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