This month was peppered with announcements from two of the largest US trade shows: The Consumers Electronics Show (CES) which I wrote about earlier this month, and the North American International Auto Show, highlighted below. In addition, January provided positions regarding blockchain, privacy and smartphone addiction concerns.
Here are the six announcements that caught my eye.
Top Tech Announcements for January 2018
IBM and Maersk Team Up on Blockchain Technologies
IBM, a technology leader, and Maersk, a global provider of shipping containers, are hoping to standardize shipping logistics using cloud-based AI and IoT to build a blockchain methodology that will trace the origin of a shipment to its destination, in ways that are not possible today.
Business Impact: Even though blockchain algorithms have been around for years, this joint venture is the largest endeavor to date to move it off the drawing board. Blockchain technologies reduce supply chain inefficiencies. The net effect is higher productivity and more profits for companies. Look for more announcements in this arena throughout 2018.
Spectre and Meltdown Impact All Computer Chips
While Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Google have delivered security patches on these chip vulnerabilities, users have complained hardware performance has slowed between 6-30 percent and in rare cases, rebooting was not available at all. The impact was also felt with cloud-based offerings including Google Drive.
Sprectre and Meltdown were caused by the use of speculative execution, a method where the hardware or cloud-based offering “guesses” what the user wants based on previous executions or the typed words written so far. While this helps with performance, it has also led to concerns about cyberattacks.
Business Impact: It is my guess, that all chips will need to be replaced or there will be a sense of urgency to upgrade your existing technology.
Linux-Based Open Source Mobile OS
eelo has developed a new smartphone operating system that provides users with the data privacy other providers cannot and do not want to offer, according to Gael Duvel, Founder of eelo. LineageOS will run Android applications. Within two years, they hope to develop their own browser that delivers the same level of privacy on the web.
Business Impact: If this operating system is broadly adopted among the public, Google, Amazon and Apple will have to rethink their business model. Right now, all the data these companies collect is funneled into Big Data models to predict user behavior. As eelo is a non-profit, there is no monetizing requirements for them to be successful.
North American International Auto Show Goes Tech Heavy
This Detroit-based auto show spans 15 days and is still going on as this article is posted. While this show has always introduced concept cars to attendees, the focus this year is on VR, AI, driverless cars and vehicle security. Mercedes-Benz used VR to give participants a glimpse into new car lineups. Blackberry introduced a vehicular cybersecurity product named Jarvis that can predict and fix vulnerabilities within a car. Domino’s teamed up with Ford to showcase a self-driving delivery vehicle that is being tested at the University of Michigan.
Business Impact: Vehicles are going to change over the next several years. As AI, IoT and cybersecurity ramps up, look for more announcements in driverless cars. These announcements may have a positive impact for workers that must travel long distances or in rush hour situations. They will be free to sleep, read or text because the car will be completely automated.
New Lens Technology Will Change Smartphone, VR and AR Technology
Scientists at Harvard University created a metalens that, for the first time, can focus the entire spectrum of light in the same spot using a flat surface. If they can reproduce this in large quantities, cellphones will be much thinner and the need for VR/AR manufacturers to perform chromatic aberration will be gone.
Business Impact: We will be keeping our eye on this technology as the months unfold. Because the camera is such an integral part of mobile and immersion technology, the ability to deliver lighter devices at the same or higher resolution will be very attractive to most developers and organizations.
Apple is Put on Notice Regarding Tech Addiction in Children
In an open letter to investors by Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, a request was made for Apple to give parents more tools to ensure children and teens use their iPhones in an optimal matter. The average U.S. teenager today received a smartphone when they were 10 years old. They currently spend 4.5 hours a day on it, not including text and talk time. According to the complainants, 50% of teenagers feel addicted to their phone.
Business Impact: Given these teenagers will be entering the workplace within one to five years, it is important for businesses to set up a policy regarding the use of smartphones in the workplace and the consequences of violating such policy.
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