Tech Transformation in Big Data Analytics

Business analytics is an integral part of any business. This is because it is the only way that you get to deal with the changes that your business constantly faces.

In today’s tech world, the business environment is highly changing, and you need to effectively adjust to these changes for your business to remain competitive.

Unlike in the past when organizations found it hard to analyze their data effectively, the emerging tech trends in big data analytics is enabling them to harness their business data and identify new opportunities.

Types of business analysis for big data

Big data is characterized by massive volumes of data, high frequency of data that is coming in and going out as well as a great variety of data sources. With this, a company’s business intelligence can easily come crashing down because it cannot handle such data effectively.

• A prescriptive analysis of data will reveal to you the actions that you should take to correct a given situation. This is imperative because it will help you to come up with rules and recommendations that should be followed to achieve a certain target.

• In business, predicting the future correctly is critical because it will ensure continuity of your business. This is why you should do a predictive analysis to make the future of your business certain.

• A descriptive analysis will tell you what is currently happening in your business and this can happen through a real- time dashboard.

• A diagnostic analysis deals with past performance and with it, you can determine what and why things happened as they did.

Although big data analytics, in general, can give you the reflection of your business performance at any given time, a detailed analysis can give you a more complete story for accurate business decisions.

The value of big data analytics

One of the most major assets of any business is data. This is why you need a high-performing big data analysis solution for your business.

The tech of big data analysis has come a long way from simple spreadsheets that were examined manually to the current advanced analytics software like the manufacturing analytics software. This has come with reduced costs, improved speed, high accuracy, and efficiency.

Big data analytics brings your huge data from multiple sources into one view in seconds. Apart from getting a deeper insight of your business in real-time, you will have no need of an IT or data expert because it does not have any complex data modeling.

There are no usual complex codes, and instead, you just need to make a few clicks from raw data to advanced easy-to-use visuals that you can easily interpret. Furthermore, you can automate it for better experiences.

Tech trends for big data analytics

The latest trends in data analytics include data analytics in the cloud, Hadoop, in-memory analytics, NoSQL, machine learning and big data lakes among many other tools and software.

You can compare the best products in the market like IBM, SAS, Oracle Business Analytics and even InetSoft Style Intelligence among many others to determine which one can best bring your business intelligence back to life.

While real-time data analysis tech is readily available, the majority of businesses still rely on traditional business intelligence solutions. Analytics software can be programmed to monitor any of your business functions like sales, inventory, and payments.

It does not matter whether you are in retail, healthcare, government, hospitality or any other business. When you examine your business data in an advanced way, you will be able to uncover patterns, correlations, and trends that will give you a better understanding of your business.

The Internet of Things: Breaking Down Hacks and Security

An unassuming, internet-connected toaster is sitting on a kitchen counter when it is assaulted, over and over, with “root” and “xc3511” login credentials. The toaster, however, isn’t real – it’s a honeypot living on a virtual server hosted by Amazon, tracking each attempt to hack it.

The experiment was set up by The Atlantic’s Andrew McGill, which saw the first attack just 41 minutes after going live, and more than 300 IP addresses tried to gain access by the end of the day – which works out to about 27 attacks per hour. The attacks were likely made automatically by Mirai, the malware that was at the heart of the mid-October distributed denial of service attack on Dyn, targeting DNS servers – the “phone book” of the internet translating text URLs to IP addresses – and slowing or blocking access to major websites including Paypal, Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, and Netflix. The open-source malware can be set to automatically scan the internet, specifically for Internet of Things devices, to hack. With estimates of 28 to 30 billion connected devices by 2020, the danger will only increase.

Xiongmai  

Before getting into what hackers could use exploited IoT devices for, it’s important to see how they were hacked. The October DDoS attack was the first major, widespread attack to utilize IoT devices, and many were webcams and CCTV cameras. The connection is the chip set used in the cameras, made by Chinese manufacturer Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co., or XM. These are sold to camera manufacturers. In the aftermath of the attack, the company is recalling millions of devices, but suspects only about 10,000 are vulnerable.

The cameras were made up to 2014. Those with firmware from 2015 and beyond should not be affected by Mirai. The recall only affects a fraction of the 17.6 billion devices currently in use, but consider only about 0.000026 percent of IoT devices were used in the October hack.

The problem, security analyst Brian Krebs noted, was that the password, “xc3511,”  that all the XM devices use by default, is hardcoded into the firmware. Even if the user changes the password, the default password will still work.

Security analyst Ben Dickson wrote that “one of the fundamental problems with IoT security is that the developers often come from an unconnected background, such as embedded systems, which means they have the knowhow to provide functionality but aren’t versed in the principles to write secure code for connected environments.” He also noted that security is neglected in the face of costs and deadlines.

DDoS

Much like the poor virtual toaster, that’s how some 460,000 IoT devices were used in the DDoS attack. But it wasn’t just cameras – devices ranging from thermostats to DVRs were used in the massive attack. It wasn’t the first attack using IoT cameras, either. In late September, about 150,000 cameras and digital recorders were used to attack OVH.com, French entrepreneur Octave Klaba’s website. He took to Twitter, noting that at one point, his site was hit with nearly 1 terabyte of information per second – at only a quarter of what was used against Dyn.

In 2013, it took a server just 44 minutes to scan every IP address on the internet. Now, Mirai users are only scanning IP addresses associated with IoT devices to create botnets for DDoS attacks – or other sinister deeds.

Ransomware

Stampado, a budget-friendly piece of ransomware at only $39, is being sold in the dark corners of the internet. The software locks files on a computer, giving the owner 96 hours to pay up. After the time limit is up, it deletes random files every 6 hours. For comparison, Locky, which shut down hospitals by locking out patient records, goes for about $3,000.

Imagine if a hacker, using cheap software, scanned the internet, found your IoT thermostat, turned the heat up to unbearable temperatures in the middle of summer, and demanded payment to unlock the device. Or worse, you are on vacation and the same scenario happens. Pay up, or be saddled with a high energy bill and melted personal items all over the house.

Not scary enough? Hackers have already proven they can remotely hack internet-enabled cars. What if the autopilot feature of a Tesla was hacked, the doors locked, and you are driven to the middle of the desert? While only 2 percent of cars were connected to the internet in 2012, and 10 percent the next year, Spanish company Telefonica estimated in 2013 that about 90 percent would be connected in 2020.

Security

Hacking doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When exploits are found they are often closed. Tesla quickly closed an exploit after hackers released a how-to guide – probably preventing the above scenario from happening in the first place.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is adding Bitlocker and Secure Boot to Windows 10 IoT Core. The change is mostly aimed at DIYers and home hackers, with Windows 10 IoT offered as a bundle with a Raspberry Pi 2 microcomputer. Learning to code for the IoT can give you more control over your device, also increasing security. Securing your router will also turn away the vast majority of automated hacking attempts.

Finally, IBM is experimenting with blockchains to track important items. A current application is tracking where a diamond came from – suppliers can then deny the diamonds if they are from an area that uses forced labor to mine diamonds, or if the sales fund violence. This could be used by manufacturers to monitor where parts in devices come from, to identify potential weak spots in security – and prevent hacking even before the consumer buys the product. If a blockchain was in place, it could have been used to track the pre-2015 XM chipsets, to identify exactly which cameras they were used in, and aid the manufacturer in a recall. Or, a company could decide not to use the chipset, based on its point of origin. The technology is secure – it’s used to track bitcoins – and extremely hard to alter or delete information after it is added by a trusted source.

The IoT is growing fast, and security is trying to catch up. According to Maryville University, cyber attacks cost upwards of $400 billion each year. There is potential for great harm through ransomware, or even shutting down the internet for a wide swath of users. There are bound to be more attacks before security catches up – but securing your network will go a long way to protecting your toaster.

Video Cameras Review: Finding the Best Video Camera for You

Video camera is a perfect gadget to capture the best moments of your trip, a special occasion or even your daily routine in life.  It helps you record special moments so you could go back to it and reminisce. You may also share these moments with people you love who may be far from you at the moment.

In this post, we will share to you some reviews of video cameras to help you find the most suitable one for you that fits your needs and your lifestyle.

  1. Sony PJ530

If you’re after a high-quality video-recording performance, then you can never go wrong with Sony PJ530. It records 1080p video at 50fps. This is perfect for professional shoots with its 30x optical zoom feature that goes to 60x without breaking up. Another feature that you will surely enjoy is the USB tail, which allows you to easily plug it into a computer for easier transfer of captured videos. This is definitely perfect for every day use, and for professional shoots.

  1. Panasonic HC-VX870EB-K

Do you have a tight budget? Do not worry because you can still find a camera that performs well. With Panasonic HC-VX870EB-K, you can record at 4K at 25fps, and you can extract individual frames at 8-megapixel. You will also love the 20x optical zoom feature as well as 5-axis optical image stabiliser solution, which allows you to combine footage from your smartphone as a picture in picture through WI-FI connection. And all those features you can enjoy at a low price. This model is probably one of the most affordable ones in the market that you can still consider for it’s reliable performance. This is perfect to use for family outings.

  1. JVC Everio FZ-R315DEK

If you are looking for the traditional feel of a camcorder, then this one is perfect for you. This model is very sturdy and can survive challenging outdoor trips. You will definitely love the long-life battery that can last up to 5 hours. Not bad really. It has 10-megapixel feature for still photos and zoom microphone feature in case you are doing video production.

  1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 4K Camera

This model is a hybrid camera designed for professional photo shoots and video recording. It is perfect for out of town trips with friends and family. It has 16.05-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor and 4-CPU venus engine that allows capturing of JPEG and RAW photos in high resolution. It is indeed one of the best 4K cameras you can find today.

  1. GoPro Hero4 Silver

For people who love to travel and do outdoor activities, GoPro camera is definitely perfect. Hero4 Silver records up to 4K at 15fps and 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 120fps. You will be able to record high-quality videos with its top-notch image sensor and processor. It is very convenient to bring anywhere too. This is indeed the perfect camera for people with active and adventurous lifestyle.

Hopefully this post would help you find a video camera that is best for you. Do not hesitate to make comparisons first between different models to ensure that you will buy a reliable one.

Business Communication Tools Usage Trend For 2015

A study recently conducted by uSamp Research on behalf of a cloud phone technology provider looked into the trends that are influencing workplace communication and how the evolution of tools is changing the landscape of business communication. For the study, the researchers surveyed 508 workers at the manager, director and vice president levels at businesses in United States. Here is a brief on the various inferences made from the study:

In-Person Communication No Longer In Vogue : What do professionals at the workplace prefer – meeting colleagues in person and getting stuff done, or do they prefer the various communication channels? The uSamp study shows that a stunning 95% of the respondents chose workplace communications over in-person meetings. Of this, 48% of the respondents preferred emails while 20% preferred calling over mobile phones. Desk phones were preferred by another 10% while 8% each preferred texting colleagues or scheduling web meetings.

Real-Time Communication Is In : Over the past decade, unified communications technology has made it possible for non real-time communication platforms to be accessed on a real-time basis. Companies like AllStream allow users to broadcast messages via multiple channels right from the IP based business phones to PC notifications, text messages  and email simultaneously. The availability of such features has made people favor real-time communications over non real-time alternatives. 82% of respondents from the study preferred receiving text messages over voicemails. As a matter of fact, 36% of the surveyed participants confided to have deleted voicemails without listening to them.

Internal Communication Is Critical : Close to 44% of the respondents believe that the business communication tools available today are geared at communications outside the workplace and need similar communication tools for intra-office communications. With remote working on the rise, respondents believe tools that enable better communication with co-workers is paramount to an efficient and productive workplace. These respondents also felt Skype as a medium to communicate with fellow workers was not optimal.

Multi-Tasking Of Devices : Even till a decade back, every worker had an assigned computer that was their only medium to engage in the workplace. However, that has changed drastically and nearly 85% of the participants in the study revealed that they used more than one device at work. This includes the use of a workplace computer, a smartphone and another workstation that they accessed while working from home. 32% of the respondents used three or more devices for work related activities.

Other significant take-aways from the study:

  • 97% of respondents believe that their communications impact their daily tasks
  • 32% believe they will need new business communication tools for remote working in 2015
  • 21% want their communication tools to enable them to have more time off

SaaS Enterprise Content Management Growth Study

Over the past decade, the line between enterprise content management and retail products has been steadily shrinking. CMS tools like WordPress and Drupal are equally popular among both individuals as well as among enterprises. On the other hand, tools like SharePoint that offer a vastly sophisticated application are popular among enterprises. According to a recent study conducted by TechNavio, the growth of SaaS based enterprise content management systems (ECM) is expected to continue over the next few years.

Here are a few snapshots from the TechNavio study:

Growth Rate: The compounded annual growth rate of SaaS-based ECM between 2013-2018 is expected to be 31.1%
Market Share: With rise in SaaS ECM, the market share of on-premise ECM tools are expected to naturally come down from the dominant 90.73% that it enjoys today.

The results from the TechNavio study are pretty much in sync with the predictions made by Radicati in their study report last year. In their study, Radicati made the prediction that the revenues from the Enterprise Content Management market will grow from $5.1 billion to $9.3 billion between 2013 and 2017. Given that this is for the entire market, the emerging SaaS platform is expected to be much higher than on-premise ECM that, with a 90% market share, is likely to grow much slower.

There is however a slight bit of disconnect between what TechNavio suggests and the results from a Gartner study published last year. In that report, Gartner had predicted that 12% of the surveyed enterprises use cloud-based ECM tools for their requirements. That is distinctly higher than the less than 10% market share that TechNavio had predicted in their study. None of the reports talk about the specific tools or versions of the software. Business that have migrated their SharePoint to the latest version enjoy easier integration with Microsoft’s other cloud tools like Office 365 and Yammer.

As all these study reports show, enterprise content management appears to be on the rise. With more and more business transactions moving online, the need of the hour is to deploy an agile and scalable solution. With SaaS based ECM, this is much easier. However, on-premise ECM comes with an advantage of high customization that a SaaS solution may not always provide. The future belongs to the platform that can show return on investment to businesses from their content marketing and management.

B2B Digital Marketing Trend

According to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, an increasing number of B2B companies now rely on digital marketing; especially content marketing to reach out to customers. Here are some interesting statistics from the study

Factor Representation
Content marketing as % of marketing budget (2012) 33%
Content marketing as % of marketing budget (2011) 26%
% marketers planning an increase in 2013 54%
Number of B2B marketers using content marketing 91%
Average number of content marketing tactics 12

Distribution of Content marketing Usage

Tactic used Usage (in %)
Social media (non-blog) 87%
Website articles 83%
eNewsletters 78%
Blogs 77%
Case studies 71%
Videos 70%
Articles on other websites 70%
In-person events 69%
White papers 61%
Webinars/Webcasts 59%
Research reports 44%
Microsites 40%
Infographics 38%
Branded content tools 38%
Mobile content 33%
eBooks 32%
Print magazines 31%
Books 29%
Virtual conferences 28%
Podcasts 27%
Licensed/syndicated content 26%
Mobile apps 26%
Digital magazines 25%
Print newsletters 24%
Annual reports 20%
Games/Gamification 11%

So as you can see, besides a few offline strategies, a majority of them are online. This is despite the fact that a good percentage of B2B leads still come from offline means. One of the primary reasons for marketers to still deploy digital marketing is to create better buzz for their offline events like trade shows. Trade show exhibitors are now regularly known to create greater buzz for their trade show booths through social media for increased leads and conversions.

Popularity of Social Media Among B2B Marketers

The study of the B2B marketers showed the following distribution in interest among the various social media channels.

Social media Popularity
LinkedIn 83%
Twitter 80%
Facebook 80%
YouTube 61%
Google+ 39%
Pinterest 26%
Slideshare 23%
Vimeo 12%
Flickr 10%
StumbleUpon 10%
FourSquare 8%
Instagram 7%
Tumblr 7%
Quora 6%

Classification of B2B Industries Using Social Media

It would be interesting to study the industries that these B2B industries that use social media fall in. According to the CMI study, this is how the classification stands:

Industry Share of the pie
Advertising/Marketing 25%
Consulting 12%
Software 12%
Manufacturing 6%
Online services 6%
Publishing/media 5%
Business services 5%
Healthcare/Medical 4%
Banking/Accounting 3%
Other 22%

Online Degrees And Certificates Growth Rate

Over the past 5 years, there has been a surge in the number of online degrees and certificates being offered by universities. There are two reasons to it. Firstly, more and more universities today are offering professional certificates instead of degrees. According to GeorgeTown University Center, professional degrees are a $140 billion business which was hitherto catered to primarily by community colleges. Most of the students who take up certificates are in mid-career positions who can afford the costs unlike the typical degree students.

The second reason why there is a surge is because of the booming internet education industry. MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a massive industry where an unlimited number of students are provided education via the internet. Examples of such courses include those offered on websites like Udemy and Khan Academy. Besides these services offered by non-educational organizations, regular universities too offer MOOCs today. In the United States, MOOC-based degrees and certificates are offered by a number of universities including Stanford, University of Michigan, Princeton and GeorgeTown.

A number of courses, particularly those targeting entrepreneurs and business owners are now available online. For example, a Business essentials and planning course offered by Butler university extends over a 32 week period and is targeted at mid-career professionals.

According to a research conducted by Babson Survey Research Group, the growth rate of online degrees has been on the rise. In 2003, just around 2 million students enrolled in online courses (11.7% of total enrollments). By 2011, this number had surged well beyond 7 million (32% of total enrollments). In terms of perception of education quality too, online courses seem to be improving.

The Babson Survey of academic leaders in 2003 revealed than 15% of them felt online courses had a superior quality than traditional courses. By 2012, this figure had breached 20% figure with another 60% opining that these courses at least had the same quality as regular courses.

However, one of the biggest hurdles to greater popularity of online courses appear to be in their overall acceptance. The survey showed that the percentage of academics accepting online courses as a valuable alternative has stayed around the 25% mark through this past decade.

With wider proliferation of the internet and the general popularity of services like Udemy and Codecademy, it will be interesting to see how much popularity online courses gain over the next decade or two. This could be a defining moment in the way the students of tomorrow gain education. What are your thoughts?

The Growth Of E-Signature Market

E-Signatures are a way to speed up legal paperwork by replacing physical contract documents with electronic alternatives. In this case, the signatures are made electronically by the parties involved in a safe and secure manner. Besides this, e-signatures are also seen to be massively cheaper than physical paperwork. In a study on the benefits on e-signatures, Ombud Research came up with the following numbers:

Parameter Average Change
Turnaround time 80% savings
Cost $20 per document less
Customer Loyalty 5x increase

According to a report on Celent, the e-signature industry has grown multifold in the past five years. The usage by life insurance companies has increased from 47% in 2007 to 74% in 2013. Even the US army today has deployed an esignature solution from Silanis for their over 1 million personnel. Here is how the various e-signature approaches have grown.

E-signature type 2007 2013
Signature pad at POS 34% 36%
PKI 34%
Voice signature 30%
Clickwrap 34% 70%
Handwritten mouse signature 15%
Username & pin 45%
Shared secrets 15%

Research firm, G2 Crowd reviewed the market share held by various e-signature providers among small business (1-50 employees), medium (51-1000 employees) and Enterprise (>1000 employees) which showed the following results

Provider Small Medium Enterprise
Echosign 34% 43% 23%
DocuSign 41% 33% 26%
Silanis 34% 33% 33%
AssureSign 21% 43% 36%
Right Signature 53% 27% 20%
Sertifi 31% 31% 38%

In terms of deployment method (cloud vs. on-premise), this is how it worked out:

Provider Cloud On-premise
Echosign 77% 23%
Docusign 77% 23%
Silanis 79% 21%
AssureSign 100% 0%
Right Signature 75% 25%
Sertifi 85% 15%
Average 85% 15%

In terms of user ratings and recommendations, the G2 Crowd found the following


Rank, Provider, % customers likely to recommend
1, Silanis, 95%
2, AssureSign, 88%
3, Sertifi, 87%
4, Right Signature, 86%
5, Docusign, 81%
6, Echosign, 76%

Oracle Market Share, Revenues And Performance – 2013

There have been a plethora of new-school Fortune 500 tech companies that are based on the internet and gadgets. However, Oracle continues to be one of the biggest software companies in the world. Redwood Shores based Oracle is currently ranked 80 in the list of the biggest companies in the world. Here are some key metrics about Oracle that we have been able to gather.

Year Oracle's position in Fortune 500
2012 82
2013 80

Growth over the last year

Year Growth rate
2012 7%
2013 8%
Last decade 14% CAGR

 

Software vs. Hardware

Software continues to be one of the major growth drivers for the company. According to the most recent press statement, software contributes close to 75% of the overall revenues. Of this, license updates and software upgrades of JD Edwards and other proprietary software contributes to more revenue than the sale of new software licenses.

Business component Jun-Aug 2013 Revenues YoY change
New software license $1.653 billion 5% growth
Software license update $4.431 billion 7%

 

In the hardware business, Oracle isn’t doing so well. Here are some crucial numbers mined from the latest reports. For a perspective, most of these revenues are gained from components of business Oracle got after acquiring Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion.

Business component Jun-Aug 2013 Revenues YoY Change
Oracle Servers $669 Million 14% drop
Hardware support $592 Million 3% growth
Gross profit margin 61.9%

 

Oracle Ranking & Market Share In Various Businesses

Despite investors losing interest of late, Oracle continues to be one of the largest software companies in the world. Here is the market share of Oracle in some of the business it operates.

Business/Product Rank/Market share
Software company Number 2
RDBS Database 48.3% revenue (Number 1)
ERP (JD Edwards) 13% (Number 2)
Business Intelligence 14.9% (Number 2)

VOIP Market Statistics And Projections – 2013

An eMarketer report in 2008 predicted the number of VOIP subscribers to reach 196.3 million worldwide by 2012. It should be interesting to look at these figures with the benefit of hindsight. According to a report released by Point Topic earlier this year, we seem to have missed those numbers quite significantly. According to the report, the total number of VOIP subscribers by the end of 2012 stood at 151.5 million. This is how the numbers stack up when distributed geographically

Region Market Share
North America 25.1%
America (others) 4.5%
Asia-East 35.7%
East Europe 1.2%
Rest of Europe 33%
Oceania 0.5%

So as you can see, VOIP is still strongly associated with the developed world and regions in Asia that have always been strong in the area of telecommunications. The report lists the following countries as the largest in the VOIP market.

Country Subscribers in millions (Q1 2013)
USA 34.21
Japan 30.99
France 22.48
South Korea 12.54
China 11.85
Germany 11.05
Brazil 5.30
Netherlands 4.86
Canada 4.73
UK 4.17

However, in terms of percent growth, emerging countries rule the roost. Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Poland, Ireland and Brazil form the top 5 in this list. According to Infonetics, VOIP is expected to be an $80 billion industry by 2017. This would mean a 7% compounded annual growth rate from 2012. This is expected to be primarily driven by businesses since residential connections are expected to only grow at 3% CAGR during this period. The report notes that SIP trunking is one of the popular growth areas have risen 23% from the second half of 2012 to the first half of 2013.

The Infonetics report further looks into the VOIP equipment providers who have largely benefitted from this growth. Here are the largest 5 providers in terms of global revenue share

Rank Provider
1 Huawei
2 Alcatel-Lucent
3 Genband
4 NSN
5 Acme Packet

Despite the bullish growth projections, the market itself is reportedly under-served according to the New York based Eastern Management group. In their research, the firm projects the number of SIP phones sold to double between now and 2018. Going by these metrics, the firm notes that new entrants could easily take up to 10% market share.

Given these fast changing numbers, it would be interesting to revisit these numbers in a couple of years from now to see how things have changed.