Breaking News in the Industry: June 10, 2016

first_imgDisney Employee Accused of Stealing $112,000 in Fraudulent RefundsA Walt Disney World employee used her position with the company to fraudulently obtain more than $100,000 over 22 months, Orange County investigators said. Katie Miller, 29, is charged with second-degree grand theft and first-degree scheme to defraud. Court records say Miller defrauded Disney by inputting fraudulent refund transactions while she worked as a cashier at the Columbia Harbor House in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Investigators said Miller stole approximately $112,000 between May 2013 and March 2015. Disney employees discovered the suspected fraud and the case was turned over to law enforcement. Miller was arrested Tuesday by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and is being held at the Orange County Jail. [Wesh.com]Retail Meltdown: Which Chains Are Closing Stores in 2016?A number of big-name retailers are getting smaller as they try to find a way to succeed in an increasingly online world. With some retailers, including Sports Authority and Sports Chalet, closing all of their stores, and others, like Aeropostale, teetering on the edge of heading into the great strip mall in the sky, this has been a difficult year for brick-and-mortar retailers. The damage, however, is not limited to the chains that are closing up shop entirely. A number of others — including some iconic names — are getting smaller, closing stores as a way to shrink into, if not profitability, at least lower losses. It’s a tough time for America’s shopping centers, with it looking like those temporary pop-up Halloween stores will have their pick of prime locations this year. Blame the Internet in many cases, changing consumer demands in others, bad management in a few, and a combination of all of the above in many cases. Here’s a look at some of the retailers that have either already begun closing locations or plan to do so this year. [Fool.com]Decorated Police Officer Cleared of Shoplifting Women’s ClothesA decorated police officer has been cleared of shoplifting women’s clothes from a supermarket.Richard Pendlebury, 42, told Preston Crown Court he believed the leopard print skirt, black top and shoes were what his partner Zoe Wilkinson, 30, was returning to Asda, days after she purchased the same outfit. The custody sergeant said he was unaware the items had been selected by his partner as they shopped at the Pilsworth Road store on September 19 2014. The Crown alleged that following his arrest he then conspired to provide a false account to police. [HeraldScotland]- Sponsor – Mall Owners Turn to Tech to EvolveMall owners have taken pains to defend the shopping model, even as traffic has fallen and some traditional mall retailers falter. Simon Property Group chairman/CEO David Simon in April pushed back against the widely-held notion that American malls are dying, while Taubman Centers COO Bill Taubman last month said that the biggest problem facing US malls is under-performing retailers. While some destination and many class A malls seem to be thriving, others are struggling as anchors like Sears and Macy’s falter or close. [RetailDive] Jeff Bezos Gives Advice to RetailersThe 2016 Code Conference saw Jeff Bezos interviewed about his thoughts on business, the future of computers and of print media. During the question period, a former Walmart Stores employee asked the Amazon.com Inc. CEO what retail problems he thought that the Amazon business model could fix in the next 10–20 years. Bezos answered that he continues to believe what he’s thought for the last 20 years—there are three key components to finding success in retail: selection, price and delivery (delivery encompassing speed, convenience and accuracy). [Investopedia]World Anti-Counterfeiting Day: Why Buying Fakes Costs More?Now in its eighteenth year, World Anti-Counterfeiting Day enables national and international organizations involved in the fight against counterfeit products to increase consumer awareness of the risks and costs associated with buying fakes, and to encourage consumers to better understand the seriousness of the problem. Counterfeiting and piracy is a growing global problem with the latest OECD report on trade in counterfeit and pirated goods indicating that trade of fake goods has increased by over 80% in a five-year period, representing now more than 2.5% of all world trade. [ICWBO.org] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

(Number) 9 Things the Yoko Ono App SHOULD Do

first_img4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 7. Send an animated fly crawlingover your home screen. Yoko Ono, widow of The Beatles’ John Lennon, has released an iPhone app. The app, called #smilesfilm, allows users to share snapshots of smiling faces.That’s great and all, but we came up with nine things that a Yoko Ono app really should do.1. Break up your band. Whatever band you happen to be in.2. Erase all Paul McCartney songs on your iTunes account. 3. Turn all your album cover art to plain white.4. Change your ring tone to 15 minutes of tuneless screeching, direct from the second side of Live Peace in Toronto, still the most unlistenable bit of “music” ever recorded.5. Automatically send emails with virtual flowers to 100 top world leaders, complete with nagging messages about what they’re not doing to save the world.6. Turn off all the alarms on your iPhone. After all, you belong in bed. fredric paul 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex…center_img Tags:#humor#Multimedia#music#web Related Posts 8. Put huge sunglasses on the faces of the pictures you take with your iPhone – including those taken in #smilesfilm.9. Give Peace a Chance.Lead photo courtesy of Shutterstock. 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutlast_img read more

5 Killer Types Of Wearable Apps For Companies

first_imgTags:#Augmented Reality#enterprise#Guest Posts#smartwatches#virtual reality#VR#wearables#workplace collaboration Top 5 Areas Where Companies Want IoT Solutions 6 Best Video Conferencing Services for Small Bu… Guest author Quinton Wall is the director of developer relations at Salesforce.While wearables may still be in their ramp-up stage, there’s little doubt they are here to stay. Gartner expects the wearables market will hit $10 billion by next year, while IDC anticipates 120 million devices will be shipped by 2018. We know that fitness trackers are a market success and are a considerable part of those numbers, and we have a pretty good idea that consumers will continue to use them for grabbing notifications and tracking their activities on the go. What many remain unconvinced about is how wearables will impact the enterprise.They won’t be unconvinced for long. Wearables are set to have a major impact for companies and other organizations. To be clear, we aren’t talking about wearables as single-purpose devices (such as fitness trackers). We’re looking at wearables as general purpose computers. For businesses, they will provide an unprecedented way to help them improve productivity and safety, and introduce the app economy to industries where apps have been lagging. Think areas like construction or manufacturing. Beyond vertical industry value, these devices will also offer killer applications across all industries. At Salesforce, we are seeing customers building wearable apps for work. The following are the five killer categories of applications among the most common use cases. 5 Killer Types Of Wearables Enterprise AppsSecurityWe’re all familiar with security and building badges. Anyone who visited the large enterprises and government agencies knows that some people have to wear two or three to get around large campuses. Wearables can be used to provide watch-based security identifiers and replace those traditional photo IDs and badges. In addition to just providing NFC (Near Field Communication) authentication, because of the screen and computer, wearables make it possible to add informational messages to the user. If there is there a new mandatory meeting employees can be told where and when. If a user is denied access, the security alert can detail why. Field ServiceManufacturing and construction are billion dollar industries, yet they only spend approximately 2% of their IT budget on mobile. More over, 80% of workers do not have access to technology that allows them to work more efficiently. Wearable technology—such as Google Glass for hands-free operation, the Fujitsu wearable glove, and even connected clothing that can detect hazardous chemicals—unlocks the potential for re-imagining field service in much the same way industries like transportation have been influenced by mobile apps. Booking-office resourcesConsider the day to day hassle of booking a meeting. What seems to be a simple and easy task—grabbing a conference room—never is simple or easy. With wearables, anyone can find and book a room with a swift scan of room availability from the wearable. The user can then quickly use the wearable interface to set duration and any necessary equipment. Wearables can also use map features as a way to guide meeting participants to the correct room using augmented reality, or receive by turn directions. CollaborationWearables will also improve how we collaborate. Workers often rely on the advice of colleagues, supervisors, and even public Internet resources, such as YouTube, to provide additional assistance. Augmented reality in many industries can be used to facilitate collaboration between coworkers—in ways not all that different from how office workers have been using screen-sharing applications. Collaboration will be available everywhere—from the worker at her desk, to the oil rig technical suspended high in the air. They will be able to work together in real-time, hands-free, and immersive ways. Improvement for task and recording accuracyWearables will have a serious role in streamlining back-office functions. A wearable can help track time spent on projects, manage travel expenses, and even help employees take advantage of their benefits with local discounts, annual eyeglasses and vision rebates, credit unions, and more. Unfortunately, right now, most of these benefits go unused: Employees are either not aware, forget, or do not have access to the information at a time when they can act on it. By creating a wearable app that proactively notifies employees of benefits when they’re near vendors, employees can more easily take advantage of perks. These are just five examples of how wearable devices can influence the enterprise. The use cases will only grow as the devices become more intelligent, interactive, and less obtrusive. Smart enterprises are at work embracing how wearables can better help them run their businesses. Lead photo by Intel Free Press  quinton wallcenter_img Related Posts With This One Question, You’ll Never Need an Ic… How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi…last_img read more

A Look at How Convenience is Driving Connected Devices

first_imgThe number of connected devices on this planet has nearly doubled in the last five years. There are currently an estimated 26.66 billion of them around the world, with as many as 75.44 billion expected by as early as 2025. The question is, what’s driving these massive and skyrocketing adoption rates?The Pursuit of ConvenienceMeet Jake. He’s a lot like you. When it comes to technology, he’s your standard millennial. He has all of the basic gadgets and gizmos, plus a couple of luxury items that he was easily able to purchase off the shelf. This is his morning routine:Jake’s fitness tracker gently buzzes him awake every morning at precisely 6:30 a.m. He taps the snooze button, sleeps for another seven minutes, and then gets another gentle buzz on his wrist. This time Jake opens his eyes. He grabs his smartphone beside his bed and opens up his smart home hub app. He disarms the security system, turns the heat up a couple of degrees on the thermostat, and sends a signal to his coffee maker to start percolating. Next, Jake gets out of bed, walks to his bathroom, and adjusts the little thermostat box that controls the heating mechanism beneath his cold marble floor. Within minutes, the temperature of the floor rises to the precise temperature that he likes and his feet are toasty warm. This prompts Jake to consider what he’ll wear today. “Hey Alexa…what’s the weather forecast for today?”Upon showering and dressing, Jake walks down to the kitchen and grabs his freshly brewed cup of coffee. He pilfers through his pantry but doesn’t find anything he wants to eat for breakfast – but that’s not an issue. Jake simply pulls up his favorite food delivery app and schedules a breakfast burrito to be delivered to his office at precisely 9:05 a.m.Before heading off to work for the day, Jake performs a couple of taps and swipes on his phone. Instantly, his car starts remotely and the seat warmers kick on. He walks out of his apartment and his security system recognizes that he’s left the premises. His doors lock, the alarm activates, and his thermostat readjusts to an energy-efficient setting.Finally, Jake sits down his the driver’s seat of his warm vehicle and his navigation system automatically provides him with the perfect route to the office based on real-time traffic patterns. It notifies him that this route is 14 minutes shorter than the standard route, which will ensure he arrives in time for his hand-delivered breakfast.You and Jake aren’t that different. The details of your routine may vary, but the underlying drive behind what you do, how you do it, and when you do it is the same: You crave convenience and comfort.You might think your morning routine looks a bit average, but it’s anything but mediocre when viewed through the lens of history. You have more technology inside your house than entire countries had just 30 years ago. Yet, you’ll continue to buy new devices, upgrade the ones you have, and dream up new ways to use emerging gadgets. For example:If you need to buy a bunch of groceries for the week, but don’t have time to meander through the aisles and shop for yourself, you can easily hire a personal shopper from a smartphone app and pay just a few dollars to have the items delivered to your doorstep.Need to sell your vehicle but don’t want to deal with the hassle of running around town from dealer to dealer? Using a cash car buying service in your area, you can list a car, have a company come to your driveway, and receive cash/transfer title with nothing more than a smartphone.Want to water your lawn while you’re away on vacation? A smart sprinkler system can be installed and remotely activated/programmed for a very small investment.Convenience is at your fingertips. There’s no need to feel guilty about it – that’s just the way it is. In modern culture – specifically the Americanized version – convenience decides everything. It makes our decisions for us, even when our personal preferences say otherwise.“Convenience has the ability to make other options unthinkable,” Tim Wu writes for The New York Times. “Once you have used a washing machine, laundering clothes by hand seems irrational, even if it might be cheaper. After you have experienced streaming television, waiting to see a show at a prescribed hour seems silly, even a little undignified. To resist convenience — not to own a cellphone, not to use Google — has come to require a special kind of dedication that is often taken for eccentricity, if not fanaticism.”As technology improves and the number of connected devices swells, convenience becomes even more accessible. It’s no longer a question of if something can be made easier, but by how much. Convenience is driving purchase decisions and, in turn, the products tech companies invest in. And as inconvenience is slowly weeded out of our lives, it’s fair to ask the question: What are the ramifications of this shift?Risks and Concerns AboundThe relationship between convenience and connected devices is a lot like the relationship between the chicken and the egg. Has the desire for increased convenience led to the massive growth in connected devices, or has the growth in connected devices spawned a desire for more copious amounts of convenience? In all honesty, it’s probably a little bit of both.We’re at a unique junction in the growth and development of connected devices where people want to utilize the conveniences they have available to them, but are somewhat hesitant to go all-in. According to a recent survey of 20,000 global consumers, 48 percent of Americans say they’re comfortable if a device, such as a refrigerator, orders items on their behalf without asking. However, 62 percent say they want approval before purchases are consumed. A hefty 78 percent want a notification before an order is placed.The same study suggests that, when it comes to connected devices, security is the top concern. Roughly three out of four consumers are worried that manufacturers will share their personal data. And then there’s the issue of overreach. While 51 percent of consumers say they understand the benefits of conveniences that connected devices provide, 54 percent say they don’t understand why devices – like refrigerators – need to be connected to the internet.If you zoom out and look at connected devices from a macro perspective, concerns over security are substantial. The interconnectedness of the IoT means there are more entry points into networks than ever before. All it takes is a single compromised device to produce a costly domino effect.“In the past, an attack on critical infrastructure meant damaging a building or destroying a weapon. Now, any Internet-enabled device connected to the network – be it a smart phone or an internet-connected thermostat – can serve as a hackable entry point and an attack on critical infrastructure,” Mesay Degefu writes for NetCentrics. “This is evidenced by events like Target’s data breach via HVAC, leaked account credentials from a ‘smart’ teddy bear, and even hacked smart TVs.”The Future of Connected DevicesAmerican consumers want convenience. They want to live lives that are easy, simple, and free of unnecessary encumbrances and pressures. In fact, most feel entitled to lives of ease.Moving forward, the challenge lies in delivering convenience without compromising security. In other words, tech companies must find ways to satisfy the insatiable desire for ease, simplicity and comfort, without putting personal data and privacy at risk. And unfortunately, this is far easier said than done – especially in a business landscape where money is the biggest controlling factor.“Americans say they prize competition, a proliferation of choices, the little guy. Yet our taste for convenience begets more convenience, through a combination of the economics of scale and the power of habit,” Wu writes. “The easier it is to use Amazon, the more powerful Amazon becomes — and thus the easier it becomes to use Amazon. Convenience and monopoly seem to be natural bedfellows.”When monopoly sets in, businesses feel less compulsion to do the right thing. Instead of offering convenience and security, companies will focus in on the former at the expense of the latter – because it sells.People say they care about privacy, but continue to buy devices that openly harvest their data and leave them exposed. Until collective desire for security supersedes cravings for convenience, this will be the state of the market. Frank Landman Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puckcenter_img Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industrylast_img read more