More and more people are migrating to cities. By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in an urban setting, according to the United Nations. How can these growing cities reduce conflicts, crime, violence, and terrorism? In a word: technology. Cameras, command centers, social media alerts, predictive algorithms, and other digital and mobile technologies are already improving public safety in some capital cities, says a new report from the Brookings Institution. It finds that some of the safest cities in the world have made it a priority to invest in digital infrastructure and to support communities and law enforcement with tech-based initiatives. The results of these actions not only save lives, but improve the city’s productivity and national competitiveness. “Our hope is that people can see who the leading innovators are and draw lessons for their own cities,” said Darrel West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies and the Founding … [Read more...] about Report Scores Cities to See if Technology Makes Them Safer
Maybe it’s the climate, the low taxes, or the general friendliness, but whatever it is, Texas is king when it comes to attracting population growth in the United States. According to recently released Census Bureau data, three of the top five fastest growing cities are in Texas, largely thanks to the booming tech industry that has emerged in the Lone Star State. But even outside of Texas, many of the fastest growing cities by population are hotbeds of technological innovation, headed by none other than New York, whose Silicon Alley is fast rivaling California’s Silicon Valley.Much like Glassdoor’s recently released list of the 25 Best Cities for Jobs, a common thread amongst the most attractive locations seems to be what they offer in the way of career opportunities. And no industry seems hotter right now than the tech industry. While the brogrammers of San Francisco, Menlo Park, and Mountainview have long held a monopoly on the tech … [Read more...] about Tech cities in Texas are the fastest growing in the U.S.
Your digital wallet just keeps expanding. The latest company to join on the mobile bandwagon is none other than Citibank, which this week debuted a standalone digital wallet app of its own called Citi Pay. It joins an already crowded landscape, dominated mostly by tech companies and their own offerings like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay.That certainly hasn’t stopped Citi Pay from launching, though, and customers will be able to use the new wallet for both online and in-app purchases. Citibank has partnered with MasterCard and its Masterpass service, which will allow for customers to make purchases from hundreds of thousands of online retailers in 33 countries (and that’s just at launch).“Whether it is online, on a phone, or at a store, we want Citi customers to have seamless, convenient, and fast payment options wherever they go,” Barry Rodrigues, head of global digital payments at Citi, said in a statement. “With more than 100 … [Read more...] about Citibank enters the mobile wallet space, partners with MasterCard to offer Citi Pay
A few days back, the founder of online grocery Webvan submitted the high bid, at least so far, to buy back the remains of his once-glorious creation.For the paltry sum of US$2.5 million, Louis Borders stands to get Webvan's technology platform, the foundation on which he once hoped to build a company that would change the shopping world.The bid could say one of many things: Maybe Borders is still a believer in the power of his e-commerce platform to alter our lives. Or maybe he's got a specific idea in mind for how to use the technology to better ends.One final possibility is most intriguing, though: What if Borders is simply a sentimental guy, unwilling to let just any vulture swoop in to pick his brainchild off the heap?Webvan was once the head of the class, after all -- the most likely to succeed. Maybe Borders isn't ready to give up on it just yet.He's not alone, of course. Buy.com founder Scott Blum has ridden to the rescue and provided the funding to stave off certain death for … [Read more...] about When Mommas Let Their Babies Grow Up To Be E-tailers
Have a question for your credit card company? Feel free to call. First, though, you must answer a series of questions -- which can range from your father's middle name to your city of birth to the name of your first boyfriend -- to prove who you are.Consumers have gotten used to the drill, if not the growing obscurity of the questions (mother's maiden name and social security number are passé). Still, from the consumer's perspective, the logic of the questions isn't a compelling issue.The contact center industry, though, has put a lot of thought into those first 30 or so seconds of a customer call, including what that ID exchange costs the industry.The short answer: a lot. So says a new report from UK consulting firmContactBabel, sponsored byVoiceVault, a provider of biometric identity applications.Of the 43 billion calls that U.S. contact centers will receive in 2007, 41 percent will involve a contact center agent asking identity verification questions at the beginning of the … [Read more...] about Contact Center ID Verification Growing More Complex, Costly
Homo sapiens are a fast-growing species: The world's population is expected to double in 61 years, putting further pressure on our resources and, as countries become increasingly urbanized, on our cities. The infrastructure of today's cities won't be able to cope, and governments, scientists, architects and engineers are looking for new solutions.Some are looking to building cities that are environmentally friendly; others are looking to create urban marvels to rival Dubai, a desert city where water flows lavishly and some of the world's tallest buildings stand.Take Masdar City, for instance, which GE is planning to build in partnership with the government of Abu Dhabi. It's being designed as the world's first carbon-neutral, zero-emission city. It won't have automobiles, it will be powered by the elements, it harvests rainwater and it recycles waste to provide energy. Other cities focus on fostering sustainable growth. One such city is Dublin, Ireland, which has commissioned a study … [Read more...] about Cities of the Future, Part 1: The Self-Aware Metropolis
Part 1 of this series discusses the different approaches being taken to design more efficient urban landscapes.Technologists tend to think of so-called smart cities as being tied together by technology. Their focus is on using technology to change our lives and make cities more efficient and smarter.The problem with this approach is that it only focuses on making application management more efficient and tying applications together. Ants are efficient, and their nest's structure ties them together quite well. There are sections for worker ants, soldier ants, larvae and the queen, and they emit chemicals to tell each other what to do and where they have located food. In other words, ants are efficient at making other ants and maintaining their quality of life.The needs of a city or any other segment of human society extend beyond the efficient to the compassionate, the human, the moral and the ethical. How can a city whose apps are all tied together into one vast network deal with the … [Read more...] about Cities of the Future, Part 2: Building a Central Civic Nervous System
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) said Monday it has reached a deal with electronics retailer Circuit City (NYSE: CC) that will give customers the option of picking up purchases in about 600 stores nationwide rather than paying shipping fees.The multiyear agreement calls for Amazon to receive a percentage of the revenue for all Circuit City electronics merchandise sold through Amazon. Amazon will be responsible for processing the transaction while Circuit City will be responsible for order fulfillment and product-related customer service."This agreement will serve as a revenue generator for both companies," Circuit City president and chief executive officer W. Alan McCollough said.The in-store pickup, along with an expanded selection of electronics products, is scheduled to launch in November, just in time for the holiday season, Amazon said. The companies also said they expect to expand the alliance in the future.The deal adds Circuit City to Amazon's growing roster of offline retail … [Read more...] about Amazon Signs In-Store Pickup Deal with Circuit City
EBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) has grown faster than any other technology company in the United States over the past five years, according to a report released Wednesday by consulting firm Deloitte & Touche.In its annual Fast 500 listing of the fastest-growing high-tech firms, EBay far outpaced all others, recording a five-year growth rate of 115,874 percent, Deloitte said.EBay had sales of US$372,000 in 1996 and more than $431 million in 2000. The auction leader's growth rate dwarfs the average of 6,000 percent among all firms on the list and the 90,000 percent growth turned in by the top companies on the list.EBay's appearance on the Fast 500 list shows not just rapid expansion, but "sustained revenue growth over five years," said Mark Evans, managing director of Deloitte & Touche's Technology & Communications Group in San Jose, California.The appearance on the list is the first for San Jose-based EBay. The company has made continued growth a centerpiece of its strategy going … [Read more...] about Report: EBay Fastest-Growing Tech Firm in U.S.
The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 on Tuesday to adopt Google Apps, which include Gmail and other office software tools, for its 30,000 employees. The deal places Los Angeles among the vanguard of public sector operations relying on cloud-based productivity software.Plans call for installation of the system by June, when a pilot project will begin. The five-year deal with Computer Services Corporation, worth an estimated US$7.25 million, edges out the city's existing vendor, Novell, reportedly saving $5.5 million over the life of the contract.Google and CSC are partnering to offer a range of Google Enterprise products and services to California public sector agencies, with CSC serving as the systems integrator, Google spokesperson Andrew Kovacs told the E-Commerce Times."We're thrilled the LA City Council unanimously voted to go Google," said Dave Girouard, president of enterprise at Google, "and we look forward to working with the City to bring the many benefits of Google Apps … [Read more...] about City of Angels to Give Cloud Computing a Go