The growth in high-speed internet connectivity across Europe, the increasing adoption of cloud services, the consumerization of IT and the move towards mobile working are all trends that, in theory, play to the strengths of SMBs -- allowing them to compete more effectively.
The proliferation towards cloud-based services such as Skype, Google Drive and Salesforce is also making life easier for employees -- allowing staff to access content from anywhere and work collaboratively. However, research of 2,500 European office-based workers recently conducted by ZyXEL, has found that while SMBs are starting to make the most of new technologies and services, there are inconsistencies with the progress being made in each country.
Data security is a big concern for both individuals and businesses. This doesn't only apply to the public face of a business, but to exchange of information and collaboration between employees too.
Canadian company Witkit is launching a new platform that allows the creation of teams and groups within industries, companies, and departments to tackle projects and solve problems collectively, with the safety and security of knowing their data cannot be breached.
Microsoft has released its earnings report for Q2 FY2015 (that's Q4 CY2014 for everyone else), revealing figures that closely match analyst expectations. The software giant achieved $26.5 billion in revenue, with operating income coming in at $7.8 billion. Gross margin and diluted earnings per share were $16.3 billion and $0.71, respectively. However, in after-hours trading, Microsoft's shares dropped by $2, or 4.28 percent, to $45 per share.
Microsoft has delivered some good news through its earnings report concerning its Devices and Consumer part of the business. Surface revenue reached $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter, which translates to a healthy increase of 24 percent over Q2 FY2014. Lumia sales topped 10.5 million, which, again, is better than the same quarter from a year prior as well as the previous quarter, Q1 FY2015. And the list goes on.
It is fair to say that Windows Phone still needs quite a few major titles in Store before the so-called app-gap can be considered a thing of the past. Take cloud storage services for example. You can embrace OneDrive if you want to stick with Microsoft services, or, as an alternative, use Box. But neither Dropbox nor Google Drive are an option. Both are hugely popular services, and their availability can be a deal-breaker for prospective Windows Phone users.
The good news is that at least Dropbox's availability on Windows Phone is no longer an issue, as the cloud storage service just launched its app in Store. It's undeniably a major win for the tiled smartphone operating system, which has consistently been criticized for lacking an official Dropbox client.
Windows Phone is the last major mobile platform to receive an official Mega app, following Android, iOS and even BlackBerry. It took quite a long time for the offering to make its public debut in Store, as the cloud storage service, which launched two years ago, first mentioned details surrounding its development in mid-2013.
Expectations are high, also taking into account the fact that Mega currently sits in Windows Phone Store as version 2.0. What does it have to offer? Well, let's take a look at the features it has, and should have.
Increased reliance on systems and data means that downtime and loss of information is a greater problem than ever before.
Disaster recovery specialist Vision Solutions has launched the latest version of its annual State of Resilience report which highlights the trends and challenges for business and IT leaders.
In order to gain a competitive edge marketers are keen to gain insight from customer data. But the information may be spread across various systems and the cloud, making it hard to access.
In response to this problem marketing software company AgilOne is launching a product built from the ground up to unify online and offline data integration, cleansing, insights and campaigns, seamlessly bridging the worlds of digital and offline marketing.
Public cloud services put a lot of resources into managing their systems in order to provide an efficient service with automated infrastructure and self-service features.
For businesses wanting to implement their own private clouds, however, achieving a similar level of service can be difficult. They often turn to solutions like OpenStack but fail to reach its full potential thanks to a lack of the resources and skills required.
You just gotta love Amazon. This morning, at long last, I received my invitation for Echo, the sizzlingly voice-controled streaming speaker that I raved about just two months ago. As a Prime member, I pay half-price, just $99. What a deal! Since then, I jealously waited while reading what others blogged about how much they enjoyed their Echoes. The device fits squarely where I contend is the next iteration in user interfaces: voice. Touch is just so passé.
In retail, customer impressions are everything. My first reaction was excitement, but the second turned it to dust. This thing won't ship until sometime between May and July? Seriously? It's like a bad Consumer Electronics Show joke, where the hottest tech device in this solar system debuts in January, but sales don't start until November. Don't sell me something I can't get for at least five fraking months!
Legacy systems and the cloud. The two do sound incongruous. When we think of legacy systems, we often recall those old cartoons where a computer took up the better part of a wall and was attended by harried-looking attendants in white lab coats. Of course, it has been a while since legacy systems have been quite so physically massive. They’re often still massive enough, though, to consume a lot of hardware. Maybe that’s why it’s still hard to imagine legacy systems taking up residence in the cloud, though that’s more and more frequently exactly what they’re doing.
And they’re often doing quite well in their cloud abodes, which sometimes represent a significant savings on their old legacy hardware. In fact, moving these old applications can drastically cut the data center budget.
Moving systems and data to the cloud is increasingly common, but it inevitably leads to concerns about security and those worries are now reaching the boardroom.
This is according to new research by the non-profit Cloud Security Alliance which looks at how companies are currently approaching the cloud, including their views on shadow IT, obstacles preventing cloud adoption, and security priorities.
It’s been a fascinating 2014 for the cloud. Some very niche technologies are hitting the mainstream, while the debate over data protection and governance clearly isn’t going away any time soon.
So, we predict the cloud will rise high in 2015 -- but how (and where) it is tethered to the ground will matter more than ever:
Three weeks ago I asked "What tech changed your life in 2014?" You answered here and on Google+. As the new year starts, I wonder what will make all our lives better. Apple Watch? I doubt it. Shake me awake from the nightmare if the wearable isn't the most successful flop of 2015. Windows 10? Skipping nine is a good sign, but is giving users more of what they don't want to let go life changing? Eh, no.
At the precipice of looking ahead, this is a last look behind. Once Consumer Electronics Show leaks and early announcements rush the InterWebs, all eyes will turn forward -- blind to what many people have, focusing on what they want instead. That's because "aspiration" is the defining word of the technology era, and the promise if you buy newfangled This or That your life will be better for it. Sometimes the promise is true, but too often not, which is why I asked the important question three weeks ago.
Looking back on this last day of the year, I wonder how my daily tech changed so much since the first. On Jan. 1, 2014, my core computing comprised Chromebook, Nexus tablet, and Nexus smartphone. Midyear, I switched out to all Microsoft—buying Surface Pro 3 and Nokia Lumia Icon. While commendable the effort, Windows poorly fit my lifestyle. Today, I'm all Apple—13-inch MacBook Pro Retina Display with 512GB SSD, iPhone 6 128GB, and iPad Air 128GB. I can't imagine using anything else.
Following the lead of my BetaNews colleagues Mihaita Bamburic, Ian Barker, Alan Buckingham, Brian Fagioli, and Wayne Williams, I review my year in tech, and unlike 2013 focus on products that released during the year. I present my 2014 personal tech alphabetically, from company name, rather than order of importance—because they all matter. Note: While the list looks like four, it's five because the first is two combined.