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- 12/20/18--19:23: _Mitch McConnell pil...
- 12/20/18--20:05: _Insurtech Research ...
- 12/20/18--21:21: _Three untapped oppo...
- 12/20/18--21:26: _The 10 most importa...
- 12/20/18--21:43: _US Defense Secretar...
- 12/20/18--22:09: _How smart is your f...
- 12/20/18--22:15: _A Republican lawmak...
- 12/20/18--23:06: _Here's how Amazon c...
- 12/20/18--23:12: _A Chinese company r...
- 12/20/18--23:57: _10 things in tech y...
- 12/21/18--01:51: _Carlos Ghosn is set...
- 12/21/18--15:57: _The world's most po...
- 12/21/18--16:00: _22 affordable groom...
- 12/21/18--16:08: _Here are the three ...
- 12/21/18--16:30: _Crowdsourced delive...
- 12/21/18--17:07: _How and why the pay...
- 12/21/18--17:33: _Chef José Andrés sa...
- 12/21/18--17:46: _'You go under, you ...
- 12/21/18--18:04: _The downfall of US ...
- 12/21/18--18:05: _Slack apologizes af...
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican of Kentucky, issued a strong statement following the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, saying he is "particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America’s global leadership."
- His statement echoes Mattis' resignation letter, which stresses the importance of maintaining US alliances.
- President Donald Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria — which analysts say is a boon for our adversaries, Russia, ISIS, Iran, and the Syrian regime — was reportedly the last straw for Secretary Mattis.
- Funding is flowing into startups and helping them scale, while legacy players have moved beyond initial experiments and are starting to implement new technology throughout their businesses.
- Distribution, the area of the insurance value chain that was first to be disrupted, continues to evolve.
- The fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management — are starting to experience true disruption, while innovation in reinsurance has also continued at pace.
- Insurtechs are using new business models that are enabled by a variety of technologies. In particular, they're using automation, data analytics, connected devices, and machine learning to build holistic policies for consumers that can be switched on and off on-demand.
- Legacy insurers, as opposed to brokers, now have the most to lose — but those that move swiftly still have time to ensure they stay in the game.
- Reviews major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year.
- Examines how startups and legacy players across distribution, insurance, and reinsurance are using technology to develop new business models.
- Provides our view on what the future of the insurance industry looks like, which Business Insider Intelligence calls Insurtech 2.0.
- After a shaky start, wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers have gained traction in healthcare, with US consumer use jumping from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018.
- More than 80% of consumers are willing to wear tech that measures health data — and penetration should continue to climb.
- The maturation of the wearable market will put more wearables in the hands of consumers and US businesses.
- Insurers can use wearable data to enhance risk assessments and drive customer lifetime value. One study shows that wearables can incentivize healthier behavior associated with a 30% reduction in risk of cardiovascular events and death.
- Providers can use the remote patient monitoring capabilities of wearable technology to improve chronic disease management, lessen the burden of staff shortages, and navigate a changing reimbursement model. And since 90% of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with providers that don't deliver a satisfactory digital experience, wearables could help to attract and retain them.
- Employers can combine wearables with cash incentives to lower insurance costs and improve employee productivity. For example, The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority yielded $5 million in healthcare cost savings through a wearable-based employee wellness program.
- 12/20/18--21:26: The 10 most important things in the world right now
- James Mattis, the US defense secretary is resigning from the Trump administration. His pending departure could create a vacuum of experience at the highest levels of US domestic and foreign policy.
- In his resignation letter on Thursday, Mattis chided President Donald Trump, saying the US should be "treating allies with respect," and also be "clear eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors."
- But it was his warning and his clarity about the growing great-power threat that Trump will be hoping the new secretary studies closely.
- Companies have a clear opportunity to leverage sensors, cameras, and connectivity in a variety of home appliances to revolutionize the way consumers buy home goods.
- Smart appliance manufacturers, e-tailers, and CPG companies will be able to collaborate and partner to develop new methods of resupplying consumers' homes.
- The smart fridge will transform into the hub of the kitchen and become the autonomous organizing device that oversees grocery purchasing and food delivery.
- Provides an overview of the key players and types of products in the smart appliance space.
- Highlights the models that companies can adopt to take advantage of the developing sector.
- Identifies the key services that will boost automated e-commerce engagement in the home.
- A Republican lawmaker likened the Trump administration's discontinued child separation policy at the US-Mexico border to the children of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.
- Manafort, who faces increased scrutiny after allegedly breaching his plea agreement to charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the special counsel's investigation, is the father of two adult children.
- Manafort's children include Jessica, an independent filmmaker who reportedly changed her last name to distance herself from an unwanted "public perception," and Andrea, who described her father as someone with "no moral or legal compass" and a "a sick f---ing tyrant."
- While UPS and FedEx have dominated the US last-mile delivery market for the last few decades, the surge in e-commerce is creating more volume than shipping companies can handle.
- Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to put a dent in UPS and FedEx's duopoly due to its strategic position as the leading online retailer in the US.
- Amazon can carry its trust amongst the public, a wealth of consumer data, and its ability to craft a more personalized delivery experience to the last-mile delivery space to ultimately dethrone UPS and FedEx.
- The top priority for Amazon in taking on UPS and FedEx needs to be offering substantially lower shipping rates — one-third of US retailers say they'll switch to an Amazon shipping service if it's at least 20% cheaper than UPS and FedEx.
- Outlines Amazon's current shipping and logistics footprint and strengths that it would bring to the last-mile delivery space in the US.
- Lays out concrete steps that Amazon must take if it wants to launch a standalone last-mile delivery service, including how it can offer a more memorable, higher-quality delivery experience than UPS and FedEx.
- Illustrates how Amazon can minimize operating costs for a delivery service to ultimately undercut UPS and FedEx's shipping rates in the last-mile space.
- You might call this the pinnacle of high-resolution images.
- It is the brainchild of a setup called Jinkun Tech, or Bigpixel Technology Corporation, and it was taken from atop the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai.
- The photo resolution, which is the toughest part to wrap one's mind around, is reportedly 195 gigapixels.
- A megapixel is one million pixels. The resolution of digital cameras and smartphones is often chopped up and measured in megapixels. For example, a 12-megapixel camera can produce images with 12 million total pixels. But, in this case, we're talking about gigapixels. One gigapixel is 1 billion pixels.
- Hit the link below to try the zoom feature yourself.
- 12/20/18--23:57: 10 things in tech you need to know today
- Facebook could be quietly building a cryptocurrency for WhatsApp. According to Bloomberg, the Silicon Valley tech giant is reportedly trying to build a "stablecoin" pegged to the value of the dollar.
- Amazon accidentally sent 1,700 Alexa recordings to the wrong person, including audio from in the shower. A German magazine reported on Thursday that someone requested their personal data from Amazon and was shocked to discover 1,700 audio files of someone he didn't know talking to Alexa.
- Snap employees will not receive cash bonuses for the second straight year, Cheddar reports. Instead, individual employees may receive performance-based bonuses in the form of stock options.
- Someone is spreading an Amazon smear campaign as cloud giants compete for a $10 billion defense cloud contract. Bloomberg reported that there's a dossier going around Washington, D.C. saying that Amazon and Pentagon officials engaged in activities that gave Amazon an unfair edge in the bidding for a $10 billion cloud contract with the Pentagon.
- State-sponsored Chinese hackers infiltrated IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to steal their clients' secrets. Sources familiar with the cyberattacks told Reuters that the hackers were part of a Chinese campaign known as "Cloudhopper."
- A major British airport was forced to shut down for more than 24 hours by someone flying drones over the runway. Gatwick Airport, the second-biggest airport in the UK, was forced to close leaving thousands stranded.
- Facebook shut down fake news sites spreading false information about the Bangladesh opposition days before national elections. Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy told the AP that the fake pages and accounts were created by Bangladeshis with government ties.
- An anonymous Amazon worker claimed in a column that warehouse workers were fired via text last Christmas. According to the anonymous worker, texts were then sent out asking employees to volunteer for overtime.
- Employees at vaping startup Juul may receive multibillion-dollar bonuses after the company raised $12.8 billion from the tobacco giant Altria. Juul will reportedly spend $2 billion on bonuses, averaging out at $1.3 million per employee.
- It looks like office chat app Slack is banning some users because of Iran sanctions, even if they don't live or work in Iran. Ethnically Iranian users and users who have traveled to Iran found out on Wednesday that their Slack accounts had been shut down.
- Carlos Ghosn's fall from grace has been dramatic and new allegations means he will likely spend Christmas behind bars.
- The auto executive has spent a month in jail following his initial arrest in Tokyo and is now suspected of passing personal losses onto Nissan.
- Ghosn was rearrested on Friday diminishing his chances of making bail as prosecutors make new allegations.
- Discord is the world's largest chat platform for gaming, with more than 200 million users.
- The company is now valued at more than $2 billion after raising $150 million in a new round of funding. It was last valued at $1.65 billion as recently as this summer.
- Recently, Discord's ambitions have expanded into selling games, as it gears up to take on the leading Steam PC gaming platform, as well as Epic Games — the new online storefront from the creators of "Fortnite."
- In its time, Discord has also courted controversy: White supremacist groups reportedly used the platform in 2017 to plan the infamous "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.
- 12/21/18--16:00: 22 affordable grooming gifts he'll want to use year-round
- Security issues. Edge computing can limit the exposure of critical data by minimizing how often it’s transmitted. Further, they pre-process data, so there’s less data to secure overall.
- Access issues. These systems help to provide live insights regardless of whether there’s a network connection available, greatly expanding where companies and organizations can use connected devices and the data they generate.
- Transmission efficiency. Edge computing solutions process data where it’s created so less needs to be sent to the cloud, leading to lower cloud storage requirements and reduced transmission cost.
- In healthcare, companies and organizations are using edge computing to improve telemedicine and remote monitoring capabilities.
- For telecommunications companies, edge computing is helping to reduce network congestion and enabling a shift toward the IoT platform market.
- And in the automotive space, edge computing systems are enabling companies to increase the capabilities of connected cars and trucks and approach autonomy.
- Explores the key advantages edge computing solutions can provide.
- Highlights the circumstances when companies should look into edge systems.
Identifies key vendors and partners in specific industries while showcasing case studies of successful edge computing programs.
- Details the factors driving investment and growth in crowdsourced delivery startups.
- Examines the benefits and drawbacks of using crowdsourcing to deliver online orders.
- Explains how crowdsourced delivery startups can improve their cost efficiencies to tackle greater delivery volumes
- Explores the role that crowdsourcing will play in the future of delivery once automated delivery options, like drones and robots, arrive.
- Retailers are looking for ways to deliver goods faster to consumers' doorsteps to stave off Amazon's threat and meet customer expectations.
- To accomplish that, retailers and delivery providers are zeroing in on the "last mile" of fulfillment, the most expensive and time-consuming part of the delivery process, which is when a package reaches the customer's address.
- Startups like Postmates, Instacart, and others are looking to disrupt the last mile delivery space by leveraging the "Uber model," and connecting businesses to non-professional couriers who can deliver goods instantly.
- Crowdsourcing can drastically speed up deliveries in urban areas, where there is a high density of deliveries and potential couriers to be matched.
- However, as delivery volumes increase, crowdsourced delivery startups will need to further optimize their deliveries to improve cost efficiencies.
Many of the deliveries these startups perform today will likely be automated in the future, raising the possibility that these startups may eventually look to incorporate new technologies like delivery drones or self-driving delivery vehicles.
- The payments ecosystem is undergoing a period of digital transformation, which will spur tremendous growth in money moved around the globe in the next five years.
- Consumers and businesses will make 841 billion noncash transactions worldwide in 2023, up from 577 billion in 2018.
- The next five years will mark a pivotal transformation in how companies and consumers handle payments.
- Global Payments: Asia, North America, and Europe will be the three main growth regions in the next five years, and will make up 70% of all noncash transaction growth by 2023.
- US Payments: In the US, P2P and retail payments combined will still be less than a quarter of the size of the B2B payments market by 2023 ($6.3 trillion vs. $27.3 trillion).
- US E-Commerce:Total e-commerce spending in the U.S. will surpass $1 trillion by 2023, and the average consumer will spend $2,959 online.
- US Emerging Payments: By 2023, 67% of US adults will have used BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In Store) at least once in the last 12 months.
- Chef José Andrés tweeted early Friday morning that if there's a partial government shutdown, he would feed federal government workers impacted.
- "And I will offer again Free Sandwiches to the poor men and women of the federal government, republicans and democrats (sic), at every restaurant of mine in DC for lunch until they get paid again!"
- Congress and the president are closing in on a deadline to fund nine government agencies prior to the holidays. House lawmakers adjourned on Friday night without a spending deal, making a partial shutdown virtually inevitable.
- Some 800,000 federal government workers will go without pay as long as the government remains closed.
- Mick Mulvaney, the latest White House chief of staff, was discovered to have once called President Donald Trump's plans for a wall on the US-Mexico border "absurd and almost childish."
- During an interview in 2015, Mulvaney suggested Trump's rhetoric and his rallying cry to "build a wall" were predicated on a misunderstanding of the barrier's efficacy.
- "The bottom line is, the fence doesn't stop anybody who really wants to get across," Mulvaney said. "You go under, you go around, you go through it."
- Mulvaney made other unflattering remarks about Trump during the 2016 election cycle.
- Evolving merchant needs are impacting POS terminal players’ strategies. Merchants select terminal providers based on four key areas: payment functionality, user experience (UX), over-the-top (OTT) offerings, and distribution/customer service. Terminal firms need to innovate in these areas, or risk falling behind.
- Larger players need to double down on existing success. Smaller players can often be more nimble, which gives them the opportunity to innovate more quickly and build in-demand solutions. That’s a disadvantage to market leaders; however, they can, and should, leverage their massive distribution networks when upgrading or updating their offerings. Meanwhile, smaller players can win by focusing on niches instead.
- It’s all about the platform. No single feature is likely to make or break a merchant’s decision to pursue a specific provider. Above all, they want a robust ecosystem that can evolve over time.
- Explains the current state of in-store retail and why terminal firms need to evolve to meet it.
- Groups features that matter to merchants and explains why they’re important and what terminal providers stand to gain from focusing on them.
- Determines the leading players in the space.
- Assesses how the leading players stack up, and which offerings are the most comprehensive.
- Issues recommendations about how to develop an attractive platform that best serves merchants' needs as the market continues to shift.
- On Wednesday, many users who had traveled to Iran found that their Slack accounts shut down because of U.S. sanctions, even though they did not live in Iran, nor did they have professional links to Iran.
- On Friday, Slack sent out an apology to its users and clarified that it did not have information about users' ethnicities, but used location information.
- Slack is working on restoring mistakenly blocked accounts and will soon start blocking accounts with IP addresses in an embargoed country.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican of Kentucky, issued a strong statement following the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, saying he is "particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America’s global leadership."
His statement echoes Mattis' resignation letter when stressing the importance of maintaining US alliances.
"I believe it’s essential that the United States maintain and strengthen the post-World War II alliances that have been carefully built by leaders in both parties," McConnell said in his statement. "We must also maintain a clear-eyed understanding of our friends and foes, and recognize that nations like Russia are among the latter."
In Mattis' resignation letter he said, "while the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies."
Like McConnell, Mattis also name-checked Russia: "It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies."
Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria — which analysts say is a boon for US adversaries, Russia, ISIS, Iran, and the Syrian regime — was reportedly the last straw for Secretary Mattis. Kurds in Syria, US allies in Syria, are furious about the withdrawal, as they fear a Turkish incursion.
"So I was sorry to learn that Secretary Mattis, who shares those clear principles, will soon depart the administration," McConnell continued.
Tech-driven disruption in the insurance industry continues at pace, and we're now entering a new phase — the adaptation of underlying business models.
That's leading to ongoing changes in the distribution segment of the industry, but more excitingly, we are starting to see movement in the fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management.
This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, will briefly review major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year. It will then examine how startups and legacy players across the insurance value chain are using technology to develop new business models that cut costs or boost revenue, and, in some cases, both. Additionally, we will provide our take on the future of insurance as insurtech continues to proliferate.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
In full, the report:
The US healthcare industry as it exists today is not sustainable. An aging patient population and rising burden of chronic disease have caused healthcare costs to skyrocket and left providers struggling to keep up with demand for care.
Meanwhile, digital technologies in nearly every consumer experience outside of healthcare have raised patients’ expectations for good service to be higher than ever.
One of the key mechanisms through which healthcare providers can finally evolve their outdated practices and exceed these expectations is wearable technology.
Presently, 33% of US consumers have adopted wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, to play a more active role in managing their health. In turn, insurers, providers, and employers are poised to become just as active leveraging these devices – and the data they capture – to abandon the traditional reimbursement model and improve patient outcomes with personalized, value-based care.
Adoption is going to keep climbing, as more than 80% of consumers are willing to wear tech that measures health data, according to Accenture — though they have reservations about who exactly should access it.
A new report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, follows the growing adoption of wearables and breadth of functions they offer to outline how healthcare organizations and stakeholders can overcome this challenge and add greater value with wearable technology.
For insurers, providers, and employers, wearables present three distinct opportunities:
Want to Learn More?
The Wearables in US Healthcare Report details the current and future market landscape of wearables in the US healthcare sector. It explores the key drivers behind wearable usage by insurers, healthcare providers, and employers, and the opportunities wearables afford to each of these stakeholders.
By outlining a successful case study from each stakeholder, the report highlights best practices in implementing wearables to reduce healthcare claims, improve patient outcomes, and drive insurance cost savings, as well as how the evolution of the market will create new, untapped opportunities for businesses.
Hello! Here's everything you need to know on Friday.
1. Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned.In a letter to President Donald Trump, Mattis suggested that their views are not "aligned."
2. Trump has ordered more than 7,000 troops out of Afghanistan, according to reports.This move will cut troop levels in Afghanistan in half.
3. The Dow touched its lowest level in over a year, and the Nasdaq came close bear territory.The Federal Reserve raising interest rates, and a potential government shutdown are worrying investors.
4. Defense Secretary James Mattis' resignation letter is a rebuke of President Donald Trump's "America first" philosophy.Mattis tore into the president's approach to foreign affairs.
5. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had a strong response to Mattis' resignation.The Republican from Kentucky said the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis left him "particularly distressed."
6. Trump's new acting Attorney General Matthew Whittaker won't be recusing himself from the Russia probe.A source told Reuters that Whittaker is not planning on recusing himself from the prove the way his predecessor Jeff Sessions did.
7. Facebook is reportedly trying to build a cryptocurrency for WhatsApp. Bloomberg says the tech-giant is trying to build a "stablecoin," which will be pegged to the US dollar.
8. Chinese authorities have reportedly denied legal access to a Canadian national held in Beijing. Chinese state security agents are not admitting legal representation in to counsel Michael Kovrig, the Canadian who has been detained in Beijing since December 10, a source has told FT.com.
9. The disgraced former Nissan chairman just got re-arrested.Japanese prosecutors say Carlos Ghosn faces fresh allegations of making Nissan shoulder $16.6 million in personal investment losses. He'll be in jail for Christmas.
10. Don't panic! We have a pretty definitive hack for your last-second shopping spree.Not quite gift-wrapped, but this mega-list has options for every budget.
NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn't buy on Black Friday
US Defense Secretary James Mattis announced his resignation from the Trump administration on Thursday, setting in motion the end of what has been a tumultuous tenure working with President Donald Trump.
In his resignation letter, Mattis told Trump, without saying his name, that the president has a "right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned" with his own.
Mattis’ resignation follows Wednesday's controversial announcement of a plan to pull American troops out of Syria.
But it was the outgoing defense secretary's warning about the shifting nature of great-power relations he hopes his successor will study closely.
Under Mattis' watch, the administration has drawn an unambiguous line in the sand. Beginning with Russia and, historically, moving out of engagement with China, and into confrontation.
"I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly at odds with our own," Mattis wrote in his resignation letter.
"It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic and security decisions — to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbours, America and our allies."
Russia, under its President Vladimir Putin, has already shown its capacity and willingness to reach into the heart of US democracy.
The latest twin reports to front the Senate show in excruciating detail how even the smallest manipulation of social media platforms can meddle in US public life with just a single troll farm— the unit called the Internet Research Agency — tucked away somewhere in a Moscow warehouse.
Opaque and unsettling
While the Trump administration has appeared in an unflattering light amid what US policy expert believe is an unsettling relationship with Russia, Putin has been steadily picking at the edges of Crimea, presenting the greatest military threat to Ukraine in years.
But it is with China where Mattis and the administration have barged into a new period of strategic competition— and where the slide toward conflict is most acute.
That confrontation has been encouraged by the Trump administration itself, with the tearing down of so many aspects of the rules-based order that has governed global politics in the post-World War II era.
"My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear eyed about malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues," Mattis wrote in his resignation letter to Trump.
The Trump effect has isolated allies and invigorated adversaries, former Australian Prime Minister and noted sinologist Kevin Rudd said in November.
Speaking at the Hudson Institute in October, US Vice President Mike Pence delivered a landmark address signaling the US's intent to challenge an increasingly assertive and belligerent China, directly accusing it of “meddling in America’s democracy."
Pence accused China of stealing American intellectual property, eroding US military positions, and driving the US out of the Western Pacific.
It was only on Tuesday, when China's President Xi Jinping, the country's strongest autocratic leader since Mao Zedong, made a gloating speech marking China's furious economic progress, with more daunting promises of "miracles that will impress the world."
Delivered with slumped shoulders in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi spoke for 90 minutes before touching momentarily on a vision for a new kind of Chinese expansion aimed at exporting its model of technocratic dictatorship to other like-minded nations.
"The past 40 years eloquently prove that China’s development provides a successful experience and offers a bright prospect to other developing countries, as they strive for modernization," Xi said, about 40 minutes into his speech.
This is exactly where China is now placed as it looks across the Pacific and into Central Asia to covertly or overtly use the One Belt One Road initiative to expand its industrial, technical, and digital prowess into developing neighbors that are vulnerable to the authoritarian siren song of, for example, surveillance techniques now being rolled out in the beleaguered western province of Xinjiang.
China's vast data-collection platforms — WeChat alone has more than a billion users, and are harvesting ever-deeper data on behalf of the state — would be happy to do the same for other nations.
Earlier this week Danielle Cave, a senior analyst at the Australian Security Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre, told Business Insider that developing nations that do not share the US's aversion to unreliable actors like the embattled telecommunications giant Huawei, are ready and willing to marry into China's cheap, buy-now-pay-later model of total autocratic technocracy.
The person Trump chooses to replace Mattis will need to see, with the same clarity that "Mad Dog" could, the chasm between the words of America's strategic adversaries and their actions in this new, dangerous, fragmented — and increasingly lonely — global theater.
This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.
Consumers are finally starting to adopt smart home devices, with nearly 60% owning at least one device. This presents an opportunity for e-commerce companies to enter the smart home and encourage purchasing through the devices.
The smart speaker has become the face of the smart home in many ways, attracting the lion’s share of attention as companies look for ways to take advantage of the growing platform. But there’s a problem: Consumers aren’t using the smart speaker to actually buy products very often.
Instead, one of the clearest opportunities outside of the smart speaker is home goods and grocery replenishment through large appliances. Smart devices in the home — especially appliances — can take advantage of built-in sensors to either tell consumers when they need to buy more of a product, or make that purchase autonomously. This will create an opportunity for appliance manufacturers, e-commerce vendors, and product suppliers to ink supply agreements to meet consumers' needs.
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines several areas of opportunity for e-commerce companies to leverage smart home technologies to provide new and better services to their customers. First, we explore how smart appliances, including connected dishwashers and laundry machines, are building on one-click purchasing systems to enable automated replenishment. We then discuss the smart fridge and detail how apps, cameras, and voice assistants are enabling takeout and grocery delivery through these appliances. Finally, we examine the role of the voice interface beyond smart speakers as it relates to purchasing products in the home, and how omnipresent voice will be used to organize and interact with automated services.
The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Blue Apron, Costo, GE, Google, Instacart, Keurig, KitchenAid, LG, Ocado, P&G, Plated, Reynolds, Samsung, Target, Walmart, Whirlpool.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
A Republican lawmaker likened the Trump administration's discontinued child-separation policy at the US-Mexico border to the fate of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who faces increased scrutiny after allegedly breaching his plea agreement to charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
"I'm always glad to fill in the gaps of people's knowledge or ignorance in a particular area," Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration and border security. "So let me just state for those who are not aware ... parents are separated from children every single day of every year, year after year."
"And parents who have probable cause, they committed a crime, are separated from their children and those are usually US citizens," Gohmert added. "It's what happens when a parent is believed to have committed a crime. [Special counsel Robert Mueller] did it, I know he's a hero to some folks around here, he did it to Manafort, separated him from his two beautiful children. It happens."
Manafort is the father of two adult daughters: Jessica, an independent filmmaker who reportedly changed her last name to distance herself from an unwanted "public perception," and Andrea, who described her father as someone with "no moral or legal compass" and a "a sick f---ing tyrant," according to hacked text messages.
Manafort was initially indicted in October 2017 as part of Mueller's probe, and has been in prison since June.
Earlier this year, Trump faced fierce backlash against the so-called "zero-tolerance" immigration policy, which because parents were being prosecuted for crossing the border illegally, automatically separated parents from their children if they crossed the border illegally. In June, Trump reversed course and allowed them to remain together in federal custody until their trial in court.
Speaking to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Thursday, Gohmert added that he was disgusted by the characterization of the Department of Homeland Security from his Democratic colleagues and some media reports.
"It grieves me, for anyone that's part of this committee, to slander you and be remorseless when they make ... comments about you or ... people in the administration that simply want to enforce the law," Gohmert said. "I don't hear any of that kind of outrage on behalf of victims of crime, including children who are victims of crime."
Recent reports at the border sparked public outrage after a 7-year-old child from Guatemala died while in the custody of US Border Patrol. Initial reports suggested he died of dehydration; however, her father disputed the case, saying his child received no water while in custody.
Homeland Security described the death as unfortunate and reportedly said the child was in custody for around eight hours before she began having seizures. According to US Customs and Border Protection, she "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days."
This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.
Outside of the US Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and UPS have dominated the domestic logistics industry — and in particular, the last-mile of the delivery — for decades. On a quarterly earnings call in 2016, FedEx estimated that itself, UPS, and USPS executed a whopping 95% of all e-commerce orders.
But rapidly rising volumes have put the pair of legacy shippers in a bind. E-commerce sales have risen over 50% and are projected to continue their ascent into the next decade. High volumes are already straining shippers' networks — UPS struggled to bring consumers their parcels on time due to higher-than-anticipated package volume, which upset some big-name retail partners, including Macy's, Walmart, and Amazon. As online sales surge further, package volumes will outstrip legacy shippers' capacities, creating space for new entrants.
Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to dethrone UPS and FedEx's duopoly. It's built up a strong logistics infrastructure, counting hundreds of warehouses and thousands of delivery trucks.
Further, as the leading online retailer in the US, it has a wealth of data on consumers that it can use to craft a personalized delivery experience that's superior to UPS and FedEx's offerings. Amazon must act soon, however, as UPS and FedEx are hard at work fortifying their own networks to handle the expected surge in parcel volume.
The longer the Seattle-based e-tailer delays the launch of a delivery service, the more it runs the risk that these legacy players will be able to defend their territory.
In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explains how the age of e-commerce is opening up cracks in UPS and FedEx's duopoly. We then outline how Amazon's logistics ambitions began as an effort to more quickly get parcels out the door and fulfill its famous 2-day shipping process and how it'll be a key building block for the company if it builds out a last-mile service. Lastly, we offer concrete steps that the firm must take to maximize the dent it makes in UPS and FedEx's duopoly.
The companies mentioned in this report are: Alibaba, Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
Here is the brief story of an obscenely large picture.
It is the brainchild of a setup called Jinkun Tech, or Bigpixel Technology Corporation, and it was taken from atop the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai.
What it is not, contrary to chatter on social media this week, is some evil new Chinese satellite quantum technology.
It's just a very, very big picture, and according to the company, more than 8 million people have explored it, and many more are about to.
The photo resolution, which is the toughest part to wrap one's mind around, is reportedly 195 gigapixels.
Some context: a megapixel is one million pixels. The resolution of digital cameras and smartphones is often chopped up and measured in megapixels. For example, a 12-megapixel camera can produce images with 12 million total pixels. But, in this case, we're talking about gigapixels. One gigapixel is 1 billion pixels.
Bigpixel reckons it is more than 2,000 more times precise than a photo captured from an ordinary, consumer-level camera, which makes this 360-degree snapshot of a surprisingly sunny Shanghai day the world's third-biggest photo. Bigpixel says it's Asia's largest.
It is a collection of images that have been integrated over a few months using image-stitching technology.
Bigpixel says this is its first panorama with hundreds of billions of pixels. The result is an unearthly, uncanny, unnecessarily fearsome zoom — a zoom that takes you so close to the oblivious person on the street — in this case, in Shanghai — that, yes, you can literally see individual facial expressions.
The technology's potential for covert surveillance also becomes quite obvious.
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Automotive executive Carlos Ghosn looks set to spend Christmas behind bars after he was rearrested in Tokyo on suspicion of passing personal losses onto Nissan scuppering his chances of making bail.
The former Nissan and Mitsubishi CEO has been imprisoned following his initial arrest on November 19 on a variety of allegations including under representing his salary and using company assets for personal benefit.
In the latest twist in the ongoing saga, prosecutors alleged that Ghosn had temporarily forced Nissan to take over a personal derivative contract that was sitting on 1.85 billion yen ($16.6 million) in losses at the time at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008.
According to a statement, Ghosn later took the contract back onto his personal books and received help from an unidentified person in backing up his credit to the bank on the other side of the deal. Similarly, between 2009 and 2012, Ghosn is alleged to have had a Nissan subsidiary transfer a total of $14.7 million into an account controlled by that person.
The Brazil-born executive, 64, has now spent a month in prison and his hopes to make bail were improved Thursday after a court rejected a request by the prosecution to extend his detention. However, Friday's re-arrest diminished the chances of a swift exit from his current conditions.
Ghosn has not yet responded to the latest allegation — but he has consistently denied all previous accusations made against him.
If found guilty of the financial misconduct charges he could face up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $6.2 million, according to Japanese regulators.
The former head of one of the largest motoring alliances in the world, Ghosn's fall from grace has been dramatic with his roles at Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors having been removed. He remains chairman of French automaker Renault, however, with the company opting to replace him with a temporary executive during the proceedings.
Discord, the most popular group chat program for video gamers, is now valued at $2.05 billion after raising $150 million in a new funding round, it announced on Friday. The round was led by Greenoaks Capital and also includes participation from Firstmark, Tencent, IVP, Index Ventures, and Technology Opportunity Partners.
Since its launch in 2015, Discord has drawn in more than 200 million users worldwide. The chat program offers a variety of impressive features for free, and lets users create and customize their own voice and text chat channels. It's become one of the premiere places for online communities to gather. The company was last valued at $1.65 billion in a funding round earlier this year.
Having established a huge userbase, Discord launched a new online store within the chat platform earlier in October. The majority of the games offered in the store come from independent developers, and Discord recently announced that creators would earn 90% of the revenue generated from each sale. Those who subscribe to Discord's "Nitro" service pay $99/year or $9.99/month to gain unlimited access to more than $1,000 worth of games from the store, and gain additional chat features.
Notably, this new store places into competition with some industry heavyweights: The Discord Store goes right up against Steam, far and away the largest PC digital games store, as well as the new Epic Games, from the creators of "Fortnite." In a bid to win developer support, Discord and Epic alike are offering developers more favorable terms than Steam, which usually takes a 30% cut of all sales.
At the same time, Discord has courted controversy. The open and relatively anonymous nature of the platform has led white supremacists and other problematic groups to gather on Discord. It was reported that the white supremacist group behind the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 used Discord to organize and plan.
Discord has tried to fight back against bad actors on the platform, banning known servers associated with white supremacy and hate speech, while also working to enforce terms of service that prohibit those behaviors. Still, those communities are said to still linger on the service.
Though the platform started as a niche app for gamers, Discord has secured a foothold as one of the most popular chat services in the world. As the platform continues to grow, the company will be challenged by a welcoming wider range of communities while working to stay true to its core userbase.
As for the future of Discord: It's been reported that the company has been exploring a sale, though it's unclear how raising this funding would affect its intentions in that regard.
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
Holiday shopping for men — whether it be your dad, sibling, or significant other — can sometimes feel futile. His list is short, and so is your patience when it comes to gift hunting.
Instead of buying him another tie or a pair of socks that he doesn't need, we recommend going with a quality grooming gift instead.
Since every man does some form of grooming on a regular basis, these are gifts he'll get to appreciate year-round. Shaving kits, razors, body washes, facial cleansers, and colognes are just some of the many products guys use to stay looking, feeling, and smelling their best — and these are the best ones to gift this holiday season.
Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.
Still shopping for more gifts? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.
A high-end electric shaver
Braun Series 7 Electric Shaver and Trimmer, $169.94 (Originally $289.99) [You save $120.05]
The Braun Series 7 uses Sonic and AutoSense Technology to read their beard's thickness and adjust the power of the shaver's motor to deliver a close shave with just one stroke. By figuring out the optimal shave settings on its own, they'll never experience another bad shave again. In addition to being a highly effective and precise shaver, it's self-cleaning and lubricating.
A durable Dopp kit from Patagonia
Although it can be used to store a number of small items, the Patagonia Black Hole Cube is the ideal size for a traveling Dopp Kit — and it's super durable.
An electric toothbrush
Most people don't swap out their toothbrush as often as they should simply because they forget to do so. With the Goby Brush Kit, they'll never have to worry about using an old toothbrush. For just $50, the kit includes a state-of-the-art of the art oscillating toothbrush, a hygienic stand, USB charger and a monthly subscription for brush heads.
Order by December 26, 2018 for guaranteed delivery before Christmas.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.
Edge computing solutions are key tools that help companies grapple with rising data volumes across industries. These types of solutions are critical in allowing companies to gain more control over the data their IoT devices create and in reducing their reliance on (and the costs of) cloud computing.
These systems are becoming more sought-after — 40% of companies that provide IoT solutions reported that edge computing came up more in discussion with customers in 2017 than the year before, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s 2017 Global IoT Executive Survey. But companies need to know whether they should look into edge computing solutions, and what in particular they can hope to gain from shifting data processing and analysis from the cloud to the edge.
There are three particular types of problems that edge computing solutions are helping to combat across industries:
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines how edge computing is reducing companies' reliance on cloud computing in three key industries: healthcare, telecommunications, and the automotive space. We explore how these systems mitigate issues in each sector by helping to efficiently process growing troves of data, expanding the potential realms of IoT solutions a company can offer, and bringing enhanced computing capability to remote and mobile platforms.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
Retailers and their logistics partners have been pushed to meet growing customer demands for increasingly speedy shipping. And the steady rise of e-commerce has caused the daily volume of parcel shipments to skyrocket — two trends that, for the foreseeable future, are only going to continue.
With fulfillment giants like Amazon constantly nipping at their heels, e-tailers have to fight to figure out a way to offer same-day shipping at low prices. To do so, they’re experimenting with nontraditional logistics strategies and startup partners to see what sticks.
Enter crowdsourced delivery — the Uber model for package fulfillment. In this article, we’ll take a look at what it is, why it’s growing, and the future of same-day shipping.
What is crowdsourced delivery?
Crowdsourced delivery, also known as crowdsourced shipping, is an emerging method of fulfillment that leverages networks of local, non-professional couriers to deliver packages to customers’ doors. While most common in meal and grocery delivery, this model seems to be springing up everywhere as traditional retailers look for ways to cut costs and maximize supply chain efficiency.
Why crowdsourced delivery?
Crowdsourced delivery is beneficial for both retailers and their customers, with the primary advantage simply being that companies can get online orders to their customers faster — sometimes in less than an hour. And with the option of on-demand or scheduled delivery, companies can meet their customers’ demands for instant gratification (which is particularly prevalent among younger, digital-first consumers), while also ensuring that packages are delivered when someone is home — eliminating the additional time and costs involved with multiple delivery attempts.
A secondary benefit of crowdsourced delivery is that it is tech-heavy and asset-light. Contracted couriers provide their own transportation to make deliveries, often from a retailer’s store location, and are typically paid per delivery or per shift. For companies, this means not worrying about warehouse operations, fleet management, or employee benefits — thereby offsetting some of the high costs and complex logistics associated with on-demand delivery.
For customers, crowdsourced delivery provides greater control over the shopping experience; it satisfies their need for speed while offering more visibility into the delivery process. Customers can select a desired time slot to ensure they won’t miss a delivery and, perhaps most importantly, they can track their packages along the way. Instead of repeatedly checking a tracking code for a status update, customers can choose to receive SMS text alerts, push notifications, or even GPS tracking on their smartphones.
Despite these benefits, the startup nature of many crowdsourced delivery services comes with inherent challenges, such as the high per-delivery costs of ad-hoc shipments, which are often absorbed by the retailer as customers become less and less willing to cover delivery fees.
As with other startups tapping into the gig economy, other major challenges of crowdsourced delivery include workforce issues — more specifically, courier shortages and retention rates. Couriers are often signed up for multiple gigs, which can make localized labor hard to come by at times. When contractors toggle among delivery, ride hailing, and other on-demand service apps looking for the next available job, they can quickly cause churn for the company from burnout, particularly when regular wages and benefits are not guaranteed.
Solving the last mile problem
In traditional shipping, the last mile problem is the inefficiency of final delivery. The “last mile” of delivery refers to the final leg of shipment, when a package arrives at the customer’s doorstep. This step of the journey is the most expensive and the most time consuming, as there are typically multiple stops along a given route — slowed down by either long distances between stops in rural areas or heavy traffic in urban settings.
Crowdsourced delivery attempts to skirt these bottlenecks by tasking someone local to both the package’s origin and customer’s door to expedite fulfillment and elevate customer satisfaction.
Future of same-day shipping
To date, crowdsourced delivery has been most commonly seen in meal delivery services in urban markets, with apps such as Postmates, Doordash, and Grubhub, but even giants like Walmart and Aldi have begun dabbling with this model for same-day grocery delivery.
Crowdsourced delivery is not limited to the food and restaurant industries either. A growing number of retailers is now experimenting with crowdsourcing as a solution to same-day shipping — an expectation of 56% of millennials, according to a survey from fraud prevention startup Trustev.
And startups like Deliv have been answering their calls. Since 2014, the crowdsourced delivery startup has been processing same-day deliveries for Macy’s, using the retail titan’s existing ship-from-store program to pick and pack orders.
These types of startups have been eliciting a response from traditional delivery providers such as DHL which launched a same-day scheduled delivery pilot for retail shipping in Germany, or FedEx, which has expanded same-day urban delivery in over 30 markets. Unlike emerging startups, these legacy providers have the advantage of leveraging their extensive logistics operations (traditionally used for non-retail deliveries), and shifting them to compete in the retail space.
And as we continue to see advancements in drone technology and artificial intelligence, it’s likely that in the future, same-day delivery will no longer depend on local couriers, but rather automation.
More to Learn
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
The impact of payments’ digital transformation is rippling around the world, in both advanced economies and developing countries.
Across major global regions, the total volume of e-commerce transactions is expected to rise 91% over the next five years to hit $5.7 trillion by 2023.
With such impending immense growth, it’s crucial for any business that even touches the payments industry to understand what’s ahead.
Take, for example, noncash transactions, which include debit card, credit card, direct debit, and credit transfer transactions that are conducted either online or offline. Consumers and businesses will make 841 billion noncash transactions globally in 2023, a 46% surge from 577 billion in 2018. The rise in global card and terminal penetration, coupled with increasing digital payments volume, will will be the key drivers in this growth.
To successfully navigate this changing landscape, individuals and organizations must understand the full extent to which digital transformation will affect the payments industry, the key drivers of this growth, and how it all relates to the work they do every day.
Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has forecasted the future of the payments ecosystem in The Payments Forecast Book 2018— and the next five years will be critical for the following four areas:
Want to Learn More?
People, companies, and organizations all over the world are racing to adopt the latest payments solutions and prevent growing pains amidst a technological transformation. The Payments Forecast Book 2018 from Business Insider Intelligence is a detailed four-part slide deck outlining the most important trends impacting the payments ecosystem around the world — and the key drivers propelling each segment forward.
Representing thousands of hours of exhaustive research, our multipart forecast books are considered must-reads by thousands of highly successful business professionals. These informative slide decks are packed with charts and statistics outlining the most influential trends on the leading edge of your industry. Keep them for reference or drop the most valuable data into your own presentations to share with your teams.
Whether you’re newly interested in a topic or you already consider yourself a subject matter expert, The Payments Forecast Book 2018 can provide you with the actionable insights you need to make better decisions.
Chef José Andrés tweeted out early Friday morning that if there's a partial government shutdown, he would feed federal government workers impacted.
"And I will offer again Free Sandwiches to the poor men and women of the federal government, republicans and democrats (sic), at every restaurant of mine in DC for lunch until they get paid again!" he tweeted in response to a tweet from President Donald Trump about the shutdown.
Congress and the president are closing in on a deadline to fund nine government agencies prior to the holidays. House lawmakers adjourned on Friday night without a spending deal, making a partial shutdown virtually inevitable.
Some 800,000 federal government workers will go without pay as long as the government remains closed.
The roadblock is roughly $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. After initially signaling that he would sign a stopgap bill without funding for the wall that was passed unanimously in the Senate, Trump has said that he will not sign a bill to fund the government if it does not include funding for the border wall. The House passed a bill that funds the wall on Thursday, however, it needs 60 votes to pass in the Senate, which the bill does not have.
Trump initially said he'd own responsibility for a partial government shutdown, but now he is blaming Democrats for the shutdown — and he shared these feelings on Twitter, Friday morning.
"The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED," Trump tweeted. "If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!"
Andrés, the Spanish-American, Michelin-starred chef, has been an outspoken critic of Trump. He is also notable for his humanitarian work (and was nominated for a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize). He started the World Central Kitchen after the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, to feed those impacted by disasters.
Following the destruction of Hurricane Maria, Andrés and WCK fed more than 2 million people in Puerto Rico.
Andrés pulled out of a contract to have a restaurant in Trump's hotel in Washington, DC, after then-candidate Trump called Mexican immigrants "rapists" and drug dealers. In his Friday tweet, he suggested that Trump go to Tijuana with him to "feed good people, meet them, learn to love them and realize they are not the enemy you are claiming they are."
@realDonaldTrump why don’t you come with me to Tijuana to feed good people, meet them, learn to love them and realize they are not the enemy you are claiming they are? Walls will never keep America safe! But compassion to our neighbors will.... https://t.co/PsXghatlMI— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) December 21, 2018
Trump campaigned on tough immigration policies, including building a wall along the US-Mexico border. His policies included instituting a travel ban, shortly after entering office, a short-lived "zero tolerance" policy at the southern border earlier this year, and trying to implement stricter asylum policies (which the courts have struck down).
Newly discovered audio recordings of acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reveal how he felt about a key policy promise from Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, according to CNN.
The former Republican representative weighed in on Trump's campaign promise to build a wall on the US-Mexico border during an interview with the WRHI radio show in South Carolina, two months after Trump announced his candidacy for president.
"The fence is an easy thing to sell politically," Mulvaney said in August 2015. "It's an easy thing for someone who doesn't follow the issue very closely."
"The fence doesn't solve the problem," Mulvaney added. "Is it necessary to have one? Sure. Would it help? Sure. But to just say 'build the darn fence' and have that be the end of an immigration discussion is absurd and almost childish for someone running for president to take that simplistic of [a] view."
Mulvaney suggested Trump's rhetoric and his rallying cry of "build a wall" were predicated on a misunderstanding of a barrier's efficacy.
"The bottom line is, the fence doesn't stop anybody who really wants to get across," Mulvaney said. "You go under, you go around, you go through it."
"So it's easy to tell people what they want to hear, 'build the darn fence, vote for me,'" he added.
The discovery of Mulvaney's interview comes as a partial government shutdown is expected to commence at midnight. Trump, who has dug in on the issue and demanded $5 billion in federal funding for the border wall, faces an impasse as he lacks the 60 votes in the Senate — that would need to include the votes of at least nine Democrats — to pass a short-term funding extension that includes $5.7 billion for border security.
Mulvaney was found to have made unflattering remarks about Trump in other recently discovered audio recordings, which have offered a glimpse of his thoughts on the Republican candidate prior to his presidency.
Six days before the presidential election, Mulvaney described Trump and Hillary Clinton as "two of the most flawed human beings running for president in the history of the country," and he said he was supporting Trump — despite the fact that he considered him to be "a terrible human being."
In 2016, Mulvaney also floated the suggestion that there may have been "more video tapes" with "atrocious things" Trump could have been caught saying after the release of the bombshell "Hollywood Access" audio recording.
Trump has reportedly bristled at Mulvaney's comments and asked one trusted adviser if he knew Mulvaney had "called me 'a terrible human being.'" Mulvaney's spokeswoman downplayed the news reports and said his remarks were "old news" that were made prior to meeting Trump.
The downfall of US brick-and-mortar commerce is overblown — despite sharp gains in e-commerce, which will nearly double between now and 2021, the lion’s share of purchasing continues to take place in-store. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, since the online environment can’t yet compensate for the reasons customers like brick-and-mortar shopping.
That means the point-of-sale (POS) terminal, which merchants use to accept payments of all types and to complete transactions, isn’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean it’s not changing. As merchants look to cut costs amidst shifts in consumer shopping habits, POS terminals, which were once predominantly hardware offerings used exclusively for payment acceptance, are evolving into full-service, comprehensive solutions. These new POS terminals are providing an array of business management solutions and connected offerings to complement payment services.
This is where the smart terminal, a new product that’s part-tablet, part-register, comes in. Merchants are increasingly seeking out these offerings, which afford them the connectivity, mobility, and interoperability to run their entire business. And that’s shaking up the space, since it’s not just legacy firms, but also mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) players and newer upstarts, that offer these products.
As merchants begin demanding a wide variety of payment solutions, terminal providers are scrambling to meet their needs in order to maintain existing customers and attract new ones. This is leading to rapid innovation and increased competition in both the POS terminal hardware and software spaces.
Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on the shifts in this landscape, how leading players can meet them, and who’s doing it most effectively.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
$7 billion workplace chat app Slack apologized on Friday for mistakenly shutting down the accounts of several users this week in its efforts to comply with US sanctions towards countries like Iran.
Slack said that it uses location information such as IP addresses to block users from countries affected by US trade embargoes and economic sanctions, and that in doing so it "inadvertently de-activated" the accounts of certain users. The company did not specify how the mistake was made, but stressed that it did not block any users based on nationality or ethnicity.
Earlier this week, several ethnically Iranian users tweeted their concerns that their accounts were abruptly shut down even though they didn't live in Iran or have any professional ties to the country. One PhD student in British Columbia wondered on Twitter what Slack's basis was for determining his ethnicity.
"We do not collect, use, or possess any information about the nationality or ethnicity of our users," Slack said on Friday.
Several of the affected users had said they recently travelled to Iran, which may have caused Slack to flag their IP addresses.
Slack said it's working on restoring mistakenly blocked accounts, and apologized for not handling the communication well. The company also noted that it will soon begin blocking accounts with IP addresses associated with an embargoed country and said that users traveling to a sanctioned country may temporarily not be able to access their account.
Below is Slack's full apology:
Two days ago, we updated our system for applying location information to comply with U.S. trade embargoes and economic sanctions regulations.
Soon after updating, we discovered that we made a series of mistakes and inadvertently deactivated a number of accounts that we shouldn’t have. We recognize the disruption and inconvenience this caused and we sincerely apologize to the people affected by our actions. In fact, we also apologize to the people whose accounts we intended to disable in order to comply with these regulations. We did not handle the communication well and in both cases we failed to live up to our own standards for courtesy and customer-centricity.
We did not block any user based on their nationality or ethnicity. As is standard in the enterprise software industry, Slack uses location information principally derived from IP addresses to implement these required blocks. We do not collect, use, or possess any information about the nationality or ethnicity of our users.
We have restored access to most of the mistakenly blocked accounts, and we are working hard to restore any remaining users whose access was blocked in error. If you think we’ve made a mistake in blocking your access, please reach out to email@example.com and we’ll review as soon as possible.
We would also like to notify our users that as we continue to update our systems over the next several weeks, we will soon begin blocking access to our service from IP addresses associated with an embargoed country. Users who travel to a sanctioned country may not be able to access Slack while they remain in that country. However, we will not deactivate their account and they will be able to access Slack when they return to countries or regions for which no blocking is required.