The coffee chain is funding Brightloom to develop a new end-to-end customer experience platform for the restaurant industry
If you have a superior experience while out for an evening meal or grabbing a morning cup of coffee, you may have Starbucks to thank for it. The coffee giant is caffeinating Brightloom, a startup based in San Francisco and Seattle, to develop a new customer experience platform for the restaurant industry.
The Lowdown: Brightloom, formerly eatsa, is one of a growing number of companies racing into the customer experience management technology segment. Starbucks will license some of its existing technology to Brightloom, as well as take a seat on the company’s board.
The Details: The company will combine its existing customer experience technology with Starbucks’ “Digital Flywheel” software, a platform that enables the strategy for increasing in-store sales through personalization and rewards programs. With Starbucks’ support, Brightloom aims to create a new cloud-based customer experience platform that will enable restaurants to attract and retain customers.
Brightloom and Starbucks plan to offer the new customer experience offerings through Starbucks global licensing partners. In time, the company will open the portfolio to third-party restaurants through an independent distribution channel. Starbucks will continue to develop its Digital Flywheel technology, as well.
The Impact: Customer experience management is fast becoming a critical component of the go-to-market strategies of B2B and B2C companies. Supply-side vendors recognize that customer experience is essential to retain customers – particularly those consuming products such as cloud services through recurring revenue models.
Background: The investment in Brightloom is part of Starbucks’ ongoing strategy of investing in innovative technology startups that support and enhance the value of retailers and restaurants. In March, Starbucks announced the formation of a $100 million fund managed by Valor Equity Partners. Valor is looking to raise another $300 million to augment the Starbucks’ initiative.
Starbucks’ interest in technology development isn’t surprising given the background of CEO Kevin Johnson, the former head of sales at Microsoft and former CEO of Juniper Networks.
“We’re delighted to partner with Brightloom and drive a broad innovation agenda that extends relevant customer experiences from brick-and-mortar to a digital-mobile customer connection,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. “At Starbucks, we have experienced first-hand the power that comes through digital customer connections that are relevant to the customer. The results we’ve seen in customer loyalty and frequency within our digital ecosystem speak for themselves, and we’re excited to apply these innovations toward an industry solution that elevates the customer experience across the restaurant industry.”
Channelnomics Point of View: Equating a coffee chain’s investment in a technology startup may seem like an outlier event. However, as noted in the Related Links below, customer experience knows no bounds in the rapidly evolving digital economy. The Starbucks investment and venture fund show that all companies — regardless of their industry — are technology companies and the headwaters of new channels. Additionally, customer experience is rapidly becoming the new metric of success in commercial and consumer channels. Starbucks and Brightloom is another example of these two trends.
Users of the respective services will tap directly into cloud-based data to enable machine learning and artificial intelligence
Cloud storage specialist Snowflake and analytics provider Tellius are partnering to transform inert data residing in public and private clouds into productive, intelligence-yielding analytics. The two companies will enable users to tap directly into cloud-based data warehouses to power and scale machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).
The Lowdown: The integration between the two companies will enable partners and customers to access large stores of cloud-based data for accelerated analytics to feed business intelligence, ML and AL applications. The intent is to make better use of data store in cloud-based data warehouses in one or multiple cloud services.
The Details: Other analytics and storage vendors enable access to cloud-based resources for data collection, normalization and analytics. The difference in the Snowflake and Tellius collaboration is speed. The two companies say users can use their applications at scale without compromising performance.
“With our partners at Snowflake, we are delivering cloud-native data analytics to accelerate business impact from AI and machine learning,” said Ajay Khanna, Founder and CEO of Tellius. “Business users and data professionals can now focus on deriving insights across their multiple data sources and enterprise applications and on taking action based on automated recommendations without compromising on analytics performance.”
“Our customers need cutting-edge analytics to get meaningful insights to their critical data questions,” said Hardik Chheda, Head of Product at Tellius. “With our integration with Snowflake, they can now build modern business intelligence and predictive analytics applications at scale.”
Diana.io’s new ‘Lunar Registry’ promises to sort out who owns what up there once and for all
Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, South Korean firm Diana.io has launched a project to register ownership of that cold-hearted orb that rules the night. And it uses blockchain because of course it does.
The Lowdown: The company is promoting a ‘Lunar Registry’, with an associated decentralized app service that can mark the land of the moon and, theoretically at least, begin trading it tomorrow, July 20, 2019. The Diana project’s stated goal is to “clearly define the possible rights of mankind to the moon, given the increased possibility of ownership disputes, through collective registration.”
The Details: If Dogecoin isn’t doing it for you any longer and you need to get hunks of moon into to your blockchain-powered portfolio, here’s the Diana details you need to know. The Moon Registration System 1.0 works like this:
1. The moon is divided into cells of the same size by applying a Goldberg polyhedron algorithm.
2. All cells are hexagons to ensure they are the same size. There are 3,874,204,892 cells in total.
3. The moon has both visible and invisible sides when seen from earth. In an affront to Pink Floyd fans everywhere, the registration areas are limited to the visible side.
4. The total number of visible cells is 2 billion. Therefore, Diana’s issue volume is limited to 2 billion as well.
Depending on the issuance volume section, registration fees will differ, the company says. As issuance volume increases, registration fees also increases so initial registrants receive more profit.
The Impact: Yes, they have a referral program that pays 10 points, so this is a legitimate channel story, thanks for asking.
Background: Diana officials say crypto-moon-coin is necessary because competition for ownership of the Moon certain countries and companies is increasingly fierce, despite UN Treaty that designates earth’s nightlight as “as a common heritage of mankind that no country can own.”
For example, in 2015, the United States enacted the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA), which encourages private space development, and in 2017 Luxembourg passed a bill allowing ownership of resources mined in outer space by private companies.
The Buzz: “The Diana project will be a great opportunity for the moon to be a daily interest,” said Jason Goo, a self-described architect and anarchist who serves as Diana’s chief of wanting you to buy some moon.
Leverages LTE IoT solution to help feedlots monitor cattle health and behavior more effectively
Quantified Ag, which delivers a smart ear tag system for monitoring and managing cattle health, was experiencing some issues with inconsistent, unmanageable wired broadband. Thanks to an LTE solution from Cradlepoint, U.S. feedlots now have easy access to the data they need, wherever and whenever they need it.
The Lowdown: The Cradlepoint solution offers reliable connectivity for actionable IoT analytics, easy deployment for instant connectivity, and remote network management for simplified troubleshooting – all through a single nationwide Internet provider.
The Details: Serving dozens of cattle companies across the United States, Quantified Ag’s animal-health Web platform gathers behavior and biometric data from cattle ear tags and sends that information via LoRa WAN to computers that aggregate it at feedlot locations.
Feedlot managers can then view the data on a Web dashboard to identify animals that require medical care and to improve the speed and effectiveness of treatment. The goal is to keep livestock companies connected to cloud-based IoT data 24/7.
>Unreliable or unavailable wired connectivity when the wired Internet connection fails or is inefficient, which is all too common in rural areas
>Complex deployment and ISP management, which became an issue as Quantified Ag expended its services across the country and was working with discrete regional ISPs at each feedlot
>Troubleshooting on-site network problems by sending members of Quantified Ag’s small, centrally located team to multiple distributed sites to address hardware and network connectivity issues
Quantified Ag selected Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for IoT, which provides constant connectivity and enables customers to monitor cattle health remotely on feedlots all over the United States. NetCloud Service includes edge computing, SD-Perimeter technology for device-to-cloud security, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting, all delivered via an IoT router with embedded LTE and around-the-clock support.
Cradlepoint’s solution provides a number of benefits to Quantified Ag and its customers:
>A single nationwide Internet provider across Quantified Ag’s entire IoT footprint
>Easy deployment of service and purpose-built hardware, allowing for instant connectivity
>Integrated IoT security with Cradlepoint’s all-in-one routers, which feature a built-in firewall
>Reliable connectivity to the cloud via advanced cellular (LTE), regardless of a feedlot’s wired options, for actionable IoT analytics
>Remote network management via Cradlepoint’s single-pane-of-glass platform for fast, simplified troubleshooting
>Single dashboard with IoT data and WAN analytics Into a Single Dashboard
The Buzz: “The challenges associated with managing wired ISPs were a huge pain point for us. Cradlepoint’s ability to leverage advanced cellular connectivity for our widely distributed IoT devices solved this problem,” said Alex Heine director of customer experience at Quantified Ag. “Deploying Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service has been incredibly painless. It’s a plug-and-play experience at each feedlot.”
Communications service company expands product portfolio, global market coverage through acquisition
Through the acquisition of Singapore-based Wavecell, a specialist in Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS), 8×8 is expanding its product portfolio beyond its core Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) .
The Lowdown: The $125 million acquisition of the 9-year-old company gives 8×8 expanded capabilities in cloud-based communications and API-based services. Wavecell’s platform includes capabilities for providing extensible communications services, including SMS, messaging, voice, and video APIs for enterprises and developers.
The Details: Wavecell is a growing developer of CPaaS, which provides solution providers, developers, and businesses with the capability to create a variety of different communications channels, including application-to-person messaging, tools for supporting omnichannel customer journeys, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) to communications resources.
The Impact: Via the acquisition, 8×8 will offer its partners and customers a full communications service platform that includes CPaaS, UCaaS, and Call Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS). Additionally, Wavecell will help 8×8 expand its global market presence and sales capacity, particularly in Southeast Asia. According to IDC, the CPaaS market will reach nearly $11 billion by 2022.
The Buzz: “The market opportunity in CPaaS is growing rapidly, and this acquisition enables us to quickly provide these services to our customers around the world,” said Vik Verma, CEO of 8×8. “8×8 is now the only cloud provider that owns the full, global-scale, cloud-native technology stack offering voice, video, messaging, and contact center delivered both as prepackaged applications and as enterprise-class APIs. We’re excited to welcome the Wavecell employees to the 8×8 family. We now have a significant market presence in Asia and expect to continue to expand in the region and globally in order to meet evolving customer requirements.”
“We are delighted to become part of 8×8, one of the world’s leading cloud communications platforms. Now is the right time to leverage the global expansion of UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS services to better serve our customers’ growing demand for communication services and to continually drive greater innovation,” said Olivier Gerhardt, CEO and co-founder of Wavecell.
Improvements to SaaS-based PIM/PAM portfolio address remote vendors, temp admin credentials
CyberArk, maker of software-as-a-service tools for privileged identity and access management (PIM/PAM), this week introduced enhancements that provide better security controls for managing remote vendors and admins that need temporary, on-demand credential elevation for system support activities.
The Lowdown: Like most PIM/PAM solutions, the CyberArk offerings aim to reduce the risks associated with powerful, admin-level credentials while also reducing friction for the privileged users who need such high-level system access to do their jobs.
The Details: Details of the improvements to CyberArk’s SaaS-based solution include:
CyberArk Alero manages and simplifies remote access for vendors connecting to the CyberArk Privileged Access Security Solution. the offering combines Zero Trust access, biometric authentication and just-in-time provisioning without no requirement for VPNs, agents or passwords.
CyberArk Endpoint Privilege Manager provides just-in-time elevation and access to controls admin-level access to Windows and Mac endpoints on-demand for a specific period of time with a full audit log and the ability to revoke access as necessary. Endpoint Privilege Manager works across cloud and on-premises environments, in data centers and on all endpoints.
The Buzz: “Privileged access security is foundational to effective cybersecurity programs. As our customers increasingly operate in SaaS and cloud-first environments, it’s critical for CyberArk to build upon our deep knowledge and understanding of the attack surface and deliver innovative security solutions that are built specifically for hybrid environments,” said Udi Mokady, chairman and CEO at CyberArk. “By delivering advanced, easy-to-deploy SaaS solutions, CyberArk is the security partner of choice for modern enterprises.”
Aims to remove channel sales friction
Announcing three new features of its Sales Cloud-based partner relationship management (PRM) solution today, Salesforce delivers insights and visibility to vendors’ channel partners.
The Lowdown: Sources at Salesforce say the PRM platform improvements will allow partners to drive more growth and work more closely with their vendors.
The Details: The new features of Sales Cloud PRM:
• Einstein Analytics for Partners: Allows partners to identify and prioritize leads using AI-driven insights and actionable recommendations to close deals
• Quip for Salesforce: Enables channel partners to work with vendors in real time, bringing more visibility to channel sales activities and allowing all parties to align on business objectives, co-selling, and more
• Self-Service Reports: Lets partners explore, segment, and filter reports rather than relying on static reports from vendors
Background: According to CSO Insights, more than 90% of companies rely on partners to generate a portion of their revenue. At the same time, 84% struggle to get visibility into those partners’ sales pipelines, and 73% of partners say they struggle with vendors that aren’t easy to do business with because of their overly complex partner programs.
The Buzz: “All too often, despite 92% of companies relying on partners to bring in at least a portion of their revenue, educating and empowering their channel partners falls to the bottom of the to-do list for many sales leaders,” wrote Adi Kuruganti, senior vice president and general manager of Community Cloud at Salesforce, in a blog. “It pays to treat them like they’re part of your organization and empower them with the same tools and sales materials as your internal sales teams.”
“Salesforce PRM has helped us build stronger connections with our partners. They now have a one-stop shop where they can get all the information they need,” said Meg Brennan, senior director of Global Channel Operations at Riverbed Technology. “We know this is working because our traffic has increased tenfold and we’re adding more users than ever before.”
Aternity will focus on the growing demand for measuring the impact of digital transformation
As companies continue to invest in digital transformation initiatives, they’re having difficulties in measuring the impact on internal operations and customer experience. Riverbed, a vendor that built its chops on network and application performance management, is forming a new division to help companies measure the results of their investments through digital experience management (DEM).
The Lowdown: The new Riverbed division, Aternity, will field cloud-based applications for measuring digital transformation impact on customers through end user experience monitoring (EUEM) and internal operational improvements through application performance management (APM). Through the two applications segments, Aternity will give chief digital officers (CDOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) with end-to-end visibility into infrastructure operations, performance and customer experience.
The Details: Aternity’s EUEM and APM applications cover the spectrum of applications and infrastructure, providing analytics and intelligence for traditional on-premises applications, cloud and hybrid applications and resources, and mobile applications. The Aternity are cloud-based and sold exclusively through a recurring subscription model.
The Impact: Customer experience management is a big and growing market opportunity as businesses look to reap more from the $6 trillion being invested in digital transformation over the next several years. Riverbed says it’s targeting a total addressable market for Aternity and digital experience management is $10 billion – 50% of the company’s market.
Background: Riverbed acquired Aternity in 2016 to complement its lines of application acceleration, cloud migration and acceleration, network performance management, and software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) product lines. By separating Aternity into a separate, autonomous division, Riverbed will have greater flexibility in developing the DEM business. Riverbed says Aternity grew 100% in 2018 on sales of subscription-based cloud applications.
“Riverbed has two very strong and unique market opportunities around our Digital Networking and Digital Experience Management (DEM) platforms. Today, we’re creating the right structure to drive greater focus and deeper expertise for each of these businesses, which will greatly benefit our customers and partners, while enabling Riverbed to fully capitalize and grow in both of these markets,” said Paul Mountford, CEO, Riverbed.
“CIOs and their teams recognize that a great digital experience increases customer loyalty, brand equity, and revenues,” said Stephen Elliot, Program Vice President, IDC. “Organizing a business unit solely focused on Digital Experience Management is a smart, customer-centric business strategy; user experience and application performance monitoring remain top executive investments that are enabling a tighter customer relationship.”
New device discovery and monitoring wares target large industrial environments
Industrial security specialist Claroty on Wednesday introduced enhancements to its flagship Continuous Threat Detection (CTD) offering that aim to improve the way enterprises discover and monitor Internet of Things (IoT) devices in industrial settings.
The Lowdown: The updated CTD version 3.5 extends Claroty’s deep packet inspection technology across both IoT and operational technology (OT) devices. The solution automatically discovers IoT devices on the network and classifies each based on static and behavioral attributes. It then identifies known vulnerabilities and other risks associated with those assets and continuously monitors the environment for threats and policy violations.
The Details: Other enhancements in CTD 3.5 include:
Machine learning alert algorithm – Optimizes signal-to-noise ratio by correlating all events on the network with online patterns and communication behaviors, prioritizing alerts worthy of investigation.
Root cause analytics – Contextual data and visualization tools illustrate the chain of events that triggered an alarm to help improve the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of incident response and threat hunting.
Claroty Threat Intelligence – Curated, multi-source feeds to enrich CTD’s analytics with proprietary research of zero-day vulnerabilities and IoT- and OT-specific indicators of compromises linked to threat actors’ tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Virtual Zones+ – Automatically groups network assets with similar behaviors and attributes. Once grouped, CTD identifies relationships between logical groups and auto-generates granular communication policies. The policies assign permission levels to each zone, along with a specific level of trust.
Expanded technical ecosystem – CTD now integrates with the Aruba ClearPass network access control platform and Fortinet’s Fortigate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs).
The Impact: The company also announced it has joined the Industrial Internet Consortium, an advocacy group that promotes the adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies. As a consortium member, Claroty said it will assist the organization’s effort to drive a common security framework and a rigorous methodology to assess security in IIOT environments.
Background: Founded in 2014 and remaining in stealth mode in late 2016, Claroty last year won $60 million in Series B funding. Investors include Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, and Siemens.
The Buzz: “Claroty’s natural expansion into the IoT space enables us to empower customers with an unparalleled breadth and depth of visibility across their networked OT and IoT environments,” said Amir Zilberstein, CEO of Claroty. “Leveraging our comprehensive IoT-OT platform, customers can now embrace digital transformation initiatives with a higher level of confidence than ever before.”
“With the number of connected IoT devices in a manufacturing facility, cybersecurity has become as important to industrial companies as worker safety and productivity,” said Richard Soley, executive director of the Industrial Internet Consortium. “We look forward to the contributions Claroty will make in cybersecurity as a member of the (consortium) as we work together to establish a secure IIoT.”
Enhancements promise to reduce operational cost and complexity while reducing risk
Symantec this week added several new cloud access control features to its Integrated Cyber Defense Platform that let security pros enforce consistent Zero Trust policies for users accessing SaaS applications, corporate applications in IaaS environments, cloud-based e-mail, and the Internet.
The Lowdown: In addition to access controls, the solution provides visibility and content scanning for enforcing consistent data loss prevention (DLP) policies on information being sent to cloud and Web destinations, and threat inspection for content downloads.
Additional integrations with Symantec VIP for multi-factor authentication and Symantec Web Isolation add enhanced threat prevention to further extend the solution.
The Details: Specifics on the new capabilities, announced Monday, include:
>SaaS Application Security – Symantec’s patent-pending CloudSOC Mirror Gateway uses Web isolation capabilities to deliver Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) controls for unmanaged devices for most modern SaaS applications. New integrations in Symantec’s CloudSOC CASB Gateway allow for granular policy controls throughout a cloud session based on adaptive multi-factor authentication powered by MFA technology provided by Okta.
>IaaS Application Security – Based on Zero Trust technology Symantec acquired when it bought Luminate in February, includes content inspections on uploads and downloads for enforcing strict DLP policies as well as antivirus and sandboxing technologies for threat prevention. The service also adds MFA capabilities.
>Web and Internet Security – New integrations and device support in Symantec’s Web Security Service support Secure Access Cloud for sharing of Web sessions and authenticated user information. The service also adds support for Windows 10 and Chromebook devices.
>E-mail Security – Adds isolation of suspicious e-mail attachments to existing embedded link isolation capability to insulate users from e-mail threats such as phishing, ransomware, and account takeover.
The Buzz: “Traditional network perimeters are dissolving as cloud technologies change the way we work. Symantec understands the need for a Zero Trust approach, which reduces emphasis on perimeter-based security and focuses on providing the right secure access to employees regardless of location or device,” said Art Gilliland, executive vice president and general manager of enterprise products at Symantec. “Symantec has a powerful cloud and Internet security portfolio, and we continue to innovate and integrate to help our customers improve security in the evolving landscape, all while reducing cost and complexity.”