All posts by Matt Farrington-Smith

Week In Tech: IoT Security Spending, Spiceworks & Drones

Does the future of IoT security lie in the Cloud? New research published suggested that security spending is set to take off.

IoT Security

If the latest research from Gartner is to be believed, security spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to accelerate in 2016. The figure could well top $348m in 2016, meaning an increase of 23.7 per cent compared to $281.5m in 2015.

Research director Ruggero Contu, commented that the current IoT security market is small, but ripe for growth, as both businesses and consumers  migrate towards smart and networked devices.

“Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 per cent from 2015, and will reach 11.4 billion by 2018. However, considerable variation exists among different industry sectors as a result of different levels of prioritisation and security awareness,” he said.

Looking further afield, Gartner predicts that spending could rise to as much as $547m in 2018. This assumes that IoT adoption continues to gather at this same increased pace. These figures assume a march towards connected cars, heavy trucks, commercial aircraft, farming and construction equipment.

With more and more transport and equipment becoming part of the connected world, Gartner say that cyber attacks stemming from IoT will amount to 25 per cent by 2020. A lot more clearly needs to be done because as it stands IoT security spending accounts for only 10 per cent of IT budgets.

What can IT do then to better prepare itself for the connected future? Contu says we must look towards the cloud for answers to our security concerns, commenting:

“IoT business scenarios will require a delivery mechanism that can grow and keep pace with requirements in monitoring, detection, access control and other security needs.”

He goes on to say: “The future of cloud-based security services is in part linked with the future of the IoT. In fact, the IoT’s fundamental strength in scale and presence will not be fully realised without cloud-based security services to deliver an acceptable level of operation for many organisations in a cost-effective manner. By 2020, Gartner predicts that over half of all IoT implementations will use some form of cloud-based security service.”

Spiceworks Deploy Mobile Help Desk

Spiceworks has debuted a new app that takes its cloud-based help desk solution mobile for the first time.

The app will allow IT professionals to deploy and manage its services on smartphones and tablets, and allow push notifications to help them stay on top of tickets while on the go.

“We’re focused on helping IT professionals become more efficient by enabling them to run their help desk entirely from their phones or tablets,” said Sanjay Castelino, VP of Marketing at Spiceworks. “With a tool that’s easy to deploy and use on the go, IT professionals can now support their growing business in a way that works best for them.”

The platform also doubles as a social network and allows members to share their own technical know-how with others in the community. What’s more, users can submit requests for quotations for IT purchases to vendors direct from the app itself.

The Spiceworks Help Desk mobile app is available for download today on iOS- and Android-based smartphones and tablets.

When Will Drones Lead to Loss of Life?

As drone flight increases in popularity, and with Amazon’s delivery plans seeing no signs of abating, aviation officials say it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable.

On 17 April, a British Airways plane was believed to have come close to a drone that had flown into its airspace. James Stamp, global head of aviation at KPMG commented on the recent near-miss at London’s Heathrow Airport:

“People who fly drones in controlled airspace are potentially putting lives in danger, and should be subject to the strongest possible sanctions available under the law. A number of practical steps should be taken, including requiring drones to be registered, tougher penalties for irresponsible behaviour, and technology based solutions that will prevent the drones entering restricted airspace in the first place.

“More research is also required into the potential impact of collisions because, while the impact of bird-strikes has been well researched, the impact of drone impacts is less well understood.”

On Valentine’s Day, a drone came within 20-150ft of an Airbus A320 flying at 12,500 feet near Biggin Hill in Kent. The incident was made all the more serious by the fact that drones are permitted by law to fly only under a height of 400 feet.

Incidents are only gathering in pace – to put things into perspective, there were nine near misses in 2014, but this increased to 40 last year.

Have you got an interest in IoT security, networks and drones? Want to connect with fellow procurement professionals in IT? Then head over to Procurious’ dedicated Group for IT Procurement.

Tackling Technology and Risk: The Blockchain

The rise of digital payment systems has brought the blockchain into the public consciousness. But can blockchain be used to aid supply chain transparency?

Blockchain Technology

Just shy of ten years ago, technological innovation and the supply chain might have been considered strange bedfellows. Now they go hand in hand. But as technology advances at an ever-increasing rate, it makes sense that supply chains the world-over are also becoming increasingly complex as a consequence.

However despite the numerous advantages brought about by this envelope-pushing, we must remain vigilant and alert to the increased risks such new avenues afford us.

Recent years have seen a rise in both the adoption and implementation of digital payment systems and so-called “crypto currencies”. Such innovations in payments have removed the need for traditional, physical currency, as well as the bricks and mortar institutions that process them.

Bitcoin – A New Way to Pay

Bitcoin is but one example that’s fast revolutionising the payment industry. Bitcoin is a digital currency that’s been heralded as both an innovator and disruptor in yearly tech trend reports.

Bitcoin is effectively a peer-to-peer system. Its users can carry out transactions without the need for a middleman, but all activity is recorded and verified by the blockchain. Think of blockchain as a ledger and you’re halfway there.

Bitcoin has given the blockchain an early success with its 15+ million bitcoins already in circulation. But with a limit of 300,000 transactions per day (a ceiling that’s fast-approaching), we have to wonder – is there a future for a digital distributed database format?

It’s worth noting that the blockchain isn’t owned or operated by a singular body – hereby distinguishing it from a conventional ledger system. Instead, each network node stores its own copy of the blockchain, so whenever a transaction is made it is first recorded in one place, before being transmitted to other nodes that make up the database.

The “block” comes from the name given to accepted transactions. The system checks approximately six times per hour for new ledger activity, and to determine if a bitcoin amount has been spent.

Bitcoin & Blockchain

Blockchain – Bigger than Bitcoin?

Putting bitcoin’s reliance on the blockchain aside for a moment, various figures have spoken out about its potential to transform not just payment systems, but improve the delivery of services and assure the supply chain of goods.

Nothing if not an encouraging sign, a report from Mark Walport, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, made proposals that the Government itself should explore applications for the burgeoning technology.

Walport said: “Distributed ledger technologies have the potential to help governments to collect taxes, deliver benefits, issue passports, record land registries, assure the supply chain of goods and generally ensure the integrity of government records and services.”

Records ultimately lie at the crux of the blockchain. So a technology that serves as an incorruptible ledger, and one that can trace each and every interaction, could prove extremely valuable in areas where accountability is key.

Gordon Donovan, Procurement & Supply Chain Manager for Metro Trains, has previously been quoted on Procurious suggesting the development of a ‘supplier wiki’ in order to build knowledge of the entire supply chain.

Blockchain technology could indeed be used to increase transparency, but there would be considerable work required in advance of opening this up, thanks in no small part to the highly complex nature of organisational supply chains and the numerous suppliers involved.

Blockchain network

A Chain is Only as Strong as the Weakest Link

If this reliance on blockchain is going to come to pass, more work needs to be done around trust and security – a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by bitcoin’s most vocal critics.

With high visibility services like Twitter, the BBC, and both the global networks for Xbox and PlayStation, all being taken offline by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, what crippling effect would such activities have on the blockchain?

Moreover it wouldn’t be too much of leap to suggest vulnerabilities could lead to ‘botnets’ taking control of nodes to reveal the identities of the parties involved in transactions.

But is all of this worry warranted? It would certainly seem so if the letter penned by bitcoin’s high priests is anything to by. The open letter informed the community at large of an action plan to reach a consensus on improving bitcoin security.

“We have worked on bitcoin scaling for years while safeguarding the network’s core features of decentralisation, security, and permissionless innovation” – it began.

“We’re committed to ensuring the largest possible number of users benefit from bitcoin, without eroding these fundamental values.”

In order to achieve these aims, 30-plus bitcoin developers organised two workshops (in Montreal and Hong Kong respectively) to try and carve out a scalable path for the cryptocurrency’s future.

If we’re not looking for a repeat of the Silk Road scandal, let’s just hope they came up with a solution…

Is it possible for blockchain and bitcoin technology to transform the future of digital payments and aid supply chain transparency? Let me know your thoughts.

How e-Learning Is Changing the Face of Professional Development

From online video, to communities of learning and peer to peer networking, you’ll find a learning method most comfortable to you.

eLearning-Interactivity-Guide-eLearning-Professionals
Learning is no longer something reserved for the young, With career progression never far from our minds and competition for roles at an all-time high, now is the time to suss out the tools we need to to better ourselves.

Buoyed by John Green’s fascinating TED Talk – ‘The nerd’s guide to learning everything online’, we set out on a mission to locate the web’s best learning aids. Be it through online videos, podcasts, social media, or likeminded communities, the majority of the learning resources you’ll discover are available to access from anywhere at any time. Plus the majority of e-Learning is either free or cost effective, so you don’t need to worry about splashing the cash.

The Internet is a great place to sharpen your skills and expand your horizons (if you know the right places to look). Whether you’re putting aside as little as five minutes, squeezing in some time between meetings, or want a more productive commute – learning doesn’t have to be hard work, when applied correctly it can even be fun.

Bite-size training videos

One of the most diverse e-Learning platforms on the web is Lynda.com – itself a LinkedIn company. Unlike some of the more procurement-focused examples in our list, the teaching straddles design, development, photography, video, audio, 3D and business categories – truly something for everyone!

Whether you decide to train individually or as part of a group, Lynda.com lets you set the pace, plus it lets you practice with samples and files provided by the instructor themselves. If you’re looking for something with less of a technical focus then perhaps you’ll consider Khan Academy? The online learning takes in subjects including math, art, history, science, medicine, finance and more.

Procurious also has a number of training videos from experts around the world on a number of subjects, including negotiation, SRM and risk. Happily you’ll find that all are currently available completely free of charge.

TED Talks

TED started life as a set of conferences and fundamentally designed to share ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. Since its inception it has gone on to spawn TED Talks and smaller, locally-run TEDx events – to-date you can access an archive of 2100 videos on the official website.

With such a large global footprint you can find a TED Talk on just about any subject, but we’ve chosen to highlight Simon Sinek’s inspirational “Start With Why” as an example of the platform at its best.

The beauty of TED videos also lies in their relatively short running time too, with each clocking in at around the 18 minute mark. Brevity is key to their effectiveness – its curator Chris Anderson explained this is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold attention. It turns out that this length also works incredibly well online as it’s also the length of a typical coffee break.

If you haven’t already, be sure to digest our videos from our very own, self-styled TED Talks at the Big Ideas Summit and hear from some of the most influential voices in procurement.

ispace

Soundcloud and podcasts

You’d be forgiven for thinking e-Learning is all about video. Audio is also a very effective medium in its own right and in many ways considered even more versatile. It doesn’t matter whether you pop in your earphones on a commute home, or listen to it during a car journey, unlike video you’re not tied to a screen.

One of the most popular audio networks for learning is Soundcloud. A search for ‘procurement’ on the platform returns a selection of over 300 podcasts (from 75 procurement accounts), spanning countries all around the world.

Soundcloud is easy to access via the web or using an app on your smartphone, so recordings are easy to listen to on the go as part of your personal development.

Peer to peer networking

The need for peer to peer networking was highlighted at Procurious’ very own Big Ideas Forum back in April last year. Whether it be through discussions on LinkedIn, Tweets exchanged on Twitter, discussion between members of The Faculty’s CPO Forum, or right here on Procurious. It doesn’t matter which level you’re at in your professional development, being able to utilise such networks as potential learning environments is a great habit to get into.

With the advent of the Internet learning communities have been made a reality. Through peer to peer networks you are able to learn, problem solve and benefit from the experience of others. One of the biggest examples is Rio Tinto’s learning academy – launched in 2014, the platform offers its 35,000-strong workforce learning materials and training modules at a pace chosen by the individual.

Such initiatives are slowly putting an end to soul-destroying, organisation-wide orientation days and sessions. The upshot? Freeing-up more time for employees to get on with their jobs, while leaving personal development to their own time.

At this juncture we’d also like to remind you that Procurious isn’t just a place to learn! Don’t forget to utilise the online network of procurement professionals we’re gathering right here in our community.

Has your organisation got something to offer?

Alternatively if you (or your company) wants to jump onto the e-Learning bandwagon there are plenty of variety when it comes to choosing a software package/learning platform to create your own learning resources.

Adobe Captivate 9
Oracle Taleo
Brightspace
Articulate Storyline 2
iSpring

Big Ideas in Technology: 2016 and Beyond

We’ve rounded up some of the biggest disruptive technology trends we expect to see in workplaces the world over in the next twelve months.

Drones and drone lanes

Drones and drone lanes

What: As drones have begun to take over our skies in 2015 concerns have grown over the fight for airspace.

Currently the FAA only prohibits drones from flying near airports and their associated airspace, but is this enough?

How: As we peer into the future we expect commercial delivery services from Amazon (and others) to begin rollout, as well as increased numbers of hobbyist pilots carving out lanes for themselves.

Tighter regulations will likely divide the sky with pilots of commercial and business drones utilising the 200-400 ft zone, while those using drones for recreation are limited to 200 ft and below. This will not only better promote safety in the skies but keep lanes clear for priority transport. This advantage will come into its own for those looking to improving logistics solutions in disaster zones, battlefields or delivering aid to inhospitable terrain.

Despite being used for good we should also remember that drones are already being used to the detriment of our profession. Drone surveillance is increasingly on the rise and advancements in camera technology mean drones are capable of spying on factories, warehouses and ports from afar. Thus firmly putting the threat of corporate espionage, competition and imitation back in the spotlight.

Bots

What: Chances are if you’ve been active on the Internet since the late 90s you’ll already be familiar with one of the surprising new trends for 2016: Bots. But while the bots we’ve likely grown accustomed existed solely to frequent chat rooms or perform basic monitoring tasks, the bots of the future are intelligent and much like us, learn with each interaction.

Not to be confused with the likes of your Siri or Cortana (smart virtual personal assistants) living on our mobile phones and tablets, those in the know believe that bots capabilities are now so advanced they could quietly boost our productivity levels and help transform time-consuming processes.

How: In business press offices and newsrooms bots will be poised to automatically sort and tag articles, as well as actively monitor and react to social media. While we’re not a point where bots can realistically replace your social media teams, automation could be used strategically to help manage the strain. Elsewhere bots will be utilised to manage stocks and HR teams will rely on them for getting new employees up to speed. We can also expect to see more automation in services like Slack, making the organisation of meetings and status updates a thing of the past.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality

What: Virtual reality (VR) has been the word on the lips of tech tastemakers since the sixties, now it looks like 2016 will finally be the year to usher in the VR dawn.

VR is best described as a computer-simulated reality. Modern technology grants us full immersion within the imagined environment through the use of a head-mounted display.

How: With backing from some of the biggest names in interactive technology (Oculus VR, Sony, Valve and Google to name but a few),

Unlike Augmented Reality (AR) which uses text, graphics and sound to add a useful extra layer of data to your immediate surroundings, VR transports the user into a carefully constructed world.

Although synonymous with gaming, virtual reality also offers-up an intriguing wealth of uses in the manufacturing, health and transport industries. Dassault Systemes – a European software company that specialise in 3D design and product life cycle management, works with organisations to ensure that costly mistakes are confined to virtual reality and the products rolling off production lines are perfect. Vehicle designers can explore the chassis of a car (both inside and out), food and drinks manufacturers can see their products on shelves, while advanced 3D modelling techniques have even recreated the Pyramids of Egypt and the Normandy D-Day landings.

Wearables

What: Despite wearable titans like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Fitbit, Pebble, Garmin, Xiaomi and Jawbone sewing the market up in the last few years, wearable tech is only just beginning to deliver on the promises teased at its inception.

How: Fitness bands, sports watches and smartwatches are clever pieces of kit for sure but we’re on the cusp of welcoming wireless body area networks, neuroenhancers and earables which will shift wearables away from the wrists of the consumer and into real-world applications.

Think of earables as little computers that sit in your ears – according to patent reports, Apple is working on earbuds that are capable of both monitoring and relaying temperature, perspiration and heart rate. Head gestures could also be used to control electronic devices paired with the earable.

Wireless body area networks will also share similar recorded data with medical servers, computers and other interested parties. Utilising data from body-mounted sensors or ingestible devices, they will be able to keep tabs on every minutiae of employee wellbeing and the monitoring of trigger points like stress.

Plus location-aware services will be able to track movements – as manufacturing.net has noted, think of the improvements in efficiency such technology would mean in production lines: “The wearable device tracks their location, “knows” that they have moved to a new production line, creates a job transfer, assigns a new work order, and automatically starts tracking their work. There is no need for employees to interact with a computer or time clock. The technology has already taken care of that for them so they can focus on what’s really important — the work at hand.”

Neuroenhancers will monitor your brainwaves through electrical activity and over time collect data and make assumptions based on its recordings and observed patterns. Crucially this will allow it to pinpoint those times your concentration is at its highest, when you’re at your most productive and when you should take a break.

Such innovations in wearable tech could help to lead a revolution on productivity and effectiveness in workplaces across the world, no matter what the field.

Top Tech Gifts For Christmas

Tech trends are changing…

71zy1-Fl6nL

A recent uSwitch survey suggests that the must-have tech from yesteryear is quickly falling out of fashion, with only 8 per cent of responders lusting after e-readers, and 9 per cent focused on digital cameras. With that in mind we’ve rounded-up what we deem to be the must-have gadgets for Christmas 2015.

Ten lords a-leaping on their hoverboards…

This wheely-wheely good gadget has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons during the past few months.

Commonly referred to as ‘hoverboards’, ‘balancing boards’ or, in this case, a ‘MonoRover’ – this new form of transport will have you zipping down the streets and rolling into your next appointment in record time.

This innovation in personal transportation relies on pointing your toes down to go forward, and transferring your weight to your heels to move backwards.

Prices and availability vary from country to country (as do transport laws!) so we suggest a light spot of Googling will soon have you on your way.

While shepherds watched their drones by night… DJI Phantom 3

Kids big and small have enjoyed the drone boom this year. But with technology advancing at breakneck pace, as well as decreasing costs, those tiny gnats they lost outdoors last Christmas have been replaced by bigger, tricked-out drones.

For the pilot that must have everything, the forboding DJI Phantom 3 quadcoptor comes with 4K video shooting capabilities and can be controlled via a nifty iOS or Android app. A warning though… it’s not cheap, so crashes could prove costly – $1234.99.

OnePlus 2

OnePlus: The smartphone that’s invite only

If you’re growing tired of Apple and Samsung vying for your custom every twelve months then maybe you’re brave enough to try something a little bit different?

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has built an affordable range of phones that dare to challenge tech’s heavy-hitters.

Three handsets have been spotted in the wild to-date (the OnePlus One, OnePlus Two and OnePlus X) and each has required a special invite to be in with a chance to purchase. If the gamble was to up desirability and exclusivity then technology commentators have all but deemed it a success.

OnePlus has recently waived invites for purchases of the OnePlus 2, and also holds weekly sales for the OnePlus X.

Prices start from £289.

3D print your presents!

As we approach 2016 3D printing no longer needs to be confined to factory floors and workshops. If you’ve always fancied yourself as a bit of a designer and the idea of turning your own 3D designs into solid, touchable objects gets your creative juices flowing then a 3D printer could be a worthwhile investment this Christmas.

Home-friendly units are arriving in their droves, some of the more popular names in the 3D printing world include M3D, MakerBot, LulzBot and CubePro – prices start around the £1000 mark and advance into their thousands for larger, more advanced printers. The only limit is your imagination (and wallet).

gopro_hero_lcd_front

No more bad Christmas TV with GoPro Hero+ 

The ideal accessory for gadget afficados and sports enthusiasts alike. If you’re looking for a camera to accompany you on the slopes the rugged Hero+ will survive all sorts of knocks and bumps, while shooting at a constant 60fps.

If you’re more comfortable taking a backseat the Hero+ can also shoot in HD video and produce 8-megapixel stills, plus you can control it from afar using the dedicated iOS and Android apps. It’s waterproof too.

From £199/$199.

(Walking in the) iPad Air 2

If you’re in the market for upgrading your iPad this Christmas, the Apple iPad Air 2 is the absolutely must have gadget.

The iPad Air 2 has squeezed a few extra mm off its predecessors already-svelte frame, while bolstering it with all the technical innovations expected of an Apple flagship product in 2015 (like the new A8X processor and Touch ID fingerprint sensor). Grab the upgrade from $399.

On the other end of the scale and for those looking to supersize their life, the iPad Pro boasts an enormous 12.9-inch screen (2732 x 2049 pixels) and brings you tantalisingly close to laptop territory. Price from $799.

Don’t run out of juice this Christmas… Portable power

If you’re planning on having a gadget heavy Christmas then you’ll be wanting to eek out as much extra life from your devices as possible.

Clocking in at the smaller end of the spectrum, the Anker PowerCore+ mini could equally be at home with your lipstick as your smartphone. With 3350mAh at full charge and compatible with a myraid of personal devices, it’s nicely affordable ($40), and available in a range of eye-catching colours too.

Apple has made its first foray into the battery case market with a smart case that charges your 6S or 6 device.

The case extends your iPhone with 25 hours-worth of talk time, or 18 hours of 4G web browsing, and will set you back £79/$99/AU$165 respetively.

band2

Work off those mince pies: Microsoft Band 2

There’s a glut of wearable fitness trackers available today but Microsoft’s follow-up to its original Band is the most recent and it looks killer to boot.

At the time of writing you’ll be hard-pressed to find a gadget (that’s not a running watch) that’s capable of incorporating both heart rate monitoring and GPS. For that reason Microsoft’s Band 2 is worth a look-in.

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

And finally… an inexpensive stocking filler. Give the gift of music and curate your own festive playlist for family gettogethers and New Year’s celebrations.

For a limited time Spotify is offering 3 months Premium membership for just £0.99/$0.99. Sign-up using this link and enjoy unlimited, ad-free music for a full 3 months, a saving of £9.99/$9.99 per month. Couple this with the Acoustic Research Pasadena outdoor speaker and you’ll be able to entertain on the terrace or even down on the beach thanks to its 8 hour charge. It’s yours for $99.

Introducing Procurious Membership Badges

It’s time to ‘Show Your Colours’ to the world!

Show your colours on Procurious by adding a membership badge

At Procurious we’ve long been encouraging you to share a profile picture with your network.

Today we’re going one step further by announcing our new ‘Membership’ feature – support your professional membership and demonstrate your qualifications by adding a Badge to your profile.

Why? We want you to be proud of your achievement, promote the association and show your accreditation off to other Procurious members.

Vicki Oliver, Marketing Manager at Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, commented on the value of Professional Associations: “Networking is a crucial activity in any professional’s career and being part of a global platform, sharing your knowledge with others and benefitting from the experience of other professionals and business people is immeasurable.

“Display your CIPS credentials with pride to the procurement community and beyond, so key contacts can connect with you and others will join this fast-growing movement.”

If you hold a membership with CIPS, ISM, Procurement Leaders, The Hackett Group or The Faculty Roundtable you can go ahead and add your Badge right away. 

Procurious membership Badges

How to add your Badge

It’s very easy to add a Badge to your Procurious profile. Simply visit your ‘Edit profile’ page and scroll down to the ‘Memberships’ section.

Locate your association from the drop down menu found under the ‘Which memberships do you hold?’ prompt.

All done? Just hit the green ‘Save’ button to make your changes. You’ll be able to see your new Badge in all its glory by visiting your profile page.

New members will also be given the opportunity to complete this step during the registration process.

FAQ

“I’m a member of xxx, can I add a Badge to my profile?”

At the time of writing Badges from the following Associations are available: CIPS, ISM, The Hackett Group, Procurement Leaders and The Faculty Roundtable. We will notify you when more are made available.

“How many Badges can I add?”

We haven’t set a limit, so you are able to make multiple selections. But we encourage you to only add Badges to those associations that are applicable/you belong to.

“Can you add a Badge for my association?”

Of course. We’re always very interested in talking to other associations who show interest in being added to Procurious and having badges developed. To discuss please email: [email protected]

Uber Is One Step Closer To Realising Its Driverless Car Ambitions

Did Uber just declare war over your future driverless car service?

Uber's driverless car ambitions

We love innovation here at Procurious, and Uber, one of the biggest disruptors of recent times, are never far from our radar…

What’s it gone and done now?

Microsoft has sold its map-generating technology to the transportation kings in a move that will bolster its own mapping efforts, and ignite a spark in the war for driverless car services.

As part of a much-bigger move that saw the Seattle technology giant sell its display ad business to AOL, Microsoft is offloading some of Bing’s mapping assets (along with 100 engineers) to Uber.

It is thought the technology will greatly aid the ride-hailing firm’s autonomous car project.

Uber has been observed testing an early version of its self-driving car. The rival self-driving taxi will inevitably take on the likes of Google and Apple, and is being developed with Carnegie Mellon University.

Pictures show a system comprising of cameras and sensors, capable of mapping nearby objects, installed on the roof of the car.

Speaking on behalf of Microsoft a representative stated: ‘We will transfer many of our imagery acquisition operations to Uber.’

An Uber spokesman further elaborated: “Mapping is at the heart of what makes Uber great. So we’ll continue to work with partners, as well as invest in our own technology, to build the best possible experience for riders and drivers.”

Currently Uber relies on Google Maps for all of its mapping needs, so this acquisition will bring the firm closer to building its own mapping technology and data collection tools. In some territories Uber has its eyes set on other endeavours too, the logistically-themed UberFresh (a food delivery service) and UberPool (its answer to carpooling).

Uber is developing its driverless cars at the ‘Uber Advanced Technologies Center’ in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Earlier this year at Procurious’ Big Ideas Summit, Uber was referenced on more than one occasion as an example of best practice. The Hackett Group’s Chris Sawchuk reckoned that procurement could learn a lot – citing the agility and flexibility in Uber’s business model. Read what Chris had to say.

Similarly, it is banded into something we call ‘the sharing economy’. Along with services such as Airbnb, Uber is changing the very way we procure – moving us away from outright ‘purchasing’ and instead encouraging more of a ‘borrowing’ economy. We’ll obviously continue to monitor Uber, it’s driverless car ambitions and more. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here!

How to get the most out of Procurious Groups

Procurious Groups are where it’s at

How to use Procurious Groups

When we quietly granted Procurious members the power to create their own Groups back in January we didn’t expect the reaction we received…

Suffice to say Groups have proved a popular addition to the site, so it’s only appropriate for us to cover them off in more detail.

Groups are the perfect haven for hanging out with likeminded professionals – each have been created around a core theme, so the key here is to join the ones that take your fancy.

In the blink of an eye one of our earliest (and vocal) supporters, Sergio Giordano – took it upon himself to set up The Italian Procurement Professional Community, before others caught on and followed. Sergio’s little piece of Italy is now almost 100 members strong.

When asked, Sergio had the following words for the Procurious community: “Italian professionals are beginning to understand that to achieve reputation you must first demonstrate your competence by helping colleagues and proving to be an expert in a specific field… However I think that the first interest in joining  the group is the uniqueness of Procurious: we all felt a great need of a specialistic network like yours or, let me say… like ours.” Sergio has brilliantly encapsulated the ethos of what Procurious is about, and we hope [that in time] all members will think of the network as theirs.

It’s easy as pie to join a Group. Just navigate to the ‘Groups’ page by following the link (it’s nestled between the Discussions and Blog items), and choose a Group from the list that takes your fancy. Depending on the membership options set by the Group owner you may have to wait a short while for them to approve your request to join.

Once you’ve pledged allegiance to a Group (or Groups) what’s next?

Think of a Group like a specialised Community Feed (but with useful extras). Dig into the Group page and you’ll see tabs for ‘Activity’, ‘Members’, ‘Documents’ (and if you’re an Admin, ‘Member Requests’).

The default view is that of the Feed – here you’ll be able to see posts by the Group’s other members, be they text or image-based. You can also insert URLs, but you won’t be able to tag other Procurious members in your updates.

The ‘Members’ tab is where you’ll be able to see who else has joined the Group. If they’re not yet part of your personal network you can send them an invitation to connect here.

‘Documents’ is slightly misleading as you can happily add any file with the following file-type:  jpg, jpeg, png, gif, pdf, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, or pptx. There’s also a maximum file size of 20MB so keep your PowerPoint presentations to a reasonable length! All we ask is that you use your common sense and don’t share material of a sensitive or confidential nature. Group Admins have the power to delete any file(s) they deem not in-keeping with the Group’s interests.

If privacy settings allow, Group members are also free to invite other Procurious members to join the Group. Suffice to say only send invites to people in your network you think will be interested, you don’t want to accused of spamming anyone!

Some Groups you might have missed

CIPS
CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) have found an official home on Procurious. Join this Group to keep abreast of official news, content and ideas straight from the Institute. Visit the Group

FAPPE
We were first made aware of the excellent work FAPPE (Faster Adoption of Public E-Procurement in Europe) were doing during Procurement Week in Cardiff earlier this year. We suggest you join to discover more. Visit the Group

Portuguese Procurement Community
Procurement is taking off in Portugal! This is an opportunity to share insights and opportunities with other members within the region. Visit the Group

UK and Europe Public Procurement
Work in the UK or Europe and interested in all things Public Procurement? We have just the Group for you! Visit the Group

Procurement in Asia Pacific
Proving that regional Groups are popular, this Group is for procurement professionals to openly discuss and explore Procurement and supply chain issues in the Asia Pacific region. Visit the Group

Global Sourcing
John Zhang describes this newly created Group as a platform to discuss global sourcing challenges and opportunities mainly in emerging markets. Visit the Group

Irish Procurement Professionals Forum
This Group has sprung up in the last few days and we’re eager to help Ross grow it. So if you do business in Ireland there’s no excuse not to join. Visit the Group

Why create?

Whether you’re thinking of running a Group for a series of events, or maybe you want to fly the Procurement flag for your country – there are many good reasons to carve out your own little slice of Procurious.

To start a Group of your own just click the green ‘Create Group’ button on the Groups homepage.

More details can be found here: Want to start your own Group on Procurious?

Want us to write about your Group?

Drop us a note and tell us in 150 words why your Group deserves the attention.