Skip to Content

Data Sheet—Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. AMD is putting the brakes on tablet chip development until it handles out-of-control expenses. Workday delivered an upside surprise with its third-quarter earnings report. Plus, if your team is evaluating wearable technologies, here are three ethical and security implications to consider.

Share Data Sheet with every person you know who has an interest in the business of technology. They can sign up here. I’m constantly evolving what I include (and don’t include) in this newsletter. Please send your feedback and coverage suggestions to the “tips” box.

TRENDING

AMD downplays tablet technology. Taking its lead from Intel’s money-losing mobile chip strategy, AMD’s ongoing reorganization plays up traditional strengths in high-performance graphics and cost-effective personal computer technology. It will be at least another year before AMD’s next tablet chip is released. Computerworld

Workday beats expectations. Momentum behind the software company’s financial management offerings is building—it reached $215 million in total sales for Q3 fiscal 2015. Subscription revenue was up 75% in the quarter, and the company is scoring wins at bigger companies—including Hewlett-Packard, Rolls-Royce, and Unilever. For its fourth quarter, Workday anticipates $219 million to $222 million in total revenue. ZDNet

Microsoft sues IRS. It wants to know why the agency is paying more than $2 million to audit five years of the software company’s returns from 2004 to 2009. The focus apparently is how the company accounted for sales between subsidiaries. Reuters

Can I try another size? Upscale retailer Nordstorm is teaming with eBay to test full-length interactive mirrors in Seattle and San Jose stores. Macy’s is piloting a similar concept, using Apple iPad tablets. Fortune

RESEARCH & PREDICTIONS

Now see this. More than one-third of all U.S. adults (about 50 million) now use their smartphones for video calls. More intriguing, but not surprising: the adoption rate is more than 50% among those aged 18 to 24. Gartner

STARTUPS & DISRUPTORS

Cloud analytics and reporting for CFOs. Host Analytics has raised $25 million in Series E funding led by Centerview Capital Technology, with proceeds going toward product development, organic U.S. growth and international expansion. That brings total funding to $77 million. Customer include Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, GoPro and Tesla Motors. TechCrunch

POLICY & STRATEGY

3 workplace wearable worries

Despite all the tongue wagging over Google co-founder Sergey Brin occasionally choosing to doff his Google Glass(es) in public, I bet it would be tough to find a big business that isn’t studying the technology, especially for applications in field service, manufacturing and logistics.

After all, there could be roughly 130 million devices around our wrists or on our bodies by then. Wearables adoption could rival that of tablet computers. Why not use them to corporate advantage?

The answer to that question isn’t solely tied to how quickly these gadgets mature.

As with other emerging technologies, the pace of adoption will be gated just as much by human resources and corporate security policies as by how quickly features become available. I debated the ethical considerations with Mike Heembrock, vice president and executive specialist with Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. “This is new territory in many cases,” he said.

Heembrock’s team is studying how wearables could impact everything from worker’s compensation claims to data breach policy coverage. “You have to weigh the potential for misuse against the value of the initiative,” he said.

Most applications Chubb is studying are still conceptual, but Heembrock cites real evidence of how the technology could help with safety: some real estate companies are starting to supply gadgets to agents who are showing property by themselves, so they can “call” for help if they’re attacked.

Sounds logical and beneficial, but should wearing that device be required or voluntary? The answer makes a difference to both employee and employer. Here are three primary questions to consider:

  1. How will data collected by these devices be accounted for under the company’s data management and protection policy? That includes how to limit network access for gadgets that aren’t in compliance, much as a company might shut out tablet computers or smartphones—especially outside traditional business hours.
  2. How reliable are the “signals”? This is especially true if a device is being used for worker safety or healthy purposes, such as detecting toxic chemicals or overexposure to ultraviolet light, the company has to be able to trust the data. Right now, however, there isn’t a third-testing organization handling this task. “It’s the duty of the employer to do due diligence, to make sure the technology delivers in terms of accuracy and consistency,” Heembrock said.
  3. Does the potential for distraction outweigh safety benefits? Adding an extra layer of intelligence to environments where workers already wear eyewear or glasses for safety certainly makes sense. But requiring a solar installer or construction worker to wear them on a rooftop presents a very real training obligation for the employer. In that sort of environment, “always on” could be dangerous. “There is an appropriate time, an appropriate way to use everything,” Heembrock said.

How is your company dealing with wearable ethics and security? Send feedback to datasheet@heatherclancy.com.

MY FORTUNE.COM BOOKMARKS

A most baffling resignation: Why did United Technologies’ stalwart CEO step down? By Shawn Tully

For commercial drones, the biggest questions remain unanswered By Clay Dillow

Oops! Twitter exec’s errant message makes acquisition aspirations public By Verne Kopytoff

This woman-led startup is turning flight delays into cash By Brittany Shoot

A smart home is where the heart is for Best Buy By Phil Wahba

Don’t overstate investor power at Uber By Dan Primack

FOR YOUR INNER TECHNOPHILE

New prescription for eye-tracking “mouse.” The second generation of Samsung’s EYECAN technology, which lets disabled individuals navigate a computer interface by using eye gestures, dispenses with the glasses that were originally required. The Verge

ONE MORE THING

Charge your phone in seconds. That’s the promise from Israeli startup StoreDot, which has raised $48 million in two rounds of funding. You’ll have to wait until at least 2016 to get your hands on it. Reuters

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

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

IBM Interconnect 2015: Cloud and mobile strategy. (Feb. 22 – 26, 2015; Las Vegas)

Microsoft Convergence 2015: Dynamics solutions. (March 16 – 19, 2015; Atlanta)

Knowledge15: Automate enterprise IT services. (April 19-24, 2015; Las Vegas)

MicrosoftIgnite: Enterprise tech extravangaza. (May 4 – 8, 2015; Chicago)

SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7, 2015; Orlando, Fla.)

VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)