Businesses Use Cases for the Apple Watch

–Can the Apple Watch prove to be beneficial for businesses?

Ever since Apple showcased its plan to step into the wearable technology market using its Watch, thought leaders have been speculating on its potential applications in driving business growth.

There is no question that the Watch will be embraced with open arms by customers as technology enthusiasts are sure to adopt the latest and fashionable wearable technologies. According to BI Intelligence, Apple’s Watch is anticipated to capture almost half of the smartwatch market by 2017.

The question though, is that how excited are businesses by the Watch? Is there a soft spot for wearable technology in the hearts of CIOs and CEOs? Can the Watch offer new ways of driving business value to corporations?

After all, Google Glass received its fair share of praise for helping the airlines industry improve customer service by infusing data with everyday tasks. The rising emphasis of the Internet of things (IoT) is quickly materializing into a network of physical components and technologies, and the pressure on I&O leaders to extend their department’s BYOD policy could involve the large-scale adoption of wearable technologies such as the Watch.

Proliferation of Business Apps

What really made the iPhone stand out were the diverse applications covering a range of categories, from productivity apps to entertainment, business to health and fitness. The Watch will not be missing out on these as companies race to develop apps for the wearable technology platform.

There are various apps which consumers are anxiously waiting to download on their Apple Watch; but notable among those which can potentially catch the attention of the business folk include: Salesforce, which lets you have access to your company analytical tools via the cloud, Slack, that allows you to chat with your co-workers, and BetterWatch, that can allow HR and department managers to track and assess the goals of their employees.

More importantly, Windows’ launch of its own PowerPoint and OneDrive apps for the Watch signal the importance and relevance of the gadget for businesses.

How can the Watch help businesses

There are a number of ways that the Watch can be of relevance to corporations with regard to growth. Aside from apps that could be argued to provide only a limited use for businesses, the Watch could be eyed as an important business opportunity in the following ways:

Secure mobile payments

Corporations have enough to worry about what with the escalating rise of cyber security threats in the form of phishing and DDoS attacks, and cloud computing, despite being widely adopted, being subject to serious security risks. SMBs which are keen to attain the benefits of cost-effective, large data storage face high threats.

This is why the Watch’s Apple Pay system, a recent development by Apple that lets users have safe and secure transactions can provide better ways to protect corporate identity. Employees of an organization can safely manage its banking operations via Apple Pay, for example.

Increased employee productivity

As mentioned earlier, the requirement to extend the BYOD policy in an effort to further workforce productivity can be realized using the Apple Watch. Wearable technology, after all, is one of the foremost trends affecting workforce enablement. Worker autonomy is usually limited in corporations that inhibit productivity and growth.

Corporations can instead utilize innovative ways of letting employees use their Watch to have access to data and communication in a far more convenient way. Apps such as Slack can be used to foster greater departmental cohesion in order to drive productivity and growth.

Bottom line

Corporations need innovative ways of using wearable technology to further their ends and achieve a competitive edge over rivals. The extent to which Apple’s Watch can benefit businesses depends on how creatively CIO and I&O leaders craft strategies that make effective use of such technologies.


Major Software Bug Could Affect Your Business


A vulnerability discovered in some Linux and Apple operating systems could put your business’s computers at risk. The bug was found in a software component called Bash, which is part of many instances of these operating systems. Once exploited, this vulnerability could be used by hackers to gain access to your individual systems.

About Shellshock

Going by the name Shellshock, the bug is found in Bash, a shell command line tool in Unix-based systems. Hackers have been able to remotely control users’ systems, with reports stating that exploits are currently under development to take advantage of the open access to so many systems. These exploits will allow hackers to gain user passwords and install DDoS bots.

While Windows-based PCs aren’t among the list of affected devices, businesses should be concerned about their servers, since many servers use Apache. Apache contains the Bash component. In total, experts estimate 500 million machines could be vulnerable to Shellshock.

What Can You Do?

If your machines are behind a firewall, you already have a major protection in place. Apple has assured its users that the vast majority are safe from the vulnerability, since OS X systems are safeguarded by default. Those users who have configured advanced UNIX servers may be vulnerable, however. Apple is working on a patch to safeguard those systems.

Experts are concerned that as users rush to patch affected systems, hackers will make the most of the short window of opportunity to wreak havoc on systems. The most vulnerable systems are likely those servers and applications that are running Bash without administrators being aware of it. For that reason, server administrators must take the extra effort to protect their servers.

Vendor Patches

The first thing a business can do is check with its vendors to see if a patch is available for their products. In the instances where data is stored with a third-party cloud service, businesses should be proactive in ensuring their data and devices are safe from attack. If you’d like to check to see if your computer is running Bash, this article should help.

As more information becomes available about Shellshock, businesses will be equipped to deal with the issues. For small businesses, turning server operations over to a highly-experienced cloud services provider can be a great way to ensure your systems are safe whenever vulnerabilities like Shellshock emerge. Because applications are often built by vendors, however, many businesses are often left uncertain about what technology their systems is actually running when news about vulnerabilities like this one emerges.

How to: Learn from Apple’s tax mess

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, was summoned before the US Congress to testify about his company’s tax practices. The American government is particularly interested in the fact that Apple has $105 billion in foreign accounts and only $43 billion in US coffers.

Keeping their money in low-tax havens like Ireland has saved Apple billion in taxes. But what does that mean for you? Well, you could follow suite in this age of globalization. There should be a disclaimer that we’re IT experts, not tax advisers.

However, there are a growing number of companies and law firms that specialize in creating offshore subsidiaries for smaller businesses. While overseas, your money is tax deferred, meaning you don’t pay taxes on it until you retrieve it. Such capital is either held or written off the books to be invested overseas.

Investing if overseas allows companies to buy inventory the sell it wherever they want. The question should then turn to: Is it legal? Maybe. For now, it shall remain firmly in the grey area.

How To: Managing your social media with your Mac

When you first start off you’ll want OS X to be working in favor.  Go to the Apple Menu, that’s the symbol in the upper left corner shaped like an apple.  Under System Preferences, click on Mail, Contacts & Calendars.  From there, you can add various e-mails and social media accounts.  Now every time there’s an update your Mac will make a ding and alert you.

That’s freebie.  However, more advance social media efforts require either a dedicated social media employee or a few products.

If you want to manage your LinkedIn, Google+, more all at once then HootSuite might be for you.   There’s a free version that allows you to do things like auto-publish posts. Basically, the service allows you to interact with all your social media accounts all at once from one screen.  Further, if you want to pay $10 a month you can get tracking statistics, learning tools, and vanity URLs just for you.

Should you crave something a little more exclusive to Macs, then you may want to check out Alfred.  Alfred is a way to launch apps without lifting your hands from the keyboard.  It’s a more comprehensive version of Spotlight.  Theme, codify, and exemplify your work flow.  Alfred is a tool that lets you hit hard, hit quick, and hit often without spending a lot of time.

Social media in a nut shell is the ability for one person to connect to a lot of people in various spheres.  In business it serves a dual purpose of maintaining customers and attracting new ones.  The easier it is for you to do that, the quicker you can return to getting down to business.

An Apple Sale

Apple was once known as a price-leader in the tech industry.  It commanded seep prices for all of its products.

However, in recent quarters, the tech giant has slashed the prices on some of its most iconic devices.  This time around, it’s the 13-inch Macbook  with Retina Display is getting  a $200 slash.  That will bring down its price tag to $1,499.  The 256GB version will also be dropped down, to $1,699.

The 15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display is not going to receive a price adjustment.  Instead, the lower end model will get a faster 2.4 GHz processor.

This definitely a response to a less-than-stellar last quarter performance.  Then, Apple had about a 22% drop in sales.

The rule of thumb is that a drop in price will equal an increase in sales, especially for a company with as much brand recognition as Apple.  However, Apple has proved itself as a prestige product in which it’s high price helps its appeal.  I guess only time will tell if this move will help Apple’s dwindling sales.

A Paradox: Apple’s Time Machine Showing a Few Faults

There is nothing worse than losing data, not even a flat tire or paper cut between your toes.  There are a variety of ways to keep your data from being swallowed by the ether.  One such way, that is touted by Apple is Time Machine.

It works by taking an image of a hard drive, copying every file except for select root directories and itself.  Then it transfers the image to an external hard drive, such as the brand specific Time Capsule.  After the initial image is taken, every hour Time Machine takes more hard drive images.  To save time, it compares the new image to the old one and only keeps files that are different, i.e changes you’ve made in the last hour.

However, like with their new, but defunct, mapping application Apple’s new Time Machine is showing faults.  One such fault may be a sign of a bigger problem.  The blog Mac’s Performance Guide has report on Time Machine not backing up partitioned drives.  Evidence suggests that when a drive is unmounted, mission critical files can be excluded from Time Machine’s backup list.

Why is this important?  Well, although one can argue that Mac’s have a lot user friendly features, no one can argue that there’s a plethora of software made with them in mind.  This causes individuals to partition their drives with Bootcamp, software that allows another operating system to be live on your Mac.

The fact is that if you want a well optimized office, you need your Macs to have Windows on them.  It is well known that the Mac’s versions of the Office are inferior to those of the Windows’.  However, this bug could mean none of the Microsoft Word documents and spreadsheets are being backed up.

If you really are feeling antsy, I’d suggest that you backup all your critical files to the cloud. Find out more here.

Is Apple’s iPad mini good for business?

At a starting price of $329, Apple’s new iPad Mini should be looked at if you are preparing to deploy tablets to your workers. It’s price places it at 35% cheaper than its full sized brethren and 50% lighter too. Still, the 329 price mark is higher than the $250 (half price) that most people were expecting.

Google’s Nexus 7 is an attractive rival, especially at its starting mark of $199.  At that price, it has several edges over the iPad Mini.  Hardware wise it has greater pixel density for a sharper screen and a quad core processor to power it all.  Software wise, the Nexus 7 has turn-by-turn directions.

However, if you have the money, Apple offers some interesting functionality.  The iPad Mini has a rear facing camera and access to a significantly larger library of apps.  For a $130 premium, the little iPad can get 4G cellular connectivity.

Looking over the available data, we would have to say that the iPad Mini has limited appeal.  It would be ideal for the office that has already embraced Apple products.  The iPad Mini has excellent cross compatibility and sharing capabilities with products that share its logo. If you are planning on distributing tablets there are less expensive options out there.  Click here to learn deploying Apple products.

A Few Things to Expect From Jelly Bean 4.1

Jelly Bean sounds like a delicious candy, it is, but it’s also the code name for the Android operating system.  Jelly Bean 4.1 is rumored to come out some time in November and will boast quite a few new features.  If you’re an Android smartphone user you should pay attention.

On the most basic level, the operating system will support a quad-core chip set.  This means vastly improved performances.  Also on the hardware front, 4.1 will support USB audio docks for even more versatility.

Accessibility has also been improved.  Now, a smartphone running off 4.1 will have the ability to be controlled completely by gesture and voice commands.  The new Jelly Bean will even support BrailleBack and TalkBack to aid the visually impaired.

For those of us who can see, Java 8 and a smoother HTML 5 will be implemented.  Your browser will also have media capture for selected inputs.

There are plenty more supposed improvements that Jelly Bean 4.1 will have.  However, whether or not they are actually useful or just frills is yet to be proven.  We’ll just have to wait and see.


5 Rumors About the iPhone 5

Riding the cusp of their victory over Samsung, a torrent of rumors has come out about Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5.  But like always, Apple is tight lipped about specific details.  So, in lieu of actual data, let’s speculate.  Here are five rumors about the iPhone 5 to mull over.  None of these things have been confirmed yet, and can’t be until an announcement is made September 12th.

  1. It will be taller.

Supposed leaked photos show that the iPhone 5 will be longer than its previous versions.  The dimensions appear closer to those of Samsung’s Galaxy III.  Interesting, since by the time the iPhone 5 comes out those may be off the US market.

     2.  It will have an NFC chip.

An NFC, or near field communication technology will allow iPhone 5’s to transfer data between each other through radio transmissions.  No need to use up your data plan to send your buddy that home movie you just shot (though that will probably take ages since NFC has about a 425 Kbit/sec transfer rate).

3.  LG will make the 4inch LCD screen

LG’s in-cell multitouch technology will remove the need for glass making the device lighter.

4.  It will support Verizon’s LTE.

Being LTE enabled will allow to Apple’s iPhone to reach millions of more people as Verizon has a larger consumer base than AT&T.

5.  10 Million Units will be sold in September.

Analyst Gene Munster predicts that Apple will move upwards of 28 million units.  At a probable starting price of around $499, that could mean $13,972,000,000 of revenue for Apple.

What the Apple Patent Infringement Case Means to You

Apple, with its cadre of lawyers, has defeated Samsung’s cadre of lawyers in a massive patent infringement law suit.  What does that mean to you?

Well, the victory opens up a sales injunction avenue to Apple.  This means Apple with have the courts order Samsung to stop selling products that violate their patents.  The injunction will probably include all of Samsung’s smartphones: Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 AT&T, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge and Galaxy Prevail.  On the software front, many companies have already started to move away from the pinch-to-zoom feature and many other multitouch features, least they incur Apple’s wrath.

Although the lawsuit gives Apple a billion dollars in damages, they may not have achieved their ultimate goal of weakening the Android operating system.  Because Android is essentially open source, it greatly reduces the cost of working with it, drawing in developers.  If Apple keeps up the pressure, Google may be forced to close off and license its operating system.  That might stifle app creation.

All-in-all, your favorite smartphone might not be around next year.  What’s even more interesting is that the courts in Japan struck down Apple’s lawsuit. Samsung still has a chance to appeal.  It’ll all come down to if they can win.