Daily Tech Digest - January 07, 2017

Three insights to make Agile development work for you

Instead of organising development over a long series of phases, Agile methods break development into an integrated series of chunks. Each team works from planning to testing an aspect of development in a short period of time before moving on to the next ‘chunk’. By rapidly moving between iterations, a project can remain adaptive to changes in requirements that would otherwise derail the entire endeavour. A further consideration is the effect that Agile and Waterfall have on the people who use them. Human beings enjoy working together, and even those who don’t have to admit that they get a lot more achieved when then do. Unlike Waterfall methods, Agile emphasises the importance of increasing efficiency through more collaboration, empowerment of developers and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Google Moves Into Augmented Reality Shopping With BMW, Gap

With Google, BMW is testing a new app that displays an i3 city vehicle and i8 sports car on smartphone screens. Car shoppers can walk around the superimposed vehicles, placing it to look life-size inside their driveway or garage. Users can choose from six different colors, four types of trims and wheels, all appearing in a high-resolution image. The Munich-based luxury automaker said the mobile app will be available at dealerships in 11 countries. “It’s possible we’ll develop a kind of library of models for this app,” said Stefan Biermann, head of innovations for sales for BMW. At a recent presentation in Munich, the display image of an i3, even on a small phone screen, was convincing enough for users to duck and lift their legs to step inside the vehicle, where they could push a button to turn on the lights and the radio.

Why France’s new ‘right to disconnect’ law matters

The disconnection law was included in a package of comprehensive labor reforms that make it easier to reduce pay and cut workers. Thousands took to the streets in France this past summer to protest it. "Because this law was very difficult to accept in France, a lot of goodies have been added in it," said France-based OpenVMS consultant Gerard Calliet. Those goodies include the disconnect law. For Calliet, disconnecting is not an option as far as his client work is concerned. France changed its labor laws to help lower its 10% unemployment rate. But James W. Gabberty, associate dean and professor of information systems at Pace University in New York, says the email rule will only erode productivity.

Interview with Entity Modelling Tool Creator, Frans Bouma

Every ORM has its unique set of features and a set of common features. One of the most prominent differences between LLBLGen Pro Runtime Framework and all the others is that it does the change tracking inside the entity class instances and therefore doesn't need a central context or session object (the old Scott Ambler design of an ORM). Doing the change tracking inside the entity itself has many advantages, one being that you can have a stand-alone unit of work object. This allows you to track work and changes to the in-memory entity graph with the stand-alone unit of work object which you can then pass to the persistence core. That will have no problem determining what you want: there's no conflict about whether these entities are new, updated or e.g. you want them deleted, that information is inside the unit of work and the entities.

Fintech in 2017: Automation Will Rule

When considering the automation opportunities offered through AI, many banks have identified onboarding and know-your-customer processes as the priority area. New advancements in technology now let banks deliver a more frictionless experience by allowing customers to easily upload documents through their mobile camera and extract both the needed data fields and intent of documents to automate the credit decision process rather than have to deal with filling in paperwork. More affordable and extensive processing power, general availability of algorithms through algo "marketplaces" and colossal data sets to feed the algorithms have also combined to unleash a new era of Robotic Process Automation. In 2017, RPA will become a key priority for bank executives looking to do more with less.

Public and private initiatives converge with Singapore’s digital community

“I know it’s a big word, digital economy means different things to different people.” Lim envisions Singapore and his role as regulator as serving two functions, for both native and foreign businesses: “Singapore works because it is a node to the region, our market is too small, we have to serve the broader region.” To that end, the business environment needs to help not only native businesses but entrepreneurs and companies coming into the country to get a foothold in the Southeast Asian market. “We want to be in that position for a long time to come,” says Lim, adding that the labour market is quite open for people to come in as Singapore isn’t immune to skills shortages either. Perhaps this is why the country has taken a rather proactive approach in trialling new technology to get a feel for what might actually work.

What 2017 holds for enterprise software

“The modern BI platform is designed for the end user,” says Francois Ajenstat, chief product officer, Tableau Software. “It’s intuitive and enables self-service. This is in contrast to traditional BI platforms that needed a specialist in IT to be able to run.” “The biggest trend within BI will be that it becomes far easier to use for the average person,” says Murray Ferguson, director, Pro-Sapien Software. “We have already seen this taking shape, for example, in Microsoft’s Power BI software. The ability to ask questions (both spoken and typed) to find the desired results, as opposed to more technical SQL requests, is also coming. [And] anyone [will be able to] run reports and pull data as opposed to someone skilled in running SQL queries. For example, [users will be able to] type or speak ‘show all open tickets’ [and the software] will display the results.”

Fundamentals of Image Processing - behind the scenes

Image processing algorithms have became very popular in the last 20 years, which is mainly due to the fast extension of digital photography techniques. Nowadays, digital cameras are so common that we even do not notice them in our daily life. We are all recorded in the subway, airports, highways - image processing algorithms analyze our faces, check our behavior, detect our plates and notice that we left our luggage. Moreover, most of us were using image processing algorithms in software like Photoshop or GIMP. To receive interesting artistic effects. But, however advanced these algorithms would be, they still rely on fundamentals. In this article we are going to present the basic image processing algorithms that will help to understand what does our graphics editor software calculates behind the scenes.

Microsoft’s OS supremacy over Apple to end in 2017

In 2017, Apple's combination of iOS and macOS -- the former on iPhones and iPads, the latter on Macs -- will take second place from Windows on the devices shipped during the year. The gap between the two will widen in 2018 and 2019, with Apple ahead of Microsoft both years. According to Gartner, which provided Computerworld with its latest device shipment forecast broken out by operating system, in 2016 Windows powered about 260 million devices of the 2.3 billion shipped during the year. Windows accounted for approximately 11.2% of the total devices, which overwhelmingly ran Google's Android. Meanwhile, iOS and macOS -- the latter was formerly dubbed OS X -- sank to 248 million devices in 2016, a 10% drop from the year prior. The cause: Slackened sales of the iPhone, Apple's dominant device and biggest money maker.

Is your mobile strategy ready for Industry 4.0?

Enterprises are at a crossroads where they will have to decide what OS they want when refreshing their fleets of mobile devices. Over the last decade, the most popular and widely deployed OS for enterprise mobile devices have been Microsoft’s Windows CE and Windows Embedded Handheld (WEH) 6.5, and Microsoft will end mainstream support for these embedded OS by 2020. In addition, migrating to the next generation platform will require significant lead time to ensure smooth migration without disruptions to operations, as Microsoft will not offer backward compatibility for its earlier mobile OS . It is more critical than ever for decision-makers to make a choice that will shape the way their organizations will operate in the next three to five years. They could stay with Windows, migrate to Android, or look to Apple and its iOS. But whichever they choose, the new generation OS has to be flexible, intuitive and adaptable.

Quote for the day:

"As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth." -- John Whittier