With its Bluetooth-based iBeacons turned on in all its U.S. stores, Apple is both attempting to improve customer experience and demonstrate its new location-based notification service. While retail is a natural fit for iBeacons, the teachnology has potential well beyond the store or mall. Here are ten other industries and spaces where iBeacons could deliver killer value.
Google: The cloud company that doesn't trust the cloud
In an interview this weekend with All Things Digital, Google CIO Ben Fried articulated Google's policy on bringing your own devices and using external cloud services -- in short they don't allow it in most instances because of security concerns.
Fried apparently stated these policies without a hint of irony. It seems that the company that wants us to trust our data on its servers doesn't trust its own data on others' servers.
Fried told All Things D, and I quote, that "he can’t just let employees mess around with consumer-grade technology." He was serious. He wasn't exactly doing a stand-up job of selling his company's own services to cloud-averse IT pros out there, who very likely see services like Google Apps and Drive in a similar light.
He didn't stop there -- not by a long shot. When discussing Dropbox, Fried told All Things Digital: "The important thing to understand about Dropbox,” Fried said, “is that when your users use it in a corporate context, your corporate data is being held in someone else’s data center.”
Yes, Mr. Fried, exactly. You've defined cloud computing for us. Thanks so much. You've also articulated the long-standing (and what I've considered) tired argument against it. Yet here we have the CIO at the planet's premiere cloud vendor going on the record saying he can't trust his data on other's cloud services.
The irony is delicious.
Right now some commission in Europe is clearly looking at these comments and saying, "precisely." It's not as though they needed an excuse to dislike cloud services or Google anymore than they already do --just the fact that cloud data travels through US servers is probably enough, and let's not forget the the EU has accused Google Search of being a monopoly --but the fact that Google's own Chief Information Officer is stating the same concerns that EU officials have voiced for years is probably not going to help Google's case in Europe or other countries outside the US that are having issues with US-based internet companies.
Nor is it going to help turn the cloud naysayers out there into customers because while Fried probably thinks his networks are perfectly safe, when you put your content on Google's servers, you're putting it in someone else's data center and Fried thinks that's a scary proposition. Should you?
So what's driving this internal security paranoia on the part of Google? The All Things D article suggests it could stem from the 2010 China hacking attack -- and Jeff Rutherford, marketing consultant and founder of Delabarre Publishing, a small independent publisher, thinks the Chinese attack scared the bejeebers out of Google and made them even more entrenched than they had been. "I think they've always been like this, but I think the Chinese hacking really, really freaked them out. If the Chinese -- or anyone -- got access to the algorithm that would be horrific for them," Rutherford told me.
Rutherford says this article also shines a bright spotlight on Google's contradictions as an organization. "There are a lot of contradictions with Google. Look at how they illegally scanned hundreds of books within copyright and claimed it was their right to do so -- yet, they'd never dream of allowing other companies to scan internal Google documents," he said.
Nobody ever said a company like Google had to be consistent, but the fact that a cloud company, selling cloud services to the world won't allow its employees to use competing cloud services in most instances is shocking. There is no other word for it.
Yes, they eat their own dogfood, but they won't touch anybody else's and the incongruity of that kind of policy is hard to miss.
BlackBerry has a lot of hurdles to cross to stage a comeback but one in particular might be especially tough to overcome: the operators. My experience getting started with the Z10 shows AT&T, at least, doesn't seem to find the Z10 a priority.