Stratajet strengthens technology team with hire of industry-leading CTO

Working closely alongside Founder Jonny Nicol, whose technical expertise pioneered the development of Stratajet, Donovan Frew’s remit is to build the technical infrastructure so as to align the platform’s capabilities with the overarching strategy of the business.

LONDON – Stratajet has strengthened its technology offering with the appointment of Donovan Frew as Chief Technology Officer.

Formerly the CTO of Secret Escapes, Donovan joins to continue the development of Stratajet’s industry-leading technology, which facilitates its position as the only platform that gives customers direct access to the private jet marketplace.

Working closely alongside Founder Jonny Nicol, whose technical expertise pioneered the development of Stratajet, Donovan’s remit is to build the technical infrastructure so as to align the platform’s capabilities with the overarching strategy of the business. The mutually dependent relationship will continue between Donovan’s team and Stratajet’s dedicated data researchers whose job it is to keep the data in the platform’s highly sophisticated algorithms up-to-date.

Donovan has forged an impressive 20-year career as a…

3 Timely E-Commerce Shipping Tips

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Future Digital Finance West | Dec 4-5 | Phoenix, AZ
Hear 30+ digital finance leaders who are transforming the industry address omni and mobile banking strategies, customer-centric digital innovation and emerging fintech that solves real customer problems. 25% discount available to finance execs. A WBR Event. View agenda and learn more.

Shipping has become a key part of success in the online shopping revolution. Amazon has raised consumer expectations dramatically when it comes to shipping, and etailers have been scrambling to keep up.

Because changes occur on a near-daily basis in the world of fulfillment and shipping, here are some tips for getting ahead of the game.

1. Offer Speedy Delivery

The faster you can get your goods out the door and into your customers’ hands, the better. Consumers increasingly expect their purchases to arrive quickly, and they’re drawn to two-day, next-day and even same-day shipping offers.

“Right now, Amazon has set the bar with same-day shipping, whether retailers like it or not,” said Greg Ng, VP of digital engagement at PointSource.

“Expectations for shipping speed are rapidly changing, and retailers may need to make updates to their digital experience and backend supply chain so that they can keep up,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “That may mean working with third-party suppliers, distributors and technologies that can ensure a more accurate, seamless and speedy delivery process.”

Offering speedy shipping options — especially if they’re free or low-cost — is where the world of e-commerce is headed, and the sooner online merchants can adapt to this reality, the better.

“While the future of shipping is uncertain, it’s obvious that higher expectations and faster delivery are here to stay,” said Ng.

2. Ship From or To Your Store

For e-commerce businesses that also have a brick-and-mortar presence, shipping from or to the store can be appealing to consumers.

“With consumers turning to both…

CTO and CHTA issue Caribbean post-hurricane update

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) continue to receive updates from member countries and hotels regarding the recovery and rebuilding efforts following the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the northern Caribbean and Leeward Islands.

The CTO Relief Fund (a 501 c3) helps families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, with monies raided being sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the hurricanes.

Anguilla

The government has announced that recovery from Hurricane Irma is proceeding at an extraordinary pace. Phone and internet communications have been restored to most parts of the island. Roads and beaches have been cleared, there are no longer queues at petrol stations, and grocery stores are well provisioned. Many local restaurants have reopened, along with a number of hotels that are housing relief workers and UK government officials. Significant progress is also being made on the restoration of the electricity grid; power lines to many villages on the central line through Crocus Hill and The Valley have been restored in the three weeks following Irma.

Chief minister, Victor Banks, has announced that plans are in place for the expansion of the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) and the reconstruction of the Blowing Point ferry terminal.

The British government has indicated that in short order they will be responding to the need to expand the airport. A team from the British Corps of Royal Engineers will oversee the project to extend the runway by 600 feet from its current 5,400 feet. The airport will remain open to private and commercial aircraft during this planned expansion period.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the terminal at Blowing Point will be demolished. Architectural plans have already been commissioned for the design and construction of the new facility. Construction is expected to begin shortly, at which point a more detailed timeline will be provided.

Seaborne Airlines has also announced the resumption of service between Anguilla and San Juan beginning today, 30 September, departing San Juan at 12:10pm to arrive in Anguilla at1:15pm and departing Anguilla at 1:45pm to arrive in San Juan at 2:50pm

N.B. Seaborne Airlines also announced on its Facebook page that it will resume service today, 30 September to Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, and to St Thomas on 2 October.

Anguilla latest hotel updates

• Carimar Beach Club: Grand re-opening is planned for 21 December.
• CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa: As assessment continues, it is anticipated the resort will remained closed for restoration through the summer of 2018.
• Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla: will not reopen before the end of 2017. Frangipani Beach Resort: annual opening date has been pushed back to December 2017

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board remains focused on rebuilding a stronger territory and tourism product and officials on the ground are continuing their full assessment of the tourism industry, and will share updates as they become available.

As of 29 September, there are several charter operators that have announced they will be operating during the winter 2017/2018 season including:

● The Moorings: December 2017
● Marine Max Vacations: December 2017
● Festiva Sailing: December 2017
● Horizon Yacht Charters: January 2018

“Through the BVI Ports Authority, we are on a fast track towards the restoration of Tortola Pier Park’s cruise and shopping facility with a targeted date of reopening at least 50 per cent of retail and food and beverage stores by 1 November,” Mark Vanterpool, the minister of communications and works said.

A majority of the hotels in the territory are currently closed and will share updates after more extensive assessments in the coming weeks.

Nearby Cyril E. King Airport (STT) in St Thomas reopened on 28 September, and BVI ferry companies (Road Town Fast Ferry and Native Son) have resumed operations between the islands allowing BVI Islanders, residents and work permit holders to return to the country.

Dominica

The ferry company L’Express Des Iles has resumed service between Dominica and Saint Lucia. While there is no service today, 30 September, beginning tomorrow there will be daily service through to Friday 6 October, although there will be return service only tomorrow 1 October and Friday 6 October. On the remaining days, service will be one way only, either from or to Dominica.

The government has announced that Calls may fax and telephone landline services are back up in the northern town of Portsmouth, and that the main Princess Margaret Hospital continues to function, along with most of the major type 3 healthcare centres on island. However, it says only some of the wards are currently functional and occupied, water and electricity have been partially restored and only emergency/life-saving surgical procedures are being performed..

Latest hotel updates:

• Fort Young Hotel: Closed. No word yet on a possible reopening date.
• Secret Bay Dominica: Damage assessments are under way and an update is expected soon on restoration of grounds and structures.
• Rosalie Bay Resort – A nature and Wellness Resort – Once communication is restored, updates will be provided as they become available.

Cuba

Minister of tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz is quoted by the official Granma newspaper as saying Cuba will be ready for the high tourist season without a trace of Hurricane Irma. The minister met with 160 tour operators last week at Varadero’s Plaza América convention centre.

He said power, water, and communications were restored in 100 per cent of the country’s tourist resorts, including the northern Santa María, Coco and Guillermo keys, and that tourism facilities in the territories of Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Cienfuegos, Mayabeque, Artemisa, and Pinar del Río, did not suffer any damage, and have been operating without any difficulties.

He described the damage suffered by facilities in Sancti Spíritus, especially in the north, Las Tunas, the northern coast of the province of Holguín, and Camagüey, as minor, while the damage in Havana and Varadero as minimal.
According to Granma, the minister said of the 18 hotels located on Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, the latter of which suffered less damage, 14 will be fully recovered by 1 November, while the local airport will also be fully operational, and in better condition than before the hurricane struck. The remaining four hotel facilities will be completely restored to reopen their doors by 15 November.

The minister explained that all extra-hotel activities in Cayo Coco will be restored and back in operation between 15 and 20 October, including its marina, dolphinarium, glass tower, and beach huts, and that hotels on Cayo Santa María are expected to be fully operational by 15 November.

Of the 52 hotels in the country’s main tourist destination of Varadero, all except five are open, and the minister said: “By 30 October, there will not be a trace of the hurricane in Varadero.”

He reported a 50 per cent drop in arrivals in September due to the hurricane, but through 22 September, the country had received 3.6 million tourists, 24 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year.

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) said it continues to work with state and federal government agencies and is collaborating with industry partners to assess the impact of Hurricane Maria.

The…

WATCH: Lucasfilm CTO Rob Bredow Talks ILMxLAB, ILM VR Tools and More at VIEW

With the 2017 VIEW Conference just around the corner this coming October 23-27 in Turin, Italy, we’re pleased to present our latest set of exclusive interviews with some of the talented speakers who presented last year at VIEW 2016. Each year, VIEW brings together creative leaders from the animation, VFX, games and VR industries to lecture, teach and network. Watch and enjoy in-depth interviews with some of the most well-known professionals working today….

Amazon Deploys Army of Echoes Against Oncoming Threats

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Future Digital Finance West | Dec 4-5 | Phoenix, AZ
Hear 30+ digital finance leaders who are transforming the industry address omni and mobile banking strategies, customer-centric digital innovation and emerging fintech that solves real customer problems. 25% discount available to finance execs. A WBR Event. View agenda and learn more.

Amazon on Wednesday unveiled five new Echo products that raise the bar in the automated home market.

Among other things, Amazon has improved the sound quality in its second-generation Echo speaker to compete with several new competitors in the high-end audio segment.

The new Echo, which is more compact and comes in a variety of shell colors and finishes, offers more immersive sound. It has a new speaker architecture, a dedicated tweeter, Dolby sound processing, and a 2.5 inch down-firing woofer.

The new smart speaker uses Amazon’s second generation far-field technology, which offers improved wake word-processing, better beam-forming and enhanced noise cancellation. These improvements are designed to help Alexa understand users’ commands, even from across noisy rooms.

The Echo allows users to listen to music from several different streaming services, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio and TuneIn.

The new Echo speaker is available for a reduced price — US$99.

Amazon also unveiled Echo Plus, which includes a built-in hub for managing smart home devices.

Users can give the command, “Alexa, discover my devices,” to trigger the Echo Plus to find and set up lights, smart locks, electrical plugs, switches, and other devices without additional apps or hubs.

The technology is compatible with ZigBee devices like Philips Hue, GE and Kwickset, among others. Customers receive a Philips Hue smart lightbulb for free with the purchase of an Echo Plus, while supplies last. The Echo Plus sells for $149.99.

The Echo Plus also has improved sound, with 360-degree omnidirectional audio, and Dolby processing for deeper bass and crisper high notes. Users can stream from the above-mentioned music services. Amazon Music users also can search for songs by individual lyrics or time period — or the service can choose music for you.

Alexa Tech

The new Echo and Echo Plus include new Alexa software, as well….

It’s time for a cybersecurity reboot, says Vidder CTO

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It’s become almost a daily headline in the news now. Equifax Inc. loses confidential information on 143 million Americans in cyberattack. Hackers compromise Deloitte LLP’s usernames and passwords. Whole Foods Market victimized in credit card breach. A steady drumbeat of bad news in online security has many people wondering now if the cyberworld will ever become safe.

What’s perhaps most troubling is that the bad actors are way ahead of the good despite billions of dollars in spending on appliances and security solutions presumably designed to provide protection. The honest truth is that enterprise firms and the U.S. government appear to be no closer in finding an effective defense against attacks than they were two, five, or even 10 years ago when the stakes were lower.

“Last year, Gartner said $100 billion will be spent on security. I can’t believe that anyone who’s involved in that $100 billion expenditure is happy,” said Junaid Islam (pictured), founder and chief technology officer of Vidder Inc.

In a two-part videotaped conversation, Islam spoke with John Furrier (@furrier), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, at the SiliconANGLE studio in Palo Alto, California. They discussed the rise of nation state hacking, new technology solutions and strategies to deal with threats, and the danger posed by unsecured connected devices.

Watch the first video interview with Vidder’s Junaid Islam below:

Nation states pose bigger threat

The threat landscape has gotten more serious over the past year, as the number of high-profile breaches escalates. A major reason for this is that nation states, such as Russia and North Korea, are now sponsoring the development of attack tools, which has moved the hacker profile out of the cluttered corner of a script kiddie’s garage to more sophisticated, government-backed operations where malware can be rapidly produced and launched by well-trained hacking teams.

Evidence of this new trend in cyberwarfare can be seen in the spread of much more lethal attacks, such as WannaCry, a ransomware attack that affected more than 200,000 systems in 150 countries, and Petya, malware that can move by itself stealthily across networks.

“This level of lethality we’ve never seen. It’s a direct result of these state actors moving into the cyberwarfare domain, creating weapons that basically spread through the internet at very high velocity,” Islam said.

Ineffectiveness of tools to defend against cyberattacks is forcing security…

Interview with Eugene Giller founder and CTO of Rize Inc. 3D printers

Amongst the 250+ exhibitors at this year’s TCT Show in Birmingham, I was given the opportunity to speak to Rize Inc. founder and CTO Eugene Giller. A previous employee of ZCorp – the full color, binder jetting 3D printing pioneer that is now 3D Systems – Giller officially founded Rize in 2014, after spending four years collecting the technology that would become the Rize One.

Material jetting plus FFF

With extensive knowledge and experience of the binder jetting process, Giller noticed an area for improvement in powder handling, he says “I was sick of coming home covered in powder.” In addition, he believed that post processing could be made a lot easier. By combining material jetting with common FFF, Giller and his team of engineers developed the Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) process.

The technology behind “zero post processing”

Material jetting is the step that enables Rize One’s “zero post processing” motto where supports on 3D printed parts can simply be snapped off by hand. The technology also allows color gradients, with space for full color spectrum developments in the extra MYK units beside the print head.

A color sample 3D printed on...

INSIGHTS Digital Hub Returns

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Future Digital Finance West | Dec 4-5 | Phoenix, AZ
Hear 30+ digital finance leaders who are transforming the industry address omni and mobile banking strategies, customer-centric digital innovation and emerging fintech that solves real customer problems. 25% discount available to finance execs. A WBR Event. View agenda and learn more.

Digital Hub is not a new idea. It’s been percolating for a few years, and its roots can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, where in a cluster of eight buildings, there exists what might be the original hub. In Dublin, it’s made up of 97 companies employing 725 people, and it was given a jumpstart by the government in 2003. Elsewhere, we might be more attuned to the idea of a tech incubator.

Fast-forward to today and half a world away in Kuala Lumpur, where Oracle has employed the hub concept to label its small and medium-sized enterprise incubator — and for good reason. More than two-thirds of the world’s total micro and SME market, equal to 266 businesses, is in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a New Straits Times report.

“The KL digital hub is set to leverage Asia Pacific’s small and medium enterprises’ immense growth through providing our Oracle Cloud solutions to streamline operations, boost innovation and build a platform for growth,” noted Fitri Abdullah, Oracle managing director of Malaysia.

Creating Demand

All well and good — and timely too — with Oracle OpenWorld happening next week. Oracle has learned the lesson of its main rivals for supremacy in the cloud: In addition to creating product (supply), it also needs to create demand, which would seem to turn a foundation of economics on its head.

Say’s law states that supply creates its own demand, but the literal meaning of the term might…

Red Hat, SAP Team on New Integrated Enterprise Linux Platform

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Future Digital Finance West | Dec 4-5 | Phoenix, AZ
Hear 30+ digital finance leaders who are transforming the industry address omni and mobile banking strategies, customer-centric digital innovation and emerging fintech that solves real customer problems. 25% discount available to finance execs. A WBR Event. View agenda and learn more.

Red Hat on Tuesday announced the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, a new platform that combines two existing systems for analytics and data management into a single offering.

The new platform combines the existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Applications and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA into a single, consolidated platform.

Complex Challenges

“There is no single technology stack to solve every enterprise challenge, and big data analytics is no different,” said Jim Totten, vice president and general manager of the Platforms Business Unit at Red Hat. “Increasingly we are seeing IT organizations use multiple SAP solutions to tackle the complex challenges of their evolving markets.”

Built upon the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 operating system, the platform adds a few new wrinkles, including Red Hat Insights, which offers proactive analytics and real-time intelligence. It allows customers to build and deploy cloud-based systems while providing warnings about potential technical problems and security threats.

Other technologies included in…

Cloudflare Stream Promises Easy, Cheap Video Hosting

video-streaming

Future Digital Finance West | Dec 4-5 | Phoenix, AZ
Hear 30+ digital finance leaders who are transforming the industry address omni and mobile banking strategies, customer-centric digital innovation and emerging fintech that solves real customer problems. 25% discount available to finance execs. A WBR Event. View agenda and learn more.

Cloudflare on Wednesday released the beta version of Cloudflare Stream, a new, inexpensive streaming video service.

Designed for app developers who want to build businesses hosting and streaming videos, Cloudflare Stream bundles encoding, global delivery and video player software into one package. These functionalities can be separated upon request.

Cloudflare wants to remove the need for users to grapple with the nuts and bolts of the technology, and to offer its service at a low price.

Users just shoot a video and upload it to an application programming interface standpoint to make the video available globally. It streams adaptively through an embeddable link that Cloudflare provides.

Cloudflare Stream pricing is based on the amount of time consumers actually spend viewing the video. That charge includes encoding, global delivery and the player.

Compression is enabled by default, and Cloudflare will support new, better codecs upon their release.

Too Much Protection

“Firms regularly use YouTube to distribute content because it’s really easy,” noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

However, they might prefer Cloudflare Stream if they want better control over the quality and content, he told the E-Commerce Times.

“I know of one instance where Google killed the corporate stream for a live event because their filters identified the background music being used before the event started as protected content,” Enderle said. “With consumer services, because the protections have to be aggressive, you can have lots of unanticipated problems.”

Problems With Video Streaming

Only about 1,000 companies do any meaningful level…