In terms of industry buzz and discussion, it is unlikely you’ll find a technological concept that’s more popular at the moment than cloud computing. Since it burst on to the scene a few years ago, cloud computing has proven its utility within a huge range of business and consumer markets.
With the flexibility, productivity and cost advantages being delivered by the cloud, it can truly claim to have had a profound impact on the way that we live our lives. However, although "cloud computing" is often spoken about in relatively generalized terminology, it is far from a homogeneous resource.
Big data is another technology buzzword that can sometimes be difficult to pin down. Data, of course, has been around for a long time, long before computers invaded our homes, offices and pockets, so what exactly differentiates ordinary data from big data?
Broadly speaking, big data refers to datasets that can no longer be processed through traditional methods of analysis. This means that setting a minimum boundary for what constitutes big data is extremely difficult, as this value would likely change with each technological development. What is clear, however, is that big data is growing rapidly. The rise of digital technologies, particularly smartphones, has meant that the amount of information that we freely share, knowingly or not, is enormous.
According to new research from the consumers' association Which?, a number of major UK banks have failed to protect their customers online by not adopting two-factor security, which greatly protects against online banking fraud.
The association tested the customer-side security of 11 banks, revealing that over half had failed to implement two-factor ID checks on customers when they logged into their accounts. Lloyds Banking Group, Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Santander and TSB were the banks which scored the lowest on the tests conducted by Which?.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a new distribution model that is rapidly gaining popularity with businesses all over the world. A branch of cloud computing, SaaS lets businesses and consumers lease a particular piece of software from a third-party supplier, who delivers it over a network connection -- most commonly the Internet.
As with other examples of cloud computing, this provides a number of benefits in terms of flexibility, scalability and affordability, which is why it is hardly surprising that many businesses have been willing to embrace SaaS. In fact, global SaaS revenues are expected to grow 21 percent year over year to $106 billion in 2016.
According to Stephen Hawking, artificial Intelligence (AI) and its possible implementations need to be managed with the utmost care in order to prevent its power from falling into the wrong hands or being used in a way that does not benefit mankind as a whole.
The renowned physicist stressed the point that AI could be used to commit deplorable acts in the form of powerful autonomous weapons and other ways in which people in power could use the technology to oppress and control a majority of the population.
The first question that businesses are likely to ask when considering virtualization is: what exactly is it? In IT terms, hardware virtualization refers to the act of using virtual, rather than physical computer resources. Practically speaking, this means that there is an abstraction layer between the physical hardware and the IT resources that the business consumes. For example, virtualization software will enable a single, physical machine to deliver multiple workloads simultaneously, with each workload only accessing the specific physical resources that are allocated to it.
In its most simple form, virtualization may refer to the partition of a hard drive, as this makes a single, physical storage device behave as if it is two hard drives. However, IT virtualization examples also come in much more complex forms. The core concept to remember is that to the end user, virtualization makes it appear as though they are accessing a single IT component or resource, regardless of the underlying hardware. Virtualization enables businesses to consolidate IT resources, such as network, CPUs, memory and storage and provision them as they see fit, usually via a network connection.
A form is one of the most important elements on many websites because it is where conversions happen, leads are created, and relationships begin.
According to MarketingCharts, Lead Gen forms have an average conversion rate of just 17 percent. As dismal as these numbers are, the good news lies in the immense opportunity left by the 83 percent of visitors who do not convert on forms -- and the data-driven solution to help win over more of them.
Gartner described 2015 as the peak of the driverless car "hype cycle", as the battle between established car manufacturers and technology companies intensified to produce driverless or autonomous vehicles. However the driverless car phenomenon has escalated very quickly in recent months with Uber, Google and now traditional car manufacturer Ford having announced their plans to create and test self-driving vehicles, and rumors surfacing of Apple acquiring McLaren.
The US has also recently issued Federal proposed guidelines setting out 15 benchmarks car manufacturers will need to meet before their autonomous vehicles can hit the road. Ford is currently developing in-car connectivity, ride-sharing and autonomous technologies through its subsidiary; Ford Smart Mobility (FSM) and will launch its self-driving car by 2021. This vehicle will come without a steering wheel, an accelerator or pedals -- an image of a car that was probably unimaginable a decade ago and the battle for the dashboard becomes easier to imagine.
The term DevOps is being thrown around a lot in the IT industry at the moment, but what exactly does it mean and, more importantly, how can it help an enterprise?
As a combination of developer and operations, DevOps looks to bring these two different areas of digital business together to provide the perfect combination of innovation and user-focused processes during software development. Continuous deployment and continuous delivery are both important aspects of this and, when adopting DevOps, it is vitally important that businesses assess which one is right for them. It also looks towards the automation of delivering changes to infrastructure and software.
Most people will be familiar with Moore’s Law which states that the number of transistors it’s possible to get on a microprocessor doubles every 18 months. If this holds true it means that some time in the 2020s we’ll be measuring these circuits on an atomic scale.
You might think that that’s where everything comes to a juddering halt. But the next step from this is the creation of quantum computers which use the properties of atoms and molecules to perform processing and memory tasks.
The ability to think is one of the things that marks us out as human, "I think therefore I am", as the philosopher René Descartes put it. But what if machines were able to mimic human thought processes? This is the basic premise behind cognitive computing.
In order to replicate human thought processes, cognitive computing uses techniques like pattern recognition, data mining and natural language processing. The ultimate goal is to be able to make computer systems that are capable of solving complex problems without needing human assistance to prompt them in the right direction. Computing giant IBM, which is one of the leaders in the field, describes this as "systems that learn at scale, reason with purpose and interact with humans naturally".
Bringing information technology into line with the needs of the business is frequently a problem. ITIL -- originally known as Information Technology Infrastructure Library -- is aimed at resolving this by establishing a set of rules for IT service management (ITSM).
The ITIL framework is geared to standardizing the choosing, planning, delivery and support of business IT services. The intention is to deliver greater efficiency and predictable service levels.
In the early days of business computing, the technology was seen as a supporting tool to help speed up processes like preparing accounts or controlling stock. But as information technology has found its way into more and more areas of business, it’s become increasingly important that IT should be aligned with the needs of the business and be able to deliver added value.
For this to be effective businesses need to have policies and procedures in place to plan, deliver, control and operate the IT services they offer either internally or to outside customers. All of these activities can be drawn together under the umbrella title of IT service management.
For the vast majority of organizations, customers should be the number one priority. Without their support, revenue streams dry up and businesses quickly fail. For small businesses that have a face-to-face relationship with their clients keeping them happy is straightforward, but in larger organizations ensuring that the relationship between business and customer is as positive as it can be is not always easy.
Imagine being in charge of a global, multi-national company with thousands of customers in disparate locations. Each of these customers has their own specific needs and businesses can’t afford to treat them all as a single homogeneous entity. At the other end of the scale, even growing businesses can struggle to manage their customer relationships because of limited resources. Fortunately, customer relationship management software is on hand to help businesses of all sizes and across a wide range of industries.
I am frequently tasked with providing an expert opinion on whether photographs have been digitally manipulated or not. A simple examination can often reveal some limited information, but to get more accurate results, we need to look beyond a simple visual examination.
Looking at a photograph, there are things to look out for when determining if it’s been digitally manipulated. If the photograph is one of a series taken in burst mode, there may be inconsistencies between the set, such as light/tone variations, or pixel aspect ratio. In saying this, though, this isn’t conclusive, and a more in-depth analysis is needed.