May 30, 2015

How wearables will shape the future of mobile payments
PayPal's Varun Krishna, senior director of its consumer wallet division, sees wearable computing as a significant opportunity for the company that will eventually "give rise to more connected, more personal experiences." ... "Wearables provide connectivity at a point that mobile apps can't," Krishna says. "By nature, they're more connected to the user than a phone can be." However, Krishna stressed that the mass adoption of wearables for mobile payments will hinge on the size of the "acceptance network," or the number of retailers and destinations that support a wide variety of digital payment options. PayPal is aggressively trying to develop and expand that acceptance network, according to Krishna.

The biggest news from Google I/O? That the search giant is streamlining
Sundar Pichai, the senior vice president in charge of projects like Android and Maps, spoke about the need for refinement and streamlining. This is a trend that makes sense for anyone who has followed tech for more than a few years. Before the days of Facebook and Twitter, and even before Google became a tech monolith, those in IT circles spent many long hours in meetings with business groups trying to explain the need for simplicity. In the 90s, IT admins tried to explain how it makes more sense to use one main operating system for all computers. Then, we tried to explain that everyone using a different app for business purposes or even a different phone didn't make sense.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard is the best in class
The mechanical operation feels natural when typing, a product of the key spacing, large keys, and width of the keyboard. The experience rivals that of many laptops, at least those with nice keyboards. The keys on the Microsoft model go all the way to the edge of the unit, which is as wide as the iPad. Microsoft uses dedicated keys for the tablet control functions that are commonly found on keyboards, e.g. Home, Back, volume controls. This is great, as it means there is no need for using the Fn key in combination with another key to control the tablet. There is a small power button on the right edge of the unit, although the keyboard turns on when the lid is opened. There are two rubber strips on the bottom of the keyboard unit that keep it from moving, even on a relatively slippery surface.

Is your organisation throwing big data down the drain?
The problem is that today, the term 'mobile technology' in business is often synonymous with the use of consumer-grade smartphones. However, consumer smartphones are not equipped to deal with the stresses and strains of large and complicated workplace environments.  In many sectors, consumer-grade smartphones simply do not equip employees with the ability to safely access data or analytics on the go. With the proliferation of consumer device use, many companies have resorted to strategies incorporating consumer devices and implementing BYOD strategies in an attempt to give employees efficient access to data. This brings with it a whole host of compliance, security, technology and accessibility issues.

Top 8 Smart Devices For The Kitchen Of The Future
The Internet of Things is building the kitchen of the future. Everything from an app to turn on your coffee maker to a pan that monitors heat on your iPhone to cook the perfect steak is so close we can (almost literally) taste it. ... This one aims to be an easy-to-use kitchen baking scale that guides you through select recipes connected to an iPad app. You pick out which recipe you want on the app and then place a bowl on the bluetooth connected scale, drop in each ingredient until the app says you have added enough into the bowl and follow along with the instructions to make the perfect cake, cookies or whatever else you desire. ... The HAPIfork is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits for weight loss. It measures how long it took you to eat, the amount of fork servings and the time in between servings.

Household Robots Are Here, but Where Are They Going?
They can’t wash windows or make an omelet. “When they can do physical work, that will be much more compelling,” Mataric says. Roboticists hesitate to guess when that will happen. “Eventually, they’ll be able to make gumbo,” says Cynthia Matuszek, a robotics researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. But “multiple decades” is her closest guess to when that will be. In the meantime, social robots can perform fairly simple tasks, with varying degrees of success, in response to voice commands. Echo goes by the name “Alexa,” So you can say “Alexa, play the new Mumford & Sons album,” and it will do so. Or you can ask it for the weather forecast. Jibo, meanwhile, can engage in simple conversations, as it swivels and wriggles about and displays video images. It can teach kids languages, or, sitting on the kitchen counter, teach adults recipes.

Trusting the ecosystem that sustains and maintains the Internet of Things
IoT ecosystem trust needn’t be tied purely to IoT security, in terms of my discussion in this IBM Data magazine article from 2013. Trusting IoT ecosystems involves more than making sure every IoT manufacturer, service provider and application developer isn’t planting malware. It also requires a more comprehensive certification of confidence in the provenance and ongoing maintenance of every element that anyone in the ecosystem might provision into the Internet of Things. Certification is not too strong a word to describe what’s needed. Having some rudimentary degree of certification-based trust across the IoT ecosystem would enable all users to count on some basic assured level of reliability, availability, isolation, performance and interoperability associated with any endpoints or infrastructure nodes, considered individually or in various combinations.

CIO interview: Billie Laidlaw, RSPCA
“I’m always mindful of cost. Is it the right thing to do? Can we really spend any money on anything other than the animals? We are considering this all the time,” says Laidlaw. And with the organisation largely dependent on donations, she’s acutely aware that supporters are motivated by animal welfare concerns, not the state of the charity’s IT systems, when it comes to parting with their cash. “When they put a pound in a collecting tin, they’re not thinking, ‘Oh, wow, that’ll go towards the cost of a new customer relationship management [CRM] system or reporting suite’, they’re thinking about how their contribution will make a difference to a kitten or dog in our care,” says Laidlaw.

Not Your Father's EMC
The benefits to the customer are clear – more features, more quickly, without lock-in. “And free?” I hear you say. Not necessarily. I still believe that most customers will want to buy a complete working system (hardware + software + service) and for that they will be happy to pay. I do not believe we are heading back to a world where organizations buy component parts to spend days and weeks doing self-assembly. With that in mind, last week, we announced the CoprHD open source project, essentially a release of the ViPR Controller source code into the community. I’ve been very clear that this project is merely the first we’ve picked and it is a part of a much more expansive open source effort you’ll see roll out over the next year.

From Doodles to Delivery: An API Design Process
Succeeding with an API design means designing an interface whose usage fosters its purpose. As API designers, each decision we make has an impact on the success of the product. There are big decisions to be made, such as the transport protocol that the API will use, or the message format that it will support. But, there are also many smaller decisions related to the controls, names, relationships and sequences of an interface. When you put them together, all these decisions drive a pattern of usage. If you’ve made only good decisions, then that pattern will support and foster the purpose of the API perfectly. If you want to make a correct design decision, you’ll probably need to make the wrong one first and learn from that experience.

Quote for the day:

"Commitment doesn't guarantee success, but lack of commitment guarantees you'll fall short of your potential." -- Denis Waitley

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