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Converge Tech and Business Week in Review – February 18, 2017

Voice-activated assistants and cool/creepy mail sentiment analysis, sneakers a hot online fraud item, what marketers need to know about AI, and the things that keep security experts up at night. Here’s an overview of the tech and business news that we think you might want to know about this week.

Cortana introduces ‘suggested reminders’ based on email content. Voice-activated assistants are the norm on smartphones and now increasingly available on the desktop. Windows 10’s Cortana is Microsoft’s digital assistant, designed to not only provide answers to questions, but also helping to remind you of commitments you might’ve already made by way of email. Tools that analyze email communications is on the rise and this is an example of that. In this example, think about promising to send a presentation deck to a client or colleague on a certain day. Cortana will automatically send you a ‘suggested reminder’ the day before. This sounds neat, I know. And we’ve long been accustomed to the fact that companies have access to all email sent and received on company servers. There’s a big trend toward sentiment analysis of internal email on the quest for greater productivity and more engaged employees. Look for more of this, in addition to just handy reminders based on the contents of your email, in the future. Cool? Creepy? Maybe a little bit of both, right? For more on the Cortana business, check out the story at Marketing Land.

Want to see Cortana in action? Here is a short video.

Why sneakers are currently the hottest online fraud target. As more and more consumers shop online, the risk of ‘card-not-present’ fraud is also increasing. The detection of this type of fraud also becoming more difficult because of the slow rollout of chip based cards (EMV) in the United States. A report from Riskfield, an e-commerce fraud prevention platform, compiled from the input of many online retail customers, showed that sneakers are the hottest new trend of CNP fraud. If you’re an online retailer, you should pay special attention to transactions that involve sport shoes, and if you’re an online shopper, be sure to monitor your transaction details. I have alerts on my credit cards set up so that any time there’s a ‘card not present’ transaction, I get an email. Maybe something worth considering if you’re not also doing that.

Why sneakers? They’ve got cache—a high resale value, high-demand commodity and easy to handle and buy. This article shared by Steve Krohn from The Next Web.com provides some simple guidelines retailers can follow to help zero in on identifying possible fraudulent transactions.

10 things marketers need to know about AI. Artificial Intelligence (AI)— the ability of computers to understand aspects of the natural world and use that understanding to accomplish tasks normally requiring human intellect and effort—is making inroads in all things related to marketing, data, IT and beyond. AI is everywhere, and it’s being used by marketers and IT pros with increasing adoption.

But AI can be confusing and, in some instances, overwhelming. Some of the more important tasks marketers need to wrap their heads around is harnessing the huge amount of data available to them, so they can use that data to help them tell interesting stories about their brands, break through the noise (sorry about that cliché, but it’s applicable now more than ever), and ultimately deliver a more personalized experience to their customers. And their IT counterparts need to understand how to help them do that. Chris Fleury shared an article about what CMOs, CIOs, and others need to know to make the most of AI in their marketing initiatives in 2017 and beyond—definitely worth your time to read.

Amazon could deliver your next package by parachute. I just this minute finished buying 12 things on Amazon, because it’s easy. Amazon saves me trips and time—and I would venture a guess you are no doubt living a somewhat parallel existence. But wouldn’t it be cool instead of the UPS truck pulling up and your dog going crazy, if your packages just plopped down from the sky delivered by drones? As is usually the case with Amazon, this is definitely something on the horizon.

The company has pursued this idea for a long time now, but has been unable to implement it due to legal challenges of the use of unmanned flying vehicles for package delivery in the United States.  Although this law is unlikely to change any time soon, Amazon is still developing its Prime Air service. A new patent filing from the company shows at least one of the methods Amazon is considering is dropping packages with parachutes from drones. For more details, check out this article shared by Mario Kroll.

The 7 security threats to technology that scare experts the most.  The RSA conference, a gathering of information security experts sharing discoveries, information, and theories about latest technologies and security threats, happened this last week in San Francisco. What keeps these folks up at night? Hackers. The pervasive spread of ransomware and the frequency which which hackers are employing ransomware falls at or near the top of the list.

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects computers, rendering them useless and sometimes even deleting files. This can come in the form of an email attachment containing malicious links. As the name indicates, the goal of ransomware is to hold companies hostage, denying access to their computers and data, until a fee is paid. The bad news is that ransomware only one of many threats companies face today. SANS Institute presented the seven security risks that can potentially harm individuals, companies, and their customers. According to SANS, some of the most attractive attack vectors for hackers include ransomware, the IoT, the intersection of IoT and ransomware, and attacks on industrial IoT, to name a few. For the complete list, along with information on how to best address these threats, check out this article shared by Gregory T. Evans. It’s a must read.

Photo Credit: cyberoverzx9 Flickr via Compfight cc

Shelly Kramer

Shelly Kramer is a 20+ year marketing veteran and CEO of V3 Broadsuite, a marketing consultancy, and the President of Broadsuite Media Group. She’s a business strategist focused on B2B digital transformation, and delivering integrated marketing solutions for clients. She’s an expert at omnichannel marketing, content strategy and execution, connecting social media to business initiatives, and helping clients leverage the web for growth and profitability.