5 Technology Observations: 31 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, gossip, solid hunches and plenty more to start your day for Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 14 items.

14. Careful of Big Numbers: IBM plans to  invest $3 billion to master and monetize the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor data. Still, what's the true meaning of that number? It's difficult to say for sure. The $3 billion investment will emerge over four years. And IBM may merely be stating a figure that was already baked into its long-term R&D efforts -- rather than finding $3 billion in new money for the effort. All that said, the message is clear: IoT is critical to IBM's big data and business analytics efforts.

13. Cloud Backup A Different Way: Continuum has launched a managed backup platform. The twist: It's built atop IBM's cloud. Smart move. No secret here: I've been telling all backup providers for years to build their wares atop existing infrastructure (IBM SoftLayer, Amazon, Google, Microsoft Azure, etc.) and innovate from there -- rather than trying to design and manage the underlying infrastructure on their own.

12. True Risk Mitigation?: Ever wonder what a true risk management dashboard looks like? Aetna CIO Jim Routh has one -- and shares a daily risk score with Aetna's company leaders. My only reaction: Amid modern-day corporate sponsored hacks, shouldn't we all be on intense red alert all the time?

11. Three's a Trend: In recent days I've heard from Wunderman Chief Data Officer Gary S. Laben, the team representing Catalina Chief Data Officer Dak Liyanearachchi, and CenturyLink Chief Science Officer Manav Misra. My takeaway: Chief Data Officers aren't created overnight. They've been slow-brewing -- gathering the right knowledge -- for decades. And now, their time has come. Still, I do think the market will see some pretenders -- and ultimately, there will be some CDO backlash as some big data projects don't fulfill their promise.

10. In-App Advertising: Just when you thought Apps were old news, sales from the Google and Apple App stores are expected to double by 2018,  according to App Annie and IDC. Perhaps more importantly: In-App advertising -- you know, advertisements surfacing in Apps -- will triple over the same period. Sounds great -- until you really consider the mobile challenges facing many startups. In our case, we think we may have solved the riddle... with answers to potentially debut later this year.

9. Big Data Implosion: Sponsors are pulling out of the IndyBigData show -- protesting Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which allows businesses to decline to serve people based on sexuality and other traits. IndyBigData's organizer is not affiliated with the RFRA but sponsors like Cloudera, EMC and Salesforce pulled out because the event is located in Indiana -- a state now under fire for a law that may provoke discrimination. IndyBigData's Facebook page now includes a plea to state lawmakers to make things right. The Indy Star (Indiana's leading newspaper) is calling on lawmakers to fix the situation now.

8. LinkedIn Chat: It's here.  But not from LinkedIn. Instead, you can chat with your LinkedIn contacts using Caliber for Android or Apple iOS. Interesting concept, but I wonder if many extremely busy executives -- running multi-billion-dollar companies -- want to start having instant conversations over LinkedIn rather than private cell texts, calls, etc.

7. That Reminds Me: Whenever I blog about LinkedIn (see item above) I'm instantly reminded to log into ComLinked -- a different B2B social network that continues to grow and evolve, thanks to continued R&D. I'll give it another look this evening to check in with After Nines Inc.'s connections on the network.

6. Any "Good" ObamaCare Stories?: So, I'm meeting my accountant later this week to finalize my 2014 taxes. My single biggest expense? Healthcare -- both the insurance coverage plus the out of pocket expenses. The figure is enough for a down payment on a house. At some point later this year I'll shift from COBRA health coverage to some sort of ObamaCare coverage in New York State. Fingers crossed, maybe a private healthcare exchange has/will launch in New York. Anybody have good experiences to share with me? Just drop me an email (Joe@AfterNines.com) with the subject line "Health Care."

5. IT Management Remains Hot: Tanium, which develops an IT management platform for endpoint security, is now used in six of the top 10 banks -- and just raised another $52 million to expand internationally. The key takeaway: Even sleepy markets like IT management have big growth opportunities if you apply the right technology to the right niche.

4. CRM Meets Google Apps: That's the idea behind ProsperWorks, which just raised $7.5 million in funding. Here at After Nines Inc., Amy Katz and I live in Google Docs. At $19 per user per month for unlimited records, Prosperworks could be worth a look once we scale our business a bit more. PS: It's a month-to-month contract. None of those ridiculous "pay us a full year" commitments that some SaaS companies demand.

3. See You At New York TechDay: I'm hoping to catch up with one of our loyal readers -- Apple and real estate expert Tony Vitale -- at NY TechDay on April 23. If you'd potentially like to meet me there, send email (Joe@AfterNines.com) with the subject line "New York TechDay."

Tonight's Podcast:  Alation CEO Satyen Sangani on a new way to gather, manage and analyze your data.

Tonight's Podcast: Alation CEO Satyen Sangani on a new way to gather, manage and analyze your data.

2. Coming Tonight: Alation emerges from stealth mode today. CEO Satyen Sangani describes the company's strategy -- akin to Google Search meeting enterprise big data -- in Podcast Episode 28 this evening (March 31) at 9:01 p.m. ET. The company appears to have serious brain power -- including veterans from Oracle, Google and Apple who previously developed a range of search and big data technologies at those IT giants. Check out our latest podcasts every Tuesday night -- and sometimes in between.

1. Game On: I'm heading back on the road Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. But not in a tech type of way. My oldest son's lacrosse season is in full swing, which means one or two afternoons per week I'm standing on the sidelines watching his team's progress. That also means some of After Nines Inc.'s R&D work shifts to the evenings -- but I'm enjoying the tradeoff.

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