Apple Reports Record Second Quarter Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 second quarter ended March 28. The company posted quarterly revenue of $58 billion and quarterly net profit of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $45.6 billion and net profit of $10.2 billion, or $1.66 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.8 percent compared to 39.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 69 percent of the quarter’s revenue. “We are thrilled by the continued strength of iPhone, Mac, and the App Store, which drove our best March quarter results ever,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re seeing a higher rate of people switching to iPhone than we’ve experienced in previous cycles, and we’re off to an exciting start to the June quarter with the launch of Apple Watch.”

Apple Expands Capital Return Program to $200 Billion

Apple today announced that its board of directors has authorized an increase of more than 50 percent to the company’s program to return capital to shareholders. Under the expanded program, Apple plans to utilize a cumulative total of $200 billion of cash by the end of March 2017. As part of the revised program, the board has increased its share repurchase authorization to $140 billion from the $90 billion level announced last year. In addition, the company expects to continue to net-share-settle vesting restricted stock units. The board has also approved an increase of 11 percent to the company’s quarterly dividend, and has declared a dividend of $0.52 per share, payable on May 14, 2015, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 11. “We believe Apple has a bright future ahead, and the unprecedented size of our capital return program reflects that strong confidence,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “While most of our program will focus on buying back shares, we know that the dividend is very important to many of our investors, so we’re raising it for the third time in less than three years.”

Verizon Shows Support for Nepal Earthquake Victims

As international aid agencies and NGOs gear up to help the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, claiming more than 3,000 lives, injuring more than 7,000, leaving many unaccounted for and razing entire communities, the Verizon Foundation is weighing in with contributions of its own. The second largest cellular service provider is waiving all fees for calls and multimedia texts between the U.S. and Nepal from April 25 until May 31 to show its support for customers who may have been affected—either directly or via loved ones in the region—by the devastating natural disaster.

In a bid to encourage its employees to donate money to the affected areas, Verizon will also match all employees’ donations to the American Red Cross and World Vision that meet or exceed $25. The cap on donation matching is set at $1,000. The program starts today and will extend through May 10.

Verizon will also be supporting text-to-donate programs. Current Verizon customers are encouraged to make a $10 donation, which will be added onto the next bill-cycle’s statement, for the American Red Cross or World Vision. Interested Verizon customers may text “NEPAL” to 777444 for World Vision donations, or “REDCROSS” to 9999 for The Red Cross donations.

Image via Shutterstock

Shortly after the earthquake, a massive avalanche on Mount Everest left more than one hundred people stranded on the mountain, many who are still awaiting rescue. Rescue efforts are still under way on all fronts, and organizations far and wide are accepting disaster relief donations. They include The Nepal Red Cross Society, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, ActionAid USA, ChildFund International, International Medical Corps, Real Medicine Foundation, UNICEF and so many more. Search Internet giant Google is also doing its part in the form of its People Finder Tool, another way to help loved ones search for and connect with one another as rescue operations continue in the region.

Restoration to physical infrastructure may take several years, and search and rescue operations will commence indefinitely. In the meantime, Verizon customers are encouraged to make a donation via text. Likewise, any postpaid (monthly billed) Verizon customer trying to connect with loved ones in the region, or vice versa, is implored to make use of free international calling as needed until the end of May.

"This is one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit Nepal in recent memory, and the need for support and relief is immediate and immense," said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon vice president of global corporate social responsibility and president of the Verizon Foundation. "With operations around the world, Verizon and its employees have a history of running to crises such as this one, and we're committed to helping citizens of Nepal and the neighboring region as they begin to recover and rebuild from this devastating natural disaster."

As the people of Nepal trundle along the broken road to recovery, any push that can be spared will be of help—even if that push has a $10 value, and comes in the form of hitting “send” on a mobile device.  

Edited by Maurice Nagle

The Vampire Energy Chronicle: Garlic Time

One thing about living in the IoT I never could stomach; all the damn vampires. Well, it’s time to start figuring out how to stop this vampire energy drain, or else the additional needs of the rapidly growing IoT is going to suck us all dry.

A recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report stated that $80 billion in electrical power is currently being wasted by M2M devices thanks to what’s known as “vampire power,” or lost energy drained when electronic devices are sitting in standby mode. The problem isn’t with the fact that the devices sit in standby most of the time, however. The trouble arises from how inefficient many of them are while in so-called low-power mode, which will become a serious drain on the power grid if improvements aren’t made, no matter how smart the grid gets.

Chip company Semitrex is addressing the vampire issue with a patented new technology that boasts a standby power level so low it’s more of a fruit bat than a blood sucker. The capacitor technology they’ve invented reaches the industry’s lowest standby power mode of half a milliwatt per hour.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) says the vampire load represents a $10 to $15 billion loss,” said Mike Freeman, CEO, Semitrex. “Forbes, meanwhile, recently wrote that the problem is about $80 billion worldwide.”

In part to deal with this problem, the DOE next year will issue Level Six energy efficiency standards, Freeman said, which will require that devices have a less than 49 Watts active load, be more than 80 percent efficient and drain less than 100 milliwatts on standby.

The problem, Freeman said, is that the current grid relies upon transformers and they use a large conversion ratio so each conversion results in a huge loss of free electrons. Instead, he’s developed a capacitor system that allows that energy to be captured at each of several smaller conversions. Then the captured energy can be used for reserves as batteries to power standby devices with very little waste.

This isn’t just for powering the IoT either, he said. “All of our power supplies are also communication devices so they can be controlled remotely,” he said. “This brings command and control functions down to the power supply level.”

And that’s a great way to kill some vampires. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Google to Deliver Keynote at WebRTC Conference & Expo Miami 2015

Norwalk, CT—April 27, 2015—TMC, Systemwide Media and PKE Consulting announced that Google Group Product Manager Serge Lachapelle will keynote WebRTC Conference & Expo, May 12-14, 2015, at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami, Florida. WebRTC Conference & Expo will bring together Web-Based Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) architects, enablers and users to learn about the latest WebRTC platforms and applications, implementation strategies and new technologies.

"The WebRTC Conference and Expo is a great opportunity for me to engage with developers using our platform,” noted Serge, Google Group Product Manager, “Looking forward to attending it again this year "

In his keynote, Serge will talk about Google’s WebRTC efforts and how the platform has progressed in the last 12 months and how long term investments in solving big problems are paying off.

Serge’s keynote presentation will take place on May 12 at 12:50PM. Serge will also be speaking on the special panel “Is There Money in Video?” on May 13 at 11:30AM.

“We are pleased to announce Google’s participation in the WebRTC Conference & Expo, and eager to learn from Serge’s valuable experience,” said Event Producer and TMC President Dave Rodriguez. “WebRTC Conference & Expo participants will get an inside look at how WebRTC is advancing.”

Registration is now open for WebRTC Conference & Expo. For more information please contact Frank Coppola at 203-852-6800 x131. For media inquiries, contact Jennifer Terentiuk. Companies interested in exhibiting, sponsoring or advertising packages for WebRTC Conference & Expo should contact TMC’s Dave Rodriguez at 203-852-6800 x146.

WebRTC Conference & Expo is sponsored by: Diamond Sponsor: forge by Acision; Platinum Sponsors: AT&T, Dialogic, Matrix, NetSapiens, Sansay, TokBox; Gold Sponsors: Frozen Mountain, Ingate, IQ Services, OnSIP, ooVoo Developers, Quobis; Silver Sponsor: Calltech, Comverse, Moxtra

For the latest WebRTC Conference & Expo news, updates and information, follow on Twitter at @webrtcexpo.               

About TMC
TMC is a global, integrated media company that supports clients' goals by building communities in print, online, and face to face. TMC publishes multiple magazines including Cloud Computing, IoT Evolution, Customer, and Internet Telephony. Webrtcworld is the leading source of news and articles for the communications and technology industries, and is read by 1.5 million unique visitors monthly. TMC produces a variety of trade events, including ITEXPO, the world's leading business technology event, as well as industry events: 2015 Connecticut Mobile Summit; Asterisk World; AstriCon; ChannelVision (CVx) Expo; DevCon5 - HTML5 & Mobile App Developer Conference; Drone Zone 360; IoT Evolution Conference & Expo; IoT Evolution Developers Conference; IoT Evolution Fog, Analytics & Data Conference; IoT Evolution Connected Transportation Conference; IoT Evolution Connected Home & Building Conference;  SmartVoice Conference; SIP Trunking, Unified Communications & WebRTC Seminars; Wearable Tech Conference & Expo featuring Fitness and Sports Wearable Technology (FAST) Expo; WebRTC Conference & Expo; and more. Visit TMC Events for additional information.

About PKE Consulting
PKE Consulting provides strategic consulting at the intersection of computing, networking, and communications.  The company's primary focus is on how the integration of information and interaction can create value transformation for organizations.  PKE Consulting services include organization planning for how to best utilize technologies for transformation.  PKE Consulting also works to assure that the underlying network infrastructure is capable of supporting the new services.  PKE Consulting provides services both to end user organizations and to vendors.

About Systemwide Media
Systemwide Media is an integrated marketing company with a core focus on future trends in technology. We service communities of interest with conferences, tradeshows, webinars, and newsletters and provide community websites with the latest information in our industries.

Media and Analyst Contact:       

Jennifer Terentiuk / jterentiuk@tmcnet.com
Marketing Director for Events
203-852-6800 x 125

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Virtualization Drives Enterprise Data Center Security Purchases


Virtualization Drives Enterprise Data Center Security Purchases

April 27, 2015

The headline for Infonetics Research’s 2015 Data Center Security Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey is “Virtualization Driving Enterprise Data Center Security Purchases, Budgets Growing 57 Percent.”  Interestingly, after years of security being a reason many enterprises were adverse to moving more and more of their mission critical assets to the cloud, one could almost state the reverse of the headline was also true. 

Enterprises that already have their own data centers have always been concerned about the physical safety of their servers, storage and networking equipment that reside within those hallowed grounds. Now, thanks to increased concern about the data itself and its security when it is at rest or on the move, having enough horsepower to assure virtual security is of huge interest.

With plans for even further virtualization, as data centers transform to be more agile, use less power per bit processed and become repositories of a whole lot more data, assuring a path for having optimized security during transformations in some sense could be viewed as a driver of/obstacle to virtualization.

Infonetics Research, now part of IHS Inc., conducted in-depth surveys with 137 medium and large businesses in North America that operate their own data centers. Yes, and not exactly a surprise but worthy of confirmation was the finding that 76 percent of respondents consider virtualization to be an important driver for purchasing new security solutions.

As the graphic from the report shows, the areas of concern now are getting to the heart of how enterprises operate, i.e., protecting the Web and email as major areas for virtualized security.

Source: Infonetics Research

“The battle for data center security domination is raging, particularly at the high end of the appliance market. 2014 brought major market share changes, and this will continue in 2015 as buyers jump ship to get the throughput, interfaces, connection performance, and detection and mitigation technologies they need,” said Jeff Wilson, research director for cybersecurity technology at Infonetics Research, now part of IHS.

“The somewhat isolated market for virtual appliances and virtualization-aware security solutions is merging with software-defined networking (SDN) in the data center, and this combination will lead to explosive market growth,” Wilson said.

A few highlights from the survey are of interest.  For example:

  • Respondents spent an average of $9.6 million on data center security solutions in 2014, with plans to grow spending 57 percent in 2016.
  • Cisco did very well across the board in respondent data center security solution supplier leadership ratings: its lowest score was higher than any other vendor’s highest score.
  • Strength in data center security buying criteria is primarily a function of overall brand strength, but there are some interesting peaks and valleys in vendor ratings by enterprises participating in the study:
    • Juniper jumps up for technology innovation and price
    • Palo Alto has a surprisingly high score for management relative to its overall brand awareness and strength

The report highlights and rates according to 10 criteria the top 11 vendors in the space (Arbor, Check Point, Cisco, F5 Networks, Fortinet, HP, Juniper, McAfee, Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro, VMware). It also covers data center security purchase drivers, deployments, interface speed and throughput requirements, and spending plans of the surveyed organizations.

Whether the need for speed and security and the availability of tools to assure both is likely to be an accelerant of virtualization for enterprises with their own data centers or vice versa as the research suggests may be a moot point. Realities are that securing all aspects of the data center, and particularly the data and all of the virtualized capabilities that enable it to be accessed and flow securely, have taken on incredible importance.  Look no further than the growing estimates of the costs of data breaches and other types of cyberattacks, and it is clear that as far as securing the data center is concerned the message about the need has been received and heard.  

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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Thomas Cook Moves Workforce Management to the Cloud with NICE WFM Solution

Thomas Cook Moves Workforce Management to the Cloud with NICE WFM Solution

April 27, 2015

Leisure travel group operator Thomas Cook has completed a significant migration to the cloud. The company has moved its on-premise NICE Workforce Management (WFM) solution to the cloud in the hopes of becoming more competitive and responsive to customers while also reducing ownership costs.

The company has been using the offering on premises for nine years, so the cloud migration was a logical progression for the U.K-based business. Thomas Cook is hoping the cloud model will enable flexibility and efficiencies, allowing the company to schedule agents more effectively throughout all of its retails stores and contact centers.

"Following many years of success with NICE's Workforce Management solution, we decided to move our operations to the cloud in order to accommodate our growing business needs, which includes a multi-channel service operation,” said Martin West, head of central operations support for Thomas Cook UK & Ireland. “This has also given us the opportunity to centralize our customer-facing operations, which will help us achieve greater operational efficiency, better service, and reduced costs."

With the NICE WFM solution moved to the cloud, Thomas Cook can now route calls to retail staff to better support its contact centers. By centrally managing the offering via the cloud, calls may be better matched to staff with the appropriate skills and knowledge based on individual customer queries.

Additional benefits of the cloud migration include real-time insight and visibility into service queues for better customer service management as well as staff management in terms of adherence to shifts and meeting customer service goals. Employees can also use scheduling tools to modify their own schedules, trade shifts and better communicate with other staff members and supervisors.

"With this cloud deployment, the company has a clear, organization-wide view into the forecasting and scheduling of staff, while at the same time retail personnel have ownership over their schedules,” said Benny Einhorn, president, NICE EMEA. “We're proud of our partnership with Thomas Cook which provides an excellent example of how a company can deliver outstanding customer service through employee engagement."

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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