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IDC Retail Insights Arms Retailers with IoT Technology Strategy

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 IDC Retail Insights Arms Retailers with IoT Technology Strategy

IDC Retail Insights today announced the availability of a new report, “Business Strategy: Developing an IoT Technology Strategy,” (Document# RI250271), which outlines how retailers must plan now for IoT, even if IoT hasn’t made it to the top of the priorities list. According to the new report, applied IoT technology positively impacts top and bottom line business performance by improving omni-channel operations and enabling personalized and contextualized interaction with consumers. Understanding the technology landscape and defining a roadmap for IoT implementation requires uncommonly long range planning, but is rewarded with reduced long term implementation costs and total cost of ownership (TCO).

ClicktoTweet, “@IDCRetailInsights Arms #Retailers with #IoT Technology Strategy

The convergence of cloud, mobile, big data/analytics and sensors has created an opportunity for retailers to engage consumers and employees in radically new ways.  Within 5 years consumers will expect that retailers engage them with personalized and contextualized interactions. In the same time frame, if the retailer hasn’t figured out how to improve real time inventory accuracy to 98% or better, they will struggle to close the online or click and collect sale.

This report provides the following advice for retailers:

  • A definition of IoT technology
  • A thorough examination of the technology landscape for IoT (for retailers)
  • Specific steps to developing a IoT technology strategy
  • Guidance for driving retail IoT programs forward

Leslie Hand, research director, IDC Retail Insights, reports that, “Retailers can improve operations, reduce risk and loss, and wow the consumer with IoT enabled capabilities. Now is the time to establish a strategy and develop a roadmap for IoT. A well thought out plan will guide the reduced cost of ownership of IoT technologies, and enable continued agility and innovation. ”

In another new report announced today, Business Strategy: Understanding the IoT Use Cases For Retail, many of the most common use cases that are being implemented today are discussed including product tracking / traceability, interactive consumer engagement and operations, mobile payments, asset management and fleet and yard management.

The IoT journey, rich in opportunities, is also full of challenges – the biggest of which is enabling tactical applications sometimes in isolation of a plan for an architecture designed for IoT. IoT requires an event oriented paradigm, which includes listening, bi-directional messaging, information distribution, and communications over a variety of networks. The architecture for IoT stretches the limits of retail legacy networks.  When evaluating IoT technologies, IDC Retail Insights recommends retailers gain an understanding of the technology landscape for the variety of technologies and the related intersection points as soon as possible

The new report outlines specific steps to developing a IoT technology strategy and emphasizes that retailers interested in engaging the omni-channel consumer with consistent personalized and increasingly contextualized physical and digital interactions, should consider how to build an architecture for IoT that will continue to adapt to consumer interaction patterns and needs. Meanwhile, technology vendors and consultants should help retail enterprises define and understand the IoT opportunities and the path forward.

To learn more about a related IoT report announced today, please visit”Business Strategy: IoT Use Cases for Retail,”

For additional information about this report or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Leslie Hand please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 orsarah@attunecommunications.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarah@attunecommunications.com.

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Why Microsoft Azure could have the last laugh in the cloud wars

CITEworld

Venture capitalist Brad Feld recently wrote an interesting post predicting the end of Amazon’s dominance of the cloud computing market, and concluded, “it’s suddenly a good time to be Microsoft or Google in the cloud computing wars.”

I’d go one step farther. Using Feld’s arguments, I’d say that Microsoft is in the driver’s seat.

First, the price war. Microsoft and Google are on approximately equal ground when it comes to cutting prices — both have highly profitable core businesses that they can use to subsidize a price war in cloud infrastructure, even to the point of sustaining losses for a while to gain market share. Amazon does not.

Second, the quality argument. Like Feld, we’ve also pointed out that there are niche cloud providers that do a better job than the big guys at providing infrastructure-as-a-service for specific verticals, but when you move all the way up the stack to full software-as-a-service applications, Microsoft has an edge among the big three with Office 365. Google has been making inroads into smaller businesses with Google Apps for almost a decade now, Microsoft remains the standard in the biggest and most profitable business customers — as this recent investigation from Dan Frommer at Quartz showed, only one company in the Fortune 50 uses Google Apps. (That company happens to be Google itself.)

The third argument, support, is mostly a wash. While Amazon’s support may be terrible (I have no evidence of this, but I’m taking Feld’s word for it), Microsoft and Google and their respective ecosystem partners do a decent job of supporting customers on their stacks. This hasn’t always been the case — Google used to treat support as an expensive afterthought — but in the case of Google Apps, at least, the company and its partners have stepped up significantly.

But then comes the fourth argument. Feld points out that once companies get to $200,000 per month of cloud-infrastructure spend, it’s actually significantly cheaper to build their own data centers.

Microsoft is the only one of the big three players with an on-premise offering — Windows Server and the rest of the Microsoft infrastructure family. Maybe the exact break-even point will change as the cloud price wars continue, but Microsoft has the most pieces customers would need to move from all-cloud to a hybrid or on-premise solution. Or, for that matter, for existing on-premise customers to begin experimenting moving some workloads to the cloud.

There’s one more point favoring Microsoft. Google’s core business is selling online advertising. That business makes up about 90% of Google’s revenue, and it has enviably high operating margins — around 30%, based on Google’s 2011 financial report. (I picked 2011 because that was before Google bought Motorola Mobility, which changed the margin structure.)

It’s unclear how the Google Cloud Engine helps that business. Are customers using Google’s cloud somehow more likely to advertise with Google? I don’t see it. Are Google advertising customers demanding to run other workloads on Google technology? I don’t see it.

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Box buys Streem to make the cloud part of your desktop

CITEworld

Cloud store-and-sync service Box has snapped up Y Combinator-backedstartup Streem for an undisclosed sum. Streem, as you may guess from the name, provides a streaming service that lets users access content from the cloud without taking up any space on the local hard drive — especially handy when dealing with large video files.

“Streem has developed amazing technology that allows you to mount a cloud drive onto your computer — making documents, presentations, videos and files available to you without the limitations of your local hard-disk, effectively turning the cloud into an ‘unlimited’ drive,” writes Box CEO and Co-Founder in an official blog entry.

As it stands today, Box’s core sync functionality lets you keep files and folders in sync across mobile and desktop platforms. But that still requires a copy to be kept locally if you want to make any changes. There are administrative controls available to restrict what users can do with those local copies, and in some scenarios (like previewing on mobile files), no local copy is actually cached.

Data+ Conference to Feature Big Data Strategies on How to Manage and Analyze Data to Predict Business Outcomes

 Data+ Conference to Feature Big Data Strategies on How to Manage and Analyze Data to Predict Business Outcomes

IDG Enterprise—the leading enterprise technology media company comprising Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, DEMO, CSO, CIO Executive Council, ITworld, CFOworld and CITEworld—will bring together more than 350 IT executives, managers and business leaders to discuss managing, analyzing and predicting data at Data+. The Data+ conference is the world’s most authoritative conference on enterprise use and benefits of big data and will take place September 7-9, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Over the next 12 to 18 months, the average amount of data being managed is expected to increase by 76%, according to the 2014 IDG Enterprise Big Data Study,” said Adam Dennison, SVP, publisher, IDG Enterprise. “This dramatic growth expands the need for organizations to master transformative approaches for leveraging their data. New strategies and tools involving cloud, social, mobile, Hadoop, NoSQL and more will continue to influence this evolving landscape. Data+ will provide a comprehensive look at how to strategically manage and analyze data from multiple sources and in multiple formats to predict customer behavior and business outcomes.”

Unique Sponsor Opportunities
At the Data+ conference, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in Rapid-Fire Roundtable discussions with their peers and event sponsors. This series of quick, structured, networking sessions provides the perfect environment for attendees to meet other practitioners who have similar business intelligence, analytics and data management challenges, and connects them to the industry contacts who can help solve their issues. This highly rated format is an informal and practical way for participants to kick-off networking and make connections.

Data+ Underwriter and Platinum sponsors have the opportunity to deliver info-rich presentations on their latest products or solutions, new releases and exciting trends or changes to the Data+ audience through Solution Spotlight sessions.

Unconference Sessions will also be integrated into the Data+ schedule. These crowdsourced sessions create a dynamic atmosphere for both sponsors and attendees while providing them the chance to propose and vote for their favorite discussion topic and format of interest, allowing them to engage with their peers in noteworthy discussions.

“We are thrilled to have Information Builders and Neudesic sponsor the 2014 Data+ conference and we invite solution providers with noteworthy data solutions to join as sponsors and engage in networking and data strategy conversations with attendees who are eager to discuss how to manage data for business advantage,” continued Dennison.

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IDC Research: 3 Ways CMOs Can Take Advantage of New Marketing Optimism

The Huffington Post

New Research: 8-12% Marketing Growth Projected For Cloud, Social, Mobile, and Big Data/Analytics

Since the 2007 recession it has been a challenging time for marketers and their budgets. This year things are starting to look up. I had a chance to talk with Sam Melnick, Research Analyst with IDC’s CMO Advisory Service, about their latest survey,IDC’s 2014 Tech Marketing Barometer Study and the increased optimism it shows within the tech marketing world. Industry confidence is now growing as a strong majority of marketers expect larger budgets in 2014 – led by Third Platform companies and products (those aligned with Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data/Analytics). This confidence is well deserved; never before has there been as much opportunity for innovative marketing. With new technologies, processes, and an increased focus on the CMO, marketers have a lot to be excited about. However, while many signs are positive, marketers must be aware that there is still work to be done.

How should marketing leaders work to assure their marketing organizations are ready to take hold of this momentum? Here are the top three opportunities for marketing investment that Sam feels all CMOs and marketers should be aware of for the rest of 2014.

1) Identify Third Platform product lines within your organization and support them with stronger marketing budgets.

IDC continues to see optimism regarding marketing budgets; of the senior marketers surveyed in the 2014 Marketing Barometer Study almost 2/3 are expecting budget increases this year! In fact, IDC is forecasting that 2014 tech industry marketing budgets will increase 1.5 to 2.5% overall. However, Third Platform companies – again, those companies with revenue primarily from cloud, social, mobile, and big data/analytics technologies – will receive marketing budget increases that are six times greater than the rest of the industry, increasing their marketing spending between 8 and 12%.

So what does this mean? The CEOs and CFOs of the world clearly see the revenue opportunities within the Third Platform. This is with good reason; IDC expects 90% of new revenue over the next 10 years to come from the Third Platform. Marketers must get ahead of this growth and invest their budgets with bias towards Third Platform business units and product lines. The days of a peanut butter spread of the marketing budget are over. Find these growth areas and invest aggressively!

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Cloud Infographic: Big Data Investments

CloudTweaks

We have covered the evolution of Big Data several times over the years and have more recently discussed new areas of interest such as big data in filmsadvertising and even sports. With the growing interest in this area there is certain to be considerable interest and investments being made. Included as an excellent infographic provided by the team at BigData-Startups which jumps right into the topic of investments.

View infographic

Report: Digital Transformation and the New Customer Experience

Brian Solis

We’re under attack! Social, mobile, real-time, cloud, big data…it’s coming at us all at once! Rather than miss out, many brands are jumping from trend to trend as a way of staying relevant in an increasingly digital market.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest…we’re covered. We have and had a strategy for a while now.

Mobile. Yep, we’ve got an app for that…plus we’ve got adaptive and responsive web design that makes old sites new again!

Snapchat…our brilliant strategy vanishes in 5,4,3,2,1.

Jelly? We’ve got the answer.

Whisper, Secret…shhh, don’t tell anyone, but we’re already marketing there.

There’s a difference though between marketing AT people in new channels and learning about their behavior, values, and expectations to optimize their digital experiences and introduce mutually-beneficial outcomes.

Social, mobile, and real-time strategies are not enough. These disruptive technologies are merely just the beginning of a still shaping era of connected consumerism.

Each in its own right is significant affecting how business is done. But customer behavior and expectations, and that of employees for that matter, continue to evolve. And, the list of disruptive technologies that’s pushing business leaders and processes out of their respective comfort zones is far more exhaustive and constant.

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In defense of higher cloud prices

CITEworld

It’s true, the cloud wars are heating up, with Google Cloud Platform announcing major price cuts on Tuesday and Amazon Web Services following suit less than 24 hours later at its own event on Wednesday. As a result, there’s been a lot of the usual back and forth – who’s really cheaper, is it really an apples-to-apples comparison, and what Google’s take on scalable pricing means for the ever-shifting economies of cloud computing.

No matter how you slice it, the public cloud is getting cheaper than ever before, and plenty of customers present and future stand to benefit. But I think that just as there’s a case for going to Whole Foods when you absolutely, positively need GMO-free, pesticide-free, free trade, small batch coffee, there’s always going to be room in the market for a pricier cloud that delivers premium features. In other words, there’s more to a cloud than just the price tag.

Name-drop time: Chris Kemp, Chief Strategy Officer of my former employer, private cloud appliance startup Nebula, likes to refer to Amazon Web Services as the “Walmart of the cloud.” Which is to say that Amazon Web Services is cheap and offers a tremendous range of goods, but the selection of goods themselves are incredibly shallow and purposely designed to appeal to as wide a base of customers as possible. If you just want socks, underwear, and toothpaste, it’s great. If you have a strong brand preference or just like having a wider selection, it’s probably not your first stop.

Google Compute Engine follows along these same lines: It’s a one-stop shop for cloud infrastructure designed to be everything to everyone. Want platform-as-a-service (PaaS)? Yeah, they got that. Just want infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)? Yeah, they got that too. Need something a little more in-the-middle? Cool.

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Computerworld Conference Focuses on Open Source Opportunities in Big Data, Cloud, Mobile and Hardware in the Enterprise

Computerworld

Computerworld’s Annual Open Business Conference is taking place May 5-6, 2014 in San Francisco

Framingham, Mass – March 12, 2014– IDG’s Computerworld—the leading IT media brand dedicated to providing insight into enterprise innovation from core to edge technologies—will address the benefits and innovation open source can bring to cloud, big data, mobile and  hardware initiatives, as well as the resulting legal issues,  at the 2014 Open Business Conference (OBC). More than 400 IT and business leaders, venture capitalists, and attorneys will discuss the pervasive adoption of open source in the enterprise at OBC, taking place May 5-6, 2014 in San Francisco.

“Adoption of open source in enterprise IT strategies continues to accelerate. Computerworld’s 2014 Forecast Study reveals that on-premise software, including open source operating systems, is among the top three tech projects for IT teams this year, along with application development upgrades or replacements and cloud,” said Adam Dennison, vice president and publisher, Computerworld. “The Open Business Conference is the perfect environment for technology solution providers to engage IT decision-makers in conversations on how open source can provide speed, efficiency and cost savings to tech projects.”

The OBC Agenda: Big Data, Cloud, Mobile, Hardware, Legal and More
Open source has matured and evolved as enterprises rely more and more on its enabling technologies and strategies to support IT and business initiatives. The OBC agenda will combine keynote sessions with breakout sessions on innovation and networking sessions aimed at embracing the broad scope of open source opportunities in the enterprise. The conference will focus on open source integration with big data, cloud, mobile technology and hardware as well as the resulting legal issues. Experts will share insight on incorporating technologies like Hadoop, Open Stack, NoSQL and MongoDB into the enterprise.

OBC sponsors are invited to join the conversation by sharing case studies and best practices during speaking sessions and moderating birds of a feather lunch discussions. The insight that sponsor executives capture during these opportunities can facilitate conversations during networking time, building stronger relationships with key IT decision-makers.

Conference Sponsors
The 2014 Open Business Conference underwriters include Hewlett-Packard and WSO2. They are joined by Intel, GoGrid, EnterpriseDB, Palamida, DLA Piper and Fenwick & West as sponsors. For more information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please contact Mike Dutton atmike_dutton@computerworld.com or call 801.358.4231.

Registration Information
To learn more about the Open Business Conference, including the agenda, or to register visit
http://www.openbizconf.com, call 800.883.9090 or emailevents_registration@computerworld.com.

Click here to read full press release

How Data Integration Is Changing the Enterprise Landscape

Virtualization Journal

Two words that are continually brought up in conversations at company meetings are “integration” and “cloud.” According to leading analyst firm Gartner, by 2016 the growth of cloud computing will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend. The relative cost of cloud services as compared to handling integration in-house has historically hindered executives’ decisions to implement cloud services and brokers. However, the undeniable benefits to cloud-based integration have now come to the forefront of consideration for C-level decision makers looking to relieve their companies of compliance challenges and security risks, while increasing the speed of data being transferred and analyzed. Putting the two words together, cloud integration is now more important than ever to tackle increasingly complex integration challenges.

As such, 2014 will be a disruptive year for integration providers, cloud services, Big Data and C-level executives looking to take full advantage of what data integration has to offer. Below are three trends companies can expect to see and incorporate into their businesses in the next year:

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