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Asia/Pacific Unified Communications as a Service Market Prospers, Driven by Imminent Cost Benefits, Flexibility and Agility of Technology: IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion  300x99 Asia/Pacific Unified Communications as a Service Market Prospers, Driven by Imminent Cost Benefits, Flexibility and Agility of Technology: IDC

IDC expects the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market to surge to US$659 million in 2018, at a five-year CAGR of 89% as UCaaS Service Providers (SP) intensify their sales and marketing campaign around this service.

The market researcher believes Australia will be the largest market, followed by PRC, India and Korea respectively.

There has been an enormous interest from a wide range of businesses in adopting UCaaS because of the imminent cost benefits, flexibility and agility that the technology provides.

In fact, UCaaS has become a mainstream solution in APeJ with many global service providers (GSP) and regional service providers (RSP), offering full-fledged UCaaS as part of their core collaboration portfolio. Beside the big telco SPs, which controls a significant portion of the market, there are also large system integrators (SI), IT consulting firms and distributors offering UCaaS directly to businesses.

The growing attraction of an agile and opex-friendly collaboration tool model to support business expansion will continue to be compelling to many organizations.

On the other hand, many of the factors holding back adoption such as security, bandwidth demands, reliability, regulation compliance and consistency will be partially solved as the technology matures, SLAs develops, bandwidth cost drops, Internet speed increases and more local data centers start to offer UCaaS, which will help to enhance user experience.

Hence IDC believes that there will be very strong interest in UCaaS solutions among mid-large enterprises, as well as small businesses. In particular, IDC has observed strong adoption interest in markets such as in Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.

Both enterprise customers and IT providers are rapidly looking to UCaaS as a way to transform their business and become more efficient, flexible and agile, explains Ryan Tay, senior research manager for Telecoms and Unified Communications, IDC Asia/Pacific.

“UCaaS can offer both providers and customers very different choices about resource dedication, tenancy, cost and control over their computing assets, giving them much greater confidence about deploying collaborative applications on the cloud. The result is a prospering APeJ market for UCaaS, growing to approximately US$659 million by 2018, at five-year CAGR of 89%”, says Tay.

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Infographic: Is Your IT Infrastructure Keeping Up?

IDG News Service

True Converged infrastructure can cut datacenter costs in half. It’s just one of the compelling reasons IT organizations are adopting converged infrastructures at a rapid pace. Discover many other quantifiable benefits in this new Infographic.

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is your IT infrastructure keeping up copy Infographic: Is Your IT Infrastructure Keeping Up?

Advertisers Target Wearable Gadgets as Next Frontier

Bloomberg

Even before wearable technology gains widespread popularity, advertising companies are devising ways to deliver marketing messages directly to people who don watches, glasses and headgear that double as computers.

Case in point: InMobi Pte, a maker of mobile-ad tools, has a team of developers creating virtual mock-ups of ads on smartwatches, head-mounted displays and other gadgets to get a feel for how they can serve as a platform for marketers. The engineers, surrounded by powerful computers with large monitors at the company’s offices in San Francisco and Bangalore, India, are trying to get a head start in the nascent market, which has captured the attention of Google Inc. (GOOG) andApple Inc. (AAPL)

“Any device with a screen allows for an interesting opportunity,” said Atul Satija, vice president and head of revenue and operations at inMobi.

Millennial Media Inc. (MM) and Kiip Inc. have joined the search for viable wearable-ad technology, underscoring the appeal of the devices as marketing platforms. Shipments of wearables are projected to reach almost 112 million units in 2018, up from less than 20 million this year, according to IDC. While that’s still a tiny fraction of the more than 1 billion smartphones that will be sold in 2014, it’s enough momentum to induce ad companies to move products into development and out of the lab.

A hit product would not only spur sales for Apple, Google, Samsung Electronics Co. and other companies that drove the smartphone revolution, it will also open up new ways to make money from apps, reach consumers and gather data.

Building Blocks

Given the limited display size of the devices, the ads will be smaller than those on smartphones — and could briefly take over small screens to show promotions for coupons, shoes or health insurance.

“Obviously, advertisers are already experimenting,” Bryan Yeager, an analyst at EMarketer Inc., said. “If we continue to see that positive growth and upward trajectory, then I think that advertising will follow.”

Wearables also promise troves of unique data in areas related to health, activities and location, giving marketers new ways to put ads in front of consumers. For example, the wearable-ad experiments could involve sending a user an electronic coupon for cookies when they’re in the snack aisle of a grocery store. Or marketers might try to sell consumers a new pair of running shoes after collecting jogging data from a wearable gadget.

Devices such as computerized eyewear could even detect what a user is looking at when they’re shopping, said Julie Ask, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

“Knowing where I am is interesting,” Ask said. “Knowing what I’m looking at or studying for 3 to 4 minutes is more interesting.”

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From Google to Amazon: EU goes to war against power of US digital giants

The Guardian

Within the salons of the Elysée Palace, along the corridors of the European parliament and under the glass dome of the Reichstag, Old Europe is preparing for a new war. This is not a battle over religion or politics, over land or natural resources. The raw material that Paris, Brussels and Berlin are mobilising to defend is the digital environment of Europe’s inhabitants; their enemies are the Silicon Valley corporations that seek to dominate it.

Coal, gas and oil powered the industrial revolution, but in the digital era, data is replacing fossil fuels as the most valuable resource on Earth, and the ability to collect and interrogate it has created organisations with a power that can at times seem beyond the control of nation states. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google represent, in the words of Germany’s economy minister Sigmar Gabriel, “brutal information capitalism”, and Europe must act now to protect itself.

“Either we defend our freedom and change our policies, or we become digitally hypnotised subjects of a digital rulership,” Gabriel warned in apassionate call to action published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine. “It is the future of democracy in the digital age, and nothing less, that is at stake here, and with it, the freedom, emancipation, participation and self-determination of 500 million people in Europe.”

In France, economy minister Arnaud Montebourg believes Europe risks becoming a “digital colony of the global internet giants”, and ministers have called for Google to contribute to the cost of upgrading the country’s broadband infrastructure. Gabriel says Germany’s cartel office is currently examining whether Google should be regulated as a utility, like a telecoms supplier – the group has 91.2% market share of search in Germany.

He believes that, as a last resort, there may be a case for “unbundling” Google, separating its search arm from mobile, or YouTube, or services such as email.

As a first step, he is in favour of regulation that allows competitors to use the Google platform fairly. The pushback against Amazon has also begun: as of last year, the online retailer can no longer stop independent sellers on its German website from offering their own goods cheaper elsewhere, including on their own websites.

European regulators have also begun to take action. In May, the European court upheld a plea by a Spaniard, Mario Costeja González, who wanted pages hidden from any Google search for his name in the EU. Judges decided the past transgressions of private individuals have a right to be “forgotten”. The threats that ruling poses to freedom of the press are now being debated, but it was a watershed moment, representing Europe’s first major regulatory strike against the search and software colossus.

On 11 June, the European commission‘s competition regulator, Joaquín Almunia, wrote to colleagues to warn that his investigation into Google’s search rankings could be reopened, after new complainants had stepped forward. On the same day, he announced a potentially wide-ranging inquiry into tax avoidance, starting with a focus on three companies: Apple and its international headquarters in Ireland, and Starbucks and its head office in the Netherlands (the third company being carmaker Fiat). On Thursday, a leak from Brussels suggested Amazon, which operates through a European HQ in Luxembourg, was also being dragged into the net.

“In the current context of tight public budgets, it is particularly important that large multinationals pay their fair share of taxes,” Almunia said. His intervention was widely interpreted as a politically motivated act. It almost certainly was.

There are those who believe that Jean-Claude Juncker, the former Luxembourg prime minister who has just been elected as the next president of the European commission – despite vocal opposition from David Cameron – is out to get Google.

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Why Facebook’s user experiment is bad news for businesses

CITEworld

The big data problem isn’t just about handling petabytes of information, or asking the right question, or avoiding false correlations (like understanding that just because more people drown at the same time as more ice cream is eaten, banning ice cream won’t reduce drownings).

It’s also about handling data responsibly. And so far, we’re not doing as well with that as we could be.

First Target worked out how to tell if you’re pregnant before your family does and decided to disguise its creepy marketing by mixing in irrelevant coupons with the baby offers. Then Facebook did research to find out if good news makes you depressed by showing some people more bad news and discovered that no, we’re generous enough to respond to positive posts with more positivity.

But if companies keep using the information about us in creepy ways instead of responsible ones, maybe we’ll stop being generous enough to share it. And that could mean we lose out on more efficient transport, cleaner cities and cheaper power, detecting dangerous drug interactions and the onset of depression — and hundreds of other advances we can get by applying machine learning to big data.

It’s time for a big data code of conduct.

Facebook’s dubious research is problematic for lots of reasons. For one thing, Facebook’s policy on what it would do with your data didn’t mention research until four months after it conducted the experiment. Facebook’s response was essentially to say that “everyone does it” and “we don’t have to call it research if it’s about making the service better” and other weasel-worded corporate comments. And the researcher’s apology was more about having caused anxiety by explaining the research badly than about having manipulated what appeared in timelines, because Facebook is manipulating what you see in your timeline all the time. Of course, that’s usually to make things better, not to see what your Pavlovian reaction to positive or negative updates is. The fact that Facebook can’t see that one is optimizing information and the other is treating users as lab rats — and that the difference is important — says that Facebook needs a far better ethics policy on how it mines user data for research.

Plus, Facebook has enough data that it shouldn’t have needed to manipulate the timelines in the first place; if its sentiment analysis was good enough to tell the difference between positive and negative posts (which is doubtful given how basic it was and how poor sentiment analysis tools are at detecting sarcasm), it should have been able to find users who were already seeing more positive or more negative updates than most users and simply track how positive or negative their posts were afterwards. When you have a hypothesis, you experiment on your data, not your users.

That’s how Eric Horvitz at Microsoft Research has run experiments to detect whether you’re likely to get depression, whether two drugs are interacting badly, whether a cholera epidemic is about to happen, and whether people are getting used to cartel violence in Mexico.

Using public Twitter feeds and looking at language, how often people tweet and at what time of day and how that changes, Horvitz’s team was able to predict with 70% accuracy who was going to suffer depression (which might help people get treatment and reduce the suicide rate from depression). Not only did they use information people were already sharing, they asked permission to look at them.

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Microsoft, Apple, and Google battle for the mobile enterprise

CITEworld

The past three months have seen a whirlwind of announcements for enterprise mobility. MicrosoftApple, and Google all had their respective developer conferences. It’s never been clearer: All three are positioning themselves to battle for dominance of the mobile business market.

Although BlackBerry also squeezed in an announcement about its new partnership with Amazon that will bring the Amazon Appstore to BlackBerry 10 devices, the company is struggling for relevance as consumers continue to eschew the platform. While BlackBerry will continue to be a player in high-security markets, it’s unlikely to recapture a dominant position in the overall enterprise space now that end users have much choice and control over what devices they want to use at work.

What’s interesting is that Microsoft, Apple, and Google are all approaching the enterprise market in different ways. Each is playing to its strengths.

The incumbent

Apple has already managed to secure much of the enterprise mobility market. There are many factors that led to Apple’s dominance, but some key ones include Apple’s early introduction of enterprise security features in iOS, an ongoing expansion of those features, having a more mature platform on the market sooner than Android and Windows Phone, a closed ecosystem that resists malware, and the premium user experience that has been the hallmark of Apple for the last decade or more.

Apple has another big advantage: It’s always retained complete control of iOS as a platform. Apple has strict control over the hardware, OS, and app ecosystem that defines iOS. Microsoft and Google have both relied on third parties to create devices that run their platforms. Although both companies are, in their own ways, taking some steps to rein in the platform fragmentation that this has created, minimizing the impact of that fragmentation isn’t going to happen overnight.

Even if Google’s efforts with Android L succeed in tamping down security-related fragmentation, Apple may still have an edge here in terms of end user support. There have been just eight iPhone models ever made (likely to become ten this fall) and just seven iPads. That makes things much easier for helpdesk and other support professionals to troubleshoot than the wide swath of Android devices that BYOD users may bring into the office.

Windows tablets and phones may fare better than Google from a support perspective because many IT departments already support and troubleshoot Windows PCs and transferring those support skills onto mobile devices may be easier and more efficient.

Being the incumbent in the race, Apple also has the advantage of inertia — organizations that have managed to standardize around iOS are likely to see an advantage in staying the course. Part of that is because the institutional knowledge and solutions to secure and integrate iOS are already present, which means generally lower overhead in mandating or preferring iOS over other platforms.

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Impatient iPhone users switching to larger-screened Samsung Galaxy S5

The Guardian

Apple users are losing patience waiting for a larger-screened iPhone. New data showing that 26% of British buyers of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 in the three months to the end of May switched from the iPhone – compared to 12% the year before, according to Kantar ComTech’s Worldpanel.

Though the effect was not as marked across Europe, Kantar’s data still shows that 17% of Galaxy S5 buyers there had switched from the iPhone. In the US, the figure was just 8% – indicating, said Kantar, higher brand loyalty to Apple in its home country.

With larger-screened iPhones not expected before September, Apple may see more defections as Samsung presses its advantage. Samsung has begun cutting the price of the Galaxy S5, only two months into its launch.

But Samsung’s satisfaction in capturing switchers may be tempered by the fact that its Galaxy S5 was only the third best-selling phone in the UK – behind Apple’s iPhone 5S and 5C.

Update: The 5C was best-selling with 11.1% of all sales, the 5S next with 11%, said Kantar. The Galaxy S5 had 9%, and its year-old Galaxy S4 7.4%. The Moto G had 6% of all sales. Together those five handsets had 44.5% of all sales.

The month of May included the first full month of sales for Samsung’s new flagship phone, which has a 5.1in screen – substantially larger than the 3.5in screen of the iPhone 4 and 4S, and the 4in screen of the iPhone 5 and successors.

Think big

Apple’s need for a larger-screened phone was indicated as a perceived weakness by an internal sales presentation unveiled in its recent trial with Samsung in the US. That dated to April 2013 – since when the company has been working on designing the phones due for release this year.

A growing amount of claimed leaks from Apple’s supply chain, as well as new software functionality included in its forthcoming iOS 8 release,suggest that the iPhone maker will be releasing at least one and possibly two larger-screened iPhones in the autumn, when it usually releases new phone models.

Overall, Kantar’s data showed a surge in the share of sales for handsets running Google’s Android for the three months to the end of May 2014. In the US, its share of sales rose to 61.9%, the first time they have been above 60% since August 2012. Apple’s share of sales was 32.5%, its lowest since October 2011 when the iPhone 4S was launched.

In Germany, Android sales passed 80%, for the first time; iPhone sales were 12.1%, the smallest since September. Windows Phone sales fell, to 5.9% of sales.

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The great tech lull of 2014

CITEworld

One of the things that really struck me about Google I/O this year was how much of it felt like a retread of old ideas.

Android TV? That sounds like the resurrection of Google TV, which wasannounced at the 2010 show. Android Wear and Nest? Recall the connected-everywhere vision of Android @Home, the big deal of the 2011 show. Android “L” is just the next version of Android — it’s got a lot of important new design elements and promised enterprise security features, but it’s an incremental release of an already immensely successful product. Google’s new attention to providing cloud infrastructure to third-party developers, while useful, is simply following down the same path Amazon pioneered with AWS a few years back.

I had a similar sense watching Apple’s developers’ conference earlier this month. Our writer Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry drew a lot of flak for his criticism of WWDCand how he thought it reflected on Tim Cook’s leadership as operations guy rather than visionary. I have a lot more admiration for Cook — his reorganization of Apple to be more open and less controlling, and able to concentrate on multiple huge complicated projects at once, are remarkable changes that bode well for the company’s future.

But I understand what Gobry was getting at. What’s the big vision? How does Apple see the future, and what products will it create or enable to help bring us into that future? This is the company whose last three hit products revolutionized the recorded music industry, created the smartphone industry, and threatened the consumer PC industry with irrelevance. (Not to mention, Apple was arguably the inventor, or at least the great popularizer, of the personal computer in the first place.) Instead we got a bunch of disparate ideas and some connective tissue that may or may not be used to construct products that we may or may not want.

Part of the “meh” comes from a misunderstanding of what these conferences actually are. Because Apple and Google have done so much to revolutionize technology for everybody, we sometimes forget that these are conferences for developers — the people who build the next generation of products that will wow and delight us. They’re not for the rest of us, really.

But still. There’s a sense right now that big technology companies and startups alike are casting around for the next big thing.

Everybody seems to agree that the next wave of computing will involve a bunch of previously dumb devices becoming smarter with new kinds of sensors and processing power provided largely by cloud services, and getting connected up in some fashion. This data will be collected and compiled and used to provide custom-tailored services, even to the point of anticipating your desires before you have them.

This is what’s behind Apple’s HomeKit and CarPlay, Google’s acquisitions of Nest and Dropcam its new connected car and TV initiatives, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s talk of “ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence,” and Internet of Things and big data efforts by enterprise giants from Cisco to SAP to Salesforce. Not to mention hundreds of startups.

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Google’s plan to fix email

CITEworld

We hold the truth that email sucks to be self-evident, but there’s no agreement on how to fix it.

But at this week’s Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Google announced that it’s taking a novel approach to improving email: Opening its immensely popular Gmail up to developers by way of a new, proprietary API in beta. It seems to hope this API will eventually replace the current IMAP e-mail standard and turn the email service into a platform.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), invented in 1986, has become far more popular in recent years as an alternative to POP — the POP standard doesn’t support flagging emails as read or unread across devices, which is pretty important now that you can check your email from your refrigerator just as easily as you can from your computer.

Just about every mail client ever invented, including Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird, supports IMAP as the accepted standard for reading and receiving emails. Gmail has supported IMAP basically for the duration of its existence, meaning that any of those mail clients could act as an interface for Gmail.

Even so, that wouldn’t necessarily be all bad. Google is touting this step as a way to make Gmail a new platform for developers, opening the door to all kinds of handy-dandy new tools that take advantage of the ability to access email from within other, more specailized apps.

“While IMAP is great at what it was designed for (connecting email clients to email servers in a standard way), it wasn’t really designed to do all of the cool things that you have been working on,” writes Google’s Eric DeFriez in a blog entry.

DeFriez goes on to write that Google’s developers get Android-esque app-level permissions when accessing Gmail through the new API: If you only need your app to send e-mail and not read it, you can limit permission requests. He also says that it’s much faster than current mail access protocols.

So yes, email has problems, and fixing them with current mail access protocols that date back to the eighties often seems like trying to ice-skate uphill. And Gmail is a robust, incredibly popular platform that offers a lot of leverage for trying to fix things. But giving Google even more control over tools and technologies that we use every day seems like it may be a hard sell.

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Infographic: The Mobile Executive

IDG GlobalSolutions Color Infographic: The Mobile Executive

For senior executives, smartphones are a critical business tool. The majority of senior executives (92%) own a smartphone used for business, with 77% reporting they use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business. While the majority (93%) go on to purchase that product via the Internet using a laptop or desktop, 50% of these executives have purchased IT products for business using their smartphone, with 13% reporting making a purchase between $1,000 to $4,999 (£600–2,999; €700–3,499).

Security concerns (45%) and having a website not mobile enabled (43%) were the most common reasons for this audience not to purchase a product via smartphone. Like mainstream consumers, senior executives want an omni-channel purchase environment to seamlessly move between devices to make IT purchases.

To download the 2014 IDG Global Mobile Survey white paper and to view other infographics, click here

mobile excutive Infographic: The Mobile Executive