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Tech Strides, Tech Worries and Tech Visions: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 1
January 8, 2020
If you're turned off by the mere thought of talking heads vying to speak the loudest or the longest in a TV "discussion" of some pressing issue of the day, read on for a refreshing dose of sanity. ECT News Network recruited five smart people with plenty to say about the state of technology, and we gave them plenty of time to say it. The result is a far-ranging intercourse.
CES 2020: Prepare to Be Amazed
January 6, 2020
Every year I look forward to CES being over. That's not because it isn't interesting -- it is. It's because the place is a nightmare to get around, thanks to some incredibly stupid decisions that turn Las Vegas into a gridlocked mess. Coming right after the holidays, it destroys more family vacations than any other event short of a long driving trip with very young children.
Don't Expect Too Much From Electric Trucks
January 4, 2020
With the rise of electric cars, it was only a matter of time before electric trucks hit the market. Several electric vehicle startups -- including Bollinger, Lordstown Motors, Rivian and Workhorse -- have been working on developing electric pickup trucks for several years, but none have come to market yet. However, it was Tesla's announcement of the Cybertruck that ignited interest in the market.
2010 - 2019: Product of the Decade
December 30, 2019
As we get to the end of December, I typically pick my product of the year, but this is also the end of the decade, so I'll go back and look at the prior products of the year, name my pick for this year, and then pick my product of the decade. 2010 was an easy choice as the iPad came out and scared the hell out of the entire PC market. Its release made the whole "PC is Dead" thing real.
Is Privacy Possible in 2020?
December 27, 2019
The California Consumer Protection Act goes into effect in 2020, and other state and federal laws are on the horizon -- but is it possible that these state laws will really provide us privacy? How many readers take the time to read the privacy policy, or click agreement, when they download a new version of an app on their smartphone or tablet? Probably none. What are the consequences?
Using Technology to Fix the Flawed Impeachment Process
December 23, 2019
When the U.S. president was impeached last week, it surfaced the fact that impeachment, and particularly the removal of a U.S. president, is a process that doesn't work. Throughout U.S. history, there have been 45 presidents, and given that no one trains for that job, you'd figure several would have been removed for cause. However, impeachment has been attempted three times without a removal.
Shield Healthcare: Serving the Poor, Poorly
December 23, 2019
Sometimes when you tug on the thread of a small customer service failure, you unravel a big skein of much knottier problems. That happened when Shield Healthcare didn't send "Great Aunt Nelly" her shipment of medical supplies on time. There are many people like Nelly in the U.S. -- elderly and disabled folks who depend in part or entirely on government assistance to get by.
Is Your Health Data at Risk?
December 20, 2019
We've recently seen much breathless news coverage of the Nightingale Project, Google's half-secret partnership with Ascension, the second-largest healthcare system in the U.S. The details of the project -- which involves sharing the healthcare data of tens of millions of unsuspecting patients -- have raised significant concerns. The concerns have centered around issues that by now are familiar.
Just Wait Till Next Year
December 18, 2019
For the last 15 years I've written year end articles on where we've been and where we're going in CRM and more broadly in tech. This year it struck me that the major topics that were important in 2019 would be equally important in 2020. In my mind there are several clusters of things that have sticking power. For starters, platform will be a bigger story than it already is.
The Human Problems Underlying Intel's Diversity Report
December 16, 2019
When Intel released its diversity report last week, it got pounded for the lack of diversity in its executive staff. Intel is one of the few companies being transparent about diversity. Given that lack of diversity is the problem we want to solve, the bashing is stupid. It is only going to make it harder to address the problem. In effect, Intel did the right thing and was punished for it.
Should Discord Be in Your Incident Response Toolbox?
December 11, 2019
Cybersecurity incident response teams have choices when it comes to communication tools: Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom and numerous others. Some require a subscription or commercial license -- others are free. Some are niche tools specifically designed for incident response. Some are generic business communication tools that IR teams have adapted for use during a cybersecurity incident.
Should Oracle Split?
December 9, 2019
We're used to discussing M&As in the tech sector, but splitting a company into two parts is a rarity. Analysts always have to ask who benefits and how? Shareholders? Other stakeholders, including customers? Employees? Why does this not happen more often? Surely businesses outgrow their markets' demands, but more often than not a business will sell itself to a suitor rather than splitting.
A Secret Strategy That Could Be Apple's Fatal Self-Inflicted Blow
December 9, 2019
Both Intel and a bunch of professors connected to Apple and the FTC came out in support of the Judge Koh verdict against Qualcomm, even though it had been shown that the foundational evidence was manufactured contrary to the wishes of the DoJ, DoD and other major government agencies. That was well after Qualcomm was identified as a critical part of the U.S. defense against Huawei's 5G dominance.
The New Era of Account-Based Marketing
December 7, 2019
B2B marketing is evolving -- and it's not just the industry itself. Vendor marketing efforts with customers can and should evolve as well. When you see a vendor selected repeatedly, or it officially earns a designation as a preferred vendor, it's a sign of marketing evolution. Most B2B marketing efforts begin from a cold start. Either a vendor is new or it is entering a new market.
Dreamforce Points to New Disruption
December 4, 2019
There were more than 170,000 people at Dreamforce a couple of weeks ago, and many more watching from afar. Also, there were well over 2,000 sessions. Numerous announcements sprang from the big Salesforce event. Some announcements and sessions, like the Tim Cook fireside chat, stand out. Of the top six, I reckon that five were more about integration and working across vendor boundaries than CRM.
Tapping AI for a Future of Better, Faster, Cheaper Gift Shopping
December 2, 2019
If you are like me, every Christmas you dread shopping because figuring out what everyone wants is a bit of a nightmare. You don't know what folks want in your price range. If you find out, there is no easy way to be sure they haven't bought it themselves, or that someone else didn't get it for them. Choosing sizes and colors adds to the nightmare. These problems aren't limited to Christmas.
HPC and AI Are Changing the World
November 30, 2019
During the recent SC19 supercomputing conference, the top semiconductor and systems vendors discussed and demoed the highest-performance computing solutions in the world. While it's easy to imagine these platforms solving some of the most challenging problems, and simulating everything from the human genome to climate change, there are thousands of other applications that can benefit as well.
You've Come a Long Way, Linux-Baby
November 27, 2019
When Linux first emerged from its cocoon in a frenzied Usenet thread, it is doubtful that almost anyone imagined the project would ascend to global prominence. Even more astonishingly, its dominance was driven as much, if not more, by its adoption by the private sector -- although it posed an antithesis to its business model -- as by any of its other notable traits.
How the Quantum Tech Race Puts the World's Data at Risk
November 27, 2019
The technology one-upmanship between the United States and China is fast becoming the new space race. There's been a lot of talk in the press about the competition to reach 5G, but little traction outside of the tech community about something more momentous: the dangers of computing in a post-quantum world. The recent news from Google about its quantum capabilities is exciting.
Consider Service Mesh as a Security Tool
November 26, 2019
If you're like most security pros, chances are you're starting to get frustrated with microservices a little -- or maybe a lot. Microservice architectures -- that is, architectures that leverage REST to build a number of small, distributed, modular components -- are powerful from a software architect's point of view. Want to make a change to a component quickly? Add new functionality?
Demystifying 5G - It's Real and It's Here
November 26, 2019
Every decade the wireless industry transitions to a new cellular technology, and every generation there are doubts about it. This continues with 5G. I have heard from consumers and even people within the industry that there is "no need for 5G," "5G is only for businesses," "5G won't be available until 2025," "mmWave is only for fixed wireless access," and "radiation from mmWave is harmful."
Thanks, Analysts, for Doing a High Risk, Low Reward Job
November 25, 2019
I'd like to dedicate this column to the analysts out there who are fighting the good fight -- who are risking their careers, reputations, and sometimes even their lives to do the right thing, often without credit, and knowing that doing the right thing can exact incredible personal costs. Being an analyst, I'm often reminded that other jobs depend on my doing my job right.
Why a Single Source of Truth Often Isn't
November 21, 2019
This week, Salesforce used its annual Dreamforce mega-show to make a host of announcements, ranging from contact center partnership with Amazon to a smart speaker tool for sales. For the most part, the keynote featured practical applications of Salesforce technology. Some Dreamforces focus on the highly aspirational; others focus on the ways to attain those aspirations. This year is the latter.
You Might Owe Cryptocurrency-Related Taxes
November 20, 2019
Got your attention? We thought so. In a recently published Notice, the IRS seems to be offering some cautionary advice about the legal risks associated with using cryptocurrencies to avoid capital gains taxes. Likely displeased by the use of cryptocurrencies to avoid reporting capital gains, the IRS may be signaling its intent to crack down on cryptocurrency trading activity.
Banishing Bias From the Leadership Selection Process
November 18, 2019
I'm spending a lot of time these days looking at the evolving market for artificial intelligence and the problem of bias. I think the problem in part is due to confirmation bias -- the need to look only at the information that agrees with a position already set. Another contributing factor is the lack of a set of metrics that we can apply consistently. AI systems will face similar problems.
Salesforce and Microsoft in Another Deal
November 14, 2019
With Dreamforce approaching, it's no surprise that Salesforce is making a flurry of announcements. What is surprising are two big ones involving partnering with other vendors, mostly on infrastructure -- announcements that I believe make the idea of an information utility more real with each passing day. I see evidence of an information utility forming.
The Information Utility, Continued
November 13, 2019
I've been sharing my theory on the formation of an information utility for some time now. Various big vendors have announced alliances with that kind of aim. For instance, Oracle and Microsoft announced an effort to make their cloud databases interoperate, and Microsoft and others have announced common data model projects. Now Salesforce, AWS and Genesys have teamed up with The Linux Foundation.
Previewing Dreamforce 2019
November 13, 2019
Dreamforce is next week. Once again, the sold-out show will be headquartered at San Francisco's Moscone Center and overflowing to neighboring hotels. Over the years Dreamforce has become the Las Vegas of trade shows in one important respect. Both are famous for being bastions of excess. Vegas has excesses of the sensual kind, while Dreamforce offers a business and technology equivalent.
Tech Company Standouts for Giving Veterans Their Due
November 11, 2019
Today is Veterans Day. I got a note last week from Joe Sestak, one of the shrinking field of United States presidential candidates, reminding me that we should observe a moment of silence in recognition of our veterans today. We've asked these people to put their lives on the line for us, and we get a day to offer our thanks. Giving our thanks is the least we can do.
The CRM-ization of Healthcare
November 6, 2019
We've been watching the CRM-ization of healthcare for a while. Salesforce recently embarked on parallel paths. The obvious option was to build tools that enabled users to craft systems of engagement. The second started when the company also began reaching out to various industrial sectors with its technology and those of some partners. The result has been a vibrant vertical industry approach.
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