Saturday

AI-Based Customer Data Platform Supports ABM Operations

Lattice Engines, a provider of account-based marketing tools driven by artificial intelligence, on Thursday announced the launch of Lattice Atlas, positioning it as the first customer data platform for ABM.


The new platform synchronizes all customer data across a single, integrated view, the company said, making it easier for customers to see their data, no matter the source.


Customers often have to view data across multiple tools and workflows — for example, in order to compare data with existing versus new customers, noted Nipul Chokshi, vice president of product marketing at Lattice.


“We realized that our customers needed a customer data platform that unifies all data,” he said, one that “enables AI-driven audience creation as well as omnichannel activation and personalization all in one centralized place, and provides enterprise grade marketing governance.”


The new platform employs the ABM identity graph, using patent-pending adaptive match technology to resolve identities by matching first-party to third-party data in Lattice Data Cloud, which has more than 20,000 curated insights, Chokshi added.


The platform includes configurable AI that predicts how likely buyers are to convert, how much they are willing to spend, and when they plan to make a purchase.


Lattice Atlas includes native, pre-built apps across multiple channels, and Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua and REST APIs.



Growing Customer Base


Lattice currently has about 200 customers, ranging from high-growth midmarket firms to some Fortune 500 members, according to Caitlin Ridge, director of corporate marketing. Companies that work with Lattice on marketing and sales include PayPal, Dell, Adobe and SunTrust Bank. Lattice is a Salesforce Gold and Marketo Accelerate partner.


The company has launched a beta test of the new platform and plans to test it through the summer months.


“Our goal for the beta is to ensure the product we’re bringing to market is solving our customers’ ABM problems in ways that help them scale, while removing some of the complexities currently involved in their technology stack and processes,” Ridge told CRM Buyer.


“We’ve seen previous success with Lattice’s other solutions and knew that the Lattice Atlas platform would complement their best-in-class AI-based scoring engine to create automated, engaging campaigns across all of our target accounts,” said Steven Shapiro, vice president of digital and the buyer’s journey at Informatica, one of the customers beta testing the product.



Growing Business


The market size of vendors that are customer data platform specialists is currently about US$600 million and growing, said David Raab, founder of the CDP Institute.


The B2B market is about a year behind the B2C market, but there has been increased demand for these type of solutions, he told CRM buyer.


The most important benefit for a system like is ease of access to data, Raab said. “The data currently is going to be spread among different systems. You could have a data science team spend three weeks to pull together some sort of data set.”


There appears to be a growing wave of interest in embracing ABM in the martech sector, observed Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.


“I recommend companies looking for an ABM solution to first determine the goal they want to accomplish,” she told CRM Buyer. “Is it finding the right accounts, or prioritizing existing leads and accounts?”


The Lattice Engine predictive sales and marketing solution has delivered good results, Zhou said, based on her discussions with a few of the company’s customers.


Lattice sits between a company’s sales force automation and its marketing automation solutions to help prioritize accounts based on key attributes, she said.


“The challenge for companies remains data quality,” Zhou pointed out. “Predictive solutions require sound data to feed it for better results.”




David Jones has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2015. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, e-commerce, open source, gaming, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. He has written for numerous media outlets, including Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times. Email David.

Pakeezah actress Geeta Kapoor passes away, spent her last days in old age home


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Pakeezah actress Geeta Kapoor passes away, spent her last days in old age home

Veteran actress Geeta Kapoor passed away at 9 am on today at SRV hospital in Mumbai. The actress worked in movie ‘Pakeezah’. Though her last wish remained unfulfilled. Geeta was staying in an old age home as she was abandoned by her children.



Image source


Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit shared this news by posting it on Twitter. He also shared that Geeta Kapoor wanted to see her children and was eagerly waiting for them. But no one came to meet her and she passed away. It was a natural death and she wasn’t well due to her age. They also tried to cheer her up by organizing a grand breakfast. But she was heartbroken and only wanted to see her children.



He wrote “Standing besides the dead body of Actress #GeetaKapoor 57 who was abandoned by her kids in #SRVHospital a year back breathed her last at a suburban Old age home today morning. We tried our best to keep her healthy but her wait for her Son&daughter made her weaker day by day. #RIP”



Image source


Moreover, the filmmaker also posted a Tweet saying that her body will be kept in Cooper hospital Vile Parle for two days. They are waiting for her children to come and perform the last rites. Geeta Kapoor has appeared in around 100 Hindi films.  Kamal Amrohi’s ‘Pakeezah’ is one of her famous movie where she acted along with Raaj Kumar and Meena Kumari. She was in the news when her children abandoned her a year ago. Filmmaker Ramesh Taurani and Ashoke Pandit supported her by paying bills and taking care of her. Geeta became weaker day by day as her wish to meet children never came true. Twitter users appreciated Ashoke Pandit for his good deed and questioned about her children who left Geeta in this situation.


May her soul rest in peace!


Published by Nidhi Patidar on 26 May 2018

Snap Doubles Down on Spectacles Wearable Cam

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, on Thursday released the second generation of its Spectacles, a wearable video camera that captures short clips that can be synced to a smartphone. The new version also takes still photos and is designed to be water-resistant.


The new Spectacles sport the same basic Ray-Ban style design as the first iteration, but they have been slimmed down and are less bulky — a good thing both for wearing the glasses and transporting them. In addition, users have more color options. They include the ever-fashionable onyx, as well as ruby and sapphire.


The result of the makeover is that the new version looks much more like an actual pair of sunglasses than a wearable video camera.



This second-generation product offers more than a new look for the exterior, however. The connectivity between the device and the

user’s handset has been improved, making it easier to share videos and still photos. The software has been improved as well, and the

Spectacles can create an ad hoc WiFi network for sharing content to mobile phones.


The Spectacles are available for order in the United States, Canada, the UK and France for US$150 — a $20 increase over the original model. Availability will be expanded to include much of Europe next week. As with the original model, the new Spectacles are compatible with devices running Google’s Android OS and Apple’s iOS.



Fun the in the Sun


Spectacles aren’t designed for capturing long-form videos — and in

that way they are akin to a poor’s man answer to Google’s Glass. They take short videos to chronicle “moments” — similar to the experience Vine or Glide offers. With the second-generation Spectacles, users can record 10-second videos — same as the first model — but there are options to record 20-second or 30-seond videos as well.


The new Spectacles offer an upgrade in video resolution — an increase of 25 percent to 1,216 x 1,216. It isn’t high definition, but it still represents a notable improvement in quality. Still photo resolution is an impressive 1,642 x 1,642.


With the new Spectacles, Snap also has doubled down in terms of audio. In

addition to the single microphone that is meant to record the wearer,

the new version of the glasses includes a second mic to record anyone

close to the wearer.



Making a Spectacle


The original Spectacles weren’t exactly a huge hit when Snap released them a year and a half ago — far from it, in fact. That could be blamed in part on the company’s distribution methods. The glasses initially were sold

exclusively via the company’s pop-up vending machine, dubbed “Snapbot.”

The glasses were made available for online purchase a few months later, but they failed to catch on with consumers.


Reviews of the first Spectacles were mostly positive, but consumers seemed unimpressed. Sales of the original glasses reportedly numbered around 150,000 — far less than the number produced.


Even worse for the company was the fact that only about half of those who purchased the first-generation wearable cameras continued

to use them after the first month.


As a result of the poor Spectacles sales, Snap laid off about 7 percent of its total workforce, and it had to write down nearly $40 million at the end of 2017 related to the unsold glasses and retailer cancellations.



Second Shot


Given the poor reception of the original Spectacles, it may seem odd

the company would try again. However, the glasses could represent Snap’s best chance to become more than a service that provides expiring private messages. Entering the consumer electronics hardware market could give it an edge in the competition among social media rivals.


“The new Spectacles are high risk, but also high potential reward for

the company,” said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint

Technologies Associates
.


“Snap has been struggling for mind share against Instagram — and

losing,” he told TechNewsWorld.


“If these glasses are usable, they could be a distinctive brand

element — and like Apple, Snap has to get it right in order to create

the category,” added Kay.


“There were MP3 players before the iPod, but Apple pulled it all together,” he noted. “There still seem to be limitations with this revision, and I never understand why companies don’t limit steps to the bare minimum. Really, the default should be one-touch upload.”



Caught on Camera


Spectacles could be a product that aims to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Given the proliferation of camera phones — some with very advanced features — it’s not clear there’s a consumer need for a wearable camera.


“That is the biggest flaw of the Snap camera glasses,” said Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics.


“It creeps out people, and they don’t want to be recorded without their consent,” he told TechNewsWorld. “The biggest benefit is you can record at any time in a very convenient way, but that scares people.”


Spectacles could have some acceptable uses, but “in order for camera glasses to succeed, society has to either come up with a proper framework or a new system of consent,” suggested Entner.


“Nobody wants people to wear these glasses in certain circumstances —

like in a bathroom,” he pointed out.


For Snap, resolving the social acceptability and etiquette issues might not come quickly enough, according to Kay. “Snap needs this win to survive.”



Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.

Email Peter.

WHO Chief Looks Forward to Ambitious Reform Program




The World Health Organization’s annual conference ended on a high note Saturday, with the organization’s director general praising delegates for giving him a strong mandate to implement an ambitious program of reforms and initiatives that will improve global health.


WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus paid homage to his predecessor, Margaret Chan, saying the reforms begun under her leadership to make the World Health Organization more responsive and better able to tackle emergencies were now paying off.


“The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has demonstrated exactly that. … Let me assure you that I am personally committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to stop this outbreak as soon as possible,” Tedros said. “And the commitment of the government, of course, and the leadership is at the center, which we really admire.”


The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, passed a number of resolutions aimed at improving global health. Some deal with diseases that have plagued humanity for centuries, while others are newly emerging.


But all these decisions, Tedros said, involve commitments to make the world a healthier, safer place. For example, he noted the assembly had approved a road map to reduce deaths from cholera by 90 percent by 2030.


“You endorsed our five-year strategic plan on polio transition, to strengthen country health systems that could be affected by the scaling down of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,” he said. “You passed resolutions on tuberculosis and noncommunicable diseases. … And you have agreed to increase the development and use of digital technologies to improve health and keep the world safe.”


Tedros urged the delegates to go back to their countries with renewed determination to work every day for the health of their people. How well they succeed in this endeavor, he said, will be measured by the outcomes, by whether they result in real change on the ground.


For Trump, There's Always a 'New Deal' on the Horizon



Though U.S. President Donald Trump decided Thursday to not hold direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump has suggested he’s open to talks down the road, if relations improve. That offer of new talks, on his terms, is part of a pattern for Trump when it comes to negotiations. And it’s something that has had mixed results, as VOA’s Bill Gallo reports.


Fire Fears Force Land Closures in Arizona


Dry pine needles and dead wood snapped under fire prevention officer Matt Engbring’s boots as he hiked a half-mile into the woods in search of a makeshift campsite that had served as one man’s home until this week when the area was closed because of the escalating threat of massive wildfires.


Engbring walked past small ravines where wind quickly could carry embers and by the charred remains of a campfire, finally reaching the spot where John Dobson had been living among ponderosa pines in Arizona’s Coconino National Forest.


He spotted Dobson earlier as he was leaving the forest with his bicycle and issued a warning that he’ll likely repeat over the busy Memorial Day weekend as tourists flock to Arizona’s cooler mountainous areas to hike, bike, camp and fish.


“The area is closed now, and I can’t allow you to go back in,” he said.





FILE - In this photo by firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, June 30, 2013, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots watch a growing wildfire that later swept over and killed the crew of 19 firefighters near Yarnell, Arizona.

FILE – In this photo by firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, June 30, 2013, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots watch a growing wildfire that later swept over and killed the crew of 19 firefighters near Yarnell, Arizona.

Conditions ripe for wildfire


Many parts of the West are dealing with drought, but nowhere else has more state and federal land been closed to recreation than in Arizona where conditions are ripe for large-scale wildfires. Portions of the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab and Tonto national forests are closed because the dry vegetation quickly can go up in flames, firefighters would have a hard time stopping it, and homes and water resources are at risk.


In neighboring New Mexico, fire restrictions are in place, but no forests have closed. Forest officials in the western part of that state have suspended woodcutting permits, including ceremonial wood gathering by Native American tribes. They’ve also warned the public to look out for hungry bears.


Forests in southern Colorado and southern Utah are open, but officials are limiting campfires to developed areas.


“A lot of our rural, small communities depend on recreation and access to public land, so it’s on the table but really an option of last resort,” said Holly Krake, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service region that includes Colorado.


Hot, dry, breezy forecast


Weather over the next six weeks is expected to be in line with the typical onset of fire season: increasingly hot, breezy and dry. Then the monsoonal system that carries heavy rain should kick in.


“The bottom line is it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Rich Naden, fire weather meteorologist with the Southwest Coordination Center. “But this time of year is always like that. It’s almost like clockwork.”


Rare closures


Widespread forest closures in Arizona are rare. The 1.8 million-acre Coconino National Forest shut down completely because of fire danger in 2006 for nine days. A 2002 shutdown lasted nine weeks, encompassing the Memorial Day and July 4 holidays. Other national forests had closures in 2002 as well.


The current closures are affecting a small percentage of national forests in Arizona, and the general guidance for tourists is to check ahead of time to see what’s open and whether campfires are allowed.





Los Angeles residents John and Pauline Barba tidy up their campsite in Flagstaff, Ariz., May 24, 2016. The charcoal grills were off-limits because of extreme fire danger, and portions of the nearby national forest closed.

Los Angeles residents John and Pauline Barba tidy up their campsite in Flagstaff, Ariz., May 24, 2016. The charcoal grills were off-limits because of extreme fire danger, and portions of the nearby national forest closed.

In Flagstaff, Los Angeles residents Pauline and John Barba had hoped to barbecue this week while staying at a commercial campground, but charcoal grills were wrapped in yellow caution tape.


Nearby, a bright yellow sign on the barbed wire fence warned that no one is allowed in the forest.


“We love the outdoors and the pine trees and everything,” she said. “It’s just a shame people are destructive and not careful.”


Economic hit


Beyond inconveniencing campers and hikers, the drought’s effects and forest closures are being felt by ranchers who can’t graze cattle in the forest and researchers who can’t conduct studies. Forest thinning projects also are delayed.


At a ski resort outside of Flagstaff, 50 people are out of work, and hundreds of tickets for pre-booked activities have been canceled. The Arizona Snowbowl, which operates under a special permit in a closed forest area, had hoped to run its scenic chair lift and debut family activities this weekend.


Those who left camping trailers in now-closed areas of the Coconino National Forest to stake out a spot for the busy holiday weekend will have to call forest officials to unlock the gate to let them out. Others have tried avoiding officials patrolling the forest or sneaking in when no one is looking.


The biggest fear is that a campfire sparks a wildfire. The Coconino National Forest recorded 700 abandoned campfires last year, and 121 built illegally during fire restrictions, setting a record. Target shooting, drones, cigarettes and sparks from vehicle exhausts also are concerns.

New Ubuntu Rethinks Desktop Ecosystem

By Jack M. Germain
Apr 26, 2018 9:29 AM PT



Canonical on Thursday released Ubuntu Linux 18.04, which utilizes live patching and a new metric data collection system. Notably missing is the Unity desktop that had distinguished the distro but was poorly received.


New Ubuntu Rethinks Desktop Ecosystem


Canonical last year made the switch from Unity 7 to upstream GNOME as Ubuntu’s default desktop environment. Unity is not an option in Ubuntu 18.04 and will not be available in desktop offerings moving forward.


“The overall response was positive,” said Will Cooke, engineering director for desktop at Canonical. The development team tweaked the GNOME shell just enough to give it a face that clearly identifies it as part of Ubuntu.


The main reason for dropping Unity was lack of uptake. The team decided to stop investing in its homegrown desktop environment and return to Ubuntu’s roots with upstream GNOME, Cooke noted.



Progress Path


The development team used Ubuntu version 17.10 as its proving ground for transitioning from Unity 7 to the GNOME shell. Primarily, that was for its long-term support.


That transition proved that users would have a seamless upgrade path, Cooke said. The five-year support also set the groundwork for developers to build for a common platform, as the same Ubuntu version runs in the cloud and on all devices.


“This is the main reason we continue to see uptake on Ubuntu from developers,” he remarked. Ubuntu offers “reliability and a proven background of uptake and security, and other critical packages.”



What to Expect


Live patching is an important new feature in Ubuntu 18.04. It allows the installation of updates on a running machine without requiring a reboot, enabling the immediate application of security updates.


Another big thing, particularly for the Ubuntu team, is a new system for acquiring data on metrics. Ubuntu essentially will phone home to report hardware details and user installation options.


The metric information-gathering includes anonymized details on the age of the machine, how much RAM it has, and whether the user installed it from a DVD or USB stick, or upgraded in place.


No identifiable user information will be uploaded, but users can opt out of the sharing part if they wish, said Cooke.


The goal is to find out details about preferences and hardware to help the development team better address a particular market, he said.


“Until now, we simply have not had the ability to gather that information,” Cooke continued. “It will focus our energies for future releases. We also intend to make those details available to other projects. For instance, if we discover that a majority of users have older hardware, we must tailor our development to those machine capabilities.”



Minimal for Enterprise


Ubuntu 18.04 includes a new feature that addresses a growing enterprise concern: home user clutter. IT managers in workplace environments easily can strip out software that does not pertain to the work environment, such as games.


“They do not really want them, and they do not really need them,” said Cooke, noting that this minimal install capability meets requests from IT managers.


It cost enterprises money to have someone go through each installation and remove those items or create automation to do those removals for them, but Ubuntu 18.04 now does that for them.


The minimum install option goes through the process of stripping out home-user-centric applications.


“It is significant and a needed convenience,” Cooke said.



Craft Snaps Take Over


Ubuntu 18.04 relies on Snapcraft to feed software applications to the operating system. It ships with Snaps by default.


Snaps speed up software delivery and make the process more secure, according to Evan Dandrea, engineering manager for Snapcraft at Canonical.


Snapcraft, developed by Canonical, lets software vendors distribute to all of Ubuntu and a growing list of distributions platforms with a single artifact. It replaces different packaging systems like .deb and .rpm.


“Snaps let vendors publish a software update at their own pace. Vendors are not locked into a release cycle of Ubuntu or any other distribution. The updates themselves apply automatically and can roll back if anything goes wrong,” Dandrea said.



Expanding the Process


For many applications in use today, it takes a long time to get updates vetted through a distro’s community software repository. The process involves installing, modifying and reinstalling.


In 18.04, for the first time, Ubuntu delivers important applications by default in a Snap. Thousands more applications are integrated into the app store, so users no longer have to search around for the latest versions of their software, according to Dandrea.


“The goal is to give everyone access to the latest software without a lot of frustration,” he said.


With Snaps, each update is tamper-proof. The applications are locked down, much like they are in Docker, but Snap is much more lightweight, Dandrea said.



Growing the Platform


Ubuntu’s focus on delivering software via Snapcraft offers several benefits, noted Dandrea. One is that enterprise users do not face a risk of downtime. Another is that home users can register up to three machines on their UbuntuOne account.


All users will find the service more streamlined and simpler to use. In general, users can expect Ubuntu 18.04 to be fast and light as well as reliable, stable and secure, according to Dandrea.


The Snapcraft ecosystem is gaining momentum. Major software outlets, such as Spotify and Google, have adopted the Snap platform. Developer sign-up has tripled in the last three months alone, he said.


Developer tools are now available for Snap construction. Snaps are no longer just about Ubuntu. It has become a team effort.


“We are seeing cross-distribution success. For instance, if you are running any distribution besides Ubuntu, you no longer have to wait for local repositories to repackage the latest releases,” said Dandrea.



Dev Advantages


Developers can reach the largest population of Linux users of all distributions with one release. Self-contained libraries are included in the Snap package.


That means software developers no longer have to debug their way through every conceivable combination. If an application needs a dependency, it is bundled with the Snap, noted Dandrea.


“The bottom line is Snaps are lowering the barrier of entry in developing for Linux or publishing software for Linux,” he said. “They require no additional infrastructure.”



Bonus Feature


One new feature in the latest Ubuntu release appeals to software developers in particular: the ability to run Ubuntu on a Windows computer in a virtual machine. This gives developers a seamless experience moving between Linux and Windows on a single machine, with the ability to copy and paste between them.


“This ability was a huge demand from the developer community,” said Cooke. “This is another obstacle removed from their path to really allow them to benefit from the power of Ubuntu from their Windows machine.”



Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.

Email Jack.