March 02, 2015

Bitcoin-Inspired Digital Currency to Power Mobile Savings App
The Praekelt Foundation develops a piece of free software called Vumi that powers interactive services that can run over text messages on phones without data plans. Humanitarian organizations including UNICEF, USAID, and the Gates Foundation use Vumi to deliver health and education programs in Africa and elsewhere.+ The new savings feature will be offered as an opt-in feature of existing social networking services built on Vumi and aimed at teenage girls living in poverty, says Gustav Praekelt, the head of the foundation. For most of the girls it will be their first opportunity to have a savings account, he says, something he hopes will lead to better decisions about money.

Microsoft's new Windows 10 Universal App Platform: A 'superset of WinRT'
Developers will be able to target different versions -- either a range or individual -- of the UAP, not the underlying version of Windows, according to Lacey. The UAP "is a versioned collection of versioned contracts," he explained. Universal apps don't mean apps that look and work exactly the same across all device types. Microsoft is building "extension SDKs (software development kits) that will allow developers to build platform/device-specific elements while still building on top of a single binary, according to tweets from the event. The Adaptive User Interface in universal apps will adapt to the device, tweeted freelance tech journalist Tim Anderson (@timanderson).

The Enterprise Effect Of Open Source
Like early adopters, enterprises have discovered the benefits open source provides: Lower cost, flexibility, and ease of use, plus access to a larger group of potential developers, either internally or externally. As security threats increase, proponents view open source as a more viable alternative to commercial options, since open source develops rapidly and often is more proactive than reactive. Indeed, 72 percent of respondents cited the large number of people reviewing open source code as one reason the software was more secure, the Black Duck study discovered.

A Peek Under the Hood of The Connected Car
By looking at connected car functionality and architecture, we can get a better understanding of all IoT platforms. To simplify, there is a fairly consistent set of IoT components—sensors, mobile or device apps, big data stores, data science algorithms, and analytical output with a platform as a service(PaaS) layer underneath. As an example, the connected car dashboard below will be demonstrated this week at Mobile World Congress (see booth info below). Behind this type of dashboard, predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms can incorporate driving behavior and sensor data to improve maintenance and mileage, route us to gas or charging stations, predict destinations, and even get us a better deal on car insurance.

CIOs should focus on value, users and emerging tech
IT leaders have gone from project managers and budget managers to orchestrators of business strategy. In the past, static knowledge of a technology or set of technologies, and the ability to deliver traditional programs and projects, were sufficient skills for an effective IT leader. Today the CIO and every role within IT has to continually to retool and reinvent itself. This sounds like a high order when faced with a huge legacy environment, but it doesn’t have to be an all-in, or all-at-once move. By being connected to company strategy the CIO can decide where to innovate first – achieving that user victory I mentioned earlier will attract more attention and investment.

You can’t program intelligent robots, but you can train them
Advances in deep learning — the artificial intelligence technique du jour for machine-perception tasks such as computer vision, speech recognition and language understanding — also stand to expedite the training of robots. Deep learning algorithms trained on publicly available images, video and other media content can help robots recognize the objects they’re seeing or the words they’re hearing; Saxena said RoboBrain uses deep learning to train robots on proper techniques for moving and grasping objects. However, there’s a different school of thought that says robots needn’t necessarily be as smart as RoboBrain wants to make them, so long as they can at least be trained to know right from wrong.

IT Governance and Business Process Outsourcing
Cloud architectures, exponential growth of Mobile communication, social networking, Collaboration… technology innovations abound, and with them the ever important need for IT governance. In fact the subject of Governance (and Management) of Enterprise IT in the BPO space, is a relatively new and challenging domain. One must remember that in parallel to BPO and technological advancements, the demands on Corporate Governance and therefore IT Governance so too have increased dramatically. If anything, BPO has introduced, and arguably forced, an extended dimension to the realm of IT Governance.

Negotiating the Cultural Minefield
Though no two individuals have exactly the same cultural DNA, there are only two negotiation cultures that matter. In a given negotiation, all parties choose to either follow a win-win or a win-lose negotiation strategy. As we move forward in a negotiation with our counterparties, the main thing we need to figure out is which of the two they’ve chosen to adopt. Here, too, culture can act as a smokescreen. An example: You may have heard, or been warned, about the unusually strong handshakes employed by some in my home country of Brazil. Some say this vigorous greeting is about projecting a macho, intimidating image. Others put a quite different spin on it,

Exploiting big data could save the European Commission up to €200bn a year
“The EC wants to encourage the development of a big data ecosystem or community acting together in which bigger players create opportunities for smaller players,” said Nagy-Rothengass. Although Europe is lagging behind the US in innovating around personal data, the EC wants to ensure all European development is conducted in a secure environment. “All guidelines and regulations such as the proposed network information security (NIS) directive and open data directive are designed to ensure the European values such as privacy are preserved,” she said.

In combating cyberattacks, don't succumb to the 'squirrel effect'
this approach -- dubbed the "squirrel effect" in a session at a recent closed CIO conference in San Francisco put on by Global Business Events -- can make companies more vulnerable to attack and actually weaken their ability to recover quickly from a security breach. Chasing the latest security concern -- whether it's point-of-sale security weaknesses that hackers used to install malware, in the case of Target, or an insufficiently protected database that hackers breached to steal millions of customer's health insurance records, in the case of Anthem -- distracts companies from what they should be doing, according to the session's experts, who oversee security for a large Los Angeles-based entertainment company.

Quote for the day:

"Don't blow off another's candle for it won't make yours shine brighter." -- Jaachynma N.E. Agu

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