Our digital future will be shaped by increasingly mobile technologies coming from China

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Since the dawn of the internet, the titans of this industry have fought to win the “starting point” — the place that users start their online experiences. In other words, the place where they begin “browsing.” The advent of the dial-up era had America Online mailing a CD to every home in America, which passed the baton to Yahoo’s categorical listings, which was swallowed by Google’s indexing of the world’s information — winning the “starting point” was everything.

As the mobile revolution continues to explode across the world, the battle for the starting point has intensified. For a period of time, people believed it would be the hardware, then it became clear that the software mattered most. Then conversation shifted to a debate between operating systems (Android or iOS) and moved on to social properties and messaging apps, where people were spending most of their time. Today, my belief is we’re hovering somewhere between apps and operating systems. That being said, the interface layer will always be evolving.

The starting point, just like a rocket’s launchpad, is only important because of what comes after. The battle to win that coveted position, although often disguised as many other things, is really a battle to become the starting point of commerce.  

Google’s philosophy includes a commitment to get users “off their page” as quickly as possible…to get that user to form a habit and come back to their starting point. The real (yet somewhat veiled) goal, in my opinion, is to get users to search and find the things they want to buy.

Of course, Google “does no evil” while aggregating the world’s information, but they pay their bills by sending purchases to Priceline, Expedia, Amazon and the rest of the digital economy.  

Facebook, on the other hand, has become a starting point through its monopolization of users’ time, attention and data. Through this effort, it’s developed an advertising business that shatters records quarter after quarter.

Google and Facebook, this famed duopoly, represent 89 percent of new advertising spending in 2017. Their dominance is unrivaled… for now.

Change is urgently being demanded by market forces — shifts in consumer habits, intolerable rising costs to advertisers and through a nearly universal dissatisfaction with the advertising models that have dominated (plagued) the U.S. digital economy.  All of which is being accelerated by mobile. Terrible experiences for users still persist in our online experiences, deliver low efficacy for advertisers and fraud is rampant. The march away from the glut of advertising excess may be most symbolically seen in the explosion of ad blockers. Further evidence of the “need for a correction of this broken industry” is Oracle’s willingness to pay $ 850 million for a company that polices ads (probably the best entrepreneurs I know ran this company, so no surprise).

As an entrepreneur, my job is to predict the future. When reflecting on what I’ve learned thus far in my journey, it’s become clear that two truths can guide us in making smarter decisions about our digital future:

Every day, retailers, advertisers, brands and marketers get smarter. This means that every day, they will push the platforms, their partners and the places they rely on for users to be more “performance driven.” More transactional.

Paying for views, bots (Russian or otherwise) or anything other than “dollars” will become less and less popular over time. It’s no secret that Amazon, the world’s most powerful company (imho), relies so heavily on its Associates Program (its home-built partnership and affiliate platform). This channel is the highest performing form of paid acquisition that retailers have, and in fact, it’s rumored that the success of Amazon’s affiliate program led to the development of AWS due to large spikes in partner traffic.

Chinese flag overlooking The Bund, Shanghai, China (Photo: Rolf Bruderer/Getty Images)

When thinking about our digital future, look down and look east. Look down and admire your phone — this will serve as your portal to the digital world for the next decade, and our dependence will only continue to grow. The explosive adoption of this form factor is continuing to outpace any technological trend in history.

Now, look east and recognize that what happens in China will happen here, in the West, eventually. The Chinese market skipped the PC-driven digital revolution — and adopted the digital era via the smartphone. Some really smart investors have built strategies around this thesis and have quietly been reaping rewards due to their clairvoyance.  

China has historically been categorized as a market full of knock-offs and copycats — but times have changed. Some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies have come out of China over the past decade. The entrepreneurial work ethic in China (as praised recently by arguably the world’s greatest investor, Michael Moritz), the speed of innovation and the ability to quickly scale and reach meaningful populations have caused Chinese companies to leapfrog the market cap of many of their U.S. counterparts.  

The most interesting component of the Chinese digital economy’s growth is that it is fundamentally more “pure” than the U.S. market’s. I say this because the Chinese market is inherently “transactional.” As Andreessen Horowitz writes, WeChat, China’s  most valuable company, has become the “starting point” and hub for all user actions. Their revenue diversity is much more “Amazon” than “Google” or “Facebook” — it’s much more pure. They make money off the transactions driven from their platform, and advertising is far less important in their strategy.

The obsession with replicating WeChat took the tech industry by storm two years ago — and for some misplaced reason, everyone thought we needed to build messaging bots to compete.  

What shouldn’t be lost is our obsession with the purity and power of the business models being created in China. The fabric that binds the Chinese digital economy and has fostered its seemingly boundless growth is the magic combination of commerce and mobile. Singles Day, the Chinese version of Black Friday, drove $ 25 billion in sales on Alibaba — 90 percent of which were on mobile.

The lesson we’ve learned thus far in both the U.S. and in China is that “consumers spending money” creates the most durable consumer businesses. Google, putting aside all its moonshots and heroic mission statements, is a “starting point” powered by a shopping engine. If you disagree, look at where their revenue comes from…

Google’s recent announcement of Shopping Actions and their movement to a “pay per transaction model” signals a turning point that could forever change the landscape of the digital economy.  

Google’s multi-front battle against Apple, Facebook and Amazon is weighted. Amazon is the most threatening. It’s the most durable business of the four — and its model is unbounded on two fronts that almost everyone I know would bet their future on, 1) people buying more online, where Amazon makes a disproportionate amount of every dollar spent, and 2) companies needing more cloud computing power (more servers), where Amazon makes a disproportionate amount of every dollar spent.  

To add insult to injury, Amazon is threatening Google by becoming a starting point itself — 55 percent of product searches now originate at Amazon, up from 30 percent just a year ago.

Google, recognizing consumer behavior was changing in mobile (less searching) and the inferiority of their model when compared to the durability and growth prospects of Amazon, needed to respond. Google needed a model that supported boundless growth and one that created a “win-win” for its advertising partners — one that resembled Amazon’s relationship with its merchants — not one that continued to increase costs to retailers while capitalizing on their monopolization of search traffic.

Google knows that with its position as the starting point — with Google.com, Google Apps and Android — it has to become a part of the transaction to prevail in the long term. With users in mobile demanding fewer ads and more utility (demanding experiences that look and feel a lot more like what has prevailed in China), Google has every reason in the world to look down and to look east — to become a part of the transaction — to take its piece.  

A collision course for Google and the retailers it relies upon for revenue was on the horizon. Search activity per user was declining in mobile and user acquisition costs were growing quarter over quarter. Businesses are repeatedly failing to compete with Amazon, and unless Google could create an economically viable growth model for retailers, no one would stand a chance against the commerce juggernaut — not the retailers nor Google itself. 

As I’ve believed for a long time, becoming a part of the transaction is the most favorable business model for all parties; sources of traffic make money when retailers sell things, and, most importantly, this only happens when users find the things they want.  

Shopping Actions is Google’s first ambitious step to satisfy all three parties — businesses and business models all over the world will feel this impact.  

Good work, Sundar.

Mobile – TechCrunch

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

iPhone growth becoming less predictable, analyst says, as Apple relies increasingly on services revenue

UBS has shared a new analyst note today describing some of the challenges and opportunities Apple faces as the iPhone hits maturity. In addition to a greater dependency on services for revenue, UBS believes the predictability of Apple’s quarterly performance is noticeably decreasing.

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Big companies were increasingly obsessed with co-working spaces in 2017


Everyone is aware of the stuffiness in corporate office spaces where cubicles separate you from others, sometimes the person you need to talk to is on another floor, and your supervisor or manager is positioned behind a closed door. Well, given the proliferation of the open office space seen in coworking spaces and startups, 2017 was the year that large media conglomerates and newly crowned tech giants started emulating several aspects of the startup MO. From integrating the open office layout into their own buildings to implementing happy hours and other cultural shifts, corporations are trying different workplace models. Are…

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It’s Getting Difficult, and Increasingly Controversial, to Authenticate “Real Humans”

Jungwoo Ryoo, Pennsylvania State University

Proving identity is a routine part of modern daily life. Many people must show a driver’s license to buy alcohol at a store, flash an ID card to security guards at work, enter passwords and passcodes to retrieve email and other private information, and answer security validation questions when calling banks or credit card companies for customer service.

Authentication is also getting easier for people: Take the iPhone, for example. Unlocking the early versions required a multi-digit passcode. Then Apple introduced Touch ID, which would unlock the phone with a fingerprint reader. The latest version, just out, is the iPhone X, which can use its camera to perform facial recognition to authenticate a user.

As a software security researcher looking at authentication technologies for hand-held devices, I am fully aware that the technologies change, but the challenge remains the same: How can a digital system authenticate an analog human’s identity?

Three factors of identity

There are three main ways of proving an identity. One involves something you know – like a password or your mother’s maiden name. This method assumes the authorized user will have information no unauthorized user does. But that’s not always the case: For 145.5 million Americans affected by the Equifax security breach revealed in September 2017, reams of previously private information may now be known to criminals.

A second method of authentication is with something you have – such as a key to your home’s front door or a smart card to swipe at work. This assumes a limited number of people – possibly as few as one, but it could be a small group of users, like a family or co-workers – are allowed to enter a physical space or use a digital service.

A third way is by authenticating the individual human being – who you are – with some aspect of your biology. There are various type of these biometrics, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scanning and voiceprints. This strategy, of course, assumes that the bodily feature is unique to the particular individual – and, crucially, that the digital system involved can tell the difference between people.

Using two or more methods together can improve security and is called two-factor, or multi-factor, authentication.

Image credit: Luke James Ritchie/Shutterstock.com

The consequences of digital authentication

This increasing dependence on digital authentication may actually result in less security. While cameras, sensors and other devices can make authentication easier for people to accomplish, they carry their own weaknesses.

When a system seeks to authenticate an individual, it must compare the information the person is presenting – what they know, what they have or who they are – against a previously stored database of authorized users. As the Equifax security breach makes clear, those databases are themselves vulnerable to attack. Information stolen from there could be used somewhere else – for instance, to identify which bank a particular person uses and answer security questions when calling to transfer money. Or the database itself could be corrupted, altering information so an attacker would be able to fake his way into a physical space or system.

Another potential security threat inherent in biometrics in particular is that criminals don’t need to guess a password, or force someone to reveal it: The simple presence of the victim – even at gunpoint – can supply the fingerprint or face to authenticate and unlock a system.

Future complications

As authentication becomes more complicated, using multiple factors and secure communications between sensors and databases, users become less willing to jump through all the hoops. So security managers try to make the process easier for them without weakening the protections. This commonly happens on websites that urge users to log in using their Facebook or Google accounts; those sites rely on the advanced security of the tech giants rather than creating their own authentication systems.

In one futuristic scenario, authentication could occur without a user even noticing: When you walk into a store, facial recognition could identify and authenticate you. Then, at checkout, you’d need only to scan your purchases and leave – the store will automatically charge the credit card of your choice. This isn’t science fiction: Amazon has patented a system for doing exactly this in its Amazon Go cashier-less convenience stores.

This is possible in part because of the increasingly common practice of computer systems authenticating each other – so the store’s system would recognize you, connect to the credit card company and authorize your purchase all on its own.

The ConversationIt may be more convenient, and even more secure, than a magnetic strip on a plastic card in your wallet. But the potential dangers will require much higher security for private information, particularly biometric data. A real identity still comes down to flesh and blood.

Jungwoo Ryoo, Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at Altoona campus, Pennsylvania State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The post It’s Getting Difficult, and Increasingly Controversial, to Authenticate “Real Humans” appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Facebook’s open source React library is increasingly worrying devs


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Business leaders find IoT economics “increasingly compelling”, says Verizon

Business leaders find IoT economics “increasingly compelling”, says Verizon

When it comes to IoT and its role in digital transformation strategies, business leaders are sitting up and paying attention, says Verizon.

Almost three quarters (73 percent) of those surveyed on behalf of the US telco for its The State of the IoT Market: 2017 report said they are researching or currently deploying IoT.

The manufacturing, transportation and utilities are leading the charge, making up the largest percentage of investments, while insurance and consumers represent the fastest areas of spending growth. A collective $ 2 trillion is expected to have been spent on IoT by the end of this year.

There are now 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ in use, Verizon reckons, up 31 percent from 2016.

Read more: Survey shows IIoT has “crossed the chasm”, claims Zebra

Setting an example

The report showcases a number of companies where IoT is already delivering business benefit, underpinned by Verizon’s connectivity services. These include:

  • Hensel Phelps: The Greeley, Colorado-based construction company is using drones for building inspections, gathering data for architects and surveying.
  • Columbus Yellow Cab: The Columbus, Ohio-based taxi firm is using Verizon Share solutions to automate and streamline cab reservation and payment processes for its full fleet of cabs and drivers across the state.
  • Aegerion Pharmaceuticals: A subsidiary of Vancouver-based Novelion Therapeutics, Aegerion is using IoT-enabled track and trace technology to thwart counterfeiting and meet the requirements of the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA).
  • TruGreen: The Memphis, Tennessee lawn care provider is connecting sensors in lawns so that technicians can determine how much water, fertilizer or pesticide is necessary, enabling fewer in-person visits to customer sites.

Read more: Six out of ten IoT projects fail at trial stage, says survey

Driving value

“Over the past year, industry innovators in energy, healthcare, construction, government, agtech and beyond have not only piloted, but in many cases, deployed IoT technology to improve business efficiencies, track and manage assets to drive value to the bottom line,” said Mark Bartolomeo, vice president of IoT connected solutions at Verizon.  

“In 2017, advancements in technology and standards, coupled with changing consumer behaviors and cost reductions, have made IoT enterprise-grade, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg in driving economic value across the board.”

Read more: IoT projects driving IT budget decisions, 451 Research finds

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IoT economics ‘increasingly compelling’, argues Verizon in new report

A new market research report titled “State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017” published by Verizon, states that IoT is at the core of digital transformation in 2017, 73% of executives either researching or currently deploying the technology.

There are 8.4 billion connected devices in use today, up 31% from 2016, the study adds.

The report suggests that the economics of IoT are increasingly compelling and the B2B space will benefit first, generating nearly 70% of potential value enabled by IoT. It highlights four key concerns that stand out for over 50% of business executives when exploring IoT, they are: standards, security, interoperability and cost. It is due to these qualms, along with apprehension around scalability and simplicity, businesses are reluctant from fully deploying IoT, with many still in proof-of-concept or pilot phase.

The report also highlights issues such as simplicity and integration, cost, and security, on how businesses should be thinking about IoT moving forward and addresses many of the concerns expressed by executives surveyed.

IoT platforms, such as Verizon’s ThingSpace, will become even more seamless and streamline the deployment of applications, giving developers simplified access to new tools and resources for IoT use cases, the report noted. New CAT-M1 technology and chipsets will reduce costs of connectivity and enable more widespread adoption by businesses large and small, while securely collecting, analysing and integrating data will continue to be at the forefront, with solutions like Verizon’s Security Credentialing, (based on a standard adopted by the GSMA) and software-defined perimeter services, which help protect at the platform, network and device level.

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How IoT and digital transformation initiatives are increasingly key for the enterprise

A new report from mobile satellite comms provider Inmarsat gives an optimistic outlook on the state of enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives, arguing it has become the number one priority for more than nine in 10 organisations polled.

The report, put together by Vanson Bourne and which surveyed 500 senior respondents from organisations with more than 1,000 employees, found that almost all (97%) are at least set to experience significant benefits through the deployment of IoT technologies.

Specific industries examined in the report included agritech, energy production, transportation, and mining – and in these verticals, improved service delivery capabilities, better health and safety procedures, and greater workforce productivity were identified as the top three IoT benefits. Machine learning, cited by 38% of respondents, was seen as key for delivering effective digital transformation, alongside robotics (35%) and 3D printing (31%).

Yet the research was not entirely positive. Almost half (47%) of respondents said their organisation will need to rethink its approach to data security, while 45% cited lack of skills as a challenge and 29% agreed with the statement that connectivity problems ‘threaten to derail their IoT deployments before they have even begun.’

“The development and deployment of IoT is a new phenomenon spreading over every industry in every part of the world, and this research has confirmed that IoT is the leading technology in digital transformation, taking a steady lead over other forms of innovation,” said Paul Gudonis, president of Inmarsat Enterprise.

“IoT acts as the eyes and ears of organisations and its value comes from how the data it collects is used to improve effectiveness across an organisation,” he added. “As such, it is unsurprising that so many organisations are deploying IoT to propel their digital transformation initiatives.”

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IoT-based monitoring increasingly offers alternative to prison, says report

Modern GPS technologies are taking the place of older, radio frequency (RF) systems when it comes to the ‘tagging’ of offenders – and that, in turn, could lead to wider use of electronic monitoring programmes, rather than prison sentences, for some. 

According to a report released last week by research company Berg Insight, electronic monitoring (EM) programmes are currently under-used by justice systems in Europe and North America. The number of participants in EM programmes on a daily basis in these regions amounted to just 180,000 in 2016.

“Even though EM has been in use for more than a decade in most countries, it remains relatively rare in the context of European and North American corrections systems,” says the Berg Insight report.

Read more: Lone worker protection services market to reach €260 million by 2021, says report

Prison overcrowding

By way of comparison, the US prison population in the US alone was over 2.2 million in 2013, according to statistics from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, and in addition, more than 4.7 million were on probation or parole. In the UK, which was recently declared by a Council of Europe study to have the highest prison population in the EU, around 95,629 people were behind bars in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as of September 2015.

Proponents of EM say that these programmes increase offender accountability, reduce recidivism rates and enhance public safety, by providing an additional tool to traditional methods of community supervision.

They also come at a much cheaper cost to governments than incarceration – a point very much in their favour when it comes to offenders who are deemed to pose a relatively low risk to the public and against a general backdrop of prison overcrowding.

Berg Insight is of the opinion that the market for EM equipment and services is in a ‘growth phase’ and one that is set to continue. The market value for EM in Europe, including equipment, software and outsourced services, was €161 million in 2016 and is expected to reach €305 million by 2021. The North American market for EM, meanwhile, is forecast to grow from $ 535 million in 2016 to $ 851 million in 2021.

“Increased use of EM will be mainly driven by further adoption in pre-trial and parole supervision as well as sex offender legislation,” says the report.

Read more: Catapult Sports on wearables in sport, improving player safety

Use of GPS

The use of GPS technology has grown rapidly on the North American market in recent years, say Berg Insight’s analysts: GPS-based devices now account for more than 70 percent of active units used for EM. In Europe, however, the most common forms of EM equipment are still RF [radio frequency] systems used in home detention curfew schemes. That said, the use of GPS is gaining ground in jurisdictions throughout Europe, they add.

GPS data combined with clever analytics open the door to more detailed control that goes beyond the ‘sledgehammer’ approach of simple home detention. In the UK, for example, the Ministry of Justice is trialling GPS tags, fixed to the offender’s ankle and used to enforce exclusion zones such as a particular address, a football ground, or locations such as train stations, airports or city centres. A monitoring centre, staffed 24 hours a day, records the movements of tagged offenders and responds to alerts when rules are breached.

Said Berg Insight analyst Fredrik Stalbrand: “The declining cost of hardware components and cellular connectivity has driven the adoption of GPS-based systems on the North American market in recent years.”

Software, he adds, is likely to play an increasingly important role in determining the winners in this market. “Vendors are increasingly focusing on analytics software development to offer support tools for officers [who] are faced with a growing amount of location data that is generated by the expanding installed base of GPS-based systems.”

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