Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Business IoT Connections Forecast to Quadruple by 2020

2/23/15 at 2:23 PM by Andrew Burger
Social and political factors are coalescing with technological advances to accelerate enterprises making use of “Internet of Things” (IoT) technology. Though usage is low on an absolute basis, the declining costs of IoT components, such as sensors, connectivity and processing power, are among the key factors fueling enterprise adoption, according to Verizon’s “State of the Market: The Internet of Things (IoT) 2015: Discover How IoT is Transforming Business Results.”

Regulatory changes across industries, along with the falling costs of IoT technology and growing familiarity among enterprises, are adding momentum to enterprise IoT adoption, according to Verizon. “When you look across the spectrum, IoT covers a multitude of solutions, from wearable devices, to remote monitoring of energy management devices to industrial transportation to improve safety and efficiency,” Verizon’s Vice President of IoT Connected Solutions Mark Bartolomeo was quoted in a press release.

“New use cases are created every day; however, the business case for IoT and enterprise adoption often gets overlooked. Within the past year, amid an improving economy, we’ve seen a number of new entrants starting to use IoT as a roadmap to improve their customers’ experiences, accelerate growth and create new business models that are driving societal innovation.”

The emergence of cheaper, off-the-shelf IoT solutions as an alternative to bespoke solutions is also adding momentum to enterprise IoT adoption, Verizon points out.

Business IoT Connections Forecast

Growing use also brings new, and greater, security concerns, however.

Digital certificates, Verizon says, “can help address growing C-suite and public concerns and meet regulatory demands around IoT and security.”

ABI Research, which was commissioned to produce Verizon’s 2015 state of IoT report, forecasts the number of global IoT connections to skyrocket, more than quadrupling between 2014 and 2020 to reach an estimated 5.4 billion.

Enterprise adoption is particularly high among auto manufacturers. Verizon’s telematics experts note that 14 auto manufacturers which account for 80 percent of the global market have connected car strategies.

Health and fitness is another leading economic sector in terms of enterprise IoT adoption. The press release cites an ABI Research forecast calling for organizations to introduce more than 13 million health and fitness tracking devices into the workplace by 2018.

The drive to make cities “smart” is also fueling enterprise IoT adoption. Verizon expects smart city-related IoT applications “will become a critical consideration for companies deciding where to invest and open facilities, due to their impact on operating costs and talent availability.”

Verizon’s IoT Business
Verizon’s own IoT business is growing fast. Year-over-year (YoY) IoT revenue growth came in at 45 percent in 2014, with 4G-LTE activations ballooning 135 percent, the company said. Verizon manages over 15 million IoT-enabled connections across a wide range of industries. By economic sector, the largest users of these machine-to-machine (M2M) connections Verizon is managing and their 2014 growth rates are:
  • Manufacturing: 204 percent;
  • Finance and Insurance: 128 percent;
  • Media and Entertainment: 120 percent;
  • Home Monitoring: 89 percent;
  • Retail and Hospitality: 88 percent;
  • Transportation and Distribution: 83 percent;
  • Energy and Utilities: 49 percent;
  • Public Sector/Smart Cities: 46 percent;
  • Healthcare and Pharmaceutical: 40 percent.
All that said, Verizon found that enterprise IoT adoption is low overall. Just ten percent of enterprises have deployed IoT technologies to any great extent. While enterprises are now familiar with key enabling IoT technologies – sensors, cloud computing and intelligent networking – they are for the most part still at the stage of formulating viable strategies and use cases. Doing so “can be highly complex,” Verizon points out. Additionally, much more needs to be accomplished regarding establishing industry standards, Bartolomeo said.

“As machine-to-machine technology adoption continues to move downstream with millions of endpoints connected, it will change how we see cybersecurity and privacy,” Bartolomeo says. “Our role is to help key decision makers tackle complexities like security head-on by encouraging a more proactive posture in order to create value for their organizations while reducing potential risk.”

CAE Community Website Announced

At the last CAE Community meeting many expressed a desire to have an online community presence for resources, discussions and a mechanism to discuss and review the CAE criteria. This session will give a comprehensive overview and, importantly, a discussion on providing input to the KU's.

We hope you will join us on

Feb 27, 2015 at 12pm PST (3pm EST).

Click Here To Register

or go to CyberWatch West's WebEx homepage at



Contact Dr. Tony Coulson
CWW Co-PI | Faculty Development
Email: tcoulson@csusb.edu


The Current State of Cryptocurrency

Bryan ClarkOn 23rd February, 2015  MakeUseOf
Technology Explained

It’s been a wild ride for cryptocurrency since Bitcoin (BTC) became the first decentralized digital currency in 2009.

Since then, millions of transactions have been made, millions of dollars have been stolen or lost, and we’ve seen the rise of several new cryptocurrencies with exciting and innovative new technology, and safety measures behind them.

It’s an interesting time for the future of digital currency, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t major hurdles to clear before we ever begin to see any sort of widespread adoption. We’re – mostly – on the right track, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant challenges for the fledgling cryptocurrency markets.

While the early days of cryptocurrency were rather notorious due to its widespread usage on dark net sites, such as the – now defunct – Silk Road, we have seen some key mainstream adoption indicators in recent years.

Major Highlights
2014 saw a few big wins for cryptocurrency supporters. Each of these wins puts the currency one step closer to widespread adoption, and I doubt anyone would deny that 2014 brought a lot of momentum and awareness of digital currency – or at least Bitcoin – to the forefront.
Record Setting Bitcoin Prices

In the early stages of Bitcoin, you could buy the currency for less than a penny. In fact, one early user – “laszlo” – used 10,000 Bitcoins to make the first real-world transaction with the currency. He bought 2 pizzas for 10,000 BTC. At its peak value, that 10,000 BTC would have been worth over $10-million USD. That’s some expensive pizza.

Over the years, Bitcoin has seen numerous peaks and subsequent crashes. However, 2014 was a wild ride for the coin as prices maxed out at approximately $1,250 USD before taking a sharp plunge into the low $300’s by April of 2014. The currency has continued its downward momentum since then, and currently sits in the $200’s depending on the marketplace source.

Widespread Media Attention
As the price of a single Bitcoin continued to rise, so did its media profile. Major news outlets like CNN, Fox, CNBC, Al Jazeera, and others jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon and started reporting about digital currency, the upward trajectory, security concerns, and its ultimate collapse. Since then, we’ve seen a sort of disappearance of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in the media, but the attention did bring about some awareness for alternative currencies.
Major Retailer Adoption and the Christmas of 2014

In September of 2014, Overstock.com became the first large retailer to accept Bitcoin. After the initial announcement, the dominoes started to fall and many other retailers began to announce their acceptance of the currency for the upcoming Christmas season. Here are just a few of the companies that jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon that year:
  • Expedia
  • Dell Computers
  • DISH Network
  • Reddit
  • Paypal
  • Tiger Direct
In addition, other major retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Nike and Amazon take Bitcoin (indirectly) through the use of gift cards from companies like: eGifter, Gyft, Giftcard Zen and GiftcardBTC. While there are more stores that won’t accept these cards than those that do, it’s still a positive sign when retailers of this size are accepting Bitcoin – albeit indirectly.
The Rise of Litecoin and Other Alternative Currencies

Until late 2013, it was all about Bitcoin. Other technologies existed in the cryptocurrency space, but none with any real traction or marketshare that came close to that of Bitcoin. In 2013, this began to change, as Litecoin started to gain some real traction, as well as some notable PR. The sudden spike in Litecoin pricing included a 100-percent leap in a single day, as well as a $1-billion USD market cap by the end of 2013. Many started to tout Litecoin as the successor to Bitcoin due to the improved technology and security-related fixes to its supposed predecessor.

The rise of Litecoin planted it firmly in the number two spot, behind industry-leader, Bicoin. This all changed in 2014 when a new kid on the block, Ripple, started to make waves with a change in the core technology behind cryptocurrency and a currency-agnostic approach to the way that cryptocurrency is bought and sold.

The aim of Ripple was to decentralize the exchange points that other services, such as those that Bitcoin relied on to process each transaction. This approach would hypothetically add increased security to each transaction as there was no centralized market to hack, and the liquidity of Ripple allowed multiple ways to buy and to sell the coin, such as: fiat currency (Dollars, Yen, Pesos, Euros, etc.), other forms of cryptocurrency, or technology-related commodity items such as frequent flier miles and mobile minutes.

Strictly speaking, Ripple isn’t a cryptocurrency per se, but rather a decentralized payment network that supports multiple currency exchanges. That said, you can trade Ripple (XRP) like you would any other cryptocurrency, the difference is that it’s relying on other currencies in order to have any real value. This isn’t unlike Bitcoin, which until recently was rather worthless without the ability to cash it out into fiat currency.
Much Cryptocurrency, Many Money, So Doge
Dogecoin is yet another of many new cryptocurrency technologies, but it’s particularly notable due to the press it gained in 2014. The currency itself, which is named after the “Doge” Internet meme featuring a Shiba Inu and seemingly random bits of Comic Sans text, was mostly spurred by its adoption within the Reddit community as a charitable currency for tipping others based on helpful or humorous comments on the site.

Reddit sent the cryptocurrency “to the moon” after using it to raise $50,000 USD to send the Jamaican Bobsled Team to the Sochi Winter Olympics after they qualified, but could not afford to go.

Next, Reddit used the momentum fueled by the media after their Olympic fundraising efforts to raise, and donate 40-million Dogecoin (more than $30,000 USD at the time), before World Water Day on March 22nd. The project was a success, and the money went to funding a well in the Tana river basin in Kenya under the supervision of Charity:Water.

Reddit wasn’t done yet. In March of 2014, the Dogecoin community raised over $50,000 USD to sponsor Nascar Driver, Josh Wise. Wise ran the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Speedway with a Dogecoin and Reddit sponsored paintjob featuring Doge, and the Reddit mascot, Snoo.

Dogecoin has been a fast mover, but still lacks the widespread adoption of other forms of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ripple. It currently sits at the number six spot on the list of cryptocurrencies, in terms of market cap, after peaking as high as third.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for cryptocurrencies. There are widespread fears as to the safety and liquidity of owning the digital currencies, as well as what – if any – government regulations will be made.
Mt. Gox Shutdown
The shutdown of the largest cryptocurrency exchange and its subsequent filings for bankruptcy protection were a major blow to the digital currency markets. However, theproblems with Mt. Gox didn’t start or end there.

Over its notorious history, Mt. Gox had its share of problems. They ranged from withdrawal freezes, to multiple trading incidents (one which resulted in the price of BTC on the network to temporarily drop to 1 cent), lawsuits, missing or lost coins, and ultimately a seizure of funds by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

After closing the doors for good, stories began to circulate – and were confirmed by Mt. Gox – that over its short history it had lost over 600,000 BTC that could have been worth over $800-million USD depending on when they were lost or stolen.
Chinese Restrictions
As Bitcoin soared to record levels at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, much of this success was attributed to additional demand in China. By the end of 2013, China started to reverse this trend after fears related to government action induced a panic and large scale sale of Bitcoin back into the open market. This influx of newly available coins led to sharp price drops in the market and a panic sale for many of those outside of China. The Chinese-induced panic was initially caused by China’s Central Bank issuing an order for financial institutions to stop accepting the currency, and further sent the cryptocurrency market spiraling when this ban extended to online payment processors such as YeePay.

As China began to pull out of the Bitcoin market in late 2013, the increased demand led to the price of each coin falling to approximately $300 USD by April of 2014.
Where Do We Go From Here?

Apple Pay and Google Wallet continues to improve, the future of cryptocurrency begins to look a lot brighter. One of the major hurdles to widespread adoption is the lack of a physical form of payment such as cash or a credit card, and instead relying on a digital transaction to purchase goods from brick and mortar retailers. As digital wallet adoption increases (if and when that happens) and more people become comfortable with the idea of digital wallets that process cash and credit card transaction instantly, currencies such as Bitcoin become infinitely more viable.

The future of cryptocurrency is exciting, but in order to ever reach mainstream consumer adoption, many things still have to happen, such as: increased retail adoption, trust in digital wallets, and improvements to security in cryptocurrency protocols. If, and only if, all of these things happen, cryptocurrency could just take over the world.

Image credit: Bitcoins by Zach Copley, Bitcoin Accepted by Theresa Rios, Litecoin by BTC Keychain, Google Wallet by Eric Pakurar, all via Flickr; Ripple Logo via Wikimedia Commons

Employers seek grads with 'soft skills' more than specific majors

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Assumption College senior Courtney Woods, left, talks about post-graduation employment as Nikki DiOrio, director of the school's Career Development and Internship Center, listens at the college in Worcester. (T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN)

Faced with a competitive job market, college students might want to choose majors in hot career fields such as business administration or exercise science.

But a recent survey of employers suggests that anthropology, philosophy and other liberal arts studies may be just as good or better for students' long-term career success.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities released a report last month, "Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success," which found nearly all employers, 91 percent of those surveyed, agreed that for career success, "a candidate's demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is more important than his or her undergraduate major."

When hiring recent graduates, employers most highly valued skills and knowledge that cut across majors, including written and oral communication, teamwork skills, ethical decision making, critical thinking and the ability to apply knowledge in real-world settings.

The survey results ring true to Central Massachusetts-area employers and liberal arts institutions, which are working to help students apply broad fields of knowledge to problem-solving and skill-building in career settings.

"What sometimes is characterized as soft skills is often mentioned as most important to employers," Timothy P. Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce said.

"You do need to be solid and expert and competent ...," he continued, "Equally important is the ability to communicate written and orally."

The chamber launched a Higher Education-Business Partnership to help employers develop a workforce pipeline among the region's 12 higher education institutions and to give college and graduate students exposure to "real-world situations and expectations employers have."

The initiative, which includes career fairs, internship resources, participation in the Worcester Student Government Association and a program to help entrepreneurs grow and expand, also is intended to "move that needle by letting students know there are world-class companies here and great futures in front of them," Mr. Murray said.

Assumption College student Courtney M. Woods, a senior from Tewksbury who is majoring in accounting, said that her broad course work, which included classes like theology, art and politics, psychology and English, added value to her accounting program.

But what really sparked her marketability, she said, was her leadership and teamwork skills developed through student government (she is senior class president), Campus Activities Board, internships, tutoring and community service.

Ms. Woods received two job offers in her field last fall and accepted a position with DiCicco, Gulman & Co., a public accounting firm in Woburn.

She will go through a monthlong training program and work under senior staff for on-the-job guidance after she starts.

"I think with being so involved on campus, that helped me with the interview process," Ms. Woods said. "Most of my interview, we barely talked about accounting. We mainly talked about what I've done on campus. They want to know: Can we send you out and put you in front of our clients?"

"We're seeing these broad-based skills come up over and over, and that's what our local and regional recruiters tell us," said Nikki DiOrio, director of the Career Development & Internship Center at Assumption. "We put a lot of emphasis at Assumption on experiential learning."

Ms. DiOrio works one-on-one with students to help them think creatively about how they might get experience for a potential career interest.

She said, "Service is a great way to build some of the skills that employers are looking for."

Besides offering numerous community service opportunities locally and across the country, the CDIC sponsors annual career networking events such as speed networking with alumni and small groups of students.

Ms. DiOrio concurred with the survey findings that choice of major wasn't as important as other skills.

"At Assumption we encourage students to pursue something where they're passionate and not just pick a major on earning potential or where they think they'll get a job," she said.

An art history major, for example, was able to speak eloquently in a job interview about a course in which he had to evaluate a painting of Napoleon from a political perspective.

"That's where the value of liberal arts comes into play," Ms. DiOrio said. "Take things that are seemingly unrelated and make sense of them."

She added: "That's what Courtney is going to be doing on her audits."

The results seem to bear out this broad-based approach: Among the Assumption class of 2013, the most recent year analyzed, within six months of graduation 99 percent of students were employed, in graduate school or participating in a formal service program such as the Peace Corps.

Clark University's Liberal Education and Effective Practice program is also gaining renown for bridging liberal arts and careers, according to Mr. Murray and several national college guides.

Michelle Bata, associate dean and director of the LEEP Center at Clark said the university aims to weave experiences into students' education so they gain more than just the experience — they also learn from it.

"We want students to know why they're doing an internship and how it connects to their major," Ms. Bata said.

The LEEP program involves pre-internship advising; a "boot camp" with workshops on project management, collaboration and professionalism; required written reflections on the experience; and an oral presentation afterward, among other facets.

She offered the example of an English major interested in teaching and writing as a career and who developed a series of lesson guides for educators visiting the Worcester Art Museum with their students.

The practice of problem-solving in a real-world setting and communicating to a general audience was extremely valuable, regardless of what field the student goes into, she said.

"We know many students end up working in areas that have nothing to do with their major," Ms. Bata said.

Jeffrey Gagnon, assistant vice president for training and development at Amica Mutual Insurance Co. in Lincoln, R.I., which also hires recent graduates for its Westboro and other offices, would agree.

"We don't really search for any particular majors at all," he said. "The key skills are really the interpersonal communication skills. It's all about the relationships we build with our customers."

He said Amica trains new hires in the insurance-specific skills.

Teamwork, collaboration and anticipating needs of customers can be practiced at typical student jobs such as restaurant or retail work too, Mr. Gagnon said. "You don't have to have that great internship."

He applauded the move among many colleges and universities to integrate experiential learning into their academic programs.

Mr. Gagnon added that nearly half of the insurance industry workforce will be eligible to retire by 2025.

"Insurance doesn't have the sexy title next to it," he said, "but those entering the industry now will have opportunities to have greater responsibility than ever before. History major, anthropology major ... We can find great people in all different majors."

Contact Susan Spencer at susan.spencer@telegram.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanSpencerTG.


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