OPERATIONS

IBM launches Big Data anti-fraud service

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – IBM Inc. has introduced new software and services to help organizations use Big Data and Analytics to address fraud and financial crimes. IBM launched its “Smarter counter fraud” initiative, drawing on the expertise and innovation from more than 500 fraud consulting experts, 290 fraud-related research patents and IBM’s Big Data and analytics software and services capabilities.

The initiative is designed to help public and private organizations prevent, identify and investigate fraudulent activities. To address these complexities, IBM is delivering new software that allows organizations to gain better visibility and take a more proactive, holistic approach to countering fraud. This includes the ability to aggregate Big Data across a variety of internal and external sources – including mobile, social and online – and apply sophisticated analytics that continuously monitor for fraudulent indicators.

The new offerings feature advanced analytics that understand non-obvious relationships and co-occurrences between entities, new enhanced visualization technologies that can identify and connect fraudulent patterns closer to point of operation, and machine learning to help prevent future occurrence based on previous attacks and behaviors.

“With today’s news, IBM is applying many of the same tactics, techniques and procedures used by the intelligence and law enforcement communities to help commercial organizations take a holistic view of this growing and pervasive threat,” said Robert Griffin, VP, IBM Counter Fraud Solutions. “These technologies allow line of business leaders to quickly adapt to emerging threats across the entire organization. Our new initiative puts Big Data and Analytics into the hands of those tasked with defending their organizations from financial losses, protecting the brand and delivering exceptional customer service.”

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OPERATIONS

Report: Walgreen Well Experience privacy practices investigated

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield Park, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights is reportedly investigating privacy practices at the new Well Experience stores run by Walgreens. According to the Wall Street Journal, the investigation is focusing on whether pharmacist consultations with customers at Well Experience Stores violate the privacy of patient medical data.

The investigation was reportedly spurred by a complaint filed by the non-profit group Change to Win Retail Initiatives. In summer 2013, undercover investigators from Change to Win reportedly visited 100 Walgreens stores and observed widespread violations of patient privacy. The compliant focuses on the Well Experience stores having pharmacists work from desks in high-traffic areas of stores and frequently leave them to consult with customers and supervise pharmacy technicians. This allegedly leaves sensitive patient data in open view and unattended on the desks.

Maryland, Connecticut and Hawaii do not allow the Well Express store format, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Walgreens in Oct. 2013 asking if the format violated patient privacy. In a written response to Markey’s letter, Walgreens said it takes appropriate security steps. A Walgreens spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal the Well Express format has been approved by the pharmacy boards of more than 30 states, modifying it when necessary, and is cooperating fully with the investigation.

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IHL: Mobile POS shipments in North America to double

BY Dan Berthiaume

Franklin, Tenn. – The growth of new mobile device shipments is expected to grow 95% worldwide and more than double (108%) in North America during 2014. According to IHL Group’s Mobile POS Vendor Database, 47% of total mobile POS shipments in 2013 Worldwide were iOS devices, with Android at 33% and Windows 8 at 12%.

IHL analysis shows the differences are in growth rates. iOS is expected to grow slower than the overall market for 2014 (due to tough comparisons) while Android (+104.6%) and Windows 8 (128.4%) are expected to grow at a much higher rate worldwide. Further, in North America, Windows 8 devices are projected to grow 183.9%.

Some other key highlights include the following:

• Apple has a dominant share in mobile POS today at 39.9% installed worldwide, but Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard, and Micros are showing the greatest shipment growth potential in 2014, in some cases tripling the growth rate. Nowhere is this greater than North America.

• 64% of current mobile POS devices are in a form factor of less than five inches in screen (phones). The move in 2014 is much more to the phablet and tablet size. In North America, 64.6% of all new mobile POS will be on phablet or larger screens in 2014.

• Both consumer grade and rugged devices are seeing strong growth worldwide, but price and device lifetime expectations vary widely by retail segments.

"The move to mobile POS in certain segments is radically changing the face of retail and hospitality, particularly mall-based retailers," said Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group. "The number of devices used by department stores, apparel and shoe stores in particular will nearly triple this year."

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