Tag Archives: Blockchain

PR Hot Take – The Age of IoT in Media

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology phenomenon that is changing the market landscape and growing at an exponential rate. Trillions of dollars are already funnelled into IoT development each year, and that amount is forecasted to increase each quarter. IoT brings with it a wealth of market opportunities for everyone, almost no industry is untouched by IoT. With such a focus on IoT, it’s only fitting that the media leaps at the chance to leverage commercial IoT specifically, essentially causing a media evolution.

The question becomes, what does this mean for PR pros and their clients? Who’s who in the commercial IoT media game? Which topics, specifically, are they covering?

To answer these and other questions, we took a snapshot of the media landscape over the past three and a half months and have some interesting insights.

Background
Commercial IoT sits somewhere in between the IoT tech that connects consumer products (like our refrigerators) and industrial IoT (like connecting the machines manufacturing cars). Commercial IoT relates to those technologies that play an organizational role in society as opposed to a consumer-oriented or infrastructural one. Some examples include smart street lighting or connected car platforms that tell us when our car is due for service appointment. This means that media coverage of commercial IoT falls into both trade and business publications. So let’s get to the point: who’s covering commercial IoT?

When digging into researching commercial IoT coverage opportunities, we first identified keywords that the media uses. In our research, we identified eight search terms to narrow media commentary down from all IoT technology into only commercial applications. “IoT” and “commercial IoT” were the key phrases used. Of course, using general IoT could potentially yield both industrial and consumer IoT results, so those articles were filtered out. Other terms we included focused on commercial IoT applications, like “smart cities” and “smart buildings.” (It’s also good practice to include these phrases “+IoT”). Other commercial IoT applications to consider are “retail+IoT” and “real estate+IoT.”

We took these eight keywords and used Google News, TechNews and Meltwater to plot out a  90-day timeline of all coverage spanning from June through September 2018. From the selected time period, we pulled a snapshot of articles that covered our selected topics. Although we can’t guarantee we were able to pull every single piece of coverage, we did find more than 100 relevant articles. We then categorized them by date, publication, offered a qualitative assessment to categorize the article as a feature or a brief, and then we evaluated the type of publication – looking at trade and business publications.

Just for clarification —  at 10Fold we categorize briefs as articles that mention our keywords in three paragraphs or fewer. Features are articles that include content in more than three paragraphs. To separate trade and business press, publications are differentiated based on their audiences and their style of coverage (for example Forbes writes stories that demonstrate business impact for business audiences, whereas Datanami writes technology stories for CIOs and technical architects).  

Who’s Who and What’s What in Commercial IoT Media
Based on our snapshot, below is the coverage separated by publication.

This pie chart absolutely demonstrates that a lot of publications, both business and trade, are covering commercial IoT. This charts also shows us that there are a lot of publications covering commercial IoT, in fact, over 60 publications just based on this research. This means that there are a variety of options when it comes to article placement and lots of opportunities for placement.

Forbes seems to have the largest share of this pie. So think big. Landing a placement in Forbes is a huge accomplishment for any public relations professional. Its relative dominance in the media landscape means that commercial IoT must be a topic worth covering. However, the more interesting note is that, after Forbes, the majority of articles are written by trade publications such as  IoT For All, Information Age and ZDNet.

So let’s break those down too:

Owned content in this regard refers to contributed articles from outside companies or staff featured in publications. Vertical publications specifically refer to trade press beyond technology (real estate or retail, for example). You can see that trade publications dominate, with over 50 percent of the articles in our snapshot. Seeing that owned content is low, it’s reasonable to infer that commercial IoT is a big enough deal that media outlets aren’t hunting for content, and a reporter may take your interview!

It is also important to note that there is a fair amount of business press coverage on this topic, and in our experience, business coverage is almost always better in the eyes of your clients!

But let’s revisit those keywords. How does our snapshot break down? Why is that even important? Well, take a look at this chart:

We can see that including “IoT” in the search seems to reveal even more results. This is significant for two reasons: the first being that IoT is a buzzword for media. You could infer from this that including “IoT” in pitches might be an effective tool to capture  the attention of reporters. The other insight? Verticals are a big part of commercial IoT, including retail, real estate and smart cities. Relating IoT news to these topics makes it appealing to media that cover vertical applications.

The Role of Social Media
Social media will absolutely amplify your Commercial IoT coverage.  So let’s talk Twitter, one of the most accessible and common social platforms for public relations plans. We looked into which companies, people and media outlets play the greatest role in the commercial IoT social sphere. Like the media share of voice, we took a quick snapshot of commercial IoT on Twitter. For the purpose of this project, we used Kred’s influencer score, which uses an algorithm to assess how frequently accounts are Retweeted, Replied to, Mentioned and Followed on Twitter to rank each account as a number between 1-1000.

Based on our research, the top individual Twitter user talking about commercial IoT is Dr. Ganapathi Pulipaka, PhD (@gp_pulipaka), who currently works at Confidential. An established data scientist, Dr. Pulipaka has an influencer score of 823. His influence is due in part to his over 45,000 followers. The next top Twitter influencer is Dominic Halpin (@domhalps), the founder of TechNative, a business technology publication focusing on product news, user reviews, research, survey results, and interviews with digital business thought leaders. His influencer score is 806, and he has over 34,000 followers. These two Twitter users could be valuable assets for tech companies that want to engage their audiences on social media and boost their own influence within the IoT technology community.

As for the highest-influence companies talking about commercial IoT, IBM Developer (@IBMDeveloper) is number one, with an influencer score of 865. With over 90,000 followers, IBM Developer has a significantly higher follower count than the second highest influencer, TechNative. TechNative (@TechNativeWire) coincidentally relates to Dominic Halpin, our second most influential individual Twitter user. TechNative has an influencer score of 813 and just over 38,000 followers. From this, we can assume that engaging TechNative as a company and Dominic Haplin as an asset of that publication may improve social metrics.

But perhaps just as important as social influencers is hashtag traction. Hashtags alert audiences to topics they are interested in, and are a proven way to increase followers and encourage engagement. We broke down commercial IoT into three categories to search for popular hashtags: general IoT, smart city IoT and real estate IoT. Here’s what we found using Keyhole.co, a site that calculates the number of posts and number of unique users detected using a hashtag within the last two weeks:

Notable is that the top two hashtags are the same for all three categories. This means that #IoT and #blockchain are probably used together. As a public relations company, this means that it’s possible to leverage one of these hashtags in order to strengthen association with the other. Tech companies should be utilizing these topics together since it’s already expected by the Twitter-sphere. What’s important to take away from the above chart is that #IoT is significantly more present than other hashtags. As a side note, this #IoT could easily be applied beyond the realm of commercial IoT, but it is nearly impossible to reasonably distinguish the categories of usage. What’s important, though, is that #IoT is so present that companies need to utilize it in order to stay relevant.

So, what does all this mean?
The media landscape for commercial IoT is developing at a rapid rate due to the acceleration of the application of the technology. Based on our research, there are plenty of opportunities for coverage in both the business press and trade press. By following the insights about publications and reporters, and using keywords and hashtags – PR professionals should have a field day delivering commercial IoT coverage and building social audiences.  

By Chelsey Crowne  and Morgan Eisentstot 

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The Latest on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most of the world is aware of Bitcoin’s recent record surge to more than $14,000 per coin—a somewhat surprisingly immediate increase after its long anticipated hard fork, which was essentially a “break-up” amongst its developers over differences in the platforms ability and plans to scale.

At the same time, Ethereum has rebounded nicely from its major mid-summer dip, where its coin, Ether, dropped to as low as 10 cents USD. Ether appears stable at its new floor of around $300, and is currently valued $370 at the time this post was written.

Thanks to Bitcoin and Ether activity/trading volumes, the Crypto market is currently a $150 billion industry, and growing…

While Bitcoin and Ether are breaking records and creating millionaires overnight, companies like Microsoft are unveiling plans to jump on the Blockchain bandwagon with the launch of its Confidential Consortium Framework, otherwise known as CoCo, designed to make Blockchain systems faster and more secure. A few weeks back, Fidelity Investments announced that it will be adding Bitcoin, Ether, and Litecoin prices and trade information via Coinbase to its customer’s online portfolios in Q3.

So, what does all this mean? It’s clear that Blockchain and Cryptos are maturing and gaining more mainstream attention. However, we’re still a long ways off from seeing Bitcoin, Ether, or Litecoin replace USD, or any other physical currency for that matter.

Regulation and security still pose the biggest questions among skeptics, optimists, and industry analysts. Up until recently, the SEC had been pretty mum on Cryptocurrencies. But with the explosion of the Initial Coin Offering (ICOs), the SEC has become a bit more vocal about taming the “wild west” that is Cryptocurrency investing.

As for security, each week we hear about new ICO being hacked, or coins being stolen from an exchange. Just a few days ago, Enigma—a project born out if MIT—was pilfered for $500,000 USD in Ether. While the project itself did not lose half a million dollars, the hackers we’re able to gain access into the unsecured accounts of members of the Enigma community via Slack, many of whom we’re planning to invest said Ether into Enigma’s ICO planned for September 11.

Needless to say, the next 6-18 months will be crucial for the development and mainstream adoption of Blockchain and Cryptos. Stay tuned for more from 10Fold on this topic.

In the meantime, we encourage our readers to share their thoughts. You can also check out a recent, related blog from our CEO: Cryptocurrency and the Digital Economy.

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Cryptocurrency and the Digital Economy

Today I had the pleasure of attending a Chertoff Group Conference, #TCGSecuritySeries. I was fascinated with the cryptocurrency discussion led by Jason Cook – Managing Director of the Chertoff Group.  Panel members included Rich Baich, Executive Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer of Wells Fargo & Company;  Dave Jevans, Chief Executive Officer at CipherTrace; and Mance Harmon, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of Swirlds.

Below are just a few tidbits from this thought-provoking discussion.

What’s the big deal about cryptocurrencies?
1. Cryptocurrencies fuel a multi-billion dollar economy
2. In one year, if all continues on course, the cryptocurrency economy will represent more than a trillion Dollars – which has more value than Canada’s GDP.
3. The vast majority of ransomware is powered by Bitcoin

What’s important to know in regards to cryptocurrencies and security trends?
1. The Darkweb is being used to sell your private data (credit cards).
2. There is now a whole class of crime called data extortion. This entails the theft of customer data and private information., which cybercriminals then threaten to make public unless they get paid a ransom.
3. One step organizations can take to address this threat is by developing a definition for an enterprise-grade consensus server for connecting organizations
4.From there, they need to implement that consensus server — a trust layer to go across the internet to connect the organizations and take advantage of improved security models.

A Few Surprising Facts about Blockchain:
1. Blockchain, a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly, has real potential from a currency perspective, but there is no real production Blockchain project underway
2. If anyone wants to bring these systems into the open and transact for value, security is going to be a massive concern.
3. If we move to blockchain, every bank will have to develop a security system that is just as secure as SWIFT (the current security solution used by banks to transfer money).  This will be a huge challenge for banks
4. Cryptocurrency is the killer app for blockchain technology. There are potentially thousands of others.

The Biggest Digital Economy Security Concerns
Distributed ledger technology is at the heart of the security concern because it’s the technology’s engine that acts like a database.  There may be multiple ledgers, and one or more may act as the master.  Copies are used for disaster recovery.  If you make the copies a master as well, you are writing to both simultaneously.  When you have a write conflict (two transactions come in simultaneously), then the community has to agree on the order to execute the transactions.  You can take a master out of one organization and give administration to a different party.  You can take all the masters and put them in control of many different organizations.  They can run each securely.

1. You should not be able to execute a DDOS attack against the network and bring it down.
2. You should not be able to change the actual order of transactions and no one should be prevented from transactions.
3. Protection of security encryption keys is also an issue.  If you have the encryption keys, you can effectively become the transacting party.

A Few Words of Security Advice
Going forward, organizations and the security community will need to:
1. Cultivate security education based on a deeper understanding of the threat
2. Implement regular “reality checks” of their security and compliance posture.
3. Thoroughly assess and prioritize risks and implement solutions and strategies for risk mitigation
4. Develop a government body for the crypto economy – possibly like the Federal Reserve Board for world governments.

Thanks to the Chertoff Group, and Secretary Chertoff, for inviting us to this very interesting event in Palo Alto, California.

By Susan Thomas

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Big Data Horizons- Blockchain, Transportation

When Blockchain Meets Big Data, the Payoff will be Huge

“Blockchain sweetspot will turn insights into tangible assets”

Blockchains will give greater confidence in the integrity of the data you see. Immutable entries, consensus-driven timestamping, audit trails, and certainty about the origin of data. Long term, we should expect to see an expansion of the concept of big data as data silos are converted to blockchain-enabled shared data layers.

Big Data could Revolutionise Transport, Right Now

“Future of transport is full of possibilities”

Superfast hyperloop systems, self-driving cars and other new technologies are showing promise to make us move faster and more efficiently than ever before. By implementing big data analytics, travel could be as simple as dialing in your destination as you leave home and reduce traffic, maximize responsiveness, and cut down overcrowding on public transit systems.

India Government to Nab Tax Evaders Through Big Data

“Indian government planning massive Big Data implementation”

The government of India is planning big data analytic information on individuals and corporate houses for income tax assessments. Starting in August, the government will collect statistics from bank sources, online transactions, and social media sites to match the spending and lifestyle patterns of a citizen with income declarations.  

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My First Trendjack Experience at 10Fold

As a new addition to the 10Fold team, as well as being new to the cybersecurity practice in general, it has been important for me to monitor the news on a daily basis in order to get familiar with trending topics and identify what it is my clients can speak to with authority. Although many stories have caught my eye in the last two months since I started these daily news sweeps, the NotPetya cyber attack stood out to me above all others.  

Peyta/NotPetya/ExPetr/GoldenEye is an ongoing cyberattack that started Tuesday, June 26. It began with a cyberattack in Kiev, Ukraine, where this malware went on to hit around 2,000 computer systems, specifically targeting computers running the Microsoft Windows Operating system. While many people originally believed it to be a form of ransomware similar to the recent ‘Petya’ attacks, this malicious software has been categorized as a  “wiper.” It’s designed to cause mayhem and wipe computers – and is not actually ransomware – which is why this ongoing attack has adopted so many names. It’s similar, but also different in a lot of ways.

Although there were corporations and public sector agencies affected in more than 65 countries all over the world, Ukraine and Russia were hit the hardest, including Ukraine government ministries, banks, utilities, telecom operators, an airport and other major companies. Also attacked were Russian oil giant Rosneft and Russian web security firm group-IB. Computers at the Chernobyl nuclear plant were compromised as well, forcing workers to manually monitor radiation levels, which have their own inherent security and safety challenges. Others hit include companies in the UK, Germany, China and U.S., British advertising giant WWp, French Industrial group Saint-Gobain, Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, Cadbury, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and many more.

What was interesting about Petya was that after encrypting files on the PC, it demanded $300 worth of Bitcoin Cryptocurrency in order to supposedly unlock them. It turned out that as the story evolved, the ransomware was later categorized as a wiper, as previously stated, and the computer’s’ files were completely destroyed. Some security experts claim that this attack is more harmful than WannaCry, because rather than spreading only via a weakness in Windows’ SMB, the NotPetya malware can also spread by finding passwords on the infected computer to move from system to system. It extracts passwords from memory and local filesystem. Once inside a corporate network, it works its way from computer to computer, destroying the infected machines’ filesystems.

There has yet to be a solid explanation on the attackers’ motive and what they were after. Researching the attack, NATO said it was likely launched by a state actor or by a non-state actor with support and approval from a nation state since the operation was extremely complex and likely very expensive. The Russian government has been suspected as a possible origin for NotPetya. The latest rumors suggested that it spread by accident by a Ukrainian tax software company, named MeDoc.

NotPetya is continually evolving and more information is exposed every day. As one of the more significant organized attacks in 2017, it should bring awareness to the fact that many are unprotected. Even though large-scale attacks like this are not new, they are important to watch because each time around they are getting stronger and more sophisticated.   

It will be fun keeping an eye on more of these trends as they pop up. The next one I’ll dive into is the recent disclosures of public cloud leaks from organizations using the popular AWS services!

By Kory Buckley

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Sources:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/it/notpetya-latest-ransomware-is-a-warning-note-from-the-future

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyber-attack-ukraine-backdoor-idUSKBN19Q14P

http://www.darkreading.com/attacks-breaches/petya-or-not-global-ransomware-outbreak-hits-europes-industrial-sector-thousands-more/d/d-id/1329231

https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/2/15910826/nato-response-petya-attack-state-actor-russia-ukraine

http://www.csoonline.com/article/3204547/security/petya-wannacry-and-mirai-is-this-the-new-normal.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/07/05/notpetya-hackers-demand-256000-in-bitcoin-to-cure-ransomware-victims/#5f709ac86cf9

What are Blockchain and Crypto Currency, and why you should be paying attention…

Throughout the last two years we’ve heard rumblings about Blockchain, and more recently, Crypto Currency. But as these technologies graduate from buzz words to real-world technologies, many questions still remain…

This blog will be the first in a short series where we explore what pundits are dubbing the next gold rush, and quite possibly, the foundation for the Internet 2.0.

What are Blockchain and Crypto Currency?

Blockchain, as defined by Wikipedia, is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of recordscalled “blocks”, which are secure from tampering and revision. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block. By design, Blockchains are resistant to data modification. Once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered.

Crypto Currency, on the other hand, is designed to work as a medium of exchange for digital and tangible assets. It uses cryptography to secure said transactions, and to control the creation of additional units of the currency, called Double Spending—which is essentially the counterfeiting of digital currencies. Bitcoin, which we’re all familiar with, became the first decentralized Crypto Currency in 2009, gaining notoriety for its role in Silk Road.

Where does Crypto Currency fit into Blockchain?

Simply put, think of Crypto Currency as the monetary medium for “purchasing” or exchanging digital and tangible assets securely on the network, while Blockchain is the accountant tracking all said transactions in a public digital ledger.

So what’s next for Blockchain and Crypto Currency?

While the future looks bright, Cryptos still lack backing and regulation from financial institutions and government bodies, and pricing/valuation remains highly volatile. Standards have also yet to be established for the Blockchain. 2017, however, is shaping up to be perhaps the most important year for Blockchain and Crypto advancements to date, as use-case specific Blockchains and Cryptos are beginning to emerge.

Take Ethereum for example, a distributed public Blockchain network and Crypto Currency that recently partnered with the United Nations for a large-scale beta test to distribute funds to residents of a Jordanian refugee camp (read more here). Then there’s Litecoin, an open-source peer-to-peer Crypto Currency and software project released under the MIT/X11 license. The Australian Government recently committed nearly half a million dollars to Blockchain standardization, one of many standards efforts currently underway.  

Stay tuned for more from 10Fold as these technologies continue to evolve, as we’ll be diving into both Blockchain and Crypto Currency progress, news, etc. during the coming weeks.

Trends 2017: Big Data Adds Big Intelligence and Bigger Learning

While it’s too early to say that Big Data is all grown up, it is mature enough to have spawned a number of new and very interesting offspring. As Gartner analyst Betsy Burton explained in late 2015 when she removed Big Data from the firm’s Hype Cycle, “Big Data has quickly moved over the peak of inflated expectations and has become prevalent in our lives across many hype cycles.”

Big Data is now a fundamental basis of several emerging technologies including the IoT, self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, deep learning, and augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR). It has moved beyond elemental data into more sophisticated areas such as image recognition and correlation, and natural language querying systems such as AI-based personal assistants.

The Big Data category is evolving so rapidly it’s difficult to say where it will be at year’s end but strong trends are evident. 10Fold has a dedicated Big Data team that has been driving and closely tracking its evolution, and below is a short list of some of the important trends we see for 2017.

Data Democratization

Delivering ease of use and understandable analytics to people who are not data engineers or scientists is evidence of the industry’s maturity, a key to its growth, and increases ROI via simplification. Improvements in data processing and cloud apps and services, including BDaaS and STaaS, have delivered simple and sometimes free tools that make Big Data results easier to access. The cloud is now the main means of implementing most Big Data initiatives, allowing users to specify the needed storage and compute by spinning up databases for apps and data warehouses in mere minutes, at minimal cost, and without the all the previous physical hassles of configuration. This year and the coming decade will see more from the next level of data democratization, and one that is born of Big Data itself, with VR- and AR-based data interaction capabilities providing an immersive and further simplified experience.

IoT, Big Data – and Blockchain?

IoT perfectly exemplifies Big Data, delivering constant generation of unstructured data from a variety of sources. IoT is hot, but it also expands the attack surface among a variety of new vectors. Interestingly, media and analysts alike see blockchain technology growing beyond its financial origins to impact Big Data and as a potential remedy for IoT’s security issues. Blockchain’s relevance comes from its distributed ledger capabilities that hasten communications, its encryption, and from its unalterable nature. If these capabilities can be successfully applied to IoT and across other distributed Big Data systems, then not only will they speed and improve performance, but will greatly reduce risks.

AI Continues Learning

According to IDC’s 2017 predictions, “by 2019, 40 percent of digital transformation initiatives and 100 percent of IoT initiatives will be supported by AI capabilities.” AI provides timely analytics from Big Data and is especially useful with unstructured data by rapidly sifting through and identifying which data are most relevant for specific use cases. AI has morphed into a variety of new applications including machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, cognitive computing, image recognition, speech recognition and natural language processing just to name a few.

Feeding Big Data’s analytic output back into the system so the database learns from itself creates an iterative process that is the main tenet of machine learning, with AI hastening that process. Cognitive solutions that leverage AI are particularly useful by providing explanations, recommendations, and informing future actions or outcomes via their predictive nature.

While the predictive nature of these solutions positively impacts a variety of industries, it is especially useful in the most critical area to us all—healthcare. Using AI and other learning technologies to harness Big Data sources such as genomic sequencing, imaging analytics, medical devices (IoT), and data from medical records can deliver decision support capabilities enabling: health risk predictions; prevention of hospital readmissions; and faster decisions for improved patient outcomes. As proof of its importance, industry giants including Microsoft, SAP, Dell Services, IBM, Google and others have invested heavily in healthcare with the goal of applying machine learning strategies to complex problems such as cancer research.

Better Than Humans and Accelerating

Recently published results from experiments at Google’s Brain and DeepMind artificial intelligence research groups, OpenAI, MIT and UC Berkeley indicate AI software can design machine-learning systems with better results than those designed by humans. This has powerful implications such as: reducing market demand/stress for AI engineers that are in low supply; accelerating the pace at which machine-learning software is deployed; and reducing the amount of required data consumed for a system to perform (learn) a task well—with the last two further accelerating the pace of machine-learning’s evolution.

The pace of innovation enabled by Big Data and its various intelligent and self-learning spawn is so rapid and widespread that its outcomes may be impossible for mere humans to predict, though perhaps AI and the learning systems themselves will have an answer soon. One thing is for sure, at this pace we won’t have to wait long for the results.