Bitcoin has been grinding lower in a trading range just above $30,000, prompting cryptocurrency insiders to flag the round number as a potential floor for the virtual coin.
Crypto prognostication is fraught with risk, not least because Bitcoin’s price has roughly halved from a record high three months ago. Even so, some in the industry are coalescing around $30,000 as a support point, citing clues from options activity and recent trading habits.
In options, $30,000 is the most-sold downside strike price for July and August, signaling confidence among such traders that the level will hold, according to Delta Exchange, a crypto derivatives exchange. It “should provide a strong support to the market,” Chief Executive Officer Pankaj Balani said.
Traders are also trying to take advantage of price ranges, including buying between $30,000 and $32,000 and selling in the $34,000 to $36,000 zone, Todd Morakis, co-founder of digital-finance product and service provider JST Capital, said in emailed comments, adding that “the market at the moment seems to paying attention more to bad news than good.”
Bitcoin has been hit by many setbacks of late, including China’s regulatory crackdown — partly over concerns about high energy consumption by crypto miners — and progress in central bank digital-currency projects that could squeeze private coins. The creator of meme-token Dogecoin recently lambasted crypto as basically a sham, and the appetite for speculation is generally in retreat.
Bitcoin traded around $31,600 as of 9:26 a.m. in London and is down about 6% so far this week. It’s still up more than 200% over the past 12 months, despite a rout in calendar 2021.
Konstantin Richter, chief executive officer and founder of Blockdaemon, a blockchain infrastructure provider, holds out hope for institutional demand, arguing Bitcoin would have to drop below $20,000 before institutions start questioning “the validity of the space.”
“If it goes down fast, it can go up fast,” he said in an interview. “That’s just what crypto is.”
The dramatic pullback in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies comes as a flurry of negative headlines and catalysts, from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to a new round of regulations by the Chinese government, have hit an asset sector that has been characterized by extreme volatility since it was created.
The flagship cryptocurrency fell to more than three-month lows on Wednesday, dropping to about $30,000 at one point for a pullback of more than 30% and continuing a week of selling in the crypto space. Ether, the main coin for the Ethereum blockchain network, was also down sharply and broke below $2,000 at one point, a more than 40% drop in less than 24 hours.
Part of the reason for bitcoin’s weakness seems to be at least a temporary reversal in the theory of broader acceptance for cryptocurrency.
Earlier this year, Musk announced he was buying more than $1 billion of it for his automaker’s balance sheet. Several payments firms announced they were upgrading their capabilities for more crypto actions, and major Wall Street banks began working on crypto trading teams for their clients. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange company, went public through a direct listing in mid-April.
The weakness is not isolated in crypto, suggesting that the moves could be part of a larger rotation by investors away from more speculative trades.
Tech and growth stocks, many of which outperformed the broader market dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, have also struggled in recent weeks.
Brazil’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Mercado Bitcoin raised $200 million from the SoftBank Latin America Fund, Mercado’s parent company 2TM Group announced today. The investment values 2TM Group at $2.1 billion and is SoftBank’s largest capital injection in a Latin America crypto company.
“This series B round will afford us to continue investing in our infrastructure, enabling us to scale up and meet the soaring demand for the blockchain-based financial market,“ says Roberto Dagnoni, executive chairman and CEO of 2TM Group. “We want to be the main solution provider for corporate players.”
The São Paulo-based exchange aims to increase the number of listed assets (the exchange currently lists approximately 50 tokens) and grow its 500-member team to 700 by year’s end. Further plans involve regional expansion with focuses on Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia and growth acceleration across 2TM Group’s portfolio, which also include digital wallet provider MeuBank and digital custodian Bitrust (both are subject to regulatory approval).
Founded by brothers Gustavo and Mauricio Chamati in 2013, Mercado Bitcoin has become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country. In January, it scored its first financing round co-led by G2D/GP Investments and Parallax Ventures with participation from an array of other investors.
Over the same period, trade volume on the exchange had increased to $5 billion, surpassing the total for its first seven years combined. “Every single month [of this year], we are trading the full volume of 2020,” says Dagnoni.
“Mercado Bitcoin is a regional leader in the crypto space and the leading crypto exchange in Brazil. They are tapping into a huge local and regional addressable market measured by potential use cases for crypto,” says Paulo Passoni, managing partner at SoftBank’s SBLA Advisers Corp. (which manages the SoftBank Latin America Fund).
“At SoftBank we look to invest in entrepreneurs who are challenging the status quo through tech-focused or tech-enabled business models that are disrupting an industry – Mercado Bitcoin is doing just that.”
Despite the rapid growth of the local crypto market, Brazilian regulators have been lagging behind. In 2018, Brazilian antitrust watchdog, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), opened an investigation into the country’s largest banks for allegedly abusing their power by closing accounts of crypto brokerages. The probe was ongoing as of last year.
In April 2020, Senator Soraya Thronicke proposed an extended set of rules for Brazil’s “virtual asset” businesses, custodians and issuers, consumer protection, crypto taxation and criminal enforcement, however no apparent action has been taken on the bill so far. Nonetheless, Dagnoni says the nation’s regulatory environment is favorable, and the company is closely working with regulators “to build a consistent framework for alternative digital investments in Brazil, in line with its vision of a convergence of the traditional and blockchain-based financial markets.”
I report on cryptocurrencies and emerging use cases of blockchain. Born and raised in Russia, I graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi with a degree in economics and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where I focused on data and business reporting.
SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational conglomerateholding company headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. The Group primarily invests in companies operating in the technology, energy, and financial sectors. It also runs the Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology-focused venture capital fund, with over $100 billion in capital, backed by sovereign wealth funds from countries in the Middle East.
The company is known for the leadership by its founder and largest shareholder Masayoshi Son. It operates in broadband, fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce, information technology, finance, media and marketing, and other areas.
SoftBank was ranked in the Forbes Global 2000 list as the 36th largest public company in the world, and the second largest publicly traded company in Japan after Toyota.
China’s economy had a great 12 months, leading the globe out of the Covid-19 era. Yet the last year has damaged something equally important: Beijing’s soft power.
Beijing’s handling of questions about what happened in Wuhan—and why officials were so slow to warn the world about a coming pandemic—boggles the mind. If China’s handling of the initial outbreak was indeed the “decisive victory” that it claims, why overreact to Australia’s call for a probe?
Harvard Kennedy School students might one day take classes recounting how China’s leaders squandered the Donald Trump era. As the U.S. president was undermining alliances, upending supply chains, losing allies, and playing down the pandemic, Beijing had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase the country’s influence at Washington’s expense.
And now, many in Beijing appear to understand the extent to which they blew it. Earlier this month, Xi Jinping urged the Communist Party to cultivate a “trustworthy, lovable and respectable” image globally. It’s the clearest indication yet that the “wolf warrior” ethos espoused in recent times by Chinese diplomats was too Trump-like for comfort—and backfiring.
The remedy here is obvious: being the reliable economic engine leaders from the East to West desire.
The Trump administration’s policies had a vaguely developing-nation thrust—favoring a weaker currency, banning companies, tariffs of the kind that might’ve worked in 1985, assaulting government institutions. They shook faith in America’s ability to anchor global finance. The last four years saw a bull market in chatter about replacing the dollar as reserve currency and the centrality of U.S. Treasury debt.
China is enjoying a burst of good press for its gross domestic product trends. Not just for the pace of GDP, but the way Xi’s team appears to be seeking a more balanced and sustainable mix of growth sources. Though some pundits were disappointed by news that industrial production rose just 6.6% in May on a two-year average basis, it essentially gets Asia’s biggest back to where it was pre-Covid-19.
Fixed-asset investment—in, say, property and land—expanded 4.2% on the same basis in the five months to May. Retail sales, meantime, is up a less impressive 4.5%, which is roughly half what we saw in 2019.
China is getting there, slowly but surely. Far from disappointing, though, data suggest Xi’s party learned valuable lessons from the myriad boom/bust cycles that put China in global headlines since 2008. That was the year the “Lehman shock” devastated world markets and threatened to interrupt China’s meteoric rise.
Instead, Beijing bent economic reality to its benefit. Yet the untold trillions of dollars of stimulus that then-President Hu Jintao’s team threw at the economy caused as many long-term headaches as short-term gains. It financed an unproductive infrastructure boom—one prioritizing the quantity of growth over quality—that fueled bubbles. It generated a moral-hazard dynamic that encouraged greater risk and leverage.
Unfortunately, Xi’s government doubled down on the approach in 2015, when Shanghai stocks went into freefall. The impulse then, as in the 2008-2009 period, was to throw even more cash at the problem—treating the symptoms, not the underlying ailments.
The ways in which Team Xi restored calm—bailouts, loosening leverage and reserve requirement protocols, halting initial public offerings and suspending trading in thousands of companies—did little to build a more nimble and transparent system. The message to punters was, no worries, the Communist Party and People’s Bank of China have your backs. Always.
Yet things appear to be changing. In 2020, while the U.S., Europe and Japan went wild with new stimulus schemes, Beijing took a targeted and minimalist approach. Japan alone threw $2.2 trillion, 40% of GDP, at its cratering economy. The Federal Reserve went on an asset-buying tear.
The PBOC, by sharp contrast, resisted the urge to go the quantitative easing route. That is helping Xi in his quest to deleverage the economy. It’s a very difficult balancing act, of course. The will-they-or-won’t-they-default drama unfolding at China Huarong Asset Management demonstrates the risks of hitting the stimulus brakes too hard.
The good news is that so far China seems to be pursuing a stable and lasting 2021 recovery, not the overwhelming force of previous efforts. And that’s just what the world needs. A 6% growth rate year after year will win China more soft-power points than the GDP extremes. So will China accelerating its transition from exports to an innovation-and-services-based power.
It’s grand that President Joe Biden rapidly raised America’s vaccination game. That means the two biggest economies are recovering simultaneously, reinforcing each other.
China’s revival could have an even bigger impact. Look at how China’s growth in recent months is lifting so many boats in Asia. In May alone, Japan enjoyed a 23.6% surge in shipments to China. Mainland demand for everything from motor vehicles to semiconductor machinery to paper products is helping Japan recover from its worst downturn in decades. South Korea, too.
The best thing Xi can do to boost China’s soft power is to lean into this recovery, and provide the stability that the rest of the globe needs. Xi should let China’s GDP power do the talking for him.
I am a Tokyo-based journalist, former columnist for Barron’s and Bloomberg and author of “Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades.” My journalism awards include the 2010 Society of American Business Editors and Writers prize for commentary.
State-owned enterprises accounted for over 60% of China’s market capitalization in 2019 and generated 40% of China’s GDP of US$15.66trillion in 2020, with domestic and foreign private businesses and investment accounting for the remaining 60%. As of the end of 2019, the total assets of all China’s SOEs, including those operating in the financial sector, reached US$78.08trillion. Ninety-one (91) of these SOEs belong to the 2020 Fortune Global 500 companies.
The crackdown on monopolies by tech giants and internet companies follows with recent calls by the Politburo against monopolistic practices by commercial retail giants like Alibaba. Comparisons have been made with similar probes into Amazon in the United States.
The idea of open source is not new. Ideas around the power of collectives to share, iterate, and effectively innovate together in near virtual space arose in the mid-eighteenth century, during the heyday of the age of enlightenment, with groups like the Lunar Society in the UK. The Lunar Society met roughly once a month in Birmingham, at the epicenter of the industrial revolution, as a collective of great minds, including both of Charles Darwin’s grandfathers.
They explored, shared, and broke barriers across disciplines together because they had the space in which to do it, and as a byproduct they gained great energy from discovering the possibilities of the world around them. For anyone who has attended an open source event, this description may sound familiar.
The Lunar Society of the 1790s is in many ways the very essence of open source community. Getting the very best ideas, working together, reacting and sharing together in real time. One major difference, though, is that the Lunar Society was very exclusive by nature, while today’s open source community is not. It is truly open. We live in a vastly more complex and expansive world than Birmingham in the 1790s; the power of the opportunities today is global, and mostly still forming.
With billions of devices running autonomously, computing, sensing, and predicting zettabytes of data, there are endless possibilities for what business ideas and technologies will thrive on the intelligent edge. Only an open source strategy can work in this environment: millions of people, ten of millions of ideas, maybe billions of combinations of code.
Open source for the intelligent edge
An effective intelligent edge will require a robust infrastructure that can handle low latency, high availability, and bandwidth demands. This infrastructure will include three key components: a cloud platform for running applications, analytics to monitor the health of the platform and services, and an orchestration layer to deploy and manage services across a distributed network.
There are five basic ways for companies to obtain this infrastructure: build it themselves from scratch, buy a proprietary solution from a vendor, build it starting with open source, buy a vendor-supported open source solution, or use infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
In a recent survey we administered across 500 respondents in France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the U.S., a relatively small percentage selected “build your own from scratch,” and a few more selected “vendor proprietary.” The majority selected an option where open source plays a role, whether in IaaS, do-it-yourself (DIY), or vendor-supported options. IaaS was the #1 choice for all three elements (cloud platform, analytics, and orchestration). The rest were split between one of the other flavors of open source (DIY or vendor-supported).
It seems most people aren’t interested in building and/or managing their infrastructure themselves. 34% of business in the U.S. cite “lack of internal skills or knowledge” and “bandwidth constraints on people’s time” as the biggest barriers to adopting intelligent edge technologies, followed closely by “additional investments in associated technologies are unclear” and “lack of internal business support or request.” Open source options give these companies the benefits of the solution without having to shoulder the burden all on their own.
If building and supporting your own infrastructure is core to your business, then building from scratch might make sense — but even then, chances are you may still use open source components. With 180,000 open source projects available with 1,400 unique licenses, it just doesn’t make sense not to use open source to some degree.
Two key reasons why open source is so pervasive
The popularity of open source is not surprising. For one thing, you get to tap into a technological hive mind. There is some debate, and many variables, but estimates put the number of open source developers worldwide somewhere north of 20 million. Open source communities attract a wide variety of people who are interested in participating in a particular piece of technology, with communities and projects running the gamut in terms of size and scope, depending on the focus and maturity of the project.
The common thread is the community of people who are contributing and reviewing code in an effort to make the project better. Generally speaking, the more applicable the code is to a variety of use cases and needs, the more participation you might see in the community. So with open source projects you get to leverage some of the smartest people on the planet, and they don’t have to be on your company payroll.
The second reason for such widespread usage of open source — related to the first — is the fact that you don’t have to do it all yourself. It’s a pretty common scenario for a development organization to use open source code as a component of a larger solution. By leveraging that open source component they can save hundreds if not thousands of work hours by not having to develop or be the sole maintainer of that piece of code. It also allows the organization to focus on their value-add.
Not just a groovy codefest
Open source derives its success from community, and just like in any community, some boundaries and agreed-upon rules to play by are necessary in order to thrive. It’s one thing to download a piece of open source code for use in a personal project. It’s another to use open source code as a critical component of your company’s operations or as a product you provide to your customers. Just because you can get open source code “for free” doesn’t mean you won’t make an investment.
Open source projects need focus, attention, and nurturing. In order to get the full value from the community one must be an active member of that community — or pay someone to be an active member of the community on your behalf. Being active requires an investment of time and resources to give a voice and listen to other voices on a steering committee, discuss priority features to work on next, participate in marketing activities designed to encourage more participants, contribute quality code, review code from others, and more. Leaning in is strongly encouraged.
Open source technology offers a tremendous opportunity for collective creativity and innovation. When like-minded people gather together for a focused intellectual purpose, it’s energizing to the individual and can be hugely beneficial to the organization. Whether the open source code is part of an IaaS, a component of something you build, or part of a vendor-supported solution, it is a tremendous asset you can use to push your company’s value-add forward to better meet your customer’s needs.
Matt Jones is responsible for the global R&D team at Wind River. In this role, he leads the delivery of innovative products that are enabling and accelerating the digital transformation of our customers across market segments, ranging from aerospace to industrial, defense to medical, and networking to automotive. With nearly 20 years of experience in the technology industry, he oversees the development of the Wind River portfolio to expand the company’s reach in both new and existing markets.
He was previously at Virgin Hyperloop One, where as Senior Vice President he led the Software Engineering teams; tasked with providing all the software needed to manage, control, and operate an autonomous hyperloop system. This included embedded software and electronics, networking, cloud data and services, as well as customer-facing applications. Prior to Virgin Hyperloop One, he was chief product officer at moovel Group, Daimler’s mobility solutions company. Before moovel, he was director of future technology at Jaguar Land Rover. He also serves as Chairman at GENIVI Alliance, and was a member of the Board of Directors at The Linux Foundation.
He holds a Master of Engineering, Electronic and Electrical with Management, from the University of Birmingham.
Generally, open source refers to a computer program in which the source code is available to the general public for use for any (including commercial) purpose, or modification from its original design. Open-source code is meant to be a collaborative effort, where programmers improve upon the source code and share the changes within the community. Code is released under the terms of a software license. Depending on the license terms, others may then download, modify, and publish their version (fork) back to the community.
Open source promotes universal access via an open-source or free license to a product’s design or blueprint, and universal redistribution of that design or blueprint. Before the phrase open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of other terms. Open source gained hold in part due to the rise of the Internet. The open-source software movement arose to clarify copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues.
That was the key takeaway from a recent virtual briefing dubbed “Back to Business: Restarting Main Street in the Wake of Covid-19,” which was hosted by Reimagine Main Street, a project founded last year to lead small businesses toward an inclusive economic recovery. The discussion convened business leaders and officials, who offered their own ideas for how to resolve these longstanding issues so that minority-led businesses can get back to business.
Here are their top three tips:
1. Help people get vaccinated.
As the pandemic fueled much of the recent difficulty hitting underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs, a good first step is to do all you can to overcome the pandemic, which can be achieved by helping people get vaccinated. “You can’t get the economy back on track without beating Covid,” says Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser to President Biden. Specifically, he suggests offering vaccine incentives to employees, customers, and the communities you serve.
He proposes offering paid time off for employees to get a jab, and providing compensation for missing work because of vaccine complications as motivation. “So many people can’t afford to lose a day or two of work,” says Richmond, therefore servicing the needs of your employees is a crucial part of getting the economy up and running again.
As for customers, the more people who are vaccinated, the quicker it is you’ll return to normalcy. So consider rewarding consumers who are fully vaccinated. United Airlines, for instance, last week launched its “Shot to Fly” campaign, offering the chance to win a year of free flights to vaccinated customers. “We just appreciate the business community partnering with us to get it done,” says Richmond.
2. Create an inclusive recovery.
Ensuring Black and Latinx business owners continue to receive financial support is vital, says Tammy Halevy, co-lead of Reimagine Main Street. Passing the American Jobs Plan, Biden’s nearly $2 trillion plan to shore up the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and boost green jobs, would be a start, adds Halevy. Additionally, it would be helpful to offer new grant programs and to “push the [Small Business Administration] to process forgiveness applications faster” to Black and Brown business owners, who need help accessing capital.
But you can’t just rely on the government for help, says Richmond. It is important for all small-business communities to help one another. Yes, you need to focus on supply chains and other internal matters. However, intentionally supporting other ancillary businesses, such as law firms, accountants, and even the local car wash, is an important step in getting minority communities as a whole back in business.
3. Demand greater access to capital.
For many minority-owned small businesses, federal relief was not accessible throughout the pandemic, says Chiling Tong, president and CEO of Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce. “Sixty percent of AAPI businesses, who did not apply for federal relief, did not apply because they did not think they were eligible for relief.”
Tong notes that a lack of awareness was a problem. But also, she adds: There was a potential language barrier. She says that information regarding some federal aid programs was not translated into other languages, at least initially.
These technical disadvantages pervaded long before the pandemic, she adds. The government at all levels needs to partner with various chambers of commerce to disband technical disadvantages these communities face, making sure they have the capability to apply for and maintain the same access to capital that other businesses have, says Tong.
Through investments targeted toward an inclusive recovery, vaccine incentives, and expanding access to capital, small businesses will thrive, says Richmond, and “as [small businesses] succeed and flourish, we know that the economy and the country will do the same.”
Market research – To produce a marketing plan for small businesses, research needs to be done on similar businesses, which should include desk research (done online or with directories) and field research. This gives an insight into the target group’s behavior and shopping patterns. Analyzing the competitor’s marketing strategies makes it easier for small businesses to gain market share.
Marketing mix – Marketing mix is a crucial factor for any business to be successful. Especially for a small business, examining a competitor’s marketing mix can be very helpful. An appropriate market mix, which uses different types of marketing, can help to boost sales.
Product life cycle – After the launch of the business, crucial points of focus should be the growth phase (adding customers, adding products or services, and/or expanding to new markets) and working towards the maturity phase. Once the business reaches the maturity stage, an extension strategy should be in place. Re-launching is also an option at this stage. Pricing strategy should be flexible and based on the different stages of the product life cycle.
Promotion techniques – It is preferable to keep promotion expenses as low as possible. ‘Word of mouth’, ‘email marketing’, ‘print-ads’ in local newspapers, etc. can be effective.
Channels of distribution – Selecting an effective channel of distribution may reduce the promotional expenses as well as overall expenses for a small business.
Shailer, Gregory E. P. (1 September 1993). “The irrelevance of organizational boundaries of owner-managed firms”. Small Bus Econ. 5 (3): 229–237. doi:10.1007/BF01531920.
*Healers, S. Purdy, D. Stanworth, C. Watson, A.2004. Franchising as small business growth strategy: A resource-based view organizational development: International small business journal,22(6), pp 539-599
Armstrong, Craig E. (28 October 2013). “Competence or flexibility? Survival and growth implications of competitive strategy preferences among small US businesses”. Journal of Strategy and Management. 6 (4): 377–398. doi:10.1108/JSMA-06-2012-0034.
A new study released by research firm Gartner shows that employees are nearly two times more likely to pretend to be working when their employers use tracking systems to monitor their output. Gartner surveyed more than 2,400 professionals in January 2021.
Across the world, IT professionals are in charge of an increasing number of servers and data coming in from disparate sources, and they’re using way too many monitoring tools to make sense of it all. The Reducing Complexity in IT Infrastructure Monitoring: A Study of Global Organizations report by the Ponemon Institute sheds light on the challenges of troubleshooting and monitoring cloud and on-premises environments.
24% said the handling of scale and complexity of IT infrastructure has improved
29% said the ability to easily deploy and maintain server monitoring technologies has improved
The survey also found that while a significant percentage of IT practitioners are in charge of monitoring over 50 servers, only 33% felt that they could ensure performance and system availability with their current toolset. So how can IT effectively manage increasingly complex, hybrid environments, and what are the major missteps IT organizations can correct to build a more efficient approach to infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting?
Here are some of the biggest IT mistakes companies of all sizes make — and how to avoid them.
Problem #1: Too Many Tools
Seventy percent of IT professionals in the survey said that using data to determine root cause slows them down — ingesting and normalizing data of differing formats and types is tedious and unmanageable, and it’s difficult to make real-time decisions. This is often because companies use too many monitoring tools for single layers of their IT stack, such as networks or applications, which creates silos and inefficiencies. When data lives inside one tool but can’t access or communicate with data confined to other tools, IT practitioners lose context on what’s happening in their environment because they’re seeing only a part of the picture.
The Solution: The solution to too many tools and disparate data is a single, scalable monitoring tool that provides end-to-end operational visibility into hybrid environments.
Problem #2: IT and Business Friction
As digital business infrastructure increases in complexity, IT teams feel more pressure than ever to reduce business-impacting incidents. When IT systems fail, the ramifications go beyond the immediate financial loss of downtime — a business could lose customers and jeopardize its reputation, a harsh reality that keeps IT teams up day and night. According to Ponemon’s research, 61 percent of IT professionals say that lack of system availability and poor performance creates friction between IT and lines of business.
In addition to a solution that allows IT to find the root cause to identify service interruptions, IT and business need to work together to design business and technical requirements in tandem.
Problem #3: No Way to Easily Identify Root Cause
Across the globe, IT professionals spend their days identifying and fixing server environment problems. Indeed, the Ponemon survey found that the top two challenges of troubleshooting, monitoring and cloud migration are:
Lack of insights to quickly pinpoint issues and identify the root cause
Complexity and diversity of IT systems and technology
When IT can’t find and fix issues quickly, it has a direct effect on the business.
The Solution: For IT to quickly fix problems, they need a monitoring tool that can surface an issue’s root cause with an alert about where and why something is wrong. Issue resolution time can be cut in half with a monitoring solution that correlates metrics and logs, and provides visualizations of alerts, trends and logs in one place. Making sure your monitoring tool can enable those types of actions and resolution planning is critical for success.
Problem #4: The Wrong Skills to Manage Application Complexity
When Ponemon asked IT professionals about the biggest risks to their ability to troubleshoot, monitor and migrate to the cloud:
55% said the increasing complexity of applications running on infrastructure
44% said a lack of skills and expertise to deal with application complexity
As infrastructure grows and evolves, it becomes increasingly difficult for IT teams to successfully manage, monitor and troubleshoot systems. Couple that with an IT skills gap that makes it difficult for organizations to attract and retain qualified talent, and it becomes clear why IT teams feel nonstop pressure.
The Solution: To effectively troubleshoot, monitor and migrate to the cloud, you need a solid plan that takes future growth into account is necessary for smooth IT operations. Business and IT need to work together to create an IT environment roadmap, followed by a talent strategy that aligns to that plan. Be sure to:
Identify skills gaps and adjust hiring
Identify and train qualified employees for advancement
Include succession planning for inevitable changes
Problem #5: Lack of Visibility Throughout Cloud Migration
Sixty-eight percent of IT practitioners said that ensuring application performance and availability throughout cloud migration caused the most stress. Over half said both cost and the inability to monitor and troubleshoot applications were their biggest pain points.
As infrastructure increases in complexity, the core responsibilities of IT to monitor and measure remain the same. So how can IT achieve infrastructure visibility and workload insights when performance data spans diverse environments?
The Solution: It’s critical to monitor performance across hybrid architectures with a monitoring solution that collects and correlates data from every location. Full visibility is needed throughout the migration process, so choose an end-to-end monitoring tool that allows you to establish a pre-migration baseline, mid-migration insights and post-migration success.
Before cloud migration, measure the baseline user experience and performance, and define acceptable post-migration levels. To accurately validate a migration’s success, use the same monitoring tool throughout the migration process. A unified tool can analyze centralized data and provide better insights from dashboards and reports.
E-wallets have seen one of the highest growths among payment channels in the last decade. They have shown a clear upward year after year and may become the main payment method in the world in the not too distant future, replacing credit cards and, of course, cash.
APIs will further boost their use in the coming years. An open banking infrastructure as promoted by the European PSD2 directive allows any TPP to develop solutions that enable companies to offer e-wallets to their customers, improving their user experience and, of course, fostering their loyalty.
What is an e-wallet
An e-wallet is an electronic medium that holds, stores and transfers virtual money to make small payments virtually. As with a traditional bank account or wallet, the e-wallet amount is deducted from the account as payments are made until the available balance is completely exhausted. At this point, it must be topped up so that it can remain operational.
This type of e-wallet often uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to make payments at physical retailers simply by bringing the cell phone closer to the POS terminal. They are also used for online payments. In both cases, the purchase amount is charged to a bank card or an account associated with the wallet.
E-wallets emerged in the late 1990s thanks to the Internet’s success and the generalization of virtual pay-per-view channels. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that they became hugely popular because of the dramatic growth of cryptocurrencies in general, and Bitcoin in particular. In fact, as businesses have started accepting cryptocurrencies as payment channels, e-wallets are becoming an important part of the financial system.
The reality in Africa: millions of e-wallets and little banking activity
Although e-wallets are a fairly common payment method in Europe, this doesn’t compare to their use in Africa. Since M-Pesa, a mobile telephony product of Safaricom, a subsidiary of Vodafone, entered Kenya in 2007, the use of e-wallets via cell phones has grown exponentially in Africa. The continent is the global epicenter for this technology. Today, it has more than 450 million active users, and Africa is the region where these payment solutions are most used.
In fact, according to a recent report by the GSM mobile operators’ association, 2019 saw how the 1 billion-mark was passed in terms of mobile money accounts, most of them in developing countries. Specifically, its forecasts are for the sub-Saharan African region to exceed 500 million accounts by the end of this year.
This situation is especially noteworthy in some countries. For example, in Nigeria, 60% of the population does not have access to bank accounts, as many of the traditional banking transactions are completed through their e-wallets, demonstrating the importance and effectiveness of these payment channels.
Kopernet, a provider of cloud-based enterprise solutions, has highlighted the importance of loyal customers, who account for only 20% of its total customer base, but up to 80% of its total business turnover and 72% of its visitors. In addition, loyalty program members are 70% more likely to recommend the business to their friends and family.
One of the most important elements to help generate loyalty among customers is the use of an e-wallet, through which you can increase the frequency of visits to your business. Whether through a points program, offering discounts on the purchase of certain products or providing excellent customer service, it is undoubtedly useful to attract recurring buyers.
Depending on the type of customer and the use they make of the e-wallet, one advantage or another may be provided. For example, when the e-wallet is topped up, you can identify whether or not they are a regular customer and then offer one type of bonus or another. The same is true when customers pay by placing their cell phone near the POS terminal. At this point, you can offer a personalized discount for the use of that e-wallet by quickly identifying the person making the payment.
There are plenty of possibilities, and the use of cell phones and payment terminals provides a rather interesting option to be able to attract more and better users, and thus retain more and more customers. After all, a good shopping experience is always an incentive that helps you attract new customers to your business.
APIs and e-wallets, an interesting option to integrate into your systems
Opening up the banking infrastructure is giving e-wallets an extra push. For example, third parties outside the banking business can develop applications that meet the needs of companies thanks to APIs, thus facilitating the integration of a fully operational financial system into an completely independent third-party ecosystem (platform, app or website).
As a result, any user (an employee, supplier or customer) can open a digital account directly from the business platform, thanks to APIs such as BBVA’s Accounts, without having to go to the branch themselves. Lately, they can link their e-wallet to that account if they want to and start operating.
In addition, with this API, you can issue a co-branded card with BBVA linked to your digital account and manage transaction and balance queries in detail and under the look & feel of your own platform.
Will mobile payment replace cash? It looks like that. In many countries, mobile payment is part of everyday life. No matter if paypal, google pay or apple pay there are many possibilities to pay mobile. The money is stored with e-wallets. But how secure are e-wallets and is it really practical? Let’s take a closer look at this topic in this episode. Do you already use e-wallets? Write it in the comments… ▸ subscribe to our channel: https://goo.gl/UupwgM#EWallet#MobilePayment#ElectronicPayment
New Delhi: As Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) finished two years on Wednesday (February 24), PM Narendra Modi said the tenacity and passion of the farmers is inspiring.Appreciating the hard work that the country’s farmers are doing tirelessly, PM Modi on the occasion of PM-KISAN’s second…
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Japanese trains are famous for cleanliness and punctuality. If a bullet train is five minutes late, it’s national news. Railway companies also operate large station shopping complexes and have played a major role in the growth of Japanese cities. But their bottom line is overshadowed by shrinking ridership due to the declining population. To compensate, they’re trying to address passenger concerns about the coronavirus while making it easier for tourists, women and elderly people to get around. That’s where a uniquely Japanese effort to promote mobility as a service (MaaS) comes in.
MaaS is sometimes thought of as on-demand transport such as ride-hailing services or vehicle sharing, but it’s more than that. According to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, MaaS is a system of search, reservation, payment, etc. that optimally combines multiple public transportation and other travel services in response to the travel needs of each local resident or traveler on a trip-by-trip basis. It is an important means that contributes to improving the convenience of travel and solving local issues by coordinating with non-transport services at destinations such as tourism and medical care.
The ministry is promoting MaaS, leveraging Japan’s transportation expertise, including the ability to move millions of people every day around large cities like Tokyo quickly, efficiently and on time, to further improve mobility in Japan. Public and private interest in MaaS in Japan has sparked expectations of major growth: in 2019, Yano Research Institute forecast the domestic MaaS market will hit 6.3 trillion yen ($61 billion) in 2030, up from 84.5 billion yen ($813 million) in 2018 and growing 44.1% annually from 2016.
In 2019, the Japanese government began to work on MaaS policies in earnest. They emphasize the need for data sharing to build standardized MaaS rules and platforms. They also stress the need to realize efficient mobility services by connecting a variety of mobility mode and infrastructure data, wider implementation of cashless payments and subscriptions with destination service-related data. In addition, they focus on new services provided by new types of vehicles. These include AI-equipped vehicles for on-demand transportation, electric small mobility vehicles, and self-driving mobility services. Japan is using this approach to cultivate its own spin on the concept, known as Japan MaaS.
“Japan differs from the West in that its public transit systems are predominantly run by the private sector,” says Tsuchida Hiromichi, director of the ministry’s Mobility Service Promotion Division. “This means different players can work together to make MaaS as efficient as possible.”
In a regional approach to promoting MaaS, the ministry is working with local governments and private-sector companies. The aim is both to improve transportation options for local residents, especially elderly people in rural areas, and to make it easier for foreign visitors to get around to parts of the country that are off the beaten path for travelers.
MaaS is already taking root in different regions of Japan, says Tsuchida. In Fukuoka City and Kitakyushu City, Toyota Motor and Nishi-Nippon Railroad (Nishitetsu) launched a multi-modal smartphone mobility service called “my route” that lets users plan an outing by inputting a destination and then selecting from different routes and means of travel, including walking, buses, trains and taxis. The app has payment services as well as destination information such as restaurants and cafes. It entered full service last year, and joins a nascent MaaS infrastructure in Japan including popular apps that help commuters navigate complex transit networks in big cities.
“Japan has many transportation players, with competition resulting in better services,” says Tsuchida. “That’s why transportation in Japan is punctual and safe and has broad coverage. Each of these aspects is sophisticated in and of itself but by combining them, MaaS in Japan has great potential.”
Creating a MaaS market
Hidaka Yosuke worked as a train driver, conductor and maintenance specialist for 12 years before he decided to become an entrepreneur by setting up his own company dedicated to rethinking transportation. Established in 2018, MaaS Tech Japan creates solutions that maximize the value of MaaS for companies and governments. It compiles big data on transport and payments and develops white label apps for MaaS.
“As a train driver, I worked in rural areas with many old people facing mobility challenges,” says Hidaka, who drove trains on the 575-km Tohoku Main Line and other JR East lines before becoming CEO of MaaS Tech Japan. “I became convinced that the rapidly aging society is not a problem that one company alone can solve.”
MaaS Tech Japan is a data integrator collaborating with transportation players to provide mobility solutions. It works with private companies and local governments including the prefectures of Tokyo and Hiroshima as well as Kamishihoro Town, Hokkaido and Kaga City, Ishikawa. It combines various kinds of data related to hundreds of providers such as rail and taxi operators, and conducts simulations on passenger flows to show clients how their transportation needs can best be served.
For instance, it has cooperated with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to suggest ways of easing congestion on mass transit systems to mitigate spread of the coronavirus. It has also proposed ways in which Kaga City can use mobility solutions to help elderly people get around and to help tourists discover lesser-known attractions such as its hot springs. Aside from local governments, MaaS Tech Japan is partnering with the state-backed New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Microsoft Japan, Tokio Marine Nichido and other players eager to promote MaaS.
The startup is also looking to incorporate MaaS solutions involving autonomous vehicles, energy savings and smart cities.
“Aside from the challenges of aging populations and coronavirus, we want to help tackle climate change and the need to decarbonize the economy because this is all part of the smart city,” says Hidaka. “We want to work with businesses, consumers and governments because collaboration is the key to a solution for mobility. We aim to make a strong contribution in this area.”
Note: All Japanese names in this article are given in the traditional Japanese order, with surname first.
To learn more about MaaS Tech Japan, click here (website in Japanese).
To learn more about MaaS policy by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, click here (website in Japanese).
Japan is changing. The country is at the forefront of demographic change that is expected to affect countries around the world. Japan regards this not as an onus but as a bonus for growth. To overcome this challenge, industry, academia and government have been moving forward to produce powerful and innovative solutions. The ongoing economic policy program known as Abenomics is helping give rise to new ecosystems for startups, in addition to open innovation and business partnerships. The Japan Voice series explores this new landscape of challenge and opportunity through interviews with Japanese and expatriate innovators who are powering a revitalized economy. For more information on the Japanese Government innovations and technologies, please visit https://www.japan.go.jp/technology/.
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In front of a dual-computer workstation at his home in San Diego, computational chemist Andy Jennings uses X-ray diffraction and 3D molecular-modeling software to build a crystal structure of the virus that causes COVID-19. Simulating the reactions between different molecules and proteins, Jennings tests multiple compounds until he finds one that completely binds to the structure’s surface, inhibiting the protease, and stopping the COVID-19 virus from replicating.
Jennings has spent decades helping top pharmaceutical companies do this kind of modeling. In the case of COVID-19, researchers are exploring whether new or existing “small molecule” drugs can disrupt the virus and then stop or slow the disease’s progression.
But such work requires massive computing power. Whether it’s simulating a drug molecule of 20 atoms with quantum mechanics to learn how electrons behave, or assessing multiple molecules made up of 2 million atoms, these tasks could take weeks using a cluster of traditional on-premises high-performance computers. Throw in a simulation of a drug molecule’s reaction to different proteins, and that could take several months.
“These things require enormous calculations,” Jennings says, adding that, “not even big pharmaceutical companies can justify buying an on-premises cluster big enough to speed through a few bursts, because for the better part of the year, that cluster just sits idle.”
In 2018, Jennings began using the animation rendering platform GridMarkets to run molecular simulations, rendering complex molecular models in less than 24 hours.
We don’t own or maintain any hardware, and we’re paying 70% less to spin up an instance on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure than we did running workloads on Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud.
GridMarkets serves more than computational chemists like Jennings. Its customers also include animators and visual effects artists—anyone who needs a simple, fast, affordable, and secure way to render animations or simulate mathematical models in the cloud. Cofounded in 2011 by serial entrepreneur Mark Ross, GridMarkets is part of the Oracle for Startups program that supports growing young companies, and it runs the GridMarkets platform on high-performance servers located in Oracle Cloud data centers around the world. “With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, there’s no need to queue requests or schedule renderings. Our customers can access an unlimited number of machines whenever they need them, without having to pay for unused capacity when they don’t,” Ross says.
One of the things Jennings likes most about GridMarkets is that “I can select how many machines I want to run my simulations, and then hit go,” Jennings says. In a matter of seconds, GridMarkets configures the software and compute resources, encrypts the data, and when the job’s finished, the machine shuts down, so there are no lingering costs. “None of this ties up local resources, I don’t have to be sitting behind a company’s firewall, and I can do it from home on a laptop,” he says.
Such pay-for-use capacity is also how GridMarkets keeps its own costs low. “We don’t own or maintain any hardware, and we’re paying 70% less to spin up an instance on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure than we did running workloads on Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud,” Ross says.
Using cloud-based resources also means that people can access this high-performance computing from any location. That helps freelance professionals such as Jennings. And as COVID-19 forced college campuses to close, that anywhere-access proved a savior for animation students trying to finish their final projects.
Return to Render
Dallin Jones is a student animator who was just about to finish his senior year project when Brigham Young University closed its campus due to the coronavirus. “We’d been working on a 6-minute film for the last year and a half, had finished lighting most of the shots, and just started to render when the school shut down,” Jones recalls. His on-site team dwindled from 18 students to just 6 as people headed for home, and the school limited access to its animation lab. “I didn’t think we’d be able to render the film before the June 1 deadline,” he says.
In an animated film, getting each shot right requires lots of physics equations—to accurately show how sand drifts across a beach, or how a building catches fire and explodes. “The art, science, physics, math, and computer programming, which animators must do to build every rock, sand particle, and structure, takes an enormous amount of time, so the students are under pressure to compress production from months to hours,” says Seth Holladay, associate professor of animation at Brigham Young University.
Since January of this year, Jones and his team had been working on Salt, a 6-minute film about a young Senegalese girl and her mother working in the salt flats of Cap-Vert. Intricate details, such as golden sunlight bouncing off ebony skin tones, dancing through textured hair, and rippling over water washing onto a salted beach took the better part of the year for Jones’ team. But just as the students were about to hit the “render button,” the COVID-19 pandemic forced the school to close.
“The technical resources and computer availability scaled back a lot,” Holladay says. “That’s when we moved the project over to GridMarkets.”
Compared with running on BYU’s computers, the project gained a major speed boost from using GridMarkets on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Before the shutdown, Jones and two other students began rendering their film in the on-campus computer lab, which took four to five hours to complete a single shot. “We were running our servers at maximum capacity, but still weren’t going to finish rendering the film on time,” Jones says. With GridMarkets, “we were able to quickly upload all of our additional shots to the GridMarkets console, and in about 90 minutes, the renderings were complete.”
Some 1,300 miles southeast of BYU, Texas A&M University senior animation student Emmalie Hall was developing a 30-second ad for her final project in March. “Our team just finished building all of our scenes, formatting the files, and transferring them to our rendering platform when the school shut down,” Hall says.
With just two weeks left to render the ad, and no access to the school’s computer lab, the animation associate department head Barbara Klein told her class about GridMarkets.
Unlike the serial rendering process of the school’s on-campus server pipeline, “GridMarkets provides us with an unlimited number of nodes running simultaneously in the cloud, reducing our total rendering time from 6 to 10 days to just hours,” Klein says.
GridMarkets can run hundreds of virtual machines at once. “The big difference between Oracle and its competitors is that Oracle’s VMs have more memory, more compute, and are more responsive,” Ross says. “It’s just a much better value for us and our customers.”
As of March 17, there are over 180.000 people infected worldwide by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which can cause the coronavirus respiratory disease COVID-19. Recently the WHO named the outbreak a pandemic and now globally cases are rising sharply, outstripping the Chinese cases. As the outbreak of the disease is reaching a high number of countries all over the world, the general public awareness and scientific interest are also on the rise. Currently, the virus virulence, how it is transmitted between humans and the possible treatments of the disease are being actively studied. As there is already a lot of information available, we have here gathered the known information on the molecular organization and structure of the virus, thus creating a dynamic and scientific accurate 3D animation of SARS-CoV-2! We hope you like it! If so, please support our work by subscribing to our channel and visit our website focused on 3D animations of diverse biological processes: http://visual.biolution.net. Thank you!