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Dec 04
KPMG: consumers want automakers to match the ‘sexy’...

Car makers will need to act more like technology, software and consumer electronics companies with more highly customized products, quicker introduction of new, "sexy" models, and nearly flawless quality to address competition from new entrants in the business, according to a new KPMG study (www.kpmg.com).

These new entrants, from technology giants to startups, operate at faster clockspeeds and are accelerating the pace of innovation in the auto industry.  Automakers must now reconcile the industry's rigorous standards of Six Sigma Quality and a traditional 5-7 year powertrain and vehicle platform clockspeed with a new "sexy, dynamic experience" that includes things like the upgrading of sensors, actuators, and displays in 18 to 36 months and quarterly over-the-air upgrades of software. Thus, KPMG says the auto industry faces the clockspeed dilemma: the need to serve multiple paces at once.

"Consumers expect as a...

| Read more »
Dec 03
MarketResearch.com: Major retailers see decline in...

Best Buy and Target both reported slow third-quarter sales, according to MarketResearch.com. Both stores reported a decline in consumer electronics sales.

Target saw a double-digit decline in electronics sales, which is a category they offered significant promotions for earlier in the year. Best Buy saw falling sales of tablets, mobile phones, and digital imaging products.

According to a report by First Research Inc., the U.S. industry for consumer electronics is very concentrated, with 50 of the largest companies accounting for 70 percent of sales. The market itself gains annual revenue of about $100 billion.

With the holidays here, it's unclear if stores will hit their revenue goals. Because shopper interest in consumer electronics is low, there is no guarantee that Best Buy will be able to rebound from their decline in profits.

| Read more »
Dec 02
Strategy Analytics: Binge On to drive subscribers to T...

With Un-carrier X offering double the LTE data plus its new zero-rated video streaming service Binge On for no extra fees, T-Mobile US is set to maintain its Un-carrier momentum and gain market share in the fourth quarter (Q4) as it puts pressure on the pricing approaches of its rivals, according to Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com).

Through its Un-carrier initiative, including services like Music Freedom and now Binge On, T-Mobile is challenging its competitors by positioning itself as the most customer-friendly wireless operator in the US market, says the research group. Un-carrier momentum continues with the addition of the Binge On mobile video streaming service supported by zero-rated data over LTE and video optimization technology, strengthening T-Mobile's value proposition while challenging AT&T and Verizon Wireless to follow suit.

“Video is one of the fastest...

| Read more »
Dec 01
The Northern Spy: of reading and routing

By Rick Sutcliffe

At long last, the Spy's series The Throne is starting to see the light of day. The first book, Culmanic Parts was published in June. Now, the second, Rea's Blood or Navy Girl is available from publisher Writers Exchange. See the URLs below. The third book Tara's Mother is in publishers's editing as we write, and the fourth The Paladin is undergoing second proofing before being made available to the Spy's volunteer reader/correctors.

These books are background to the Alternate History series The Interregnum, which currently has six volumes published. The Throne was intended to be the final book in that series, but has grown into a four-book series of its own. The first three books of The Throne can be read as a standalone trilogy, and The Paladin will offer conclusions to both series.

The original intent was to offer a brief history of alternate earth Hibernia--how Ireland came to be the world's superpower, and something of...

| Read more »
Dec 01
Forty percent of firms expect a data breach in the...

Clearswift (www.clearswift.com), a global cyber security innovator and data loss prevention specialist, has released their annual Clearswift Insider Threat Index (CITI) exploring why firms have been slow to address internal security threats and including data from extensive research into the security priorities and awareness of over 500 IT decision makers and 4,000 employees across the UK, US, Germany and Australia.

"The detachment between the front line security professionals and Board members within an organization is particularly worrying in the wake of recent high profile cyber breaches across the globe already this year,” says Heath Davies, CEO at Clearswift. “Cyber-attacks are a major problem and it’s time for Boards to take a proactive stance on this. Companies need a clear, coherent, adaptive strategy which encompasses people, processes and technology, and this mandate needs to come from the top.”...

| Read more »
Nov 30
Millennials embrace mobile apps for holiday shopping

Wanderful Media (www.wanderful.com), the company behind the Find&Save cash back shopping app, today released its 2015 Annual Holiday Shopping Survey. The findings feature insights on the role mobile plays in holiday shopping, and specifically for millennial shoppers.

Of the millennial holiday shoppers, 92 percent said they use their mobile phones while shopping, compared to 73 percent of all shoppers who were surveyed. All shoppers, including millennials, primarily use mobile to find deals, coupons and/or promo codes for stores nearby; compare prices from other stores or online; and find store locations.

The survey also found mobile shopping apps are popular, since 78 percent of millennials said they are willing to use shopping apps this holiday season – compared to 67 percent of all shoppers surveyed.

More than 80 percent of millennial holiday shoppers said they are interested in mobile app...

| Read more »
Nov 25
Personal storage market continues to shrink

Worldwide personal and entry-level storage (PELS) shipments declined -13.4 percent year over year to 16.7 million units in the third quarter of 2015 (3Q15), but were up 10.3 percent compared to the previous quarter, according to the International Data Corporation. Shipment values declined along with unit shipments, down -19.8 percent from a year ago to $1.3 billion, notes the research group.

“The personal and entry-level storage market was stagnant in 2014 and started to show signs of decline in 2015," says Jingwen Li, senior research analyst, Storage Systems, IDC (www.idc.com). "The adoption of cloud storage has been gaining traction in the consumer space with its easy data access and mobile device integration. One of the negative impacts of cloud storage deployment leads to shrinking demand within the PELS market.”

Personal storage remained the dominant component of the PELS market and accounted for over 98% of...

| Read more »
Nov 24
One in five consumers: paying with chip-enabled credit...

HarborTouch (www.harbortouch.com), a point of sale (POS) system and merchant services provider, has published the results of a national survey examining consumer sentiment and usage trends among early adopters of EMV or “chip” enabled credit cards.

Just one month after the Oct. 1 EMV transition deadline, the survey of more than 5,000 U.S. adults found that one in five consumers consider transaction time as their top concern when using an EMV-enabled credit or debit card. These concerns could spell trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers this holiday season. This is especially true for big-box stores like Target, Best Buy and Walmart, which depend on in-store holiday transactions and have made EMV adoption the centerpiece of their store payment security strategies.

“On average, it takes between seven to 10 seconds to pay using a chip card versus two to three seconds to pay using a traditional swipe...

| Read more »
Nov 23
Archiware releases one-click archiving tool

Archiware, manufacturer of the data management software suite Archiware P5, is launching its P5 Archive app and version 5.3 of the Archiware P5 Software Suite, including Snapshot support and LTO-7 capability.

The P5 Archive app is designed to simplify the Archiving process by allowing users to archive and restore files directly from Finder via the right-click context menu, without the need to open P5 Archive itself. Final Cut Pro X projects are archived and restored including all media used in the project.

Archived files and folders are represented by a link file which displays metadata and previews on double-click. Metadata can be added during archiving. All jobs are listed in a monitoring window for verification. The P5 Archive App will be available for Mac OS X initially, with more platforms to follow in the future.

Until May 31st, 2016, an introductory offer with a 50 percent discount is available for a package including the P5 Archive App and 5 Workstation...

| Read more »
Nov 23
Juniper Research’s top 10 Tech Predictions for 2016

As 2015 draws to a close Juniper Research has drawn up a list of predictions for the coming year, all neatly wrapped up as the top trends for the technologies industries for 2016. A free report detailing the findings is available to download from the Juniper website.

Juniper has identified 2016 as the watershed year for VR headsets, both in terms of product launches and consumer roll outs. Oculus, Sony, and HTC are among the leading players expected to launch key VR products over the next 12 months. The recent attention to and investment into virtual reality is helping to revitalize the industry and with major brand commercial launches imminent, there is huge potential for rapid market expansion.

As a result, Juniper expects significant VR uptake over the next five years as consumers benefit from a combination of improved VR technology allied to immersive applications, as well as reduced prices. Consequently, the technology is now poised to transform the entertainment...

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Nov 20
Gartner: 6.4 billion connected ‘things’ will be in use...

Gartner, Inc., (www.gartner.com) forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.

Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016, up 22 percent from 2015. Services are dominated by the professional category (in which businesses contract with external providers in order to design, install and operate IoT systems), however connectivity services (through communications service providers) and consumer services will grow at a faster pace.

"IoT services are the real driver of value in IoT, and increasing attention is being focused on new services by end-user organisations and vendors," says Jim Tully, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

In terms of hardware spending,...

| Read more »
Nov 19
U.K. broadband households not doing a lot of cable...

New data from Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) shows that only about three percent of U.K. broadband households cancelled a subscription to an OTT video service in the past 12 months, while 33 percent of U.K. broadband households currently pay for an OTT subscription.

In the U.S., approximately nine percent of U.S. broadband households have recently cancelled an OTT service subscription, while 59 percent currently subscribe. The research firm finds that service cancellations and switching are an evolving part of viewer consumption and buying habits in the U.S. market, a trend that is beginning to emerge in Western Europe.

"U.S. consumers who cancel an OTT service often have a subscription to other OTT video services. They also spend an above-average volume of time watching video on a connected device," Brett Sappington, director, research, Parks Associates, says. “Their weekly...

| Read more »
Nov 18
336 million earphones, headphones expected to ship in...

Global shipments of earphones and headphones are expected to reach 336 million units by 2016, up from an estimated 324 million in 2015. In terms of revenue, the market is expected to surpass $13 billion by the end of 2016, according to new data from Future Marketing Insights (www.futuremarketinginsights.com).

FMI has segmented the global earphones and headphones market into personal, gaming, media and entertainment, corporate, and sports. Demand for earphones and headphones for personal use is the highest, accounting for US$4.32 billion in revenues in 2014. FMI estimates revenues from personal segment to surpass $5 billion by 2016.

Robust smartphone and tablet sales in Asia Pacific, combined with proliferation of music streaming services is driving demand for earphones and headphones for personal use, according to the research group. Demand for earphones and headphones is also...

| Read more »
Nov 16
Smart home device adoption highest among 25-34...

New research from Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) shows U.S. broadband households with a head of household ages 25-34 have the highest adoption rate for smart home devices at nearly 30 percent.

Among heads of household ages 35-44, adoption is only 21 percent, but they own the highest number of smart home product categories, with an average of two different smart products. Networked security cameras, smart thermostats, and smart door locks are the leading categories of smart home devices.

"Nearly 40% of U.S. broadband households with a security system also own a smart home product," said Stuart Sikes, president, Parks Associates. "Safety and security are the leading value propositions for the connected home, so we will see many innovative solutions at CES 2016 coming from partnerships among security companies, service providers, app developers, and device manufacturers.”

...

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Nov 13
Online eSports audiences expected to exceed 310...

New data from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) has found that online eSports services, such as Twitch, will grow to over 310 million by 2020, increasing from 133 million this year and bringing in almost $1 billion in revenues from subscriptions alone. By comparison, 2020 will see eSports audiences surpass the levels of the NFL tournament and approach that of Formula 1/

Juniper Research forecasts that eSports is on the cusp of significant growth, with tournaments and prize pools expanding in size and value. Key eSports tournaments such as last year’s League of Legends World Championships final drew in over 27 million viewers.

In particular, advertisers are set to benefit, with revenues forecast to increase by almost 250% from 2015 to 2020. This will mirror an increased willingness by consumers to subscribe to online eSports channels and broadcasters, with subscription revenues...

| Read more »
Nov 12
Households very concerned about security/privacy when...

New data from Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) finds that 76 percent of U.S. broadband households are very concerned about their data security and personal privacy when using connected devices. The report shows identity and data theft are among the highest security concerns when using connected devices, but only 6 percent of U.S. broadband households have experienced those problems in the last year.

"Broadband households in the U.S. now own an average of more than seven Internet-connected computing and entertainment devices, and nearly one-fifth own a smart home device," said Patrice Samuels, research analyst, Parks Associates. "As consumers acquire more connected devices for their homes, the more exposure they feel, either through experience or from hearing about high-profile security breaches in the media. As a result, they are seeing high value in security and privacy support either as...

| Read more »
Nov 11
One-third of U.S. broadband households find smart home...

New data from Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) reports 30 percent of U.S. broadband households find most energy management use cases very appealing.

"Nearly all U.S. households have taken some energy-saving steps in the past 12 months,” says Stuart Sikes, president, Parks Associates. “Many households have adjusted their thermostats, switched to CFL and LED bulbs, and bought new energy-efficient appliances to save money and energy. The energy management features available today complement these consumer activities and can therefore broaden the appeal of smart home offerings.”

The research group also found that:

° Fifty-one percent of U.S. broadband households would like to receive alerts if a fire or smoke is detected in their home.

° Forty-five percent of U.S. broadband households would like to receive an alert if there is a carbon monoxide or gas leak.

° Thirty...

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Nov 10
One-in-20 apps on private U.S. personal computers are...

New data from Secunia Research (www.flexerasoftware.com), a provider of software vulnerability intelligence, reveals the state of security for PC users in a total of 14 countries, including the US.

The report shows that: one in 20 applications on private US PCs are end-of-life; 12 percent of Windows operating systems are unpatched; and for the first time in four consecutive quarters, Oracle Java isn't topping the list of most exposed programs – Apple has purportedly taken the lead. Findings in the US Country Report include:

° 5.5 percent of applications on the average US PC have reached end-of-life, meaning they are no longer supported by the vendor and do not receive security updates. End-of-life Adobe Flash Player 18, which was end-of-life as of September 22, 2015, is found on 80% of the PCs.

° Apple QuickTime 7.x and Apple iTunes 12.x tops the list as the US' most exposed...

| Read more »
Nov 09
Fifty-one percent of customers surveyed would likely...

CCG Catalyst (www.ccg-catalyst.com), a management consulting firm offering strategic advice to banks, has released the results of its recent study, “The Age of Mobile Wallets: What Banks Need to Know When Considering the Creation of a Bank Branded Mobile Wallet.”

The study focused on examining the customers’ use of mobile wallets to help banks recognize opportunities, decide whether to create mobile wallets and realize unmet customer needs. Administered through AskYourTargetMarket, was issued to a panel of 25 million U.S. consumers (18 years of age to 65 years plus) it measured consumer attitudes and behaviors toward mobile wallets vs. non-bank mobile wallets.

Respondents answered a series of questions segmented in three key themes: usage, behavior and habits. Of the 2,000 completed surveys generated, the key findings are as follows:

° If their bank offered a mobile wallet, 51 percent of...

| Read more »
Nov 06
Tablet owners like their data plans

 The share of customers who purchase tablets with mobile data plans is on the rise due to their ability to stay continuously connected to the Internet, and satisfaction among these customers is higher than those with Wi-Fi only connections, according to new data from J.D. Power.

The gap in satisfaction between owners with data plan-connected tablets and those with Wi-Fi only devices is 26 points (833 vs. 807, respectively), up from 22 points in J.D. Power’s 2014 study. The research group says the proportion of customers who purchase tablets with mobile data plans is 31 percent, a higher share than in any previous J.D. Power study and a three percentage point gain from six months ago.

The increased popularity of subscribing to data plans is attributable to customer interest in staying connected and using a tablet for activities such as browsing the Internet, streaming music and videos, playing games, using apps and communicating on social media sites. The convenience...

| Read more »
Nov 05
Regular Netflix users watch 10 TV shows per week

Regular (monthly) Netflix users in the US have grown even more dependent on the service for viewing TV programming, saying they watch 10 shows per week via the platform – as well as four movies during the same timeframe, according to the GfK research group (www.gfk.com). For TV content, this represents a doubling of the level (five shows per week) found in the same survey three years ago.

Projected to the full population, this means that the average US consumer ages 13 to 54 watches roughly 5 TV shows and two movies per week via Netflix using one or more platforms. The findings come from “Over the Top TV 2015: A Complete Video Landscape” – the latest study in GfK’s ongoing The Home Technology Monitor series tracking media technology and services. The new report includes trends from five prior “over the top” (OTT) studies conducted since 2010.

Watching via Netflix on mobile devices has also more than doubled in three...

| Read more »
Nov 04
Ten percent of Spanish broadband households own a...

New data from Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) finds that 10 percent of Spanish broadband households own a smart watch, followed by eight percent in the U.K., seven percent in Germany, and six percent in France.

"Form factors such as the smart watch are creating new opportunities for wearables in the connected home, with home controls and health applications near the top of the list for potential use cases," said Stuart Sikes, president, Parks Associates. "At CONNECTIONS™ Europe, we will highlight the business opportunities for service and technology providers, component suppliers, and software designers.”

The research group says that 10 percent of Western European broadband households plan to purchase a smart watch within the next 12 months. Broadband households in Spain have the highest purchase intentions with 12 percent, followed by 10 percent in France and Germany, and nine...

| Read more »
Nov 04
Smart watches to trump other wearables win smart home...

The smart home market, projected to reach US$34 billion in 2020 is becoming the center of activity for multiple IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystems, including wearables. 

A report from ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com) says that smart watches will drive the most interest for wearables integration into the smart home even though fitness trackers were approximately two-thirds of all wearable device shipments in 2014.  Recent announcements of Android Wear from Google and Apple Watch are driving integration efforts from various smart home platform vendors such as iControl, Alarm.com and Samsung's SmartThings.

Wearables integration with smart home systems will drive more proximal network communications in the smart home, according to ABI Research. This is starting to happen as device vendors slowly start to open up their APIs (application programming interfaces) and share data to deliver more...

| Read more »
Nov 03
Improving customer experience top priority for...

Improving the overall customer experience is a top business priority for companies and a main driver behind their digital transformation ambitions, according to a new study from Accenture. But the majority of businesses don’t set themselves apart yet from competitors through the digital customer experience they offer.

The study, titled “Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer,” (http://tinyurl.com/nhyeya7) is based on a survey of nearly 400 decision-makers in companies globally. It was commissioned by Accenture Interactive, part of Accenture Digital, and conducted by Forrester Consulting. Key findings in the study include:

° “Improving the customer experience” topped the list of business priorities companies have for the next 12 months. It received the most number one rankings (21 percent), followed by “growing revenues” (17 percent) and “improving differentiation” (16 percent)....

| Read more »
Nov 02
The Northern Spy: Apple’s sales saga

By Rick Sutcliffe

Apple's sales saga continues to flummox many pundits. They forecast earnings estimates too low or too high, and when they miss, they criticize--not themselves, but Apple--as if it were Cupertino's fault they aren't more prescient.

The latest take on this is that because Apple's iPhone sales generate so large a percentage of the total income, and aren't breaking records by a very wide margin these days, the company is somehow in trouble, and about to become last year's news. Really? Start your own company, and when your sales exceed Apple's, go ahead and point the finger. Are these the same people who once upon a time delighted to forecast Apple's impending bankruptcy?

Is the market saturated? Not as long as there's a billion or two potential customers out there willing to pay top dollar for a high end product in a first class industrial design. The pundits haven't paid as much attention to declining sales by...

| Read more »
 
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How to become the ultimate robot warrior...
Chrono Strike is a delightfully immersive beat ‘em up with a sense of humor (any game with a good Sims reference gets points in my book). [Read more] | Read more »
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How to win big in Slots Deluxe
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Grab it now: Game Craft’s Legend of War...
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