Tag: Amazon

Amazon lets punters build apps on its cloud

AmazonAmazon’s cloud business, Amazon Web Services, has launched a service to help customers build applications to connect devices through the cloud.

It is all part of the “Internet of Things” idea which has put the cloud in a central place in developers’ thinking.

The service, called “AWS IoT”, will allow factory floors, vehicles, health care systems, household appliances among other “things” to connect through cloud services, a spokesAmazon said.

Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels said at a company event in Las Vegas that the beta version of the service is now available,

The connection to the cloud will be fast and lightweight, making it a good fit for devices that have limited memory, processing power, or battery life, Amazon said.

Technology firms including Google, Intel, Cisco, Samsung  and Vodafone and Verizon are betting heavily on the relatively new technology to drive revenue and profit in the future. However they really need a cloud system behind it all to make it go.

Microsoft also launched an IoT suite last week.

Amazon said  there were no minimum fees for AWS IoT and customers using the service will have to only pay for what they use.

The prices will be determined on the number of messages, defined by Amazon as a 512-byte block of data, exchanged between devices and AWS IoT.

Amazon said it would offer customers 250,000 free messages per month, for 12 months. Prices start at $5 for every million messages, the company said.

Fortune reported on Monday that Amazon planned to announce a cloud-based service for the “Internet of Things”.


EU court cans US data deal

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong KongThe Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has decided that an arrangement between thousands of companies to shift data to the USA is invalud.

Large companies including IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others use the deal, set up between the USA and the European Commission 15 years ago.

The deal called, the Safe Harbour agreement is now invalid.

The ruling strikes at the heart of commerce between the USA and the EU, and follows revelations  by NSA contracted Edward Snowden (pictured) about the US Prism programme that allowed security authorities to snoop on individuals’ private data.

While details are still sketchy, it appears that different data authorities in the different countries might have to make decisions about data transfers in their own territories.

The case started after a complaint by an Austrian law student that wanted a decision on whether Facebook transferring European users’ data to servers based in the States was licit.

Amazon bans Google and Apple

AmazonOnline book seller Amazon will stop selling media streaming devices from Google and Apple that do not play nice with its video service.

The outfit sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t “interact well” with Prime Video.

No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed October 29, Amazon said.

Basically, there was no chance of Google or Apple coming up to snuff. Prime Video doesn’t run easily on its rivals’ hardware.

Roku’s set-top device, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation, which work with Amazon’s video service, aren’t affected, it said.

It is a risky move and shows that Amazon is OK about losing sales to improve its own video streaming service. Apple and Google have the best selling media streaming devices generally.

But Amazon has invested heavily in online content, including producing its own exclusive shows as a way to attract new Prime subscribers, who pay $99 a year for speedy shipping and access to video and other services.

It might hurt Google and Apple a little. Google does lean on Amazon more than Apple which has its own stores and uncritical legion of fanboys who will buy whatever Jobs’ Mob tells them.

Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku devices made up 86 percent of all media-streaming products sold to US households with broadband in 2014. An estimated 86 million media-streaming devices will be sold globally in 2019, the research firm said.

Amazon supplanted Apple for the No. 3 position in sales in 2014. Roku led the market with 34 percent and Google was second with 23 percent.

“Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,” Amazon said in the e-mail, which was sent to sellers yesterday. “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.”

Amazon and Microsoft clouds get Disney

Disney stamp - Wikimedia CommonsMickey Mouse outfit Disney has signed agreements with Amazon and Microsoft that will allow them to use its cloud-based digital movie service.

The deals expand the number of ways in which people can watch Disney films. The company already has agreements in place with Vudu, Google Play and iTunes.

The service includes more than 450 digital movies.

The Walt Disney said that US customers of Amazon Video and Microsoft Movies & TV will now be able to connect to Disney Movies Anywhere.

The service will let users access Disney, Pixar, Marvel and “Star Wars” movies in various ways, including through the Disney Movies Anywhere app for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and for Amazon Fire tablets, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

Customers can access and watch movies using the Amazon Video app for televisions, connected devices and mobile devices and through the Microsoft Movies and TV service on Windows and Microsoft Xbox devices, as well as online.

The app will be available on Roku and Android TV starting September 15

Google to start delivering fresh food

GoogleSearch giant Google will deliver fresh food in San Francisco and another US city this year as a trial run for a bigger business.

According to Bloomberg, that will put it up against Amazon which has a lready introduced a service called AmazonFresh in a number of American cities.

Amazon has been rumoured to be interested in launching a fresh food service in the UK, which would put it up against grocery giants Tesco, Sainsburys and others.

And today Amazon extended its own service in the USA by introducing deliveries to restaurants.

It can only be a matter of time before Amazon and Google experiment with similar services in the UK.

A division of Google called Google Express already deliver dry food to customers in the USA.

Enterprises are thinking of artificial intelligence

Robby the Robot - Wikimedia CommonsThe market for artificial intelligence applications for large organisations will be worth $200 million this year but as much as $2 billion by 2020.

That’s the prediction of market research firm Trendforce, which said big vendors are snapping up smartups and personnel to bolster the development of such applications.

Giants like Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo are in a race to be first to market with persuasive enterprise AI apps whereas in former days AI was a specialised research field.

Carlos Yu, a senior analyst at Trendforce, said that AI technologies have made great advances in the last few years. “Large enterprises have not only begun to acquire AI solutions, they also set set about improving their AI based services by combining them with cloud and big data technologies,” he said.

IBM appears to be the leader of the pack right now, but the other giants are using “deep learning” AI to improve their technologies.

Yu believes that AI will be adopted in major industries including manufacturing, automotive, internet, retailing and information engineering.

He said in the healthcare sector AI is being combined with wearable devices to both improve patient care and also help design new pharmaceuticals.

Shops facing up to digital world

vaulted-glass-ceiling-of-the-shopping-arcade-galleria-vittorio-emanuele-ii-sami-sarkisA survey suggested that 64 percent of shops in Western Europe have committed to what they describe as digital transformation while another 21 percent will kick their efforts off by the end of the year.

High street chains and megastores face many challenges from moving to a digital world one of which is that people might go into brick and mortar establishments to check out goods, then when they get home go to Amazon and bypass the stores completely.

IDC said that it has assessed the marketplace and top shops will create an “omni channel” backbone so they can have a single view of elements including orders, customers and stock.

Western European companies, said IDC, want to give their sales people on the shop floor mobiles and repeat the kind of steps people go through online in a shop.

Mobile commerce is “the next frontier”, said IDC, and fulfilling customers needs across multiple and different touch points.

“Digital transformation is a train they [the shops], cannot afford to miss,” said Luca Bonacina, a senior research analyst at IDC. “Today all the top Western Euroean retailers are in the process of determining how digital impacts them and what their digital transformation approach and strategy should be”.

US internet firms will have to obey EU laws

EU and country flags - Wikimedia CommonsCisco, Google and Amazon will have to obey a new EU cybersecurity law forcing them to adopt tough security measures and possibly report serious breaches to national authorities.

The Network and Information Security Directive is being hammered out by member states and EU lawmakers. The sticking point is disagreements over whether to include digital platforms such as search engines, social networks, e-commerce sites and cloud computing providers.

Members of the European Parliament want the law to only cover sectors they consider critical, such as energy, transport and finance.

But after months of negotiations, digital platforms will fall under the law’s remit.

Any firm meeting the law’s definition of a digital service platform — which is still under discussion — would automatically be covered to avoid member states taking different approaches and causing fragmentation across the 28-nation EU.

A cloud computing provider or any other digital firm providing a service for an infrastructure operator would be subject to the same rules applying to that operator, according to the document, which could still change in discussions after the summer.

Internet firms will also be subject to notification requirements in cases of security breaches, although there is no agreement yet on whether these should be compulsory or voluntary.

The paper asks member states to express their preferences at a meeting in September, after which drafting of a full legal text will start.

US firms are furious the EU thinks the laws would apply to them after all that is what they had that revolution about.

Chris Gow, Senior Manager, Government Affairs at Cisco, said that he was disappointed at the lack of recognition that it is the use of cloud that decides the security risk and not the service itself.

Currently there is no pan-European cybersecurity law and only telecoms operators are subject to the incident reporting needs.

Amazon is becoming all about the public cloud

cloudOne of the strange
things about Amazon’s results last week is that its star performers was its public cloud business.

The company is now completely dependant on a business you do not always associate with selling books.

For those who came in late, Amazon has not been making any profit announcements lately and prefers to invest in new cunning plans.

Last week it announced a profit, but said it was all due to its cloud business.

Revenue from Amazon’s cloud – Amazon Web Services (AWS) – nearly doubled in the second quarter, showing the business was poised to drive sustainable earnings for the online retailer, Wall Street analysts said.

It is still not more than the company’s product sales but the figure is a huge chunk of sales.

Amazon has effectively cleaned everyone’s clock in the cloud business, including names which have more experience in running those sorts of operations. EMC, IBM and even Microsoft have fallen by the wayside when it comes to market share. Last year Google tried to enter the market with limited success.

While analysts have been touting the huge profits to be made on the cloud, the last year has seen a price war between all the key players. Now while prices are still low, costs are more or less on a parity.

All that competition left Amazon with five times more capacity than those of its next biggest 14 competitors —i ncluding Google — combined.

Analysts are starting to call Amazon the “Walmart of the cloud” for its prices and just-good-enough service.

Amazon is in the same position that Microsoft was. Its cloud has become so dominant, and popular with developers who do not see a need to learn to use any other technologies.

As a result Amazon has the chance of controlling the public cloud, just like Windows controlled the PC environment for a long time.

The only way for its rivals to beat Amazon is on technology. Last year we saw some interesting stuff from EMC hit the shops, but competition against something that settled is hard work no matter how technologically superior – remember OS-WARP?

Microsoft to buy into cyber security

Microsoft campusReports said that Microsoft will pay $320 million to buy an Israeli cyber security company.

That’s according to financial newspaper Calcalist, which predicts the acquisition will mean Microsoft will use the company as a base for cyber security in Israel.

Microsoft is desperately attempting to re-engineer its business and the cloud has become ever important to it as it struggles to catch with up vendors IBM and Amazon.

Adaliom has received funding from VCs Sequoia Capital and European Index Ventures and from HP and EMC, it appears.

The company specialises in securing data held in cloud services and prevent it being hack.

Microsoft has not yet commented on the rumour.