Tech Talk Thursday: March Announcements Worth Noting

Tech Talk Thursday: March Announcements Worth Noting | HTR

This month’s tech news started and ended with Facebook, first with their algorithm changes and now concerns about data privacy. They and other tech stocks continue to take a hit in the stock market, due to loss of consumer confidence.

Other than social media news, this was a light announcement month. Here are the six notices I believe were the most interesting in March.

Top Tech Announcements for March

Another Facebook Revelation

Facebook confirmed that its Messenger application routinely collects call and text histories from its users. The FTC and Justice Department are actively investigating if Zuckerberg violated the company’s consent decree.

Business Impact: There is no doubt that Facebook is facing a brand crisis. With user data exposed and obtained by the Russians to influence voters in the 2016 presidential election, subscribers are rethinking the benefit Facebook provides. Now is the perfect time to revisit your social media and BYOD policies to ensure hackers cannot spear phish their way into your organization. Look at your Facebook company page metrics. Is it reaching your target market? If the answer is no and your following is small, it may be time to shut the page down altogether.

Social Media Users Moving to Vero

This relatively unknown channel has no advertisements, doesn’t employ algorithms and doesn’t share their data with any outside organization. Users can organize their connections by relationships.

Business Impact: I just downloaded the app. It looks a bit like Instagram, but like most apps it wants you to download your contacts into its database so it can start emailing them to join. Not sure it is any better or worse than Twitter or SnapChat -- time will tell.

Crypto Wallet Gets Hacked

A 15-year-old cracked into the Ledger Nano S virtual currency hardware wallet, which was supposed to be unhackable. Even though funds were not compromised, the vulnerability was traced back to a firmware problem, which has since been addressed with a patch.

Business Impact: This once again proves that given the right person and tools, any system can be compromised. Keeping operating systems, applications and firmware up-to-date is often a company’s best line of defense against cyber criminals.

Apple Announces New iPad Targeted for Schools

A new 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support is intended for the K-12 educational arena. The new tablet has Touch ID, FaceTime, 10 hours of battery life and a 8 MB rear camera. There are 200,000 educational apps available for iOS 11 today. Apple also announced more AR apps and an upgrade from 5 to 200 GB of free iCloud storage for students.

Business Impact: It’s intended to compete head-to-head with Google’s Chromebook, which is estimated to hold 60% of the classroom market today. While the price is competitive, iPad’s complexity has been a stumbling block compared to Google’s offering. We won’t fully know this iPad’s acceptance rate until the fall.

Smart Camera Manufacturers Form Alliance

Sony, Nikon, Foxconn, Scenera and Wistron formed the Network of Intelligent Camera Ecosystem (NICE). The intention of this coalition is to form a shared set of standards that allow each manufacturer to communicate with each other and upload a stream of photos and videos to the cloud.

Business Impact: With properly marked, indexed and searchable data in the cloud, companies and law enforcement will be able to string a series of photographs, videos and surveillance footage from different devices, locations and angles. The intent of this alliance is to position the data for AI, so facial recognition and machine searching can also occur in the cloud.

SpaceChain to Put Our Data in Space

In partnership with Arch Mission Foundation, SpaceChain announced the Earth Library. This plan is to use open source technology for storing large data sets in spacecraft and even on other planets in our solar system. It will store books, music, photographs and film, as well.

Business Impact: Hard to say. It holds a lot of intrigue, especially in light of Elon Musk’s recent rocket liftoff and his plans to colonize Mars.

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