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Data Sheet—Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Welcome to Wednesday, Data Sheet readers. Some choices to ponder over your coffee this morning. Top execs from Apple, LinkedIn and Microsoft made Time’s 100 Most Influential People List. The CEOs of Google and Facebook didn’t. Yahoo had another disappointing quarter, so Marissa Mayer is looking for more ways to appease investors. Europe wants a single digital market, which could spell trouble for Silicon Valley. Plus, what will people do with wearables on the job? Salesforce has some answers.

TOP OF MIND

Do you really “own” that smart thingamajig? You’ve heard the adage: “software rules the world.” When it comes to the Internet of things—cars, tractors, you name it—that philosophy is reshaping what ownership means.

Exhibit A: If you buy a tractor from John Deere or a car from General Motors, don’t mess with the software that runs it. Otherwise, you could be violating copyright law. Seriously. Here’s what one farmer (who is finding this out the hard way) told Wired, in a compelling feature about this dilemma: “The bad part is, my sense is, these companies are just locking up this technology, and increasing the sort of monopoly pricing structure that just doesn’t work for us.”

Maybe this is a case for open source.

TRENDING

Marissa Mayer spices up Yahoo’s earnings call. Did you know that her company’s long-term strategic vision is to become “the indispensable guide to digital information, yours and the world’s?” You probably missed that nugget amid her revelation that Yahoo Japan may be for sale. Here’s what else you need to know about a relatively disappointing quarter.

Digitizing the EU. The European Commission is preparing a sweeping new plan to create a “single digital market” that unifies disparate policies for everything from e-book sales and corporate tax rates to encryption and data privacy. Also central to the blueprint: more regulation that keeps the playing field level for all players, regardless of country origin. That could spell trouble for dominant U.S. companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Uber, and AirBnb.

Twitter’s troll takedown. CEO Dick Costolo is making good on his promise two months ago to address threats and harassment. Not only has the social network adopted a stricter policy against “violent threats,” it wrote software to automatically flag tweets that might be abusive.

‘Mobilegeddon’ is here, and relatively few Fortune 500 websites are ready for Google’s new search algorithm. That means those destinations won’t get priority with searchers using smartphones. Tablets are exempt. (I mentioned them in error yesterday.) Coincidentally, Google could be ready to roll out its new data-centric wireless service this week, reports The Wall Street Journal.

THE DOWNLOAD

What businesses really want out of wearable technologies: happier customers

Could smart watches make your sales teams or service agents more responsive to customer needs?

Many businesses taking a chance on wearable technologies believe the answer to that question is “Yes,” suggests a corporate adoption study conducted by Salesforce in the weeks leading up to the Apple Watch release.

More than one-third of the roughly 1,400 respondents already use wearable technologies on the job. A large majority (86%) plan to invest more in applications for smart watches, lanyards, bracelets, and eyewear over the next year.

Not surprisingly, watches are getting most of the attention, with almost half the survey respondents suggesting they’ll have the biggest impact within corporate settings. Among the most anticipated usage scenarios: real-time access to customer information, instruction guides for field service teams, real-time alerts about everything from pricing changes to average call-center wait times, and training materials.

“Think of this, in the case of retail, I’m a manager or service worker. Now, I can make sure everyone who walks into the store gest a personalized experience,” said Lindsey Irvine, global director of strategic partnerships for Salesforce, which will have its first Apple Watch application available Friday when the first orders make it to customers’ wrists. “[These devices] can give you the right intelligence and predictive information you need, at the time you need it.”

Digital badges and “lanyards” such as the Nymi heart-monitoring device beat out eyewear (although only slightly) as the second most active area of interest. (Fitness bands were categorized separately.) These sorts of devices are being considered for applications such as access control for office buildings or hotel rooms, or as the payment conduit in resorts or theme parks. Disney’s MagicBands, which are RFID-enabled wristbands, are great example of a system that’s already up and running.

“We want more killer apps, and we want our customers to be building these things,” Irvine said, when asked about Salesforce’s motivation for the corporate adoption study. The company’s Salesforce Wear apps-creation software is meant to kickstart that creativity.

Here are five other things you should know:

  1. After Apple Watch, survey respondents were most interested in applications for Google Glass
  2. Data collection is considered one of the largest adoption obstacles; only 8% indicated they’d be able to make use of metrics collected via wearables
  3. While cost is the biggest motivator of purchases, business users also want devices that multitask
  4. Three-quarters of businesses that already use wearables report a positive impact on performance
  5. More than half of companies expecting to make use of these gadgets expect employees to “bring their own”

 

Read more about how businesses are bringing smart watches, bands, eyeglasses and other gadgets into the workplace.

ALSO WORTH SHARING

Box’s stock is down at least 38% since its IPO. But don’t expect CEO Aaron Levie to substantially decrease his sales and marketing budget.

VMware slows down, EMC falls short. The virtualization software company just reported its slowest quarter in almost two years, although it met expectations. Its sister company, storage giant EMC, wasn’t as fortunate. It’s now projecting $25.7 billion in revenue this year, shy of Wall Street expectations.

Another day, another $1 billion data center investment for Google. It’s adding a third facility to its Iowa site, after receiving roughly $20 million in tax incentives. For perspective, the company has already put $1.5 billion into this operation.

Plus, Google spent more money than ever on political lobbying, during the first quarter. Then again, so did Amazon and Apple.

Color, in 3D. Want to print brightly hued plastic models? Canadian hardware company Mosaic is adding color options to its low-end 3D printer line.

One for the archives. Hewlett-Packard finally sold off its Snapfish digital photo cloud, in preparation for its corporate split.

Zenefits wants more money. TechCrunch reports the disruptive HR services company is seeking between $300 million and $500 million, boosting it into the elite billion-dollar valuation club.

Go with the (work)flow. ServiceNow, the cloud process management specialist, hopes to accelerate adoption of its technology with the release of more than 50 applications that automate everything from contract approvals to proper security incident response procedures. How much time does your own company waste on routine administrative tasks like this? At least 15 hours per week, according to a ServiceNow survey of more than 1,000 U.K. and U.S. managers.

Infor CEO Charles Phillips just visited Cuba. He’s sending his software there, too.

Game on for Under Armour. The apparel maker now spent more than $710 million on digital fitness apps. Here’s why.

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MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS

IBM’s block chain booster for the Internet of things surfaces at EY by Stacey Higginbotham

Smart guns: They’re ready. Are we? by Roger Parloff

LinkedIn patent filing for fact-checking would keep users on their toes by Kia Kokalitcheva

Shyp, a mobile shipping app, raises $50 million by Leena Rao

Marvel movie producer Avi Arad co-founded a virtual reality company you’ve probably never heard of by John Gaudiosi

ONE MORE THING

Meet Aiko, the new humanoid robot greeter for an upscale Tokyo department store.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Forrester’s Forum for Technology Leaders: Win in the age of the customer. (April 27 – 28; Orlando, Fla.)

MicrosoftIgnite: Business tech extravaganza. (May 4 – 8; Chicago)

NetSuite SuiteWorld: Cloud ERP strategy. (May 4 – 7; San Jose, California)

EMC World: Data strategy. (May 4 – 7; Las Vegas)

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

Gartner Digital Marketing Conference: Reach your destination faster. (May 5 – 7; San Diego)

Cornerstone Convergence: Connect, collaborate. (May 11 – 13; Los Angeles)

Cloud Foundry Summit: Open source development. (May 11 – 12; Santa Clara, California)

Annual Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference: JP Morgan’s 43rd invite-only event. (May 18 – 20; Boston)

Signal: The modern communications conference. (May 19 – 20; San Francisco)

MuleSoft Connect: Tie together apps, data and devices. (May 27 – 29; San Francisco)

MongoDB World: Scale the universe. (June 1 – 2; New York)

HP Discover: Trends and technologies. (June 2 – 4; Las Vegas)

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference: Future of iOS and OS X. (June 8 – 12; San Francisco)

Hadoop Summit San Jose: Mainstreaming adoption. (June 9 – 11; San Jose, California)

Red Hat Summit: Energize your enterprise. (June 23 – 26; Boston)

Brainstorm Tech: Fortune’s invite-only gathering of thinkers, influencers and entrepreneurs. (July 13 – 15; Aspen, Colorado)

LinuxCon North America: All about open source. (Aug. 17 – 19; Seattle)

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

Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 – 18; San Francisco)

BoxWorks 2015: Cloud collaboration solutions. (Sept. 28 – 30; San Francisco)

Workday Rising: Meet and share. (Sept. 28 – Oct. 1; Las Vegas)

HP Engage: Big data, big engagement. (Oct. 4 – 6; San Diego)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 – 8; Orlando, Florida)

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: World’s largest gather of women technologists. (Oct. 14 – 16; Houston)

Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 – 29; San Francisco)