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Safeguarding Privacy in the Internet of Things

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn,  Contributing Columnist

You can’t open a web browser these days without coming across a story on the Internet of Things (IoT), and the ways that connected, autonomous devices will revolutionize every industry. There’s a reason for the hype: Cisco forecasts 50 billion connected devices by 2020, with the potential to create more than $14 trillion in value for global businesses over the next decade.

But IoT also heralds another revolution, in the degree to which individual behavior can be tracked and analyzed. While much of IoT focuses on verticals like manufacturing, energy exploration, and industrial applications, where the massive data generated by fine-grained monitoring is almost entirely beneficial, IoT will also touch on a broad range of consumer devices. From transportation to home automation to connected medical devices, machines will be monitoring the behavior of individuals more than at any time in human history. This raises a number of serious questions about consumer privacy and information security.  Read More »

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Improving Lives Through Wearable Technology

Wearable technology continues to advance and will produce countless opportunities for wearers, as we move forward into the future. New connections, new technology and emerging solutions enabled by wearables will change nearly every aspect of our lives.

Our capabilities when it comes to technology today seem nearly endless. New devices are becoming smaller, smarter and more efficient. Think back to the television of 20 years ago. It pales in comparison to the television options available today. Years ago, TVs were pretty standard in terms of what you could expect. Today, the options are much more expansive, including things such as display size, width, depth, and technology behind the TV screen’s display. This sort of technology evolution is currently happening right now in terms of wearable technologies and the Internet of Everything (IoE).

Wearable technology currently resides in an early adopter phase. However, Read More »

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Mobile Payments Already Huge in Some Markets

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

In fact, mobile payment systems are already enormously popular in some parts of the world, but you might be surprised at where. Leading the mobile payment revolution: Kenya.

I wrote last year about the M-Pesa mobile banking and payment system, launched by network operator Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in Tanzania. According to Lindsey Gilpin of TechRepublic, M-Pesa now serves 17 million Kenyans, and 25 percent of the country’s gross national product flows through the system. Worldwide, Gartner estimated mobile payments to surpass $235 billion in transaction value and 245 million users last year, led by emerging markets in Africa and India.

So mobile payments are maturing fast, just not in the North America. According to a 2013 report from the U.S. Federal Reserve, just 12 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed had made a mobile payment during the previous year. Sara Angles wrote about this surprising technology lag in BusinessNewsDaily last October. Citing a global study by SAP, she noted that “the United States reported the lowest consumer demand for mobile commerce, with just 53 percent of those surveyed expressing a desire to make a purchase via mobile.”

Just 15 percent of North American consumers said they were ready to buy more with mobile devices, compared to more than 80 percent in Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa.

So what’s the story? Why is the United States lagging so far behind? Read More »

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Where is Social TV Growing Fastest? Maybe Not Where You Think.

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

You’re probably familiar with “social TV,” the catch-all term for social network activity related to TV shows. Usually, it refers to viewers talking about shows with each other on Twitter or Facebook while they watch, but it can also encompass social network activities that TV networks and creators engage in to promote their shows.

So that’s the background. Why is it important? Because it’s a huge potential market. According to a MarketsandMarkets report from late last year, the total social TV market is expected to grow to more than $256 billion by 2017.

You might have noticed Facebook and Twitter duking it out recently for their share of this market. Twitter, with its real-time focus, has long been viewed as the default app for social TV. As Janko Roettgers detailed at GigaOM recently, Twitter works closely with TV networks, advertisers, and now even Nielsen to provide metrics about real-time social network sentiment around broadcast TV shows. Read More »

Tis the Season to be… Shopping. Especially in Latin America

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

If analysts are right, the world of e-commerce is going to get a big Christmas gift this year: a massive surge in online shopping by consumers throughout Latin America.

According to the Latin America B2C E-Commerce Report 2013 by research firm yStats.com, total business-to-consumer e-commerce sales in Latin America reached $30 billion Euro in 2012 (more than US$41 billion), with double-digit growth expected this year and over the next several years. Another study conducted by VISA with América Economía forecasts that e-commerce sales in Latin America will surpass US$69 billion this year and reach US$100 billion by 2014.

The driver for this amazing growth: an emerging middle class and booming Internet usage. As I discussed in my previous blog, Latin America now leads all regions worldwide in Internet usage growth. The European Travel Commission reports that Latin America’s online population grew by 12 percent, reaching 147 million unique visitors in March 2013. Read More »