2K has announced that it has inaugurated 2K Foundations, a program aimed at refurbishing basketball courts and helping kids with STEM education in underserved communities across the U.S.
The foundation will renovate 12 basketball courts starting in cities like Cincinnati (check out the trailer from the Cincinnati event below), Baltimore, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Cleveland the first year.
2K Foundations is also upgrading technology at community centers to enable STEM education programs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), including a partnership with Microsoft to provide Xbox One stations and other equipment.
Cisco today said it has teamed with SAP to make it easier for customers to manage high volumes of data from multi-cloud and distributed data center resources.
The companies announced that Cisco’s Container Platform will work with SAP’s Data Hub to integrate large data sets that may be in public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services, Hadoop, Microsoft or Google, and integrate them with private cloud or enterprise apps such as SAP S/4 HANA.
Cisco introduced its Kubernetes-based Container Platform in January and said it allows for self-service deployment and management of container clusters. SAP rolled out the Data Hub about a year ago, saying it provides visibility, orchestration and access to a broad range of data systems and assets while enabling the fast creation of powerful, organization-spanning data pipelines.
Mojang and Microsoft are running a cat contest in Minecraft. Basically, it’s a chance for one lucky player to have their very own feline added to the game. Here’s how the competition came about:
Our excellent pixel artist, Jasper Boestra, has already designed loads of cute-tacular new cat skins that are coming to the game. But he was too lazy/untalented to make the final one. So that’s where YOU come in!
Microsoft, SAP and Adobe today announced a new partnership: the Open Data Initiative. This alliance, which is a clear attack against Salesforce, aims to create a single data model for consumer data that is then portable between platforms. That, the companies argue, will provide more transparency and privacy controls for consumers, but the core idea here is to make it easier for enterprises to move their customers’ data around.
That data could be standard CRM data, but also information about purchase behavior and other information about customers. Right now, moving that data between platforms is often hard, given that there’s no standard way for structuring it. That’s holding back what these companies can do with their data, of course, and in this age of machine learning, data is everything.
“We want this to be an open framework”, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during his keynote at the company’s annual Ignite conference. “We are very excited about the potential here about what truly putting customers in control of their own data for our entire industry,” he added.
The exact details of how this is meant to work are a bit vague right now, though. Unsurprisingly, Adobe plans to use this model for its Customer Experience Platform, while Microsoft will build it into its Dynamics 365 CRM service and SAP will support it on its Hana database platform and CRM platforms, too. Underneath all of this is a single data model and then, of course, Microsoft Azure — at least on the Microsoft side.
“Adobe, Microsoft and SAP are partnering to reimagine the customer experience management category,” said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. “Together we will give enterprises the ability to harness and action massive volumes of customer data to deliver personalized, real-time customer experiences at scale.”
Together, these three companies have the footprint to challenge Salesforce’s hold on the CRM market and create a new standard. SAP, especially, has put a lot of emphasis on the CRM market lately and while that’s growing fast, it’s still far behind Salesforce.
It’s no coincidence that less than one week after Google announced Project Stream, Microsoft has broken cover with more details on its own streaming platform, dubbed Project xCloud. The core idea behind both platforms is the same – and very familiar to longer term readers of this site. Rather than buy a console and play games on it, titles are hosted on the cloud instead. The user has a basic client device that beams input commands over the internet, with video and audio streamed back. The concept is simple – Netflix for games – but the application is somewhat more challenging. Prior attempts at getting this to work have fallen flat but Microsoft, Google – and other unannounced players – reckon that the time is right for the technology to work.
Microsoft’s announcement trailer shows key first party Xbox franchises – Forza, Gears of War and Halo – running on tablets and smartphones. These are low-power devices incapable of running games of this complexity but what they do have in common is the inclusion of hardware-accelerated video decoding – and along with internet access, that’s all that’s needed for this concept to work. All the game code is hosted on servers within the datacentre, and the Microsoft reveal video tells us that the platform holder has built bespoke hardware for xCloud, based on a stripped down, rebuilt version of the Xbox One S console.
On the face of it, it might not sound as if there’s too much new going on here. After all, PlayStation Now is built on the same principle of stock console hardware refactored into blade servers, hosted in datacentres. However, Microsoft is making specific claims in its video which could represent a fundamental improvement over the Sony offering in terms of image quality – and especially latency.
It’s a pretty serious issue, and one Microsoft hasn’t said much about, though it’s been widely reported on Reddit and support forums, according to The Verge.
“We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating,” the company wrote on a support site.
It’s not clear how long the current “pause” will be in effect, but the company notes it will provide an update when the software is ready (and hopefully bug free). In the meantime, Microsoft advises anyone who has manually downloaded the update, but hasn’t yet installed it, to wait until the next update becomes available before installing. As for the unlucky people who have already lost files due to the update, Microsoft is suggesting they call the company’s customer support. Read more…
A new survey was released this week showing that just 66% of businesses are advertising online.
At the same time, 89% of consumers, the survey from The Manifest says, are online. It sounds like a lot of businesses are missing the mark. After all, they should be advertising where consumers are most, right?
Small Business Advertising Online
My guest for This Week in Small Business this week disagrees. Jeff Brathwaite says businesses may not be paying for advertising online but that doesn’t mean they’re not promoting.
“There are so many more [businesses] that are using other means of advertising,” Jeff says during this week’s conversation. “They’re not paying for it, per se. They’re doing more things like social media … things that don’t give them a cost on their advertising budgets. Advertising budgets are shrinking considerably.”
Check out our whole discussion on this subject as we dissect this and my other favorite articles from Small Business Trends this week.
Don’t miss the rest of the week in small business news in our news roundup below.
More Than Half of Small Business Owners Expect Revenue Growth, TD Bank Reports
Optimism is high among small business owners, with revenue and staff growth on the mind of many in the U.S. This was one of the findings of TD Bank’s annual Small Business Survey, which found 53% of small businesses planned to grow in 2018, up from 46% in 2017. The number of small business owners planning to recruit more staff increased from 9% to 22% in the same year.
Job Descriptions Become Longer, More Detailed as Competition for Employees Tightens
The record low unemployment rate and the tight job market are making small businesses reassess many of their hiring practices. According to ZipRecruiter, this includes providing more details in their job descriptions for help wanted ads. ZipRecruiter analyzed the data for 4.5 million posts from early 2016 to 2018 to figure out how the rate of unemployment affected job descriptions.
Trump Era Forces Brands to Examine Core Values, Expert Says
Today, good business is about more than great products, services, and outstanding customer care. It’s about learning how to navigate through all the new and fast moving risks to your brand. Small Business Trends spoke with Fortune 500 Chief Marketing Officer Peter Horst MBA about these potential marketing bombshells in what’s been refereed to as the Trump Era for business.
Small Business Operations
Quick Base Adds Kanban Reports to Improve Automation for Small Businesses
In a move to simplify process automation, Quick Base has just announced it is bringing Kanban Reports to its no-code development platform. By integrating the Kanban system into the Quick Base platform, the company looks to give business professionals the ability to manage processes and projects more effectively across teams and the entire organization.
10 Ways to Keep Your Team Busy When Slack is Down
On August 16, Slack experienced connectivity issues in the middle of the working day, with certain features not working. The messaging app services was down for some time until Slack resolved the problem. Slack’s outage followed similar software outage failures this year.
Men Are 14% More Financially Secure About Running a Small Business Than Women, Survey Says
Running your own small business is rewarding, but it comes with many challenges. A new survey commissioned by Progressive Insurance looks at the role gender and age play in this segment, revealing some distinct differences. The survey revealed men are more financially secure about running a small business, by a 14% margin of 84% to 70%.
Local Businesses Beware! Atlanta and Denver Among the Most Cyber Infected Cities
If your small business is located in Atlanta, Orlando or Denver, beware! A new report has identified these cities as the top three with the highest malware infection in the US during the first six months of 2018.
Latest Logitech Mouse will be Easier on Small Business Owners who Live on Their Computers
Logitech (NASDAQ: LOGI) has released a new ergonomic mouse intended for small business owners and others who spend a lot of time in front of the computer. The MX Vertical is scientifically designed to reduce forearm strain and wrist pressure without compromising on performance.
Microsoft Details Windows Phone 8.1 Phase Out? Here’s What Small Business Users MUST Know
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has announced it will be ending support for Windows 8.1 and now it has done the same for new apps in the Microsoft Store. Microsoft first announced plans to end support for Windows Phone’s operating system back in July 2017 so users — including small businesses — have had some warning. The platforms in question are for Windows Phone 8.
What Does Your State’s Laws Require of your Business Following a Data Breach? (INFOGRAPHIC)
If you fall victim to a cyber-attack in the United States, do you know each state has different laws when it comes to a data breach? The Definitive Guide to US State Data Breach Laws from Digital Guardian is a comprehensive report of what you can expect from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in the event of a cyber-attack.
Talla’s Intelligent Knowledge Base 2.0 Answers Customer Questions with Machine Learning
There’s a new AI tool for small business that automates chatbots and blends that innovation together with machine learning to help employees and customers find the updated information they need quickly. Boston-based Talla recently released it’s Intelligent Knowledge Base 2.0.
Just 65% of Companies Have a Cybersecurity Expert on Staff, Survey Says
When it comes to cybersecurity, many businesses aren’t as prepared as they should be. A survey conducted by Gartner (NYSE: IT) revealed although 95% of CIOs expect cyber threats to increase in the coming years, only 65% have a cybersecurity expert on staff.