Mobile World Congress 2014: What Enterprises Should Look For – Mobility and M2M

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • MWC is always exciting, even for core enterprise mobility players that are offering new capabilities, forging new partnerships and acquiring new technologies.
  • After CES, it became clear that when it comes to M2M and IoT, the connected car, the connected home and wearables are the big themes; MWC always adds a European flair with smart city demos and announcements.

As my schedule begins to overload three weeks before Mobile World Congress, there seem to be emerging patterns that reflect what we will come away with at the show.  These clues are based on the vendors that reach out to analysts for update briefings, the titles and descriptions of keynote sessions, and the invitations to demos, events and dinners by the enterprise mobility ecosystem. Read more of this post

Orange Acquisition Reflects Strengthening Position of Network Providers in Enterprise Security

John Marcus

John Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • The Orange Business Services/Atheos deal has a near-term impact for large enterprise and public sector clients in France.
  • Managed network and security service providers are partnering and acquiring security specialists to improve their offers.

Orange Business Services has acquired French security specialist Atheos and its 130 workers, rebranding at least part of its security business as ‘Orange CyberDefense.’  Atheos brings strong expertise in developing access control and data loss prevention policies for large French enterprises and government agencies.  Its enterprise clients benefit from advanced identification of security breaches and vulnerabilities, the detection and analysis of ‘low-noise’ attack signals, and on-site crisis management. Read more of this post

Flexible Customer Contact and Big Data Combine to Give a Real Competitive Edge

Gary Barton

Gary Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile operators are providing a strong example of how enterprises can better engage with customers using new contact media.
  • Mobile operators are also emerging as powerful providers of ‘big data’ solutions that can provide genuine business insights.

Knowing who your customers are, where they are, being able to contact them, and enhancing their ability to contact you, is acknowledged to be a crucial factor in running a competitive business in most verticals. In an increasingly mobile world it is perhaps not surprising that some of the most interesting innovation is being pioneered by mobile operators. For example, Telefonica has emerged as one of the leading telcos in taking advantage of ‘new’ channels of communication to engage with its customers and provides a strong example of how businesses of all sizes can tap into the use of social media. Telefonica’s operations in Germany and the UK have both made recent moves to enhance their social media presence. O2 Germany has now launched an official Facebook ‘shop’ designed to allow O2 employees both to sell its products and services and also to offer feedback and advice. As well as providing a cost effective medium for sales, it also provides a way for O2 to demonstrate how its own employees consume O2’s products and services. O2 is one of a host of companies that are seeking to prove that they ‘eat their own dog food’, and enterprises should expect real life demonstrations of services such as unified communications (UC) propositions as they seek to establish which solutions will best enhance their own working practices. O2 UK, meanwhile, has officially launched ‘#TweetServe’, a customer account service that allows customers to find out a range of information (e.g., usage data) without having to phone customer service. The twitter service provides automated responses based on keywords, as well as also providing a standard customer identification process. Both this and O2 Germany’s Facebook page (which is open Monday – Saturday, 08:00 – 22:00) provide a valuable extension to a businesses operating/trading hours without significantly increased staffing costs. Read more of this post

Microsoft’s App Platform Business Continues to Grow via BizTalk, Especially Through Its Cloud Version

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Microsoft’s app platform business continues to grow within Microsoft Consulting Services.
  • The BizTalk Server app development platform now includes a cloud-based version available through Azure.

Did you know that over 40% of Microsoft’s current professional/consulting services business is focused on app platform adoption?  That includes app servers, platform refresh, new development projects on current platforms, and movement to cloud platforms (namely Azure).  Under the Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) business, application development projects continue to be a growing component. Read more of this post

It’s a Game of Cops and Robbers: Communications Fraudsters Pose a Threat, but Anti-Fraud Measures Are Available

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Communications fraud is a huge business bleeding massive sums of revenue.
  • Fraudsters are sophisticated; attacks are constant and well-orchestrated by criminal gangs.
  • Be vigilant!  Invest in an anti-fraud system if your business relies on high-volume voice traffic.

Telecom fraud can be conducted via a bewildering range of sneaky tricks and tactics, including PBX dial-through, inflated call rates on premium numbers, SIM box theft, and international bypass.  Examples of revenue loss for telecom providers include falsely boosted traffic, or bypassing termination rates by false SIM box locations.  A1 Telekom Austria has put the figure of annual revenue loss for carriers at shocking 6% of overall revenue.  The BYOD phenomenon, more IT running in the cloud, and the wider prevalence of M2M will all contribute to greater exposure of networks supporting cloud-based and mobile offerings to hacking.  Moreover, as IP networks become globally ubiquitous, communications fraud becomes a part of the bigger overall cybercrime picture, whereby the fraudster only needs a computer and Internet access to conduct criminal activity.  Read more of this post

Smart Network or Dumb Network: Customers Have More Pressing Needs

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Few enterprises are 100% virtualized, so trying to make the argument that “a virtual overlay is all an enterprise needs” ignores a very real fact of life.
  • Enterprises require intelligence in both the virtual and physical networks, as each plays its part in delivering applications where they are needed.

I had hoped we were done with the smart network/dumb network argument, but I guess nothing ever really goes out of style.  History has proven over and over that anyone who tries to set extremes like smart network vs. dumb network is basing their entire premise on unrealistic expectations.  If I look at the extremes of either a completely virtual data center – and I mean everything – or a completely physical one, then I can make a convincing argument for either a dumb network or a smart one.  However, those examples are the far-edge cases and extremely rare.  Enterprises do not exist as edge cases.  Enterprises need intelligence in both the virtual network and the physical one. Read more of this post

Customer Authentication and Fraud Detection: The Contact Center’s Looming Challenges

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • The costs of compromised security in the customer care environment are high to both the enterprise and the customer, and the occurrences of security breaches continue to grow briskly.
  • Although not widely used technologies today, the combination of voice biometrics and predictive analytics has great potential to enhance fraud deterrence.

The methods of customer identification and verification used in contact centers today take too much time and are a major source of customer irritation. Agents’ questions inquiring about personal identification numbers (PINs) or asking pre-arranged security questions, such as “What is your father’s middle name?”, have outgrown their usefulness and are often easily circumvented by fraudsters seeking illegal access to customer accounts and private corporate information. High on the list of technologies destined to replace these traditional techniques are voice biometrics coupled with sophisticated predictive analytics. Read more of this post

Cisco’s Annual Security Report: Are We Approaching a Crisis of Trust?

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobility and the ‘Internet of Things’ are increasing the attack surface from which cybercriminals are launching new and more sophisticated attacks.
  • Yet, consumers are still too trusting.  In 2013, an alarming increase occurred in the exploitation of web hosting infrastructure for launching cyber attacks.

This past week, Cisco delivered its Annual Security Report, looking back at 2013 and the evolving attack landscape.  The theme for this iteration of the report surrounds trust.  Quite frankly, I think too many consumers adopting new technologies, particularly mobile devices, are decidedly too trusting.  They are not asking the right questions; nor are they concerning themselves with the security of these new technologies they are embracing.  In our rush to adopt mobile computing and to bring intelligence and connectivity to everything from refrigerators to TVs and home heating and air conditioning systems, we are not bringing a skeptical eye to the exercise.  In fact, on January 16, Proofpoint claimed to have uncovered what could be the first ‘Internet of Things’ cyber attack, which used connected and comprised multi-media centers, TVs, and a connected refrigerator to launch an attack.   This is dangerous, because as the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report highlights, attackers are not only more organized and better financed, but also outnumber IT security professionals.   Cisco’s report claims there is a shortage of over 1 million IT security professionals going into 2014.  Read more of this post

CES Not Just for Consumers Any More

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • CES held a surprising amount of content for the mobile enterprise.  Wearables and the connected car were major themes, demonstrating interesting use cases and partnerships.
  • AT&T’s Developer Conference, co-located with CES, highlighted a number of recent enterprise announcements around services, partnerships and infrastructure.

While we can (and frequently do) debate whether mobile consumer electronics devices and other B2C solutions are ‘consumer’ or ‘enterprise,’ it is clear that they are ‘both.’  Businesses investing in mobile solutions that ultimately improve their relationships and communications with their consumer customers (or provide their customers with new services and products from which they generate revenues) clearly have enterprise mobility issues to solve.  At CES, wearables and  the connected car were major themes.  Wearables are potentially a large (if hugely hyped) market with some interesting enterprise use cases.  Not only can smart watches and smart jewelry (and in theory products based on Google Glass) take over some business communication tasks from smartphones, but wearables seem likely to take hold as B2C solutions for fitness and health monitoring (e.g., connected ‘lifebands’ that monitor how far and how fast you walk, UV-tracking bracelets).  Real enterprise usage still seems a long way off, however, even for smart watches and Google Glass applications. Read more of this post

Leveraging Wi-Fi Location Can Creep Out Your Customers; Best Tread Lightly

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Privacy and increased location tracking of consumers is going to come to a head as consumer facing companies try to leverage location to enhance customer experience and drive more upsells.
  • Wi-Fi based location can be a useful tool, but in an ever increasing privacy sensitive climate, too much tracking can be a bad thing.

How much privacy would you or your customers be willing to give up for enhanced customer service? That’s going to be decided in the next few years as retailers, entertainment venues, and other public places implement more services based on Wi-Fi location. Whether you install a loyalty app on your phone or not, your presence is being logged, tracked, and mined more and more. Read more of this post