Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday January 7 announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Parature, a leading provider of cloud-based social and customer retention software for more than 70 million end users worldwide. The acquisition will surely help Microsoft boost their Microsoft Dynamics vision focused at helping organizations deliver the best customer experience.
“Customers are more connected and better informed than ever before. Organizations are looking for business solutions that can strengthen their ability to connect with customers on their own terms, using whatever device and whatever channel they prefer”, said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “Parature is a perfect fit for every business and will enable us to offer customers one of the best cloud-based solutions for customer self-service. This is a compelling combination for organizations committed to delivering the best service experience that consistently exceeds their customers’ expectations.”
At the beginning of last year Amazon purchased LoveFilm, a European film subscription service, and then followed up by acquiring Pushbutton, a company that specialize in designing and building user interfaces. Amazon have now announced plans to combine the two UK-based media companies and their teams, and create a new international center for digital media development near Silicon Roundabout in central London, England.
Amazon might be a US firm with it’s headquarters in Seattle, but they still say London was the obvious choice for their new digital media development center. According to Amazon, Great Britain has led the way in pioneering on-demand services, which allow users to rent films and television over the Internet. It’s also worth noting that both LoveFilm and Pushbutton were founded in London.
Cisco Systems yesterday announced in a blog post by Hilton Romanski, vice president of corporate development at Cisco, that they have acquired the privately held company Virtuata, based in Milpitas, Calif. Virtuata develops new and innovative methods for securing virtual machine level information in data centers and cloud environments. According to the announcement, this acquisition will enable Cisco Systems to provide a consistent and enhanced security for virtual machines, and allow administrators to accelerate the deployment of multi-tenant, multi-hypervisor cloud infrastructures.
Virtuata was founded in October 2010 by Joe Epstein, a former engineer at Oracle, and Peter Danzig, that has among other things been an instructor at Stanford University, and a professor at the University of Southern California. Epstein held the role as CEO for Virtuata, and Danzig held the position as chief strategy officer.
Yesterday Dell and Quest Software announced they have entered into an agreement for Dell to acquire Quest Software. Dell recently announced the formation of the Dell Software Group, intended to build upon the company’s existing software expertise, but at the same time add to Dell’s enterprise solutions capability. Adding Quest, an award-winning IT management software provider, might just be the perfect thing to help Dell accehive it’s goal to accelerate strategic growth, and increasing the current solutions portfolio with Dell-owned intellectual property.
Under the terms of the agreement, approved by the board of directors of both companies, Dell will pay $28 per share in cash for each share of Quest for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $2.4 billion, net of Quest’s cash and debt. The transaction is expected to close in Q3, subject to customary conditions and Quest shareholder approval.
This week, technology leaders AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek and Texas Instruments came together to form the HSA Foundation, a non-profit consortium established to promote the broad and open industry adoption of HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture). The purpose is to define and promote an open standards-based approach to heterogeneous computing. Providing a common hardware specification and broad support ecosystem will make it easier for software developers to create innovative applications that can take greater advantage of today’s modern processors.
The new collaboration was announced at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS), and the new independent consortium is open to any and all computing industry professionals with an interest in driving the next era in computing performance and energy efficiency to join. The HSA Foundation plan to deliver robust development solutions for heterogeneous computing, to drive innovative content and applications with developer tools, software developer kits (SDKs), libraries, documentation, training, support and more.
NEC Corporation announced on May 22, a new image recognition service for smartphones and mobile terminals that will become available in Japan at the beginning of June. The new service can provide detailed information on a wide range of subjects that appear in photos taken with mobile devices, including everything from food to automobiles.
According to NEC, the system provides high speed, highly accurate image recognition services. It utilizes NEC‘s internally developed image recognition technologies, and original NEC technologies that compress image data and reduce the amount of calculations required for an application. This makes it possible for the system to effectively operate on even the limited computing resources of mobile terminals.
Yesterday Fujitsu Laboratories Limited announced that it has developed new high-speed technology for thin clients that will improve responsiveness by as much as ten times. This development should lead to faster user operations, even in low-quality network environments, and when using a mobile connection.
Working in a cloud-based virtual desktop environment, system responsiveness has conventionally been poor. This is most evident when client terminals access the virtual desktop environment to use video or graphics-heavy applications. The current limitations can make it difficult to use these types of applications, and sometimes even out right impossible if the network infrastructure is not up to par. Using Fujitsu Laboratories new high-speed thin-client technology response times can be lowered by up to 90%. This makes it possible to develop new thin client applications, such as international video-based employee training, remote operation of internal applications that can be connected via tablets even using a mobile connection overseas.
Facebook have just announced that they are buying Instagram. Mark Zuckerberg posted the announcement on his Facebook page, and Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram soon after wrote his own post on the Instagram blog trying to reassure concerned fans of the service. “It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience”, he wrote.
What this will mean for the Instagram services to to early to tell. It could possibly be like with Facebook‘s deal with Spotify earlier, that forces new users of the music service to have an Facebook account to be able to subscribe or join. This might put some people off from using Instagram in the future, just like it did Spotify fans in the beginning, but then again it could be benificial for both Facebook and Instagram users in the end.
When Nokia released their Lumia devices, a feature that now is almost getting standard on other devices, was missing. The ability to share pictures, video and music to other network connected multimedia devices via DNLA. In the beginning of summer last year, Nokia brought DNLA support to some of their Symbian devices like the Nokia N8 via an application called Play To. Recently the Nokia N9 running MeeGo also got DNLA support trough the PR1.2 update.
Now the Play To application is coming for the Lumia devices as well. Still in early Beta for now, but it shows a promising start. With Play To you can share your photos and videos from your Nokia Lumia phone to your DNLA-capable devices over your WLAN network. This could be a DNLA supporting big screen TV,or maybe your Windows 7 laptop and desktop. Currently there is no support for sharing music, but this is something that will be added according to the developers at Nokia Beta Labs.
DOCOMO is about to launch an on-demand translator-phone service, showing their increasing ability to deliver high value services though cloud solutions. Through this unique mobile cloud service, a customer will simply speak into their phone, and in the other end the receiver will hear the message interpreted promptly into the language of their choice.
Trials have shown that the average processing time takes just about two seconds, fast enough for a reasonably natural conversation under most circumstances. This will in theory make it possible for two people to have a conversation without really understanding each other’s language. DOCOMO and some 400 monitors are currently testing the service in Japan now through March 2012, and tourist facilities, retail companies and hospitals are also participating. The trial system, which interprets Japanese and English, has about 90 percent accuracy in understanding what users say in Japanese. Accuracy for English is currently at about 80 percent.