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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finance Executives Embrace Multi-Cloud Service Models

CIOs and CTOs are developing comprehensive Hybrid IT infrastructure models, in response to growing demand from CFOs and line of business leaders that request access to applications hosted via both on-premises private cloud and off-premises public cloud offerings.

That's why savvy technology leaders must therefore align with the most qualified vendors and service providers that enable them to manage and support these complex multi-cloud scenarios. Furthermore, the chosen provider must demonstrate vertical industry knowledge and prior experience.

A major shift is taking place in how enterprises select their financial management applications, with a migration to cloud applications happening faster than expected, according to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner.

Multi-Cloud Service Market Development

A recent Gartner survey of senior finance executives found that by 2020, 36 percent of enterprises will use the cloud to support more than half of their transactional systems of record (SoR) requirements.

Gartner surveyed 439 global senior financial executives (including 410 who had implemented cloud strategic and financial corporate performance management solutions) from January through March 2017 to explore their technology perspective, influence of IT, needs and priorities in technology investment.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Organizations of all sizes are moving to cloud solutions, such as core financial applications, for transactional systems of record.
  • Cloud momentum is consistently higher across financial business applications year-over-year.
  • Business analytics and enterprise business applications continue as top investment initiatives for senior financial executives.

According to the survey, smaller and midsize organizations are adopting cloud services more rapidly than larger organizations, with 44.6 percent of smaller organizations, 37.7 percent of midsize enterprises and 40.4 percent of large organizations planning to move to the cloud over the next three years.

"We have found that most clients asking about these financial business application markets are solely interested in the cloud option," said John Van Decker, vice president at Gartner. "Many enterprises that currently run on-premises solutions want to move to newer solutions that put more control in the hands of the end user, and reduce the effort required when compared with on-premises upgrades."

Gartner has found that the human capital management and procure-to-pay markets have already been migrating their business applications to the cloud, while the office of finance has been slower to move.

However, things are changing for the finance organization. CFOs are usually more conservative about moving their data to the cloud, however, given the current change in the market there will be a steady migration over the next five to 10 years.

Outlook for Multi-Cloud Service Adoption

Multi-cloud solutions are still developing and do not have uniform capability to meet the needs of all industry verticals, company size and local markets. CIOs and CTOs will need to do their due diligence when evaluating integrated cloud solutions in these markets.

"The Gartner survey showed that 93 percent of enterprises see the cloud being utilized for half of enterprise transactions in the future," said Mr. Van Decker.

According to the Gartner assessment, ongoing adoption of cloud services has changed the environment for financial management business applications. Vendors have responded with new and re-architected integrated platforms that incorporate cloud-based applications, and most have de-emphasized traditional stand-alone on-premises solutions.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cryptocurrency Daily Trading Now Exceeds $2 Billion

Much of the initial interest in cryptocurrencies centered around their potential as alternatives to fiat currencies. Increasingly, however, attention has shifted to the potential of the technology that underpins them: blockchain.

A clear indication of blockchain’s increasing maturity is the extent to which an industry that was once the preserve of fintech start-ups is now being driven by leading IT platform providers -- many of whom are developing their own offerings.

Blockchain Market Development

A number have been involved in joint ventures and consortia while at the same time developing their own solutions. For example, IBM unveiled Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) for developers in February 2016 based on Hyperledger Fabric -- one of the Hyperledger blockchain framework implementations hosted by The Linux Foundation.

A new worldwide market study by Juniper Research has found that the value of cryptocurrency transactions is expected to surpass $1 trillion in 2017 -- that's more than 15 times the level in 2016.

The new findings uncovered that transaction values in the first half of 2017 surpassed $325 billion, driven by the dramatic increase in Ethereum’s price which saw it account for two-thirds of cryptocurrency transaction values in that time.


Cryptocurrency is now typically seeing daily trades well in excess of $2 billion. Meanwhile, the new research found that Litecoin experienced a surge in volume and value -- if current levels are maintained it should exceed $100 billion in transactions this year.

Bitcoin has continued its recent rise in value in the wake of the currency’s hard fork on 1st August, which resulted in the creation of a new currency, Bitcoin Cash.

Since the start of 2017, Bitcoin prices have risen from around $1,000 to more than $4,000. However, the Juniper analysts cautioned that a second planned fork in November, when the SegWit2x scaling solution is due to be implemented, may prompt a split in the community, potentially leading to depreciation.

Outlook for Private Blockchain Apps

"There is no resolution in sight to the continuing and fundamental disagreements between many Bitcoin miners and Bitcoin Core developers over the future of the cryptocurrency. This in turn could lead to uncertainty about Bitcoin’s future and downward pressure on its valuation," said Dr Windsor Holden, Head of Forecasting & Consultancy at Juniper Research.

The research findings, which also focused on new use cases for blockchain, highlighted that the brightest prospects in the financial services sector came from deployments of private blockchain technologies for permissioned ledgers, rather than the public chains running cryptocurrencies.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Personal Computing Device Market Continues Decline

According to the latest worldwide market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), global shipments of personal computing devices (PCDs), comprised of traditional PCs (desktops, notebooks, and workstations) and media tablets (slates and detachables), will continue a decline through 2021.

The study results show PCD shipments declining from 435.1 million units in 2016 to 398.3 million in 2021, which represents a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -1.7 percent.

Personal Computing Market Development

While growth for the overall PCD market is not expected at any point within the forecast period, there are a few interesting trends that continue to develop. Apart from 2018, notebook PCs show small but steady year-over-year growth throughout the forecast period.

Detachable tablets and convertible notebooks, which represent more versatile designs, will be the fastest growing segments in PCD with a 5-year CAGR of over 14 percent. Ultraslim notebooks are also expected to continue to grow, with a CAGR of 11.8 percent through 2021. The other upside forecast is the commercial segment, which stabilizes in 2017 and shows some growth in 2019 and beyond.


"Looking at the PCD market collectively can be challenging because of all the different product category trends that are unfolding," said Ryan Reith, vice president at IDC. "When looking at tablets we continue to expect that category to decline as the appeal of slate devices diminishes and life cycles for these devices look more like those of PCs 4-5 years ago."

Detachable tablets will continue to grow, but IDC has reduced their short-term forecast on the assumption that OEMs are making a slower transition from notebook PCs to detachables than previously expected.

The good news for this space is that both consumers and commercial buyers are adopting Windows 10, and Windows detachables already represent more than 50 percent of shipments in the category. This should continue throughout the forecast period.

Outlook for PC Market Upside

IDC believes that the traditional PC market continues a steady transition to newer slim and convertible designs. Nevertheless, commercial and particularly consumer users continue to stretch the life of older PCs – constraining their spending and spreading usage across a portfolio of devices.

Shipments could pick up if accelerators like economic conditions, adoption of gaming, virtual reality, and Windows 10 speed up -- but even in the best case, overall growth would likely remain limited.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Exploring Top Smart City Projects in the United States

Smart City projects have gained momentum over the last decade, as more municipalities across North American have launched a wide variety of digital transformation initiatives. That said, some cities have achieved significant outcomes that enable them to improve services for citizens.

Los Angeles, New York, Chicago are the smartest cities in the United States, according to the latest market study by ABI Research. Cities were evaluated across various metrics such as deployment of LED streetlights, smart meters, renewable energy, electric mobility, smart parking, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies, smart waste, and first responder communications.

American Smart City Project Assessment

"New York is the leading city with the highest deployment of LED streetlights in the U.S., followed closely by Los Angeles," said Raquel Artes, analyst at ABI Research.

Chicago will have the highest upgrade of current legacy streetlights as the local government is targeting to replace 270,000 legacy streetlights with energy-efficient LED lights by 2021. SilverSpring Networks, Telensa, Philips, and GE are the key stakeholders in this space.

Additionally, Florida, New York, Miami, and Michigan are the leading cities that would likely have the highest deployment of V2X technologies due to government initiatives to boost road safety and accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles.

Meanwhile, New York leads in the replacement of existing legacy pay phones with state-of-the-art kiosks called Links. Chicago and Kansas City have recently trial-launched smart Wi-fi kiosks.

And, smart sanitation bins are gaining traction in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Tampa City, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Texas.

While larger cities are focusing on large-scale deployment of smart city projects and experimental technologies, their smaller counterparts tend to prioritize projects based on more immediate tangible benefits such as cost savings, reduction of carbon footprint, and the overall improvement of quality of life.

Top smart city projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution are:

Electric Mobility -- Overall, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York have the highest deployment of electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging stations in the U.S. Among medium-sized states, Oregon ranked first, followed by Colorado and Maryland. Among small area population states, Hawaii ranked first, followed by Vermont and Hampshire. This is driven by government mandates such as zero emission vehicle (ZEV) programs and Clean Energy Acts.

Solar PV -- Los Angeles ranked first, followed by San Diego, and Phoenix with the highest deployments of solar PV technologies. Among mid-sized cities, Honolulu ranked first, followed by Albuquerque and New Orleans. Among smaller cities, Newark ranked first, followed by Cincinnati.

Smart Meter -- Among large states, California, Texas, and Florida were the leading states with the highest deployments of smart meters in the United States in 2016. Among medium-sized states, Maryland ranked first, followed by Alabama and Oklahoma. Among smaller states, Maine ranked first, followed by Idaho and Delaware.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

How Digital Evolution is Defined by Trusted Relationships

Billions of people around the world use the internet to share ideas and trade with one another. With worldwide internet penetration at nearly 50 percent, the global digital economy has become a space of immense opportunity.

It’s clear that business transactions are becoming heavily reliant on us being connected onlne. Digital flows are now responsible for more GDP growth globally than trade in traditional offline goods and services. Digital transformation is now driving globalization.

As such, achieving a competitive advantage in the global digital arena has become a key priority for governments and businesses who strive for inclusion and relevance. It is also clear that trust has a critical role to play when countries look to improve their eCommerce adoption.

It's in this context that The Fletcher School at Tufts University, in partnership with Mastercard, present findings from the 2017 edition of the  'Digital Evolution Index' (DEI 17).

Exploring National Digital Trust Development

The DEI 17 includes analysis of each country’s DEI score and digital momentum -- the rate at which countries have been developing their digital economies. To investors and businesses, momentum is indicative of market attractiveness and potential; to policymakers, it is a proxy for national competitiveness.

The DEI 17 reveals how a country measures up and also how it might take inspiration from techniques and initiatives that have proved successful elsewhere. This is essential knowledge in the changing digital landscape, and also for governments and policymakers overseeing digital transformation.


DEI 17 incorporates a framework for Digital Trust that includes:

  • Trustworthiness of the digital environment and the users experience.
  • Attitudes towards key institutions and commercial organizations.
  • Citizen's behavior when they interact with the digital world.

According to the global study findings, digital trust is rooted in relationships. The guarantors of digital trust form one axis: the institutions, businesses, individuals and governments that are responsible for creating and fostering a trustworthy digital environment.

The DEI 17 reveals the identities of the digital elites operating at this level. As a group, they are split in two. First, there are the international trade hubs of Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE.  And second, there are the nation states of the UK, Estonia, Israel and New Zealand.

These four countries are powering ahead of their rivals thanks to a complex formula of IT and network infrastructure, incubating start-ups, a cultural commitment to innovation, and government support.

"The top five scoring countries in the DEI 17 – Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and Finland – are all 'Stall Out' countries, reflecting the challenges of sustaining fast upward momentum," says Dr Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean of International Business and Finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

One important indicator of a country’s digital potential is its uptake of mobile internet via tablets and smartphones. Countries that reached this stage through iterations of services originally aimed at traditional desktop computing. Others, however, have taken a more direct route, with a singular focus on internet access via mobile devices.

Outlook for Digital Trust Advancements

"The U.S. and UK markets were introduced to the internet through desktops and laptops, but the 1.5 billion new internet users added in the past five years had their first brush with the internet on a mobile device," said Dr Chakravorti.

Trust is becoming increasingly important to online transactions. But this isn’t universal. The DEI 17 study found major differences in the level of digital trust in different countries. In those nations undergoing rapid advances in digital tech -- such as China, Malaysia, Bolivia, Kenya and Russia -- individuals are more tolerant of slow and unreliable online technology.

By the time the next DEI comes around, we will know just how well they fared, as well as how insights gleaned from the DE1 2017 helped the developing nations to navigate a path forward.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Digital Payment and Banking Card Market is Evolving

Following a disappointing year in 2016, when the Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) payment cards market nearly came to a complete halt, ABI Research now expects that the market will bounce back this year with an anticipated annual growth rate of 4.6 percent.

The EMV market problems began in 2016 with overstocking issues in the U.S., causing shipments to drop by 18 percent. Additionally, the market in China reached saturation and was further impacted by new legislation limiting the number of accounts one citizen is permitted to own at a singular bank. Both issues in China resulted in a card shipment decrease of 8 percent YoY.

Global EMV Market Development

All eyes are now firmly fixed on the U.S., China, and India, driven by an expectation that over 56 percent of all EMV cards issued globally in 2017 will be issued into one of these three countries.

India will be one of the positive growth factors in the near-term future, currently in the early stage of EMV migration which will help push EMV card shipments to the 3.2 billion mark by 2018. Further growth is expected due to the recent demonetization push by the Indian government to help stem corruption alongside its national payments network, RuPay, implemented to improve access to digital banking facilities.

Overall, approximately 259 million EMV cards will be delivered to India in 2017.That number is expected to increase rapidly over the next three years as issuers look to meet the EMV mandate deadline.

Alongside India, focus needs to shift to the remaining volume opportunity, including Indonesia and the Philippines, both of which will prove pivotal in growing global payment card shipment volumes from 2019 onward.

"Strategic regional positioning is going to prove a vital aspect for the leading payment card vendors including Gemalto, OT-Morpho G&D, GoldPac, CPI Card Group, and Valid to take full advantage of any remaining volume opportunity. On top of this, there remains a significant opportunity in contactless migration, partially in the U.S. and potentially India moving forward," said Phil Sealy, principal analyst at ABI Research.

For 2017, both the U.S. and Chinese markets will struggle and are likely to record another year of flat growth. Small fluctuations and changes in market dynamics in these two countries can create a significant ripple effect on the global stage. However, the outlook is positive as U.S. stocking levels begin to normalize and the Chinese market returns to normal issuance levels.

Outlook for Digital Payment Technologies

However, Sealy does not believe strategies should be focused solely on increasing volumes and migration strategies from contact to contactless.

He explains his thinking, "The next opportunity is in next generation payment cards, most notably dynamic card verification value (DCVV) cards that help address card-not-present (CNP) fraud and biometric sensor integration into payment cards which will add an additional layer of security."

However, adding security is not enough of a reason for issuers to justify heavy investment into new technologies. Any future card-based technology investment will need to be offset by additional value.

For example, using biometric sensors to increase contactless spending limits or providing and utilizing new technology as a platform from which issuers can extend current three-year card expiration dates to four or five years.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Exploring Blockchain Best-Fit Apps Across Industries

Much of the initial interest in cryptocurrencies centered around their potential as alternatives to fiat currencies. Now attention has shifted to the upside potential of open distributed ledger technologies know as blockchain.

A clear indication of blockchain's increasing maturity is how the emerging Fintech sector, which was once dominated by tech start-ups, is becoming crowded with leading IT platform providers -- many of whom are developing their own offerings.

The market leaders have been involved in collaborative ventures and consortia. As an example, IBM unveiled Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) for developers back in February 2016 that's based upon the Hyperledger Fabric.


Blockchain Market Development

Meanwhile, market demand is growing rapidly across vertical industries. Juniper Research has found that 57 percent large corporations are either actively considering, or are in the process of deploying, blockchain technology, according to the analysis of the data from their latest worldwide study.

Almost 400 company founders, executives, managers and IT leaders responded to the Blockchain Enterprise Survey. Among those companies who have reached the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage, 66 percent expected blockchain to be integrated into their commercial systems by the end of 2018.

Using data from the survey, settlement, land registry and digital fiat currency were identified as the best-fit opportunities for blockchain deployment, but Juniper analysts cautioned that for each of these opportunities the scale and variety of barriers were significant.

Companies which would benefit from blockchain include those with:

  • A need for transparency and clarity in (trans)actions;
  • A current dependence on paper-based legacy storage systems;
  • A high volume of transmitted information.

However, Juniper also argued that while awareness of blockchain and its benefits had increased dramatically during the past 12-18 months, there was a concern that companies might seek to deploy blockchain without having first considered alternative options.

Outlook for Blockchain Applications

"In many cases, systemic change, rather than technological, might be a better and cheaper solution than blockchain, which could potentially cause significant internal and external disruption," said Dr Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research.

Indeed, the research found that companies may have underestimated the scale of the blockchain challenge. For issues such as interoperability, the proportion of survey respondents expressing concerns progressively increased as companies proceed towards full deployment, while concerns also rose sharply regarding client refusal to embrace blockchain.

That scenario is fueling the demand for information and guidance from a qualified professional services provider that are already experienced with blockchain apps and the associated deployment challenges.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Upside for Network Function Virtualization Apps in Asia

Telecom service providers in the Asia-Pacific region are actively virtualizing their network architecture. A flurry of new applications development is driven by open source communities -- such as OPNFV and ONAP -- as well as from individual efforts by telcos.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the network function virtualization (NFV) market in the Asia-Pacific region will grow to $9.24 billion in 2022.

NFV Market Development in Asia-Pacific

Japan is the largest single market within the Asia-Pacific region, constituting 25.7 percent of the total NFV revenue. This is followed by South Korea and China, at 22.7 percent and 14.6 percent of the revenue growth respectively.

"Japan leads in the region, not only because of the desire to design resilient and reliable networks in preparation for future disaster threats, but also to prepare for the 2020 Summer Olympics," said Lian Jye Su, senior analyst at ABI Research.

South Korea and China are actively preparing for 5G, which requires both cloud radio access networks (C-RAN) and Cloud Core Networks.

At the same time, the rest of the regions are actively catching up. Tier Two telecom companies -- such as Banglalink and Ncell -- are currently deploying virtual subscriber data management platforms.

The industry has long agreed that there is no single approach to NFV and the latest market developments demonstrate just that fact. In July 2017, SK Telecom launched T-MANO, its own network function virtualization management and orchestration (MANO) platform.

This move is contrary to major Chinese telecommunication service providers, who opt to collaborate with large number of vendors and other telcos in ONAP to develop a common MANO platform. Telecom companies in China aim to become the catalyst for the government 'Made in China 2025' strategy.

Through their NFV initiatives, Chinese telcos can empower local industrial players with new capabilities, such as multi-access edge computing, massive machine type communications, dynamic cloud services and vehicle-to-everything communications.

Outlook for NFV Application Growth

"That is why the recent NFV interoperability test between Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia are important. Such collaboration allows telcos to truly embrace the multi-vendor NFV deployment and benefit from the open source nature of NFV,” concludes Su.

ABI Research analysts believe that virtualized network function on-boarding, interoperability testing, and lifecycle management are becoming the new focus of the industry, as telecom service providers seek to leverage the strengths of different hardware and software vendors.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Converged Infrastructure for a Network-Enabled Cloud

Cloud computing services supported by converged networks will create new opportunities for forward-looking senior executives to make informed decisions and gain significant new strategic competitive advantages.

According to the latest market study by Frost & Sullivan, transaction data is the new currency for the digital enterprise and high-speed, dedicated and secure network connections are crucial for senior decision makers to monetize their commercial data residing in cloud services.

Furthermore, an integrated network with cloud services will ensure a secured network to deliver business-critical applications and data to support executives in achieving their digital transformation agenda and related business outcomes.

Converged Infrastructure Market Development

Industry verticals, both traditional and emerging, are already investing heavily in integrated networks as part of their cloud-first journey to leverage next-generation technologies -- such as big data, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT).

"Converged infrastructure offers a more evolved cloud computing platform to derive better cost efficiency and time savings," said Mayuri Ghosh, senior consulting analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

Network-enabled cloud services with next-generation security features will provide the reliability of a private network -- such as multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) and Ethernet -- allowing enterprises to take advantage of a flexible and multi-tenant, usage-based billing model.

According to the Frost & Sullivan assessment, savvy vertical industry leaders are currently adopting MPLS, Ethernet, and leased lines to create a seamless network experience -- this includes banking, financial services and insurance, manufacturing, eCommerce, professional services, retail, healthcare, and the hospitality sector.

Deploying network-enabled cloud computing will:

  • Allow cloud services to seamlessly fit into existing enterprise network architecture;
  • Act as an extension of the enterprise wide-area network (WAN), enabling remote employees and partners to connect to cloud-based applications in a secure manner;
  • Extend the flexibility of the cloud model to network services so that network resources can scale as required; and
  • Help enterprises take advantage of increased application performance resulting from improvements through network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN).

"Cloud and network value chain providers together can realize the network-enabled cloud for the enterprise," said Ghosh. "For network value chain providers -- including network managed service providers, Telcos, internet service providers, and network original equipment manufacturers -- network ownership and maintenance is the key value proposition, and effectiveness is vital to success."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Virtual Reality Apps are Gaining Momentum in B2B

Expect to see more announcements about business video applications for new emerging technologies, throughout the remainder of 2017 and beyond. This growth will span across numerous industries.

Virtual Reality (VR) is often viewed through the lens of consumer-driven gaming, but in a recent B2B technology survey of 455 U.S.-based companies across nine vertical markets, ABI Research finds that while only 4 percent of respondents have VR in operation, 85 percent are at least in the stages of early investigation.

In fact, of the thirteen technologies highlighted in the survey, VR fell roughly in the middle of the pack, ahead of other innovative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and indoor location.

Virtual Reality Market Development

"Despite VR being a new technology, with some setbacks already evident, the survey yielded some surprisingly positive results for VR in enterprise and commercials spaces," said Michael Inouye, principal analyst at ABI Research.

According to the ABI Research assessment, the B2B market will take longer to develop than the consumer space, but its expansion -- at least in the U.S. market -- could occur at a faster rate than had been previously estimated.

The findings show that the verticals with the most VR activity or interest, are healthcare, retail, automotive or transportation, and consumer packaged goods.

Training, testing, and marketing are all early target functions for VR along with vertical specific applications like treatments or therapies for anxiety conditions in medicine or virtual showrooms in retail.

Sam Rosen, managing director at ABI Research, concluded "For any application that benefits from deeply immersive experiences, VR is often a natural fit. We're starting to see some early experimentation where VR will expand its horizons."

Outlook for VR Headset Applications

The combination of a VR headset with a camera pass-through for merged reality experience in particular, will open it up to a much wider range of applications.

ABI still expects the consumer segment of the VR market to hold the largest revenue share over the next five years, but eventually the B2B opportunity will overtake the consumer space -- especially if VR and related technologies do become the next compute platform.