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How expert logistics can improve ecommerce customer satisfaction

How expert logistics can improve ecommerce customer satisfaction

Today’s consumers have a whole world of choice at their fingertips, and with the ability to quickly shop around it’s more important than ever that retailers are in tune with their customers’ needs.

If a retailer fails to meet their expectations, they will simply look elsewhere when it comes to future purchases. A study by Oracle found that 89% of customers begin business with a competitor following a poor customer experience which shows that one bad experience can lead even the most loyal of customers to turn their back on a brand, and public complaints over social media can put off other potential buyers.

When it comes to ecommerce, customer expectations are now at an all time high and this is only set to increase further as retailers strive to meet these demands. To be successful in this ruthless marketplace, businesses need to offer unrivalled ecommerce customer satisfaction, to help turn casual shoppers into loyal, repeat customers. According to a study by Tempkin Group (2017), 86% of shoppers are more likely to repurchase after a great experience and a study by Bain & Co shows that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability by a staggering 75% which shows that achieving ecommerce customer satisfaction from the offset is essential.

Founded in 2014, Superloop was created to connect Asia Pacific to the cloud, with a legacy-free network capable of fulfilling the growth in the demand for bandwidth.

Today, Superloop is a trusted provider of connectivity and managed services throughout Asia Pacific. Its full suite of offerings appealing to both businesses and homes.

They own and operate over 894 kilometres of carrier-grade metropolitan fibre networks in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, connecting more than 390 of the region’s key data centres and commercial buildings. Superloop have added a competitive Business National Broadband Network(NBN) offering to its portfolio in Australia providing cost effective, high-speed connectivity to organisations. This combined with their other enterprise grade connectivity offerings across the Asia Pacifc region is helping to support their customers with business critical applications through a consistent, seamless experience through its carrier network.

Superloop’s network is the only network that can deliver a seamless cloud-first experience to the major traffic hubs and enterprise buildings across Asia Pacific.

The challenge

Driven by underlying business growth, a cloud-first consumption model, and increased regulatory pressure in Australia and Asia-Pacific, Superloop’s Chief Information Officer, Andrew Lawrence, looked to develop a comprehensive cyber risk strategy.

As a service provider, Superloop struggled to find a security ratings provider that was able to provide a meaningful cyber risk assessment, and could separate Superloop’s assets from its customers’ online. The team wanted to move away from slow, back-and-forth, spreadsheet-only based security questionnaires that added little value and had no independent assurance.

They needed a solution that was capable of continuously monitoring their vendors’ security posture adding value by calling out high risk areas and providing greater visibility to assess how these might impact their business and ultimately their customers.

Andrew expressed, “We are a service provider for businesses, and in honouring the high level of trust our customers bestow on us we need to ensure our processes and infrastructure provide them with the most secure and reliable services possible.”

The solution

Andrew and his team at Superloop leveraged UpGuard to develop a robust, time-efficient vendor management program that allows them to manage their vast number of vendors on a continuous basis, using our security ratings platform complemented with our intelligent security questionnaires.

Andrew reported to us that his team is now able to onboard new vendors in half the time by using UpGuard Vendor Risk. Our platform provides an evidence-based assessment to easily pinpoint critical vendors and based on the score surfaced helps them to effectively prioritise effort to remediate the risk.

“The challenge of traditional Q&A analysis is processing and interpreting the data and doing something with it. UpGuard’s Vendor Risk automates this process of scoring good versus bad against an intelligent and mature scoring model. This provides us with confidence to quickly assess our areas of critical risks and prioritise the vendors we need to monitor more closely.” Andrew stated.

Our platform also gives Superloop overall visibility of a vendor’s security hygiene from a process and focus perspective. It provides them with the same in-depth insight of their own environment allowing them to make informed decisions about their security posture and prioritise resources appropriately.

Layered insight of supply chain

As a telecommunications provider of secure connectivity and networking services, Superloop’s environment is understandably complex. As a result alongside Vendor Risk, Superloop uses UpGuard BreachSight as part of their supply chain security monitoring program.

Andrew says that, “Our complicated environment requires attention to detail when reviewing security risks. We have many cloud-first vendors so the UpGuard platform allows us to be granular and gives us an interesting layered insight on our supply chain that could have a critical impact on our operation. As a telecommunications company providing mission critical services, this insight is vital.”

Implementing OpenCL Support for Eigen using SYCL and ComputeCpp

SYCL is a royalty-free, cross-platform C++ abstraction layer that builds on the underlying concepts, portability and efficiency of OpenCL, while adding the ease-of-use and flexibility of modern C++11/14. For example, SYCL enables single-source development, where C++ template functions are compiled for both host and device to construct complex algorithms that use OpenCL acceleration, and then re-use them throughout their source code on different types of data.

Expression Trees in Eigen

Expression trees are used to represent the operations in Eigen, such as the one in the diagram below. Terminal (blue) nodes represent data items, whereas non-terminal (green) nodes are the operations that are performed on them. The operation represented below would then become a single node in a much larger TensorFlow graph that represents the machine learning model.

Figure: The calculation is represented as an expression tree that looks like this in the code

Kernel Fusion and Eigen

Figure: Kernel performance using individual kernels versus kernel fusion

Adding the SYCL Backend to Eigen

When we began designing the integration of SYCL with Eigen, we wanted to ensure that the back-end implementation provided compatibility for existing frameworks that use the tensor operations. By following the existing device specification we have avoided changing the interface of the existing Eigen code, meaning that all applications (including TensorFlow applications) will continue to work seamlessly with the SYCL Eigen implementation.

We also wanted to minimize the runtime overhead of applications running with our implementation, and by pushing the expression specification to compile-time as much as possible we have been able to do this, resulting in a significant speed up.

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Challenges

The main challenge is a non-intrusive integration of SYCL into the standard C++-based Eigen code base without requiring major changes to existing code and interfaces. Targeting OpenCL 1.2 through SYCL enables Eigen to run on many low-power and mobile devices that don’t support C++ operations such as direct access to host memory. This however requires the application to manage the data accessed by the kernel so integrating this with the Eigen framework in a non-disruptive way poses interesting technical challenges.

OpenCL 1.2 vs CUDA Memory Allocation

In OpenCL 1.2, memory allocations such as buffers are represented by opaque cl_mem handles on the host side. As an opaque object, address arithmetic cannot be performed on cl_mem handles. Inside an OpenCL 1.2 kernel, memory allocations are represented by pointers annotated with the address space of the allocation or variable.

However, the representation in CUDA is different. In CUDA, allocating a device buffer through cudaMalloc returns a void * pointer which is indistinguishable from a standard CPU pointer. This pointer cannot be de-referenced by the host processor, but address arithmetic can be performed (after casting to the pointer type that allows pointer arithmetic) . On the device side, the CUDA compiler implicitly tracks the address space of pointers internally, without the need for programmer intervention.

In short, while CUDA uses the same types to represent memory allocations on both the CPU and GPU, and can perform address arithmetic in both cases, OpenCL uses unique representations in each case, which requires the use of explicit address spaces, and address arithmetic can only be performed on the device side.

In Eigen the CUDA backend can utilize the result of cudaMalloc directly as the data container in terminal nodes. This representation is automatically valid on the device, with no additional transformations required. However, for OpenCL 1.2 we need two different representations of the expression tree (one for host and one for device) as due to the two different representations of the memory. Therefore, it is necessary to convert the host representation of an expression to a valid device representation. In order to reduce the run-time overhead, we apply the expression conversion as a compile-time transformation.

Eigen provides a pluggable interface for the allocation and deallocation of memory. The allocation method accepts the required allocation size as a parameter and returns a void * pointer. In order to use the same interface here, we map each OpenCL memory object to a proxy host address. From the users point of view, the returned pointer can be used in an identical manner to CUDA’s host-side pointer. When we convert the host expression representation to the device-side representation, these proxy addresses can be replaced with the corresponding OpenCL memory objects. Similarly for deallocating memory, we locate the corresponding OpenCL memory object based on it’s proxy address and release the memory.

Initial Performance Results

The evaluation of the proposed approach was carried out on a single machine with an IntelВ® Coreв„ў i7-6700K CPU, running at 4.00 GHz, with 32Gb of RAM. The GPU used was an AMD R9 Nano.

The following is a logarithmic-scale performance comparison of the Eigen operations registered for SYCL with those registered for the CPU, based on a 4k input data size.

Figure: Performance of Eigen operations using SYCL on a GPU and on a quad-core CPU

We can see that there are cases such as algebraic functions, convolutions, and contractions where we have achieved up to an order-of-magnitude speed-up with SYCL.

The current version of the Eigen codebase contains the initial release of the SYCL backend, and we are continuing to optimize the performance of many of the operations.

A lot of companies screen the typical U.S. and EU sanction lists that are recommended by the BIS and EU. Why do they need Dow Jones content?

Screening against SPL is good but there is gap. Sanctions and their regulators generally say that organizations “owned or controlled” by people and firms on sanctions lists are also sanctioned.

European and U.S. regulatory guidance is more specific — majority ownership by a sanctioned party in the EU, and 50% or greater total ownership by one or more sanctioned parties in the U.S. To close this gap, a lot of companies perform manual research in the commercial register to find out about the ownership structures and to identify, if any of the owners is on a SPL.

This is manual work burden and often an error prone task can be avoided by using Sanctions Ownership Research (SOR) by Dow Jones. SOR data from Dow Jones Risk & Compliance covers companies owned or controlled by individuals, entities, countries or regions sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and/or the European Union.

Does Dow Jones cover only SPLs for U.S. and EU?

Many companies have offices and plants all over the world. AEB, together with Dow Jones, can cover all required lists in all countries you have subsidiaries/export from, so you can be compliant with all relevant countries Sanction Laws.

Mantei elaborates on how AEB and Dow Jones work together.

News icon Walter Cronkite dies at 92

Anchor who spent his early years in Houston was a trusted voice for generations

Walter Cronkite, whose sign-off, «And that’s the way it is,» is as legendary as he is, moved to Houston when he was 10. Betty Tichich/Chronicle file

Walter Cronkite, who spoke to generations of CBS News viewers with unmatched eloquence on the assassination of President Kennedy, Vietnam and Watergate but wasn’t too proud to exclaim, “Oh, boy!” at the splendid wonder of men landing on the moon, died Friday night in New York.

Cronkite, 92, whose career at the anchor desk coincided with the rise of television as a dominant news medium, passed away at his home in New York, a CBS spokesperson said. His family said he had been suffering recent months from cerebrovascular disease.

President Barack Obama on Friday praised Cronkite as the “voice of certainty in an uncertain world.”

“He was the consummate television newsman,” Don Hewitt, the onetime executive producer of the CBS Evening News , told CNN. “He had all the credentials to be a writer, an editor, a broadcaster. There was only one Walter Cronkite, and there may never be another one.”

His death came on the eve of the 40th anniversary of one of the significant events with which he is associated, Apollo 11’s landing on the moon in 1969. And the scope of his life and career — from the battlefields of World War II and Vietnam, through the despair of assassinations and political intrigue and the wonders of space travel — represent, in the words of one biographer, “an incredible window upon 20th-century America.”

“It’s looking at our life and times through the life and times of the most respected journalist that America has ever produced,” said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, whose biography of Cronkite, And That’s the Way it Is: Walter Cronkite and American Journalism, will be published next spring.

“He was known as the most trusted man in America — Uncle Walter — and that remained true. You’d be hard-pressed to find any human being that didn’t like Walter Cronkite.”

From age 6, when he recalls pontificating on the death of President Warren G. Harding, into his 80s, while dictating his oral memoirs to Don Carleton, director of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas, Cronkite remained the consummate newsman.

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“He was such a good journalist because he focused on the news,” Carleton said. “We would be working in Manhattan, and fire trucks would come by on the street below and I would have to talk him out of trying to follow them. He would say, ‘There’s news going on down there.’”

To his successors at the network anchor desks, Cronkite, who worked for CBS News from 1950 through 1981 and was anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News for 19 years, remains the standard by which they are judged and by which they judge themselves.

“He set the standard, and it’s a standard all of us have in the back of our minds,” ABC News anchor Charles Gibson said this week. “He established norms that still exist in this business. He is the little voice that speaks to you.”

Raised in Houston

Cronkite was born Nov. 4, 1916, in St. Joseph, Mo., the son of the former Helen Lena Fritsche and Dr. Walter Leland Cronkite, a dentist. When he was 10, his family moved to Houston, where he was editor of the San Jacinto High School newspaper before attending the University of Texas and, in 1937, joining the United Press wire service.

When the United States entered World War II, he was a war correspondent in North Africa and in Europe, where he covered the Allied invasion of the Netherlands and the Battle of the Bulge.

After postwar duties covering the Nuremberg war crimes trials and as UP’s Moscow correspondent, he was recruited in 1950 by Edward R. Murrow to join CBS News.

His earliest network duties included discussing the news of the day with a puppet lion named Charlemagne as host of the CBS Morning Show .

But it was when he replaced Douglas Edwards as anchor of the CBS Evening News on April 16, 1962, that he began the role for which he will be most remembered.

Assassination milestone

An early defining moment came Nov. 22, 1963, with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Cronkite, in shirt sleeves with his tie loosened, announced word of the president’s death.

“From Dallas, Texas, the flash — apparently official. President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago,” he said. He removed his glasses as he spoke, and he later wrote, “The words stuck in my throat. A sob wanted to replace them. A gulp or two quashed the sob, which metamorphosed into tears forming at the corners of my eyes. I fought back the emotion and regained my professionalism, but it was touch and go there for a few seconds before I could continue.”

Vietnam War reports

Five years later, his observations about the United States’ military efforts in Vietnam, as delivered in a CBS special report on Feb. 27, 1968, after a visit to South Vietnam during the Tet offensive, was seen as a turning point in public opinion.

“To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past,” he said. “To suggest that we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. …

“It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out, then, will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”

As President Lyndon Johnson listened to the broadcast, according to aide Bill Moyers, he said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”

Carleton, whose interviews with Cronkite formed the basis for his autobiography, A Reporter’s Life , said Cronkite knew his words would have impact.

“If anything, he regretted that it wasn’t big enough, because the war went on for five more years,” Carleton said.

Fan of space program

Cronkite was a starry-eyed spectator as man landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. It was, he wrote, “the most extraordinary story of our time” — so much so, in fact, that it left him at a loss for words.

“ ‘Oh, boy! Whew! Boy!’ These were my first words, profundity to be recorded for the ages,” he wrote.

But by 1972, Cronkite found himself in the position of defending CBS from the assault of a Nixon administration determined to intimidate reporters from reporting the facts of the Watergate break-in and the cover-up.

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“The finest thing that ever happened to me in TV news was the way our CBS management allowed us to stand up to the pressures of the Nixon administration,” Cronkite told the Chronicle in 1989.

As the cover-up crumbled, Cronkite was at the anchor desk on Aug. 8, 1974, when Richard Nixon announced his resignation as president. He continued throughout the 1970s as the nation’s most-watched newscaster, and he was credited in 1977, after interviews with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, with helping pave the way to the first peace treaty between the two nations.

In 1979, he informed CBS management that he intended to retire in November 1981, when he turned 65. He restated those plans in 1981 and agreed to step down in March, rather than November, to ensure that CBS could keep his successor, Dan Rather, from jumping to another network.

He delivered his trademark sign off, “And that’s the way it is,” for the last time on March 6, 1981.

“This is but a transition, a passing of the baton. A great broadcaster and gentleman, Doug Edwards, preceded me in this job and another, Dan Rather, will follow,” he said. “Furthermore, I am not even going away. I’ll be back from time to time with special news reports and documentaries. … ”

Frustrated in retirement

In retirement, however, Cronkite was frustrated by cutbacks at CBS and other network news operations and the general decline of network news divisions as cable news became ascendant.

“All of us in those early days of television felt, I’m sure, that we were establishing a set of standards that would be observed or at least have an influence on generations of news professionals to come,” he wrote in his autobiography. “How easily those were dismissed.”

However, his relationship with Rather was far from cordial. When Rather left the CBS Evening News in 2005 after 24 years at the anchor desk, Cronkite had abandoned mincing words. He criticized his successor as “playing the role of newsman” rather than being one. Rather should have been replaced years earlier, he said.

However, in a statement Friday night, Rather praised him. “Walter loved reporting and delivering the news, and he was superb at both. He deserves recognition and remembrance, too, for the way he solidly backed his correspondents and producers, defending them vigorously in coverage of difficult stories such as the Vietnam War and the Watergate crimes.”

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Cronkite was married for nearly 65 years to Betsy Maxwell Cronkite, whom he met in Kansas City. The couple had three children, and Cronkite has four grandchildren. Betsy Cronkite died in 2005.

He received the George Polk Award in 1970 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981. The School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State is named in his honor, and the dean of Texas’ College of Communications occupies the Walter Cronkite Regents Chair in Communication.

After retiring from CBS, Cronkite hosted shows for CNN, National Public Radio and Discovery Channel. His voice still introduces the CBS Evening News , now anchored by Katie Couric.

“His may be the only voice of a television newsman that we still hear in our heads,” Brinkley said. “The way he delivered the news was so memorable and distinctive, but it was never grating. It was reassuring.”

He was an example for all who followed — in Sweden, anchors were known as cronkiters — and his singular stature endures as news delivery systems morph into the 21st century.

“The most trusted voice on the Web?” Carleton said. “It’s kind of hard to imagine that happening.”

STORYFORT PRESENTS: VOICES OF TREEFORT MUSIC FEST

( boise, idaho )
Grab your Treefort wristband, steel cup, open arms, sense of discovery, and get ready to live the Treefort Music Fest magic year-round. Storyfort Presents: Voices of Treefort Music Fest is a podcast featuring TMF super fans, musical wonders, Fort-wide artists, origin stories, founders, on-the-ground narratives, builders, volunteers, and tales of just what it’s like to experience and put together our wholly unique, dynamic, inclusive music and arts festival.

The stories abound. And remember: Treefort is for everyone, as is this podcast. See you at the Fest!

Walking the Walk with Corporate Responsibility

The work does not stop, however, with our products. Stego intends to “walk the walk” in our industry and in our business activities with a variety of corporate sustainability efforts:

  • Operating its headquarters in San Clemente, California, on 100% solar power since 2010, producing more than 253 Megawatt/Hours of clean solar electricity in just the past six years
  • Serving as a pilot manufacturer in the Health Product Declaration Collaborative since its inception, contributing to the open standard with the goal of material transparency
  • Providing our employees a vehicle purchase incentive to upgrade their work-use vehicles to more efficient choices

Founded in 2014, Superloop was created to connect Asia Pacific to the cloud, with a legacy-free network capable of fulfilling the growth in the demand for bandwidth.

Today, Superloop is a trusted provider of connectivity and managed services throughout Asia Pacific. Its full suite of offerings appealing to both businesses and homes.

They own and operate over 894 kilometres of carrier-grade metropolitan fibre networks in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, connecting more than 390 of the region’s key data centres and commercial buildings. Superloop have added a competitive Business National Broadband Network(NBN) offering to its portfolio in Australia providing cost effective, high-speed connectivity to organisations. This combined with their other enterprise grade connectivity offerings across the Asia Pacifc region is helping to support their customers with business critical applications through a consistent, seamless experience through its carrier network.

Superloop’s network is the only network that can deliver a seamless cloud-first experience to the major traffic hubs and enterprise buildings across Asia Pacific.

The challenge

Driven by underlying business growth, a cloud-first consumption model, and increased regulatory pressure in Australia and Asia-Pacific, Superloop’s Chief Information Officer, Andrew Lawrence, looked to develop a comprehensive cyber risk strategy.

As a service provider, Superloop struggled to find a security ratings provider that was able to provide a meaningful cyber risk assessment, and could separate Superloop’s assets from its customers’ online. The team wanted to move away from slow, back-and-forth, spreadsheet-only based security questionnaires that added little value and had no independent assurance.

They needed a solution that was capable of continuously monitoring their vendors’ security posture adding value by calling out high risk areas and providing greater visibility to assess how these might impact their business and ultimately their customers.

Andrew expressed, “We are a service provider for businesses, and in honouring the high level of trust our customers bestow on us we need to ensure our processes and infrastructure provide them with the most secure and reliable services possible.”

The solution

Andrew and his team at Superloop leveraged UpGuard to develop a robust, time-efficient vendor management program that allows them to manage their vast number of vendors on a continuous basis, using our security ratings platform complemented with our intelligent security questionnaires.

Andrew reported to us that his team is now able to onboard new vendors in half the time by using UpGuard Vendor Risk. Our platform provides an evidence-based assessment to easily pinpoint critical vendors and based on the score surfaced helps them to effectively prioritise effort to remediate the risk.

“The challenge of traditional Q&A analysis is processing and interpreting the data and doing something with it. UpGuard’s Vendor Risk automates this process of scoring good versus bad against an intelligent and mature scoring model. This provides us with confidence to quickly assess our areas of critical risks and prioritise the vendors we need to monitor more closely.” Andrew stated.

Our platform also gives Superloop overall visibility of a vendor’s security hygiene from a process and focus perspective. It provides them with the same in-depth insight of their own environment allowing them to make informed decisions about their security posture and prioritise resources appropriately.

Layered insight of supply chain

As a telecommunications provider of secure connectivity and networking services, Superloop’s environment is understandably complex. As a result alongside Vendor Risk, Superloop uses UpGuard BreachSight as part of their supply chain security monitoring program.

Andrew says that, “Our complicated environment requires attention to detail when reviewing security risks. We have many cloud-first vendors so the UpGuard platform allows us to be granular and gives us an interesting layered insight on our supply chain that could have a critical impact on our operation. As a telecommunications company providing mission critical services, this insight is vital.”

How can a solid compliance program impact a company’s bottom line?

I often have companies come to me that say they do business in Russia or China and they have to have employees sit down and do research on a potential customer or business partner to identify, if it is controlled or owned by a sanctioned party.

That is a difficult manual effort that can result in a lot of hours. That cost is saved with a platform like ours where we have a partner like Dow Jones that can provide them with the information they need and without the risk of oversight and error.

What about security? Can companies use Dow Jones content if they do not want their data to leave the company network?

If they use AEB software to screen Dow Jones content, the answer is a clear yes. There are two options: If you want to use an on-premise installation of the Screening software, your data stays within your firewall.

Only the Dow Jones data will be downloaded daily from Dow Jones directly and automatically by the AEB software.

We will not send your data out to be checked by Dow Jones but will download the Dow Jones content ourselves and ensure the safety of your data.

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