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SAP Expands IoT Footprint With Plat.One Acquisition

September 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

sap-logo-150x150SAP has acquired IoT software developer Plat.One,taking the first step of a plan to invest $2 billion in the internet of things over the next five years.

Some of those billions will be spent on the creation of IoT development labs around the world, SAP said Wednesday. It already has plans for such labs in Berlin, Johannesburg, Munich, Palo Alto, Shanghai and São Leopoldo in Brazil.

The company is also rolling out a series of “jump-start” and “accelerator” IoT software packages for particular industries, to help them monitor and control equipment.

Another compoent of SAP’s IoT plan is to acquire new businesses, the latest of which is Plat.One. This company makes a platform that helps smart devices talk to one another and with a central database, translating between the different protocols they use to communicate. Plat.One says it manages 200,000 devices for 25 enterprise customers, including three telecommunications companies: BT, T-Systems and Telecom Italia.

Back in June SAP bought Fedem Technology, a Norwegian company specializing in the modeling of structures under load. By mapping sensor data from real structures onto these models, SAP intends to create digital avatars of buildings and industrial machines that can be inspected for wear or damage virtually, without the need for a site visit.

SAP is not alone in having designs on the industrial IoT market. Hewlett Packard Enterprise teamed up with GE to sell that company’s Predix IoT platform back in June, with GE naming HPE its preferred storage and infrastructure provider in return. The following month it was Microsoft’s turn, as it struck a deal to put GE’s Predix on the Azure cloud platform.

SAP’s plan for Plat.One is to link it with its HANA Cloud Platform, built around the company’s HANA in-memory database. One of the strengths Plat.One claims for its software is that it works well on the network edge, particularly in environments where connectivity to cloud platforms is intermittent. That could be useful for tracking machinery in industrial or mining environments with patchy network coverage.

Plat.One is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, but it was founded near Genoa in Italy, where its research team is still based.

 

Mozilla Brings New Ad-blocking Feature To Firefox

September 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

firefox-logo-150x150Mozilla has unveiled three new test features for Firefox, including one that separates YouTube videos from the browser and another that may signal towards a more aggressive ad-blocking strategy by the open-source developer.

“We’re excited to announce the release of three new Test Pilot experiments,” said Nick Nguyen, the vice president of Firefox, in a post to a company blog. “These features will help you share and manage screenshots; keep streaming video front and center; and protect your online privacy.”

Test Pilot was re-introduced in May when Mozilla resurrected a 2009 moniker and used it on a 2015 project that had fallen into disuse. Test Pilot was designed to collect feedback on proposed new features for Firefox before they were added to the browser.

The three features that debuted today were a screenshot taker, called “Page Shot,” that also includes a search mechanism for finding what has been snapped; “Min Vid,” which plays YouTube and Vimeo videos in a Lilliputian window atop Firefox; and “Tracking Protection,” a tool brought over from Firefox’s already-extant Private Browsing.

The last of the trio — Tracking Protection — had the most significant implications for the browser.

As part of Private Browsing — Firefox’s incognito mode — Tracking Protection has blocked web ads, page analytics measuring tools and the sharing buttons, such as those for Facebook and Twitter, that may record users’ site-to-site travels. Mozilla added Tracking Protection to Private Browsing in November 2015.

“This experiment will help us understand where Tracking Protection breaks the web so that we can improve it for all Firefox users,” Nguyen wrote today.

By testing Tracking Protection, Mozilla signaled that it’s thinking of adding the feature to Firefox, where it would be used — whether by default or as an option — by all users, not just those calling up Private Browsing.

 

Apple Score Another Enterprise Win With Deloitte Deal

September 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

apple-bldg-150x150Apple Inc and Deloitte LLP announced a partnership  in which the consultant will open a new practice to encourage business clients to work with Apple products, the tech firm’s latest attempt to boost enterprise sales as its key product, the iPhone, shows signs of maturation.

More than 5,000 Deloitte advisers will be included in the Apple initiative, the companies said. The consulting firm also launched EnterpriseNext, a program aimed at helping clients make better use of Apple products and services.

Apple has announced a steady stream of enterprise partnerships in recent years as it aims to draw more revenue from a market that some say it has traditionally overlooked.

A partnership struck with IBM in 2014 signaled Apple’s intentions of getting more serious about corporate clients, or enterprise, and deals with Cisco and SAP have followed.

The deal with Deloitte will ensure that Apple is top of mind as companies think strategically about their practices, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview.

“What’s needed now is more of a focus on transforming the enterprise and helping businesses identify which areas have the highest either return on investment or highest impact on customer satisfaction,” Cook said. “Deloitte is well positioned for this.”

As part of the EnterpriseNext program, customers can meet with designers and engineers who specialize in Apple’s operating system.

“The intent there is to, in one location, bring the best engineers, the best products and the best thinkers to try and address clients’ problems,” Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global, said in an interview.

Apple faces mounting pressure to find new streams of revenue after sales of the iPhone, which drives more than half of its revenue, declined for the first time this year.

Cook said in 2015 that Apple’s enterprise business had reached $25 billion in annual revenue. He declined to provide a new figure on Wednesday but stressed the company is gaining ground.

“The momentum is significant, and we see this as a very important growth vector,” he said.

Will Intel Succeed In Banking With Blockchain?

September 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Intel backed blockchain project has apparently passed its tests with more than eight finance outfits on their bond transactions.

For those that came in late, blockchain is similar technology which is behind bitcoin and is being looked at by the finance houses as a secure way to carrying out banking translations. Intel has baded a financial innovation start-up R3 to push the tech and it trialed it with eight banks, including HSBC and State Street.

The platform featured advanced smart contract technology that enabled trading, matching, and settlement of U.S. Treasury bonds, as well as automated coupon payments and redemption, R3 said in a statement.

Tim Grant, chief executive officer of R3’s Lab and Research Center said the goal at R3 was to bring our members together with the strongest technology players and work collaboratively to evaluate and accelerate this technology to production using real-world use cases.

R3 is leading a consortium of more than 60 of the world’s largest financial institutions created to develop commercial applications of blockchain technology for the financial services industry. The R3 consortium members involved in U.S. Treasury debt project included CIBC, ING Bank, HSBC, Scotiabank, Societe Generale scgly , State Street stt , UBS ubs , and UniCredit.

The blockchain trial was undertaken at R3’s Lab and Research Center. R3, Intel and each of the banks used physical, “non-cloud-based nodes” hosted across the U.S., Canada, Asia, Australia and Europe to interact and simulate US Treasury trading on the blockchain.

Courtesy-Fud

MasterCard Launches Developer’s Platform For App Creation

September 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

mastercard-logo-150x150Mastercard has unveiled an ambitious open Mastercard Developers platform to help third-party developers easily create commerce-related apps and services.

Developers will be able to use six different coding languages to work with 25 different Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in payment, data, security and experimental areas. The experimental category includes APIs for bot commerce such as chatbots and virtual reality and augmented reality devices.

In one example of how a bot commerce API could be rolled out in an actual setting, Mastercard and Pizza Hut Asia are piloting a commerce application with Pepper the humanoid robot, who acts as a restaurant waiter capable of taking orders, serving food and collecting payment at the table.

Pepper is a humanoid robot developed by a subsidiary of Softbank Group of Japan.

Mastercard’s role in the Pepper pilot is the commerce element through MasterPass, a service that allows secure payments across various devices. Restaurants could soon deploy the waiter robots in Japan because of a serious labor shortage in restaurants there, said Oran Cummins, senior vice president for APIs at MasterCard.

MasterCard is also experimenting with blockchain, a distributed database first implemented in 2009 as the underpinning of bitcoin. Blockchain can be used as a public ledger to automatically maintain a continuously-growing list of records.

“It’s very much exploratory,” Cummins said in an interview. “We’ve done a lot of work in blockchain and we’ve been experimenting with a number of things in exposing APIs and blockchain functionality.”

It isn’t clear when blockchain will be part of the Mastercard Developers platform, however.

The platform is made up of Software Developer Kits (SDKs), developer tools and sample code for each of the 25 APIs. The code provided is in Java, Javascript, C#, Ruby, Python and Node.js.

Mastercard first started offering third-party developer APIs six years ago, and has seen a 400% increase in API usage in 2016. With the growing interest from tens of thousands of individual developers and those inside large companies globally, Mastercard decided to expand the program to provide open APIs for all of its products.

 

Sears Teams Up With Uber To Enhance Rewards Program

September 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

sears-auto-center-150x150Sears Holdings Corp is joining forces with ride-services company Uber Technologies Inc as the struggling retailer tries to make its rewards program more attractive to shoppers.

Sears is betting on its Shop Your Way loyalty plan, which offers points and tailored deals to members, as the company looks to revive sales. The program accounted for 75 percent of the company’s sales through the first half of 2016.

Riders who link their Uber account to Sears’ loyalty plan will receive up to $2 in loyalty points for every trip. The program, Rider Rewards, is currently available in Chicago and New York City, and will be rolled out nationally soon, the companies said.

While new drivers who sign up to drive with Uber through Shop Your Way will get up to $1,000 in points, existing Uber drivers in some cities including Chicago, New York City and San Francisco can also earn points by enrolling in the program.

Sears, which has not reported a profit in five years, has made the Shop Your Way program the focus of its revival strategy, even as it shrinks its store base to reduce costs.

“We are looking at more and more ways where we can reach out to top-tier brands and find more opportunities where our members can earn points,” Leena Munjal, senior vice president of customer experience and integrated retail at Sears, told Reuters.

The company declined to disclose Shop Your Way’s membership count, but said it is in “tens of millions”.

Other Shop Your Way partners include Starbucks Corp, daily deals website Groupon Inc, florist 1-800-FLOWERS.COM Inc and identity theft protection services provider LifeLock Inc.

Sears’ 638 Auto Centers will also serve as one of Uber’s preferred maintenance providers, offering exclusive discounts and points to Uber drivers, the companies said.

Virtual Reality Devices On The Rise

September 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The numbers of VR-enabled smartphones and tablets, as well as shipments of VR devices bundled with gaming consoles or PCs will grow like topsy in the fourth quarter.

Beancounters at Digitimes Research have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that we should see some significant changes in the VR market soon.

Shipments of VR video-enabled smartphones and VR devices bundled with consoles will be higher compared to other devices. Vendors of VR-enabled tablets and VR headset bundled PCs which niche markets initially before they make headways by coming out with products with reduced prices and enriched content, should do rather well, the Digitimes Report claim.

Gaming and video are still the dominant VR applications in 2016. The successful launch of VR video-enabled flagship smartphones by Samsung Electronics in the first half of 2016 will encourage other vendors to follow suit.

Google and ARM updates to their VR video applications with reduced algorithm requirements in the fourth quarter of 2016 will help develop more VR video-enabled mobile devices.

Shipments of VR video-enabled smartphones are expected to reach 70 million units in 2016, accounting for 5 per cent of global smartphone shipments, Digitimes Research thinks.

Sony is expected to ship over three million PlayStation VR devices in the quarter, far higher than rival vendors.

Courtesy-Fud

MediaTek Goes For Two With TSMC

September 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

While Intel has admitted it can’t build a 10nm chip, Mediatek is planning to release two of them using TSMC’s process.

According to the Economic Daily News MediaTek is considering rolling out two versions of its 10nm chips, the Helio X30 for high-end smartphones and the X35 for the lower-end segment.

It said that it will start volume production for the Helio X30-series SoCs as scheduled between the end of 2016 and early-2017. It is also thinking of having another 10nm series designed for mid- and high-end but not necessarily flagship smartphones.

The Helio X35 chips from MediaTek will also be built by TSMC using a lower-spec variant of the foundry’s 10nm processes. It is the first of TSMC’s first group of customers to adopt its 10nm process technology. The other is Apple.

TSMC said that its 10nm process has received product tape-outs from three clients, and will start generating revenues in the first quarter of 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

Google Fiber Wins Installation Battle In Nashville

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

google-fiber-logo-150x150Google Fiber won a victory in Nashville as the city’s Metro Council approved an ordinance called “One Touch Make Ready,” that would speed up the company’s fiber-optic cable installations.

The ordinance, passed by a voice vote, gives Google Fiber and other ISPs quicker access to utility poles for deploying fast broadband with fiber-optic cable.

Without the measure, each ISP has had to send out a separate crew to a utility pole to move its own line to make room for a new one. The ordinance would permit a single company to make the wire adjustments on a pole instead of waiting for existing providers — competitors like Comcast or AT&T– to make the changes, which could take months.

Mayor Megan Barry is expected to sign the measure into law, but is also expecting a legal challenge. AT&T is reportedly the most likely to file a lawsuit, and Barry said protracted litigation could delay implementation of the law and, therefore, fiber access for citizens, according to The Tennessean.

AT&T could not be reached for comment. Meanwhile, Google Fiber posted an upbeat update to a previous blog. “It’s a great day for Nashville,” the blog said of the council’s vote. “This will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly.”

Google Fiber said it launched in Nashville in April,  although progress on the rollout has been sidetracked by the work on the ordinance.

Deploying fiber-optic cable on utility poles and underground is a costly and time-consuming process even when competition from other providers doesn’t pose disruptions. In August, a Wall Street Journal report said Google Fiber was hoping to rely on wireless technology instead of fiber in about 12 major cities to reduce its costs. Google Fiber officials did not comment to Computerworld on that report.

Digital Map Company HERE Partners With Automakers To Share Traffic Data

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

here-maps-150x150German digital map maker HERE plans to roll out a new set of traffic services this week that allows drivers to see for themselves what live road conditions are like miles ahead using data from competing automakers, an industry first.

The Berlin-based company, owned by Germany’s three premium automakers, will provide four services in which drivers share detailed video views of traffic jams or accidents, potential road hazards like fog or slippery streets, traffic signs including temporary speed limits and on-street parking.

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen will all contribute data to the service, making their first big collaboration since they bought HERE for 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion) late last year from mobile equipment maker Nokia of Finland.

Other automakers are expected to join the project later and contribute data from their vehicles, HERE said.

The new live traffic services are set to hit the road in the first half of 2017, HERE said on Monday before the opening of this week’s Paris Motor Show.

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles from the three German automakers are set to begin feeding visual data into the HERE system supplying these services, with millions of vehicles expected to contribute live traffic feeds by the end of 2018, HERE said.

“You have competing brands which are putting their data together to create very unique services which were not possible before,” Bruno Bourguet, HERE’s global head of sales, said in an interview.

Data collected from vehicles participating in the network, drawn from brakes, windshield wipers, headlights, location systems, cameras and other sensors, are translated into alerts on driver dashboards using the HERE services.

Collecting sophisticated data from millions of cars on the road promises to give HERE a substantial lead over technology rivals such as Google , Apple, Tesla and TomTom , which have access to data from far fewer vehicles to collect so-called crowd-sourced data, analysts say.

“Crowd-sourced data is crucial for live traffic/maps and the size of the user base will be key to differentiation,” UBS said in a recent report.

As other automakers contribute data for these services, an increasingly comprehensive view of road conditions around the world will be built to aid human drivers and, eventually, computer systems for autonomous cars, for which real-time road data is a pre-condition for replacing human drivers.

AMD 7nm APU Goes Gray Hawk

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

A few of you might remember that we exclusively posted the news that AMD is working on a 7nm CPU codenamed Starship. The 7nm APU is codenamed Gray Hawk and it aims to attain lower TDPs.

The AMD Starship X86 CPU is a 7nm unit with up to 48 cores and 96 threads and this definitely targets the high end server market as well as performance desktop computers. These CPUs will have a range of TDP values from 35W all the way to 180W. It is safe to assume that the version with 35W TDP ends up with much less than 48 cores.

Now AMD plans to launch its first 7nm and target some embedded markets. Of course, there will be a notebook version of a Gray Hawk, possibly with a different codename but AMD plans to use the 7nm quad core with eight threads, in 7nm for casino gaming machines, arcade gaming, industrial control and automation, retail signage, HMI and security machines. It will also fit into the highly profitable medical imaging market, premium thin clients and communication infrastructure.

We already said with that the APU that joins Polaris GPU architecture and 14nm FinFET Zen core is coming in the second half of 2017, and the Gray Hawk is the successor to that.

There is a big chance that this APU will mix with the Navi architecture that is also expected to launch in 7nm. This product is scheduled for a 2019 launch, so we have quite some time before it happens, but it is good to know that AMD is planning far ahead.

The lowest TPD parts will get to 10W, which sounds quite amazing considering what kind of specification that APU might end up having.

The middle of next year is when we expect to see the Zen / Polaris APUs in notebooks and a bit later in embedded systems. AMD’s Lisa Su was clear at Computex earlier this year. She said that the company plans to launch the desktop first, following with server then notebook and last of all t will be a unit aimed at the embedded market.

Bear in mind that these products should still be considered as concepts and they are subject to change. AMD first needs to master a 14nm FinFET low TDP notebook and embedded Zen based parts before it can more to the very exciting 7nm.

Courtesy-Fud

Can Qualcomm Win The 5G Race?

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf has been telling the world how it is going to win the 5G war which will bring about a bold new world based around the Internet of Things.

Writing in his bog, Mollenkopf claimed that Qualcomm was leading the way to 5G for the next 10 years and beyond.

He said that there will be 3G and 4G connected people, but 5G is going to connect everything.

“It’s a unifying, more capable communications fabric that will take on a much bigger role than previous generations of mobile technology. It’s a layer of connectivity that will become fundamental to our cities, jobs and ourselves. It’s the foundation of the next technological revolution.”

Lately 5G has been a bit of a buzz word lately, although there are no common standards issued yet. However if Mollenkopf is right, it will transform our daily lives once and for all by revolutionizing the way people interact with the world and with each other.

Hard to see how it can be any different. It might be faster, it might have different ways of connecting, but we will still have to talk to people. Mollenkopf said that 5G will expand mobile networks and technologies into a much wider range of industries.

“It will enable smart cities that can sustain tomorrow’s urban growth, automobiles that communicate with each other and traffic lights to save lives, VR headsets that allow us to experience the world in new ways, body sensors that monitor our health and make dietary recommendations, and so much more.”

Mollenkopf added that making this 5G connected world a reality is incredibly complex.

“ You need a new kind of mobile network to meet an expanding and radically diverse set of connectivity requirements – high throughput and low latency, high security and low power, high reliability and deep coverage. This will require new technology innovations that build upon the foundation that we have already created … Qualcomm is an invention company. We’ve been developing these 5G building blocks for years just as we pioneered many of the building blocks for 3G and 4G. Making one cutting-edge technology work well is difficult; making many of them work together is even harder. But that’s what Qualcomm does,” he said.

Courtesy-Fud

Yahoo Hacking Takes Top Spot As Biggest Breach

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

yahoo-hacking-150x150When Yahoo confirmed that data from at least 500 million user accounts had been hacked, it wasn’t just admitting to a huge failing in data security — it was admitting to the biggest hack the world has ever seen.

Until  last Thursday, the previous largest known hack was the 2008 breach that hit almost 360 million MySpace accounts, according to a ranking by the “Have I been pwned” website. Like the Yahoo breach, the hack was only publicly disclosed this year after data was offered on a hacker forum.

And only three breaches had ranked above the 100 million level:

LinkedIn reported a loss of 167 million email addresses and passwords. They were originally stolen in 2012 but not publicly disclosed until 2016, again after the data was offered on an underground “dark market” site.

A 2013 hack of Adobe saw 153 million account details lost. They included user names, email addresses, and encrypted passwords, but the encryption was poorly implemented and reversed on some accounts.

And there’s been a reported but unverified hack of dating website Badoo. Data including email addresses, names, and passwords for about 112 million members was found online.

The LinkedIn and MySpace data sets, along with 200 million Yahoo records, were put up for sale by the same hacker, peace_of_mind.

Major hacks can turn out to be a headache for users, even if the data is old and the account in question is no longer used. That’s because many people use the same password or a similar password across services, so a successful hack of Yahoo could expose an email address and password that would work on other sites.

Privacy Groups Urge Probe Of WhatsApp Data Sharing Practices

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

whatsapp-logo-150x150The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should prohibit mobile messaging service WhatsApp from sharing user data with parent company Facebook in violation of earlier privacy promises, several privacy groups said.

The FTC should step in to stop WhatsApp from violating “commitments the company previously made to subscribers,” the 17 groups said in a letter sent to the agency Thursday. WhatsApp has long billed itself as a secure and private messaging service.

WhatsApp’s recently released plan to share user data with Facebook as a way to target advertising could amount to an “unfair and deceptive” trade practice, said the groups, including the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, and Demand Progress.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact this proposed change in data practices will have on the privacy and security of WhatsApp users in the U.S. and across the world,” the letter added. When Facebook acquired the messaging service in 2014, both companies “made numerous promises” that WhatsApp’s privacy policies wouldn’t change, the letter added.

WhatsApp complies with “applicable” laws, a spokeswoman said in response to the letter. “As always, we consider our obligations when designing updates like this,” she added by email.

WhatsApp has collected personal information from more than 1 billion users, “with the promise that this information would not be used or disclosed for marketing purposes,” the letter to the FTC said. “WhatsApp’s reversal on this promise is a material, retroactive change that will apply to previously collected data.”

The proposed changes in WhatsApp’s privacy policy have raised concerns outside the U.S. as well. On Friday, India’s Delhi High Court ordered the company to delete user data for people who opt out of the changes before Sunday, according to news reports. The court also told WhatsApp to avoid sharing data collected before then with Facebook, even for users who do not opt out of the new policy.

 

AT&T Announces Low-cost, High-speed Wireless Internet Service AirGig

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

att-logo-5-150x150AT&T unveiled a low-cost, high-speed wireless internet technology that relies on plastic antennas stationed along medium-voltage power lines.

The signals will not travel through the conductive materials inside the power lines, as with more expensive technologies that were tried and mostly failed a decade ago, AT&T executives said on a conference call.

Instead, the plastic antennas will be attached to the power lines and serve as a mesh network to distribute signals to homes and businesses. To test the technology, AT&T is looking for a location somewhere in the next year with a favorable regulatory environment, since the carrier would need to partner with an existing electric utility.

The project, called AirGig, relies on more than 100 patents, according to an AT&T statement. There is no direct electrical connection to the power lines, although network components could receive their needed power through inductive physical principals just by their proximity to the lines, AT&T Chief Technology Officer Andre Fuetsch explained.

AT&T said the testing will decide what frequency AirGig will use for commercial deployment, which could occur sometime around 2020, after the carrier rolls out 5G wireless. The frequency AT&T uses will affect the range of the signal and the speed, as well as whether it is over a licensed or unlicensed band.

By using power lines, AirGig avoids the expense of digging trenches to lay fiber optic cable. A utility company would be able to use the technology to help spot problems on its power lines from something like a downed tree.

“It’s a transformative technology that delivers low-cost and multigigabit speeds using power lines,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer for AT&T. “There’s no need for enhancements for new towers, and it’s over existing infrastructure.”

Aside from saying it is low-cost, AT&T didn’t offer details. A location for the field testing will be offered soon, officials said.

AirGig has already been tested in outdoor locations on campus settings. “We’ve had it up and running 4k video and cameras on campuses for quite some time,” Donovan said.

He said the trial could be in an area where existing broadband is expensive, even in the U.S.

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