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INFINIDAT ANNOUNCES PUBLIC CLOUD AND DATA PROTECTION PRODUCT LINES

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INFINIDAT ANNOUNCES PUBLIC CLOUD AND DATA PROTECTION PRODUCT LINES

New Storage Products Announced For Deep Learning, Business Continuity and Cloud Agility

Highlights:

  • 18 successive quarters of revenue growth and 3 exabytes of global customer deployments
  • Revolutionary InfiniSync appliance eliminates triple data center business continuity requirement for core banking and similar mission-critical enterprise environments
  • Neutrix Cloud service enables real-time competition between public cloud providers for customer workloads
  • InfiniGuard backup appliance provides multi-petabyte data protection with lightning fast restores

INFINIDAT, the market’s leading independent provider of multi-petabyte enterprise storage solutions, today announced four new products aimed at enterprises seeking to accelerate digital transformation and drive cost out of their IT infrastructure.

Blog: INFINIDAT Expands Product Portfolio

InfiniSync

InfiniSync is a 450 pound, ballistically hardened data bunker appliance that is the world’s first solution for zero RPO synchronous data mirroring over virtually infinite distance, with zero latency impact.

“Traditional mission-critical computing requires synchronous mirroring, perhaps from lower Manhattan to a data bunker in northern New Jersey, and then asynchronous mirroring from the bunker to a disaster recovery site in Texas,” said Jacob Broido, Chief Product Officer at INFINIDAT. “InfiniSync eliminates the need for the New Jersey data center while ensuring all transactions make it to Texas under every imaginable scenario, including power and network failures and regional and rolling disasters.”

InfiniSync will be generally available on April 2, 2018.

Neutrix Cloud

Neutrix Cloudis a sovereign public storage cloud that offers high performance, multi-petabyte cloud file systems and block volumes that are simultaneously accessible from Google, Azure and AWS compute clouds. Neutrix Cloud is a pure OpEx service and can be employed standalone or with on-premises InfiniBox in hybrid cloud mode with a four second RPO (recovery point objective).

“Clients want flexibility and choice as they transform their organizations around cloud,” says Gregory Touretsky, Senior Director of Product Management at INFINIDAT. “Entrusting your data to a neutral storage provider enables next-generation cloud services and the ultimate in cloud agility.”

As an example of that flexibility, in addition to other public clouds, INFINIDAT Neutrix Cloud will be available to customers of VMware Cloud™ on AWS by end of April. VMware Cloud on AWS brings together VMware’s enterprise-class Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) software and elastic, bare-metal infrastructure from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to give organizations consistent operating model and application mobility for private and public cloud.

“VMware Cloud on AWS provides customers a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud offering that gives customers the SDDC experience from the leader in private cloud, running on the leading public cloud provider, AWS,” said Mark Lohmeyer, vice president and general manager Cloud Platform Business Unit, VMware. “Solutions such as INFINIDAT Neutrix Cloud enable IT teams to reduce cost, increase efficiency, and create operational consistency across cloud environments. We’re excited to work with partners such as INFINIDAT to enhance native VMware Cloud on AWS capabilities and empower customers with flexibility and choice in solutions that can drive business value.”

“For over 15 years, our customers have relied on Daymark solutions to deliver strategic, elegant, cost-effective solutions for their most critical enterprise infrastructure challenges. With INFINIDAT’s patented machine learning technologies and the introduction of Neutrix Cloud, we can adopt a sovereign storage approach that increases our ability to provide dependable, flexible and cost-effective solutions for public cloud workloads,” said Tim Donovan, CEO Daymark Solutions.

Neutrix Cloud will be generally available in US-East and US-West at the end of April 2018, with additional regions online in the future.

InfiniGuard

InfiniGuardis an application-aware data protection appliance that stores up to 20 petabytes of data and provides lightning fast restores. InfiniGuard is powered by the same Neural Cache software architecture that powers InfiniBox and supports a rich software ecosystem including Commvault, Veritas, Veeam, IBM Spectrum Protect, SAP, Oracle RMAN, VMware and Microsoft Exchange.

“Along with outrageous cost, the number one complaint about incumbent data protection solutions is poor restore performance,” said Shlomi Halevy, Senior Product Manager at INFINIDAT. “InfiniGuard delivers better than 10x the restore performance of the current market leader along with superior reliability and disruptive pricing.”

InfiniGuard is available immediately.

InfiniBox F6212

InfiniBoxF6212is a new InfiniBox model sporting 8.3 PB of capacity. F6212 runs the same, proven software and has the same features, performance and reliability that customers have come to love about the InfiniBox product family. With 8.3 PB of capacity per system, F6212 comes to market in response to customer demand for analytics, deep learning and industrial IoT use cases that require affordable, multi-petabyte storage with high reliability and sub-millisecond response times.

InfiniBox F6212 will be generally available on April 2, 2018.

Not All Product Portfolios Are Created Equal

In fact, most enterprise portfolios are disparate collections of products with incompatible features and APIs. This inconsistent mix of products adds complexity and inefficiency to customer environments and also adds excessive costs to vendors’ software development lifecycles that get passed on to customers. This is not the case with INFINIDAT. All of the products announced today are based on INFINIDAT’s common foundational software platform that includes:

  • Neural Cache, INFINIDAT’s machine learning algorithm that maximizes performance by finding hidden connections in data access patterns.
  • InfiniRAID, which along with the INFINIDAT RAS architecture, provides seven nines (99.99999%) of availability while ensuring data integrity at multi-petabyte scale.
  • InfiniSnap, INFINIDAT’s innovative timestamp-based snapshot mechanism that provides infinite copy data management and high-performance replication with no performance impact.

What Analysts, Customers, and Partners are Saying

“INFINIDAT continues to be the exception to other hybrid flash array vendors. With this announcement, they have expanded their portfolio to include offerings for backup, DR, and multicloud — all powered by a single architecture,” said Eric Burgener, research vice president for storage at IDC. “INFINIDAT’s portfolio expansion allows them to address more customer challenges across diverse problem domains with less staff.”

“Performance at low cost is key in this market segment, and the INFINIDAT portfolio — with primary storage, business continuity, and cloud storage — covers more of the data lifecycle, delivering the necessary performance at a lower price point than the all-flash competition,” said Dan Hamilton, VP of Technology at Whipcord Ltd. “INFINIDAT’s machine-learning tech has given our cloud and Disaster Recovery as a Service offerings a performance advantage over the competition.”

“With INFINIDAT we’re able to focus on driving growth without worrying about our infrastructure,” said Jamie Orth, Vice President,  Systems Manager at CenterState Bank. “INFINIDAT understands our need for scalable and predictable performance, and they consistently deliver innovative storage solutions that maintain performance and availability.”

“As an INFINIDAT partner, we’re excited to see this new portfolio, and we’re confident that our customers will be responsive to the benefits these new products provide,” said Bob Elliott, vice president, Storage at Mainline. “The INFINIDAT team continually uses its proven technology foundation to create products that solve more customer problems across the data lifecycle.”

“With INFINIDAT’s new portfolio products, we have more affordable and high-performing data storage solutions to offer our customers,” said Chuck Hawkins, President at Dynamix Group, Inc. “This expanded portfolio will continue to help our customers solve their IT pain points.”

“Engineering D.HUB has adopted a multi-sourcing strategy to support customers digital transformation that requires a provider partner supporting the right balance between on- and off-premises capabilities,” said Alessio Panni, Director, Business Development & Solutions at Engineering D.HUB. “With INFINIDAT’s portfolio, we achieve this balance and are able to address more of the data lifecycle pain points faster and cheaper than the all-flash alternatives.”

“With INFINIDAT’s platform, offering primary storage, backup, disaster recovery and cloud storage, we can address more pain points while managing different workloads and mission-critical applications. The decision to adopt an easy-to-manage, reliable, triple-redundant solution, that was also faster and cheaper than most of the all-flash alternatives, was easy,” said Alessandro Spigaroli, Head of IT Architecture and Technology Innovation at CEDACRI.

To the team — it’s been a busy couple of months. Congratulations on four simultaneous successful product launches. To our amazing customers — you make our hard work worthwhile. Thank you for your loyalty and trust. To our prospective customers — we would love to have a conversation about how INFINIDAT technology can transform your business and help you delight your customers. Please reach out to your local team or visit us at infinidat.com,” said Brian Carmody, CTO at INFINIDAT.

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Lockdown 2.0 – Here’s how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room

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Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 1

By Jeff Carlson, author of The Photographer’s Guide to Luminar 4 and Take Control of Your Digital Photos

suggests “the product you’re creating is not the camera, the lens or a webcam’s clever industrial design. It’s the subject, you, which is just on e part of the entire image they see. You want that image to convey quality, not convenience.”

Technology experts at Reincubate saw an opportunity in the rise of remote-working video calls and developed the app, Camo, to improve the video quality of our webcam calls. As part of this, they consulted the digital photography expert and author, Jeff Carlson, to reveal how we can look our best online. 

It’s clear by now that COVID-19 has normalised remote working, but as part of this the importance of video calls has risen exponentially. While we’re all used to seeing the more casual sides of our colleagues (t-shirt and shorts, anyone?), poor webcam quality is slightly less forgivable.

But how can we improve how we look on video? We consulted Jeff Carlson for some top tips– here is what he had to say.

  1. Improve the picture quality of your call

The better your camera, the higher quality your webcam calls will be. Most webcams (as well as currently being hard to get hold of and expensive), are subpar. A DSLR setup will give you the best picture, but will cost $1,500+. You can also use your iPhone’s amazing camera as a webcam, using the new app from Reincubate, Camo.

Jeff’s comments “The iPhone’s camera system features dedicated coprocessors for evaluating and adjusting the image in real time. Apple has put a tremendous amount of work into its imaging software as a way to compensate for the necessarily small camera sensors. Although it all works in service of creating stills and video, you get the same benefits when using the iPhone as a webcam.”

Aidan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Reincubate explains why the team created Camo, “Earlier this year our team moved to working remotely, and in video calls everyone looked pretty bad, irrespective of whether they were on built-in Mac webcams or third-party ones. Thus began my journey to build Camo: an iPhone has one of the world’s best cameras in it, so could we make it work as a webcam? Category-leading webcams are noticeably worse than an iPhone 7. This makes sense: six weeks of Apple’s R&D spend tops Logitech’s annual gross revenue.”

  1. Place your camera at eye level

A video call will never quite be the same as a face-to-face conversation, but bringing your camera up to eye level is a good place to start. That can involve putting your laptop on a stand or pile of books, mounting a webcam to the top of your display screen, or even using a tripod to get the perfect position.

Jeff points out, “If the camera is looking down on you, you’ll appear minimized in the frame; if it’s looking up, you’re inviting people to focus on your chin, neck, or nostrils. Most important, positioning the camera off your eye level is a distraction. Look them in the eye, even if they’re miles or continents away.

Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 2

Low camera placement from a MacBook

  1. Make the most of natural lighting

Be aware of the lighting in the room and move yourself to face natural lighting if you can. Positioning the camera so any natural light is behind you takes the light away from your face, which can make it harder to see and read expressions on a call.

Jeff Carlson’s top tip: “If the light from outside is too harsh, diffuse it and create softer shadows by tacking up a white sheet or a stand-alone diffuser over the window.” 

Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 3Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 4

Backlit against a window Facing natural light

  1. Use supplementary lighting like ring lights

The downside to natural lighting is that you’re at the mercy of the elements: if it’s too bright you’ll have the sun in your eyes, if it’s too dark you won’t be well lit.

Jeff recommends adding supplementary lighting if you’re looking to really enhance your video calls. After all, it looks like remote working will be carrying on for quite some time.

“The light can be just as easy as a household or inexpensive work light. Angle the light so it’s bouncing off a wall or the ceiling, depending on your work area, which, again, diffuses the light and makes it more flattering.

Or, for a little money, use a softbox or a shoot-through umbrella with daylight bulbs (5500K temperature), or if space is tight, LED panels. Larger lights are better for distributing illumination– don’t be afraid to get them in close to you. Placement depends on the look you’re going after; start by positioning one at a 45-degree angle in front and to the side of you, which lights most of your face while retaining nice shadow detail.” 

In some cases, a ring light may work best. LEDs are arranged in a circle, with space in the middle to put the camera’s lens and get direct illumination from the direction of the camera.

  1. Centre yourself in the frame

Make sure you’re getting the right angle and that you’re using the frame effectively.

“You should aim for people to see your head and part of your torso, not all the space between your hair and the ceiling. Leave a little space above your head so it’s not cut off, but not enough that someone’s eyes are going to drift there.”

  1. Be mindful of your backdrop

It’s not always easy to get the quiet space needed for video calls when working from home, but try as best you can to remove anything too distracting from your background.

“Get rid of clutter or anything that’s distracting or unprofessional, because you can bet that will be the second thing the viewers notice after they see you. (The Twitter account @RateMySkypeRoom is an amusing ongoing commentary on the environments people on television are connecting from.)”

A busy background as seen by a webcam

  1. Make the most of virtual backgrounds

If you’re really struggling with finding a background that looks professional, try using a virtual background.

Jeff suggests: “Some apps can identify your presence in the scene and create a live mask that enables you to use an entirely different image to cover the background. While it’s a fun feature, the quality of the masking is still rudimentary, even with a green screen background that makes this sort of keying more accurate.”

  1. Be aware of your audio settings

Our laptop webcams, cameras, and mobile phones all include microphones, but if it’s at all possible, use a separate microphone instead.

“That can be an inexpensive lavalier mic, a USB microphone, or a set of iPhone earbuds. You can also get wireless lavalier models if you’re moving around during a call, such as presenting at a whiteboard in the camera’s field of view.

The idea is to get the microphone closer to your mouth so it’s recording what you say, not other sounds or echoes in the room. If you type during meetings, mount the mic on an arm instead of resting it on the same surface as your keyboard.”

  1. Be wary of video app add-ons

Video apps like Zoom include a ‘Touch up your appearance’ option in the Video settings. This applies a skin-smoothing filter to your face, but more often than not, the end result looks artificially blurry instead of smooth.

“Zoom also includes settings for suppressing persistent and intermittent background noise, and echo cancellation. They’re all set to Auto by default, but you can choose how aggressive or not the feature is.”

  1. Be the best looking person in the virtual room

What’s important to remember about video calls at this point in time is that most people are new to what is, really, personal broadcasting. That means you can easily get an edge, just by adopting a few suggestions in this article. When your video and audio quality improves, people will take notice.

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Bringing finance into the 21st Century – How COVID and collaboration are catalysing digital transformation

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Bringing finance into the 21st Century – How COVID and collaboration are catalysing digital transformation 5

By Keith Phillips, CEO of TISATech

If just six or seven months ago someone had told you that in a matter of weeks people around the world would be locked down in their homes, trying to navigate modern work systems from a prehistoric laptop, bickering with family over who’s hogging the Wi-Fi, migrating online to manage all financial services digitally, all while washing their hands every five minutes in fear of a global pandemic… You’d think they had lost their mind. But this very quickly became the reality for huge swathes of the world and we’re about to go through that all over again as the UK government has asked that those who can work from home should.

Unsurprisingly, statistics show that lockdown restrictions introduced by the UK government in March, led to a sharp increase in people adopting digital services. Banks encouraged its customers to log onto online banking, as they limited (and eventually halted) services at branches. This forced many customers online as their primary means of managing personal finances for the first time.

If anyone had doubts before, the Covid-19 pandemic proved to us the importance of well-functioning, effective digital financial services platforms, for both financial institutions and the people using them.

But with this sudden mass online migration, it’s become clear that traditional banks have struggled to keep up with servicing clients virtually. Legacy banking systems have always stilted the digitisation of financial services, but the pandemic thrust this issue into the limelight. Fintech firms, which focus intently on digital and mobile services, knew it was only a matter of time before financial institutions’ reliance was to increase at an unprecedented rate.

For years, fintechs have been called upon by traditional players to find solutions to problems borne from those clunky legacy systems, like manual completion of account changes and money transfers. Now it is the demand for these services to be online coupled with the need for financial services firms to cut costs, since Covid-19 hit the economy.

Covid-19 has catalysed the urgent need to bring digital transformation to a wider pool of financial services businesses. Customers now have even higher expectations of larger institutions, demanding that they keep up with what the younger and more nimble challengers have to offer. Industry leaders realise that they must transform their businesses as soon as possible, by streamlining and digitising operations to compete and, ultimately, improve services for their customers.

The race for digital acceleration began far before the recent pandemic – in fact, following the 2008 financial crisis is likely more accurate. Since the credit crunch, there has been a wave of new fintech firms, full of young, bright techies looking to be the next big thing. Fintechs have marketed themselves hard at big conferences and expos or by hosting ‘hackathons’, trying to prove themselves as the fastest, most innovative or the most vital to the future of the industry.

However, even during this period where accelerating innovation in online financial services and legacy systems is crucial, the conditions brought about by the pandemic have not been conducive to this much-needed transformation.

The second issue, which again was clear far before the pandemic, is that fact that no matter how nimble or clever the fintechs’ solutions are, it is still hard to implement the solutions seamlessly, as the sector is highly fragmented with banks using extremely outdated systems populated with vast amounts of data.

With the significance of the pandemic becoming more and more clear, and the need for better digital products and services becoming more crucial to financial services firms and consumers by the day, the industry has finally come together to provide a solution.

The TISAtech project was launched last month by The Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA), a membership organisation in the UK with more than 200 leading financial institutions as members. TISA asked The Disruption House, a specialist benchmarking and data analytics business, to create a clearing house platform for the industry to help it more effectively integrate new financial technology. The project aims to enhance products and services while reducing friction and ultimately lowering costs which are passed on to the customers.

With nearly 4,000 fintechs from around the world participating, it will be the world’s largest marketplace dedicated to Open Finance, Savings, and Investment.

Not only will it provide a ‘matchmaking’ service between financial institutions an fintechs, it will also host a sandbox environment. Financial institutions can pose real problems with real data and the fintechs are given the space to race to the bottom – to find the most constructive, cost-effective solution.

Yes, there are other marketplaces, but they all seem to struggle to achieve a return on investment. There is a genuine need for the ‘Trivago’ of financial technology – a one stop shop, run by an independent body, which can do more than just matchmaking. It needs to go above and beyond to encompass the sandboxing, assessments, profiling of fintechs to separate the wheat from the chaff, and provide a space for true collaboration.

The pandemic has taught us that we are more effective if we work together. We need mass support and collaboration to find solutions to problems. Businesses and industries are no different. If fintechs and financial institutions can work together, there is a real chance that we can start to lessen the economic hit for many businesses and consumers by lowering costs and streamlining better services and products. And even if it is just making it that little bit easier to manage personal finances from home when fighting with your children for the Wi-Fi, we are making a difference.

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What to Know Before You Expand Across Borders

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What to Know Before You Expand Across Borders 6

By Sean King, Director of International Tax at McGuire Sponsel

The American retail giant, Target Corporation, has a market cap of $64 billion and access to seemingly limitless resources and advisors. So, when the company engaged in its first global expansion, how could anything possibly go wrong?

Less than two years after opening its first Canadian store in 2013, Target shut down all133 Canadian locations and terminated more than 17,000 Canadian employees.

Expansion of an operation to another country can create unique challenges that may impact the financial viability of the entire enterprise. If Target Corporation can colossally fail in its expansion to Canada, how might Mom ‘N’ Pop LLC fare when expanding into Switzerland, Singapore, or Australia?

Successful global expansion requires an understanding of multilayered taxes, regulatory hurdles, employment laws, and cultural nuances. Fortunately, with the right guidance, global expansion can be both possible and profitable for businesses of any size.

Permanent establishment

Any company with global ambitions must first consider whether the company’s expansion outside of the U.S. will give rise to a taxable presence in the local country. In the cross-border context, a “permanent establishment” can be created in a local country when the enterprise reaches a certain level of activity, which is problematic because it exposes the U.S. multinational to taxation in the foreign country.

Foreign entity incorporation

To avoid permanent establishment risk, many U.S. multinationals choose to operate overseas through a formal corporate subsidiary, which reduces the company’s foreign income tax exposure, though it may result in an additional level of foreign income tax on the subsidiary’s earnings. In most jurisdictions, multinationals can operate their business in the foreign country as a branch, a pass through (e.g., partnership,) or a corporation.

As a branch, the U.S. multinational does not create a subsidiary in the foreign country. It holds assets, employees, and bank accounts under its own name. With a pass through, the U.S. multinational creates a separate entity in the foreign country that is treated as a partnership under the tax law of the foreign country but not necessarily as a partnership under U.S. tax law.

U.S. multinationals can also create corporate subsidiaries in the foreign country treated as corporations under the tax law of both the foreign country and the U.S., with possibly two levels of income taxation in the foreign country plus U.S. income taxation of earnings repatriated to the U.S. as dividends.

Check-the-box planning

Under U.S. entity classification rules, certain types of entities can “check the box” to elect their classification to be taxed as a corporation with two levels of tax, a partnership with pass-through taxation, or even be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The check the box election allows U.S. multinationals to engage in more effective global tax planning.

Toll charges, transfer pricing and treaties

When establishing a foreign corporate subsidiary, the U.S. multinational will likely need to transfer certain assets to the new entity to make it fully operational. However, in many cases, the U.S. multinational cannot perform the transfer without recognizing taxable income. In the international context, the IRS imposes certain outbound “toll charges” on the transfer of appreciated property to a foreign entity, which are usually provided for in IRC Section 367 and subject to various exceptions and nuances.

Instead, the U.S. multinational may prefer to license intellectual property to the foreign subsidiary for a fee rather than transfer the property outright. However, licensing requires the company and foreign subsidiary to adhere to transfer pricing rules, as dictated by IRC Section 482. The U.S. multinational and the foreign subsidiary must interact in an arms-length manner regarding pricing and economic terms. Furthermore, any such arrangement may attract withholding taxes when royalties are paid across a border.

Are you GILTI?

Certain U.S. multinationals opt to focus on deferring the income recognition at the U.S. level. In doing so, they simply leave overseas profits overseas and delay repatriating any of the earnings to the U.S.

Despite the general merits of this form of planning, U.S. multinationals will be subject to certain IRS anti-deferral mechanisms, commonly known as “Subpart F” and GILTI. Essentially, U.S. shareholders of certain foreign corporations are forced to recognize their pro rata share of certain types of income generated by these foreign entities at the time the income is earned instead of waiting until the foreign entity formally repatriates the income to the U.S.

The end goal

Essentially, all effective international tax planning boils down to treasury management. Effective and early tax planning can properly allow a company to better achieve its initial goal: profitability.

If global expansion is on the horizon for your company, consult a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

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