In April, both Missouri (Senate Bill 149) and North Dakota (House Bill 1089) enacted legislation creating sales and use tax exemptions for new and expanding data storage centers.
Missouri Senate Bill 149 (“S.B. 149”) provides several state and local sales and use tax exemptions for data storage centers. The first exemption is for all machinery, equipment, computers, electrical energy, gas, water, and other utilities, including telecommunication and Internet services, used in new data storage center facilities. Purchases of tangible personal property for the construction of a new data storage center facility are also exempt. In order to receive the sales tax exemption, an application must be made to the Department of Economic Development (“DED”) for certification. The application must detail that the project will result in at least $25 million of new facility investment and create at least ten new jobs with wages of at least 150% of the county average wage over a three-year period. The maximum project period to receive incentives is 15 years.
S.B. 149 also provides exemptions for expansion of existing data storage centers. Electrical energy, gas, water, and other utilities, including telecommunication and Internet services for expanded existing data storage center facilities are exempt. However, this exemption only applies to increases in consumption for utilities from the previous year. All machinery, equipment, computers used in an expanding data storage center, and all retail sales of tangible personal property for the purpose of constructing, repairing, or remodeling any expanding data storage center are also exempt. An application must be made to the DED for certification, which shows that the project will result in at least $5 million of new facility investment over a 12-month period and create at least five new jobs with wages of at least 150% of the county average wage over a 24-month period. The maximum project period to receive incentives is ten years.
S.B. 149 also allows the DED and the Department of Revenue to conduct random audits to ensure compliance with the exemptions requirements. The bill was signed by Governor Jay Nixon on April 14, 2015, and will become effective August 28, 2015.
North Dakota House Bill 1089 (“H.B. 1089”) provides a sales and use tax exemption for enterprise information technology equipment and computer software purchased for use by a qualifying business in a qualified data center. Owners of a proposed data center must apply to the tax commissioner to be certified as a qualified data center before any related purchases are made, or else a refund may be sought retroactively. Only the first four facilities approved by the tax commissioner will qualify.
A qualified data center will consist of an aggregate 16,000 contiguous square feet or more and will have the following attributes: uninterrupted power supplies, generator backup, or both; sophisticated fire suppression and prevention systems; enhanced security with security features, including permanent security guards, video camera surveillance, an electronic system requiring pass codes, key cards, or biometric scans, such as hand scans or retinal or fingerprint recognition, to restrict access to selected personnel or other similar security features.
The exemption is also available to existing data centers that have undergone substantial refurbishment, with at least 16,000 square feet improved through methods including energy efficiency improvements, building improvements, and the installation of enterprise information technology equipment, environmental controls, and computer software.
H.B. 1089 was passed April 9, 2015 but retroactively effective to January 1, 2015. The exemptions under H.B. 1089 are currently effective through December 21, 2020.
Planning, training and exercising are supposed to be continuous in the emergency management field. The question is, when are you done? When is good, good enough? At what time do you reach the point of diminishing returns?
For planning, it never seems to end. Once a plan is written, you have to train people to the plan and then exercise it with those people and outsiders too. In both training and exercising, you will find gaps in your plan document. This comes from having more eyeballs on the document, and then the act of exercising the plan will reveal areas that either were not addressed at all or are in need of revision.
Today’s threat landscape isn’t getting quieter. In fact, cyber criminals are getting smarter. The “same old same old” just won’t cut it when you’ve got to select an endpoint security solution for use in today’s increasingly toxic threat landscape.
The cold, hard truth is that today’s threat landscape isn’t getting quieter. In fact, cybercriminals are getting smarter. Just consider the three V’s--volume, velocity and variety--that characterize the current endpoint security environment:
(TNS) — The most powerful earthquake to hit Nepal in more than eight decades roared across the impoverished mountain kingdom just before noon Saturday, killing more than 1,800 people, some as far away as India and Bangladesh, and devastating a crowded base camp at Mt. Everest.
Signature buildings collapsed in the ancient Old Katmandu quarter of the capital, including the Dharahara Tower, a 200-foot-tall structure built in 1832. Emergency response officials said at least 60 tourists were buried under rubble while visiting the popular site at the busiest time of day. Other historic buildings in Katmandu Valley’s UNESCO-designated heritage sites were also damaged or destroyed by the magnitude 7.8 temblor, including Patan Durbar Square.
“Responders are trying to dig people out,” said Prajana W. Pradham of the CARE relief agency. “This quake was so big.”
Officials said the death toll was likely to increase dramatically, perhaps to as many as 10,000, as emergency response crews reach more remote areas of the country of 28 million.
It’s easy to type cast analytics. After all, it so easy fits in with BI that we tend to want to think about Big Data as a tool for business analysts, finance and IT leaders. But nobody puts Big Data in a corner, and a recent DC Velocity article shows why.
If you’re unfamiliar with the magazine/website, DC Velocity covers supply chain and logistics, and the piece is actually a republished CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly journal article. The point of the article is to show how Big Data analytics can be useful to supply chain leaders, but it actually makes the case for why all managers should educate themselves on analytics.
“Without a full understanding of what the field of analytics is about, supply chain managers may be missing out on many opportunities—both for their companies and for themselves,” the article states.
Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages need to be longer, URLs should be included, message order must be changed and more outreach is needed, according to a new study conducted for the U.S. DHS.
The Comprehensive Testing of Imminent Threat Public Messages for Mobile Devices study used focus groups, interviews, post-incident surveys and experiments to thoroughly examine WEA messages. With $980,000 provided by the Commerce Department to DHS’ Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, the study was conducted by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. The study’s principal investigator, Brooke Fisher Liu, said the empirical-based guidance “can potentially help alert originators improve how they currently craft and disseminate WEAs.”
Denis Gusty, a program manager with DHS S&T, said he was not surprised by any of the research findings, but hopes stakeholders will read the report and make adjustments where appropriate by putting the information into practice. Suggested changes relative to message length and content are already under consideration by key stakeholders charged with making WEA recommendations to the FCC through the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council.
Batteries are a common site at most data centers, but while they typically form the heart of emergency backup architectures, there are growing signs that they could emerge as primary, or at least co-primary, power sources as well.
This trend seems to be part and parcel to the steadily increasing use of hydro, solar and other renewables to power the data center, as well as the rise of low-power, modular infrastructure in cloud-facing, hyperscale facilities.
Microsoft, for one, has been experimenting with a number of battery technologies for a while now, ostensibly to lower operating costs of its Azure cloud. In one project, the company has come up with a new lithium ion design called the Local Energy Storage (LES) unit, according to tech journalist Timothy Prickett Morgan. The system features the normal Panasonic cell that powers microservers and other devices, but rather than hang it off the side of the server, Microsoft dropped it into the switched mode power supply in the Open Cloud Server architecture. In this way, power can go directly to existing circuits without additional wiring and components. This also removes the battery from the path between the power source and the motherboard, ultimately reducing the load on bulk capacitors in backup power systems. The batteries cost only a few dollars when purchased in bulk and are estimated to cut operating costs by about a quarter.
ORLANDO, Fla. – The U.S. Army trains teams for a host of armored vehicles and mechanized units on the Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT), a computer-driven, manned module simulator. These simulators replicate vehicle interiors in close combat units such as the M1 Abrams Tank, the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle, the Humvee and others. In late 2012, CCTT began investigating the use of a game engine based solution as an Image Generator for the CCTT. Orlando-based AVT Simulation, the prime contractor of the Post Deployment Software Support (PDSS) for the CCTT program, was selected by CCTT to lead the task. Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), which develops the Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3) software series used for Army's Games for Training Program of Record, joined the team as a subcontractor and significantly modified VBS3 to serve as the CCTT image generator software. On January 5th - 8th, representatives from US Army Training Capabilities Manager - Virtual (TCM - V) and the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) participated in the VBS IG assessment for training readiness. The core CCTT tenets of Move, Shoot, & Communicate were successfully demonstrated in a variety of maneuver exercises and gunnery scenarios on the Ft. Hood and National Training Center terrain in both daylight and nighttime conditions. At the completion of the testing, the TCM-V concurred that the VBS IG was acceptable for training. "This effort was the result of over two years of work on the part of AVT Simulation and Bohemia Interactive Simulations. The effort was focused on reducing sustainment and licensing costs, leveraging gaming technology for CCTT, and providing an unprecedented level of realism to the soldier in the CCTT Training System," said Matt Jemtrud, AVT Program Manager for CCTT PDSS.
"The use of a VBS-based IG system provides higher fidelity, enables greater customization and ultimately enhances the training capabilities of our warfighters." - John Givens
"We are pleased to have achieved this important milestone toward upgrading the IG software in the Army's CCTT," said John Givens, U.S. president of Bohemia Interactive Simulations. "The use of a VBS-based IG system provides higher fidelity, enables greater customization and ultimately enhances the training capabilities of our warfighters." The new image generator provides CCTT with higher fidelity terrains, rendering complexity and gives more control over the software. Through its work on the CCTT project, BISim has developed Computer Image Generated Interface (CIGI) compliant image generator software. This means that other customers using legacy or existing image generators can take advantage of VBS image generator capabilities for synchronized multichannel simulations. "Decoupling the simulation from the image generation was a tremendous effort," Givens said. "CCTT served as a proving ground for our new product VBS IG. There were quite a few performance enhancements to VBS that came directly from working with CCTT. We look forward to supporting CCTT in the coming years." "It was an exciting challenge for our team to integrate the latest gaming technology into this US Army legacy institutional trainer," said Founder and CEO of AVT Simulation, Robert Abascal. "The technology transitions the program to take advantage of the tremendous advancements occurring in the gaming arena. All of this will bring better training to our warfighters. This is the most gratifying part of tackling this important project and that is to make a difference in the preparation of our Army's training needs and readiness."
Founded in 1998, is an Orlando-based, full-service modeling and simulation minority-owned small disadvantage business and is a certified ISO 9001:2008 company. AVT provides professional engineering services and training solutions to the simulation, training and entertainment markets. Since its inception, AVT has been fortunate to provide our highly specialized staff of engineers to some of the top leaders in the simulation industry. With an average of over 20 years of simulation experience, our dedicated staff provides specialized solutions for customers requiring point solutions to complex problems. Located in the University of Central Florida Research Park, AVT has forged relationships and partnerships within the simulation industry to bring together a synergistic team of highly specialized expertise to provide our customers with the best products and services the industry can offer.
BOHEMIA INTERACTIVE SIMULATIONS
Founded in 2001, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) is a global software company at the forefront of simulation training solutions for military and civilian organizations. BISim develops high-fidelity, cost-effective technologies for tactical military training. We apply game-based technology to a range of breakthrough, military-specific training and simulation software products. For more information, visit our website at www.bisimulations.com.
The leading UK identity intelligence firm buys US geolocation company for US$13.4m
LONDON – GBGroup PLC (GBG), the global leader in identity data intelligence solutions, has acquired the entire issued share capital of Loqate, a leading provider of global location intelligence data and technology. The US$13.4m acquisition will see Chester, UK headquartered GBG expand its reach and increase its offering to new markets and customers across the globe.
Loqate, founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Mateo, California, was recently named the sixth fastest-growing private company in Silicon Valley. Its services allow clients to make more informed use of location information, specifically for Geolocation Information Systems, mapping and Location Based Services.
Key applications include data quality management, direct marketing, fraud detection, online payment processing and transaction monitoring. Loqate's solutions are truly global, covering more than 240 countries and territories around the world.
Loqate focusses on providing unparalleled levels of customer support and clients include Fortune 1000 corporations who have a requirement to manage location data from multiple countries. Additionally, Loqate has relationships with some of the world's largest software vendors, including IBM, Oracle, Pitney Bowes and Software AG, enabling them to significantly enhance the functionality and capability of their own product offerings.
The purchase will enable GBG to bring together all the data that sits behind its address and identity verification solutions into one common global platform - making for a seamless integration of registration, onboarding and identity checking processes. It will also further support GBG's expansion by allowing access to the North American market through Loqate's significant partnerships with some of the world's largest software companies.
GBG and Loqate comments
- Richard Law, CEO at GBGroup: "As an investor in Loqate over the last four years we have seen the business grow quickly and establish first class reseller relationships with blue chip partners. Our expectation is that the business will continue to grow and that the customer base will provide further opportunities for the cross sell of GBG products and services. The acquisition also gives GBG a strategic footprint in Silicon Valley from which to market and sell our growing portfolio of products and services into mainland USA and Canada."
- Martin Turvey, CEO at Loqate: "Our acquisition by GBG allows us to extend the positive relationship we already enjoy and to offer an exciting new range of identity-based products and services to our existing customers, as well as to new international markets. We believe that this will secure a future place for our location intelligence products within a truly global suite of identity related services."
Toolhireclub.com an industry first for a Motor Factor Group
READING, United Kingdom –Innoverne, the Circular Commerce specialists, today announced a major national tool hire programme and website development for The Parts Alliance.
Toolhireclub.com is the first tool hire programme launched by a Motor Factor group. The programme provides independent garages and workshops fast, easy and secure access to more than 300 special service tools and equipment covering every major area of service and repair. Standard delivery is as quick as next business day on tools ordered before 4:00pm the previous day.
Toolhireclub’s easy to use website offers three levels of annual subscription - Gold, Silver and Bronze. Hire prices are determined by membership level and the respective capital cost of the tool. With a Gold subscription, rental for tools and equipment worth less than £50 is free.
Paul Dineen, head of The Parts Alliance’s Servicesure Autocentres garage programme, said: “We are really excited about our national tool hire programme and the significant benefits it can bring to the Aftermarket. It’s about speed, convenience and being able to access specialist tools without the traditional costs of ownership. The commercial proposition is hugely attractive, given that tools can be hired for low prices that otherwise would cost thousands of pounds to buy.”
Founder and CEO of Innoverne Julian Thomas, said: “The Parts Alliance is the first Motor Factor group to truly understand that the future lies in being able to ‘access’ tools as opposed to only owning them. Their response is smart and price competitive and will add tremendous value to independent garages and workshops who can’t possibly afford to buy all the tools and equipment they need to service their customers.”
A subscription to Toolhireclub starts from as little as £2 a day. By using Toolhireclub.com members can search for the right tools by VRM look-up, vehicle make, model, OEM part number, engine code or type of work. Both the delivery and collection of tools is free, with insurance premiums also included in the rental pricing.
Innoverne runs the entire Toolhireclub programme on behalf of The Parts Alliance. Innoverne has developed and hosts the Toolhireclub.com website, and will manage customer accounts and subscriptions, tool inventory and storage, security and tracking, packaging, forward & reverse logistics, contact centre support and billing.
Underpinned by Innoverne’s Circular Commerce platform, Toolhireclub.com’s simplicity belies a suite of class-leading technologies and business processes provided by Innoverne. Innoverne’s platform supports hire, collaborative commerce or product-as-a-service propositions. The Parts Alliance’s Toolhireclub programme incorporates:
- Customer and Subscription Management
- Real Time Tool Availability and Order Management
- Asset and Inventory Management
- Product Information Management and Bill of Materials (BOM)
- Order & Returns Management
- Asset Security and Tracking
- Omni-Channel Commerce
- Payment, incl Insurance and Refundable Policy Excess
- Outbound and Return Logistics
- Contact Centre and Customer Service
Backed by HgCapital, the mid-market private equity investor, The Parts Alliance is the UK and Ireland’s largest group of wholly owned and franchised businesses supplying OE and quality auto parts to national and local independent garages and workshops.