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An Internet of Everything Startup Spotlight: Alex Hawkinson, Founder & CEO, SmartThings

Last month I kicked off a new series focusing on companies and start-ups that are helping to move the Internet of Everything (IoE) forward. Today, I am excited to share some insights from Alex Hawkinson, founder of SmartThings, a platform for automating connected objects.

Alex shares an interesting perspective with us about the value of increased connections and how creating an open, low-cost way to automate our lives is key to achieving the full benefit of the Internet of Everything. Here’s a look at how Alex and SmartThings are pioneering the growth of IoE.

AHawkinsonSmartThings is garnering a lot of buzz in the industry for adding intelligence to everyday objects to achieve home and office automation. In which ways is SmartThings leading the way by connecting the previously unconnected?

The dream of the Jetsons-style house has long been just that – a dream. Different smart devices have come to market but, generally speaking, they’ve been hard to buy, set up and use. With SmartThings we set out to create a single platform and single app interface from which you can control all of the connected objects in your life. When you purchase a SmartThings kit, you can connect pieces of your home in minutes once you plug in the hub and download the app. You can mix and match third-party devices with those created by SmartThings to build the connected space that makes the most sense for you. SmartThings is simple enough that the average smartphone user can bring a connected world to life, but sophisticated enough that an inventor can create completely new devices and applications to custom fit his or her needs.

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Deep Dive: Major User Interface Transformation in CMX 7.6

You read about the three flavors of analytics we offer with the Connected Mobile Experiences solution last week. One of the key innovations Evyatar discussed is the a completely transformed user interface for onsite analytics, so I want to give you all a closer look at exactly what enhancements are in store for location analytics CMX 7.6 (available later this year).

Redesigned from the bottom up, the UI update came from a strong team effort to  deliver a solution that is not only relevant to our customers, but intuitive and easy to use for business users. Our vision is that anyone from sales to marketing,  from store management to customer operations should be able to use the tool without having the call the IT guy.

The redesign process considered around the needs and learnings of our early customers, with over 20 individual customer interviews and previews, and incorporated input from proven UI and HCI experts.

The most important feedback was from our customers, and we listened! The new UI contains both overt and subtle changes, all tailored from our customers’ perspective in order to deliver tools they need to make better business decisions, enhance their customers experiences, improve their operational efficiency and increase their revenues

Some of the major UI innovations coming in this release include:

Analytics Dashboard

A new dashboard introduced to deliver key information at a glance when the user first logs in. The dashboard layout can be configured to display the most relevant information to the user so that they can immediately make use of it within the business.

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Mobile Devices Will Transform Your Business IT

There’s no question that more people around the world are connecting to wireless networks at home, work and play via mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This rise in mobile device usage begs the question: How soon will it be (if not already) before these mobile devices dominate the mobile network, especially in the workplace?

Chris Spain - with header FINALJust recently, I read an article in Forbes, by Louis Columbus, that addresses the issue of increased mobile devices and unprepared network infrastructures. The article examines a study by IDC that predicts that 87% of sales for connected devices will be tablets and smartphones in next four years. As many employees prefer working from their own mobile devices, corporate networks, as they’re currently designed, will not be capable of successfully managing such a large volume of mobile data traffic generated by these mobile devices. With such expansive growth expected, the majority of businesses will either need to adapt an existing strategy to support this increase in mobile devices or adopt a new strategy.

Currently, there is a clear need for enterprises to better prepare and invest in their IT infrastructure. As more employees use their own devices at work for business and personal use, it’s imperative that business organizations require a secure mobile device and BYOD strategy to accommodate their business needs and employee preferences. However, the decision to adopt BYOD comes with a set of challenges for IT organizations.

Many of the benefits of BYOD, such as having the choice of device and anywhere, anytime access, are somewhat adverse to traditional IT requirements for security and support. In the past, IT pre-determined a list of approved workplace devices, typically a prescribed desktop, laptop, and perhaps even a small, standardized set of mobile phones and smartphones. Employees could choose among these devices, but generally were not permitted to stray from the approved devices list. With BYOD, IT has to approach the problem differently. Read More »

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DNS Knows. So Why Not Ask?

DNS is like the town gossip of the network infrastructure. Computers and apps ask DNS questions and you can ask DNS who has been asking to resolve malware domains. When internal trusted systems are using DNS to resolve the names of known malware sites, this can be an Indicator of Compromise and a warning to clean the potentially infected systems and block traffic to the domain.

Blacklisting the known malware domains using local RPZs, firewalls, Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance (WSA), or Cloud Web Security (CWS) is a great way to add an extra level of security in organizations. But what if you are just getting started in the process of cleaning systems and just need some situational awareness? Or, how can you manually check to see if these devices are working as expected? How can you determine independently of security devices, and at any point in time, that client systems are not reaching out to malicious domains? You can use dig but this post focuses on a Python example. Let’s first take a look at some DNS mechanics.

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Beyond Today’s Productivity and Efficiency: Enterprise Mobility Enables Long-Term Growth

One of the basic tenants of enterprise mobility is its direct influence on “now”.

When organizations implement mobile policies like BYOD and virtualized desktops, day-to-day operations can immediately improve. In most cases, the rate of return on seeing change is direct. However, the impact of enterprise mobility is not short-lived.sixsteps

Recently, we counted down the “Six Essential Steps for Unleashing the Power of Enterprise Mobility.”  Throughout the series, we provided a guide for enterprises to follow to implement broader mobility. We discussed how businesses could benefit now by untethering their global workforce and increasing productivity. The series highlighted a tactical approach to mobility, yet we would be amiss not to discuss the long-term transformational impact mobility can have on businesses. How can mobility be a catalyst for organizational growth and innovation?

Last week, I read an IT Web article by Johannesburg-based Lebo Mashiloane that discussed how BYOD and mobility are fueling enterprise growth. The article brought up a concept that is always important to keep top-of-mind: How today’s technology solutions are changing the landscape of tomorrow. Read More »

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