It’s no news flash to say that computers are going to keep getting smaller, as they have for the past 50 years. But even as they vanish from sight, computers will, in an important sense, grow much larger. That’s because the time is coming when computing devices connected in a wireless web will permeate our entire physical environment, toiling behind the scenes to monitor and manage our houses, factories, roads, vehicles-even our bodies. But this lofty vision will be realized only through a series of small improvements in computing’s nuts and bolts. Some researchers, for example, are developing ways to bring new capabilities to the existing Internet, such as powerful network-based services that can link a company’s inventory systems with its accounting and customer databases. Others are studying technologies to broaden the Web’s physical reach-among them more power-efficient microchips and high-quality broadband wireless systems.In the world created by … [Read more...] about The State of Information Technology
New research indicates that many brand-name computer companies perform poorly when it comes to online customer service. The study by the Ipswich, Mass.-based Customer Respect Group, an international consulting company, demonstrates that only six companies included in the report received an "excellent" rating, including EDS, eBay, Xerox, Intuit, Microsoft and Linksys.What's more, 37 percent of technology companies reviewed received a lower rating in this latest report than they did six months ago. Just 23 percent of companies improved their performance, the study said.The study, the "First Quarter 2006 Online Customer Respect Study of the High-Technology and Computer Industry," was set to be released this week. An advance copy was provided to CRM Buyer.The study is said to be the only one to bring an objective and consistent measure to the analysis of corporate performance from an online customer's perspective. It assigns a Customer Respect Index (CRI) rating for each company. This … [Read more...] about Study: Technology Firms Fare Poorly in Online Customer Service
As many industries focus on green technologies like hardware and devices that use less energy, a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) suggests that makers of video game consoles could do more to cut their hardware's hunger for electricity.In the U.S., video game consoles consume roughly the same amount of electricity that it takes to power every home in San Diego, according to the NRDC. In fact, the bulk of consoles' energy usage takes place not while users are playing games, but after game play has come to an end and the systems are left turned on but running idle."If you leave your Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3 on all the time, you can cut your electric bill by as much as (US)$100 a year simply by turning it off when you are finished playing," said NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz."With so many struggling in today's economy, it's important to realize there are simple steps gamers can take to lower their energy costs. And if manufacturers make future … [Read more...] about Study: Gluttonous Gaming Machines Could Use Lesson in Power Management
The United States needs an overarching national authority to oversee cybersecurity efforts connected to the national power grid, an MIT study suggests.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) have authority over the development of cybersecurity standards for the bulk power system and ensuring compliance with these standards. However, the report stated that there's no national regulatory oversight of cybersecurity standards for the distribution system, meaning the grid."We would welcome a single authority," Patrick Miller, president and CEO of the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization (NESCO), told TechNewsWorld."We've seen a lot of confusion around who would have authority in the event of a cyber attack [on the power grid]," Miller added.NESCO is a public-private partnership in the electric center partly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that pulls together efforts to enhance the cybersecurity of … [Read more...] about Study: Electric Grid Needs Full-Time Cyberguard
Any effort to ban encryption or provide government agencies with backdoor access would be unenforceable and prone to failure, according to a Harvard University report released last week.Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard'sBerkman Center for Internet and Security, and collaborator Kathleen Seidel, together with Harvard student Saranya Vijayakuma, identified and surveyed 865 encryption products from 55 countries; 546 of those products were developed outside the United States.U.S. mandates forcing backdoors for law enforcement access would be futile, Schneier said in the report. Avoiding U.S. surveillance is easy to do with hundreds of competing products available.A wide range of high-caliber foreign products offer secure applications for encrypting voice, text messages, files, network traffic and anonymous currency. The products provide the same levels of security as U.S. products do today, he said."To this international market, a domestic regulation will have minimal effect. This is … [Read more...] about Encryption Bans and Backdoor Efforts Are Misguided, Harvard Study Finds
In sales, A-B-C does not simply refer to the Alec Baldwin scene in Glengarry Glen Ross. It's the system that sales managers (and salespeople themselves) use to categorize performance. A players smash their quotas on a regular basis; B players battle to deliver results, and usually do; C players have a history of missed objectives and should consider work in another field.However, salespeople are not permanently ensconced in their spot on the A-B-C continuum. An A player who slacks off or fails to embrace sales technology can slide into B-player territory. A C player who works hard and learns can become a B player or even attain that desired A status. A lot of upward and downward mobility is possible.The aim of every sales department is to be fully stocked with A players -- not just at the time of hiring, but throughout their tenure with the company.That's not a realistic objective, however -- A players are hard to recruit away from businesses where they're prospering, dislodging them … [Read more...] about OPINION The Right Sales Technology Buys Time to Turn B Players Into A Players
Four business marketing strategies can boost business-to-business sales conversion rates by up to 25 percentage points, based on results of a survey Altman Vilandrie released this week.However, only 15 percent of businesses fully take advantage of them.Even those that do use the strategies sometimes fail to maximize sales conversions because of a lack of coordination and integration.The four strategies:standardizing lead handoffs;employing lead scoring;creating detailed customer maps; andcoordinating between sales and marketing departments. Researchers polled 190 B2B marketing decision makers at U.S. companies with annual revenues of at least US$100 million. They also interviewed B2B marketers and relied on the industry experience of the firm's own consultants for the study. Standardizing lead handoffs from marketing to sales would increase marketing qualified lead (MQL) conversion rates by 13 to 17 percentage points, the study found. However, only 35 percent of B2B marketer … [Read more...] about 4 Marketing Strategies That Can Boost B2B Sales: Study
Since mobile computing put an end to the good old days when IT departments had absolute control over software deployed in the enterprise, there's been a rise in employees' use of third-party applications -- a rise that poses security risks to corporate environments.That is one of the findings in a report CloudLock released last week.The number of third-party apps connected to corporate environments increased by 30 fold over the last two years, the firm reported, from 5,500 to 150,000 apps.CloudLock ranked more than a quarter of the apps found in business environments (27 percent) as "high risk," which means they were more likely than other apps to open pathways into an organization for cybercriminals.Companies have not ignored that danger, CloudMark's researchers also found. More than half of third-party apps were banned in many workplaces due to security-related concerns. All third-party apps pose a risk to the enterprise, but a specific subset of apps are particularly risky, … [Read more...] about SPOTLIGHT ON SECURITY Study: Third-Party Apps Pose Risks for Enterprises
For many years, provocateurs have been able to stir people up by proclaiming the death of the salesperson. Ten years ago, in fact, Marc Miller authored the book Selling is Dead. It must be a lingering death, because I still know lots of salespeople. I sure hope they have their affairs in order, what with their impending demise foreshadowed for so long.More recently, Forrester Research published a more measured take on the topic of the death of the salesperson: "Death of a (B2B) Salesperson," and it made some interesting assertions -- most notably that e-commerce would eliminate a million sales jobs by 2020, which works out to roughly one in five of the existing sales positions currently in existence.The Forrester report targets a type of salesperson it calls "an order taker" for extinction. Those are people who simply fulfill customer requests and don't really do much of what you would call selling. They may get a commission, but they're doing something that can be automated.That type … [Read more...] about OPINION Dearth of a Salesman: Does Technology Erode Sales Talent?
Protecting the data in electronic health records did not start with the advent of HIPAA -- the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 -- as many people think. Protecting health records has been a critical requirement in the healthcare space since the computers became a fixture in hospitals. However, HIPAA added public reports of fines issued for covered entities' failure to properly protect data contained within EHRs.Many people assume that EHR data has limited value to unauthorized users. (Who cares about my blood test results, or that I just visited my dermatologist?) Understanding their value is quite simple, though. In addition to personal health information, or PHI, EHRs contain Social Security numbers, which never expire -- and cybercriminal use of SSNs is not easily detected.Stealing EHRs is better for cybercriminals than stealing credit cards, which can be used only until the card expires, is maxed out or canceled, according to a Trend Micro study released … [Read more...] about TECHNOLOGY LAW CORNER Why Are Health Records So Valuable to Cybercriminals?