Red Hat and BBVA tie up cloud collaboration deal

Red Hat and BBVA have signed a partnership deal that sees the former become a ‘priority partner’.

The deal will see Red Hat providing open source technology to BBVA to “accelerate” its “global transformation and technology-driven innovation processes”.

Red hat will also be supporting BBVA with a Infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service solution to help the bank focus on developing applications that can support the “heavy demands” from digital banking.

“We are facing a new scenario that requires keeping the customer at the centre of everything we do, and technology is one of the key levers to tackle this transformation process,” says BBVA Head of Engineering Ricardo Moreno.

“This collaboration agreement with Red Hat will help us to capitalize on the opportunities offered by cloud computing technologies, in order to continue making strides in our process of becoming a more flexible and scalable digital bank.”

As part of the deal, BBVA will be designing an automated, multi-tenant cloud service based on Red Hat OpenStack, as well as a new cloud management program.

“BBVA is a fantastic example of a global enterprise that has turned to an open source-based cloud to drive business innovation through technology,” says Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO, Red Hat.

“With a modern and flexible IaaS and PaaS-based platform, BBVA will be well-poised to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the fast-evolving digital economy and help meet growing customer expectations in these areas.”

Bank of America snaps up blockchain patents in bid to avoid being cryptocurrency ‘Neanderthal’

Bank of America has become the latest financial institution to jump on the bitcoin and blockchain bandwagon by buying up a group of blockchain-related patents.

The bank has taken further steps than most, however, by attempting to grab patents on the use-cases of distributed ledger technology. 15 patents have been filed by Bank of America, with another 20 believed to be in the drafting stage.

The bank is trying to strike a balance, chief operations and technology officer Catherine Bessant told CNBC, between being ‘Neanderthal’ and putting something out commercially that doesn’t make sense.

‘It’s very important … to reserve our spot even before we know what the commercial application might be,’ she adds.

Among the patents are a ‘cryptocurrency risk detection system’ and a ‘suspicious user alert system’. The patents have not yet been granted.

Read more at IBS Intelligence.

Blockchain and bitcoin roundup: what’s current with cryptocurrency

As always there’s a lot happening in the blockchain and bitcoin space, which seems to move at 100mph on a slow day. To help you keep track we’ve combined the headlining stories this week.

Zcash

Zcash promises anonymious transfers
Zcash promises anonymous transfers

We’ve had Peercoin, Emercoin, Nxt and even Dogecoin but now Zcash has emerged as the latest cryptocurrency wave-maker.

Zcash, much like its bitcoin predecessor, utilises the blockchain. Where this new currency differs, according to its creators, is in its ability to be completely anonymous. Zcash can mask the sender or receiver of the transaction if either party wish it so, unlike bitcoin which is processed via a public ledger.

‘Consumers want to buy and sell things over the internet and need privacy from snips who might use the knowledge of their transactions against them,’ Zooko Wilcox, cryptographer and creator of Zcash.

A number of investors have jumped on board, with particular attention being paid to Naval Ravikant, who was an early champion of Twitter and Uber.

The interest in Zcash could be down to its interesting ‘for-profit’ model, whereby all transactions using the currency will be ‘taxed’ 11%.

What’s a bitcoin?

A Rutgers University study has found that no matter how much you use bitcoin you never really understand that much more.

The research found that more experienced users showed similar levels of knowledge and ineptitude as those completely new to the cryptocurrency. The largest misconception displayed by users was an overestimation of just how private bitcoin usage actually is.

‘Many of the users’ descriptions of the bitcoin protocol did not match how the protocol actually works,’ the paper writes. ‘Yet this did not prevent them from being able to buy, sell and trade bitcoins for goods and services.’

To see the rest of the roundup head to IBS Intelligence.

Apple Pay heading to China in partnership with UnionPay

Apple Pay will be bringing its services to China as early as 2016 with the help of UnionPay.

The payments method, which has been introduced in multiple countries across the globe, will be working its way into a sector that is worth tens of billions of dollars.

UnionPay recently launched Quickpass, a new card emulating software, in cooperation with more than 20 commercial banks in China. Apple Pay is expected to utilise that service in order to be introduced into the Chinese payments market, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal.

The Quickpass system uses tokenisation technology, which uses a device account number to process payments, removing a link between the phone and the card. This makes fraudulent payments harder to achieve and creates a more secure transaction.

Read the full story at IBS Intelligence.

Contactless conflict

The world of mobile payments has been set alight by the competition between Apple Pay and Android Pay. The two giants have been going head-to-head to grab the largest global market share they can on an emerging technology.

Google started rolling out its Android Pay system across the US in August, attempting to gain ground on its rival, which had launched earlier in the year.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Apple Pay globally, however, with the payments system facing opposition in Australia from banks not wanting to lose income from transaction fees.

Top 10 tablets of 2014

[Originally published on ITProPortal.]

What are the best tablets available in 2014? ItProPortal takes you through the top 10 on the market right now and through into next year.

Tablets, tablets, everywhere – not too long ago if you asked someone what a tablet was they would take you to a local pharmacy.

Now, with a staggering array of devices to choose from, it can be tough to decide what to splash that hard-earned Christmas bonus on. We’ve decided to make it easier for you and have pulled together what we at ITProPortal believe are the best tablets of 2014.

10. Tesco Hudl 2

Tesco has hit the nail on the head with their tablet pricing plans. The Hudl was a revolution, and Tesco has continued in that vein to bring you an upgraded tablet at a fraction of the price (check out our review).

Featuring an 8.3-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and an Intel Atom Z3735D quad-core CPU, what Tesco packs into the Hudl considering its cost is mind-boggling. The only downside is that the tablet comes loaded with bloatware, which can slow up the otherwise speedy processor.

9. Amazon Fire HD 7

Amazon targeted the mid-range with its new set of tablet, and knocked it out of the park in terms of bang for your buck (review here). The 7, while not vastly different to its predecessor, has upgraded process time, cameras and performance. Some of the bugs that plagued the HD 6 have been dealt with, too.

The retail giant seemed to have perfected the formula in the HD 6, and improving upon it created a tablet perfect for those looking for their first model.

8. Google Nexus 7

Though the Nexus 7 was released way back (in terms of tech) in 2012, it’s still the perfect tablet for portability and battery life. Though it may not be on sale for much longer, dinosaur as it may be, the Nexus 7 is a great entry-level tablet.

With a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM its power is nothing to sniff at either. With tonnes of apps, high-res 7-inch display and 1920 x 1200 resolution, the Nexus 7 can still hold its own amongst the newer, bigger boys in the tablet market (you can see our full review here).

7. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft has labelled the Surface Pro 3 as the tablet to replace a laptop. With a choice of Intel core i3, i5 or i7 processor, it certainly packs a punch (we’ve got our review here). The 12-inch 2160 x 1440 LCD screen remedies the cramped feeling that users had with the previous Surface Pro models, too.

Add in the magnetic keyboard and you’d be forgiven for assuming at a glance that the Surface Pro is a laptop. At its high price, however, some may be better off getting themselves a computer, rather than a tablet.

6. Apple iPad Mini 2

The iPad Mini range offers the best of the iPad yet squashed down into a smaller package. Though Apple has recently unveiled a newer, shinier brother to the Mini 2, it’s essentially the same tablet with TouchID.

With the newer tablet released the Mini 2 will experience a substantial price drop, making it very attractive for those looking for everything an iPad offers – floods of apps, swish UI, quality build design – but don’t want to break the bank.

See what makes the top 5 over at ITProPortal.

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