iTWire - iTWire - Latest News iTWire - Technology news, trends, reviews, jobs Fri, 31 Oct 2014 22:54:06 +1100 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb VIDEO: Actian’s analytics goes graph with scalable SPARQL’s-analytics-goes-graph-with-scalable-sparql’s-analytics-goes-graph-with-scalable-sparql VIDEO: Actian’s analytics goes graph with scalable SPARQL

Actian’s CTO, Mike Hoskins, had us at Hadoop, explaining how the company has expanded its analytics platform with its claim of being the highest performing, most scalable graph analytics engine with new SPARQLverse engine to understand big data in new and better ways. 


Analytics powerhouse Actian has delivered graph analytics capabilities to its portfolio by introducing SPARQL City’s SPARQLverse engine, which the company says “provides the most complete set of discovery capabilities and the highest performing, most scalable analytics with the greatest degree of usability.”


Designed so its customers “can discover the impact and value of new relationships in networks of people, devices and data”, users are now promised the “true discovery power of graph analytics as part of the end-to-end analytics capabilities of the Actian Analytics Platform”. 


As Actian explains, “the potential for uncovering cause, effect and influence in relationships is fully realised by this combination of graph analytics, expansive connectivity, data blending and enrichment, auto-discovery, data science algorithms, advanced analytics and operational business intelligence via SQL in Hadoop”. 


As this kind of high-level analysis is not my area of expertise, even though I am always interested in learning about technology and how it can help us all, from the biggest corporations through to the simplest individuals, so I will refrain from adding much if any of my own analysis, as the people who are interested in this topic will be able to judge for themselves Actian’s claims. 


I took the liberty of filming Actian CTO Mike Hoskins speaking today - there are three separate videos embedded below, so those who do deeply understand this field can really see and understand what Hoskins was telling the assembled media today. 


{loadposition alex08}The first video is actually the last we took, but at 7 minutes it is the shortest. Two longer and more detailed videos are at the end of this article. Story continues below this video - please read on!



Action says these new graph capabilities “enable Actian customers to accelerate the time it takes to understand the impact and value of new partnerships of people and connected devices, and to do it with the extreme performance required by the real-time world”. 


SPARQL city ran a recent benchmark and clocked its SPARQLverse engine “running 10 times faster on 100 times the data volume (2.5 billion triples/edges) than other graph solutions”. 


Mr Hoskins said in a statement that “data pouring out of social applications, mobile devices and Internet of Things applications represents one of the biggest opportunities in decades, but understanding the correlations and relationships between these massive data sets can be daunting.” 


“Graph analytics is an effective way to solve the problem, but most solutions today are difficult to use, do not scale and lack the performance needed to get answers quickly in this real-time world.”


“With the addition of next generation graph analytics to Actian’s portfolio, our customers can turn mounds of data into an informed digital strategy in the emerging winner-takes-all world”. 


Actian says that “digital business leaders can increase the accuracy of decision-making and use pinpoint accuracy to identify never before discoverable social and network insights”, adding that its new graph analytics offering addresses many of the following use cases “without any limitations on enterprise scale”. 


The company says these include:


- A 720 degree view of the customer. Actian explains that graph analytics can take the typical 360-degree view of the customer and turn it into a more comprehensive, 720-degree view of the customer by adding an individual’s social network to the profile. 


- Internet of Things. Here, graph analytics is used to uncover complex relationships by analysing the billions of deices connected to the Net and trillions of time-stamped events that tie these things together in unique ways. 


- Log analytics. There are trillions of log files that pour out from billions of machines and devices connected to the Internet, where hundreds of billions of applications register every click and tick. Graph analytics unveils the deeper meaning of the complex relationships now established among man and machines. 


- Fraud: The sophistication of fraud has been compounded with rings of people and machine-generated attacks hitting banks, commercial operations and nations with difficult to detect schemes. The combination of graph analytics engines and auto-discovery tools exposes these well-hidden fraudulent activities before they occur. 


- DNA and Health Research: The body is the most complex system in existence with relationships between body parts, organs, cells and DNA that contain all the secrets of health and healing. Graphic analysis, more than any other information technology, provides the power and keys to unlock them. 


The first video below is 33 minutes long and has Mike Hoskins explaining various aspects of his work, Actian’s capabilities and achievements and dealing with all this big data. 


The second and last video below this text has Mr Hoskins explaining the news that Actian has joined forces with SPARQL City to dramatically improved Actian’s scalable graphing capabilities. 


]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Data Fri, 31 Oct 2014 19:49:00 +1100
Kogan's million-dollar Melbourne Cup tippo Kogan's million-dollar Melbourne Cup tippo

Online retailer Kogan is offering a $1 million cash prize in a free-to-enter Melbourne Cup tipping competition.

A million dollars makes a big headline, but the chance of Kogan having to pay out the grand prize in the company's Melbourne Cup promotion is extremely slim.

To win the grand prize, entrants must correctly predict the first ten placegetters in the right order. With a nominal 24 starters there are 7,117,005,770,000 (more than 7 trillion!) ways the first ten horses can come home.

Even though the Melbourne Cup is a handicap, it's fair to say that not every horse has the same chance of finishing in every position, so the effective odds are somewhat lower if you assume people aren't just going to pick names out of a hat. And with entries limited to the first million, the expected cost ($1 million multiplied by the probability of having to pay out) to Kogan is quite small.

{loadposition stephen08}But the thing about betting is that you've got to be prepared to pay up if you lose. Still, Kogan founder Ruslan Kogan's personal wealth is reportedly $349 million, so we wouldn't expect the company to welsh on the deal.

All that said, the grand prize is actually worth slightly less than $1 million, as it's payable in 10 monthly instalments of $100,000. But in these days of low inflation and low interest rates, the winner or winners (the prize is split in the event of a tie) will only be about 1% worse off.

What is practically certain is that five people will each win a $189 Kogan Agora HD Mini 3G tablet. These prizes go to the entrants with the most correct picks, with entry time used to break any ties.

So if you feel like a bit of fun and you don't mind giving Kogan your email address for marketing purposes (you can subsequently opt out if you wish), check out the terms and conditions and entry form here.

Image: Jupiter Firelyte [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

]]> (Stephen Withers) Entertainment Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:52:07 +1100
MYOB own-brands Kounta POS SaaS MYOB own-brands Kounta POS SaaS

MYOB has released a custom version of the Kounta cloud-based point-of-sale software. The move follows its investment in Kounta earlier this year.

In 2013, Reckon founder Greg Wilkinson invested enough in cloud POS provider Kounta to get a seat on the board.

Then a year later, accounting software company MYOB made what was believed to be a substantial (though still minority) investment in Kounta, with MYOB general manager for connected services Andrew Birch saying the partnership would allow his company to provide "a total solution ... fully integrated to eliminate compatibility and syncing risk between systems."

And so it has come to pass. MYOB Kounta is MYOB's new cloud-based POS system, providing full and reliable integration with MYOB AccountRight and MYOB Essentials. The one requirement seems to be that users must opt to store their accounting data in the cloud.

{loadposition stephen08}MYOB Kounta differs from the 'regular' version of Kounta in that it includes enhancements for retail users based on MYOB's experience with its Retail Basics and RetailManager products, a spokesperson told iTWire.

"MYOB Kounta's features include ease of set up, robust order management features, shrinking and wastage tracking, automatic staff commission calculation, on account and lay-by functionality. For the hospitality sector, the special features include table management, split bills and queue busting," said Birch.

MYOB consultancy 2 Peas and bookkeeping service Bookkeepers4U director Pam Madytianos said "We're transitioning some of our existing clients to MYOB Kounta.

"They're really excited about the breadth of functionality this new system provides and love the fact that it integrates with add-ons like Collect Rewards and their existing social media channels.

"This is an ideal system for businesses who don't want to outlay a lot of upfront costs but still want a sophisticated system which helps them improve their overall business efficiency."

MYOB Kounta pricing starts at $50 a month for one register, the same as Kounta.

]]> (Stephen Withers) Accounting Software Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:43:57 +1100
Data retention: Turnbull does massive backflip Data retention: Turnbull does massive backflip

A little over two years ago, Malcolm Turnbull was waxing eloquent about the evils posed by the Labor Party's plans for data retention and the introduction of a blacklist of websites. Yesterday, the same man, now communications minister in a Coalition cabinet, introduced data retention plans in parliament. Oh, the irony.

Turnbull's opposition to data retention was made clear in the Alfred Deakin Lecture of 2012. It is there in full on his own website, spotted by an eagle-eyed Guardian journalist. It is grandly titled: "Free at last! Or freedom lost? Liberty in the digital age."

Of course, some time in the future it might quietly disappear from the website; statements by politicians that prove to be an embarrassment to them have a funny way of going into the bit bucket.

But while it's there, one can muse on some of the sentiments expressed therein and wonder when the silver-haired Turnbull, who has just crossed 60, underwent a more dramatic conversion than the Biblical Paul on the road the Damascus.

{loadposition sam08}Talking of the right of an individual to delete data that he/she had created, Turnbull said: "And how far should a right to delete go? Just like we cannot delete an email or a letter we have sent to someone else, how can we delete the photograph we posted on line which was then copied by another? How can we have a right to be digitally forgotten without impinging on others' right of free speech?

"This issue has been brought into sharp focus by the Attorney-General’s vague but at face value far-reaching plan to expand data interception, mandatory data retention, and government access to private digital information."

Yet, the proposal put before Parliament by Turnbull is no less vague than the one he railed against (the Labor plan never reached Parliament but was contained in a discussion paper to which many parties submitted responses). The Coalition's plan does not say what will be retained, how much it will cost or who will foot the cost.

Turnbull went on: "Leaving aside the central issue of the right to privacy, there are formidable practical objections. The carriers, including Telstra, have argued that the cost of complying with a new data retention regime would be very considerable with the consequence of higher charges for their customers."

What happened to these objections over the last two years? Did they just disappear? Or is Turnbull now viewing the world through different glasses?

Turnbull also raised the question of data stored offshore, data that is collected by companies like Google. "Google currently permanently deletes emails or Youtube videos from their server once the customer deletes it. Search logs are rendered anonymous after nine months. It would be utterly impractical, and possibly unlawful, for Google to discriminate against customers from Australia and treat them differently from any others," he said.

Has the situation with Google changed now, minister?

But Turnbull wasn't finished with the arguments against data retention. "And finally – why do we imagine that the criminals of the greatest concern to our security agencies will not be able to use any of numerous available means to anonymise their communications or indeed choose new services that are not captured by legislated data retention rules?" he asked.

Yesterday, I wrote about the levels of hypocrisy exhibited by the Labor Party. Turnbull has proved that the Coalition is every bit as good in this respect.

]]> (Sam Varghese) Open Sauce Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:04:05 +1100
Deloitte signs up as Oracle reseller Deloitte signs up as Oracle reseller

Financial services advisory firm Deloitte will sell Oracle products in Australia direct to its clients under a value-added reseller (VAR) agreement it has just signed with the vendor.

The VAR allows Deloitte to be a reseller of the Oracle product suite across its applications and middleware suite of products.

Deloitte National Practice Leader for Oracle, Craig Smith, said the broadening of the relationship with Oracle and VAR arrangement was stimulated by the digital disruption being seen in the marketplace “as web-based productivity, cloud- based services and collaboration solutions are being customised to clients’ specific needs in order to accelerate their ability to focus on serving their customers and not solely on IT.”

“The expanded relationship between Oracle and Deloitte provides value to customers as we are seeing a trend in the marketplace where clients are looking for creative approaches to lowering the cost of technology and focusing on executing a strategic transformation of their business, through the implementation of Oracle solutions.

{loadposition peter}“The reseller agreement with Oracle will enable customers to more quickly and easily deploy business solutions that deliver value through leveraging existing Oracle investments or the new cloud and Fusion product suites.”

Oracle Vice President Alliances & Channels Australia and New Zealand, Patricia Nance, said as a diamond level member in the Oracle partner network (OPN) program, Deloitte had already invested significantly in delivering both broad and deep levels of expertise across core Oracle technologies.

“By extending Deloitte’s offerings of Oracle technology and services in Australia, through this new reseller status, Deloitte can be better placed to leverage our full solution set to ensure that end users are maximising their investment in their Oracle solutions.”

]]> (Peter Dinham) Consulting Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:48:51 +1100
Lenovo: World’s No.3 mobile maker post munching Motorola’s-no3-mobile-maker-post-munching-motorola’s-no3-mobile-maker-post-munching-motorola Lenovo: World’s No.3 mobile maker post munching Motorola

Chinese tech powerhouse Lenovo has completed its acquisition of Motorola from Google at last, catapulting itself into the world’s No.3 smartphone maker spot with the full expectation of much more market growth.

Lenovo - or is it now Lenovorola, Lenovola, Lenorola, Motonovo, Lenomo, Lenomoto or something else - is now the owner of Motorola’s Moto X, G, E and Droid-brands, alongside the future Moto roadmap.

Set to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary headquartered in the windy city of Chicago, which means no mangling meshes of brand names as illustrated above.

The deal adds 3,500 employees to Lenovo’s payroll, 2000 of whom are in the US, with the deal clearly passing US regulator concerns over whatever potential security threats Chinese companies may or may not pose to Western governments, although whether any rumoured buyout of BlackBerry by Lenovo will go through as quickly and seemingly easily is yet to be seen.

Lenovo’s Chairman and CEO, Yang Yuanging, affectionately known as YY by his executives and staff, said: “Today we achieved a historic milestone for Lenovo and for Motorola – and together we are ready to compete, grow and win in the global smartphone market.”

“By building a strong number three and a credible challenger to the top two in smartphones, we will give the market something it has needed: choice, competition and a new spark of innovation.”

“This partnership has always been a perfect fit. Lenovo has a clear strategy, great global scale, and proven operational excellence. Motorola brings a strong presence in the U.S. and other mature markets, great carrier relationships, an iconic brand, a strong IP portfolio and an incredibly talented team. This is a winning combination.”

Google’s overlord, its CEO and one of the world’s Big Brothers who once promised to do no evil yet builds military robots that could one day tap into Google’s version of SkyNet, take on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s likeness and destroy humanity with a series of Terminator movies that are getting worse and worse, is the well-known Larry Page, who said: “Motorola is in great hands with Lenovo, a company that’s all-in on making great devices.”
{loadposition alex08}Lenovo says it “expects to make the Motorola business profitable in four to six quarters”, which shows that, despite all the hoopla over Motorola’s strong product line-up and its Moto 360 watch, Lenovo has a lot of work to do to extract not only true value for itself, but true value for its customers - else Google wouldn’t have bothered selling Motorola in the first place.

Matt Codrington, Lenovo Australia/NZ’s MD said: “This acquisition empowers Lenovo to enter the Australian and New Zealand smartphone markets under the Motorola brand.”

“Motorola has a strong heritage, both globally and locally, and we aim to build on that knowledge and expertise as we develop new products with the brand. At Lenovo ANZ, we’re looking forward to expanding existing relationships with our current retail partners JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman and enabling new partnerships in the future."

Google still gets to keep most of Motorola Mobility’s patent portfolio, which Motorola gets access to via a license.

However, Moto does get to keep “over 2,000 patent assets and a large number of patent cross-license agreements, as well as the Motorola Mobility brand and trademark portfolio”.

The cost of the deal was US $2.91 billion, of which US $660 million is cash and approx US $750 million in stock, with “the remaining US $1.5 billion [to] be paid to Google by Lenovo in the form of a three-year promissory note.”

In what must be a relief for Lenovo, the deal passed all regulatory requirements and customary closing conditions” from countries such as the U.S., China, EU, Brazil and Mexico”, and “by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)”, which is “the fifth time since 2005 Lenovo has been cleared by CFIUS to acquire a U.S. business.”

Funnily enough, CFIUS almost sounds like Confucius who may well have popped up with one of his famous sayings were he still alive today, with Sun Tzu’s thoughts one that would also be fascinating.

As the Chinese long ago observed, we sure do live in interesting times, so let’s hope that Lenovo + Moto = renewed and solid new competition for all in the world of smartphones, tablets, wearables and other technologies in a world of endless competition, both foreign and domestic.

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Deals Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:35:01 +1100
Wearables - an enterprise game changer? Wearables - an enterprise game changer?

Space - it is the final frontier, and soon you’ll be wondering whether you have enough space on your wrist for your personal and enterprise wearables, and like some analysts, wondering whether wearables will be a positive for enterprise use and a gateway to the Internet of Things.

Wearable technologies are on a multiyear mission to explore strange yet compelling new use cases, to seek out exciting new form factors and new sensors, to boldly go into enterprises where no wearable has gone before.

Now comes Frost and Sullivan’s new report looking at whether “the Next Enterprise Game Changer arrived?”, given the fact wearables have the potential of being what the analyst firm says is “the latest disruptive technology to command attention, ignite imagination and serve as a harbinger of both hope and danger”.

Wearable technologies do offer “unique attributes and myriad applications in a wide range of industries, and offers a platform for continued innovation” as the Frosty Sullinvans tell us, while trying to sell us on the merits of its report

Arvin Arun, the analyst firm’s ICT Practise Industry Analyst, says the wearables market in APAC “is currently worth USD $8.5 billion and is expected to grow to USD $37 billion over the next 5 years at a CAGR of around 34%” - which are pretty impressive numbers, although analyst firms do often make the future look rosy - at least in certain areas.

However, the report then states that “the uptake of wearables in enterprises will happen at a much faster rate with volume shipments poised to grow at a CAGR of around 75% in the period 2014-2018.”

{loadposition alex08}My thought here is that like Big Brother could have a new enterprise helper keeping track of the health of employees, and keeping them organised, motivated, updated and even tracked through the screen and tech strapped to wrists.

The report says there are three important drivers that are propelling the market forward.

Number 1 is “the explosion of the IoT ecosystem and the potential of wearables to act as the gateway to the IoT world”.

Number 2 is “the ability of wearables to provide contextual computing capabilities that opens up new avenues of growth and possibilities”.

Number 3 is that there are ”several disruptive attributes of wearables that empower the wearer with enhanced capabilities”.

Arun quickly adds a run or two on the board, stating that “the industry must address some serious challenges to fully realise the potential and promise of wearable technology.”

And what are these challenges? Probably the ones you already expected, such as “battery life, versatility and robustness of sensors and the interoperability between various devices and platforms.”

In addition, encouraging app developers and “wearable data management” are important obstacles that Arun says need to be overcome.

Regarding the potential disruptiveness of wearable tech, Arun said: “Wearables could seriously challenge the status quo in several industries and could substantially enhance process efficiency, customer experience and worker safety in hazardous work environments.”

He added that: “Like all disruptive technologies, wearables will immensely benefit certain industries such as Healthcare which is likely to see a sharp increase in prophylactic therapy and preventive medicine. On the other hand, wearables will increase the practice of “showrooming”, which could put additional stress on traditional retailers. Also, wearables could serve as an alternative to credit and debit cards and hence may further disrupt the payment industry”.

Frost and Sullivan conclude by noting that wearable tech has arrived and regardless of the size of your organisation, the type of industry you’re in or the type of customer you service, “wearables will change the way you work, compete and deliver value in the market place.”

They also suggest that “the early movers will thrive while the laggards will struggle to survive” as is supposed to be the case with disruptive technologies, although I can’t always agree seeing as Fitbit and others came to the wearables market first, while Microsoft has only just launched in the US with its own enterprise ambitions, and Apple still to launch in early 2015.

Whatever happens, we can be clear - wearables are here, and they’re unlikely to wear out their welcome anytime soon!

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Enterprise Solutions Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:01:11 +1100
PAXAUS 2014 Day zero PAXAUS 2014 Day zero

PAXAUS has just opened in Melbourne Australia with a seething mass of gamerdom pushing forward into the new venue.

This year the show-for-gamers has moved from the more rustic setting of the Melbourne Showgrounds to the heart (or at least a major artery) of the CBD, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.  The PAXAUS show also spills into the adjoining Melbourne Convention Centre for shows and panels.

For the only PAX outside of North America there is already a slightly different vibe.  After playing a bit of a wait-and-see card last year, the success has attracted more big-name publishers to the show floor, most notably Xbox, 2K, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, Oculus VR and Bethesda join Ubisoft, Wargaming, Riot games with League of Legends and Nintendo with the large electronic gaming booths.

There are real military tanks on the show floor.

Of course, PAX makes a big deal about the Indie developers and has positioned them prominently using the very successful display booths from last year, expanding into traditional booths and giving these fresh faces the opportunity to shine.

{loadposition mike08}In the short time the media had prior to the main crowd descending onto the floor we spoke to a few indie folks.  In particular the guys at Dead End Alley who want to use all the technology.  Running an Oculus Rift DK2, a hand built chainsaw controller and a Xbox One Kinect controller I was thrust into a zombie game where my ability to swing a tool made for cutting down trees was the difference between virtual life and death.

The freegaming areas, and tabletop arenas are back, perhaps slightly modified for space from the previous year, but as popular as ever.  There are a great deal of excited faces, a few apprehensive ones on the booth population and the whiff of an interesting potpourri in the air as PAXAUS kicks off in Melbourne. 

]]> (Mike Bantick) Entertainment Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:59:47 +1100
Justice in real-time with court system digital upgrade Justice in real-time with court system digital upgrade

The Victorian Government is using money from its $12 million Technology Innovation Fund to develop and trial a digital triage service in the state’s magistrates’courts.

The service will connect  citizens, judges and court administrators into a networked mobile triage system and allow the workflow system in court to be visible in real-time via tablets and display screens, and allow users to connect to proceedings through their smartphones.

The Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said today the system would reduce waiting times, decrease the stress and uncertainty for people attending court, improve court efficiency and reduce costs.

“The current paper-based system can be inefficient and costly, while delays in court hearings are a challenge for Magistrates’ Courts.”

{loadposition peter}“This project will develop a new mobile solution that streamlines case management and provides improved transparency around the status of a hearing. It is an excellent example of how collaboration with Victoria’s vibrant ICT industry can stimulate innovative new solutions to improve the delivery of government services.”

“This project will develop a new mobile solution that streamlines case management and provides improved transparency around the status of a hearing. It is an excellent example of how collaboration with Victoria’s vibrant ICT industry can stimulate innovative new solutions to improve the delivery of government services.”

The project will be led by Portable Studios in conjunction with the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood.

The government’s $12 million Technology Innovation Fund was launched in December last year to provide support for collaborative ICT-enabled pilot projects and trials that transform delivery of government services and boosts public sector productivity, and is focused on projects that take a staged approach to development and implementation and harness industry capabilities.

]]> (Peter Dinham) Government Tech Policy Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:56:04 +1100
Autodesk ready to tip US$100 million into 3D printing$100-million-into-3d-printing$100-million-into-3d-printing Autodesk ready to tip US$100 million into 3D printing

CAD vendor Autodesk has launched a US$100 million investment fund to advance the state of 3D printing.

Autodesk's Spark Investment Fund is open to "companies and individuals developing groundbreaking hardware, software, materials, marketplaces and maker spaces" around the world.

Applications for funding are being accepted here.

No real details were disclosed about the fund, such as the selection criteria or upper and lower limits on the funding to be offered to any one business.

{loadposition stephen08}Those selected for funding will also become part of the Spark partner program, gaining access to the associated marketing and developer services.

The existing Spark partners are 3D Hubs (the AirBnB of 3D printing), Authentise (rights protection), tool manufacturer Dremel, Local Motors (which aims to produce the world's first 3D printed car) and MatterFab (industrial metal 3D printing).

Spark is Autodesk's free and open platform for 3D printing, intended to allow 3D printer manufacturers to concentrate on the hardware.

"The days of taking a closed, top-down approach to innovating for additive manufacturing are behind us. Numerous industries recognise the value of tapping into entrepreneurs or startups with better ideas and approaches, and 3D printing is no exception," said Autodesk vice president and general manager of consumer products and 3D printing Samir Hanna.

"The Spark Investment Fund will empower innovators to improve 3D printing, and to help us unlock the tremendous promise of this technology."

Image: Jos.scheepers [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

]]> (Stephen Withers) Development Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:58:03 +1100