Tag: business

CEOs will replace you with a robot like a shot

humans-channel4-amc-sci-fi-tv-seriesA new study has revealed that most CEOs will replace their human staff with computers and AI the moment they get the chance.

Beancounters at Korn Ferry interviewed 800 business leaders across a variety of multi-million and multi-billion dollar global organisations. The firm says that 44 percent of the CEOs surveyed agreed that robotics, automation and AI would reshape the future of many work places by making people “largely irrelevant”.

Of course they are speaking as those who know they are irrelevant and just need to replace all the other staff workers while they still have the authority to do so.

The global managing director of solutions at Korn Ferry Jean-Marc Laouchez said that leaders were facing what experts call a tangibility bias.

“Facing uncertainty, they are putting priority in their thinking, planning and execution on the tangible — what they can see, touch and measure, such as technology instruments,” he said.

Many CEOs have allowed technology to occupy anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of their priorities when it comes to strategic focus, financial investment and their time.

The firm also compiled a list of the top five assets of companies which did not even list human talent as an asset and instead included Real Estate, Brand, Product / Service, R&D/ Innovation and Technology as the number one asset.

Laouchez offered his view on why human talent was not considered an asset by the CEOs surveyed, saying: “Putting an exact value on people is much more difficult, even though people directly influence the value of technology, innovation and products.”

While artificial intelligence and robotics will play a huge role in the future of business, Korn Ferry believes that CEOs should not undervalue the creativity and influence that people can bring to a business.

Perhaps they only do so because they lack any creativity themselves and spend most of their time inventing new buzzwords to justify their huge salaries and periodic corporate layoffs.

Intel shares expected to grow next year

alice_in_wonderland___eat_me__by_ariru_lunaticoo-d68i2fxBeancounters working for Barrons have added up the numbers and divided them by their shoe size and decided that Intel will grow like topsy next year.

Barron’s claims that Chipzilla’s shift to higher-growth businesses such as server chips and embedded chips for cars could drive a 25 increase in its shares in a year.

While there is a risk Intel could cut its financial guidance for the year when the chipmaker reports earnings on Tuesday, it is likely to return to sustainable growth by year’s end for the first time in seven years, the publication said.

Those who do not own shares in Chipzilla should wait until after the earnings call to buy shares, it added.

Intel has had a pants few years as demand for personal computer chips has dried up, Barron’s said, but growth in the company’s data centre group, which includes server chips, could eventually bring in more revenues.

The gap between the two businesses has closed over the past five years.

Last year, the data centre business’s operating profit was $7.8 billion, slightly below the $8.2 billion earned by Intel’s client computing division, which includes chips for desktop and notebook computers. In 2010, the data center division brought in just $4.4 billion, compared to the personal computer business’s $13 billion.

Meanwhile, the company’s Internet of Things division, which includes chips for cars, medical devices and factories, composed just four percent of revenue last year but is growing.

Nokia buries the hatchet with Samsung

5442919397_645c8efbbf_bNokia has buried the hatchet with Samsung and smoked the peace pipe over a long running patent dispute.

The deal was hammered out in arbitration verdict and will boost Nokia’s patent sales by “hundreds of millions of euros.”

Nokia said the settlement would lift sales at its patent unit Nokia Technologies to around $1.1 billion in 2015.

Nokia added it expects to receive at least $1.3 billion cash during 2016-2018 related to its settled and ongoing arbitrations, including the Samsung award. Nokia has a similar dispute with LG Electronics.

All this leaves Nokia free to start plotting its comeback after suffering so badly it had to flog its smartphone business to Microsoft.


Apple’s cunning plan is coming unstuck

cunning-planApple’s cunning plan to elbow its way onto business systems is coming unstuck.

This week it released a Microsoft’s Surface clone in a bid to convince businesses that it was a serious company.

However, analysts say that Apple’s business plans are failing because, unlike the consumer market where brain dead fanboys will buy a dog turd if it had an Apple label, companies have more common sense. They are reluctant to switch software vendors and use an expensive device that lacks specialized business apps, analysts said.

Daniel Ives, a senior analyst at FBR Capital Markets said that Apple had tried to focus on the enterprise but over the last two years, it has not been successful. The enterprise market, which is how Apple refers to its business customers, represents 10 percent of its $183 billion annual revenue, he said.

It’s one big client has been General Electric who gave 305,000 employees the option to use Apple devices at work, with 20,000 iPads and 60,000 iPhones now available in their offices. Just 10,000 of its 170,000 office workers using computers on a regular basis use a Mac.

Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said the iPad Pro was faster than 80 percent of portable PCs, signalling that Apple may think the device could replace workplace laptops from companies like Dell and HP. Schiller called the iPad Pro “ideal for professional productivity.”

But it is hard to find an analyst, who does not have Apple shares, who thinks that the company will pull it off.

The price of its products is one obstacle Apple faces as it tries to move deeper into the enterprise market.

The iPad Pro starts at $799 but costs more than $1,000 if buyers also want a keyboard and an optional stylus. That’s more than Apple’s existing tablets as well as devices made by Microsoft and other PC makers like Lenovo. It’s about the same price as Apple’s own MacBook Air, a laptop.

The iPad Pro’s biggest competitor is likely Microsoft’s 12-inch Surface Pro 3, also geared towards the business market. It is cheaper and its software plays very nice with office networks.

In July, Microsoft said its Surface line of tablets brought in $888 million in the most recent quarter, up 117 percent from the same time last year, boosted in largest part by the Surface Pro 3 and the launch of Surface 3.

Keith Bachman, a senior analyst at BMO Capital Markets said that while the iPad Pro has a lot of utility and technology that Apple brought to bear but unfortunately the price never goes away as a challenge.

In the meantime, Apple has entered into partnerships with IBM and Cisco, aimed at creating more enterprise-friendly software to run on iOS, the Apple operating system, but little is known about these partnerships.

Wi-fi continues to be a cash cow

wi-fi symbolDespite prices continuing to drop on wi-fi in hotels – with many offering it now as a service like hot water and towels – there are still opportunities for service and providers to make money.

ABI Research issued a report saying that the number of installed access points will be as many as 400 million commercial and enterprise units by 2019.

Shops have started offering wi-fi as a free amenity – several high street names here in the UK including Boots, Debenhams and Barclays offer it now for a free.

The idea, according to ABI, is that giving free wi-fi access attracts people into shops, gives customers a good feeling about the vendor, and also is likely to generate extra sales.

Coming up are data analytics and targeted advertising so that as your feet fall into a shop, the vendor will automatically know the kinds of things you like.

Service providers have the know how about us customers and are likely to collaborate with shops, offering a “business to consumer” fresh line of revenue generation.

ABI said emerging technologies including Hotspot 2.0, VoW-Fi and 802.11ac are likely to encourage businesses to bet bucks on growing their business through wi-fi.

Business forgets mobility at its peril

iType SmartwatchTablets and smartphones are now so important to employees and outside individuals and coupled with the proliferation of cloud based applications, businesses ignore mobility at their peril.

That’s the conclusion of an IDC survey, which said that while Western European companies have acknowledged the importance of mobility, businesses in Central and Eastern Europe are lagging behind.

And the interest of mobility are prompting business units and IT departments to cooperate closely with the IDC survey showing that mobile strategies come about because these units collaborate together to make these things work.

IDC believes that there are several pillars to what it describes as the “third platform”. The other pillars in the temple are big data analytics, social media and cloud.

The survey said that many companies will succeed or fail depending on how effective their mobility strategies are.

Dell launches new tablet

Dell TabletGiant multinational Dell said it introduced a new tablet to the market and it’s running the Android operating system, not Windows.

The Venue 10 7000 claims to have the best tablet display on the market – it uses a 10.5 inch OLED 2560 by 1600 pixel screen, is powered by a quad core Intel Atom, and also uses Intel’s “Realsense” snapshot camera.

The machine is aimed at the commercial market and can be managed by IT staff so that they can create profiles for business use as well as fun stuff when an owner isn’t earning a buck.

The business data is encrypted and Dell said it will offer Office for Android for the machine later this year.

It doesn’t come cheap though – prices start at $500 and if you buy the optional keyboard, the total price will be $629.

It’s not available yet, but Dell said it will ship in May 2015.

To cover its options, Dell also has added its “education portfolio” as part of the package.

Weather goes into the IBM cloud

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.29.40Big Blue said it has allied with the Weather Company to put its weather data services on an IBM Cloud, and link it to analytics and cloud services. It’s all being done in the cause of business, according to IBM – with weather systems hitting the economy, say in the USA, t the tune of half a trillion dollars.

Unfortunately, IBM said, business systems think every day is the same, and don’t take account of hurricanes, twisters and piles of snow.

So because of that, unexpected weather systems don’t always trigger responses from businesses.

IBM believes that using cloud computing and the internet of things (IoT), data can be collected from over 100,000 weather sensors, aircrafts, smartphones, smart buildings and vehicles on the road and rail.

The Weather Company thinks that by using the IBM cloud, it will be able to create one of the biggest cloud applications in the known universe.

IBM and the Weather Company will offer Watsons Analytics for Weather, cloud and mobile app developer tools using weather data, and consultants will be trained to move to business “pain points”. Pain points, we understand are adverse weather conditions.

Tech startups getting overconfident

Tech startups might be becoming overconfident when it comes to buy-outs.

The problem is that many think that Instagram should have held out against Facebook’s offers. The company which Facebook bought for a billion is probably worth $5 billion to $15 billion today.

So when Snapchat were also wooed by Facebook they turned down a $3 billion offer thinking that they could earn just as much.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel confidently told the world that he would not be looking at any buy-outs or venture funding until next year.

But according to Slashdot, that is the sort of thinking which could really stuff a company up.

Snapchat earns no revenue. It is popular among users who want their online messages to self-destruct after a short, preset amount of time so their parents cannot see them.

Facebook already replicated Snapchat’s functionality with its Poke app but wants Snapchat’s user base. The chances of it actually making money when its sole function is to erase data the moment it appears has not occurred to anyone.

However, according to Slashdot, Snapchat thinks it can score a better deal within the next few quarters. If they are right, then they will be praised for being smarter than the folks at Instagram who sold for a “measly” $1 billion.

But the risk is that the value of their company will go down instead of up. Relying on a teen audience, which traditionally runs after the next shiny thing, is risky. Snapchat could be out of fashion by next week along with other fads.

But there is a very real risk that other startups will follow Snapchat’s lead and simply go under waiting for that big deal.

The startup hold out is being seen as evidence of a Silicon Valley tech bubble about to burst. Particularly when business heavy weights like Carl Icahn think there was a chance the stock market could suffer a big decline. 

Yahoo board signs off on Tumblr deal

Yahoo’s beleaguered board has written a rumoured $1.1 billion cheque to buy the social blogging site Tumblr.

The Tumblr deal was rumoured last week and it looks like it is accurate if the Wall Street Journals secret special sauces are correct.

The deal could be announced today. Yahoo already has an event scheduled for today in New York on the basis that if you make an announcement there you can make it anywhere.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer become interested in the site only a couple of months ago, but sees the Tumblr purchase as a way to big inroads into social media and boosting revenue growth.

The news is supposed to be an antidote to other rumours that there are dark things going on at the top of Yahoo’s executive ladder. Key people have been departing from Yahoo’s mobile team and there are other portents of doom.

Tumblr, too, is seen as being in trouble. Yahoo’s $1.1 billion offer would normally have been sniffed at as being far too low. But other rumours suggest that Tumblr may be looking at a fast-depleting cash pile, which again gives it good reason to sell.

Of course there are some users who are threatening to depart from Tumblr if the Yahoo deal goes through and visitor growth to the site appears to be flat or declining slightly in 2013, so the deal might not be great for Yahoo.

There are always those who threaten to leave a site if its ownership changes hands. Instagram also had shedloads of users claiming they were going to shut down their accounts and depart for good when Facebook took it.

What is a little strange is how Yahoo is affording the buy. It only had $1.2 billion cash on hand as of its most recent quarterly earnings so this could be the last of its big spends.