Data Sheet—Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 10, 2014, 12:29 PM UTC
Fortune

Good morning. Apple’s a mobile payment provider (at least if your shopping universe is limited to places like McDonald’s or Bloomingdale’s). Visa’s got your cybersecurity needs covered. Intel’s designing bracelets and ear buds alongside silicon. Microsoft may buy your kid’s favorite virtual blocks game. (But that’s a story for another day.) Which brings me to Wednesday’s central question: will wearables work, at work? Read on, Data Sheet readers!

TRENDING

Are we ready to give up credit cards? Sure, you may personally covet an Apple Watch, but the introduction of Apple Pay (which you need iPhone 6 to use) is the real game-changer in a world weary of cyber break-ins, pilfered account numbers and misplaced identities. Yes, mobile payments are crowded, but as transactions of this sort become second nature, the rules of commerce will blur.

Intel looks very busy to me. Wearables are a big part of its latest stump speeches. Then again, so are plans to conquer the Internet of things and the connected world at large. To do both of those things, the tech giant arming itself (and you) with a new development platform, called Edison, to create practical and meaningful applications. Oh, and don't forget, it's got plenty of options in store for tablets, "2-in-1" PCs and servers.

CLOUD CHATTER

VMware cooks up recipe with Chef. The mission of the collaboration is to ease management of workloads across hybrid cloud operations that combine vCloud Air with virtualized data centers. Sounds tasty, no?

Former Red Hat CTO adds Google to resume. It wasn't official when I wrote this (unless you count LinkedIn updates), but looks like Linux, OpenStack and Docker guru Brian Stevens will now lead development on Compute Engine.

French connection. Plans for one of three new data centers Salesforce.com is establishing in Europe to assuage data privacy concerns are in place. Interxion is the service provider. Bonus: the facility is powered by renewable energy, so customers can win some green points.

Search across services? If you can't remember whether a document or something else you need RIGHT NOW is stashed in Box, Gmail, Salesforce or Google Drive, Xendo helps find it.

STATS & SPECS

Buying into Bitcoin. So far the number of businesses taking the e-currency seriously is fairly limited. But now PayPal's Braintree division plans to support it, making it a whole lot easier for online merchants to accept it (provided they want to). Plus, Ethereum (technology for building Bitcoin into services) just ended a crowdfunding campaign with 300,000 bitcoin to back it (about $15 million).

Mayo's new prescription for clinic trials. It will apply IBM Watson's analytics capabilities toward finding the best patients for testing new treatments, which seems a much more life-affirming mission than playing Jeopardy.

Could this programming language become more important than Java or C#? Apple's Swift development approach accelerates mobile app creation, and it just became commercially available (but not "final"). Have at it.

STARTUPS & DISRUPTORS

From the iPhone to the Internet of things. Former Apple VP and engineer David Tupman just bought a 10% stake in Quantimetrica, which makes voice recognition software for controlling wearables, toys, mobile phones and other smart gadgets.

May the force be with you. Another Israeli cybersecurity firm has snagged funding. This time it's $10 million led by Battery Ventures for Light Cyber, which IDs malicious activity on internal networks.

How to make money by harvesting your data, by Cargill. The massive agricultural company is bundling crop-management secrets into a fee-based service it will sell to info-hungry farmers. Monsanto and DuPont already do something similar. Which begs the question, what data analytics would your existing customers be willing to pay for?

FAQ

I will absolutely not be the first person in line next year for a $350 Apple Watch, because frankly my wrist is too small. But I've been musing deeply about use cases for wearables.

Not the consumer aspect ($53.2 billion in sales by 2019, proclaims Juniper!). No, I'm puzzling over useful enterprise solutions, which are far better illustrated by relationships Salesforce is building with its Wear initiative than by what Apple is doing. At least right now.

These are developers (the likes of Epson, Google, Jawbone, Oculus, Philips and Samsung) working on ways to connect metrics and measurements collected via data-savvy glasses, watches, bracelets, wristbands and other devices with business apps. One example: a field technician wearing Glass could get remote coaching from someone back in the office viewing the video feed.

Other solutions use wearable biometrics for physical security access, like one combining the Randivoo visitor check-in system from Brivo Labs with a heart-monitoring wristband from Nymi. (It'll be shown off at Dreamforce next month.)

Here's how it works: walk up to the reception desk, and wave at the check-in kiosk to offer your credentials. Not only does it know you are you, it makes sure the person you're meeting is alerted and it notes the visit in the Salesforce contact record. "The whole workflow is automated," says Brivo general manager Lee Odess. And it could also be appropriate for collecting tickets at concert venues, checking into health clubs, you get the idea.

CIOs at big U.S. health insurance companies should also watch wearables closely for their disruptive potential—figuring out the best way to become a link between device-wearing patients and caregivers. "Whoever makes the right strategic calls today will get a head start in helping to establish industry standards and creating the underlying framework with which all stakeholders—insurers, providers, and patients—can collaborate," note three tech-strategy experts in a Fortune column published Tuesday.

How much does all this matter? Who's going to wear these things? Acuity Group's assessment of the market forecasts adoption at 22% of consumers by the end of 2015 and 43% over the next five years. That's pretty much the same saturation rate as smartphones, so plan accordingly.

ONE MORE THING ...

Time to switch tactics. With cybercrime rates soaring, beleaguered security professionals need to rethink the weapons they use. Rule one of fight club? Think like a geek, says HP's top enterprise security exec, Art Gilliland.

EVENTS

Open Data Center Alliance Forecast 2014: Cloud trends. (Sept. 22 – 24, San Francisco)

Oracle OpenWorld: Get a roadmap reality check. (Sept. 27 – Oct. 2, San Francisco)

Interop: Actionable solutions for IT headaches. (Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, New York)

Enterprise Security Summit: Challenges, trends and solutions. (Sept. 30, New York)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2014: Compare notes. (Oct. 5 – 9, Orlando, Fla.)

Splunk .conf2014. Glean intelligence from machine data. (Oct. 6 – 9, Las Vegas)

Dreamforce: 1,400 sessions about the largest cloud ecosystem. (Oct. 13-16, San Francisco)

Strata/Hadoop World: Big data tools and techniques. (Oct. 15 – 17, New York)

TBM Conference 2014: Manage the business of IT. (Oct. 28 – 30, Miami Beach)

SIMposium2014: CIOs as business leader. (Nov. 2 – 4, Denver)

AWS re:Invent: The latest about Amazon Web Services. (Nov. 11 – 14, Las Vegas)

Gartner Data Center Conference: Ideas for operations and management. (Dec. 2 – 5, Las Vegas)