Information Technology Posts

Westfield has Designed the Mall of the Future

Westfield is working to create the mall of the future.

The malls are looking to bridge the gap between digital and brick-and-mortar retail locations. Whereas once digital shopping might have been seen as a threat to mall shopping, Westfield hopes that instead it will become an enhancement.

One way its incorporating the digital world into the physical one is through the use of beacons. Placed around the mall, the beacons allow a customer’s phone to determine where in the mall the person is, even down to the storefront their standing in front of. That has huge advantages for navigation, but also offers retailer the opportunity to market directly to a customer that’s already in front of their store.

Peter Lowy, co-CEO and partner at Westfield Labs stated in a recent speech at UCLA that is very important for mobile and other technologies to draw consumers to physical locations and to streamline their experience with retailers both in person and remotely.
For instance, a customer standing outside a show store might get a push notification on his phone offering a discount on athletic shoes.

The beacons also allow a shopping mall to be searchable, just like Amazon. If you’re looking for a belt, for instance, you can search for belts within the mall’s app and see all of the stores in the building where you could potentially pick one up. When you select a place, sometimes the app can help you navigate not only to the store, but to the belt rack inside it.

In London, Westfield is taking that idea step further. When customers arrive at the mall, their license plate is scanned and they’re directed to the nearest parking space to the store they’re trying to go to. Suggestions are made on where that person might want to shop based on their recent browsing history, and the whole experience is customized for each individual, so shoppers are able to get a personal shopper experience while simply using their phone.

Some Westfield locations also offer online shopping within their walls, literally. The malls have virtual stores that are built into the wall of the building, serving essentially as a computer screen where orders can be placed and paid for. The novelty of accomplishing that task within the wall of a mall is a huge draw, and products can potentially be things that are exclusive to the mall, or not traditionally available in an online environment. The best part of that types of shopping? You can have your items delivered to your home, so you don’t have to tote heavy bags all the way home.

The mall of the future is coming. Are you ready?

 

The Best Mobile Applications for Improving Team Collaboration

Teamwork is very important, but can sometimes be extremely stressful. Managing a team of people and dividing tasks among everyone can sometimes be more work than the actual project itself. It is important to have a good stream of open communication among all team members and for everyone to be on the same page. Technology continues to simplify our lives and make things more organized before our eyes. We have three mobile applications for you, which will maximize team collaboration.

Latista
Latista is an easy-to-use application for construction teams to manage projects out in the field. This field management software makes all project documents digital and easy for all workers to monitor and utilize. The building information modeling (BIM) displays 3D representations of the project, which make it simple to navigate the model. This application has allowed construction teams to cut down on both costs and project times. Enhanced efficiency is being brought to the construction industry with Latista.

Talko
Talko was launched by Ray Ozzie who is a former executive of Microsoft. Talko embodies the function of communication and group work. This messaging application is designed to bring people and different teams together. Audio messaging is a main feature of this application, which helps you remember the value of the voice, even though there is still a messaging function on the app. The push-to-talk feature allows you to talk with those who are available and leave a message if someone isn’t immediately available.

Wunderlist
Wunderlist is an application being utilized by businesses everywhere designed to make your to-do list go beyond that of a post-it note. Wunderlist is a new way to manage your to-do list and creates a much larger to-do list for a company or a team within a company. The application has reminders, due dates and notes, which help keep everyone included in the list on track. The application also has a subtasks feature that breaks long lists down into smaller lists. List making comes alive with Wunderlist!

Banks Must Prepare for State-Sponsored Cyber Crime

In a survey of 36 financial firms in the UK, the Bank of England revealed it found no immediate gaps in their IT defenses but warned against complacency.

A senior Bank of England executive said the regulator will be going back to banks again to check that improvements are made in certain areas.

In a security conference speech, Bank of England director Andrew Gracie said banks should be prepared for the highest level security attacks, including state-sponsored intrusions. “Given the importance of these firms to the stability of the financial system, this implies a level of resilience that goes beyond basic cyber hygiene but aims instead to ensure that firms are in a position to manage advanced persistent threats that are the hallmark of some state-sponsored attackers,” he said.

He warned that cyber security should not be the responsibility of junior IT staff and company boards need to get involved.

Gracie also encouraged financial firms to get involved with ethical hacks that enable companies to test each other’s security defenses.

Read the full article here.

Source: computerweekly.com

The Next Silicon Valley

In a room packed with state dignitaries, reporters and political leaders, Gov. Brian Sandoval delivered a surprise in his State of the State address: a bold statement about the future of technology in Nevada.

Las Vegas data company Switch, he said, will dole out $2 billion to build 4.5 million square feet of additional warehouse space in Las Vegas and Reno, bringing an estimated 5,000 new jobs to the economy.

“This will make Nevada the most digitally-connected state in the United States of America,” Sandoval said.

The announcement came just a few months after electric car giant Tesla Motors unveiled plans to build a $6 billion gigafactory near Reno and well into Zappos founder Tony Hsieh’s ongoing quest to revitalize downtown Las Vegas by attracting tech startups.

But is it enough to put Nevada on the map as a tech contender that one day might compete with hubs such as Silicon Valley and Boston?

Those who contend Las Vegas is poised for a tech revolution say the evolution has been a long time in the making and point to the failure of energy giant Enron as our very own tipping point moment.

The journey began in the late 1990s, when Enron planned to build a massive network of fiber optic cables in our desert to feed the country’s growing demand for access to the worldwide web. Investors were enthusiastic about the expansion into Las Vegas, where the dry weather, lack of rain and easy tax structure made the project a no-brainer.

After spending millions of dollars to connect fiber optics providers to a single center in the southwest valley and in the process making Las Vegas one of the most connected places in the country, Enron declared bankruptcy. Switch founder Rob Roy swooped in and bought the network.

Today, Switch headquarters is a hub attached to thousands of fiber optic cables that run under Las Vegas, connecting the city to telecommunications networks from more than 25 providers, such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T. It’s a place so connected, Fortune 500 companies including eBay and PayPal flock to an unassuming slice of suburbia in Southwest Las Vegas to process financial transactions. Over the past 15 years, Switch has grown ten-fold.

Continue here to read the rest of the article.

Source: lasvegassun.com

Internet Of Everything: It’s All About The Ecosystem

A recent chat with my doctor revealed new insight on life cycles of connected medical devices and the need for an integrated infrastructure to support future IoT devices.

You can’t have a technology discussion today without the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT), or better yet, “Internet of Everything” showing up. This makes sense, since the latest Gartner hype cycle report places “Internet of Things” at the peak of the hype cycle (ousting big data from the top spot.)

IoT is so pervasive I even had a conversation with my cardiologist this week about it. While I was in for the annual 10,000-mile checkup of my pacemaker, I mentioned that at the recent MassTLC Innovation UnConference, the topic of connected devices was hot (see my blog, MassTLC Innovation UnConference 2014 – Views from an UnConference Neophyte). This triggered a lively discussion with my doctor. Many of the points he made I found very applicable to the technology as a whole, and they provided insight into the Internet of Everything from the viewpoint of a healthcare professional.

Product lifecycle expectations
According to my doctor, based on current usage, my 10-year-old pacemaker has about five years left. I told him that at the MassTLC conference the topic of product lifecycle for devices in the IoT world was widely discussed. The expected lifecycle for these devices tends to be significantly longer than other IT technologies, putting a different level of consideration on the design and development of both the hardware and the software. My doctor noted that the lifecycle for implantable devices is a delicate balance for vendors and doctors. Doctors (and payers) do not want frequent surgeries replacing devices, whereas vendors who are developing new products need a customer base to sell these products.

Continue reading…

Source: informationweek.com

Punch List Apps for Construction Management

Smart Bid Net has designed a list of the foremost architecture, engineering, valuation and construction venture management software applications for contractors, project management and architects. The methodology, the standardized theoretical reasoning of the methods related to a field of study, was easily screen out the insignificant apps. Then these will be group by trade and functionality, and ranked by classification as well as their how prevalent they are.

In addition, it authorizes users to maintain course of subcontractor and vendor’s lines of communication open from their phones.

The ease, accuracy and quickness using pre-prepared templates can be achieved in just four simple efficient steps. Measure, pre-designed cutouts build measurements to instinctively calculating your business data. The process of layering, tracking, measurements automatically group them, them can be filtered, batched and exported to Excel.

Latista Field’s cutting edge technology offers a secure cloud base explanation proven to condense exorbitant rework, interruption and excessive paperwork while expanding efficiencies within your construction business. At your fingertips, convenient mobile answer is drafted to comply with the distinctive demands of individuals in the field.

The app is capable of managing thousands of concerns exactly on project drawings while attaching marked up changes on the specific drawings, necessary photos, additional sketches, or any required reference information to automatically to deliver reports to accountable parties with the effortlessly applied. It is also possible to support a general language for the punch list making project participants utilize the similar names for various matters on the job site, and conviction requirements.

Latista Field punch list template app can assist you by quickly planning also identifying topics in the field. Arranging work flows including user permits to correlate your existing processes is another advantage working with a punch list.

Upcoming Technology Conferences

Overview
On any given day of the year, technology conferences are taking place around the globe. While a few cover very focused areas, others are broad and include a selection of diverse teams and presentations that are favored by people from an extensive array of backgrounds. One singular purpose that comes from attending technology-based conferences is being able to allocate the general idea of offering participants a face-to-face familiarity with the information. This may mean either the most up to date video games, or a training program on the outlook of cloud computing. Either way it provides the participants with an opportunity that a group skype or magazine experience does not offer. It also allows the conference participant to be able to network with the top individuals in the industry, as well as likeminded businesses, so as to launch more extensive professional contacts and develop brand identification with prospective clients.

2014 Technology Conferences
This year offers the opportunity to attend some interesting technology conferences. While one will not be able to attend all of them, give the high costs of tickets and travel, here are a few to consider attending. These are Velocity Web Performance and Operations, Lean Startup Conference, Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored, Techweek and InfusionCon.

Benefits of Participating in Technology Conferences
There are several significant benefits that come from participating in technology conferences. The first is the ability to conduct professional networking with the big wigs in the industry. This face-to-face opportunity allows one to interact with those that may be needed for future partnerships and business ventures. It also helps for one in search of employment. The conversations that take place at such conferences provide one with an edge in a fast changing industry.
A second reason is that of seeing the latest technology developments. Attending technology conferences allows one to get hands-on display of the prospective outlook for the consumer markets. By attending these conferences, one is able to learn about the next big startup or gadget, and anticipate the competition, or try to develop a way to work with them.
A third reason is that of business Perspective. Many speakers at these conferences are usually the leaders of the industry. The information they provide are normally astute and reliable. As a participant one may be able to capitalize on this information, and find it useful. This may prove more effective than having to pay a consultant to provide less effective knowledge. Lastly, many discounts and promo codes are usually offered at these conferences. This offers the attendees the opportunity to save money that is not available even on the company’s website.

Smartphone Displays May Bend and not Break

Right now Apple uses Gorilla glass to provide a scratch resistant surface for their smartphone displays. But as tough as that glass is, it will still shatter on impact. Recent rumors report that Apple is considering replacing their current Gorilla glass with sapphire-coated glass in their next generation of the popular iPhone. But there may be an alternative to simply “toughening up” the smartphone displays every generation. Instead new technology could allow smartphone displays to bend instead of breaking.

Inspired by nature, Professor Francois Barthelat and his team at McGill’s Department of Mechanical Engineering used the mechanics found in structures like seashells to increase the resilience of glass slides by over two-hundred times, as compared to regular glass slides. This feat was achieved by engraving micro-crack networks on the surface of borosilicate glass. Engraving configurations of lines, similar in shape to the edge pieces found in a jigsaw puzzle, stops cracks from spreading and becoming bigger.

These networks of micro-cracks were then filled with polyurethane. According to Professor Barthelat, this secondary process is not essential, since the patters engraved on the glass are sufficient by themselves to stop glass from shattering.

The inspiration, mollusk shells, is made of about 95% chalk, which is quite brittle. But the nacre, or mother-of-pearl, which coats the inner lining of the shells, is made up of microscopic tablets. These tablets are exceedingly strong and resilient, which is the reason why scientists have been studying their structure for more than twenty years.
According to Professor Barthelat, previous attempts to recreate the mollusk structures have proved to be difficult.

“Imagine trying to build a Lego wall with microscopic building blocks,” Barthelat said.

Instead, his team used lasers to engrave the micrco-crack networks into the glass slides to create similar structures found in the nacre of mollusk shells. Professor Barthelat believes that it shouldn’t be difficult to scale the process up to any size glass sheet, including cell phone displays. The process may also be extendable to polymers and ceramics as well.