eBay Launches eBay Authenticate to Prevent Counterfeiting

eBay Authenticate

eBay Authenticate

eBay is developing a new authentication program for some of its higher-end items to create a network of professional authenticators it can use to verify that products are legitimate.

Under the name eBay Authenticate, the program will begin with a pilot program in the US for top-end handbags. It plans to spread to more items throughout the year and hopes to grow the program internationally.

When listing an item in the target inventory set—such as high-end handbags—sellers will have an opportunity to opt-in to the authentication service for a fee. In return, there will be messaging on their listing that highlights that the item will be reviewed by a professional authenticator before it’s delivered to the buyer. If the item sells, a professional will authenticate the item. If the item passes inspection, the item will be forwarded to the buyer.

For listings in the target inventory set where the seller hasn’t adopted the authentication service, the buyer will still have the ability to utilize the service for a fee.

To further bolster consumer trust in the program, if a buyer receives an item following inspection and it’s found to be inauthentic, eBay will refund the buyer two times the cost of the original purchase price.

According to eBay, for sellers, the service will help them drive sales, promote products, and get top dollar for their items. For buyers, the service adds another layer of trust to allow them to shop confidently—no matter the price point.

Details on pricing for the service will be shared at a later date.


Article Provided By: Security Magazine

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Should Big Data Pick Your Next Doctor?

Big DataBig Data

This past spring, Owen Tripp, 37, was living the Silicon Valley dream. His latest company, Grand Rounds, had raised $100 million at a valuation said to be about $1 billion. He and his wife had a new baby, their third child. Sure, the noise from the kids–all of them under 6–meant he slept with earplugs, but so what? Life was great.

Then he woke up one morning convinced he’d left an earplug in his right ear. He checked. No plug. But he couldn’t hear anything in that ear. His doctor twice said it was just clogged before recommending an ear, nose and throat specialist. When he pulled up the specialist’s Web page, something didn’t feel right: Her expertise was in swallowing, not hearing. “I’m not feeling super-comfortable with the way this is being looked at,” he remembers thinking. “Why am I being referred to somebody who seems to be more versed in swallowing?”

Most people would just go to that doctor anyway. Or they’d call friends in the hope that someone would know a specialist. But Tripp is not most people: He is the co-founder of Grand Rounds, which is focused on matching patients with the right doctors. The company uses a database of some 700,000 physicians, 96% of the U.S. total, and merges it with insurance-claims data and biographical information to grade doctors based on the quality of their work. The idea is to help people find a physician who will give them the right diagnosis the first time around and link patients with experts who can give second opinions. For individuals, it costs $600 to get a doctor recommendation and $7,500 to get a second opinion.

Grand Rounds won’t provide revenue figures, but employers, including Comcast, Quest Diagnostics, SC Johnson, Wal-Mart, News Corp. and Jamba Juice, pay for the service on a per-employee basis because they believe it cuts down on incorrect diagnoses and unnecessary procedures. Some 3 million employees have access to the service, although only a small percentage use it. At Costco, for instance, 2% of employees used Grand Rounds this year and 60% of those who got a second opinion had their care changed.

The team at Grand Rounds matched Tripp with a doctor in San Francisco. She prescribed a specialized MRI. After the scan, the head radiologist at Stanford called and told Tripp there was a 2.6-centimeter growth–a tumor called a schwannoma–in the nerve that led to his ear.

“My wife is sitting right next to me, and we both start panicking,” Tripp says. “I mean, we’re cool under fire, but inside we’re wondering, How’s this going to work for the kids if Dad’s not here in a few years? We’ve got a 10-month-old child. He’s not even going to remember me. How are we going to talk to our 5-year-old?”

The tumor was likely to be benign, but it still required major surgery. Grand Rounds’ data scientists evaluated not just individual doctors but also entire surgical teams for their experience and skill with a procedure that is performed only 3,000 times a year in the United States. Tripp ended up with a team at Stanford, but he talked to surgeons around the country, who told him he’d have to make a difficult choice: between preserving the ability to move his face and the ability to hear in that ear. For a CEO the choice was obvious: He couldn’t imagine making deals with strange expressions on his face. He was under anesthesia for 11 hours as the tumor was scraped away from the nerve, layer by layer. When he woke up, he smiled broadly. His face wasn’t paralyzed, but he was deaf in his right ear. “I think [the deafness is] a critical reminder of where I’ve been and why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Tripp says.

In 2011 Tripp’s co-founder, Stanford radiologist Rusty Hofmann hatched the idea for Grand Rounds, originally called ConsultingMD, out of “pure frustration.” Hofmann’s office at Stanford was filled with FedEx packages containing medical records from desperate patients who were hoping he could help diagnose problems with blood clots in their veins, his area of expertise. He and his staff would go through the files at no charge. But there was little he could do, and the right records often weren’t included. Could there be a business in triaging all such extra work that came into every academic physician’s office?

Then the idea became deeply personal. In 2011 Hofmann’s son, Grady, developed aplastic anemia, a deadly disease. Grady needed a bone marrow transplant. Normally, marrow comes from a sibling, but neither of the other Hofmann children was a match. Rusty was. Grady’s doctors didn’t know if using his father’s cells would work, but Rusty called physicians at top-tier institutions and found some who had done transplants from parent to child–and they had worked. Grady got the transplant. Also, based on the advice of experts, Rusty cleaned the air-conditioning ducts in his house to cut down on germs in order to protect his son’s weakened immune system. Visitors had to get flu shots. Grady, now 13, has braces, goes to school dances and surfs.

Grand Rounds co-founder Rusty Hofmann. Credit: Tim Pannell for Forbes.Grand Rounds co-founder Rusty Hofmann. Credit: Tim Pannell for Forbes.

The strain on his family was immense. What do people do when Dad isn’t a doctor? “Every aspect of my life was feeling this pain,” Hofmann says. “This has got to change. This cannot be the way we continue for the next 50 years in this country.”

Hofmann had no clue how to turn his idea into a business. An early investor set up a meeting with Tripp at Tootsie’s, a cafe near Stanford. Hofmann thought it was just a meeting to trade ideas. Tripp, who had previously cofounded Reputation.com, which helps people clean up their online records, had an inkling it might be more. The two hit it off instantly. Tripp was the son of a pediatrician and had intended to go into medicine before he got involved with starting one of the first wide-area Wi-Fi networks, in the early 2000s, at Trinity College in Connecticut, where he was a student. He’d gotten addicted to tech. Now he’d found a problem he thought technology could handle. Where Hofmann saw a service to help doctors filter patients, Tripp saw an opportunity for technological disruption.

“I saw this guy who is in the business of saving people,” Tripp says. “That’s why he does it, and that’s what he’s really good at. But he is not scalable. There was just no way that this guy was going to be able to meaningfully reach all the patients who would benefit.”

Hofmann offered Tripp the CEO job that night on the phone, and they met for a follow-up dinner. Hofmann was convinced Tripp would turn him down. Instead, Tripp was so hyped about the meeting that he showed up despite the fact that he was shivering with a 102-degree fever, because he wanted Hofmann to know how excited he was. They didn’t shake hands for fear of sending germs home to Grady, who was still sick.

Grand Rounds’ first product would be to give second opinions, mostly to patients who had severe illnesses like cancer or who were considering big procedures like back surgery. The first 150 cases yielded a shocking surprise: Two-thirds of the time, Grand Rounds’ experts would change the existing diagnosis or prescribe a new treatment. Often the original doctor got it wrong.

Medical errors are estimated to kill between 100,000 and 400,000 Americans annually. That makes it sound like people are dying because of dumb mistakes, but many errors are cases of misdiagnosis or mistreatment. A 2012 study estimated that a third of the U.S. health care budget–then $750 billion–is lost on wasteful care. Yet medicine has resisted one obvious solution: getting an extra set of qualified eyes on every case.

In fact, medicine has gone in the wrong direction. Thirty years ago it was common for insurance companies to require a second opinion before a major surgery. Grand Rounds takes its name from a long-standing medical ritual, in which complex cases are presented to an audience of doctors so that ideas can be exchanged and physicians can be sure they get the right answer. In other words, it’s like doctors’ rounds on steroids.

Of course, Grand Rounds’ investors aren’t in this game just to improve health care. They see a huge upside. Bryan Roberts, a well-known tech venture capitalist at Venrock, thinks Grand Rounds might someday play a role every time a patient picks a doctor. A couple of years ago he started offering Grand Rounds’ services to Venrock entrepreneurs. “Within a couple months,” he says, “I’d gotten three or four e-mails from our entrepreneur CEOs saying things like ‘I think my dad’s alive because you bought Grand Rounds for us.’ ”

Bob Kocher, another Venrock partner, who played a role at the Obama White House in crafting the Affordable Care Act, started a Grand Rounds case on his teenage niece, who had cancer. The second opinion confirmed her diagnosis but recommended freezing her eggs before her ovaries were damaged by chemotherapy. Her original doctors hadn’t suggested that.

Grand Rounds employs a staff of 80 clinicians who interact with patients. The doctors’ job is not to make diagnoses or correct mistakes but to deal with patients directly to help them understand what the experts said. Just handing a sheaf of papers to the patient without explaining it, Tripp says, is not enough to have an impact.

These staff physicians connect with patients, getting medical records and asking key questions, like how far the patient is willing to travel. Then they use Grand Rounds’ database to match the patient with the right doctor. The company’s database grades doctors on factors like where they trained, which other experts they trained with and how often they perform certain tests and procedures, based on insurance-claims data provided by Grand Rounds’ customers. (Too many tests tends to indicate poor medical judgment.) The experts the company trusts are those who do best, according to a machine-learning algorithm, in literally hundreds of categories, including mortality data, readmission and complication rates.

Individuals can pay for Grand Rounds, but the company sees its big opportunity in selling its service to employers that want to reduce their health care costs. Like Costco (which, including part-timers, employs 218,000 people), many of Grand Rounds’ customers self-insure. This means that while Aetna manages its health benefits, Costco is exposed to a certain amount of financial risk. The number of patients who use the service is small but increasing quickly, from about 90 patient cases a month when Costco started using Grand Rounds last January to 150 monthly cases now.

Patients are more likely to trust Grand Rounds than their own insurers. When an insurance company denies a claim, employees just become angry; they’re willing to believe Grand Rounds if its doctors provide the same reason. “There’s nothing like an objective party that is different from the insurance plan,” says Donna Sexton, Costco’s director of employee benefits.

Sometimes, of course, the original doctors got the diagnosis and treatment right, in which case Grand Rounds represents a powerful tool for getting the insurance company to pay. Leslie Nava, a personal trainer, got access to Grand Rounds through Costco, where her husband works part-time to get health benefits. She and her son both have a hereditary disease called neurofibromatosis type 2, which causes noncancerous tumors to grow throughout the nervous system. A tumor on her son’s acoustic nerve was going to rob him of his hearing. The only thing that would preserve his hearing was regular treatment with the cancer drug Avastin. Aetna wouldn’t pay.

“I probably sat there crying for ten minutes,” Nava says. A nurse at the doctor’s office told her that her insurance included Grand Rounds and that she might try the service. She did and was amazed by the personal care she got from the company’s staff physician and relieved when the report came back saying that Avastin was, in fact, the best option. Aetna agreed to pay. “It definitely renewed my faith in the health care system,” Nava says.

Privately held Grand Rounds won’t discuss financials, but it seems to be growing fast. The service is now available to more than 3 million people through their employers. Tripp says that revenue has been increasing 100% a year for each of the past three years and that the company’s customers include four of America’s largest retailers and three major food manufacturing plants, as well as Autodesk and the Wahl Clipper Corporation. He’s particularly proud that Grand Rounds is offering blue-collar workers the kind of medical care once available only to the rich.

“I think that’s a frequent misconception that we are simply trying to help the 1% get 1% health care,” Tripp says. “In fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re actually helping the 99% or the 90% get the 1% health care solution.” If it works, it will be an amazing case of capitalism improving the world.

Article Provided By: Forbes

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New Network Technologies To Keep An Eye On

6 Upcoming Network Technology

IoT – Internet of Things


The Internet of Things, or IoT, could be one of the most sweeping technological changes of our lifetime, and it’s getting a lot of attention from analysts and the press. In a nutshell, IoT involves installing chips, sensors, and software in a wide variety of objects and then connecting those objects to the Internet. The connected objects might include home appliances, wearable devices, vehicles, thermostats, locks or even small adhesive tags that could be used to track anything.

Manufacturers have already begun rolling out smartwatches, fitness trackers and smart home devices, but this is just the first wave. Analysts suggest that by 2018, there will be 22 billion IoT devices installed. For enterprises, the IoT could represent new ways to communicate with customers, new ways to track employees, and a host of other opportunities. The challenge for IT will be finding ways to store and analyze all the data generated by these new smart devices.

Machine learning and cognitive computing

Since the dawn of the computing era, scientists have been fascinated by the idea of artificial intelligence, and today that idea is becoming reality. Several companies, including IBM, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are investing in machine learning and or cognitive computing research. These systems function more like the human brain than traditional computer systems. They are able to understand natural language, to identify and categorize the content of images and video, and to make educated guesses and hypotheses in response to questions.

IBM demonstrated the capabilities of cognitive computing when its Watson system participated in — and won — the television game show Jeopardy. Today, only 1% of developers are embedding cognitive capabilities into their apps, but by 2018, more than half of developers will likely do so.

network tech

Adaptive security

As cyberattacks against large companies continue to succeed with alarming regularity, it is becoming apparent that the existing security measures at most enterprises are inadequate to keep up with the rapidly evolving nature of attacks. Gartner recommends that organizations move to an “adaptive security” model that uses predictive analytics to anticipate where attackers will strike next.

According to Gartner, “Relying on perimeter defense and rule-based security is inadequate, especially as organizations exploit more cloud-based services and open APIs for customers and partners to integrate with their systems.” The research firm said that adaptive security will be one of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2016 and added, “Application self-protection, as well as user and entity behavior analytics, will help fulfill the adaptive security architecture.”

Virtual/augmented reality
Several firms, notably Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Microsoft, will release virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) headsets this year. Some analysts suggest sales of these devices could top 12 million units this year.

VR and AR offer unique opportunities for consumer entertainment, particularly in regards to gaming, but some industry watchers think that VR and AR will have an even bigger impact on enterprises. Companies could use the headsets for design work, engineering, construction, training and communications. Microsoft, in particular, seems to be targeting its HoloLens augmented reality device at this market.

Cloud computing

At this point, cloud computing is hardly new, but this is one trend that isn’t going away any time soon. IDC predicts that by 2018, half of IT spending will be cloud-based. Many organizations are overcoming their security and compliance concerns and embracing the cloud wholeheartedly.

This year, analysts and vendors suggest that hybrid cloud computing models will come to the fore. Look for software makers to release a new crop of tools designed to improve cloud interoperability and automate management of the hybrid cloud.

Smart personal assistants

Consumers have grown accustomed to using voice-activated assistants like Siri or Google Now on their mobile devices, but personal assistants are moving into the enterprise. With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft put its Cortana assistant onto desktops and laptops, and other companies are likely to follow suit.

In the coming year, analysts expect these personal assistants to get much smarter, thanks to developments in machine learning and cognitive computing. Researchers at MIT, the University of Texas at Austin, and making strides with this technology, which could find its way into enterprise products in the near future.

Article Provided By: NetworkComputing

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GPS satellite networks are easy targets for hackers

A pivotal network of GPS satellites doesn’t properly guard its communication, making devices back on Earth susceptible to hacking, according to new research.

globalstar satellite network

This is an artist’s depiction of Globalstar satellites launched in 2010.

Lots of companies — everything ranging from overseas shipping containers to oil drilling rigs — use location data beamed from GPS trackers to ensure that equipment never goes off course.

But Colby Moore, a researcher with cybersecurity firm Synack, has found that it’s easy to crack Globalstar’s GPS satellite network. This is a company that bills itself as “the world’s most modern satellite network.”

GPS trackers beam data to satellites, which send them back to base stations on Earth. Using cheap hardware and small planes, Colby successfully intercepted and decoded data — none of which was encrypted.

He also found that there are no safeguards to check that data is shared only between real trackers and base stations. With that access, Moore was able to decode the transmissions and create fake GPS data.

The result? High-tech thieves could steal a freight truck full of precious cargo without setting off alarms. Rescuers responding to a sinking cruise ship could be redirected far away from the actual wreckage.

Aviation is especially at risk. Lots of planes transmit their location using Globalstar’s system, especially now that the organization that collects pilots’ flight plans, Lockheed Martin (LMT) Flight Service, signed a deal with the satellite company in June.

A spokesman for Lockheed Martin did not respond to a request for comment.

A hacker’s faked plane GPS signals could cause chaos at an airport that expects a plane to land — but can’t spot anything on radar.

Moore will present his findings at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas next week.

Globalstar (GSAT) did not acknowledge the flaw — or say whether it plans to actually start encrypting its communication.

“This type of situation has never been an issue to date,” said company representative Allison Hoffman. Globalstar said it would know if its systems were under attack. But this hack doesn’t technically attack Globalstar’s systems — it only fools them.

In today’s world, lack of encryption with sensitive communication is unacceptable. Encryption is required in all electronic banking, and it’s expected in email, texting, and even casual Web browsing.

Globalstar’s problem could be a result of old technology. The company had already launched 40 satellites into space by late 1999, when encryption was an afterthought. Plus, encryption adds to the size of data being transmitted — and in space, bandwidth is expensive, especially 20 years ago.

Moore said the only fix would be to add security features to new devices on Earth. But there are currently 649,000 Globalstar customers with devices whose software will be difficult — or impossible — to upgrade.

Article Provided by: CNN Money

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Security Technology Its Worth The InvestmentSecurity Technology Its Worth The Investment

6 ways you can use 3-D printers too grow your business

3-D Printer – Prototypes

Prototyping with 3-D Printers saves money.

New York-based Spuni sells a modified baby spoon that eases an infant’s transition to solid food. By using 3-D printers, the company had their first prototypes within months, at a fraction of what traditional manufacturers would have charged, said CEO Marcel Botha.

The team tweaked the design more than 30 times, making separate prototypes for each. It takes mere hours to create a Spuni prototype on a 3-D printer, allowing them to test far more variations, which Botha says results in a better product. The company’s first spoon came to market early in 2013.

The team invested in its own 3-D printer late in 2012, spending about $2,000 on one sold by MakerBot, which is now owned by Stratasys (SSYS). It costs Spuni about $5 to print one spoon. Botha estimates he would spend 10 times that if he used a traditional manufacturer.

Although its flagship spoons are mass produced, Spuni continues to use 3-D printers for work on new products and packaging. The company recently moved to a facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard called New Lab, where there are a few additional 3-D printers the team can use.

Design advanced technology

Dan Clark makes high-end headphones that can’t be manufactured using conventional technology. To improve sound quality, he created an intricate design with such detailed parts they have to be made individually. So MrSpeakers’ San Diego headquarters has 10 printers running at a time, all printing actual parts used in its Alpha Dog headphones.

Clark launched MrSpeakers in April 2012 with the Mad Dog headphones, which are manufactured using conventional technology. But with his next product, Clark, an electrical engineer, wanted to try something different. He bought 10 printers at about $1,600 each and started making the Alpha Dogs earlier this year.

It takes about 13 hours to print each headphone set, and Clark and his team of five put each through a finishing process that includes sand and chemical treatments. The extra time is worth it: Clark charges $600 for each set of headphones.

“We have a higher price point, so we can put the labor in to make it beautiful,” he said. “And the technical advantage is so great, it’s worth going through the effort.”

How about opening a printing store.

When Liza Wallach and her husband opened their 3-D printing store in October 2013, some people wandered in looking for a place to make photocopies, while others wanted 3-D movie glasses. But now, business owners and hobbyists come to HoneyBee3D to print things like prototypes and promotional materials. Other patrons are looking for a singularly unique item, like a personalized wedding cake topper.

And the shop, located in Oakland, Calif., won’t just print your projects, the cost of which depends on the size and materials used. They also sell 3-D printers and offer weekly classes on how the devices work, which Wallach says are usually filled to the six-person maximum.

3-D printing options like HoneyBee3D are growing. You can upload files to online service Shapeways, which will print your object and ship it to you, and some UPS locations have 3-D printers in their stores. MakerBot has three retail locations on the East Coast where you can buy printers and 3-D printed gifts, as well as take classes.

HoneyBee3D printing has plans too expand is business in the Bay area in the future.

Secure a patent3-D Printer can model patent designs

Richard Baker, president of New England Intellectual Property, helps inventors acquire, sell and license patents for electrical and mechanical devices. Sometimes a client’s pending patent includes drawings but Baker doesn’t get an actual prototype — that’s when he puts his 3-D printer to work.

Inventors aren’t required to provide a patent model, but it helps Baker to see the physical object when consulting on a patent application. If it’s not described accurately, the applicant may end up with a patent for a different invention. Plus, he said a prototype helps lure investors.

Baker takes the text and drawings and translates them into a file that a 3-D printer can read. He then sends the printed object to the inventor to confirm the design. If Baker’s model is off, he’ll try again.

“It makes it a lot easier to know exactly what the inventor is talking about,” Baker said. “I need to see something real.”

Make home improvements

Caroline de Gruchy and Clive Bilewitz, owners of Home Inspections Squared, have been doing home improvements for the past 15 years, but they’ve recently found a new way to make repairs.

Sometimes a replacement part for a broken chain or lock just can’t be found in a store. That used to force homeowners to buy a whole new set of blind or windows.

“They sell the most common item, and sometimes we need a uncommon item,” de Gruchy said.

The team, located in Kitchener, Canada, uses a 3-D printer to make that uncommon part.

They take the broken piece home, scan it with their 3-D scanner, make the repair virtually and then print a new piece with a 3-D printer (they use one at a local tech lab). For now, their replacement parts are just printed in plastic, but they’re hopeful future advancements will allow printing in new materials, so they can fix pieces for pipes as well.

Create custom products

3-D printers allowed graphic designer Patrick Durgin-Bruce to launch a new business in 2013. Mymo sells necklaces, keychains and ornaments that customers personalize with any two letters or numbers.

The monogrammed mini-sculptures are created in stainless steel, silver or ceramic by 3-D printers, which make it possible for Mymo to offer more than 2,000 different designs. You can’t offer that many possibilities using traditional manufacturing, Durgin-Bruce said.

But he doesn’t own any 3-D printers, instead paying Shapeways to print each order. He has to wait two to three weeks before the product is shipped to him at Mymo’s Manhattan office where he does any final assembly and packaging.

He charges $75 for the keychains and ornaments, $75 for a stainless steel necklace, $160 for a sterling silver necklace and $275 for one made of hand polished silver.

Durgin-Bruce is planning to expand his product line by offering other jewelry items, but says it would likely be a long time before he bought his own 3-D printer due to the overhead and maintenance costs. A high-end 3-D printer can cost thousands of dollars and more than one machine is needed to print in different materials.

Article Provided by: CNN Money

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