While last year’s hype surrounding cryptocurrency may have died down, the distributed ledger technology that underpins digital currencies is seeing renewed interest from businesses. Blockchain is currently being used in the enterprise to help secure sensitive data and to make sure that only users with the right credentials have access to it.To learn more about enterprise…
While last year’s hype surrounding cryptocurrency may have died down, the distributed ledger technology that underpins digital currencies is seeing renewed interest from businesses.
Blockchain is currently being used in the enterprise to help secure sensitive data and to make sure that only users with the right credentials have access to it.
To learn more about enterprise blockchain,TechRadar Prospoke with Gospel Technology’s founder and CEO Ian Smith.
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How is enterprise blockchain disruptive?
In today’s highly competitive business landscape, collaboration is essential to maximising opportunities. However, the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands or cyber criminals exploiting loopholes in security processes means businesses are being overly cautious. For many businesses, this has meant deploying zero-trust solutions which restrict access negatively impacting business agility and collaboration.
Enterprise blockchain, distinctly different from the blockchain used by cryptocurrency vendors, is underpinned by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), specifically designed to address the issues above by providing a secure perimeterless security infrastructure, which should provide access to data to individuals or groups based on consent and credentials. It should ensure that businesses retain control of their data once it’s shared internally or externally. This architecture creates a data network of trust for secure data collaboration—both between employees within an enterprise (intra-enterprise) and between enterprises and partnerships (inter-enterprise).
What value and benefit does it provide?
One of the main benefits of a secure data platform underpinned by DLT is that it allows for the scalable generation of trusted data in a perimeterless security infrastructure, creating a single version of data truth across all parties. Businesses can retain control of their data once it’s shared, providing flexible access b
The best e-commerce platforms in 20191. Shopify 2. BigCommerce 3. Volution 4. CoreCommerce 5. 3DCartThe rise of the web has allowed countless businesses to reach a wider market. Not only that, it has given rise to countless new online-only businesses, fueled by the exponential rise of mobile connections.It’s not surprising, then, that one analyst claims…
The rise of the web has allowed countless businesses to reach a wider market. Not only that, it has given rise to countless new online-only businesses, fueled by the exponential rise of mobile connections.
It’s not surprising, then, that one analyst claims that the SMB e-commerce platform market will break the billion dollar barrier.
Wix is our top-rated website builder
If you want a simpler alternative to some of the full-on web store building solutions here, check out Wix. It’s highly user-friendly, yet there’s still plenty of e-commerce power available to create a suitably impressive online store.
Wix’s e-commerce plan starts from £11 per month
The best e-commerce platform packages
Giant of the e-commerce world
Easy to use
Loads of features
Shopify is perhaps the most well known e-commerce platform available. It was set up in 2006 by founders Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake who, as the story goes, felt that there wasn’t a simple-to-use e-commerce platform available and so built their own. The company claims that: “You don’t need to have any technical or design experience to easily create a beautiful online store.”
According to Shopify, it’s possible to get one of its online stores up-and-running within minutes. Users can choose from a wide range of templates, or they can design the look and feel of their store themselves. It accepts a comprehensive range of credit cards, has Level 1 PCI compliance and 256-bit SSL encryption for security, and it offers 24/7 support via phone, instant messaging or email.
The platform provides a full CMS with which users can manage the functionality and layout of their online store. Users can manage their store on-the-go using Shopify’s mobile apps, and the platform itself is fully responsive, meaning the store will be optimized for visitors regardless of whether they access it from a desktop computer or a mobile device.
Shopify also offers users unlimited hosting for their stores, in-depth analytics of how visitors are using the store, and functionality for marketing such as SEO optimization, a discount and coupon engine, gift cards and email marketing tools. You can test out Shopify with a 14-day free trial.
Shopify for $29 per month
E-commerce expertise with a fully-fledged CMS
Flexible product management
Access to web design expertise
Bigcommerce was established in 2009 and promises to “support your business, not just your store.” In addition to offering support via phone, instant chat and email, it also offers articles and videos to help with e-commerce, and access to a team of e-commerce experts who can provide advice and guidance about online selling. Their experts are qualified in both Google Analytics and Adwords.
Like Shopify, Bigcommerce provides a variety of templates and themes to help stores look their best and get up-and-running quickly. Alternatively, users can design their own store or use Bigcommerce designers to do so. The platform incorporates a full-featured CMS that allows users to run an entire website, rather than just a store.
Users can benefit from detailed and flexible product management, optimized search engine rankings, along with a variety of integrated marketing tools and analytics. Payments can be accepted via 40+ pre-integrated gateways and shipping details can be customized as per the business’s requirements. As of late, some new features have been added like support for Amazon Import and Link and Shopping in Instagram Stories. The platform offers automated order processing, flexible tax rules depending on where orders are made and shipped, and support for multiple currencies. You can test out Bigcommerce with a 15-day free trial.
BigCommerce for $29.95 per month
Veteran provider with a custom design service
Wide range of site management tools
Plentiful help resources
Free 14-day trial
Volusion has been around for almost two decades, having been set up in Texas over in the US in 1999. The company touts its platform as being an “all-in-one e-commerce solution”, and offers a free 14-day trial (no credit card required).
As with other e-commerce platforms, users are offered a variety of templates from which to choose, and can also customize templates if they so wish. Should a more complex design be required, Volusion offers a custom design service that can incorporate branding and a firm’s social media presence.
The platform provides the site and product management tools you’d expect, marketing functionality for SEO, social media, and affiliate outlets, along with emails and order management functionality for fast order processing, accepting payments, tax calculations and POS integration.
In addition to its platform and associated services, Volusion offers apps from its partners, support for users and a knowledge-base for help with e-commerce. Users can draw upon blog posts, guides and webinars. As of October 8th 2018, there are no more transaction fees.
Volusion for $29 per month
Service which focuses on SMBs
All features offered across every plan
Secure hosting with 99.9% uptime guarantee
Prides itself on transparency
CoreCommerce was set up in 2001 and focuses on providing e-commerce services to small and medium-sized businesses. The company places an emphasis on simplicity and transparency, promising that its platform is easy-to-use and that customers will not fall foul of any hidden charges.
Perhaps CoreCommerce’s most unique aspect is that all of its features are offered to all customers regardless of what plan they are on. Price plans are determined by the number of products, the number of email addresses, the amount of bandwidth and the amount of storage required by the user (and higher-end plans also benefit from additional support).
As with other e-commerce providers, CoreCommerce offers functionality for store design, product management, order processing and marketing. Of its headline features, the platform offers unlimited product customization options, a built-in blogging engine, and secure hosting that is provided by Rackspace and comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You can try CoreCommerce out with a 15-day free trial.
Corecommerce for $19 per month
Allows for an impressive degree of tailoring to your needs
Plenty of innovative features
Lots of additional services on offer
Having been founded in 1997, 3dcart is the oldest of our featured providers here. It was set up with a view to incorporating as many of the most requested e-commerce features into one platform as possible.
The company says it has six core values by which it operates: ongoing innovation, good service, simple solutions, fostering trust, keeping employees and customers happy, and stimulating prosperity amongst employees and customers.
Some of the platform’s innovative features include a module that users can install to offer gift-wrapping, a purchase order system, the option of running a loyalty program and the ability to offer recurring orders. Many of these features are very specific, meaning that stores can be highly tailored to the needs of each business.
Stores can be designed using one of the many templates offered by 3dcart, or users can design their own store. A quick edit bar means that making changes to the design of a store is simple. Product images are fore-fronted with 3dcart’s auto-zoom feature and products can be sold via Facebook with its store integration. As with some other platforms, users can blog directly from 3dcart and tools are provided for setting up coupons, sending newsletters and affiliate marketing. Users can also make use out of “make an offer” feature, which basically lets you and your customers to negotiate on a price.
In addition to its platform, 3dcart offers a number of professional services. Users can request help with SEO, PPC, shopping feed management, social media, Facebook ads
An ant weighing just 1 or 2 milligrams, will navigate around obstacles and hunt for signals with a level of skill and speed that puts our most sophisticated robots to shame… And yet, with all that apparent intelligence, a few isolated ants will meander aimlessly – until the number of ants increases beyond a couple…
An ant weighing just 1 or 2 milligrams, will navigate around obstacles and hunt for signals with a level of skill and speed that puts our most sophisticated robots to shame… And yet, with all that apparent intelligence, a few isolated ants will meander aimlessly – until the number of ants increases beyond a couple of dozen.
With that, a higher level of intelligence starts to emerge. As the population rises, the transformation becomes staggering. Millions of ants can build “cities” with complex ventilation systems, sewers and recycling facilities. Ants are the only creatures, other than humans, to practice intensive farming. They cultivate living crops, they breed and herd aphids and other insects, “milking” them for food. Ant groups communicate, teach, form teams and go to war.
keynote presentation at NetEvents May 2019 EMEA IT Spotlight in Barcelona, I compared the behaviour of ants to the most advanced data centers, and the higher-level intelligence needed for effective digital transformation. Such dynamically responsive intelligence does not reside merely in a CPU, or in a server or storage box, or the network, or any individual application. Rather today’s problems that crunch massive native sets need to be optimized across all these elements to create a computer at the data center level.
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Just as the ant colony acts as a highly functional organism without centralized control, similarly there is no single governing program in the latest machine-learning models. Instead the data itself drives the processes in a data center made of compute and storage elements connected by an intelligent network. This “deep learning” is also comparable to the human brain – a huge network of relatively small processing elements called synapses that actually process data as it moves across the network.
A data deluge
To set the scene I used an illustration of the transformation in the very nature of data acquisition. In 2007 Nokia, a $150 billion enterprise decided to invest in the nascent automobile SatNav market. They acquired Navitech, a company with about five million traffic cameras across Europe, realising that a navigation system that kept up to date with real time traffic conditions would offer a major competitive advantage.
In the same year, an Israeli company called Waze was started, with a similar objective – except that Waze gathered the same data not via installing millions of traffic sensors but with an app in every users’ phone. This allowed Waze to quickly deploy tens of millions of traffic sensors at no cost, by leveraging the GPS location chips present in every smart phone, and harvest traffic movement data and upload it to the Waze system. The rest is history: in five or six years Nokia had shrunk to less than the buying price of Navitech, while Waze was snapped up by Google.
Festivals are becoming more and more about the experience than the big names associated with them. Influencer marketing is similar to this. It’s no longer about the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ – it’s the why. People want to see how the product that an influencer is promoting will give them a good experience, and that’s…
Festivals are becoming more and more about the experience than the big names associated with them. Influencer marketing is similar to this. It’s no longer about the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ – it’s the why. People want to see how the product that an influencer is promoting will give them a good experience, and that’s where festivals and influencers come hand in hand. As we saw with Fyre Festival, it’s no longer about the line-up. If things go wrong, they can quickly escalate on social media. Fyre may be an extreme example, but it shows what can happen if what you promise isn’t what customers experience.
As a result, an increasing number of festivals are seeing the benefit of inviting influencers to the event as a way to boost awareness. Micro-influencers, those who might have less than 100k followers but tend to have a higher engagement rate, are thriving, and festivals big and small can take advantage of these to promote the experience of their unique set up. With the number of festivals in the UK rising each year, from vegan to folk, comedy to rock, this could be the difference between someone choosing your event or not.
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But there’s a problem – influencers often want to share their experiences live. Festivals are held out in the sticks so more people can congregate in one area and the acts can attract bigger audiences. These two things don’t always go together.
There are very few places in the UK that are unable to connect to WiFi or let us connect to our mobile phones. Yet music festivals, which remain the highlight of many summers, are still not fully operational. Due to the number of people swarming into ancient woodlands and huge fields, strong 4G coverage is often just a pipe dream. Almost everyone
The rapid evolution of blockchain and distributed ledger technology has led many companies to investigate use cases in line with their respective industries. In exploring enterprise blockchain solutions, businesses face the crucial task of determining the underlying network structure that best suits their needs. This undertaking requires key decision makers to become familiar with tech…
The rapid evolution of blockchain and distributed ledger technology has led many companies to investigate use cases in line with their respective industries. In exploring enterprise blockchain solutions, businesses face the crucial task of determining the underlying network structure that best suits their needs. This undertaking requires key decision makers to become familiar with tech nuances – especially if successful implementation and project optimization are priorities.
So what exactly do businesses need to consider when exploring blockchain solutions? For many, the first consideration is whether to pursue a public or private framework. Public blockchains are just that, accessible and readable to anyone – an entirely open peer-to-peer network. Conversely, a private blockchain restricts network access to approved participants. While corporate security concerns tend to encourage private blockchain use, a comprehensive assessment is essential to selecting the appropriate network type.
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Both public and private blockchains require network validators to function properly. When a transaction (or transfer of data) occurs on either network, validators are involved in determining the legitimacy of the action. Each blockchain type uses a system of nodes to maintain a decentralized, shared data structure. The primary difference between the validation technique on each network is the inclusion of an incentivization mechanism.
On public blockchains, validators receive rewards for their participation in the form of cryptocurrency. For example, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin blockchains are high profile iterations of the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus or i