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Tech Talk Thursday: Oct Announcements Worth Noting

Tech Talk Thursday: Oct Announcements Worth Noting

October’s announcements have two common themes – Artificial Intelligence (AI) and strategic partnerships. Sprinkled in this month’s announcements are your standard fare of concerns about social media and a new cybersecurity threat called KRACK.

Here are the seven I think are the most fascinating and the impact they may have on your business.  

Top Tech Announcements for October

Microsoft Surface Book 2

This new tablet-laptop hybrid, is four times more powerful than the previous generation and can easily handle mixed reality, AI, immersive gaming and standard Office applications.  The Book 2 has a GPU that can provide up to 17 hours of video playback, has 17 hours of battery life and is between 3.38 and 4.2 pounds depending on the screen size you choose (13.5” or 15”). It runs Windows 10 and can utilized 10’s Fall Creators Game Mode for gamers that want an added boost.

Business Impact: Optimally designed for graphic artists, gamers, developers and those in the entertainment industry that are looking for an enterprise solution that has significantly more power than a standard laptop and can compete with Apple’s lineup.

Google Pixel 2

The Pixel 2 has two models: a 5” standard and 6” XL. Each is equipped with a 12.2 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front camera with video stabilization for smoother videos. Google Assistant, the AI feature, is embedded in the phone thus combining machine learning and computer vision to help a user find what they are looking for — whether it is a landmark or a book. The operating system is Android 8.0 Oreo. The battery life is 25 hours and it can gain 7 hours of battery life back in a 15-minute charge. It has an OLED display but still contains a beveled display, which has been dropped by competitive models in the marketplace today.

Business Impact: One of the highest quality cameras in the marketplace today, if a user takes a lot of photos or videos this is a great phone choice. In addition, the Pixel 2 has two other strengths; the integration and syncing capabilities of Google Assistant across other Google platforms and a great battery life between charges.

Google Announces Shift to AI

During their Made by Google event on October 4th, Google announced a variety of products that all revolve around an “AI-first” mentality provided through their Google Assistant solution.

The Google Home Mini is powered by the Google Assistant to answer any question you have and keep your schedule, reminders and calls whenever Mini hears your voice. Google Home Max speakers adjusts the sound based on the surroundings giving you full, balanced audio no matter where you place it. The Daydream standalone VR headsets will allow users to enjoy high quality VR anywhere they want with no cables, phone or PC. The Google Pixelbook is a high-performance Chromebook with the Google Assistant built in. Use your voice, press the Assistant key, or circle with Google Pixelbook Pen2 to get help from Google Assistant.

Business Impact: Clearly, Google believes the way we will retrieve information and communicate lies with AI. Tech businesses who are already in a mobile-first niche and looking for a seamless transition to AI, should consider a suite of Google products as they all sync together.  In addition, as VR becomes more common in the workplace, technology like Daydream will be important to allow users to move around easily and collaborate succinctly.

Apple and GE Develop Strategic Alliance

Wrapped around developing better IoT applications, these two organizations announced a new Software Development Kit (SDK) for iOS 11 which will enable developers to create applications for Predix, the IoT platform developed by GE.

Business Impact: Industrial companies will be able to access predictive data apps and analytics through their iPad or iPhone, giving operators more insight into the performance of their equipment. Ultimately, since the data is delivered to them on a real-time basis, unplanned downtime should be minimized, thus reducing overall costs of maintaining said IoT devices.

GE will be standardizing on iPhones and iPads for their 330,000 employees and Apple will be promoting Predix to its customers as an IoT platform. Look for more of these types of strategic partnerships among businesses in the coming years.

The Omidyar Group Probes Social Media’s Impact on Voting

A new report out by The Omidyar Group suggests that dark post advertising and fake news on social media platforms, propagated by the Russians during the 2016 presidential election, threatens democratic ideals in the following ways:

  • Spreads false and misleading information
  • Provides tools for political manipulation and
  • Allows microtargeting to influence behavioral change.

Facebook has employed 4,000 additional people and the use of AI to better monitor their internal systems to ensure these practices do not happen again.

Business Impact: Businesses rely on social media to communicate their message and help influence consumer opinions. If the government starts to regulate this medium more, it will either become a channel that is more trusted or more distrusted.  If it falls into the distrust category, businesses will be scrambling for different online mediums to convey their message to the masses.

WPA2 Has Major Flaws

A security flaw in Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) has raised concern among businesses because this level of protection for wireless networks is meant to provide stronger data protection and network access control than previous methods. Not only could a hacker steal sensitive data, but they could inject malware into a system, too. According to DistriNet Research Group, a Key Reinstallation attACK (KRACK) deployed against an Android smartphone, found Linux and Android 6.0 and above operating systems to be particularly vulnerable. However, those users with the latest updates from Windows 10 were protected.

Business Impact: In order to protect your business, the Wi-Fi Alliance recommends that all users install all updates on end user devices and network equipment. The Alliance, along with the International Consortium for the Advancement of Cybersecurity, has taken immediate steps to address this issue. Stay tuned for more information about this subject.

Linux Foundation Announces Community Data License Agreements

These agreements will enable data sharing, including source code, that will allow data communities to research and collaborate more effectively, especially in the areas of AI, machine learning and managing IoT devices.

Business Impact: If carried out as the Foundation sees it, this data sharing model should cross multiple industries including automotive, energy, and governmental. In addition, these agreements should encourage a more uniform process to sharing of this sort of data.

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