House Members Announce New Congressional Payments Technology Caucus

Representatives Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03), Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), David Scott (GA-13), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) of the U.S. House of Representatives have announced the formation of the Congressional Payments Technology Caucus (CPTC).

The mission of the CPTC is to explore the new and innovative technologies in the payments industry, as well as answer questions about data security, unbanked users’ access to electronic payments, and more. Each founding member also serves on the House Financial Services Committee and has a strong interest in educating fellow members and the public on consumer protection when it comes to electronic payments. Below are statements from each founding member.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland: “Global technology is growing and changing at a rapid pace and has a dramatic effect on our consumer payment systems and cyber security. The formation of the CPTC will help keep members up to date on industry changes, serve as an invaluable resource for information, and provide a panel for discussion on future legislation. Georgia is a leader in this industry and I look forward to representing the interests of Georgia on this caucus.”
Rep. Randy Neugebauer: “Innovative payments technology continues to expand opportunity for individuals and families in the 19th District of Texas and across America. Many of these new technologies will help address some of our most pressing financial services challenges such as cyber and data security. Today’s launch of the CPTC, and our bipartisan group of members, will elevate the dialogue and better equip Congress to address the issues that matter the most to American consumers.”
Rep. David Scott: “As a member of the Financial Services Committee, I have learned that the payments industry is a large, diverse industry that touches every segment of our financial economy. Most electronic transactions in the US pass through Georgia-based companies. Yet, many of our colleagues in Congress are not as aware of the many challenges and benefits facing the payments sector. The new caucus will increase the awareness of the industry and help address major issues such as security and consumer protections.”
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema: “Innovative payment technologies help Arizona small businesses and entrepreneurs grow and succeed.  The CPTC brings members from both parties together to highlight the importance of developing new payment technologies and protecting consumer privacy and security. I look forward to working with the CPTC to foster innovation, protect consumers, and support small businesses.”
The CPTC has been supported by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), a leader in consumer payment technology advocacy: “This new caucus is important for the payments industry, American consumers and our economy,” said Jason Oxman, CEO of ETA. “As the trade association of more than 500 U.S. payments technology companies, ETA applauds the leadership of Representatives Westmoreland, Scott, Neugebauer, and Sinema and look forward to working with caucus members to advance deployment of payments technologies that grow our economy while improving the lives of all Americans.”
Source:  Representative Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)

Quote of the Day: “What problem is it solving for our guests?”

From Alan Wizemann, VP of product at Target.com and mobile: “There is a lot of emerging technology, but the first thing we ask is, ‘What problem is it solving for our guests?’  We ask that it not introduce anything into their usual behaviors in stores or introduce a new behavior that can be detrimental to the shopping experience.”

Tag Heuer, Breitling, Swatch & others usher in Swiss smartwatch movement ahead of Apple Watch

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

The Swiss watch market is bracing for the smartwatch movement, with many fearing another downturn for traditional mechanical timepieces much the same as when low cost Quartz movements were first introduced.

Industry players don’t intend to sit around and see how Apple Watch sells against traditional watches, however, as many of the watch world’s biggest luxury watchmakers— Tag Heuer, Breitling, Swatch, Frederique Constant—are showing off their first smart watches at Baselworld 2015 this week, the premier tradeshow for the jewelry industry where most Swiss watchmakers choose to unveil their latest creations each year.

A few on the list below were announced in the weeks leading up to Baselworld which officially starts today, but this week will be the first time anyone actually gets their hands on these new Swiss smartwatches that hope to compete with the Apple Watch. We’ll be updating this list as more luxury smart watches get unveiled in Basel, Switzerland.

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These Are the 15 Cities With the Most High-Tech Jobs

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Originally posted on TIME:

The United States’ GDP of $16.3 trillion in 2014 was the highest in the world, due in large part to the strength of U.S. industries. However, all industries are not equal in terms of their contribution to economic output.

While the U.S. economy is among the world’s strongest, however, other countries continue to invest in education, technology, innovation, and other industries that invigorate economies, and the U.S. is falling behind. The percentage of U.S. workers employed in what the Brookings Institution calls “advanced industries” has fallen from 11.6% in 1980, to 8.7% in 2013. While this was a slight improvement from 8.4% in 2010, the need for a resurgence in the nation’s most important industries is more pressing than ever.

The Brookings Institution identified 50 advanced industries. To be considered advanced, an industry’s research and development spending must exceed $450 per employee, and the proportion of STEM (science, technology, engineering…

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Gigabit Nation: Is Your City a High Speed Broadband Connectivity Hub? | HP

The long-awaited ultrafast broadband boom is under way. Across the U.S., cities large and small are pursuing high speed gigabit connectivity for households and businesses. The impact is greater than the convenience of data streaming roughly 50 times faster than the average available speed. The cities that can adopt gigabit connectivity first and best are likely to emerge as the country’s newest tech hubs.

More: Gigabit Nation: Is Your City a High Speed Broadband Connectivity Hub? | HP.

What it means to be Human: Technology Changes. You Don’t. What I’ve Learned at SXSW

Austin is alive with rodeo stars and tech geeks this week at the annual Texas convergence of cow chips and digital chips.

SXSW is downtown while the Austin Rodeo is outside town.  Through it all, its obvious that the more things change, the more it stays the same.  Of course, the “it” is you.

In between seeking out the wearables ad nausea, swatting away the swarms of personal drones, feigning enthusiasm for another round of pathetic video games based on “deceit”  and stealing the identity of someone else, new ways to fund a clever idea with a dubious business case, and learning new buzzwords never imagined by people five years older than you, it occurs to me that being human is pretty much the same as ever.

Everyone I’ve met at SXSW wants to feel connected to a community. We want to share something about ourselves. We want to defy death and get an Adrenalin rush without really risking bodily harm. We want to play a game that let’s us set a record score while beating the pants off someone else.  We want to be like certain people. We want to spy on people. We want a new reality. We want to pretend we’re somebody else. We want to avoid certain people. We want to avoid hassle.  We want something to help us get to somewhere else. We want information. We want something we never knew we needed.

In other words, we want to be Human. Whether you’re a cowboy. Or, a zillionaire. A champion gamer. Or, a 17-year old film director.  We’re all the same. So, while I’ve learned that technology and buzzwords change. Being human doesn’t.  The secret is how can technology put us in better touch with being Human. Most of what I’ve seen so far didn’t.

“Don’t call it Atlas Ventures” raises $200M, offers crowd $50k to help it come up with a name

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Originally posted on PandoDaily:

Atlas

Fancy yourself good at branding? Its a skill that could earn you $50,000 and the chance to triple (or better) your money over the next 10 years.

Pando has learned that FKA, the early stage technology-focused spinoff of Boston’s Atlas Ventures is launching its maiden fund today. The team has $200 million in cash lined up and expects to close the fund in full today, a spokesperson for the firm confirmed. The only issue – or opportunity, depending on your perspective – is that it currently has no name. The life sciences division of Atlas kept the name in the (amicable) separation while FKA got custody of the office space.

“[This is the] first time a venture firm with no name [has] closed a fund,” the FKA spokesperson told me.

Still, the blank masthead is just a temporary situation, as FKA is launching a contest to crowdsource a firm name, offering the winner a place…

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