Happy Friday, Data Sheet readers. Hewlett-Packard is evaluating some big acquisitions. CEO-designate Chuck Robbins’ leadership team is taking shape at Cisco. Plus, banking giant Wells Fargo is experimenting with facial and voice recognition as a means of identity verification. For a mid-afternoon break, watch Fortune Live at 3 pm Eastern for special segments about the brand-new Fortune 500 list. Enjoy a superior weekend!
TOP OF MIND
Can digital healthcare technology help the industry save $100 billion by 2020? Accenture estimates that FDA-approved devices and applications connected to the Internet helped cut healthcare costs by $4 billion last year. Those expense reductions came mainly in the form of better adherence to medication schedules, fewer emergency room visits, and the impact of modified behavior.
This year, savings should reach at least $10 billion, and the cumulative impact within four years could be 10 times that amount, according to Accenture’s study. By that timeframe, 43% of Americans will “self-manage” their health through wearable fitness gadgets, the consulting firm predicts.
“The proliferation of Internet-connected solutions and evolving regulatory guidelines are blurring the lines between clinical and consumer health solutions,” said Rick Ratliff, Accenture’s managing director for digital health solutions, in a statement.
Is Meg Whitman looking for something to buy? Hewlett-Packard’s CEO hinted at potential acquisitions by the enterprise part of the company in interviews with The New York Times and Bloomberg this week. Her interest: storage and data center equipment, but apparently HP almost bought Computer Sciences, which would have energized its services strategy. The company has been far more cautious about big buyouts since its rather disastrous deal with software company Autonomy, one that continues to haunt the company to this day.
The culprits behind a huge government data breach appear to be the same ones that attacked two major health insurance providers, Anthem and Primera. Researchers believe the motive is “digital espionage” rather than financial gain. They also suspect Chinese hackers. “We believe they are creating a tremendous database of [personally identifiable information] that they can reach back to for further activity,” John Hultquist, threat intelligence specialist at security firm iSight, told NYTimes.
This Cisco management overhaul wasn’t unexpected. Yes, it’s true that CTO Padmasree Warrior plans to leave this fall after the transition. She will be replaced by Hilton Romanski, the company’s strategic acquisitions expert who most recently led Cisco’s $2.7 billion buyout of Sourcefire. Here’s who else is on incoming CEO Chuck Robbins’ new leadership team.
Alibaba, Equinix team up to take on Amazon Web Services. Together, the Chinese e-commerce giant and the world’s biggest data center operator will pitch multinational companies that need cloud computing services that can accommodate operations in both China and the United States.
Wells Fargo plans to scan your face and voice for mobile security
The San Francisco bank is experimenting with biometric technology for a smoother and more efficient security system for mobile banking. Fortune’s Jonathan Vanian reports on its ambitious project.
Who would have thought that the future of mobile banking security would be similar to taking a selfie?
This week at Wells Fargo’s San Francisco headquarters, a couple of banking executives showed off the latest in a type of technology that can scan your face and voice to ensure that you are who you say you are.
Known as biometrics, this type of security authentication technology can analyze the traits of the human body such as a person’s fingerprints, facial symmetry, and voice for the purpose of determining one’s actual identity.
The technology has gotten mainstream enough that health care providers have started implementing it to prevent people’s medical records from being compromised in the case of a data breach. Instead of having to rely on hordes of personal information like social security numbers that could be easy to steal, biometrics could allow for less of this documentation to be generated and needed in order to authenticate a person.
Wells Fargo has also been researching biometrics for the past several years, explained Secil Watson, a Wells Fargo executive vice president and head of the bank’s wholesale Internet services, in an interview with Fortune.
The bank was exploring biometrics as a way to improve on the security checks it already uses in its mobile banking app known as CEO Mobile. Currently, when a person accesses the app to perform a sensitive banking transaction like setting up a wire transfer, they have to go through a series of security hoops. They have to enter in their user ID and password and then type in a unique security token as well as a PIN number before they are allowed to make the transaction.
Customers find this process a bit annoying, so Wells Fargo looked into using biometrics as a way to retain the overall security of the transaction while cutting down on the time it takes to do so. Especially on a mobile device, where entering passwords can be frustrating.
“Passwords were great for the first fifteen years of the Internet,” said Watson. “The next fifteen years we need another solution.”
It wasn’t until last year that the big bank felt the technology it was working with was good enough to do a pilot program, she said. She explained that New York City-based SpeechPro helped Wells Fargo with developing the biometric tech for the company’s mobile app. Since March, the bank has signed on 100 customers to try out the new authentication tech on their iPhones.
Now instead of having to plug in a series of numbers and letters into one’s phone (a chore for anyone who suffers from fat finger syndrome), a person just needs to let their face and voice do all the work. The tech requires access to a camera and a microphone.
ALSO WORTH SHARING
Box CEO Aaron Levie throws down for Hillary Clinton. He’s planning a big Silicon Valley fundraiser for the Democratic presidential candidate.
Meet the ad tech startup behind Foursquare’s new location-based advertising network, Pinpoint. Drawbridge’s technology helps marketers target prospects across all of the different devices they use to surf the web.
Is Nest hatching a new product? It just scheduled its first briefing event since the Google takeover last year.
Workday has two new co-presidents, after the cloud software company elevated Mike Stankey to vice chairman.
Dropbox counts around 100,000 customers for its business-centric service. Here’s how it plans to attract more.
CA Technologies made another acquisition. The buyout of Grid-Tools, which makes software testing technology, comes barely one week after it swallowed up Rally Software, which sells tools for Agile software development.
Yahoo Maps just reached its final destination: the service is shutting down after eight years.
This cybersecurity software company has expansion aspirations. Avast Software, the lead investor behind a $22 million round in marketing analytics firm Jumpshot, is mulling acquisitions and an IPO, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Xapo, one of the hottest bitcoin startups around, has a fraud lawsuit hanging over its founder, Wences Casares, and several other employees. The plaintiff is LifeLock, the online identity technology company that acquired Casares’ previous company, digital wallet maker Lemon. Here’s why it’s such a big deal.
SunGard may not get the chance to go public. The financial technology company has attracted several suitors, reports WSJ.
MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS
Mark Zuckerberg’s next big read is this Islamic history book by Laura Lorenzetti
More work, less pay and three other reasons to turn down a promotion by Ryan Derousseau
Why smart trains aren’t coming soon on freight lines by David Z. Morris
BMW’s parking prediction is the new valet by Kirsten Korosec
Edward Snowden just took a dainty little bite of the hand that feeds him by Geoffrey Smith
ONE MORE THING
I’m thinking of a number between one and infinity. A new approach to password security would use your brain’s reaction to certain words as the trigger to verify identity.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
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)
.conf2015: Splunk’s “get your data on” gathering. (Sept. 21 – 24; Las Vegas)
Cassandra Summit: Largest gathering of Cassandra database developers. (Sept. 22 – 24; 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)
TBM Conference 2015: Manage IT like a business. (Oct. 26 – 29; Chicago)
QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Nov. 2 – 4; San Jose, California)