August 15, 2016

China is disrupting global fintech

Online users expect different cultural, branding, marketing, functionality, cost, customization, engagement, and service experiences. Freeman said, “It’s very difficult to customize traffic-based selling. It’s fraught with challenges” Beyond automated transaction services, companies like PINTEC provide more advanced investment management services, dubbed roboadvisory, digital wealth, or digital advisory services. Although in the early stages, they aim to incorporate big data and artificial intelligence to provide appropriate, affordable solutions. These accounts often blend investment recommendations from the roboadvisor with some client decision-making, which is especially well-suited for Chinese investors who value lower fees and being involved in the process. Jeroen Buwalda, Partner at EY, said, “Asian entrepreneurs have faith in themselves, not fund managers.”

The Role of the Hybrid Cloud and Application Services in Digital Transformation

The cloud actually plays a huge role in digital transformation. In fact, it forms the heart of it. It changes the entire business model to facilitate a more technology-led transformation. Enterprises have the option of choosing from public or hosted private clouds, which would enable them to improve processes and embrace innovation without having to spend huge amounts on infrastructure and avoid the risk of deploying redundant technology when there are good chances for failure. However, choosing the right model, even for cloud computing, is very essential, as each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. Public clouds, on the other hand, can be better utilized with applications that might have variable resource requirements, like e-commerce apps and gaming apps.

Create a better strategy for innovation, move away from a 70/30 model

Companies want -- and need -- CIOs to drive innovation, yet many IT organizations still follow the 70/30 model where 70% of time and resources are dedicated to "keeping the lights on" IT and 30% to IT innovation. Delivering reliable, secure, efficient and cost-effective IT systems remains responsibility No. 1 for CIOs, but it's time to move the needle. Our question this month to IT leaders: "What have you done in the past 12 months to reduce time spent on 'keeping-the-lights-on' IT functions?" Their strategies for innovation ran the gamut, from implementing on-demand services to identifying real-time business problems to solve.

The Third Wave: Why Big Data is the Future of Legal Tech

Big data analytics allow lawyers to gather this same information, but on a much larger scale. For instance, analytics platforms allow attorneys to view their judge’s complete history, including every decision issued and every case cited, to identify the legal precedent the judge finds most persuasive. While this type of analytics can’t tell an attorney whether this judge is particular about staying behind a podium during cross examination or likes his motions in a particular font size, it does allow an attorney to craft an argument using a judge’s favorite case. In addition, such analytics can inform an attorney’s strategy in litigating a particular case in terms of filing motions that a judge is likely to grant, rather than spending a client’s time and money on motions that a judge hardly ever accepts.

Hackers demonstrated first ransomware for IoT thermostats at DEF CON

Andrew Tierney and Ken Munro of PenTest Partners demonstrated the smart thermostat ransomware at DEF CON. It only took them a few days to hack the thermostat, and this was right before the security conference, so they would not reveal the manufacturer until they could report the vulnerability to the company. This particular IoT thermostat runs a modified version of Linux, has a large LCD screen – the better to show the ransom demand – and has an SD card. As for what the ransomware does, Tierney told Infosecurity Magazine, “It heats to 99 degrees, and asks for a PIN to unlock which changes every 30 seconds. We put an IRC botnet on it, and the executable dials into the channel and uses the MAC address as the identifier, and you need to pay one Bitcoin to unlock.”

Rein in the IT bear: why businesses must take back control

Exactly one half of IT decision makers fear that they cannot drive digital transformation forward at the speed their management team expects. Combine this with the fact that 32% of employees also believe their employers are not driving digital transformation as fast as competitors are doing, and you have the ingredients for a disaster – commercially speaking. When disturbed, a bear becomes unruly and unpredictable. The same result can be seen when too much pressure is placed upon an IT system ill-equipped to handle the demands of digitalisation. When this happens, the IT department struggles to deliver the best quality IT service to end users.  The bear’s unpredictable, volatile and temperamental nature is wreaking havoc, and the carnage left in its wake impedes businesses from innovating to remain competitive in their chosen fields.

INTERVIEW: Blockchain Warp Speed With Ethereum's Raiden

Basically all blockchain based applications that want to scale to real world usage will benefit from Raiden. It can be used for applications like asset trading in gaming or finance, retail payments, micropayments for content (think the next YouTube or Spotify where creators are directly paid for every second consumed). But it's also suitable as an infrastructure for cheaper, faster and more secure correspondent banking. Especially the upcoming machine-to-machine economy will likely use blockchain as an easy to integrate permissionless infrastructure. Some expected applications of Raiden here will be decentralized energy trading, on-demand payments for bandwidth, API-access, sensor data or access to property and infrastructure.

Big data’s humble beginnings

Enterprises are already embracing big data and predictive analytics to hire and retain talent, forecast staffing needs and improve employee satisfaction. In the next two years, 6,400 organizations with 100 employees or more plan to implement big data analytics, providing ample opportunities for a new crop of startups that collect, refine and interpret data to populate the HR analytics landscape. Startups are leveraging Watson’s technology to deliver data-driven recommendations to consumers and healthcare providers; this pattern will soon extend to the health sector at large. People are generating more health-related data than ever before, and doctors, patients and researchers need tools to make sense of it. Physicians will be able to compare patients’ data with health trends in the general population and provide data-driven advice for treatment or prevention of illnesses.

Question: What's missing in Microsoft's data science professional degree?

Arguably more the biggest concern, however, is the module doesn’t teach relational database theory or relational data modelling. Both are surely vitally important to a good data scientist but, as we know, historically relational is something that's proved disposable in big data, an area this qualification no doubt seeks to serve. Without this understanding it’s hard to understand why NoSQL databases are different, what advantages they bring as well as their disadvantages. More importantly, without a good understanding of relational theory, the data scientist misses a huge and well-tested bag of tricks that avoids a whole host of analytical problems. There is a suggestion that the student can go elsewhere to learn this material, but it’s not clear exactly where the student should go.

A Delayed Blockchain Strategy Can Sink an Institution

The blockchain iceberg may not be directly in front of us at the moment, but unless the culture of complacency is tackled head-on, financial services retailers will quickly find themselves in a precarious situation. By preparing properly and bracing for impact, organizations can learn the best way to steer themselves clear of danger, instead of facing a titanic struggle to stay afloat. A blockchain can securely record ownership and any other information about any asset, and with its ability to enable transactions to be completed within minutes or even seconds, it could completely revolutionize the industry. While some suggest it will be a force for good, others suggest that the changes it would impose on the way these organizations operate will leave a trail of ruin in their wake.

Quote for the day:

"Knowledge management is something many companies are sure they need, if only they knew what it was." -- @mldamico

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