Posted On:February 2018 - AppFerret

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Startup Success Stats

2018-02-22 - By 

We often hear that 9/10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. We can agree that’s really not the most motivating statistic!

But, thank you for bringing up the subject because launching your startup isn’t investing in a lost cause (I speak from my personal experience at Linkilaw).

  • A startup IS profitable

If you had any doubt, YES! a start-up can be profitable! Studies showed that “the combined annual turnover for SMEs in 2016 was £1.9 trillion”40% of small businesses are profitable, so running a business more than 18 months is definitely possible! From my point of view, I saw hundreds of entrepreneurs successfully launching their business… and still operating!

  • “You should not work in startups”

One advice I regularly discuss with my team: DON’T listen to what your friends and family say about working in startups! In 2016, “total employment in SMEs was 16.1 million”. Also, “European startups create on-average 12,9 jobs in the first 2,5 years”.

  • A successful startup: a magical formula?

I’m sure other entrepreneurs out here will agree creating your own business is a long journey… But, it won’t change that “having two founders will raise 30% more investment, grow your customers 3 times as fast”.

As everywhere, some areas work better than others… so if you’re still wondering where to go, the highest success rates are in finance, insurance and real estate“58% of these businesses are still operating after 4 years”. It doesn’t mean that you cannot innovate anywhere else though!

  • And failure?

We won’t build a magical world without being realistic. If you do meet failure (because success isn’t an exact science in this case!), remember that “20% of founders who have failed on their first startup, succeed on their second”.

So, don’t take failure as a dead end, keep going and learn from your experiences! You will never know where the small idea coming to your head will lead you. I love this quote by Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) which really stuck with me, especially in moments of darkness that come with creating the business:

“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying”.

Above all, I think that making your startup survive more than 18 months is about managing its journey and being sure that you operate gradually.

If you’re unsure of what you should do to launch a solid successful business and what is legally required at each step, Linkilaw offers a Startup Legal Session(It’s free!).

 

Original article found on Quora.


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Intel’s New Quantum Computing Breakthrough Using Silicon

2018-02-20 - By 

Silicon has been an integral part of computing for decades. While it’s not always the best solution by every metric, it’s captured a key set of capabilities that make it well suited for general (or classical) computing. When it comes to quantum computing, however, silicon-based solutions haven’t really been adopted.

Historically, silicon qubits have been shunned for two reasons: It’s difficult to control qubits manufactured on silicon, and it’s never been clear if silicon qubits could scale as well as other solutions. D-Wave’s quantum annealer is up to 2,048 qubits, and recently added a reverse quantum annealing capability, while IBM demonstrated a 50 qubit quantum computer last month. Now Intel is throwing its own hat into the ring with a new type of qubit known as a “spin qubit,” produced on conventional silicon.

Note: This is a fundamentally different technology than the quantum computing research Intel unveiled earlier this year. The company is proceeding along parallel tracks, developing a more standard quantum computer alongside its own silicon-based efforts.

Here’s how Intel describes this technology:

Spin qubits highly resemble the semiconductor electronics and transistors as we know them today. They deliver their quantum power by leveraging the spin of a single electron on a silicon device and controlling the movement with tiny, microwave pulses.

The company has published an informative video about the technology, available below:

As for why Intel is pursuing spin qubits as opposed to the approach IBM has taken, there are several reasons. First and foremost, Intel is heavily invested in the silicon industry — far more so than any other firm working on quantum computing. IBM sold its fabs to GlobalFoundries. No one, to the best of our knowledge, is building quantum computers at pure-play foundries like TSMC. Intel’s expertise is in silicon and the company is still one of the foremost foundries in the world.

But beyond that, there are benefits to silicon qubits. Silicon qubits are smaller than conventional qubits, and they are expected to hold coherence for a longer period of time. This could be critical to efforts to scale quantum computing systems upwards. While its initial test chips have held a temperature of 20 millikelvin, Intel believes it can scale its design up to an operating temperature of 1 kelvin. That gap might not seem like much, but Intel claims it’s critical to long-term qubit scaling. Moving up to 1K reduces the amount of cooling equipment that must be packed between each qubit, and allows more qubits to pack into a smaller amount of space.

Intel is already moving towards having a functional spin qubit system. The company has prototyped a “spin qubit fabrication flow on its 300 mm process technology,” using isotopically pure wafers sourced for producing spin-qubit test chips:

Fabricated in the same facility as Intel’s advanced transistor technologies, Intel is now testing the initial wafers. Within a couple of months, Intel expects to be producing many wafers per week, each with thousands of small qubit arrays.

If silicon spin qubits can be built in large quantities, and the benefits Intel expects materialize, it could be a game-changing event for quantum computing. Building these chips in bulk and packing qubits more tightly together could make it possible to scale up qubit production relatively quickly.

Original article here.

 


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Six Top Cloud Security Threats in 2018

2018-02-14 - By 

2018 is set to be a very exciting year for cloud computing. In the fourth financial quarter of 2017, Amazon, SAP, Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, and Google combined had over $22 billion in their revenue from cloud services. Cloud services will only get bigger in 2018. It’s easy to understand why businesses love the cloud. It’s easier and more affordable to use third-party cloud services than for every enterprise to have to maintain their own datacenters on their own premises.

It’s certainly possible to keep your company’s data on cloud servers secure. But cyber threats are evolving, and cloud servers are a major target. Keep 2018’s top cloud security threats in mind, and you’ll have the right mindset for properly securing your business’ valuable data.

1. Data Breaches

2017 was a huge year for data breaches. Even laypeople to the cybersecurity world heard about September’s Equifax breach because it affected at least 143 million ordinary people. Breaches frequently happen to cloud data, as well.

In May 2017, a major data breach that hit OneLogin was discovered. OneLogin provides identity management and single sign-on capabilities for the cloud services of over 2,000 companies worldwide.

“Today we detected unauthorized access to OneLogin data in our US data region. We have since blocked this unauthorized access, reported the matter to law enforcement, and are working with an independent security firm to determine how the unauthorized access happened and verify the extent of the impact of this incident. We want our customers to know that the trust they have placed in us is paramount,” said OneLogin CISO Alvaro Hoyos.

Over 1.4 billion records were lost to data breaches in March 2017 alone, many of which involved cloud servers.

2. Data loss

Sometimes data lost from cloud servers is not due to cyber attack. Non-malicious causes of data loss include natural disasters like floods and earthquakes and simple human error, such as when a cloud administrator accidentally deletes files. Threats to your cloud data don’t always look like clever kids wearing hoodies. It’s easy to underestimate the risk of something bad happening to your data due to an innocent mistake.

One of the keys to mitigating the non-malicious data loss threat is to maintain lots of backups at physical sites at different geographic locations.

3. Insider threats

Insider threats to cloud security are also underestimated. Most employees are trustworthy, but a rogue cloud service employee has a lot of access that an outside cyber attacker would have to work much harder to acquire.

From a whitepaper by security researchers William R Claycomb and Alex Nicoll:

“Insider threats are a persistent and increasing problem. Cloud computing services provide a resource for organizations to improve business efficiency, but also expose new possibilities for insider attacks. Fortunately, it appears that few, if any, rogue administrator attacks have been successful within cloud service providers, but insiders continue to abuse organizational trust in other ways, such as using cloud services to carry out attacks. Organizations should be aware of vulnerabilities exposed by the use of cloud services and mindful of the availability of cloud services to employees within the organization. The good news is that existing data protection techniques can be effective, if diligently and carefully applied.”

4. Denial of Service attacks

Denial of service (DoS) attacks are pretty simple for cyber attackers to execute, especially if they have control of a botnet. Also, DDoS-as-a-service is growing in popularity on the Dark Web. Now attackers don’t need know-how and their own bots; all they have to do is transfer some of their cryptocurrency in order to buy a Dark Web service.

Denis Makrushin wrote for Kaspersky Lab:

“Ordering a DDoS attack is usually done using a full-fledged web service, eliminating the need for direct contact between the organizer and the customer. The majority of offers that we came across left links to these resources rather than contact details. Customers can use them to make payments, get reports on work done or utilize additional services. In fact, the functionality of these web services looks similar to that offered by legal services.”

An effective DDoS attack on a cloud service gives a cyber attacker the time they need to execute other types of cyber attacks without getting caught.

5. Spectre and Meltdown

This is a new addition to the list of known cloud security threats for 2018. The Meltdown and Spectre speculative execution vulnerabilities also affect CPUs that are used by cloud services. Spectre is especially difficult to patch.

From CSO Online:

“Both Spectre and Meltdown permit side-channel attacks because they break down the isolation between applications. An attacker that is able to access a system through unprivileged log in can read information from the kernel, or attackers can read the host kernel if they are a root user on a guest virtual machine (VM).

This is a huge issue for cloud service providers. While patches are becoming available, they only make it harder to execute an attack. The patches might also degrade performance, so some businesses might choose to leave their systems unpatched. The CERT Advisory is recommending the replacement of all affected processors—tough to do when replacements don’t yet exist.”

6. Insecure APIs

Application Programming Interfaces are important software components for cloud services. In many cloud systems, APIs are the only facets outside of the trusted organizational boundary with a public IP address. Exploiting a cloud API gives cyber attackers considerable access to your cloud applications. This is a huge problem!

Cloud APIs represent a public front door to your applications. Secure them very carefully.

To learn more about maintaining control in your cloud environment, click here.

Original article here.

 


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35 Amazing Examples Of How Blockchain Is Changing Our World

2018-02-13 - By 

It’s quickly becoming apparent that blockchain technology is about far more that just Bitcoin. Across finance, healthcare, media, government and other sectors, innovative uses are appearing every day.

Here is a list of 35 which I have come across. While some may fail to live up to their promises, others could go on to become household names if blockchain proves itself to be as revolutionary as many are predicting.

Cyber security

Guardtime – This company is creating “keyless” signature systems using blockchain which is currently used to secure the health records of one million Estonian citizens.

REMME is a decetralized authentication system which aims to replace logins and passwords with SSL certificates stored on a blockchain.

Healthcare

Gem – This startup is working with the Centre for Disease Control to put disease outbreak data onto a blockchain which it says will increase effectiveness of disaster relief and response.

SimplyVital Health – Has two health-related blockchain products in development, ConnectingCare which tracks the progress of patients after they leave hospital, and Health Nexus, which aims to provide decentralized blockchain patient records.

MedRec – An MIT project involving blockchain electronic medical records designed to manage authentication, confidentiality and data sharing.

Financial services

ABRA – A cryptocurrency wallet which uses the Bitcoin blockchain to hold and track balances stored in different currencies.

Bank Hapoalim – A collaboration between the Israeli bank and Microsoft to create a blockchain system for managing bank guarantees.

Barclays – Barclays has launched a number of blockchain initiatives involving tracking financial transactions, compliance and combating fraud. It states that “Our belief …is that blockchain is a fundamental part of the new operating system for the planet.”

Maersk – The shipping and transport consortium has unveiled plans for a blockchain solution for streamlining marine insurance.

Aeternity – Allows the creation of smart contracts which become active when network consensus agrees that conditions have been met – allowing for automated payments to be made when parties agree that conditions have been met, for example.

Augur – Allows the creation of blockchain-based predictions markets for trading of derivatives and other financial instruments in a decetralized ecosystem

Manufacturing and industrial

Provenance – This project aims to provide a blockchain-based provenance record of transparency within supply chains.

Jiocoin – India’s biggest conglomerate, Reliance Industries, has said that it is developing a blockchain-based supply chain logistics platform along with its own cryptocurrency, Jiocoin.

Hijro – Previously known as Fluent, aims to create a blockchain framework for collaborating on prototyping and proof-of-concept.

SKUChain – Another blockchain system for allowing tracking and tracing of goods as they pass through a supply chain.

Blockverify – A blockchain platform which focuses on anti-counterfeit measures, with initial use cases in the diamond, pharmaceuticals and luxury goods markets.

Transactivgrid – A business-led community project based in Brooklyn allowing members to locally produce and cell energy, with the goal of reducing costs involved in energy distribution.

STORJ.io – Distributed and encrypted cloud storage, which allows users to share unused hard drive space.

Government

Dubai – Dubai has set sights on becoming the world’s first blockchain-powered state. In 2016 representatives of 30 government departments formed a committee dedicated to investigating opportunities across health records, shipping, business registration and preventing the spread of conflict diamonds.

Estonia – The Estonian government has partnered with Ericsson on an initiative involving creating a new data center to move public records onto the blockchain. 20

South Korea – Samsung is creating blockchain solutions for the South Korean government which will be put to use in public safety and transport applications.

Govcoin – The UK Department of Work and Pensions is investigating using blockchain technology to record and administer benefit payments.

Democracy.earth – This is an open-source project aiming to enable the creation of democratically structured organizations, and potentially even states or nations, using blockchain tools.

Followmyvote.com – Allows the creation of secure, transparent voting systems, reducing opportunities for voter fraud and increasing turnout through improved accessibility to democracy.

Charity

Bitgive – This service aims to provide greater transparency to charity donations, and clearer links between giving and project outcomes. It is working with established charities including Save The Children, The Water Project and Medic Mobile.

Retail

OpenBazaar – OpenBazaar is an attempt to build a decentralized market where goods and services can be traded with no middle-man.

Loyyal – This is a blockchain-based universal loyalty framework, which aims to allow consumers to combine and trade loyalty rewards in new ways, and retailers to offer more sophisticated loyalty packages.

Blockpoint.io – Allows retailers to build payment systems around blockchain currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as blockchain derived gift cards and loyalty schemes.

Real Estate

Ubiquity – This startup is creating a blockchain-driven system for tracking the complicated legal process which creates friction and expense in real estate transfer.

Transport and Tourism

IBM Blockchain Solutions – IBM has said it will go public with a number of non-finance related blockchain initiatives with global partners in 2018. This video envisages how efficiencies could be driven in the vehicle leasing industry.

Arcade City – An application which aims to beat Uber at their own game by moving ride sharing and car hiring onto the blockchain.

La’Zooz – A community-owned platform for synchronizing empty seats with passengers in need of a lift in real-time.

Webjet – The online travel portal is developing a blockchain solution to allow stock of empty hotel rooms to be efficiently tracked and traded , with payment fairly routed to the network of middle-men sites involved in filling last-minute vacancies.

Media

Kodak – Kodak recently sent its stock soaring after announcing that it is developing a blockchain system for tracking intellectual property rights and payments to photographers.

Ujomusic – Founded by singer songwriter Imogen Heap to record and track royalties for musicians, as well as allowing them to create a record of ownership of their work.

It is exiting to see all these developments. I am sure not all of these will make it into successful long-term ventures but if they indicate one thing, then it is the vast potential the blockchain technology is offering.

Original article here.

 


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CEOs should do 3 things to help their workforce fully embrace AI

2018-02-07 - By 

There’s no denying it: the era of the intelligent enterprise is upon us. As technologies like AI, cognitive computing, and predictive analytics become hot topics in the corporate boardroom, sleek startups and centuries-old companies alike are laying plans for how to put these exciting innovations to work.

Many organizations, however, are in the nascent days of AI implementation. Of the three stages of adoption—education, prototyping, and application at scale—most executives are still taking a tentative approach to exploring AI’s true potential. They’re primarily using the tech to drive small-scale efficiencies.

But AI’s real opportunity lies in tapping completely new areas of value. AI can help established businesses expand their product offerings and infiltrate (or even invent) entirely new markets, as well as streamline internal processes. The rewards are ripe: According to Accenture projections, fully committing to AI could boost global profits by a whopping $4.8 trillion by 2022. For the average S&P 500 company, this would mean an additional $7.5 billion in revenue over the next four years.

There’s no denying it: the era of the intelligent enterprise is upon us. As technologies like AI, cognitive computing, and predictive analytics become hot topics in the corporate boardroom, sleek startups and centuries-old companies alike are laying plans for how to put these exciting innovations to work.

Many organizations, however, are in the nascent days of AI implementation. Of the three stages of adoption—education, prototyping, and application at scale—most executives are still taking a tentative approach to exploring AI’s true potential. They’re primarily using the tech to drive small-scale efficiencies.

But AI’s real opportunity lies in tapping completely new areas of value. AI can help established businesses expand their product offerings and infiltrate (or even invent) entirely new markets, as well as streamline internal processes. The rewards are ripe: According to Accenture projections, fully committing to AI could boost global profits by a whopping $4.8 trillion by 2022. For the average S&P 500 company, this would mean an additional $7.5 billion in revenue over the next four years.

Faster and more compelling innovations will be driven by the intersection of intelligent technology and human ingenuity—yes, the workforce will see sweeping changes. It’s already happening: Nearly all leaders report they’ve redesigned jobs to at least some degree to account for disruption. What’s more, while three-quarters of executives plan to use AI to automate tasks, virtually all intend to use it to augment the capabilities of their people.

Still, many execs report they’re not sure how to pull off what Accenture calls Applied Intelligence—the ability to implement intelligent technology and human ingenuity to drive growth.

Here are three steps the C-suite can take to elevate their organizations into companies that are fully committed to creating new value with AI/human partnerships.

1) Reimagine what it means to work

The most significant impact of AI won’t be on the number of jobs, but on job content. But skepticism about employees’ willingness to embrace AI is unfounded. Though nearly 25% of executives cite “resistance by the workforce” as one of the obstacles to integrating AI, 62% of workers—both low-skilled and high-skilled—are optimistic about the changes AI will bring. In line with that optimism, 67% of employees say it is important to develop the skills to work with intelligent technologies.

Yes, ambiguities about exactly how automation fits into the future workplace persist. Business leaders should look for specific skills and tasks to supplement instead of thinking about replacing generalized “jobs”. AI is less about replacing humans than it is about augmenting their roles.

While AI takes over certain repetitive or routine tasks, it opens doors for project-based work. For example, if AI steps into tasks like sorting email or analyzing inventory, it can free up employees to develop more in-depth customer service tactics, like targeted conversations with key clients. Interestingly, data suggests that greater investment in AI could actually increase employment by as much as 10% in the next three years alone.

2) Pivot the workforce to your company’s unique value proposition

Today, AI and human-machine collaboration is beginning to change how enterprises conduct business. But it has yet to transform whatbusiness they choose to pursue. Few companies are creating entirely new revenue streams or customer experiences. But, at least, 72% of execs agree that adopting intelligent technologies will be critical to their organization’s ability to differentiate in the market.

One of the challenges facing companies is how to make a business case for that pivot to new opportunities without disrupting today’s core business. A key part is turning savings generated by automation into the fuel for investing in the new business models and workforces that will ultimately take a company into new markets.

Take Accenture: the company puts 60% of the money it saves through AI investments into training programs. That’s resulted in the retraining of tens of thousands of people whose roles were automated. Those workers can now focus on more high-value projects, working with AI and other technologies to offer better services to clients.

3) Scaling new skilling: Don’t choose between hiring a human or a machine—hire both

Today, most people already interact with machines in the workplace—but humans still run the show. CEOs still value a number of decidedly human skills—resource management, leadership, communication skills, complex problem solving, and judgment—but in the future, human ingenuity will not suffice. Working in tandem, smarter machines and better skilled humans will likely drive swifter and more compelling innovations.

To scale up new skilling, employers may want to consider these three steps:

  1. Prioritize skills to be honed. While hard skills like data analytics, engineering, or coding are easy to define, innately “human” skills like ethical decision-making and complex problem-solving need to be considered carefully.
  2. Provide targeted training programs. Employees’ level of technical expertise, willingness to learn new technologies, and specific skill sets will determine how training programs should be developed across the organization.
  3. Use digital solutions for training. Taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies like virtual reality or augmented reality can teach workers how to interact with smart machinery via realistic simulations.

While it is natural for businesses to exploit AI to drive efficiencies in the short term, their long term growth depends on using AI far more creatively. It will take new forms of leadership and imagination to prepare the future workforce to truly partner with intelligent machines. If they succeed, it will be a case of humans helping AI help humans.

Original article here.

 


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MIT is aiming for AI moonshots with Intelligence Quest

2018-02-01 - By 

Artificial intelligence has long been a focus for MIT. The school’s been researching the space since the late ’50s, giving rise (and lending its name) to the lab that would ultimately become known as CSAIL. But the Cambridge university thinks it can do more to elevate the rapidly expanding field.

This week, the school announced the launch of the MIT Intelligence Quest, an initiative aimed at leveraging its AI research into something it believes could be game-changing for the category. The school has divided its plan into two distinct categories: “The Core” and “The Bridge.”

“The Core is basically reverse-engineering human intelligence,” dean of the MIT School of Engineering Anantha Chandrakasan tells TechCrunch, “which will give us new insights into developing tools and algorithms, which we can apply to different disciplines. And at the same time, these new computer science techniques can help us with the understanding of the human brain. It’s very tightly linked between cognitive science, near science and computer science.”

The Bridge, meanwhile, is designed to provide access to AI and ML tools across its various disciplines. That includes research from both MIT and other schools, made available to students and staff.

“Many of the products are moonshoots,” explains James DiCarlo, head of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. “They involve teams of scientists and engineers working together. It’s essentially a new model and we need folks and resources behind that.”

Funding for the initiative will be provided by a combination of philanthropic donations and partnerships with corporations. But while the school has had blanket partnerships in the past, including, notably, the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, the goal here is not to become beholden to any single company. Ideally the school will be able to work alongside a broad range of companies to achieve its large-scale goals.

“Imagine if we can build machine intelligence that grows the way a human does,” adds professor of Cognitive Science and Computation, Josh Tenenbaum. “That starts like a baby and learns like a child. That’s the oldest idea in AI and it’s probably the best idea… But this is a thing we can only take on seriously now and only by combining the science and engineering of intelligence.”

Original article here.

 


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