Blockchain And IoT: Not Ready For Primetime, But Now’s The Time To Start

Martha Bennett

Few would disagree that for IoT to live up to its promises, devices will sooner or later need to communicate directly, autonomously and securely with each other. Well-architected blockchain-based systems can help deliver those requirements, but they’re not available or even feasible today. In many ways, that’s a good thing, because it opens up great opportunities to get things right.

So let's start by looking at the challenges that IoT and blockchain ecosystems participants must address. They fall into three broad categories:

  • Technology.  IoT solutions need technology that scales, is secure, and behaves predictably (at least to the degree required by the individual use case). All of these characteristics comprise many different elements. On the security front, for example, there’s the security of the device itself, the security of the actual blockchain, and the security of any interfaces between the devices and the chain, the chain and any other systems, etc. One only needs to look at the incidents such as The DAO debacle of early summer 2016, the Bitfinex hack in August, and the DDoS attacks mounted by IoT devices in October to realize that this remains work in progress. And that’s just security; there are plenty of other issues, including, but not limited to, exception handling, ensuring confidentiality, or dealing with devices that may not be connected all the time, and likely have little on-board compute power or storage.  
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Fighting FOMO: Join The Customer Analytics Party

Brandon Purcell

The first U.S. presidential debate was the most watched in history, with 84 million people tuning in.  Sure, many of us wanted to educate ourselves before practicing our solemn duty as democratic citizens in November.  However, many of us also didn’t want to miss out on what (hopefully) promised to be a once in a lifetime political event .  We were motivated by FOMO.

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Forrester Predictions: Ten Key Developments In Cloud Computing Shape The Industry In 2017

Dave Bartoletti

I'm pleased to announce that Forrester’s cloud computing predictions for 2017 published this morning!

Check out Predictions 2017: Customer-Obsessed Enterprises Launch Cloud’s Second Decade. Our cloud team has gathered ten key developments in cloud computing that will shape this industry in 2017 — and what you should do about them today.

Cloud computing has been the most exciting and disruptive force in the tech market in the last decade, and it will continue to disrupt traditional computing models at least through 2020. Starting in 2017, large enterprises will move to cloud in a big way, and that will super-charge the market. We predict the influx of enterprise dollars will push the global public cloud market to $236B in 2020, up from $146B in 2017.

Cloud platforms from the global megacloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Salesforce, Oracle, Centurylink and SAP will set the pace, accelerating adoption of private cloud and hosted private cloud as well. In 2017, you need to:

  • Get your private cloud and SaaS strategy in shape in 2017 — start now!
  • Educate yourself about exciting developments in hyperconverged infrastructure, security, networking, and containers.
  • Take a fresh look at your regional and industry-specific cloud providers — specialization is afoot.
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Assess Your Digital Store Functionality

Michelle Beeson

The role of the store is changing. Consumers are increasingly able to research products and services they are interesting in buying, via their own digital devices, anywhere they choose - whether it’s browsing on their tablet while watching TV or their smartphone during the morning commute.

Customers often arrive in store armed with a wealth of information, which can put sales associates on the back foot. Retailers are currently exploring how to bring digital capabilities in store to improve customer service and engagement – both via their sales associates and directly to customers. But retailers must not get side tracked by shiny new “star wars” style technology. For digital store experience technologies to be successful, they must integrate with enterprise wide systems and have a tangible impact on in-store customer experience and/or operations.

To help digital business executives assess their digital store capabilities, Forrester has developed the Digital Store Functionality Benchmark as part of the Digital Store Playbook 2016. In this new benchmark Forrester assesses 20 retailers across the US and the UK for their use of in-store digital technology to support customer engagement and service as well as store operations.

Key takeaways from the evaluation are:

It Is Early Days For The Digital Store. Retailers are just starting their digital store transformation projects, with 16 of the 20 retailers scoring less than 50 of a total of 100. Many are still developing supporting technology and in the process of piloting various applications for new technology in-store.

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UK Brands Have Upped Their CX Game

Joana van den Brink-Quintanilha

We’re pleased to announce that this year’s UK Customer Experience Index report is now live! The report is based on Forrester's Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) methodology, which measures how well a brand's customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers.

 
Overall, it’s been a good year for UK brands, with the percentage of good and OK scores increasing thanks to a significant drop in poor scores. We found that:
 
  • Six of the eight industries surveyed improved their average score.
  • Twenty-four of the 56 brands surveyed made significant improvements in their experiences.
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Blockchain’s Potential For IoT Solutions

Dan Bieler

“IoT is not a feasible concept without a solution that allows for the direct interaction between machines and devices. Blockchain is a technology that can help to unlock this piece of the puzzle.”

Matthew Spoke, CEO, Nuco

Blockchain technology and the IoT both are currently catching the imagination of many interested stakeholders — for good reasons. For IoT to come into its own in the long run, devices sooner or later will have to communicate directly between each other. More than that, they must also be able to initiate further action without waiting for external instructions.

Blockchain can potentially add many benefits to IoT scenarios. Both — IoT and blockchain — are based on decentralized, distributed approaches; in combination, they potentially offer huge benefits from operational efficiencies to revenue generation. While these benefits will not emerge overnight, business and technology leaders need to acquaint themselves now with the possibilities as well as the challenges of blockchain technology in the IoT context, because:

  • Conceptually, blockchain technology is a good match for IoT scenarios. IoT applications are by definition distributed and call for devices to interact directly with each other rather than via existing centralized models.
  • Blockchain has the potential for improved IoT features, cost-efficiency, and compliance. Blockchain is not an end in itself, but forms the basis for applications, including potentially smart contracts, which support specific IoT processes.
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The FCC Ruling And Why It Foreshadows Big Changes In Privacy

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Like other privacy nerds all over the land, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the results of the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on some stringent new privacy rules for internet service providers (ISPs). Last week, we got news that the vote passed, and now it’s time to start taking stock of what this means for digital advertisers, publishers, and the US privacy landscape overall. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The opt-in requirement represents a sea change in US privacy management. Until now, the US approach to data collection has largely been opt-OUT oriented. The FCC ruling changes that. The commission is requiring broadband internet access service (BIAS) providers – that is, mobile carriers and ISPs – to gain explicit opt-IN before making their personal data available for ad targeting. It’s important to note that de-identified data and “non-sensitive” data don’t fall under the opt-in requirement. These data can continue to be shared as it is today, and can be used for the providers own business and marketing purposes without the consent requirement.
  • Speaking of “sensitive” data… there’s a lot more of it to consider now. Historically, sensitive personal data has been limited to financial data, health data, data about minors, and a few other categories. The new rules broaden the definition significantly to include data that’s become the lifeblood of online advertising:
    • Precise geolocation
    • Web browsing history
    • App usage history
    • The content of the communication
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Predictions 2017: CEOs Invest Billions To Transform Operations With Digital Tech

Nigel Fenwick
You've been creating digital customer experiences for years now. You've built a successful app. You’ve assembled a martech/adtech stack. You may even have started swinging at omnichannel delivery or harnessed AI or piloted a connected product. So it’s time to declare victory on digital transformation, right? 
 
Think again.
 
Digital customer experiences are only the shining faces of a digital business. Those pretty faces quickly lose their luster unless you’ve also transformed your business operations to make them better every single day -- and introduce new digital faces all the time. We call this capability "digital operational excellence." It’s the 80 in the 80/20 rule of digital transformation. In our latest report, Predictions 2017: In Digital Transformation, The Hard Work Of Operational Excellence Begins,  my co-authors Ted SchadlerMartin Gill and I give Forrester's predictions for the next year in digital business, including these three:
 
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Grading Forrester’s 2016 Cybersecurity Predictions Plus A Sneak Peek Into Our 2017 Predictions

Amy DeMartine

Every fall Forrester’s Security & Risk team comes together to make a set of predictions on the issues that will have the greatest impact on our clients in the next year. We don’t make broad, Nostradamus-like predictions like “There will be a breach at a large company in a great city.”  Instead, we go out of our way to make detailed predictions that force us to take strong stances, can easily prove wrong or right and are actionable by security and risk professionals. Before we provide a sneak peek into our 2017 predictions, it’s worth looking back and grading our 2016 predictions. 2016 was a particularly tumultuous year for cybersecurity. News agencies kept themselves busy as companies and public figures struggled with breaches, companies experienced embarrassing downtime and individuals felt their privacy rights slip away. The result? Cybersecurity has now vaulted from the boardroom to the Senate floor and to the Presidential debate stage. So how'd we do?

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2017 Predictions: Mobile Is The Face Of Digital

Julie Ask

We put together our thoughts in anew 2017 Mobile Predictions report on what to expect in the mobile space next year across industries and roles.

In 2016 mobile evolved from a stand-alone channel to a baseline for all branded digital experiences. In 2017, mobile will continue to elevate customer expectations as it transforms even non-digital experiences – such as Starbucks “order ahead” functionality. There is no question that mobile moments are the battleground to win, serve and retain your customers. What a mobile moment is and where it surfaces, however, will become amorphous as it extends beyond smartphones to platforms and connected devices and then eventually lives in a consumer’s personal ecosystem.

App usage as we know it has likely peaked. In 2017, platforms will expand in importance as consumers continue to consolidate their time into fewer places on the smartphone. Already, they spend 84% of their time in just five apps. These experiences that we loosely still refer to as mobile (but not for much longer) experience will lives as fragments on third party platforms. Consumers will still use apps for in-depth experiences with brands, but will increasingly use fragments to get quick things done. Examples of popular third party platforms today include Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.  

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