Category Archives: Blog

The Future of “The Cloud”

cloud artIt’s safe to say that cloud computing is the next “big thing.”  Cloud computing is the storing and accessing of data and programs through the internet, rather than through physical means such as hard drives. Basically, the cloud is just a fancy term for services accessed over the internet. Forbes Magazine stated that, “55% of enterprises predict cloud computing will enable new business models in three years.”   With that being said, it is expected that a large amount of enterprises will be making moderate-to-heavy cloud investments in the near future as they transition into full reliance on cloud technologies. Many are depending on the cloud to launch new business models, help streamline their supply chains, and provide applications and platforms to better manage and analyze data.

Costco Breaks Up with American Express – What’s Next for Amex?

American-Express-Costco-CardAmerican Express’ co-branding and merchant acceptance agreements with the popular wholesale retailer Costco were not renewed in February 2015. Costco has decided to partner with Visa for their preferred Card Network, and signed Citigroup as the issuer of the co-branded cards. The change-over is scheduled for March 2016.

While merchants and co-branding partners often transition, this breakup is poised to leave a large wound with American Express. Such co-brands are established to build loyalty among specific types of customers. Cardholders often receive extra perks when the use the co-branded cards, while card companies and the merchant typically see higher levels of spending on those cards. Most of such deals, however, don’t require merchants to exclusively accept those cards, as is the case with Costco and American Express.

Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Introduces the “Moments” App

FB momentsFacebook’s new Moments app provides another platform in which you can exchange as many photos as you like with as many people as you choose. Forget the News Feed and simply share your private “moments” with only the people you truly care to. The Moments app scans the pictures in your phone for faces and is able to match a name to each face based on your Facebook friends. As a result of your photos being grouped by occasion, and your Facebook friends being grouped by your relationship, sharing them with others through the app is extremely easy. Unlike Facebook, Moments is focused on audience, rather than content.

Hackers: 1, Apple: 0

Apple-hacked_620x350It’s not too often that Apple encounters an issue that can’t be fixed instantly. However, a research team at Indiana University discovered a flaw in iOS and OSX that is causing Apple cause for concern. The team uncovered multiple ways in which many installed apps could be hacked by others in order to get a hold of passwords stored in both the Apple Keychain and Apple and third-party apps without being detected. Now, we’re not just talking about your Instagram being hacked; CNN explained that this hack, “exposes the passwords to your iCloud account, notes, photos, email, banking, social media – everything.”

A Risky Time for Pandora

music-nav-iconAs expected, Apple strikes again! Apple Music, which was revealed last Monday, is giving Pandora a run for its money. Although this is not the first time Pandora has faced Apple threats (Ping and iTunes radio), investors are nervous that the third time may just be the charm. Mike Herring, Pandora’s CFO, is confident that, “This team [of more than 80 analysts, curators, and scientists with a musical background], combined with our technology, helps Pandora deliver a simple, personalized music experience that is unparalleled,” but we’ll just have to wait and see…

A Tablet on Steroids: The Microsoft Surface Hub

MSurface HubReady for an office upgrade?

Introducing: the new Microsoft Surface Hub.  This innovative device is a combination of both a whiteboard and a colossal tablet. Not only does this simplify the process of conference/video calls, but it allows for real-time collaboration and presentations. Unlike past products designed for individual productivity, the Hub is intended for group efforts. Whether you choose to gather physically or virtually, the Hub allows you to connect, share ideas, and make decisions with the ease and efficiency.  It will run on a custom version of Windows 10, and includes all usual Microsoft Office apps in addition to Skype, OneNote, and other universal apps.

The Monetization of Instagram

Instagram-logoInstagram has come a long way since its launch in 2010. Now the go-to photo sharing network has over 300 million active uses who post 75 million photos per day. In October 2013, Instagram started to incorporate advertisements in user’s photo feeds, launching more than 475 campaigns, as measured by Nielsen Brand Effect, to the user base. In 2015, Instagram is changing its ad format once again with the introduction of  “Shop Now”, “Install Now”, and “Sign Up” buttons at the bottom of each posted ad.

Apple Music

Apple_DmusicApple Music is one of Apple’s most exciting announcements from this year’s WWD (Worldwide Developers Conference). The new all-in-one streaming music service will provide paid subscribers to access to Apple’s entire music catalog, a live global radio station hosted in LA, New York City and London, a social platform for artist to connect to fans, and the ability to share new music.

The Mobile Wallet

mobile-walletChecking out of the grocery store with the touch of your phone, sure why not.  Our cell phones have basically become another appendage attached to our bodies, why not make it do one more thing?

With the virtual wallet, you can store your credit cards on your phone and pay by putting your phone up to a sales terminal.

There are four major players in this new form of payment: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet and CurrentC. Each service stores your credit cards in the designated app on your device. Apple, Samsung and Google all use the tap to pay method, in which users need only hold their NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled phone to near  a NFC terminal and tap a finger to ensure security. CurrentC uses a QR code that is scanned at check out.

NSA Revelations Continue to Impact American Tech

NSA-tech-companiesThe National Security Agency’s vast surveillance is going to cost the US tech sector a lot more than originally thought.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a non-profit think tank with a focus on technology innovation, recently released a report in which it raises its previous estimation of how much surveillance by the US intelligence community could cost American tech and IT companies.

In 2013, the non-partisan group projected that the NSA-related revelations stemming from Edward Snowden’s 2013 leaks would costs as much as $35 billion in lost business. The organization was just one of many who predicted the loss of foreign customers in the cloud computing sector. Unfortunately, ITIF’s new report says the economic fallout will “likely far exceed” that initial estimate.