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Samsung continues to dominate global NAND flash memory market

As you may know, the NAND flash memory chip was originally introduced by none other than Toshiba, but since its birth, the industry’s landscape has transformed dramatically: namely, Samsung has emerged as the market leader, and according to the latest data, it looks as though that trend is going to continue for the time being.

According to DRAMeXchange, Samsung reached a whopping $14.151 billion in NAND flash memory sales alone last year. That’s a significant lead since Toshiba – coming in second place – saw a total of $7.898 billion. Overall, the South Korean electronics giant saw its sales increase by 34 percent compared to the year before whereas Toshiba saw a decent 18.4 percent increase.

Now this is a trend that we’ve been seeing over a year now: the gap started to really appear towards the end of 2015, especially during Q4 when Toshiba’s total sales decreased, and Samsung sold almost double the amount of that Toshiba did. But what’s particularly impressive with last year’s figures is that the gap between these two companies had never exceeded $6 billion. Samsung has come a long way since 2013 when it first started the mass production of 3D NAND flash memories – a technology that Toshiba has been struggling with.

The general consensus amongst market analysts is that Samsung will continue to dominate global NAND flash memory sales, but Toshiba may have a plan of its own. Since early this year, rumors started circulating regarding Toshiba’s plan to sell a minority stake in its chip business in order to alleviate its financial problems. Some predict that Western Digital Corp might be a potential buyer, and these two companies’ combined shares could exceed that of Samsung. Of course, there are antitrust laws, and the process of the buyout – if Western Digital Corp is even interested – would take a very long time, but either way, Toshiba’s sale of its chip business is expected to be completed by early 2018. Though Samsung’s growth seems unstoppable, with Toshiba’s chip business soon to be spun off, the industry may see yet another shift soon.

source: – Android Authority
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Canadian GDP Increased 0.4% in November

gdp increased

Statistics Canada, the country’s central statistical office, announced on January 31 that Real GDP increased 0.4% between October and November, to C$1.69 trillion (about $1.29 trillion U.S.), as a result of strengthening manufacturing and construction levels, as well as natural resource development. Economists at the Royal Bank of Canada had initially expected an increase of 0.3%.

GDP increased 1.6% in November 2016, compared to the same month in 2015. Statistics Canada also revised October’s GDP decline to 0.2%, from an earlier estimate of 0.3%.

GDP growth in November was due in large part to higher manufacturing output. After a 1.7% fall in October, production rose 1.4% in November, the largest increase in the previous five months. Output increased 0.6% on a year-over-year comparison.

Jamie McCabe, president of McCabe Promotional Advertising (asi/264901), says his company’s clients have been eager to buy the Canadian-made goods they’re offering this year for Canada 150. His company has already increased year-over-year sales by 30%. “One of our strategies leading up to the sesquicentennial was to research and develop a robust offering of made-in-Canada goods,” he says. “The reaction from our client base has been phenomenal. The timing was serendipitous with Trump’s potential changes within NAFTA, and we’ll continue to research and grow our collections.”

Canadian construction activity grew 1.1%, after falling 0.6% in October. Mining and energy extraction, particularly oil and gas, grew 1.4% in November thanks to increased activity in the Alberta oil sands, as well as in iron ore and potash. This follows a 0.5% decrease the previous month.

Goods-producing industries grew 0.9% between October and November, while the services sector grew 0.2%, and the finance and insurance industry rose 1.5% – its best month-over-month growth in almost two years. Retail trade also grew 0.7% in November.

However, the country saw contraction in the wholesale and real estate markets, which fell 0.2% from October, its first month-to-month decline since 2014. Statistics Canada ascribed the decrease to new mortgage-lending policies put into effect in mid-October in order to rein in the housing market. It reports that activity among real estate agencies and brokerages fell 6.2% between October and November.

The utilities market also declined by 3% month-over-month, due to unseasonably warm weather in the western part of the country.

While the numbers look promising, some economists are preaching caution. “Overall, the drag on the economy from the oil price slump has finally faded, but the decline in real estate is a sign that the nascent housing downturn represents a new drag on economic growth,” Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note. “It also remains to be seen whether the Trump administration’s policies will be a positive (via fiscal stimulus) or negative (border adjustment, protectionism) for Canada.”

Promotional products professionals are also cautiously optimistic about Canada’s economy. Stan Gallen, senior vice president of sales & marketing at Debco (asi/48885), says that the positive numbers are heartening, but that Canada’s economy is far from flourishing. “Uncertainty has become the new norm and we’ve had to adapt quickly to an ever-changing landscape that’s more tied to the global economy than ever before,” he says. “In years past, forecasting was a bit more predictable than it is these days. The butterfly effect is now more pronounced, with even the most seemingly insignificant policy changes making a difference in our own country.”

Meanwhile, McCabe is certain about his company’s – and the industry’s – ability to adapt to policy changes. “With change comes opportunity, and we’re interested to see if there will be a shift in the global trade agreements,” he says. “It may mean opportunities to improve trade agreements between Canada and other countries. Trump is changing the landscape quickly with no plans to slow down. We will do our best to adapt and react to the best of our abilities.”

Source: ASI news

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Alibaba Website Designated Again as ‘Notorious Market’

Alibaba Group’s Taobao online shopping site was named once again to the United States Trade Representative’s “Notorious Markets List,” calling into question the headway the Alibaba website has made in combating counterfeit goods.

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) warned Alibaba a year ago that it needed to improve its anti-counterfeiting efforts or else be added to the black market list. The Alibaba website has undertaken steps to facilitate counterfeit removals, and said this year it more than doubled the number of product listings it removed compared to a year ago. Still, the USTR in its reported stated that “while recent steps set positive expectations for the future, current levels of reported counterfeiting and piracy are unacceptably high.” For example, the USTR said that one large motor vehicle manufacturer reported that at least 95% of items on Alibaba platforms bearing the company’s brand name were counterfeit.

In a statement, Alibaba Group President Michael Evans cited the more the 100,000 brands that operate in Alibaba marketplaces as one reason that Taobao does not belong on the list. “Unfortunately, the USTR’s decision leads us to question whether the USTR acted based on the actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate,” Evans said.

The “Notorious Market” designation only applies to Taobao (which has been compared to U.S. sites like Amazon and eBay), and not, the B-to-B sourcing platform offered by Alibaba Group. Taobao was previously on the Notorious Markets list from 2008-2012, while was removed from the list in 2011.

In recent years, the Alibaba website has restructured its counterfeit reporting policies to allow products to be removed more quickly. In October the company told the USTR that over a 12-month span ending in August, 380 million product listings were removed and about 180,000 Taobao stores were closed. In 2014, counterfeit-tracker Net Names told the Wall Street Journal that of the brands it works with, 20%-80% of their items on Taobao are counterfeit.

The recent Notorious Markets designation could damage Alibaba’s continued efforts to make inroads into the U.S. However, the company continues to accrue impressive growth, including a 55% increase in revenue for its fiscal second quarter ending in September and increases from 3.61 yuan per share to 5.26 per share.

On Counselor’s recent 2016 Power 50 list, Alibaba website founder Jack Ma and CEO Daniel Zhang ranked 28th, but dropped 11 spots compared to the previous year’s list.  All the more reason to look at local distributors with a solid track record of delivering quality products from verified sources.

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April Promotion

Order your custom usb drives, lanyards, power banks or bluetooth speakers from USB Canada by April 30th and receive your order without paying any shipping.

*Applies to orders of 100 units or more only.

Just click on the banner to get a quote and save.

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The USB Canada Advantage

According to marketing statistics, custom USB flash drives provide more return on investment than any other souvenir. Companies spend thousands of dollars on marketing each year and all of this money is spent to create brand awareness and loyalty. Ultimately the goal is sales but for some companies the goal is brand exposure to customers.  Many have understood this and chose to be loyal  to the USB Canada advantage.

Calendars, magnets, bags, wearables – these are just a few of the overused promotional products that promoters often turn to. There is one item, however, that thousands of marketers are using for its proven, repeat performance – that item is the customized USB flash drive.

When Canadian marketers, small businesses, or corporations decide to create a custom flash drive, there’s one service provider the keep coming back to, USB Canada.

As one of the industry’s leading USB creators, USB Canada has long-standing relationships with specialized vendors, and access to unique services that other promotional product manufacturers simply don’t offer.

If you’re thinking about working with a USB drive manufacturer, consider the many benefits of choosing USB Canada:

1 – We are a one-stop USB shop. We design, engineer, manufacture, package, and even distribute custom USBs directly to your customers.

2 – We work with clients in a variety of industries: from music to education, to healthcare, marketing to direct mail, and everything in between.

3 – Our clients can choose color printing or laser engraving to feature their logo or brand name on a custom flash drive; or, they can Go BIG, and design a completely unique custom USB of any shape and size, in a variety of materials.

4 – We are more than just a USB manufacturer. Our expertise extends far beyond our mastery of all things USB. We can produce custom powerbanks, bluetooth speakers, earbuds, lanyards and much more.

5 – Our clients can choose to incorporate data services on a pre-loaded USB flash drive.

6 – Our customer service exceeds clients’ expectations every step of the way. We guarantee fast delivery, easy work processes, 3D renderings, and physical prototypes – ensuring that you get the best product possible with minimal road bumps.

7 – We’ve worked with big companies, Universities and marketing agencies like Canadian Tire, Boston Pizza, Mazda Canada, Bombardier, Starbucks and many more, yet we provide even our smallest business clients with the same level of stellar customer service and design.

8 – We can create exact replicas of licensed products and corporate branded products. We’ve manufactured custom USBs in the shape of guitars, fish, bullets, poker chips, tools, boats, planes, trains, automobiles, cameras and more. We have proven time and time again, that no one in the industry can come close to our level of design and engineering.

Put the odds in your favour and experience the USB Canada Advantage. The innovative pioneers of customized flash drives at USB Canada are standing by to help you fulfill your next promotional product order. Like the thousands of marketers before you, we promise you’ll experience unparalleled customer service and unmatched design and creative services. Just give us a call!

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Flash storage poised to benefit healthcare IT

Flash storage may help healthcare IT handle growing data storage needs.

The economics of flash storage are changing, and the healthcare industry is in a perfect position to take advantage of these changes to solve multiple challenges.

As previously covered on Dell Tech Page One, healthcare has an exploding data storage problem. Increased use of electronic health records (EHRs) and digital images (among other issues) has healthcare CIOs struggling for cost-effective storage solutions, including the cloud and aggressive data-tiering.

The issue with these solutions is that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is very specific and rigorous about putting data in the cloud. Choosing the wrong partner could expose you to risk and fines. And, surprisingly, with the exception of “cold” data — which is usually held on tape and other cheap storage solutions — flash storage is starting to be more economically viable for tier 1 storage, and possibly for lower tiers as well.

It isn’t just that flash storage is getting cheaper (though it is). It’s also that flash storage lets you save money on the surrounding infrastructure. On a pure GB/dollar point of view, spinning disks are still cheaper than flash storage, but that’s not the right way to look at it anymore.

Flash storage lowers your storage footprint by 84 percent, saving you money both in terms of physical space and environmental costs. Because of its 90 percent lower latency, flash allows you to run more virtual machines and fewer physical servers, further reducing costs. Flash storage also allows better storage utilization and better scalability.

And perhaps the most overlooked part of all of this is that, because of all the savings above, you often lower licensing costs because you are running less hardware. Add it all up, and the case for flash improves significantly.
Benefits of using flash storage in healthcare

The obvious first benefit of using flash storage in healthcare is that it gives you the opportunity to make more data readily available with low latency and at lower costs than other solutions. This is not merely a matter of convenience, it is an actual necessity in healthcare.

Reforms around the Affordable Care Act put more emphasis than ever on preventive care. The emphasis for health professionals is on follow-up care to prevent patient re-hospitalizations and on intervening with chronic diseases before they become acute. In other words, more data will be “hot” and an increasing number of departments within a healthcare organization will be accessing that hot data. Flash is a good way to respond to these changing methods of accessing your data.

Another major benefit to bringing more flash into healthcare is its advantages to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Virtual desktops are an attractive solution in a healthcare environment, and flash’s low latency is ideal for it. VDI allows use of EHRs in a much more secure environment. Terminals throughout the hospital (sometimes left unattended by necessity) are no longer physical points of access to privileged data and sensitive networks. Administrators can manage access and permissions better with VDI, and more easily update terminals. This is especially valuable for remote clinics, where IT professionals are not always available to easily secure and update remote terminals. A secure virtual desktop makes HIPAA violations far less likely.

Another reason flash storage is beneficial for healthcare environments is because it scales fast. Mass casualty and trauma events can tax systems and quickly use up system resources. Flash, with its low latency and ease of use with virtual machines, allows hospitals to spin up storage quickly in response to emergencies.
Future potential for flash storage in healthcare

In the near future, you will also see flash storage used in medical research, as well as in the growing field of personalized medicine. Particularly resource-intensive functions, such as genome mapping, will become more common in both research and personalized medicine. These advances will mean that medicine will be prescribed, in part, based on a patient’s genetic makeup. For instance, some medication has been known to work on some people and blocked in other people with certain inhibiting genes. Previously, this medication would fail to be approved by governing bodies.

However, personalized medicine and big data might soon be giving a new lease on life to these drugs. The data storage needs to accommodate these advances will increase exponentially, and Flash will serve as a major component in meeting the challenge. Now is the time to build your internal capabilities and infrastructure in preparation for the future data storage needs of healthcare.

How much you use flash depends partially on your type of environment. Some healthcare enterprises will be able to use cheaper options for some or all of their storage needs. But the economics of flash are changing. Less hardware, less physical space, less latency, combined with more scalability and power means flash, and even all-flash storage arrays, may be the right solution for a healthcare CIOs needs.

By David Wagner – Tech Page One

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Bruce Springsteen Launching Official Bootleg Series via USB Wristbands

Bruce Springsteen is known as one of the most legendary live performers in rock history.  So many fans will doubtless be delighted to learn that the Boss is following in the footsteps of groups like Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Phish by launching an official bootleg series on a USB wristbands. This will mean that a upcoming shows will be made available as live albums.

An update on Springsteen’s official Twitter account explains, “Coming soon: fans will be able to purchase USB wristbands online and on tour & pick 1 live to show to download starting w/1.26 in Cape Town… Shows will be available to download within approx. 48 hrs. after the concert ends. Online orders begin next week. Stay tuned for more info!”

The wristbands will also apparently be available at venues. Above is a photo of what the items look like [via]. They look very similar to the ones Matchbox 20 have been selling; Rob Thomas apparently inspired Springsteen to launch the program.

Springsteen told NPR [via Rolling Stone], “I’d like to get an archival series going in some way. I’d like to make things more available through the internet. The internet has become our friend… I think we live more in a Grateful Dead touring idea that everything you do is recorded now. And that’s okay with me, you know. As a matter of fact, I believe on this tour, we’re starting to do something like you can come in, you can buy a [wrist]band, you can get a copy of the night’s show. So hopefully we’re gonna do that at a really nice-quality level.”

Unfortunately, the songwriter doesn’t yet have any Canadian tour dates booked, since the bulk of his schedule is taking place in the southern hemisphere in the coming weeks. Hopefully North American shows will be booked soon, since he is supporting the newly released High Hopes.

By Alex HudsonBruce