Holiday shopping is continuing to move rapidly online, with an 18.1 percent increase from 2016 to this year in the U.S., according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. The global shift in shopping habits is led by consumers in the U.K., however, who a Nomura analyst says did 15.7 percent of their retail shopping online in 2017, Business Insider reports.
Data from Barclays shows online shopping in the U.K. is rising by more than 1 percent per year, suggesting that half of all credit and debit card transactions will be done online by 2050, and the Office for National Statistics says Britons now spend an average of £1.2 billion online weekly, up over 10 percent from just a year ago.
In a study of U.S. consumer spending from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, Mastercard found holiday sales increased by 4.9 percent, the largest increase since 2011, with online shopping surpassing traditional “brick and mortar” gains in numerous categories.
“Evolving consumer preferences continue to play out in the aisles and online sites of retailers across the U.S.,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights, Mastercard. “Overall, this year was a big win for retail. The strong U.S. economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase.”
December 23 was the next biggest day to Black Friday for overall shopping, bringing the holiday total for U.S. online spending

 

Brought to you by Data Center Knowledge

It’s no secret that IBM’s revenue has been sliding downward for some time now. Its second-quarter earnings report in July was more of the same — a 21st consecutive quarter of declining revenue. The issues it faces aren’t unique. Its legacy businesses — hardware, software, and services for traditional corporate data centers — have been shrinking as customers move to the cloud. Despite its best efforts, its own cloud isn’t getting enough traction for it to make much of a dent, either in the market or its bottom line. It’s worth remembering, however, that the company has seen much worse and managed to pull itself out.
Report: IBM Tries to Block Former Exec from Joining AWS
IBM’s biggest turnaround efforts seem to center around Watson and its other implementations of AI and machine learning, and the numbers seem to indicate it’s doing well there (although there are rumors that the efforts might not be as fruitful as the figures seem to suggest). Although it occupies a prominent spot in AI — at least that’s the public’s perception, thanks to Watson’s famous appearance “Jeopardy” — and the technology is certain to be a large part of IBM’s growth if and when the growth comes, it’s probably not going to be the company’s main mover.
According to Business Insider, the Swiss financial services giant UBS thinks the

 

Brought to you by Data Center Knowledge

It’s no secret that IBM’s revenue has been sliding downward for some time now. Its second-quarter earnings report in July was more of the same — a 21st consecutive quarter of declining revenue. The issues it faces aren’t unique. Its legacy businesses — hardware, software, and services for traditional corporate data centers — have been shrinking as customers move to the cloud. Despite its best efforts, its own cloud isn’t getting enough traction for it to make much of a dent, either in the market or its bottom line. It’s worth remembering, however, that the company has seen much worse and managed to pull itself out.
Report: IBM Tries to Block Former Exec from Joining AWS
IBM’s biggest turnaround efforts seem to center around Watson and its other implementations of AI and machine learning, and the numbers seem to indicate it’s doing well there (although there are rumors that the efforts might not be as fruitful as the figures seem to suggest). Although it occupies a prominent spot in AI — at least that’s the public’s perception, thanks to Watson’s famous appearance “Jeopardy” — and the technology is certain to be a large part of IBM’s growth if and when the growth comes, it’s probably not going to be the company’s main mover.
According to Business Insider, the Swiss financial services giant UBS thinks the

 

Among the early benefits of artificial intelligence systems, machine learning and natural language processing have the potential to transform customer service processes that are too often frustrating for customers and expensive for web hosts and service providers. A number of tools are currently available to enable companies to overhaul their interactions with customers contacting them for help by telephone or over the internet.
Customer service or sales calls often require that customers listen to menus of options and provide information-sometimes more than once-before a company representative even begins helping them. This experience can cause frustration, even when successful in the end.
Advanced automation services leveraging AI provide an alternative approach. For example, chat and messaging services like Facebook Messenger and Kik offer chatbots, which simulate human conversation through AI. More than 100,000 chatbots were created in their first year of availability on Messenger, according to VentureBeat. A survey by Oracle found that 80 percent of companies will be using chatbots by 2020, Business Insider reports.
Below are some of the options web hosts and service providers can use to enhance customer service experiences, without making massive investments in call centers and teams of expert representatives. Each option emphasizes its delivery of real-time analytics, easy-to-use data dashboards, and support for multiple languages.
Amazon
The Amazon Lex

 

June 7, 2012 — Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has added several new capabilities to its Windows Azure platform as a service, including support for Linux, a move that a report by Business Insider says could help it compete with Amazon AWS infrastructure as a service cloud.

 

(WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) — According to reports issued Thursday, last week’s major outage at Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing service resulted in the permanent loss of some customer data. A report published in Business Insider Thursday included a notice sent to a “big customer,” informing them of the data loss.

Business Insider reports that the data lost was “small” relative to the total data stored, but rightly points out that with the massive volume of data residing on EC2 and AWS database instances, even a tiny percentage could be a huge amount of data, and damaging to a customer.

“A few days ago we sent you an email letting you know that we were working on recovering an inconsistent data snapshot of one or more of your Amazon EBS volumes,” says the letter, quoted in the BI piece. “We are very sorry, but ultimately our efforts to manually recover your volume were unsuccessful.  The hardware failed in such a way that we could not forensically restore the data.”

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