Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Companies Harvesting Data to Learn Your Secrets

Description: Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target i, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 6, 2012

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The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.    READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Reflecting on this article, does ther ever come a time when you feel there is too much data out in the public sphere about you?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of this BIG DATA technology that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

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Hoteliers Scan the Ranks of IT Workers to Gain an Edge

Description:The front desk manager or housekeeper may epitomize the hotel employee, but the hospitality industry is increasingly dependent on tech workers, vacuuming data scientists, web designers and other experts into its ranks.

Source: NYTIMES.com

Date: Feb 13, 2017

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While many college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math are attracted to the household-name tech companies in Seattle and Silicon Valley, Mr. Leidinger says he tells them, “If you’re really into technology, there’s a revolution happening in hospitality,” and as part of a smaller team, “you can drive, innovate and take ownership.”

One project for Hilton tech employees is keyless entry, which allows guests to use their phones instead of plastic key cards to unlock room doors. Of Hilton’s 4,800 hotels, 750 now offer keyless entry, and the company hopes to install the service in 2,500 hotels by the end of this year.

There are also technical job openings at the hotel level, where employees at individual properties manage social media, on-site Wi-Fi and the integration of systems like retail, parking and food sales.

 READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1.While hotel chains say that automating processes like check-in frees their employees to interact in other ways with guests, the use of technology also allows the hotel to hire fewer people.  Do you feel this is a positive thing?  Why or Why not?

Hoteliers Comb the Ranks of IT Workers to Gain an Edge

Description:The front desk manager or housekeeper may epitomize the hotel employee, but the hospitality industry is increasingly dependent on tech workers, vacuuming data scientists, web designers and other experts into its ranks.

Source: NYTIMES.com

Date: Feb 13, 2017

14itineraries2-master675

While many college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math are attracted to the household-name tech companies in Seattle and Silicon Valley, Mr. Leidinger says he tells them, “If you’re really into technology, there’s a revolution happening in hospitality,” and as part of a smaller team, “you can drive, innovate and take ownership.”

One project for Hilton tech employees is keyless entry, which allows guests to use their phones instead of plastic key cards to unlock room doors. Of Hilton’s 4,800 hotels, 750 now offer keyless entry, and the company hopes to install the service in 2,500 hotels by the end of this year.

There are also technical job openings at the hotel level, where employees at individual properties manage social media, on-site Wi-Fi and the integration of systems like retail, parking and food sales.

 READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1.While hotel chains say that automating processes like check-in frees their employees to interact in other ways with guests, the use of technology also allows the hotel to hire fewer people.  Do you feel this is a positive thing?  Why or Why not?

 

Cloud Business Lifts Amazon’s Profit to a Record

Description: Helped by its fast-growing Amazon Web Services business, the company jumped to the most profitable quarter in its nearly 22-year history.

Source: NYTIMES:COM

Date: April 28, 2016

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Amazon often flip-flops between showing profits and losses, depending on how aggressively it decides to plow money into big new business bets. Investors have granted the company much wider leeway to do so than other technology companies of its size often receive, because of its history of delivering outsize growth.

For the first quarter, which ended March 31, Amazon reported net income of $513 million, or $1.07 a share, up from a loss of $57 million, or 12 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue at the company rose to $29.13 billion from $22.72 billion a year ago.

Amazon’s share price jumped more than 12 percent in after-hours trading after the results were released. Investors were happy to see the company show profits after the disappointing run of reports from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Intel.

“The fact that they’re profitable is a big deal,” said Christian Magoon, chief executive of Amplify Investments, a fund manager that counts Amazon as a top holding. “It’s more of a big deal after some of the disappointing numbers from Apple and others.”  Read Rest of Story

Questions:
1.  What is making Amazon more profitable now?

2. ” Amazon is the rare technology company of its size to still deliver double-digit revenue growth.”  Do you feel that AWS can keep them profitable going into the future  Why or Why Not?

Amazon’s Cloud Business Lifts Its Profit to a Record

Description: Helped by its fast-growing Amazon Web Services business, the company jumped to the most profitable quarter in its nearly 22-year history.

Source: NYTIMES:COM

Date: April 28, 2016

29AMAZON-master768

Amazon often flip-flops between showing profits and losses, depending on how aggressively it decides to plow money into big new business bets. Investors have granted the company much wider leeway to do so than other technology companies of its size often receive, because of its history of delivering outsize growth.

For the first quarter, which ended March 31, Amazon reported net income of $513 million, or $1.07 a share, up from a loss of $57 million, or 12 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue at the company rose to $29.13 billion from $22.72 billion a year ago.

Amazon’s share price jumped more than 12 percent in after-hours trading after the results were released. Investors were happy to see the company show profits after the disappointing run of reports from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Intel.

“The fact that they’re profitable is a big deal,” said Christian Magoon, chief executive of Amplify Investments, a fund manager that counts Amazon as a top holding. “It’s more of a big deal after some of the disappointing numbers from Apple and others.”  Read Rest of Story

 

Questions:
1.  What is making Amazon more profitable now?

2. ” Amazon is the rare technology company of its size to still deliver double-digit revenue growth.”  Do you feel that AWS can keep them profitable going into the future  Why or Why Not?

Do Smart Cities Pose Data Dangers? When Governments See Value In Data

Description: The Chicago Tribune published a great editorial this week about the rise of so-called “smart cities” and the promise and pitfalls of governments assembling ever-more detailed data spanning every moment of their citizens’ lives.

Source: Forbes.com

Date:May 14. 2016
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As cities increasingly deploy automated license plate scanners and facial recognition systems tied to their police surveillance camera networks, they are amassing unprecedented documentaries of their citizens, mapping each individual person’s entire daily life from the moment they walk out their door in the morning until the moment they return that evening. Such data has breathtaking commercial value and companies across a myriad of industries would be willing to pay very large sums of money for access. Could a cash-strapped smart city decide that selling subscriptions to its surveillance data for marketing purposes would be a good way to generate revenue?   READ REST OF STORY

Questions:
1.  Who should have access to the data that smart cities are collecting?

2.  Should cities be able to sell the data that they collect for a profit? If yes, who should get the money?

The Cloud-Centric Retailer Treats Every Shopper Like A Celebrity

Description:  Imagine walking into a shopping mall on a mission to buy something very specific — the right tie for a job interview, the perfect handbag for a wedding — and knowing immediately where to look. Instead of endless hours wandering from store to store, combing the aisles for the right purchase, you know immediately which shops have exactly what you’re looking for and which has the best price.

Source:  Forbes.com

Date:  Dec 15, 2015

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Products are becoming to become intelligent, too, as more items and packaging start to come with low-energy Bluetooth tags that will guide smartphone-equipped shoppers to the exact location of the item they’re looking for. Combine that with customers logging in to good-old fashioned Wi-Fi networks and the retail environment becomes a rich mine of data for retailers who choose to build the supporting infrastructure to capture, analyse and interact with it.  Read the Rest of the Story

Questions:

1.  What is the promise of Cloud Computing for the Retail Industry?

2.. What do you see as the two biggest benefits of cloud computing in the retail industry ?  Why?