Tech Talk Thursday: June Announcements Worth Noting

Tech Talk Thursday: June Announcements Worth Noting | HTR

Other than the Apple announcements at WWDC18, the most interesting ones this month revolved around internet security, AI, Linux skills, gaming, and a notable trend about Facebook usage.  

Here is a summary of the seven announcements I found to have the greatest impact on your business, governmental agency or association.

Top Tech Announcements for June

New Gaming Laptop: Razer Blade 15

This new system has a good battery life, excellent trackpad and a solid build. It offers gamers and the gaming developers the smallest footprint of any 15.6” laptop, which means it is light to carry around. Having three USB-A, one USB-C, a HDMI, and mini Display ports, it can attach to almost any device a gamer might need.

Business Impact: With the ability to run Windows 10 and the fact it is VR ready, it can serve as a business device, attach to Virtual Reality headsets and act as a gaming system for gaming rentals.

E3 2018 Was All About Sequel Games

This expo was a bit of a yawner with no hardware announcements from Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony. However, games like Halo, The Last of Us, The Elder Scrolls and Kingdom Hearts released sequels, which were both appreciated and expected. There were a few new games that offered high resolution and realistic violence, geared toward serious gamers who enjoy this type of environment.

Business Impact: Games are big business and between Gaming and Esports, they are going to continue to explode in popularity. Companies will either be hosting these types of events, sponsoring them or taking part in the development cycle.

Wi-Fi Security Improves with the Rollout of WPA3

The Wi-Fi Alliance launched Wi-Fi Certified WPA3, a more secure protocol for internet communication. It will enable better authentication and deliver increased cryptographic strength by supporting 192-bit encryption. It is resistant to password guessing. It will also allow faster and better connection of IoT devices.

Business Impact: The implementation of WPA3 requires a new certification process for IT personnel and a rewrite of client software, so it may take up to twenty-four months until it is widely available. However, this new level of security will certainly help keep cybercriminals at bay and should be an important element in your cybersecurity strategy.

IBM Works on Fighting Facial Recognition Bias

Big Blue recognizes there is a big problem with facial recognition…unless of course, you are a white male. A study from MIT Media Lab found IBM’s error rate with dark-skinned women was 35% compared to white men who were misidentified 1% of the time.

They announced two new public datasets that anyone can use to train facial recognition systems. The first one contains one million images to train systems to spot specific attributes. The second has 36,000 images, but an equal mix of races, genders and ages.

Business Impact: By giving access to these platforms to facial recognition software developers, identification errors should be drastically reduced. This software is already being piloted with law enforcement, retail establishments and large events.

Microsoft Working on Cashier-Free Stores

Working with Walmart, Microsoft is fitting multiple cameras and sensors into stores that use computer vision algorithms to detect what items each shopper takes out of a store and charging them to their account. Microsoft will attach cameras to shopping carts to track items and continuously update their cloud system with shopper activity.

Business Impact: As a challenger to Amazon Go, these two tech giants will be rolling systems out to the general public within the next few years. Amazon already has three stores who have implemented Go. If you are in the retail community, now is the time to find other positions for your cashiers and baggers.  

Linux Skills are the Most Wanted

According to the 2018 Open Source Technology Jobs Report conducted by The Linux Foundation and Dice, open source technical talent is in high demand today.

According to the data collected from 750 hiring managers, 80% are looking for Linux expertise because of the demand for cloud, application containerization and DevOps practices, yet 87% shared they are having difficulty finding this talent.

Business Impact: If your company hasn’t embraced cloud services, virtualization and open sourced solutions yet, now is the time to start migrating legacy systems over to it. With the workload, applications and developers moving in this direction, coupled with today’s talent shortage, Linux skills are the ones you should be cultivating through hiring and cross-training of IT personnel.

Teens Moving Away from Facebook

According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of individuals between 13-19 years old have access to a smartphone and 45% are constantly online. 85% use YouTube, 72% regularly post to Instagram and 69% are on Snapchat. 32% of those polled had a Facebook account but only 10% used it very often.

The reason for Facebook’s unpopularity has to do with fake news, political positioning, increased advertising and spam.  

Business Impact: As companies and associations grow their social presence, they need to realize it will shift away from Facebook and into video and stories. How organizations leverage this presence through algorithms and advertising will be a challenge. One we will all have to pay particular attention to.

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