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One of Microsoft's biggest announcements at its annual developer-focused Build conference on Wednesday was the practical applications for Conversations as a Platform

During the conference's opening keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Conversations as a Platform could revolutionize business productivity and give transactions a personal flavor. By combining voice and image recognition technologies with artificial intelligence APIs, Microsoft's engineers have created applications Nadella referred to as "chatbots" that can assist users in anything from an everyday business transaction to helping the blind visualize the world around them.

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  1. Provide inspiration: Business leaders need to be active collaborators, receptive to hearing new ideas as well as working with teams on promising new concepts. Leaders should make it a habit to use collaboration tools, such as web conferencing and social media, when interacting with coworkers.

  2. Foster creativity: Leaders should have the courage to shift from a command-and-control management philosophy to an approach that is more collaborative. When a co-worker’s promising idea becomes reality, organizations should reward creative thinkers with recognition, bonuses and promotions.

  3. Help workers “collide”: Great ideas are often born when coworkers literally bump into each other. This doesn't happen much when they hide inside their cubicles. A powerful wireless network and the freedom of a bring-your-own-device policy can allow the mobility that fosters this movement.

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Google is hoping that machine learning technology will help it compete in the cloud services market and win business from large enterprises. Machine learning — the idea that an artificial intelligence can learn from and make predictions based upon data it accesses — is “what’s next” in technology, Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google parent Alphabet, said last week when Google announced its plans, according to TechCrunch.

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For a growing number of organizations, the road to BYOD begins with a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

VDI, which runs the user desktop inside a virtual machine residing on a data center server, enables fully personalized desktops for each user while providing the security and simplicity of centralized management. In recent years, VDI has emerged as a quick and effective way of enabling BYOD without exposing an organization to unnecessary risk. With VDI, existing enterprise applications can run without modification, giving users easy, trouble-free access from their personal mobile devices.

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Experts recommend a series of steps to keep security risks contained under a bring-your-own-device program:

  1. Carry out a full audit of the organization’s IT environment to determine if the infrastructure is prepared to handle workforce mobility, particularly in terms of security and network demand.

  2. Evaluate specific device use scenarios and investigate the leading practices to mitigate each risk scenario.

  3. Set a security baseline and then certify relevant mobile hardware and operating system types for enterprise use.

  4. Implement acceptable use policies and procedures that clearly communicate boundaries and describe what will happen if they are violated.

  5. Enforce standard security policies, such whole-device encryption, passcode access and failed login attempt limits.

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Brands of all sizes use Facebook to connect with customers. Now, Facebook has added new features specifically aimed at wooing small businesses to take part in the social network, according to a recent report on marketing hub ClickZ. Here are some of the new SMB-friendly features:

1. Mobile Calls to Action

Facebook added bigger CTA buttons on mobile and placed them directly under the cover photo. The buttons include “Call Now” or “Contact Us” for SMBs looking to connect with customers fast.

2. Shop and Service Pages

The new shop section allows retailers to showcase their products. The services section allows service providers to list their offerings menu directly on Facebook.

3. Better Customer Support

SMBs can now indicate whether the customer will receive a response “within minutes,” “within hours” or “within a day.” SMBs can also post “Away” status messages or create automated messages.

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As the retail industry undergoes a significant technology revolution, leaders emerge. These innovators use the latest technology, from managing and shipping inventory in real time to completely customizing the user experience.

To find out how retailers use technology to gain a competitive advantage, CDW’s Retail Innovators Report surveyed 312 non-IT retail managers. According to the report, 33 percent of retail line-of-business managers say the ability to draw intelligence from data in their organizations is a top priority. Additionally, 90 percent of retailers surveyed believe the seamless use of data analytics would increase sales.

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Raymond Tomlinson, a pioneering computer programmer widely acknowledged as the driving force behind the modern of system of email the world knows today, died on Saturday. He was 74.

As the New York Times notes, Tomlinson spent the late 1960s and early 1970s at a research and development company, Bolt, Beranek and Newman, and worked on projects for the Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet designed for the Defense Department.

Tomlinson worked on the SNDMSG program, which let users send messages to one another. However, it was a closed system and only let users get messages on one computer they had to share.

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Loyal Samsung fans have reason to rejoice: The company formally announced on Feb. 15, 2016 that it's rolling out the latest version of the Android mobile operating system, Marshmallow, for its Galaxy S6 devices, reports The Verge. One of the most prominent enhancements that come along Android 6.0 include Now on Tap, which wraps the power of Google Now and its search capabilities to allow users to query and gain context on the fly. Marshmallow was formally released last year in October, but different manufacturers push the OS updates on their devices based on unique platforms requirements and compatibility testing. 

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