SAN FRANCISCO--Olympics, schmolympics. Do the Olympics have plasma cannons and fragmentation grenades? Vicious armored trolls? Spectacular car crashes? A new addition to the noble heritage of international athletic completion has all that and more. The World Cyber Games, the premiere event in the growing world of high-stakes video games, arrived in America this week with more than 700 players from 61 countries and $2.5 million in prize money. Already a bona fide cultural phenomenon in its birthplace, South Korea--where WCG tourneys and similar events routinely fill soccer stadiums and top game players have their own fan clubs--organizers hope to quickly and profitably export competitive games to the rest of the world. Judging from tepid response during preliminary competition Thursday, where the atmosphere more resembled a bridge tournament than a rock concert, the organizers may have some work to do to reach South Korean levels of frenzy. Overheated play-by-play commentary … [Read more...] about Global gamers battle for glory–and money
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Banks are neglecting to analyze the highly useful data being generated by new kinds of consumer-facing products, like apps, says an expert in the financial IT sector.Many financial institutions are overlooking key intelligence and indicators that they could be taking advantage of to re-invent themselves and ultimately compete with future disruption, thinks Deanne Yamato-Tucker, who heads Xavient Information Systems’ banking and financial services practice. Banking disruption could include peer-to-peer, blockchain and services like Bitcoin, for example.“Banks need to address the threat from new entrants such as PayPal, Google, Amazon, Apple, and P2P FX,” Yamato-Tucker told me in an e-mail. But they’re not managing their data properly to do so, she thinks.Digital products and services, whether they’re mobile or not, need to be monitored, she believes. Also, by monitoring user feedback and comments on social media the banks could gain insights. Those insights … [Read more...] about Banks are failing to capitalize on Big Data, says financial IT expert
At least those of us who are fans of professional baseball have the playoffs to take our minds off the grim news this week (at least that's the case for fans of the teams that are winning). The U.S. financial system meltdown smacked world markets and set off a whole lot of worry, which tended to overshadow all the other news.1. The IT worker's Wall Street meltdown worry list and bailout roundup: It seems we've all had more questions than answers in recent weeks about the U.S. financial crisis and slumping global economy. Which financial institutions will melt down next? What will be the effect on the IT industry? Is our money safe? What about our jobs? Answers to such questions as well as a roundup of related news, including numerous stories regarding the likely fallout for IT, can be found at this story link. [ Special report: IT and the financial crisis ]2. Microsoft will float cloud OS this month: Microsoft will debut its secretive "Cloud OS" project led by Ray Ozzie at its … [Read more...] about Top 10: Money meltdown, Ozzie’s cloud, security worries
IT departments are finding themselves strapped for cash these days as IT budgets are slimmed down in the tough economy. ComputerWorld Canada caught up with several IT pros who found low investment ways to make a dent in IT's bottom line. Here are their stories:Outsourcing e-mail and faxing IT manager Greville Bowles estimates it would have cost at least $10,000 to setup a new in-house Exchange Server with all the latest software and upgrades to manage e-mail and faxing.A year ago, the Fergus, Ont.-based industrial safety products manufacturer Ralston CanSafe was faced with continuing to purchase new hardware and software to maintain its in-house server or outsource it to a third party. The decision to outsource has saved the company overhead and maintenance dollars. "We're too small a company to justify having an in-house server," said Bowles, who is the sole member of the IT department.Bowles removed the fax appliance from the network and introduced employees to a fax-to-e-mail … [Read more...] about Save money now!
We live in an age of technology that has enabled more entrepreneurship, better business management, and more consumer options than ever before. However, not all businesses have entered the technological arena, refraining from adopting new software for financial, cultural, or even personal reasons; in fact, according to Wasp Barcode, 48 percent of small businesses still aren’t tracking inventory using modern technology.With large businesses able to freely invest in custom technology and high-profile marketing campaigns, do small businesses “need” to turn to automation in order to stand a chance in competition? What Is marketing automation?First, let’s work on defining marketing automation. Hubspot does a great job with this, defining marketing automation as any technological system that helps marketers execute “repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions.” In practice, this can refer to simple systems, like software that … [Read more...] about Do small businesses need marketing automation to keep up with the competition?
With the number of patent-related lawsuits on the rise, and the system set up to favor deep-pocketed giants over individual inventors and smaller companies, U.S. technology innovation is in for a continued shaky ride, according to patent experts and other observers.Yes, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is issuing more patents than ever before (see chart below). According to a recent USPTO report (PDF), around two-thirds of the two million patents that are active right now are in the technology field. But some observers say that increase has been at the expense of the overall quality of patents and what they cover. ( See slideshow.)If the historical trend of 1960 through 1980 had been followed from 1980 to 2012, we would have two million fewer patents issued than we do today, according to Avancept.That trend is as damaging for large companies as it is for smaller firms. Should one-click shopping be patentable? How about Internet advertising? Both currently have patent … [Read more...] about Can the U.S. Patent System be Saved?
Security expert Eugene Spafford recommends network diversity.Eugene Spafford, one of the nation's leading experts on information security, is director of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Purdue University. Network World Senior Editor Carolyn Duffy Marsan recently sat down with Spafford at his West Lafayette, Ind., office to talk about the latest security threats and what network executives can do to mitigate them. Here are excerpts from their conversation: What do you see as the top three information security threats that are most likely to hit U.S.-based multinationals?One of the biggest threats we have right now is deployment of resources intended either to save on cost or enhance features without thinking through the consequences. VoIP and wireless fall in this category. They have failure modes that are very different than what they are replacing and are not well understood. Perceived cost advantages are driving these technologies, but … [Read more...] about Security expert recommends ‘Net diversity
The Reprap Mendel printer sells for $520, some assembly required.Here's justification for splurging on a cool new 3D printer: It's actually a money saver.Buying a 3D printer to make plastic iPhone cases and paper-towel holders at home can already save you money in the long run, according to a new study. That doesn't mean 3D printers will soon replace stores, let alone shut down factories in China or Vietnam. But it does suggest how the technology is creating a world where you could eventually make many products at home or at a local shop.Printing money (savings)A 3D printer such as the open-source RepRap may not only pay for itself but actually save money by making just 20 household items — such as shower-curtain rings and safety razors — per year, said Joshua Pearce, a materials engineer at Michigan Technological University. His new study, wordily titled "Life-Cycle Economic Analysis of Distributed Manufacturing with Open-Source 3D Printers," challenges the skepticism of … [Read more...] about How 3D Printing Will Save You Money
Vodafone's Wireless Innovation Project (WIP) competition challenges nonprofits, universities, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and social entrepreneurs to develop innovative mobile and wireless solutions to some of the most challenging issues facing society today.Projects addressing problems of education, health, access to communication, economic development, and the environment or disaster relief are eligible for entry to win a grant, payable over the next three years. $300K goes to the winner, $200K to the runner-up and $100K to the third-place contender. Grant recipients also receive expert support and guidance in bringing their innovations to life. To be considered, projects must be in the late stages of research, or have a prototype or field test in the works. Last year's winner, Neopenda, produced an affordable wearable newborn vital signs monitor to help improve infant care. Teresa Cauvel, CTO and co-founder says the grant money helped boost the organization's technology … [Read more...] about Vodafone wants your mobile health idea for the Wireless Innovation Project competition
Jeffrey C. Garr is Chief Executive Officer of HR Knowledge, Inc. Although many experts believe that the US economic recovery is underway, unemployment rates remain alarmingly high. With so many people out of work, there is intense competition for every job opening, and it is challenging for small business owners to identify the ideal job candidate amid the tsunami of job applicants and resumes. We all know that hiring the wrong employee is costly and time consuming, and can be damaging to an organization's morale, reputation and productivity. Conversely, hiring the right employee has a positive impact on your total work environment — from corporate culture to the company's bottom line. Here are four tips to keep you on track for sourcing, evaluating and hiring the right employee in today's competitive job market. Have a Strong Hiring StrategyConduct a thorough job analysis that defines the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes and work environment of a particular … [Read more...] about Hiring Practices for a Competitive Job Market