Top 10 Must-Read Articles on Internet of Things – IoT 2016

1. What are the five main markets for IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is accelerating at an impressive speed, forecasters predict 25 billion devices will be online by 2020, creating over $300 billion in opportunities for companies involved1.

Even with this considerable growth coming in the next five years, most enterprise folks still don’t understand or aren’t invested in the IoT revolution. Management consulting firm Bain & Company believe that’s due to misrepresentation on the definition of IoT. [Continue reading..]

2. What’s trending in the IoT space

Our team has been active as investors in the Internet of Things and hardware space over the past two years. We have read pitches from hundreds of companies, met with dozens, read hundreds of research reports and spoken with various experts. We have invested in six IoT/hardware companies from our global seed fund and seven from our startup accelerator.

With this accumulated knowledge, we decided to create an easy to read overview for others to get up to speed on this trending space of IoT. Here is our full report; the following is a summary of what we learned. [Continue reading..]

3. Here’s how the Internet of Things will explode by 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been labeled as “the next Industrial Revolution” because of the way it will change the way people live, work, entertain, and travel, as well as how governments and businesses interact with the world.

In fact, the revolution is already starting.

That brand new car that comes preloaded with a bunch of apps? Internet of Things. Those smart home devices that let you control the thermostat and play music with a few words? Internet of Things. That fitness tracker on your wrist that lets you tell your friends and family how your exercise is going? You get the point.

But this is just the beginning. [Continue reading..]

4. Eight Data And Analytics Capabilities You’ll Need For The IoT

There is widespread agreement that the Internet of Things will be a transformative factor in the business use of information. The prospect of billions of connected devices promises to transform home activities, transportation, industrial operations, and many other aspects of our lives.

The bad news about the IoT is that we have a lot of work to do before we are ready for it. We’ve got to up our games considerably with regard to data management and analytics if we’re going to capture, store, access and analyze all the IoT data that will be flowing around the Internet. The good news (in addition to its potential) is that most organizations have a few years to get better at these capabilities before the real onslaught hits. The sensor devices, IoT data standards, and data management platforms are still in their relatively early stages, and no customer, business partner, or CEO could reasonably expect that you could tame all that IoT data today. [Continue reading..]

5. How does the IoT Evolve? In Fits and Starts

It has been quite a week for IoT in the news. The shutting down of Revolv by Nest became a major news item, covered by everyone from Fortune, CNET, Computerworld, NBC, and Yahoo just to name a few.

As usual, Stacy Higginbotham did a nice job in writing about what could have been done instead to make this all easier.

As background – Revolv was a small start-up in Boulder, Colorado. I know a lot about the team there, and like them a lot, so I admit to some bias up front. They built a smart home hub with seven radios to speak to 10 of the most popular smart home protocols. [Continue reading..]

6. What’s the Connection Between IoT and DevOps?

DevOps is the automation of Agile, using tools and processes that remove the traditional latency from application development. DevOps transformations are systemic to both enterprises and ISVs that I work with these days. Everyone now knows that it’s critical to make the best use of cloud computing, big data, and, now, the Internet of Things (IoT). [Continue reading..]

7. Will IoT Lock Down Your House Or Open The Door To Hackers?

Imagine a time when the transfer of data is fast and seamless, or a world where you control your devices without moving a finger. IoT, or the Internet of Things, looks to push that envelope of convenience and efficiency. IoT devices are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners seeking to make their homes automated and their day-to-day tasks easier. [Continue reading..]

8. New Business Drives Hitachi’s Internet of Things Strategy

We can now count Hitachi among the list of companies that has formed a division to specifically target the Internet of Things (IoT). This is a move that many automation suppliers are finding necessary as they try to better manage the technologies and expertise needed to capture this important market. [Continue reading..]

9. How Internet of Things Customer Data Will Forever Change Marketers’ Jobs

When a mobile app asks you to share personal data with a company, what do you do?
It probably depends on what you expect to get in return. That’s the new data economy consumers and brands are dealing with today: Companies want good user data, and users want good products and experiences. [Continue reading..]

10. How Silicon Valley is botching IoT

The “Internet of things” has been a Silicon Valley buzzword for the last few years, so it’s ironic that we seem to read almost as much tech news coverage about Internet of things hacking. In recent months, for example, VentureBeat has reported that the FBI is warning car makers and owners about vehicle hacking risks, and that IoT devices may be exploited as Trojan horses. And just a few days ago, we heard about a glitch at smart doorbell company Ring that exposed videos of users’ homes to other users. [Continue reading..]

The Many Benefits From A Talent Pipeline – Idexcel Recruiting & Hiring Roundup

1. The Many Benefits From A Talent Pipeline – And How It Improves Quality Of Hire

If you’re looking for a powerful strategic recruiting approach that has powerful long-term impacts, you really only have two choices: employer branding, and a “recruiting talent pipeline.” While almost every major corporation is investing heavily in building their employer brand, it’s quite rare for one to actually have a high-performing external recruiting talent pipeline. A recruiting talent pipeline approach is known by a variety of names, including a “recruiting prospect inventory,” a “recruiting pool,” or a recruiting network. It is designed to give you a continuous supply of high-quality and interested external recruiting prospects to choose from. It is strategic because it has a long-term talent-supply focus, which means that critical jobs can be filled faster and with higher quality and more interested prospects. [Continue reading…]

2. Why “Employee Engagement” Is The Successories Poster of HR

Employee engagement is one of those perpetual trending topics in HR and recruiting, probably because for years now, pundits and practitioners alike still haven’t figured out how to confront what seems to be a fairly endemic case of malaise and apathy perpetually plaguing our workforce.

I’m not sure why it is that talent leaders and recruiting pros can’t to have a near obsessive fixation on what’s inherently an amorphous and highly ambiguous concept, but I think the primary driver of our engagement fetish is that it seems to be a convenient, categorical catch-all that’s more or less seen as the whipping boy for all of the manifold problems plaguing the HR and recruiting profession today. [Continue reading…]

3. How to Bring Out Talent in Your Team

If you manage other people, the first thing you need to understand is that your success depends on their success. The more you empower your employees, the more they will grow and thrive. Here’s how to get started…

Give employees generous boundaries. Contrary to conventional wisdom, boundaries don’t restrict team members; they empower them. Define the boundaries within which an employee can make his or her own decisions. In doing so, you give them freedom to act. [Continue reading…]

4. 10 Ways Employee Surveys Help Attract and Retain Talent

The war for talent rages on. A 2015 ICIMS study found that 86 percent of the 107 HR professionals surveyed expect hiring to increase or stay the same. However, employers are looking for less conventional means of connecting with job seekers.

Social recruiting remains a popular choice as many companies turn to social media to find strong talent. The Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report found 47 percent of the 3,894 hiring managers surveyed say social media is the most effective employer branding tool, offering multiple outlets that provide unique features that can help with recruiting. [Continue reading…]

5. Use Your Employee Referral Program in Social Recruiting

A strong workplace culture increases business performance by engaging everyone in a united goal, values and vision. It is also essential for helping to attract and retain talent; a key element to achieving business growth. The culture of your workplace has a significant impact on your employer brand and influences the perception of working for you. It is also crucial for staff retention, as employees will look to escape a toxic culture. Furthermore, a good understanding of your current culture will enable you to hire with cultural fit in mind, helping you to find those who will thrive in your organisation and prevent costly recruitment mistakes. So how can you get an accurate picture of your workplace culture, and identify any potential areas for improvement?
[Continue reading…]

Benefits of Video in Marketing

Videos are a great communication tool that convey and transmit large amounts of information in a short period of time. Video files have been extensively used in the marketing field to create brand awareness and build a strong customer base. Including video promotion to the marketing mix can help business to rapidly expand, increase profitability and promote products, services and brand.

These days, people would like to make informed decisions, and are hungry for more accurate and fast information. Rather than reading long texts, they prefer to watch a video that spans few minutes and is more effective in communicating the key points to the target audience in a short time. As per Tubular Labs software which tracks 1.5B videos across more than 30 platforms, in one year, 654.7 million videos were uploaded by 66.7 million users and these videos have more than 2.8 trillion views, which is approximately 4390 views per video. This was 2015, and future of video in marketing definitely seems very promising. YouTube gets four billion views each day, Google (which owns YouTube) is the largest search engine, and 70% of the top 100 search listing are video results. Every minute, more than 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter, and video sharing has become a big part of social media to get the message out. 400 hours of video are being uploaded on YouTube every day, and in November 2015, Facebook had generated eight billion video views per day.

These staggering numbers are an indication that there is an exponential rise in the use of video content in the marketing programs. The marketing videos are placed on the website, or anywhere on the internet and are optimized to rank on the top listings in the search engine result pages. This gets instant exposure and visibility to the millions of potential clients or buyers without spending a fortune. If the video is interesting and catchy, it can gain millions of views within a few days. With the latest software and editing tools, it has become much easier to create and edit informative and innovative content at an affordable price. Including video in the marketing emails increases the open rate, click-through rate and conversions.

Benefits of Video in Marketing
2015 witnessed the return of storytelling and video marketing becoming mainstream with renewed video strategies for enhanced customer engagement. However, many small businesses are still dealing with several issues such as viewability and finding ways to activate the video marketplace. The marketing video strategy is not well-defined, and taking the first step becomes challenging. However, video marketing is feasible and possible for all businesses. Apps such as Vine from Twitter that supports six-second clip have drastically increased business opportunities at a very low cost. To remove the uncertainty, here are few things that can be considered while building a video marketing strategy:

1. Budget and Resource Allocation – Every business struggles to strive in the competitive market, that too, with in the limited budget. However, creating a studio and hiring a dedicated video team may not necessarily cost a fortune. If the budget is restricted, start with a dedicated videographer as a resource who can create and edit all the footage and create at least one video each week. Shooting can be done in the real office with the HD-quality camera.
2. Story Description – Keep the focus on target audience and message to be conveyed. An introduction about the company and products is a good start, and then add a marketing angle to it. Graphics and content should be easy to read and eye-catching, and educate audience regarding valuable information about the product, else users will just skip and move on.
3. Content management – It is important to showcase the offerings and products, but ensure to put a human face such as customer success stories, happy employees, satisfied business partners etc. who can talk about positive aspects of the business.
4. Time matters – It may be very challenging to cover up all the business offerings in a short video, however, viewers usually have very short attention span. Initially, it is essential to keep the video marketing content short and crisp. Based on the viewership and demand, go for in-depth longer videos and build a comprehensive library.
5. Video placement – YouTube and Facebook are great platforms, however, YouTube can refer the viewer to unrelated or competitive content. In addition to the free channels, use secure and dedicated hub for videos on the homepage of your website to have better control and keep tab on the viewership.
6. Monitor – The success of marketing videos can be assessed by measuring performance, which includes much more than just the number of views. To know if the videos are working, check the drop-off rates, repeat views and duration of views. Monitor how the videos are being watched, and are they able to engage the viewers. Use these statistics to narrow down the viewers that can be turned into business leads. Create more videos, embrace interactive features and utilize live streaming to have an explosive year.

Be creative not only in the video content, but in the entire campaign strategy. It is not necessary to have a huge budget to create interesting and creative videos and include them in your social, content, email and digital marketing campaigns. The staggering numbers of video usage in marketing can’t be ignored, and businesses must explore all the opportunities to tap this resource to increase their profitability and market share. Video advertising should be an integral part of the marketing strategy and budget.

Benefits of Cloud Computing – Idexcel Cloud Computing Roundup

1. Benefits of Cloud Computing

Based on Aberdeen Group’s Computer Intelligence Dataset, there are more than 1.6 billion permutations to choose from when it comes to cloud computing solutions.

So what, on the face of it, appears to be pretty simple is actually both complex and dynamic regardless of whether you’re in the market for networking, storage, servers, telephony, virtualisation or applications.

By making the right choices for your cloud computing technology you stand to benefit from improvements in profitability, improved time to decision, improvements in complete and on-time delivery and reduction in downtime. Read more…

2. The dirty dozen: 12 cloud security threats

Enterprises are no longer sitting on their hands, wondering if they should risk migrating applications and data to the cloud. They’re doing it — but security remains a serious concern.

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The first step in minimizing risk in the cloud is to identify the top security threats. Read more…

3. IoT revenues up 15%; cloud computing a big driver

A new report shows healthy revenues for 21 benchmarked Internet of Things (IoT) companies in the last quarter of 2015, with revenue growing by almost 15% to levels approaching $7 billion. Cloud computing and IT infrastructure are especially potent drivers of IoT revenues, as vendors help companies cope with ever increasing rivers of data. Read more…

4. Why banks are finally cashing in on the public cloud

The financial services industry has avoided entrusting its data to public cloud vendors, even as Amazon Web Services quietly acquired thousands of business users. Banks and insurance firms feared rigorous regulatory scrutiny should their data become compromised in a breach at one of their cloud vendors. Read more…

5. Jay Greene on Cloud Computing May Be Hampering Tech Spending

The transition to cloud computing – at the current snail pace doesn’t warrant ‘transformation’ rhetoric – may be getting a goose because of tightening finances in the corporate world. A time when the purported risks of cloud computing are moderated by companies hungry for cost-cutting. And that may be part of the slow-down in tech spending right now. Read more…

Big Data and Data Visualization

In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise of unstructured data from different sources such as social media, videos and photos, and businesses are looking for relationships between data which can be viewed from multiple perspectives. This evolution of the way the data is being produced, processed and analysed is bringing drastic changes to the world around us.

Big data is a term describing large volumes of structured and unstructured data that can be analysed to gain business insights. According to Gartner, big data is a high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information asset that demands cost-effective innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making. In simpler terms, big data is lots of data produced rapidly in many different forms. This rapidly growing data could be related to online videos, customer transactional histories, social media interactions, traffic logs, cell phones, flip computers, tablets, cloud computing, Internet of Things, sensors etc., and global traffic is expected to reach more than 100 trillion gigabytes by 2025. Here is a hint what happens approximately in a minute on the internet, and the generated data continues to grow exponentially:
internet-one-minute-infographic

This huge volume of data needs to be parsed to discover useful threads that can uncover endless opportunities, and can be teamed with innovative ideas to decrease costs, improve overall customer satisfaction, increase revenue, and provide customer tailored offerings. The data requires quick analysis and information must be displayed in a meaningful way. It can be analysed for time reductions, cost reductions, smart decision making, optimizing offerings or new product development.

Big Data focuses on finding hidden trends, threads or patterns that might not be immediately or easily visible. The interpretations bring out insights that would otherwise be impossible to observe using traditional methods. This requires latest technologies and skill set to analyse the flow of information and draw results and conclusions. High powered analytics enable businesses to determine root causes of issues, defects and failures in real time, recalculate complete risk portfolios in just minutes, detect fraud, and so on. NASA, U.S.Government, and organisations like Wal-Mart and Amazon are using Big Data to recognize the possibilities that can help them capitalize the gains.

However, this huge volume of rapidly generating big data cannot be handled using traditional reporting process. To reap maximum benefits, data analytics needs to be done in real time instead of batch processing which fails to capture big data’s immediacy. Another challenge in handling big data is the increased availability of mobile devices. This requires decentralization of reports and adoption of cost-effective, faster and more democratized business intelligence model to improve collaboration and speed insights.

Data Visualization Tools

To make sense of the boring raw data and observe interesting patterns, organisations use visualization tools that help them visualize all their data in minutes. Data Visualization places data in the visual context such as trends, patterns and correlations, which helps organisations understand the significance of the data which may go undetected if this data was just text-based. This beneficial visual matter can help companies eliminate loss making products and increase revenue by minimizing waste. Data visualization can help identify areas that require attention or improvement, help understand product placement, clarify factors influencing customer behaviour and can predict sales volume.

Some of these tools are for developers and require coding, while others contain data visualization software products that do not require coding. Here are some of the commonly used data visualization tools:

1. D3.js (Data Driven Documents) uses CSS, HTML and SVG to render diagrams and charts. The tool is open-source, looks good, is packed with helpful features and is interactivity rich.
2. FusionCharts has an exhaustive collection of maps (965) and charts (90) that work across all platforms and devices, and supports browsers starting from IE6. It supports XML and JSON data formats, and can export charts in JPEG, PNG and PDF. For inspiration, there is a good collection of live demos and business dashboards. Although, the tool is slightly highly priced, it has beautiful interactions and is highly customizable.
3. Chart.js is an open source library that supports bar, line, polar, pie, radar and doughnut chart types. The tool is good for smaller hobby projects.
4. Highcharts offers good range of maps and charts right out of the box. It also offers a different feature rich package called Highstock for stock charts. The tool is free for personal and non-commercial use, and users can export charts in JPG, PNG, PDF and SVG formats.
5. Google Charts can render charts in SVG/HTML5 . It offers cross-browser compatibility and cross-platform portability to Android and iPhones.
6. Datawrapper is commonly used by the non-developers to make interactive charts. The tool is easy to use and can generate effective graphics.
7. Tableau Public is one of the most commonly used visualization tool as it supports variety of maps, graphs, charts and other graphics. The tool is free and can be easily embedded in any webpage.

Raw, Timeline JS, Infogram, plotly, and ChartBlocks are some of the additional data visualization tools. Excel, CVS/JSON, GooGle Chart API, Flot, Raphael, and D3 are some of the entry level tools which are good to quickly explore data or create visualization for internal use.

On the other end of spectrum, there are professional data visualization Pro tools that have expensive subscriptions. There are few free alternatives as well with strong communities and support. Some of these tools include R, Weka, and Gephi.

These data based visualization tools are focussed on the front end of the big data that enable businesses to explore the information and gain deeper understanding by interacting directly with the data. On the other hand, Apache Hadoop is an open source software associated with Big Data to support the back-end concerns such as processing and storage. There are several variants of Hadoop such as MapR, Hortonworks, Cloudera and Amazon. Google BigQuery is a cloud-based service.

Businesses seek most cost-effective ways to increase profitability by managing volume, velocity and variety of the data and turning that data into valuable information to better understand business, customers and marketplace. However, volume, velocity and variety are no longer sufficient to describe the challenges of big data, hence more terms such as variability, veracity, value and visualization have been added that broaden the realm of the big data scope. Big Data is exploding with innovative approach and forward thinking, and organisations can exploit this opportunity to gain market advantage and increase profitability.