posted 4 days ago on gigaom
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Agency may have adroitly resolved the notion of driver accountability for the coming smart car future. It may sound like a ‘through the looking glass’ paradox, but the US National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) has decided — in the face of relentless innovation in driverless vehicles — that cars can be their own drivers. This has enormous implications, and was motivated by the design issues of future AI-driven cars. Google’s Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s driverless car initiative, raised the issue with NHTSA, asking how the agency intreprets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) vis-à-vis smart cars: Wayne Cunningham, Feds declare that Google’s self-driving car is its own driver NHTSA posted a detailed response on its Web site. The response shows that Google was concerned how the FMVSS could be applied to a computer-controlled car lacking steering wheel or any other traditional driver controls. Urmson suggested that NHTSA could interpret the FMVSS as not to apply to Google’s cars at all, or that it require a traditional interpretation, assuming a driver in the left front seat, or that the system controlling the car could be considered the driver. In NHTSA’s letter, it chose the latter solution, determining that the self-driving system is the driver for purposes of the FMVSS. So, this in principle means that Google (and others) can design cars that have no requirement for human-oriented driver’s controls, like steering wheels, accelerators, brakes, or rear-view mirrors, for example. If an AI-driven car is its own driver and no person riding in the car is playing that role, then in the case of an accident there is no human responsible since the car is the driver. But secondly, this might open the door to something perhaps just as important. If an AI-driven car is its own driver and no person riding in the car is playing that role, then in the case of an accident there is no human responsible since the car is the driver. The NHTSA may have adroitly resolved the notion of driver accountability for the coming smart car future. Originally published at stoweboyd.com and workfutures.io on 10 February 2016.

Read More...
posted 6 days ago on gigaom
IBM sent some questions following the recent IBM Connect conference. They are based on some unwritten assumptions that I disagree with, which will become evident in my response. Here’s the questions: What is your definition of a successful social enterprise? Why do companies consider forming an enterprise-wide social network and what are the biggest benefits? How are enterprise social networks used to share knowledge and increase innovation? What hurdles do organizations face when implementing an enterprise social network? How can you overcome these hurdles? How do you see enterprise social networks evolving over the next 5 years? Some answers: Q1: What is your definition of a successful social enterprise? A1. The idea of a ‘successful social enterprise’ is simple if you approach it superficially. In that case you simply define ‘success’ as some degree of adoption of social tools, and the harvesting of their purported benefits based on the network effects of social integration. A richer, and more nuanced definition requires a deep dive into significant changes in people’s aspirations, corporate values, and dispersal of tech platforms that underwrite new ways of work, not just new ways to communicate. (But this is not the place for that book to be written.) A sense that the promise of social collaboration has failed is the backdrop for many companies and teams moving to try work chat-based solutions, and the resurgence in the use of email. — Stowe Boyd Q2: Why do companies consider forming an enterprise-wide social network and what are the biggest benefits? A2. There is actually a large-scale migration away from the now-mainstream model of ‘social business = a company using enterprise social network as platform for communication, collaboration, and coordination’. A sense that the promise of social collaboration has failed is the backdrop for many companies and teams moving to try work chat-based solutions, and the resurgence in the use of email, now somewhat socialized (like IBM Verse and Microsoft Office 365). Q3: How are enterprise social networks used to share knowledge and increase innovation? A3. Information sharing (mistakenly called ‘knowledge sharing’) is one of the most direct benefits of social platforms, of whatever kind. They decrease the costs involved, and the social motifs — like following, @mentions, and topical activity streams — have revolutionized how we think about working together. I think increasing innovation is a separate, but immensely important issue. Tools need to stand out of the way, drop into the near background, so that innovation can happen: they don’t engender creativity, per se. In a few years the inroads made by touch, voice, gesture, and surreality will have profound impacts on how people at work choose to communicate. — Stowe Boyd Q4: What hurdles do organizations face when implementing an enterprise social network? How can you overcome these hurdles? A4. The hurdles of adopting any innovation — like a new communications or information platform for business — are consistently the same. First, people differ to the degree they are psychologically disposed toward adoption of new technologies and techniques (and the values that come along with them). So-called innovators — Ed Rogers’ term — are quick to adopt, and the laggards are most averse, and the rest of us are distributed in between in other groups: early adopters, early majority, and late majority. That’s the nature of people. Each group has its own set of concerns and considerations that slow adoption to a greater or lesser extent. This is independent of the specifics of any technology or the dynamics of any company, and dominates The Diffusion of Innovations, which is why Everett Rogers named his magisterial book that. In the case of ESNs, adoption has been problematic because the benefits are difficult to quantify, are slow to be realized (if at all), and the established alternatives (like email) are deeply embedded in business practices and processes. This has been so slow a process that innovators and early adopters are jumping the curve and moving onto new approaches before the majority has adopted the old ones. So ESNs are already a lap behind in the communications platform foot race. Q5. How do you see enterprise social networks evolving over the next 5 years? A5. The continued acceleration toward mobile, wearables, and augmented and virtual reality (or surreality, as I call it) will mean even more of a migration away from desktop/laptop use and the decline of ‘desktop’ motifs. In a few years the inroads made by touch, voice, gesture, and surreality will have profound impacts on how people at work choose to communicate. Added to the rapid rise of AI assistants (or assistance, depending on your view), the premises of ‘working together’ will change as much as the Web has done, already. So, while we will still be working in social networks in five years — we are human beings after all — we will be unlikely to be using platforms based on the design and organizing principles of what we call ESNs, today.  Cross-posted from medium and stoweboyd.com on 8 February 2016.

Read More...
posted 8 days ago on gigaom
On Thursday, LinkedIn posted some very disappointing numbers, and the result was a massive bailout on the stock. The companies reported losses and slowing growth led to erasing nearly $11 billion in the professional networking site’s market value. Combined with lowered forecasts for the year, this translated into about 40% drop in the company’s valuation. Another major collapse in confidence seems to be hitting Tableau, which dropped 45% in after hour trading on Thursday, after announcing higher than projected revenue and earnings per share, but a real slowdown in licensing revenue. Twitter continues to stumble, losing 5%. Facebook likewise took a 5% drop. The tech selloff with Apple (2.67% drop) and Amazon (6.36% down). Box fell 7.44%. The tech market appears to be getting whipsawed by the uncertainties in the world economy, with those showing the most significant drop off in past and projected revenues getting hammered. But is there something larger at work? I read a great analysis by Jessica Lessin at The Information, suggesting that there may be. In The End of Tech Startups she writes, […] the period where tech startups can readily disrupt larger tech companies is ending for a simple reason: Today’s tech behemoths aren’t the lumbering giants of yesteryear. They are leaner and meaner and more competitive precisely because they have co-opted the same technologies startups used to attack them. Take cloud computing. Sure, AWS makes it dead simple for two developers in a garage to spin up a company. But Microsoft, Facebook and Google have massive cloud infrastructure advantages of their own. In fact, they’re the ones powering some of these startups. Anything startups have access to, big tech companies have access to in a much deeper way. So they can operate faster—and test faster. And because they can test faster, they can build faster. Then consider internal communications. One of the biggest advantages any startup has is the ability to make decisions and communicate quickly without layers of bureaucracy. Often they do so by adopting the latest sort of collaboration method quickly. […] To all you aspiring tech entrepreneurs out there, it’s time to get creative if you want to take on a tech company. And if you don’t, there’s still plenty of opportunity going after non-tech incumbents in everything from media to education and health, which is probably why we’re seeing so many startups turn their attention outside of tech these days. Lessin suggests we’re moving to an era where the Internet giants simply will have too much juice for startups to prevail against them. I think this borne out in many sectors, like the melting away of the valuations (and opportunities) for file sync-and-share companies, like Dropbox and Box, as the monsters move in and drop the price point to zero. So, as the bull market grinds on in the coming months, note the difference in the losses that the market will deal to larger and smaller players. The LinkedIns and Tableaus will lose much more than the giants, and the giants will continue to turn the screws, leveraging their positional, financial, and operational advantages. They will continue to win even as investors lose. And startups will face the worst conditions: less capital, worse valuations, very strong entrenched Internet giants dominating in all important markets.

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on gigaom
This post is sponsored by Samsung. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Sometimes it can be helpful to make a snap judgement on a particular innovation, just to keep from getting overwhelmed in today’s tech frenzy. For me, it was the curved screen that earned my instant skepticism. Cool? Sure. But I didn’t see the urgency; the flat screen still felt modern, delivered a wonderful picture and the joy of extra space gained from tossing the old box was still reasonably fresh in my mind. The curved screen struck me more as innovation for innovation’s sake, an upgrade designed for the upgrade-obsessed, and left me pondering if it was possible to run out of great ideas. Then, when I realized the natural moment for my next phone upgrade was approaching, I found myself face-to-face with the Samsung Galaxy Edge. Lo, the curved screen was calling! But, before I could answer, I had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. (And, yes, drop a few puns.) This modern innovation—gimmick? innovation?—went beyond mobile phones, so I decided to start with large screens. When it came to curved televisions, it was easy to see that I wasn’t alone in my skepticism. Numerous reviews panned the “immersive” curved television display as a gimmick, while others pointed out that the curve could compromise viewing from certain angles. It’s not hard to imagine that if your reclining chair is over in that far corner, to the side of the TV, that curve is going to get in the way, but Casey Johnston of Ars Technica offered a rather detailed analysis of the field of view. It seemed that the curve most benefited from theater-style seating and, according to fellow skeptic Scott Kramer of Forbes, “You’d need a very large model — at least 70 inches — to really make the concept even work. Anything smaller and the vibrancy and immersion just aren’t compelling factors.” Cue Roy Schieder: “We’re going to need a bigger apartment.” So my initial doubts about the curve seemed validated where TVs were concerned. Monitors, however, were a different story. The “immersive” benefits of curved screens fared better in the one-person-per-screen scenario, where you were less likely to be sitting off to the side while playing games and streaming.  As noted in this article, “the natural presentation and field of view supplied by these devices reduce neck and eye strain”, so there would be productivity benefits for the business environment as well. (Though both points make sense to me, as someone who is attached to the web for the better part of her waking hours, the thought of the telltale screen curving in closer and closer struck me as horror movie material.) But general receptivity to curved monitors aside, the fact that monitor sales, in general, are dipping along with PC sales means that they won’t likely be the driving force behind the curved revolution. That led me back to mobile devices. Despite the buzz, curved mobile phones aren’t actually that common. Samsung was (ahem) ahead of the curve, with LG not far behind. And sure, it was a clear differentiator in a sea of iPhones, but could the curve do anything? Early curvers, Samsung Galaxy Round and LG Flex, opted for opposite approaches (side to side and head to toe body curves, respectively) and promised – yes – an immersive experience. The curved body also performed better in pocket, because it aligned better with the curve of the human form. The Edge had a different approach, with the display wrapping around the sides of the device. My first (skeptical) take was that the Edge chose style over function, but then I discovered that the extra real estate served a few functions beyond aesthetics, including a colored light indicator that could tell you who is calling when the phone is face down. Meanwhile, Cool? Sure. Urgent? Well… At this point, I had reached the limits of online product research. The claim of the curve clearly went beyond specs, so I brought my skepticism to in-store, imagining the satisfaction of telling the Best Buy clerk that I was only doing research—I wasn’t someone who was taken in by innovation for innovation’s sake. Except that, when I reached the curved screen TVs and stood in front of their promotional solar system graphics, I couldn’t help myself: I nodded my head and my lips formed the word: “Immersive.” I was getting sucked in. By the time I reached the mobile section and plucked the Samsung Edge from its display podium, it struck me as mobile’s equivalent of an infinity pool. Cool. Serene. Desirable. And this is where the aforementioned snap judgements come in handy. There is, simply, an incredible range of products to pine over today but, if you decide out of the gate that a particular innovation is a gimmick, it’s a lot easier to avoid that whispering want. As of the writing of this article, I have not (yet) upgraded my phone, and my television is still flat. But, I confess, I do see the appeal for the curved screen. Features and functions aside, its real strength is that it is a delight to view. And while “delight” doesn’t necessarily translate to urgency, that ever-important factor needed to drive up sales right this minute, isn’t that exactly what you want from something that’s designed to be viewed? For more content like this, follow Samsung Business on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on gigaom
I’m attending IBM Connect 2016 in Orlando as an IBM-selected Futurist, which is a first of a sort. While I have long been considered as a futurist — personally and professionally — this is the first time the characterization has appeared on a conference badge. Note that I am not only a futurist, but a prospect! As you might expect, I am singularly interested in learning more about IBM’s thinking about the future of work. But, I haven’t heard nearly as much about the future of work and #newwaytowork as I had hoped. The opening sessions were strongly oriented toward IBM Verse, and its instrumentation of a mocked-up company. While I appreciated the illustration of Verse’s many well-considered affordances, I came away with the strong impression of a fictionalized but very conventional organization behind the play acting. However, this is mostly reading between the lines of the script, because the company wasn’t really described, aside from being a maker and marketer of sporting goods. What would have been much better — at least for me — would have been to take some of the trends that are inarguably transforming businesses today, and to surface them explicitly as part of the story. What about the rise of freelancers, and the uberization of work, or the pressure to adapt to a new digital markets and economics? Or consider any of a dozen other themes that impact us all, as individuals, companies, and as a society. If things aren’t changing, why are companies adopting new tools? Or even better, how about if IBM had presented a (slightly rosy) projection of a hypothetical near-term future, and lent some guidance to its customers about how to thrive there, how to transition to better adapt to that just-over-the-horizon world, and (yes) how IBM can help in the colonization of that new day. Without that vision, I think any vendors’ demonstrations of tools fall a bit flat, because we are left only to imagine how we might use them today. Or more pragmatically, how we would use them in the company of last week or last month or last year. Your company today has already changed in ways that its management and employees have not realized. McLuhan said, We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future. We are caught by our ties to the past, and I had hoped that IBM would try to cut into that a little bit. Because, as Willim S. Burroughs wrote, When you cut into the present, the future leaks out. Maybe next year. Originally posted on medium.com/@stoweboyd on 2 February 2016

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on gigaom
This post is sponsored by Samsung. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Data security has never been as hard as it is today. And it is going to get harder. Why? Because it is becoming more embedded in everything we do; and because we, not technology, hold the key to the future. The protective walls of the corporation came tumbling down a long time ago. This is not about erosion – they are already gone. Target, Wendy’s, Playstation, all have suffered massive losses of customer data. Utilities, banks, public institutions have been compromised, and will continue to be so. Not only are a significant number of computer systems connected to, or indeed, run from the internet, but also the ways we access corporate data have fragmented beyond recognition. Within the past decade, mobile devices have gone from being exceptional to the norm. And millions of potentially insecure devices are now being connected, in the guise of the Internet of Things. So, is all lost? Not necessarily. There is still a place for a robust security architecture, built on the principle of the ’separation of concerns’ — that is, limiting risk by considering how and where business data needs to flow, and putting appropriate safeguards in place. Indeed, I wrote a book about it. We can talk about technical features and governance mechanisms to be built into such an architecture, as is good and proper. But data security is never, ever going to work without taking on board the most important, yet least predictable variable in the triumvirate of people, process and technology — the people. In technology industry parlance, the term ‘consumerisation’ has been used to describe our increasing propensity to use our own tech in the workplace. But the principle goes much deeper. Consider, for example, how people expect to take their phone number with them when they move companies. In general, employees will follow the rules, particularly if their contract says they have to. Acceptable Use Policies are a useful tool against direct abuses of computer systems, software and services. But you don’t need to be a behavioural psychologist to know that people hate to be told what to do if it appears pointless or indeed, counterproductive. This goes right to the top. Gone are the days when senior executives expected their emails to be printed out for them, so they could dictate a response. Today, they are as tech-enabled as the rest of us, and expect to make full use of what is available — even if it means using their own devices, due to perceived inadequacies of corporate IT. Is there an answer? Well, yes there is, but it requires looking way beyond current environments and towards the workplaces, and work forces, of the future. Not only are people becoming more tech-savvy, they are also more transient. Companies hire less and subcontract more. Where once they built, today they partner. And offices are replacing cubes with collaborative spaces. This brave new world of work is built upon a spirit of trust and collaboration, with smarter organisations drawing on the broadest pool of stakeholders — co-creating with customers, suppliers and even competitors. While this approach puts people first, it nonetheless requires boundaries to be set and enforced — but without getting in the way. Agility is key to the future, in data security as in business. For security to succeed in such a flexible environment, it needs to consider the role of data as an enabler to collaboration, as well as offering service provisioning mechanisms that are considerably more straightforward than today. If you create an environment which hinders, rather than help people to deliver on the needs of the business, you will increase, not decrease strategic business risk. While this creates a dilemma for any security professional, that does not make it wrong. As organisations evolve over the next decade, we shall see this point proven again and again. For more content like this, follow Samsung Business on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare. 

Read More...
posted 19 days ago on gigaom
Two stories in the news at the same time about Sony that draws a picture of the company’s plans. The first is that Sony is forming Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) from all the units contributing to Playstation, hardware, software, and network, effective April 1. Sony has set the new company up with a US headquarters — San Mateo, CA — with a single CEO, Andrew House. Notably, console sales are way down in Japan, to the lowest level in 24 years, and the future looks to be mobile and handheld gaming there. But Playstation is still huge in the US, so the move makes sense. The second is that Sony is buying Altair, a chip manufacturer for IoT smart appliances. This is a $212 million investment, taking the company way out of its niche in smartphone camera chips. Last year, Sony bought Toshiba’s image sensor operations, which is part of the same strategic plan: to grow into a major IoT manufacturer of chips and sensors. So, Sony continues to operate SIE, but has positioned it as a separate operating unit, so it can be spun all the way out or sold off, as the presumed decline in console games ripples through the rest of the world. In parallel, Sony is increasing its bets on IoT, and a world crammed full of smart devices, sensors, and networks to link them together.

Read More...
posted 20 days ago on gigaom
The benefits of using the cloud are undeniable—from reduced infrastructure costs and license fees to increased scalability and agility. But, while every company has some variation of a cloud strategy on their roadmap, the move to the cloud is a journey that doesn’t happen overnight. Most often, it’s a gradual implementation because some processes must still run on-premises or in a private cloud, while others can more easily and compliantly be supported in the public cloud. Organizations are becoming more and more comfortable with a hybrid model because it makes good business sense—combining the flexibility and cost savings of the cloud with the option to keep more complex applications on-premises. There are many reasons why businesses may want to combine on-premises and cloud instances, from specific policies relating to where data can be stored, to having previously purchased on-premises solutions, to a future-focused strategy that integrates more and more cloud opportunities. In fact, a 2014 report by Infonetics Research confirms that hybrid cloud is becoming the “new normal” as adoption among enterprises was expected to more than double by 2015. Hybrid Is the New Normal This new normal is your new challenge: managing a hybrid environment that consists of private and public clouds and on-premises IT infrastructures. No longer are you responsible for just managing on-premises solutions within your own borders. Now you have to manage applications across the cloud as well. To effectively meet this challenge, you’ll need visibility into all of the pieces of this increasingly diverse environment. Visibility Into the Hybrid Environment Visibility across on-premises and cloud deployments is the key to navigating the shifting tide of IT management in the hybrid world because you cannot manage what you cannot see. You’ll need visibility across the environment to gain an understanding of cloud workloads and to ensure service levels, security and compliance. In addition, you’ll need this visibility into what’s happening and why so that you can determine whether your hybrid environment is functioning as you had intended. If any of the applications that have moved to cloud aren’t performing as expected, you need to know so that you can modify your strategy. When you have refined your strategy and the workloads you’re running in the cloud are as reliable and secure as they were on-premises, you’ll want visibility into that as well, so you’ll feel ready to begin transitioning more and more workloads to the cloud. Hybrid In the Real World: Gatwick Airport One organization that maintains visibility and compliance through a hybrid model is Gatwick Airport. Among its other cloud solutions, Gatwick integrated Splunk Cloud into its operations to supplement its existing on-premises solution. In doing so, the team realized that combining ops data in this cloud solution gave them the agility and scalability they needed, while providing insight into airport performance. The world’s busiest single-runway airport now benefits from a seamless hybrid environment that allows them to better monitor on-time performance, optimize gates and terminals, improve predictability, manage security wait lines, reduce rail and road incidents, and more. Like other major changes in business and technology, embracing the new normal of hybrid will require a shift in mindset and corporate culture. The good news is that on-premises and cloud solutions can operate at full capacity and very much in hybrid harmony—as long as there is the right level of visibility, monitoring and insight. Find out more about how Splunk solutions can give you visibility across your hybrid environment.

Read More...
posted 23 days ago on gigaom
IBM has added Ustream to a long list of video technology company acquisitions in the recent past — like Clearleap acquired last month — buying the streaming video vendor for around $130 million (according to Fortune). The company had raised $50 million in venture funding, and was the sole video partner involved in the launch of IBM’s cloud marketplace in 2014. The typical analysis is that this rounds out a spectrum of technologies that now make IBM a player in corporate streaming video, particularly targeting customer contact and marketing activities. But I’m betting that IBM’s primary focus will be — although not be limited to — workforce communications. Marcia Conner makes my case in a tweet. .@IBM acquired video streamer @Ustream? Excellent! Video options usually a mess for work https://t.co/gHLuZz5L8h — Marcia Conner (@marciamarcia) January 21, 2016 Ustream Align is an inside-the-company video ‘collaboration’ — or ‘workforce communication’ — product built on the Ustream platform. Even though there’s a broad market of offerings from companies like Google, Microsoft, Unify, Cisco, and so on, no one has become the dominant player in video-based workforce communication, which may be the most natural solution for an increasingly mobile world. The Ustream acquisition is another indication of the rapid transition to video in workforce communications, where it is destined to be the major medium for work communications. IBM buys Ustream: is it a workforce communication play? originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How the mega data center is changing the hardware and data center marketsHow work media tools are shaping business in 2015What to expect in mobile in 2015

Read More...
posted 26 days ago on gigaom
As AWS increasingly becomes the preferred deployment model for enterprise applications and services, it’s never been more important for a software or AWS SaaS provider to work effectively with AWS. Many leading technology providers are therefore optimizing their software to run on AWS as well as building globally available cloud services delivered through AWS’ worldwide regions. Splunk has been very pleased with the success of our SaaS business on AWS, so we thought we’d share what we’ve learned in the form of best practices for you to keep in mind when developing your software or SaaS business on AWS. 1. Embrace the change If you’ve attended the keynote at any recent AWS Summit, you’ve heard the message “cloud is the new normal.” Our advice is to take this to heart, and invest in your business knowing the momentum behind cloud will only continue to accelerate. This is a boon to businesses of every size and in every location around the world—cloud makes it easier than ever before to innovate, rapidly bring an offering to market and serve your customer. 2. Relentlessly focus on the customer experience Focusing your business on customer success is a must when building a business on AWS. Why? Because the number one driving factor behind everything AWS does is to help its customers be successful and innovative. Tactically, this can mean many things for a SaaS Partner, but the one that stands out is building technology integrations that can provide additional value to AWS customers. A good example of this involves AWS CloudTrail and AWS Config, services that deliver log data on AWS API calls around user activity and resource changes. When properly harnessed, these services help enable enterprises ensure security and compliance of their AWS deployments. A handful of SaaS Partners deliver integrations for these AWS services. The importance of these integrations is clear when you think of the importance of security and compliance for any successful AWS deployment. 3. Leverage your customers in your go-to-market strategy When it comes to building your software or SaaS business on AWS, nothing beats customer validation. One of the most compelling stories is when a customer fully integrates your technology into their AWS strategy. A great example of this is the Federal Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is an independent regulator that examines all securities firms and their registered persons and monitors trading on U.S. markets. To respond to rapidly changing market dynamics, FINRA is moving its platform to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to analyze and store approximately 30 billion market events every day. FINRA uses Splunk Cloud to ensure security and compliance in their AWS deployment. 4. Choose AWS and go “all-in” When building out your cloud strategy, you have to make choices. Our advice: When two roads diverge in the cloud, choose AWS. This is a best practice because AWS has the richest and broadest set of services in the market. If your offering is storage intensive, there are specific solutions for that; if it’s compute intensive, there are specific solutions for that; if it’s I/O intensive, there are specific solutions for that as well. Regardless of what you need on the infrastructure stack—whether it’s automated provisioning, configuration or management, AWS has a mature solution that fits the bill. In addition, business today is global. To successfully grow your business you need the ability to rapidly expand around the world. AWS offers that through their 11 worldwide regions. 5. Leverage the ecosystem If you’re building on AWS, chances are that other folks building on AWS will find it useful. This is what makes the AWS announcement of its SaaS Partner Program so exciting. If you’re building a SaaS storage solution, odds are we could use it for our SaaS operational and security monitoring solution. Since we’re building a SaaS operational and security monitoring solution, odds are you could use it for your SaaS storage solution. We have the opportunity to be better together on AWS for the benefit of all of our customers. To learn more about our cloud solutions, visit us here. Sponsored post: Building For Success on AWS: Five Best Practice Tips originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading…

Read More...
posted 26 days ago on gigaom
This post is sponsored by Samsung. All thoughts and opinions are my own. While the 1992 film Toys, starring the late, great Robin Williams, did not meet with universal acclaim (it registered a paltry 26% at the review site Rotten Tomatoes, despite receiving two Oscar nominations for its artistic merit), it contained at least one notable scene. This involved Williams, as toy designer Leslie Zevo, sitting on a sofa with his sister Alsatia (played by Joan Cusack) and wearing what looked like eye masks. As the pair rocked, screamed and waved their hands in the air it became clear that they were watching a roller coaster simulation. Spot the date: over a quarter of a century has now passed since virtual reality (VR) headsets first entered the popular consciousness. A number of challenges have had to be overcome — not least insufficient screen resolution and movement tracking, which have been considered as causes of queasiness when headsets are worn. But also, cost. I can remember, back then, considering the scenario of a young rebel on a city metro train, sporting cool-looking glasses that beamed images onto his retinas. Even if this were yet possible, it would be cost-prohibitive. But it is coming. A mere three years have passed since Palmer Luckey first set himself the task of producing a low-cost VR headset. Following a luck(e)y break when he met John Carmack, creator of the seminal first-person shooter Doom, Palmer followed the footsteps of so many entrepreneurs when he left college to follow his dreams. The Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift heads-up display raised nearly $2.5m and while the device is yet to be released, its technology is already built into Samsung Gear devices. As it arrives however, the Rift is already offering more potential than just viewing images and videos. To understand why VR in general, and the Rift in particular, are set to be such a game changer, we need to consider not just the headset but how it fits with a range of other technologies. Augmented reality for example, which links visuals with context-based data. Motion tracking from the likes of Leap or Kinect. It’s not how any one technology delivers that matters; rather, it is how they can be used in combination. You can think of all the pieces as components of a new range of solutions, which have applicability in retail, in healthcare, in navigation, in geology and (as per Mr Williams) in film, media and all forms of entertainment. Audi’s “world’s first fully digital car showroom,” based in London, is one example of how VR can benefit the retail experience. Audi integrated a Samsung Gear VR headset, immersing customers in a tour of the car’s features – you can even take a test drive. While this set-up claims to be the first of its kind, it is unlikely to be the last. As such solutions become prevalent, and as an inevitable consequence of the laws of supply and demand, the components will also become cheaper even as they diversify in form and function. What other applications might we see? We might see a resurgence in virtual worlds such as Second Life; more likely however is that VR will become part of our daily lives. As such it is important for any organisation to consider the implications, which can come from a number of directions. It may be that VR has applicability within the business — in R&D for example, or in data visualization. Equally, it has potential to change behaviors, for example in how people work and relate to their colleagues. The bottom line is: today, for many, VR still looks like a fun gadget, and indeed it is outside of certain domains. So have some of that fun — for a few hundred dollars, invest in some headsets and try them out. That way, when VR becomes more than fun, you will have a more solid perspective into how to integrate VR into your business strategies. For more content like this, follow Samsung Business on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare.  Virtual Reality: Just for fun? It won’t stay that way! originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How augmented reality is gaining traction in the enterpriseIoT Hardware OpportunitiesHandicapping On-Demand Market Sectors

Read More...
posted 26 days ago on gigaom
I’ve been closely watching the development of work chat vendor Fleep, and since I reviewed the product in August (see Work chat tool Fleep has native task management: Is that a key feature, or just nice to have?) the company has addressed so many areas I won’t try to cover them all, I’ll let them do that for you. I am just going to focus on the slash commands and email integration. Slash commands — Fleep’s chat (or ‘conversations’ as they call them), support a number of commands that are preceded by a slash (‘/’): /pin — create a new pinned message /task — create a new task message /taskto @someone — create and assign a new task /bug — create a new bug report task with ((bug)) /add — add new members to the conversation /kick — remove members from the conversation /leave — leave conversation When these are used in the context of a chat, when a chat message with a leading command is posted, the action is taken. In the screenshot below, I have just invited Doppelganger Jones to the AdjectiveNoun conversation, assigned him a task ‘please write up a plan’, and I have formed a new chat message at the bottom to create a second task also assigned to him. Here’s the task pane opened after those tasks were created. One of the weaknesses of Fleep’s task model is that the tasks have very little metadata. I can understand why they might not need comments or notes — it’s a chat app, after all — but due dates are fairly essential. Tasks are completed by checking the task box. I found it odd that pinning a task — which moves a message to the top of the chat window and stops it from scrolling away — leads to the task losing its ‘taskness’: it becomes just another message. Odd. Documents can be added to the conversation — including Google and Dropbox docs — but these aren’t attached to messages or tasks: they’re just dropped into the chat. Once added, they show up in the ‘Files’ pane, the one with the paperclip icon. Personally, I might have designed them to do both. That limitation seems particularly irksome with tasks. Also note in this case I was trying to attach a Google doc, but somehow Fleep instead creates and attaches a PDF of the doc. So my colleagues on Fleep can’t use this as a way to open and coedit the Google doc, but just to look at an immediately out-of-date pdf of the doc. This is dumb. If I were actually using Fleep in production I would copy and paste URLs to docs, instead. And that works really well, in fact: Clicking on the preview or the URL opens the Google doc, and since I copied a share URL that allows for editing, my colleagues would be able to view, comment, and or edit the Google doc, in place. Returning to tasks, the task pane can include ‘sections’ that can be used to arrange tasks into subsets. I like the capability to layout the sections in this way, and when coupled with the ability to ‘clone’ conversations, teams could create and reuse project templates to help regularize the work in project conversations. Fleep now supports ‘@mentions’, so that I can alert others to messages, like ‘Can someone take a look at the timeline in this doc to check it’s up to date? https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bwF55zWtnJOtUsDheIoRgwmC7Geq7ZVcT9Ho-UYnd3w/edit?usp=sharing @doppelganger.jones’. Note that the user identity in Fleep for Fleep users is an email address: This is by design. Fleep is tightly integrated with email, so that non-Fleep users can be invited to conversations simply by adding their email. If they aren’t a Fleep user, they can participate through email. This leads to all messages — including tasks — being sent to them, and their responses showing up in the conversation. Emailed tasks just look like messages at present, so email only participants can’t check them off, for example. I have not  touched on all features of the tool, but probably enough to get a sense for what using it feels like. Fleep is at core, a classic work chat tool, based on contextual conversation (see Contextual conversation: Work chat will dominate collaboration). Unlike leading competitors, however, Fleep has integrated task management. At the same time, the limits on Fleep’s task model would chafe anyone who believes that richer capabilities are essential — like multiple assignment, subtasks, due dates, start dates, notes, comments, attachments, and so on. However, the fact that tasks and other messages can be brought back into context when looking at a task by selecting ‘show in conversation’ does counter some of the issues with notes, comments, and attachments, so long as they are in fact truly contextualized. If the team at Fleep continue their development at the breakneck pace of 2015, they may in fact be countering some of these issues, and their focus on integration with a wide spectrum of developer tools seems to represent the same arc of adoption that we saw first with Hipchat, and later with Slack. We should anticipate the same disperal pattern, where the developers in a company infect non-developers with the ease of use and depth of the developers’ work chat platform, and they in turn begin to infect other non-developers across the company and the company’s ecosystem. Work chat Fleep’s slash commands and email integration originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How new chat tools will dominate collaboration in the workplaceHow work media tools are shaping business in 2015Workplace tools and tasks that will change in 2015

Read More...
posted 27 days ago on gigaom
More departures at Zappos leads commentators to question if Holacracy is the culprit. Recalll that Tony Hsieh offered employees a big payout if they decided to quit during the transition to Holacracy. But that’s not the only transition going on there. Zappos has been involved in a major web transition, moving onto parent Amazon’s back-end technology platform: David Gelles, The Zappos Exodus Continues After a Radical Management Experiment The latest departures came from a group of employees who were helping Zappos migrate to Super Cloud, a back-end infrastructure run by Amazon. The arduous, years-long effort to move Zappos to Amazon’s servers has effectively frozen the company’s website, and employees working on the project were offered more time before taking the buyout. Mr. [Arun] Rajan [Zappo’s Chief Operating Officer] said that the migration to Super Cloud, which he had hoped to complete last year, was still ongoing. Meanwhile, 38 percent of those working on the Super Cloud transition took the buyout offer. My bet is that a lot of these departures are folks that have burned out on the apparently difficult transition to Super Cloud, and the bail-out money simply makes leaving more attractive. Zappos sees more staff departures, but is Holacracy to blame? originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How work media tools are shaping business in 2015How to choose between DIY and hyper-convergence in the data centerAPIs will drive the next wave of growth for the internet of things

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
A recent study by Champion Solutions Group showed some very surprising results. While we have come to rely on mobile devices as a critical aspect of business communications, the research found glaring deficiencies underlying the administration of those devices. Champion surveyed 447 IT decision makers, from a wide variety of sectors, looking to find what is the state of the practice in mobile policy enforcement and security. The key takeaway is that we’re still in the early stages of dealing with the explosion of BYOD in business. Less than one-half of businesses polled have a formal BYOD policy, and less that one in five requires multifactor authentication for mobile. The findings give a pretty clear picture of a split in BYOD approaches, but many companies are quite immature in their approach: Organizations are nearly evenly split between those that have a formal BYOD policy (47 percent) and those that do not (53 percent). When it comes to password policies, most organizations favor complex alphanumeric passwords of six to 10 characters. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of those polled have policies to lock out devices after multiple failed login attempts, usually between three and five failed tries. Around 72 percent of organizations require re-authentication of mobile devices after periods of inactivity, with most opting for lockoutafter five to 15 minutes. The vast majority of those polled have provisions in place for expiring passwords and prohibiting reuse of old passwords. There is really no reason that companies can’t roll out a BYOD policy in short order, to allow employees to use their devices but to protect the company at the same time. Here’s a policy template from IT Manager Daily, for example, that requires the company to detail what is and isn’t allowed — such as prohibiting or allowing cell camera use while in the company’s facilities, or enumerating which apps are prohibited and spelling out in detail what the security policies will be. Most importantly, according to Matt Karlyn, of Cooley LLC, a tech savvy law practice, a good BYOD policy will clarify the rights of both the company and the employee. His advice is that a good BYOD policy lays out general rules about personal mobile device usage. It clearly articulates what the company’s rights are with respect to monitoring, accessing and reviewing all the data stored on, processed or used by the particular device. It goes through the employee’s obligations with respect to keeping the device secure, password requirements, all the things you’d expect to see in a general IT policy. It talks about what happens if you’re terminated or decide to leave the company. Karlyn concludes that one of the goals should be to avoid any surprises, for example, when litigation or other events lead the company to access or wipe the employee’s device. As the market for smartphones continues to grow, these issues will become only of greater importance. Market research firm IDC has predicted that nearly 2 billion smartphones will ship globally by 2019, and as much as 60 percent of them will be used in BYOD settings. MarketsandMarkets have projected that to be an over $250 billion market, a 200 percent spike in six years. Given that sort of growth, it may be unsurprising that formal BYOD policies and security provisions aren’t ubiquitous, but companies will have to get on the dime if they want to sidestep the dangers inherent in informally managed BYOD. Both companies and employees will need to understand and set policies to manage data securely. This is only going to grow in importance as employees begin to bring other devices to work, and not just smartphones and tablets. When corporate information can find its way to smartwatches, augmented and virtual reality gear, or other connected devices, we’ll have to expand the purview of BYOD policies. Consider the recent concerns about ‘Hello Barbie’, a doll that can listen to conversations, upload the audio to a server with AI capabilities to interpret them, and then to respond intelligently. The basic idea seems appealing, superficially. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a doll that can talk with your child, and ‘get to know them’, quote unquote. But it winds up in creepyville, when such a toy could be building a profile of your children’s interests. Or simply archiving a record of everything it hears your child say. So even something as apparently utilitarian as an Amazon Echo in the lunchroom, that listens to requests and queues up music, poses some of the same security questions as a smartphone in a confidential meeting. And such devices — all 21 billion of them in 2020 — will have to be considered as part of an overarching BYOD strategy, and soon. This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies. This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. For more on these topics, visit Dell’s thought leadership site Power More. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies. BYOD policies are behind the times, and we haven’t seen anything yet originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How work media tools are shaping business in 2015End-user computing trends to watch in early 2015How mobile backend is changing enterprise mobile app development

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
Sometimes a chance mention in an otherwise plain-vanilla technology article can open your eyes to something foundational going on in our economy. Today, I had that experience when reading about a new startup, Textio, raising $8 million to build out its text analysis solution. At present the technology is focused on the language used in human resources, to help improve job descriptions, for example. The firm is applying artificial intelligence (AI) to ‘understand’ what goes on in job descriptions, and to guide those writing the descriptions to better achieve the company’s hiring goals. In the example above, the phrase is geared to attracting higher-quality female candidates, based on the qualities we associate with ‘love’ and ‘passion for learning’. The company is planning to expand the targets of the Textio AI to other domains, and it’s HR tool is in use by leading tech firms already. All very interesting. But the thing that caught my eye in the Xconomy article was this: Textio tracks language and other document attributes, looking for patterns that correlate with increased applications and applications that lead to screening interviews, as well as language that is more likely to attract male and female applicants. “Textio recognizes 50,000 distinct phrases that change the number, quality, and diversity of candidates who apply,” [founder Kieran] Snyder wrote in a November blog post. “The list of effective phrases is changing constantly as the market shifts.” For example, name-checking “big data” in an engineering job listing just two years ago attracted significantly more applicants. Today, however, job listings that include that now-cliché phrase perform an average of 30 percent worse than those that leave it out. Meanwhile, the phrase “artificial intelligence” has come to the fore in the strongest-performing tech job listings during the last six months. Wait a minute: big data is now cliché? I was surprised to read that. A little research brought other information to light, that suggests that AI is eclipsing big data as a hot field of inquiry. As more companies have invested in big data initiatives they are wising up to the idea that data — even when there is a great deal of it — is passive. It’s not the data that has value, it’s the analytics that matters. That means we aren’t in a big data economy, but an algorithmic, machine learning, or AI economy. That’s where we are likely to get real leverage. And that’s why even in 2014, I’ve come to find out, big data credentials had already started to drop in value, as reflected in a Foote Partners report: According to Foote’s survey of more than 200,000 IT workers in the U.S. and Canada, pay premiums for 31 noncertified big data skills (such as Hadoop, MapReduce, Hbase, Hive, NoSQL, data mining, and base SAS) fell an average of 3 percent in over the second half of the year, but still ended up slightly for the year, thanks to healthy gains from January to June. Pay for 37 big data certifications (such as those from Cloudera, MongoDB, Teradata, and others) grew more than 10 percent for the year, but lost some value as the year went on. Basically, it seems like ‘big data’ is becoming ‘data’, full stop. The ‘big’ is becoming superfluous, and the analytic side is where the heat is. And we’ll see the greatest returns on tightly focused analytics. As Shawn Rogers, Chief Research Officer, Dell Statistica, recently said: One could already argue that the ROI of advanced analytics is highest when applied to targeted, vertical market use cases. This will continue to be the case in 2016 and beyond, with manufacturing – particularly regulated manufacturing – leading the way. Advanced analytics platforms will be increasingly relied on not only to uncover insights that help optimize processes, but to verify and validate those insights in accordance with regulatory requirements. That pragmatic insight into where we will see near-term gains can be balanced with more global and strategic notions. Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired wrote a visionary piece that I often refer back to, The three breakthroughs that have finally unleashed AI on the world. He makes the case that AI will become our generation’s electricity, writing ‘AI will be supremely boring, even as it transforms the Internet, the global economy, and civilization. It will enliven inert objects, much as electricity did more than a century ago’. But he also points out this boring stuff will be the wellspring of much future innovation: There is almost nothing we can think of that cannot be made new, different, or interesting by infusing it with some extra IQ. In fact, the business plans of the next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast: Take X and add AI. This is a big deal, and now it’s here. Yes, and now it’s here. And it is showing up in the hiring data at US companies, where AI skills are commanding the premium that big data know how used to. This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. For more on these topics, visit Dell’s thought leadership site Power More. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies. Data isn’t going big, but AI is originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.IoT Hardware OpportunitiesHandicapping On-Demand Market SectorsA planning framwork for disruption

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
New numbers tell a dark story for PC manufacturers, except perhaps Apple. New Gartner stats are unequivocal: worldwide sales are down 8.3%. Source: Gartner Apple is the only brand bucking the tide, with growth of 2.8% and market share of 6.7% at this point. The economic downdraft is likely having a large impact, and even Microsoft’s Windows 10 might not be able to counter that trend. The elephant in the room is tablets: are they now at the point where they can replace PCs, even for the most hardbitten PC users? I know that I am not ready to make the shift, although I do travel with an iPad, and use it frequently. I’ll have to take another look at the new iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, because that’s where we are all heading. Is the PC going extinct? originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.What to know when choosing an EMM solution for your enterpriseHow work media tools are shaping business in 2015End-user computing trends to watch in early 2015

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
Yesterday, Jack Dorsey hinted at relaxing the 140 character limit on Twitter: pic.twitter.com/bc5RwqPcAX — Jack (@jack) January 5, 2016 I wonder if that’s a response to users concerns, like mine: Jack Dorsey seems to be saying that Twitter will soon be letting people write Tweets with more than 140 characters without resorting to images of text. I’ll turn it around: Twitter should be based on modern mobile communications (chat, IM, etc.), not old school mobile communications (SMS).   Is Twitter going past the 140 character limit? originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How personal analytics can streamline business decisionsAPIs will drive the next wave of growth for the internet of thingsHow cloud-based analytics can help companies crowdsource intelligence

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
As we all know, some of the best ideas come when they are least expected. For me, the epiphany came just as I turned into my driveway; how fortunate that I was moving very slowly at that point, as it was a bobby dazzler of a thought. Insight often comes through one of three routes: aggregation, extrapolation or conversation (for the record the last is often the most useful but the most risky, due to its anecdotal nature). Aggregation comes from quantitative research; extrapolation from analysing trends and, in the parlance, looking at where the hockey puck is headed. In my experience, two kinds of extrapolation exist. The first is shorter-term, based on seemingly sudden changes in the business or demographic landscape. Right now, for example, everyone is going digital, mobile, social and so on. And the sharing economy is in full swing, based on the valuations of Uber, AirBnB and the like. Such waves tend to overlap with, and overtake each other, each wave revealing new winners and sending others crashing into the rocks. Behind such shorter-term changes however, are relatively glacial forces of technology evolution, each continuing on its well-trodden path. For example Moore’s and Metcalfe’s laws, driving miniaturisation and the network effect, each of which has had such a global impact over the past few decades. While such principles may eventually reach their logical ends, they have a way to run before their impact recedes – the Internet of Things is the most recent consequence. As they continue, it is they that create and destroy whole businesses. The sharing economy has emerged due to cloud-based information sharing capabilities, creating a cookie cutter of opportunities to link suppliers with consumers. The resulting businesses are symptoms of where technology is at today. But technology continues, regardless, becoming easier and more open. Inevitably, the ability to link trusted parties will commoditise, becoming a feature of the platforms upon which we increasingly depend. “Sharing” is something we will just do, as it becomes as straightforward to borrow a book or a shovel as to offer a lift. Any new technology startup has an opportunity to benefit from a massive pool of potential difference as it short circuits traditional business models — simply put, making things cheaper for people while operating at lower cost than traditional businesses. Once such opportunities are plugged however, they become part of the landscape. This means, however successful a young company might be (I’m looking at you, Uber) it has limited time with which to establish itself. This means either becoming a new platform (move over, Amazon, Google and Facebook) or being subsumed, potentially at massive profit to the original founders — in which case, job done. But it would be a mistake to see any such business as the shape of things to come. I have seen the future and it is us, going about out daily lives with the tools we need to do so. Sure, we will be sharing and serving each others’ needs. But we will not need multiple third parties to do so, however successful they may appear in the short term. I have seen the future, and it doesn’t mention Uber originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.APIs will drive the next wave of growth for the internet of things4 frameworks for understanding industry changeHow the mega data center is changing the hardware and data center markets

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
Email is often characterized as hellish: at best a necessary evil and at worst a monstrous time sink. Email has evolved into a weird medium of communication where the best thing you can do is destroy it quickly, as if every email were a rabid bat attacking your face. — Paul Ford In this post I am not going down that rat hole (as worthy a digression as it may be), and I will simply accept the fact that email exists, we use it, and it is an integral part of many working folk’s workflow. I won’t be talking about email zero, or other approaches that take a Fordian slant. There’s been a great deal of innovation in email clients for mobile devices — a topic I’ve written about a great deal — but this is about the breadth of what is in email clients, rather than in the gestural and mobile innovations we’ve seen in tools like Mailbox (now defunct). Sortd  Sortd is a ‘skin’ for Gmail, implemented as a Chrome extension, and attempting to integrate task management directly into the email inbox experience along with conventional email. The company has also developed an iOS app, which I haven’t had a chance to fool with, yet. Here you see a screenshot (courtesy of OSM), showing four columns. The leftmost is the email inbox, which flattens out all emails into a single stream, even if you’ve set up Gmail folders. The right three columns are like Kanban boards, and are user definable. Here the user has defined ‘To Do’, ‘Follow Up’, and ‘Deals’ boards. The items in the boards are nominally Sortd tasks, which are created by either dragging an email from the inbox, or creating a task in one of the boards by clicking the plus sign (‘+’) at the foot of one of the boards. [My goal in this post is to discuss the concepts motivating Sortd’s design, and so I will leave my quibbles in square brackets, so they can be filtered. In this case, I think the plus sign should be at the top of the list, so it doesn’t drop out of sight when the task list grows long.] Tasks that start out as an email inherit their name from the email subject, but can be renamed. Tasks can have email(s) added, so a task — in both cases — can include a variety or emails from various people. This is an interesting alternative to email labels or folders, when you think about it: a collection of emails united by some intention, goal, or activity. Tasks can have notes, deadlines, and reminders, but there is no real concept of subnotes. Boards can act as projects, but there is no other level of task lists. The UX allows for dragging and dropping of emails onto tasks, and dragging tasks around to reorder them. And dropping tasks onto other tasks consolidates any attached emails and notes, but does not create subtasks, alas. [This is something that should be remedied.] In my personal case, I have defined ‘Today’, ‘Soon’, and ‘Later’ boards. I refresh what’s on Today, every day, using my 1, 2, 3 technique (one big thing, 2 medium things, 3 little things). Tasks are added, moved, checked off, and consolidated across the three boards all the time, and in particular, new tasks are created as new emails arrive. When a specific task is opened, there are three flavors of UI: No email –– notes, due date, and reminder fields are shown. Single email — as above, but minimized, with most space given over to framing the email: Note along the top right various icons to deal with the task/email, like label, and trask, and including a check mark for completing the task. The email can be responded to in this presentation: replied to, forwarded, archived, and so on. Multiple emails — a selector that allows the user to pick which of the emails should be viewed appears under the task title, and once a specific email is chosen, the presentation is like the single email case. Sortd provides a toggle on the right hand side of the Gmail window so that the user can toggle between the Sortd and Gmail skin. There is also a setting to select which skin to open in. Lastly, when looking at an received email that has not yet been associated with a Sortd task the tool allows the user to ‘sort it’ using a button at the top: Note this also allows selecting which board the new task will be placed on. A second approach for turning a reply into a task is provided by hover icons: And this allows either pinning the email to a new task in a specific board, or to set a reminder for the email. [There should be away to select an existing task, too.] Discussion I like the Sortd approach to melding task management and email right into Gmail. Partly that’s so that other services offered by Google and others that are integrated into Gmail continue to work, and so that I don’t have to move to some other client. That also makes trying it out much easier, and likewise for gradually transitioning. The problems I have are only a few: Sortd’s task management is relatively immature — lacking features like subtasks, recurring tasks, multiple notes, bookmarklet, etc. — is a powerful disencentive. Sortd has not to deepen the offering’s task model dramatically if it wants to attract people using tools like Asana, Todoist, Wrike, Clarizen, and so on. Creating a bookmarklet, so users can create a task linking to the URL of any web page, is a really easy feature to create, especially since the tool runs as a Chrome plugin already, and this counters to some extent the lack of integration with other tools, presently. Sortd’s communication model is minimal — At present, there is nothing like chats, messaging, or comment threads. I’ve been told that @mention style communication is in the works, presuambly from the existing task notes. There is no capability for assigning tasks to people, so that effectively limits tasks to personal use. Note that other offerings — Like Streak — have extended the notion of Gmail labels for that enables personal emails to be shared among invited users. I bet that Sortd will have to implement something like this for task assignment — or at least sharing the attached emails as something other than text — to work. Skinning has limits, or maybe doesn’t go far enough — I like the idea of skins on top of Gmail, but it only goes so far. Why doesn’t Sortd implement opening one of multiple emails collected in a task as an additional hover panel above the topmost one? Each email could be its own task, with nested tasks and emails. Likewise, as in the task management tool Trello, why don’t we have ‘subboards’ within boards? For example, in my ‘Soon’ board, I create tasks that serve just as labels to break up the list of tasks into weeks, like ‘— wo 4 Jan —‘, meaning ‘week of 4 Jan’. But if boards could be dragged onto boards, this would work better. I will be tracking the progress at Sortd, which has been around for over a year, but we’ll have to see if they are pointing their efforts in the same direction as I would like to see.     Sortd and the trajectory of the email inbox originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How the task-management tools market is evolvingComparing Amazon EC2’s C3 and C4 FamiliesHow work media tools are shaping business in 2015

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
A few news stories make it clear that the venerable automobile industry is going to wind up sliced, diced, and consumed by the new economics and technologies of the web, and in short order. Ford has announced that it’s working with Amazon to integrate the Alexa virtual assistant service that runs on the Echo smart speaker and Fire TV devices, so that we can turn the on the lights in our homes with a voice command from the car, or start the car as we walk out the back door in the kitchen. Ford is also integrating with Wink, the smart home hub company formerly an arm of Quirky purchased by Flextronics when Quirky filed for bankruptcy in 2015. I get an odd pleasure thinking of an automobile as an extension of the smart home, like a thermostat or washing machine. But that’s one of the trends we are witnessing. And the relationship between Amazon and Ford — or any other permutation of the formula + — is deeply imbalanced because of the relative velocity of the two players. So we can imagine that the destabilizing impact of this relationship will shake the Automobile Manufacturer into its constituents, and anywhere that the Internet Giant is strong will be taken over by them. In this case, imagine a few years down the line when a car is even more of a hardware commodity than it is now, and where you will select the ‘carware’ based on how well it integrates with your ‘homeware’. Say I am a big fan — and buyer of — Amazon’s smart home products, and not invested in Apple, Google and Microsoft alternatives. Amazon provides my critical UX, stores all my data, and the various devices integrate ‘seamlessly’ and complement each other well. So I may choose a Ford the way that people choose a Mac, Dell, or Microsoft tablet today, first choosing the OS and then the device. Here’s a scenario that Ford provided to Geekwire as an example of the interaction through Alexa: Owner: “Alexa, ask my Ford for my scheduled car start time.” Alexa: “Here is the list of your current go times. You have a start time set for Monday at 7 a.m., with a cabin temperature set to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday at 5:45 a.m., with a cabin temperature set to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.” Owner: “Alexa, ask my Ford for my car’s driving range.” Alexa: “You have an available range of 56 miles.” In that scenario, Ford’s investment in proprietary on-board communications technology will turn out to be something like the Palm OS: a dead end in smart device operating systems. I will think of the Ford as another Alexa device, like my Fire TV Stick or Echo. I won’t care who manufactured the device. In fact, it could be branded Amazon, and built in Shenzhen by jobbers following an Amazon (or Apple, Microsoft, or Google) design. However, the smart home-centric model isn’t the only model we are seeing at work. Consider the news from General Motors which is investing $500 million in Lyft, the Uber competitor. GM announced last year that it plans to deploy a ‘fleet’ of autonomous Chevy Volts by the end of this year, so it has seen the decline in car ownership accelerating in the future, and want’s to get ahead of it. Millennials are much less car oriented than earlier generations, and the cost savings of car ‘sharing’ — or fractional availability, are huge: connect the dots, and you see imminent revolution in carland. Cars spend 95% of their lives parked. Leaving aside the ecological and city planning aspects of that waste, the cost equation of fractional car availability — or sharing — will trend toward very low car ownership when all falls out. If GM wants to have a dominant role in the future economics of cars, they need to broaden their economic participation because there will be much fewer car purchases, and more miles on the meter per car. They are hoping to become Lyft, or Uber, or the like, while operating as a car manufacturer in the meantime. Good luck. That’s the kind of self-renewing straddle that incumbents find so hard to accomplish. Will they be willing to accept Amazon-sized minuscule profits and plow profits back into disrupting their markets faster than others — like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft — will be doing? It’s an easier bet to say that Uber — and maybe Lyft, although they are facing strong headwinds — might start building their own cars, and get out ahead of the auto companies, just like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft will. The brand value will come from those defining the most unique aspects of the product, and that won’t be automotive: it will be the user experience. You might choose a future Uber over a Lyft because it integrates better with your smart phone, not because of the seats or steering. The web economy will chopshop the car industry originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.End-user computing trends to watch in early 2015How the mega data center is changing the hardware and data center marketsHow work media tools are shaping business in 2015

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
When we talk about VR, we tend to talk in broad strokes. “Experiences,” we call them, as if that term is somehow covers and conveys the depth and disparity that exists between gaming, watching, and interacting with VR content. The reality of virtual reality, however, is not so easily categorized or described. VR content is the big blanket term that clumsily and imprecisely covers large and vastly divergent portions of the content market as it stands. VR games, immersive video, and virtual cinema all fall under “VR content”, but they’re fundamentally different experiences, possibly appealing to very different portions of a potential mainstream VR market. Let me get this out of the way: the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony Playstation VR systems that are coming en masse in Q1 2016 are wildly dissimilar creatures. From hardware to headware, these headsets have commonalities (gyroscopes, accelerometers, lenses) but result in very different experiences, namely with respect to resolution, frame rate, quality of the image, type of content supported by each headset. But alas, that’s another story, which we’ll save for another time. We’re here to talk about VR content and what there is to do in a headset. Who is VR for and why does it exist? What does VR content look like, where does it come from and end up, and why should anyone want to strap something the size of small(ish) camcorder on her face? Right now, most VR content falls into two distinct (if broad) categories: video and games. It’s no secret that a large portion of the early adopter market for VR headsets will be made up of gamers, but gaming is really only part of the story. We’ll get to it, but first let’s take a look at the sleeping giant of VR content: video. For the time being, video in VR also pretty much falls into two categories: immersive video and virtual cinema. Video, for the purposes of this discussion, is any bit of content that you experience in a VR headset during which your degree of agency is limited to where you’re looking. In other words, whether it’s immersive or passive, in video content, you can’t control your or interact with your environment directly or physically. In some cases, you may be able to explore it by looking around, but your impact on the world is limited to changing your own perspective. Gaming and interactive content, by way of contrast, is content that allows you to affect and interact with the environment around you, whether its via gaze-based mechanics or controllers of any kind. Immersive Video I’ll admit that the first time I saw Paul McCartney in concert, I cried. Paul’s my favorite Beatle, the mastermind behind most of my favorite Beatles songs (including and especially Fool on the Hill), and seeing him live, right in front of me was, to put it simply, breathtaking. Of course, I wasn’t actually there. I was watching it in a VR headset, from a much better vantage point than any seat could hope to provide. I was right next the piano. If I’d been any closer, I’d have been sitting on the grand piano right in front of him. He was playing Live or Let Die which, while not one of my favorites, was incredible. There was no moment at which I felt just exactly like I was right there in the stadium, surrounded by thousands of people and whisper-distance from Paul McCartney. But then, I also forgot that I wasn’t right there. And that’s what VR is all about. Immersive video content comes in a number of different forms, though it all stems from the same general principle: putting you into the story or the action. Companies like Jaunt, Vrse, WEVR, Discovery, and even Jeep and Volvo are creating immersive video content. Right now, for both Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, there are a number of apps and short video experiences that put you anywhere from in the audience at SNL to in a wetsuit, diving into and exploring a shark-riddled shipwreck. There are VR tours of museums and stunning locations, heart-pounding skydiving, flying and racing experiences, and human-centric stories and short films. Discovery VR is Discovery’s foray into the world of VR and immersive video, and features a number spherical video tie-ins with Discovery Channel IPs like Mythbusters, Gold Rush, Shark Week, and Survivorman. With immersive video, the team behind Discovery VR is experimenting with VR as a new way of telling stories. On the other end of the immersive video content spectrum is WEVR, the VR software company recently on the receiving end of a big ($10M big) investment from HTC (makers of the Vive headset). WEVR is an open platform VR ecosystem with agnostic software solutions, and it’s looking “enable a content explosion,” in the words of co-found and CEO Neville Spiteri. Conal Byrne, Discovery’s SVP of Digital Media and one of the leads for Discovery’s VR project calls virtual reality, “the first medium where you can turn a fan or a viewer into a character by just placing them smack-dab in the middle of the story.” And really, that’s what lies at the core of immersive video: presence. “You need to think about the audience as being in the experience,” says WEVR’s Spiteri. “You’re not just a viewer…we use the term ‘visitor’.” Though the idea of creating video around a viewer instead of in front her may seem simple, the effect it has on the way we tell stories is nothing short of ground breaking. “With that simple change,” says Byrne, “to be in control of your POV as you watch video–it’s a seismic change.” Beyond presence lies another, much more illusive component of immersive video: storytelling. Right now, VR is new and novel, but there will come a time when strapping on a headset and looking at a sunset may come to feel commonplace–something like looking at a beautiful photograph. Enjoyable, stunning even, but somehow stagnant. The compelling element of any video, any experience, is the story. Immersive video will eventually develop and evolve to stretch the boundaries of storytelling, and that presents some exciting opportunities tempered by some very real challenges. “360-degree video or ‘capture-based VR’ where you’re starting with some aspects of the real world,” says Spiteri, “is proving to be very compelling and creating opportunities for ways of creating and telling video-based stories that have different degrees of interactivity.” Requiring complex multi-camera/lens rigs, sophisticated editing software, and a team of people who understand the complexities of capturing all 360 degrees of a scene, creating immersive real-world video content is a difficult task. But of course, creating immersive video is much more complex than simply setting up a multi-camera rig that has the technical capabilities to capture 360-degree video. Creating immersive video content requires recognition that everything around, above, and even below will be captured on camera. Everything is in frame and it’s all a part of the story, and the viewer is going to have the freedom to consume all of it. It’s all a part of the story, even if the action is only happening in a small or partial portion of the scene. “With traditional storytelling, the director has a pretty high degree of control over what you’re looking at,” says Spiteri. “The art of drawing the user’s attention and directing gaze becomes pretty fundamental to the story and the storytelling process.” While much attention is given to capture and edit systems, fancy and rugged rigs, and perhaps one of the most crucial factors of storytelling in VR has nothing to do with technology at all. Instead, it’s entirely human. “We want to make sure that humans don’t get lost in the mix,” says Byrne, “that storytellers, journeymen, pioneers, the people that bring stories to life…don’t get lost.” In discussing the lush forest-based Survivorman experience on Discovery VR, Byrne says, “It’s one thing to shoot a 360 shot of that forest off the grid in Canada, but when [Survivorman’s] Les Stroud steps out of that forest and starts talking about what he loves about being off the grid and why he does what he does, teaching survival to the viewer, it takes on a whole other meaning and comes alive.” Like my experience with Paul McCartney, the human element is essential. Who you find in the scene and what they have to share is every bit as important as where you are when you put on the headset. One of this year’s most stunning examples of immersive video, however, comes from Oculus Story Studio, and features not a human, but a hedgehog. Henry is a short film that follows Henry the hedgehog as he embarks on a journey to find friends. Unlike much of the immersive video content that exists and is available right now, Henry is an animated VR short and puts the audience inside of Henry’s animated world. The visuals are crisp and stunning, but perhaps one of the most stunning elements of the film is the way that Henry behaves within it. Henry can look at you. Like, right at you. And while it sounds simple, that is a fundamental paradigm shift. This isn’t just breaking the forth wall, it’s pulling you inside so that the fourth wall is firmly behind you. Henry’s world was designed around the you, the viewer, and you’re a part of it. Go to page 2 (of 2) on Gigaom . The headset cometh: A virtual reality content primer originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.Why the meta manager matters for the connected carHow to balance cloud-based and edge-based mobile data with hybrid application designThe internet of things: a market landscape

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
Twitter has reversed its decision to bar Politwoops, a service which collects and preserves deleted tweets from public officials, from using the public Twitter API. “Today we’re pleased to announce that we have come to an agreement with The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation around Politwoops,” the company said. “We look forward to continuing our work with these important organizations, and using Twitter to bring more transparency to public dialogue.” Both organizations previously criticized Twitter for attempting to hide what public figures said in public but later recanted by deleting their tweets. Here’s what a spokesperson for the Sunlight Foundation, which backs the US version of Politwoops, told me when Twitter moved to block the international version: ‘To prevent public oversight when our representatives try to discreetly change their messaging represents a significant corporate change of heart on the part of Twitter and a major move on their part to privatize public discourse,’ they said. ‘Imagine if the Washington Post printed a retraction of a story, would it demand that all copies delivered to the home with the original story be returned? When a public statement is made, no matter the medium, can it simply be deleted and claimed as a proprietary piece of information?’ Twitter defended the move by saying that the “ability to delete one’s Tweets – for whatever reason – has been a long-standing feature of Twitter for all users” and that the company would “continue to defend and respect our users’ voices in our product and platform.” Providing cover to politicians actually helped other users. Now the company has reversed its decision — the second time it’s done so where Politwoops is concerned. First it said the tool would be allowed to function on its platform; then it blocked Politwoops’ access to its public APIs; and now it has reversed course so the service can monitor the tweets politicians want to hide. This flip-flopping makes sense given the importance of politics to Twitter. But, as I wrote when the company shut down the international version of Politwoops, the company’s inability to consistently enforce its rules (let alone uphold certain ideals) is the most worrisome part of the back-and-forth between it and the tool: Consistent rules can be lived with and worked around. Inconsistent rules, however, lend some credence to the idea that Twitter might not be wise enough to decide what outside groups can do with public tweets. The company should have either shut down Politwoops before or allowed it to run into perpetuity. In a way, it’s a lot like the controversy created whenever Politwoops did catch deleted tweets that shamed the politicians who sent them. Many of those tweets would have been fine if they hadn’t been deleted; it was only when their senders tried to act like they never existed that problems arose. It’s hard not to appreciate the symmetry between that and Twitter’s current situation. And here the company has changed its mind again. Let’s see if that remains the case in a few months — we’re due for another reversal of course around March.     Twitter flip-flops on Politwoops (again) originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How personal analytics can streamline business decisionsAPIs will drive the next wave of growth for the internet of thingsHow cloud-based analytics can help companies crowdsource intelligence

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
Facebook just can’t give the Internet away. A week after Indian regulators halted the company’s Free Basics program, which provides free access to select online services by partnering with local telecoms, the Associated Press reported that the program has also been halted in Egypt. Free Basics is part of the Internet.org initiative Facebook created to provide free Internet access to people around the world through programs like this, satellites, drones, and other delivery mechanisms that haven’t yet been publicly revealed. “We’re disappointed that Free Basics will no longer be available in Egypt,” Facebook told the Associated Press. “More than 1 million people who were previously unconnected had been using the Internet because of these efforts.” It’s not clear why the Egyptian government halted the program. Indian regulators did so due to concerns about how Free Basics might affect net neutrality — concerns which have hounded the program since its inception. That criticism prompted Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to defend Internet.org’s efforts on his personal Facebook page and the Times of India’s website. (The crux of his argument is that Free Basics supports net neutrality.) Egypt’s halt might have different motivations. The country has shut down an art gallery and raided an independent publishing house, according to the New York Times, in an “expanding crackdown on dissent that now includes cultural spaces popular with activists and artists” motivated by its president’s fear of revolt. It would make sense for the government to target free Internet services while it clamps down on physical gathering places. Stifling free access to the open Web has become something of an established tactic throughout much of the world. Regardless of the motivation, it’s clear that Egypt has joined the Indian government, activists from Latin America, and net neutrality advocates in standing between Internet.org and those it wishes to reach with Free Basics. Who’d have thunk giving away free Internet access would be this hard? Facebook’s free Internet service stumbles in Egypt originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.IoT Hardware OpportunitiesHandicapping On-Demand Market SectorsA planning framwork for disruption

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
Social networks are in a time of upheaval. Established players are experimenting with new services to maintain their relevance, upstart messaging companies are doing their damnedest to knock incumbents off their thrones, and people have more options than ever before when it comes to connecting with other humans. Below I’ve tried to think up some of the changes we’re most likely to see in 2016 as companies try to diversify their products, renew competition with their rivals, and make good on some of the things forecasted by changes made this last year. And, this being the holidays and all, I decided to do so in a handy-dandy listicle. Facebook Messenger learns from Asian services “For social in 2016 I think we will see a further entrenching of messaging and it will have a more important role in personal communications, especially in mature markets such as the US,” Gartner analyst Brian Blau told me. “As the top messaging platforms extend their functionality it will open the door to third-parties and businesses who will want to leverage messaging [as] one of their next platforms of choice when [it] comes to connecting with their customers.” We’ve already seen this with a recent update that allows Messengers users to hail a ride through Uber without ever having to leave the communications app. The company was key to stress that this is just a test available to a limited number of users in the United States, and that Uber is just its first transportation partner, but it’s clear that Facebook plans to start expanding Messenger’s capabilities. Snapchat works on its relevancy to the news cycle I’ve already said Snapchat’s introduction to breaking news during the San Bernardino shooting on December 2 was refreshingly different from most coverage. The app’s ephemeral nature, combined with the fact that Snapchat’s coverage was based almost entirely on content shared by its users, made it a useful tool that provided a close look at what happened on the ground that day. It wouldn’t be surprising if Snapchat followed this early success with other news efforts. Perhaps it could help news organizations find content on its network to share with their audiences via Discover. (Anything would have to stay within the Snapchat ecosystem to preserve its impermanence and the privacy of its poster.) Or it could just repeat its approach to covering San Bernardino in other places. Pinterest stops dancing around its commerce ambitions Many tech companies don’t worry about making money. They know that if they have reach enough people, and convince enough venture capitalists that they could make money as soon as they decide to flip a magical switch that could eventually rake in millions of dollars, they don’t really need to do anything else. But, eventually, investors start to expect companies to bring in some dough. Pinterest could do that next year. The company has been flirting with commerce since it introduced “Buyable Pins” in the beginning of the year. It’s since added a dedicated shopping section to its mobile applications, introduced a search tool that makes it easier to discover goods within photos, and, most recently, updated the Buyable Pins so they can tell people when items shown in them drop in price. All that’s left is for the company to ask for a cut of those revenues. Perhaps it will continue to indirectly profit for a while — advertising revenue ain’t bad — but eventually it wouldn’t be a surprise if it started to make money when people buy stuff they discovered on its platform. In fact, it would be the opposite: I would be more surprised if this didn’t happen than if the flip were switched next year. Twitter introduces a competitor to Facebook’s Instant Articles It’s weird that Facebook beat Twitter to content hosting. Sure, Facebook sends more traffic to publishers, but many people use Twitter as a content discovery service. It would’ve made sense for Twitter to introduce something that makes opening a link, especially in the company’s mobile applications, less painful than it is. (In-app browsers never seem to function particularly wonderfully.) Given that, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Twitter at least attempted to offer a similar tool to publishers. It might not have as much success — Facebook’s efforts have succeeded in large part because it has more users, more control over the links they see, and more advertising options — but it could still give it a try. Otherwise it’ll be ceding one of its core strengths, content discovery, to its rival. Celebrities and brands keep testing features before the public It seems like one of the nicest things about being a celebrity, aside from the fame and the money and the prestige, is the ability to test new features before the unwashed masses ever hear of them. (And by “unwashed masses” I mean “we.”) That will probably remain true for two reasons: Giving a feature to celebrities naturally limits its reach, and access could keep celebrities engaged with a site. Just look at how Facebook rolled out new features. Perhaps the most notable example is the service’s live-streaming tool. It debuted first among celebrities; then made its way to other public figures; and is finally being tested among a small number of Facebook users in the United States. This gave celebrities an interesting feature while also helping Facebook make adjustments to the tool. There was also the the photo-editing features Twitter gave to celebrities before anyone else. And it’s not just celebrities: features often debut early among brands, too, so their ads can stand out from other content on the services. “With Instagram specifically, there are quite a few features they’ve offered brands that will likely make their way to users too,” said Jackdaw Research’s Jan Dawson. “Account switching, multiple-photo carousels, being able to link externally, and so on are all features users want and which might well show up in 2016.” Facebook introduces video-streaming apps I’ve said this already, but it’s worth repeating here: Facebook’s lack of standalone video apps is bizarre. The company has done everything it can to take over users’ phones by taking features from its main services and giving ’em their own apps. Messenger was part of Facebook. So was the ability to synchronize photos across devices, which is now exclusive to Moments. Facebook likes independent apps. Combine that with how popular video has become on its service and it seems like only a matter of time before we start seeing these apps on our phones, tablets, and set-top boxes. Facebook will soon become a channel similar to YouTube or Netflix or Hulu. If it doesn’t, it’s only because the company decided to prop up its main application by keeping videos inside it instead of letting them branch out. More concerns over data usage and battery life Phones keep getting thinner. People also use them more each year. This means that battery life is the weakest aspect of any smartphone — and social networks are some of the worst culprits when it comes to using more power than expected. This came to a head earlier this year when Circa co-founder Matt Galligan called attention to the insane amount of battery consumed by Facebook’s app. Facebook addressed the problem with an update less than two weeks later, but social networking apps like Facebook’s and Twitter’s continue to be some of the biggest drains on an iPhone’s battery life this side of using it to watch Netflix. Consumers also have to be wary about social apps using all their mobile data. Facebook and Twitter both automatically play video advertisements in their apps by default, and this can wreak havoc on a customer’s data limits. As these apps continue to focus on videos and other rich media, the amount of battery power and mobile data they consume is likely to keep rising in the immediate future. What to expect from social companies in 2016 originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How to choose between DIY and hyper-convergence in the data centerHow personal analytics can streamline business decisionsHow and why to implement a successful data lake

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on gigaom
Twitter has made changes to the “Twitter Rules” that dictate how people are allowed to use its service as part of its efforts to curb abuse on the platform. Former chief executive Dick Costolo recognized Twitter’s abuse problem in February. Since then, the company has devoted more staff to moderating its service, introduced new harassment reporting tools, and taken steps to limit abusers’ ability to spew filth at their target from numerous Twitter accounts. Now the company has updated the Twitter Rules to make its stance on abuse even clearer. The updated rules bar Twitter users from making violent threats; sharing another user’s personal information; harassing someone; misusing multiple accounts; impersonating others; and encouraging others to self-harm. “We believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power,” the company says in the new rules, “But that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up.” Basically: freedom of expression only works if it has reasonable boundaries. The updated rules, like some of Twitter’s other attempts to curb abuse on its platform, have been accused of being misguided or meaningless if the company can’t prove that its efforts are more than a public relations gambit that obfuscate harassment whilst allowing the root of the problem to fester like an infection. Given the reports about Twitter’s shortcomings and the ability of abusers to use for their own benefit the tools designed to stop them, it’s clear that people still aren’t convinced that the company is doing enough. It’s been almost a year since Twitter made harassment a priority but yet the problem continues to hound it. At least the company knows this. “Keeping users safe requires a comprehensive and balanced approach where everyone plays a role,” wrote Twitter’s Megan Cristina. “We will continue to build on these initiatives to empower our users and ensure that Twitter remains a platform for people to express themselves.” There’s always next year. Twitter continues anti-abuse campaign with updated rules originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015. Continue reading… Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.How personal analytics can streamline business decisionsAPIs will drive the next wave of growth for the internet of thingsHow cloud-based analytics can help companies crowdsource intelligence

Read More...