out with some practice questions; then making any technical adjustments needed - tweaking taxonomies, for example.


Skills Gap Also Includes ‘Failure to Communicate’

The survey also found that technical proficiency in specific software programs like Hadoop is less of a problem than basic skills like writing, public speaking and problem-solving skills. “Effective writing, speaking and critical thinking enables you to accomplish business goals and get ahead,” added Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace. “No working day will be complete without writing an email or tackling a new challenge, so the sooner you develop these skills, the more employable you will become.” Once those skills are developed, the fastest way to a promotion and pay raise are programming skills such as Scala and enterprise communications tools related to Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) platforms. Those were followed by Hadoop fluency, familiarity with cloud computing and software development kits for Android and iOS devices.


JPMorgan Chase: CEO Dimon Advocates Expansion into Fintech

Banks are pursuing digital banking while reducing their brick-and-mortar branch network, largely to restructure their business and compete with financial innovation start-ups— or simply, fintechs. Most recently, HSBC Holdings PLC announced reduction of its branch network in India by almost half. The bank emphasized on “the right mix of digital versus physical branch distribution.” ... The significant decline reflects a shift in customer preference to digital banking. Brett King, founder of the mobile finance app Moven, said that “if you think about the viability of the branch, the question has to be: are customers visiting? We have a rapid decline in visits.” Meanwhile, certain banks are confident that branches, despite the declining transactions, are an essential part of modern economies. Paul Donofrio, Bank of America chief financial officer, asserted that “it’s more about they’re (customers) coming there because of some life event…not for everyday transaction banking.”


Put people at the heart of your SOA governance model

SOA governance practices tend to focus on maximizing the efficiency of development and deployment, so all the pieces of your infrastructure work reliably and effectively together. As such, it's steeped in services catalogs, standard policies, testing processes and improvement mechanisms. Without these things, developers run the risk of idiosyncratic code, duplicate functionalities or conflicts with other apps. And there's no question this would be absolute death in a present-day environment when there are so many computing platforms, each of which often must call the same sets of information and participate in the same business processes. ... But if the people relying on your technology don't know how -- or aren't encouraged -- to properly handle the information on which they rely and on which the SOA system operates, then you have nothing.


What Does Your Company Culture Code Reveal?

Defining a culture in business is very challenging. Cracking the culture code and living it out is downright impossible unless leaders and employees are constantly embracing it and modeling it day in and day out. In my opinion, it starts at the top. However, a key ingredient is in the searching for and onboarding of new employees. If this process is not done strategically with the explanation of the company culture code at the top of the list, your desired culture will dissolve in a matter of months. This can occur, especially if new employees are coming on board all the time, and at all levels of the company. Here is a list of a few attributes I have experienced that are commonly used in creating successful corporate cultures. Does your company embody any of these? Hmm... maybe it should.


DevOps Lessons Learned at Microsoft Engineering

Software engineer accountabilities transitioned to not only building and testing but ultimately to the health of production. This accountability shift has two aspects. First, we want the feature teams obsessed with understanding our customers to get a unique insight into the problems they face, and how they can be raving fans of the experiences those teams are building. Second, we need the feature teams and individual engineers to own what they are delivering into production. The feature teams have the power, control and authority over all of the parts of the software process.  Service engineers have to know the application architecture to be more efficient troubleshooters, suggest architectural changes to the infrastructure, be able to develop and test things like infrastructure as code and automation scripts, and make high-value contributions that impact the service design or management.


How IoT Will Change The Job Market

"The IoT has the potential to change the human experience the same way the assembly line and the Industrial revolution did. It changes the human-machine relationship in similar ways; machines will soon be able to do repetitive tasks driven by their past experiences," he says. That means more time and energy for solving problems by creating technology that can address pollution, save energy, using biotechnology to create new ways to grow crops or generate electrical power through the use of technology, he says. If you can use IoT in a data center, for instance, to figure out optimal cooling levels and regulate power consumption, you can help companies save energy without having as many personnel involved. IoT can help reduce the amount of repetitive work, and that will free up people to do more learning, exploring and creating new ideas, new knowledge.


SWIFT asks customers to help it end a string of bank frauds

Knowledge base entries show that SWIFT has updated its Alliance Access software several times in recent months. One of the tips warns that, while keeping the software up to date is important, it is not sufficient in itself. "While the software update provides additional integrity verification and alerting capabilities for this particular modus operandi on your interface to the SWIFT network, it will not help you protect against all malwares or your internal credentials being compromised," SWIFT wrote in another recent letter to customers, entitled "Security Issues." SWIFT also offers more general security guidance to its customers and says it intends to update this shortly, reinforcing its recommendations for securing access to the network. The current security guidance is sorely in need of an update, according to Doug Gourlay, corporate vice president of security software vendor Skyport Systems.



Quote for the day:


"Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden." -- Voltaire,


May 23, 2016

The evolution of IoT: Fog computing

The effective resolution may just be a simple decentralisation of the very computing process and data acquisition. The idea of relocating 90 per cent of the process to a local cloud computing server, and concentrating our data requests to only those which seek for outside information, is called Fog Computing. This means that we will have a piece of hardware, presumably not larger than our current Internet modem. And while today all of the cloud computing process happens in the data centre of our service provider, or in the data centre of our platform provider, in the future we will probably have our very own, private cloud computing server that will handle all the grunt work. This method will allow us to have the channels of communication open for much more important tasks, such as real time acquisition. It will also have a positive effect on the current, alarming state of cybercrime.


An interactive C++ interpreter, built on the top of LLVM and Clang libraries

Cling is an interactive C++ interpreter, built on the top of LLVM and Clang libraries. Its advantages over the standard interpreters are that it has command line prompt and uses just-in-time (JIT) compiler for compilation. Many of the developers (e.g. Mono in their project called CSharpRepl(link is external)) of such kind of software applications name them interactive compilers. One of Cling's main goals is to provide contemporary, high-performance alternative of the current C++ interpreter in the ROOT project - CINT. The backward-compatibility with CINT is major priority during the development. ... Cling has its own command line, which looks like any other Unix shell. The emacs-like command line editor is what we call interactive command line or interactive shell.


Embracing SDN & NFV to Optimize Enterprise Data Center Operations

A Gartner report indicates that by 2017, 10 percent of customer appliances are going to be virtualized, up from today’s 1 percent. Industry analysts are forecasting that more network traffic will be virtualized over the next five years. The objective of NFV is to use both commodity computing and available storage solutions to reduce – if not eliminate – limitations associated with proprietary hardware. NFV is a network architecture concept that leverages IT virtualization technologies to virtualize entire classes of network node functions (firewall, router, IDS, etc.) into building blocks that may be connected, or chained, to create communication services. Enterprises are shifting from in-house data centers to co-location facilities. In addition, different elements of traditional IT infrastructure are also shifting from physical servers to virtualized and software-defined architectures and cloud-enabled services.


7 programming languages we love to hate -- but can’t live without

In theory, we’re supposed to be able to use the power of the pointer arithmetic to do superclever feats, but does anyone risk doing more than allocating data structures? Is it even a good idea to be too clever with pointers? That’s how code starts to break. If you’re able to be clever, it often requires writing a very long comment to document it, pretty much sucking up all the time you saved being clever. Can anyone remember all the rules for writing C code to avoid adding all the possible security holes, like buffer overruns? But we have no choice. Unix is written in C, and it runs most cellphones and most of the cloud. Not everyone who writes code for these platforms needs to use C, but someone has to stay current with the asterisks and curly brackets, or else everything will fall apart.


Simplifying Data Retrieval with CQRS in ASP.NET MVC

In an ASP.NET MVC application one of the responsibilities of the Controller is to build the ModelView object that will be passed to the View. That ModelView object is almost certainly going to hold a bunch of unstructured data for the View that won't correspond to any single entity. Typically, then, that ModelView object is a kind of Data Transfer Object (DTO) that exists just long enough to get the data out of the data source and into the page's HTML. Which raises the question of where that DTO should be built. My first choice is to make the Controller Action methods responsible for building the View DTOs. The simplest solution is for the Controller to directly access the entity model, retrieve the entity objects required and load them into a DTO without modification. In that scenario, the DTO might look this:


The Dawn of Banking Voice Technology

When Santander UK recently launched a voice assistant in its student-geared mobile banking app, SmartBank, it marked the first bank in the U.K. to roll out a voice technology offering. In partnership with Nuance Communications, the same Massachusetts-based company behind the voice of Siri, the bank is piloting the technology in order to initially promote voice-activated functionality around spending tracking. Just weeks removed from the launch, PYMNTS caught up with Ed Metzger, Santander UK’s Head of Innovation, Technology and Operations, to talk about initial impressions and what’s next for voice technology in banking. The response thus far? Phenomenal. While Metzger declined to divulge specific early results, he spoke about the general kind of usage Santander is seeing early on with the voice technology.


Hotel API strategy brings UK chain closer to digital guest -- and customer data

"We didn't have APIs much on the radar [until 2013], but the need for it emerged during our digital transformation, as we started to look at how we could create apps and services to give to our customer that would differentiate us," he explained, noting that the digital transformation effort was launched by new CEO Mike DeNoma. (The transformation, in addition to the API strategy, involved junking GLH's legacy systems for modern, cloud-based services.) Hewertson said GLH needed to build its hotel API so it could connect directly with multiple online travel sites without developers having to understand the complexities of GLH's back-end hotel-booking system.


Using ‘Inflection Points’ to Overcome Fintech Startup Distribution Challenges

It’s not all inflection points behind SoFi’s early successes, however. The inflection point merely provides the momentum; the product itself also has to be superior (SoFi offers better rates, better customer service, and so on). Furthermore, SoFi differentiates itself from existing financial institutions by offering other services like job placement and special loan and resource programs for entrepreneurs. Inflection points aren’t just big, obvious life moments like graduations and mortgages though — they can occur at a micro-scale, too, as with large purchases. For example, what happens when a millennial just out of college needs to buy a mattress? Fintech company Affirm (an a16z investment) captures customers at such moments and, more interestingly, at the point of sale.


Software-defined networking touches every industry segment

Because of the relative immaturity of SDNs and the fact that ACI is still relatively new, there is some industry chatter that ACI isn’t being adopted. Also, I think early in the cycle Cisco was talking about both Nexus switching deployments and ACI together, causing some confusion. Nexus is part of ACI but can be deployed independently. Nexus deployments might turn into ACI in the future but do not need to, as Nexus customers want the freedom of choice for their SDN solution. Many Cisco customers choose to implement a programmable network or programmable fabric. As a Cisco watcher, I’ve been curious with respect to what ACI traction has been like. On the last earnings call, Cisco stated it has over 1,800 paying ACI customers, which makes it the market lead by number of deployments.


How CIOs can guide digital business transformation

As in any endeavor, your team will ultimately determine your relative level of success in a digital business. CIOs need to think beyond building a solid IT team and look for the digital business visionaries. Team members who live and breathe at the intersection of technology and strategy. The winning foundation of your digital business will be built on a team of aspiring individuals who understand your business, your current market, potential new markets and view all of these through a digital lens. This pedigree of technology and strategy should be applied to the expectations of both your internal team and the external partners you work with. A collective culture that simultaneously shares ideas and is passionate about technology will lead to the creation of new and unique business offerings.



Quote for the day:


"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." -- Eleanor Roosevelt