COVID-19 brought many societal issues to the forefront, and, in many cases, cities and governments were left wishing they’d been more prepared for a global pandemic before it occurred. Technology is playing an important role in creating COVID “exit strategies” that will help in the case of another future pandemic. For instance, the ability to monitor various health-related parameters indoors has become an even more important focus for many building owners and operators as society carefully navigates its way out of the COVID-19 crisis and focuses on bringing people back to work and back to in-person interactions.
During the 4th of July holiday weekend in the United States, fireworks weren’t the only things sending sparks throughout America and globally. IT (information technology) and security-management solution provider Kaseya became the latest victim of a ransomware attack that affected up to 1,500 businesses. Attackers (who may be linked to REvil) demanded a hefty ransom in bitcoin, per usual, and the question is, how can businesses, governments, and other organizations shore up their defenses against these unnamed, greedy criminals who plan and carry out ransomware attacks?
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our workforce—in many ways. For one, we have seen women leave the workforce in droves, with some experts suggesting it could be one of the steepest declines in history. Still, this goes deeper than the pandemic. This is only part of a perfect storm that has been brewing in the labor force.
This year’s MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona was an exciting event for several reasons—perhaps most of all because it was a hybrid event that people physically attended. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced events to go virtual for more than a year, MWC 2021 was a sign that society is heading back toward normal. The hybrid format may also reflect a new trend in how companies and organizations handle tech events going forward. Themes from the event included all things 5G, as well as IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), and edge computing and hybrid cloud. While there were hundreds of announcements at the 2021 event, this roundup focuses on two companies in particular: Intel and IBM.
Autonomous vehicles aren’t the only transportation machines ousting humans as drivers in favor of AI (artificial intelligence)-enabled computers. Unmanned aircraft systems and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) operate with various degrees of autonomy, varying from remote human control to total autonomy thanks to onboard computers. The potential use cases for these devices seem limitless—from national defense and emergency response to remote inspection of critical infrastructure and beyond. NASA is even leveraging this technology for space exploration, sending the drone-like Dragonfly rotocraft lander to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, in 2026.
A lot of news came out of HPE Discover 2021, HPE’s (Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s) annual conference focusing on all things edge-to-cloud, and now that the event is over, we can look at some of the highlights and evaluate their impact on the space as a whole. HPE’s three-day event included themes like sustainability, what it means to be a purpose-built company, and the importance of having a solid data strategy to unlock a sustainable, data-driven future. As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, HPE’s leadership in these areas will help drive what’s fast becoming a hybrid, edge-to-cloud world.
Confidential computing is the next step in the journey to protect personal and corporate data and algorithms. The CCC (Confidential Computing Consortium) defines confidential computing as the protection of data in use by performing computations in a hardware-based TEE (trusted execution environment), also called an enclave. According to the CCC, these secure and isolated environments prevent unauthorized access or modification of applications and data while in use, thereby increasing the security assurances for organizations that manage sensitive and regulated data.
The 100 most deadly days for teen drivers are underway. The time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to AAA, makes up the “100 Deadliest Days,” when more than 30% of deaths involving teen drivers occur. In fact, AAA’s data suggests that on average, during these 100 days, seven people in the U.S. die per day in teen driver-related auto crashes. Young drivers lack the experience that more seasoned drivers have, and this reality will not change. However, the vehicles people drive are changing, becoming smarter and more connected. Can driver-assistance and autonomous-vehicle technologies turn the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day into just another 100 days?
Cybersecurity is always important, but it takes a front seat in the news when something bad happens, as it did when a ransomware attack shut the Colonial Pipeline system down for several days in early May, resulting in one of the worst cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure. The U.S. government has responded with new cybersecurity requirements in the pipeline sector, but what should other sectors take away from this incident? Worldwide security spending across sectors is set to grow this year, and organizations like MISA (Microsoft Intelligent Security Assn.) are growing as well—all in an effort to help the ecosystem defend against increasing cyber threats.
For the second year in a row, Microsoft Build was an all-digital event. The annual event for developers and software engineers who work with Microsoft products produced a lot of news for developers in the realms of AI (artificial intelligence), cloud, edge, and more. During the event’s keynote address, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also hinted at big changes coming for the next version of Windows. Nadella said the update will “unlock greater opportunity for developers and creators.” While a tease was all attendees got about the so-called “next generation of Windows,” tons of updates were announced at the 2021 Build event, along with some important industry-enhancing collaborations.
The cryptocurrency market is hot right now. In early May, Ethereum (ETH) was valued at more than $3,500, up from less than $1,100 at the beginning of the year. Often considered the second most popular cryptocurrency after Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum has been called “digital oil” while, by comparison, Bitcoin has been called “digital gold.” And then there’s others, like Dogecoin (DOGEUSD), which started as a joke. As investors jump on the bandwagon, though, Dogecoin has jumped above $0.60 (as of this writing)—that’s up from about a dime just a few weeks earlier. As the crypto ecosystem gains attention from investors, it’s gaining attention from regulators as well.
Sustainability issues are shifting the business environment. A study by CDP found that some of the world’s largest companies report the climate risk to their businesses is about $1 trillion, and these same businesses value climate change-related business opportunities at about $2.1 trillion. Enterprises must recognize sustainability is no longer a political issue. Rather, it has become a business imperative that’s critical to long-term success and continued competitiveness.
It’s an unfortunate, all-too-common scenario: A customer shows up to McDonald’s craving a tasty treat and is turned away because the ice-cream machine is out of order. A recent Wired article delves into the saga of Jeremy O’Sullivan and Melissa Nelson, cofounders of Kytch, who may end up in a legal battle with the fast-food giant and Taylor, the ice-cream machine manufacturer that supplies many of the machines within McDonald’s franchises. Neither company wants Kytch to make their Taylor C602 ice-cream machines smart.
The AI (artificial intelligence) market is poised to grow tremendously in the next few years. A new report from Technavio suggests the market will grow by a massive $76.4 billion between 2021 and 2025 at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 21%. Factors contributing to this growth include the use of AI in cybersecurity and fraud prevention in an increasingly digital age. AI’s ability to enhance employee productivity and streamline operations are additional reasons companies are adopting AI solutions, especially after the hit so many businesses took in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as AI adoption grows, so does the need for conversations about trust. Does the industry need more than conversations? Does it need rules?
In the past, companies ran their contact centers using on-premises software systems. Maintaining consistently good customer service often required significant ongoing investment not only in the software itself but also in hardware like computers and servers—and that’s not even including the cost of staffing a customer-service center. Today, cloud-based customer service solutions are a natural extension of the growth of cloud and AI (artificial intelligence) across industries.