Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Super Triple Discount Double Check

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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Don’t get me started on the weekend’s football games.

As a longtime Dallas Cowboys fan, I’ve become accustomed to getting my heart broken in the postseason over these past 20 long years.

And while I’m very proud of our rookie lead team this year, I do have some sour grapes over Dallas spiking the ball so prematurely there at the end.

You can never…EVER…under any circustances…underestimate the abilities of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Super triple discount double check, game over.

Congrats to the Packers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots, and the Atlanta Falcons. I have a feeling we could be seeing a Pack/Pats SuperBowl in H-town, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Now, on to the world of technology for a moment.

Recode is reporting that Walmart is broadening the roles of two of is key executives and giving them new oversight in the company’s U.S. e-commerce website and its retail stores.

Jeremy King, who was previously the chief technology officer of Walmart e-commerce operations in the US, will now oversee technology teams for Walmart’s physical stores in addition to its online stores.

Similarly, Tony Rogers, who was previously CMO for Walmart U.S. stores, will now also serve as head of marketing for Walmart.com and Jet.com.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement “We were starting to see our store as an e-commerce team solving many of the same problems and now we can remove what might have been become more duplication in the future. I know change isn’t always easy. But I’m certain that our future success is partially dependent on becoming more of a technology company in our stores and clubs and everyone everywhere else the customer sees us.”

I don’t expect this will be the last major retailer to make such moves, and in fact, could start a trend.

Written by turbotodd

January 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

Posted in 2017, ecommerce, football, NFL, retail

SpaceX’s Return to Orbit: T-Minus One Day

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is set to return to space tomorrow, January 14th, the company’s first launch since an explosion on September 1st of last year.

That launch was expected to carry Israel’s Amos-6 communications satellite into launch.

After a lengthy review of the explosion, on January 2nd of this year SpaceX representatives indicated the explosion occurred due to the buckling of an aluminum liner on a compositive overwrapped helium tank inside the Falcon 9’s upper stage liquid oxygen tank.

Tomorrow’s Falcon 9 has another, even more substantial satellite payload: 10 satellites for Iridium’s Next next-generation mobile voice and data relay network. And no question, SpaceX needs this launch to actually launch.

In June 2015, a Falcon 9 that was to carry four months of supplies to the International Space Station exploded just minutes after launch. According to a Wall Street Journal article published earlier today, SpaceX saw a quarter-billion dollar annual loss that year and a 6 percent drop in profits.

But SpaceX’s CFO Bret Johnson indicated the company is in “a financially strong position and is well positioned for future growth,” indicating the company had over $1 billion of cash and no debt.

Tomorrow’s launch for the Iridium Next satellites is slated for lift-off at 9:54:34 AM, Pacific Standard Time, at the SLC-4E launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Written by turbotodd

January 13, 2017 at 9:25 am

Posted in 2017, satellites, space

Ermes Group To Use IBM Watson Commerce To Engage Customers With Timely In-Store Sales

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IBM has announced a new partnership with Ermes Group, the largest and most diversified retailer in Cyprus.

Ermes Group will be leveraging IBM’s Watson Commerce pricing optimization solutions to help ensure product markdowns resonate with value-seeking customers while maximizing profits across all its retail locations relating to Debenhams Department Stores, Next Stores, Oviesse Stores, Peacocks Stores, and Uber Stores.

Product pricing mark downs are a common practice for retailers today. The challenge is identifying the ideal price point and timing of these discounts to deliver cost-conscious customers great deals while avoiding the need to sell items at a loss that erodes potential profits.

This was precisely the issue for Ermes Group, which decided to move from a rather manual approach to IBM’s cloud-based Watson Price Optimization capabilities.

Working with IBM, Ermes is now able to automatically determine which specific products in each store should be marked down due to stagnant sales, what the new price should be and when the reduction should take place.

Previously, teams had to manually go line by line for every product to determine how it was performing and if they should put it on sale. Since going live with IBM, Ermes has significantly streamlined its retail pricing strategy while increasing profits. 

“Due to shifts in styles and consumer demands, product markdowns are a reality that all retailers must face. The key is knowing both when to act and what price point will allow the business to still profit on each item left in stock,” said Sophocles Sophocleous, Purchasing Manager of Ermes Department Stores Plc. “With IBM’s cloud offering, our merchandising team can easily and quickly determine which products are lagging in sales and what steps we need to take to get these items moving off the shelf.”

IBM recently released a new study focused on Generation Z, a group that possesses $44 billion in spending power. According to the study, the majority of Generation Z make purchases in the store. Of this group, 66 percent do so because they believe they get good deals and value for their money.

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Apple Developing Content, Facebook Goes To J-School

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If you’ve been wondering how Apple is looking to expand its profit-seeking horizons, Apple Insider may have the story for you.

They’re reporting that Apple is looking to get into the “original programming” business, which would include serialized drama and feature-length pieces.

Apparently the company already has three projects underway, including a “Carpool Karaoke” spinoff, a “Planet of the Apps” reality show focused on developers building….wait for it….apps….and an apparent semi-biographical show about Dr. Dre entitled “Vital Signs.”

Book that table for the Golden Globes as early as possible.

If you’re more interested in the journalism route, Facebook’s also making its own moves, introducing its “Facebook Journalism Project.”

The rationale:

we’re announcing a new program to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. We will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner, and working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.
– via media.fb.com

The program will include three primary segments, one focusing on the collaborative development of news products, one for training and tools for journalists

You can get the full details here.

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2017 at 8:52 am

Posted in 2017, apple, facebook, journalism

IBM Announces Joint Blockchain Collaboration Initiative With U.S. Federal Drug Administration

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IBM Watson Health has signed a research initiative with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) aimed at defining a secure, efficient and scalable exchange of health data using blockchain technology.

IBM and the FDA will explore the exchange of owner mediated data from several sources, such as Electronic Medical Records, clinical trials, genomic data, and health data from mobile devices, wearables and the “Internet of Things.” The initial focus will be on oncology-related data.

Transformative healthcare solutions are possible when healthcare researchers and providers have access to a 360-degree view of patient data. Today, patients have little access to their health data and cannot easily share with researchers or providers. 

Giving patients the opportunity to share their data securely, for research purposes or across their healthcare providers, creates opportunities for major advancements in healthcare. Blockchain technology, which enables organizations to work together with more trust, is designed to help make this a reality.

By keeping an audit trail of all transactions on an unalterable distributed ledger, blockchain technology establishes accountability and transparency in the data exchange process. In the past, large scale sharing of health data has been limited by concerns of data security and breaches of patient privacy during the data exchange process.

IBM and the FDA will explore how a blockchain framework can 
potentially provide benefits to public health by supporting important use cases for information exchange across a wide variety of data types, including clinical trials and “real world” evidence data. 

New insights combining data across the healthcare ecosystem can potentially lead to new biomedical discoveries. Patient data from wearables and connected devices for example, can help doctors and caregivers better manage population health.  

The collaboration will also address new ways to leverage the large volumes of diverse data in today’s biomedical and healthcare industries. A secure owner-mediated data sharing ecosystem could potentially hold the promise of new discoveries and improved public health.

The initiative with the FDA is a two-year agreement. IBM Watson Health and the FDA plan to share initial research findings in 2017.

You can learn more about IBM Blockchain capabilities here.

Written by turbotodd

January 11, 2017 at 8:58 am

Adios, Yahoo!

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I missed that seemingly glorious NCAA championship football game last evening, being the cord cutter I am.

Why you don’t put a national championship game on the broadcast network instead of ESPN…well, I know why, but I refuse to be held hostage.

The recap I saw clearly showed it was quite the remarkable game. Congrats, Clemson, on ending your 35-year title drought.

Meanwhile, back at the SEC ranch, there was a sneaky 8-K filing which indicated after the Verizon sale closes, that Yahoo!’s remaining business would be renamed Altaba, Inc., and that CEO Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! co-founder David Filo would be resigning from the board.

Geez, that’s it? An 8-K filing with the SEC?!!

No fireworks. No goodbye drinks.

Shouldn’t we at least have a wake or a funeral or something?

For those of us who were early inhabitants of cyberspace, it’s easy to forget that in the mid 90s, Yahoo! was the phone book of the Internet. You wanted to know how to find a web site, you went to Yahoo!

There was no Google. Google didn’t even exist.

I know, mind blowing, right? Put that in in your millennial pipe and smoke it.

As to the name change, here’s what Mashable had to say:

Think of it this way: Years ago, someone planted a seed and called it “Yahoo Inc.” It grew into a big ol’ tree with some fruit hanging off of it. Verizon comes along with a basket and says, “Hey, I want to buy that fruit.” It can take all that fruit, including a really nice-looking tidbit that is the Yahoo brand, but the tree is still called Yahoo Inc. So, the farmer goes to the, uh, Securities and Exchange Commission (just roll with us) and says, “Hey, I’m selling all of my fruit to Verizon, and they can bake it into a new pie called Yahoo, but I need to change the name of this tree to Altaba. Cool?”
– via Mashable

Here’s hoping that Verizon’s new fruit basket doesn’t rot!

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

IBM Inventors Receive Record-Breaking 8K+ U.S. Patents In 2016

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IBM today announced that it broke the U.S. patent record with 8,088 patents granted to its inventors in 2016, marking the 24th consecutive year of innovation leadership.

IBM’s 2016 patent output covers a diverse range of inventions in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, cognitive health, cloud, cybersecurity and other strategic growth areas for the company.

IBM inventors were granted more than 22 patents per day in 2016, enabling the company to become the first to surpass 8,000 patents in a single year. IBM researchers, engineers, and designers generated more than 2,700 patents for inventions related to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing.

More than 8,500 IBM inventors residing in 47 states and territories and 47 countries are responsible for IBM’s record-setting 2016 patent tally. IBM inventors based in New York received over 2,700 patents, while IBMers based in California and Texas were granted over 1,000 patents each.

The United States is home to more than half of IBM’s $5.4 billion annual investment in research and development. This substantial commitment to unlocking new technologies is what has long propelled IBM into new markets, allowing it to create value for clients and opportunity for its employees, including the 25,000 Americans the company has pledged to hire over the next four years.

Written by turbotodd

January 9, 2017 at 10:05 am

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