Here it is folks! The weekly round-up is here.
Instead of chocolate for Easter, here’s a little data joke that the digital transformers out there will appreciate from the folks over at Dilbert.
Rue21, Gymboree and Claire’s
Another set of bankruptcies is plaguing the retail news this week.
Gymboree, the children’s clothing store has begun preparing the chapter 11 bankruptcy filing ahead of a scheduled June 1 interest payment, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.The brand is the latest in a run that has fallen victim to dwindling foot traffic.
Rue21 and Claire’s are not far behind, unfortunately. Rue 21 has missed payments and looks set to file for bankruptcy soon. Claire’s reported a 5% fall in Q4 earnings. As the company continues to close stores, many predict Claire’s will be forced out of business.
It’s not all doom and gloom in retail though. Birchbox, the beauty subscription startup has reported that after record customer acquisition in December and significant growth in Q1, the company is now profitable. Now boasting 1 million subscribers globally and 4 million customers total, the company is open a second store in Paris to match its flagship store in New York.
That’s not all.
Birchbox has just launched its first television commercial to target a large audience.
Amazon Alexa is getting an update this week. In a partnership with the makers of Zyrtec, the allergy medicine, Alexa will be able to provide an “AllergyCast” report. Pulling weather, pollen and other environmental data from across 40,000 zip codes around the United States, will provide people with an idea of how their allergies might affect them. Users can also track their “allergy impact score” over time in an effort to understand what environmental trigger sets off their own symptoms.
MERCK AND AMAZON
Merck and Amazon Web Services have launched a contest for developers to channel artificial intelligence for Type 2 diabetes, MobiHealthNews reports. Luminary Labs are powering the content known as the “Alexa Diabetes Challenge”. The initiative aims to spur the creation of mobile apps using Amazon’s Alexa voice-enabled technology for patients with Type 2 diabetes.
DUFF & PHELPS
The financial advisory firm Duff & Phelps announced this week that its witnessed firms investing in cyber preparedness, in an extensive effort to combat hacking and other digital attacks.
The survey of nearly 200 senior financial services professionals included the following highlights:
- 86% of financial services firms intend to increase the time and resources they spend on cyber security in the next year. This contrasts with 2016 when less than 60% said they planned to spend more resources and time on cyber security planning and initiatives.
- 31% of respondents expect cyber security to be the top priority for regulators this year – a 63% increase over 2016 when just 19% of respondents held this view.
- 21% of respondents believe that Anti-Money Laundering and “Know Your Customer” considerations – which are increasingly converging with cyber security and technology – will be a top regulatory focus.
ENTERPRISE & SECURITY
WINDOWS 10 CREATORS UPDATE
At last, the Windows 10 Creators Update is here. According to a Microsoft blog, the update includes enhancements to the visual layer, improvements to ink, Bluetooth upgrades and more powerful APIs for Surface Dial.
Symantec researchers have identified around 40 cyber attacks launched by hacking group “Longhorn”, using information exposed in the Vault 7 WikiLeaks. Around 8,700 documents were taken from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence and included the documentation used by “Longhorn” in the latest series of attacks.
Hacking has been in the news a lot recently, and according to Progressive Grocer, Grocery firms are vulnerable to attack with approximately 1,000 cases of data breaches reported in 2016.
Box is leveraging Amazon Alexa to improve workplace efficiency. Employees can now use the platform to find, book and interact with conference room facilities, according to Paul Chapman, CIO of Box. Box employees can now book and manage meetings digitally.
CIO Dive reported this week that the trade association representing leading tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, declared “vigorous support” this week for maintaining net neutrality, according to a published letter to the secretary of the Federal Communications Commission. The Internet Association met this week with the FCC to discuss Chairman Ajit Pai’s agenda toward the Obama-era rule.
Wendy’s is gaining plenty of social media attention thanks to 1 twitter user’s quest for a year’s supply of chicken nuggets. With close to 3 million retweets, #NUGGSFORCARTER is not only putting Wendy’s on top on Twitter, but it’s also getting unprecedented media coverage, receiving a mention on the Ellen Show.
Oprah has arrived on Amazon’s Alexa. “O to Go” and has Winfrey reading 90 snippets from her book “What I Know for Sure,” though users can only listen to one per day.
Digital marketing spend has now topped the charts, becoming the channel with the highest marketing investment. This provides further evidence that companies not thinking digitally will no longer be competitive.
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