Topic 1: General Trends
Information Technology (IT) primarily consists of all the hardware and software that a firm needs to use to achieve its business objectives. It is hard to define IT along any dimension as it is constantly changing and evolving. Our topic 1 will include largely article and video links to any IT topic that is currently trending, major enabling tools for firms to construct entirely new business models, or found mildly interesting to our contributors.
List of Interesting General Trends Tech News
1. How bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are hurting gamers
The recent cryptocurrency mining craze has resulted in a shortage of graphics card in the market, causing prices of graphics card to skyrocket which has affected gamers out there.
2. Going Cashless in China
This article explains how IT has taken over the trend of paying without cash in China. An experiment to survive a day in Beijing, China without his wallet and only his smartphone was carried out. It is concluded that one is able to survive well and pay for transport and meals without any problems.
3. How Cybersecurity Regulations for Medical Devices Is About to Change by Larry Alton
With the growth of technology, there is a need for heightened cybersecurity in the medical industry. Medical devices are able to tell us and store sensitive data, calling for an opportunity for identity theft. Thus, FDA has taken an active role in improving the cybersecurity of medical devices. Guidelines and recommendations have been given to better mitigate the risk of a cyber attack.
4. The Media Column: Print may become a thing of the past, but there’s a revolution in new technology
In the 2002s, print was the most common medium of media and has developed rapidly since. Technology has changed the way media is presented and made available to us and now, newspapers are changing to adapt to the digital-only media future.
5. 5G, which promises blistering download speeds, is coming soon
5G connection, unavailable now, but is forecasted to provide coverage to a third of the world’s population in the next few years. The first 5G products will be “fixed” wireless solutions rather than mobile. We can anticipate some major impacts to our daily life or certain industries with to the introduction of 5G connection that is beyond having fast phones.
6. At CES 2018, enthusiasm mounts on how 5G will transform industries
Transitioning to the 5th generation of wireless connectivity this year, also known as 5G, higher speeds and lower latency will make new experiences and opportunities possible in various industries, namely transportation, automotive, virtual/augmented reality systems, etc. With reduced power consumption and highly reliable connectivity, there are a lot of financial and technical benefits with the smart 5G technology for the consumers as well as industries.
7. Wi-Fi analytics in retail stores: How it works
There is a new type of information technology that can be used to analyze consumer behaviour in a brick-and-mortar store. Traditionally, shop owners use the old-fashioned way, such as counting and POS(point of sale)-data, to understand their customers. Today, with wifi analytics which detects wifi-enabled devices carried around by most consumers, information, such as the most frequented area of the store by customers, can be collected and quantified. This allows the improvement in consumers’ shopping experiences and enhancement of businesses.
8. Samsung Smart Contact Lenses
This smart contact lens has a built-in camera that is able to capture and project images directly into the user’s eyes. Samsung is interested in smart contact lenses because of the limited image quality that is achievable by smart glasses. Such lenses provide a more natural experience for augmented reality technology compared to smart glasses.
9. The future of 3D Hologram
This article briefly suggests some applications of holograms in our lives. It updates us about some current news regarding hologram headsets, including Dell’s Meta 2 developer kits and Magic Leap One, Creator Edition, and moves on to talk about examples of holograms without the use of phones and headsets. Lastly, the article also mentions developments in using 3D holograms in smartphones.
10. Three ways Artificial Intelligence is good for society
As much as humans are afraid of AI evolution, AI has actually helped shape our lives towards a better future in terms of improving the efficiency of farming and cancer diagnosis and keeping the dangers that technology created contained.
11. Need a Job? Why AI will help human workers and not hurt them
This article explains what Artificial Intelligence (AI) can do and how the knowledge from AI can benefit us from the business point of view and the impact on different industries with the use of alternative data. It also debunks the myth that AI will cause us, humans, to lose our jobless and become irrelevant.
12. 8 ways artificial intelligence is going to change the way you live, work and play in 2018
Link (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9OHn5ZF4Uo
As many tech companies continue to pump in funding to accelerate the possibility of AI in the consumer market, many other forms of AI are already capable of holding conversations, carrying out general basic tasks and even do our household chores. Undoubtedly, AI has limitless benefits and we are certain to feel its impact in the next few years to come.
13. 4 interesting AI applications in mainstream consumer tech
This article summarises how companies are employing AI in their business operations to bring their business concepts to new levels and enhance the users’ experience. Elaborates on what AI really is and how it can bring about positive impacts.
14. Microsoft execs say in 20 years we’ll all have digital assistants that will be our alter egos — and we need to set ground rules while we still can
This article talks about the ethical issues surrounding AI. AI development has been progressing rapidly in recent years and this brought up ethical considerations and the need for not just tech companies but also academia and the government to work together to overcome potential dangers and threats. Secondary issues that were talked about include the democratization of AI research knowledge and the impact of AI on the future job sectors.
15. Microsoft Says AI Advances Will Require New Laws, Regulations
As artificial intelligence (AI) and technology grow, there must be new regulations that allow them to be integrated smoothly into societies that have order built upon laws and regulations. If this is not done carefully and intentionally, the order will start to unravel and AI might bring about more societal issues than solutions. One major issue will be responsible, especially since in the digital age the prevalence of hackers is rampant and hence once these machines are rolled out, there must be someone to be held accountable for their actions as well.
16. Augmented Reality Check: Innovative Ways Businesses are Embracing AR
Augmented reality is the technology that overlays digital elements over physical environment and can be applied to businesses. It allows for more innovative opportunities for commerce, repair works, enhance consumer experience and even in the medical community.
17. Facebook standardizes Workplace pricing, boosts cost for larger deployments
Facebook has changed the pricing for its Workplace enterprise social network from the previous two payments tiers to a standardized pricing structure, a move that will result in price increases for some new customers. This is significant in keeping Workplace pricing fair, simple and predictable, as recommended by organizations.
18. Paying with Your Face
While the technology for facial recognition has existed for decades, it is only recently that its accuracy is enough to be used in secure financial transactions. This advanced facial recognition technology in China is also applied in other everyday situations, such as confirming the legitimacy of the driver from a ride-hailing company.
19. Youtube VR now available on Steam
Google has now made Youtube VR available to HTC Hive users and steam users can now download Youtube VR on steam. There are major issues with the performance of the VR programme and it is detrimental to Google’s reputation.
20. Storing information on your clothes invisibly, without electronics
Computer scientists have created fabrics and fashion accessories that can store data – from security codes to identification tags; without the use of any onboard electronics or sensors. This is done by using magnetic properties of an off-the-shelf conductive thread. It can be used to store digital data or visual information like numbers.
21. The application of over-the-air software updates
The article explains how Tesla, an innovative and R&D heavy automobile company, may render other automobiles obsolete in the near future with their vertically integrated in-house software capabilities. It also emphasized how connectivity breeds hacking and are part of Tesla’s goal to maintain top security for its users.
22. How CRM system makes businesses more competitive
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmNZKFSEsvE
This article shows how companies can use IT namely Customer Relationship Management systems to reap numerous benefits for their various stakeholders such as shareholders, consumer, employees and many more.
23. How image recognition works
Image Recognition is a key development in the Artificial Intelligence field. Many developments have been made for computer intelligence to recognize such as facial images. This article explores the internal workings of how image recognition works and how Convolutional Neural Networks play an integral role to make this happen.
24. Data-stealing spyware ‘traced to Lebanon’
A security bug (“Dark Caracal”) that has infected thousands of smartphones mainly Android phones, has been uncovered by the campaign group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Researchers discovered that the malware in fake messaging designed to look like WhatsApp and Signal had stolen gigabytes of data from military personnel, activists, journalists and lawyers.
25. How CIOs can prepare to combat cyber attacks
Despite the cyber risk and IT security becoming a huge concern for businesses across all industries, minimal action has been taken to combat the risks. This article looks at the roadblocks to achieving cybersecurity, consequences of cyber attacks, as well as the actions that can be taken to prevent or mitigate cyber attacks.
26. Spectre and Meltdown explained: What they are, how they work, what’s at risk
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2exp-NWHp_E&t=135s
In 2018, researchers revealed that every computer chip that was manufactured in the past 20 years contained significant security flaws. Basically, most computer chips engage in something called speculative execution where it attempts to make the computer run faster by predicting the future. However, this led to both Spectre and Meltdown where Meltdown refers to the exploit which will allow programs to see data that it is not usually allowed to see, even data from other programs. Spectre, on the other hand, allows a program to reveal some of its data that is supposed to be kept secured.
27. The U.K. and France Are Thumbing Their Noses at the U.S. Over Net Neutrality Repeal
Amidst strong discussions in the U.S about net neutrality, UK and France have stepped up and ensured that net neutrality will continue to be the norm for both countries. This comes at a time especially important for U.K as Brexit draws close.
28. Here’s every company developing self-driving car tech at CES 2018
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU&t=339s
CES 2018 (Consumer Electronics Show) is one of the biggest stages for companies/innovators who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. CES highlighted a trend that has great promises and is developing at an unprecedented rate – Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are soon becoming a reality and it is soon before these automated cars take the roads in place of manually-driven vehicles.
29. Instagram now shows when users were last active
People you now follow on Instagram or people you have DM’ed before can now see how long you have been active for minutes or hours scrolling through their feed.
30. Is cryptocurrency the future? Why Bitcoin’s value could eventually approach zero
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have already become a change to our world and the economy, with many people buying Bitcoin to protect themselves from the devaluation of their national currency. However, Bitcoin’s current system currently consumes more electricity than the whole of Denmark as the blockchain technology requires a lot of energy. If all future cashless transactions were done using Bitcoin, “they would use as much electricity as the entire world currently does for all purposes.”
31. Will computers soon be able to read our thoughts? US military plans to develop ‘cyborg soldiers’ using brain implants that control machines
Link (Video): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1080030.html
A recent development by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has allowed the brain to communicate directly with computers by converting electrochemical signals from the brain into digital data. The project could open new ways of controlling electronic devices purely by thought alone and speeding up the way we use computers.
32. Facebook shuts down robots after they invent their own language
Link (Video): https://www.facebook.com/NowThisFuture/videos/1675784719129368/
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOySQQDjhFU
In 2017, Facebook built a chatbot to learn how to negotiate by mimicking human trading and bartering. These bots, later on, started to learn their own form of communication which led to a shut down of the program.
33. Wi-Fi on the go
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4oIy8aYB1E [Mesh Network]
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41qbEcZXB-U [Turning Every Vehicle on the Road into a Wi-Fi Hotspot]
The collaboration works of StarHub, Veniam and ComfortDelGro to turn a simple bus ride into wonders for students at NUS. With the mesh network being introduced, the campus buses at NUS are all equipped with Wi-Fi and students are able to do readings on the go.
34. Apple will let people choose between a phone’s speed and its battery life
There was a recent outcry over Apple phones slowing down due to the battery life. Apple claims that they slowed down the phone to prevent other problems and not because of the profit from selling new phone models. Apple will release a new IOS update that enables users to turn off the software that slows down the phone to preserve battery life.
35. Augmented Reality Vs Virtual Reality
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW9gU_4AUCA
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKm-SOOMC4c
This article and the two videos describe and show the differences between augmented reality (AR) versus virtual reality (VR).
36. Why Fintech Banks Will Rule The World
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bEJO4Twgu4
This article is an opinion piece by the CEO of a Fintech company on the relationship between Fintech banks and traditional banks, and how this relationship may change in the future. Lenddo is a Fintech firm that uses credit scoring based on one’s digital profile to ascertain customer’s financial stability before lending money. Many of us are probably targets of Fintech banks and this could affect the way we bank in the future.
37. The unlimited discovery of drones
The investment of a drone in New South Wales Australia has paid off as it saves the lives of 2 young swimmers. The drone was flown to the swimmers and it released a yellow pod which was eventually inflated, enabling the rescue service of the lifeguard to be significantly reduced.
38. How does Wi-Fi work at 35,000 feet and why don’t all airlines offer it?
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHBwx728DRM
Have you ever wondered how you could still get Wifi even when you are 6 miles off the ground? There are currently two ways for the signal to reach your electronic device on the plane: Ground-based mobile broadband towers and the use of satellite technology. But, why don’t all airlines offer this service?
39. Apple is Blocking an App that Detects Net Neutrality Violations from the App Store (Update: Apple backed off)
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq-2Yk5OgKc (A short video by BBC News that explains what net neutrality is and how it could affect users)
Net neutrality refers to the principle that all traffic on the Internet is treated equally. The article talks about how Wehe, an application, is able to detect net neutrality violations, was banned from the App Store but was subsequently allowed on the App Store. The application allows users to find out if their carrier is violating net neutrality by telling users how much their carriers are slowing down (or speeding up) specific applications.
40. Most Google Accounts Don’t Use Two-Factor Authentication
The article talks about the low adoption rate (about 10%) of the two-factor authentication (or more commonly known as 2FA) despite the obvious security benefits in light of the recent numerous data breaches. The main reason for the low adoption rate is attributed to the compromise of convenience as users find it a hassle to utilize the 2FA once activated. To combat this problem, Google came up with certain safeguards such as sending out alerts when suspicious login attempts were detected.
41. New Type of Cyberattack Targets Factory Safety Systems
Link (Video): (which gives an introduction to hackers and cyber attacks in the first 1-2minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GzE99AmAQU
The article discusses the use of Triton, a hacking software that can manipulate a factory’s safety system. Such factories are equipped with safety systems that shut off systems in the event of an emergency/malfunction. Triton is able to run authorized programs on such Schneider devices and gain control over the system. This software is extremely difficult to detect, and Schneider is now developing a fix for older and more vulnerable devices.
42. Intel, ARM and AMD chip scare: What you need to know
The article mentions two main security flaws in central processing units of computers, known as Meltdown and Spectre. Though thus far no data breaches have been reported, the article emphasises the need to take precautionary measures – since information about the bugs has been made public, this could lead to a breach of security.
43. Fake Likes Factory
Social Media Pages have been purchasing ‘almost real’ likes/comments from thousands of fake accounts. Such services are costly, costing companies thousands of dollars in hopes of making their apps or pages appear popular among netizens.
44. Quantum Computing Might Be Here Sooner Than You Think
The sheer computing power of quantum computers would cause a paradigm shift in science and technology. It allows mankind to run complex simulations that would otherwise take a classical computer a few million years to do. If we want to run an accurate model of how molecules are formed and remained stable, the computer has to simulate the interactions of electron orbitals. Each calculation in there-each orbital-is a quantum mechanical calculation. The number of those calculations increases exponentially with the numbers of electrons being modelled. For just 50 electrons, the number of simulation is 1.125 quadrillion, and it would require a classical computer a few million years to complete the simulations. On the other hand, a 50-qubit quantum computer might get the job done—fast. This implies that mankind will be able to make use of quantum design and make new scientific and technological discoveries which would otherwise be impossible–within our lifetime.
45. HYPERLOOP: Elon Musk’s plan on future transportation
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5Se__zJfMc
Elon Musk’s recent venture, The Boring Company, is unveiling progress on a very high-speed transit (VHST) system. Hyperloop’s technology involves a low-pressure tunnel where the pods will be magnetically-levitated (think Maglev trains!). Without the worry of friction and air resistance slowing down the pods, people will be teleported to their destinations within minutes. The Hyperloop system has been proposed to transport people from New York to Washington DC in merely 29 minutes. Verbal government approval of Musk’s plan further legitimizes the arrival of this high-tech system.
46. French startup launches hydrogen-powered bicycles
Pragma Industries, a French startup, has recently introduced hydrogen-powered bicycles. While it is still too expensive for consumer markets, the startup is working to lower the price. Unlike the electric bike, the hydrogen-powered bikes take minutes to recharge, as hydrogen holds more energy than the lithium battery. This bike is targeted at bike rental operators, delivery companies, and the like. Pragma is also working on a bike that can convert water into hydrogen on the bike.
47. What is an Amazon Dash Button, and should you buy one?
The Dash Button is a small physical button that you can stick to virtually anywhere in your home. It lets you instantly order household items you’re about to run out of. The remote-shaped device can also reorder previously-purchased items, find recipes, make conversions, set timers, locate nearby restaurants, and carry out a host of other useful functions. It is a product that Amazon came up with that is accompanied with an app. Once you’ve set up your Dash Button using the device’s accompanying mobile app, all you need to do is push the button and it will automatically help order your preferred detergent.
48. Why Ethereum could change the world
Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract functionality. It is a giant, coordinated decentralized swarm of individual’s computers connected to each other on the web where anybody can deploy his mini-programs (called smart contracts) for a small fee.
49. Integrating technology into healthcare (Health2sync app)
The Health2Sync mobile app lets patients track vitals such as blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and weight, along with factors that influence those readings such as diet, exercise, and medication. It offers analyses, reminders, and educational content that can help them improve the daily management of their condition. In addition to the patient-focused app, Health2Sync has developed a web-based patient management system for healthcare professionals. Using this, they can monitor patients remotely and engage in online chats with them, while also analyzing and managing patient data.
50. Replika Artificial Intelligence: A Personal Confidant
This article covers the creation of the AI chatbot app, Replika. It is a personal chatbot which is created in your likeness over time as you chat with it. Originally, Eugenia Kuyda built Replika to memorialize her friend who died in an accident in 2015. The chatbot synthesized thousands of messaging conversations until eventually, it could reply in a way that sounded convincingly like Kuyda’s companion. When Replika was quietly released this year, Kuyda’s vision for the app’s potential seemed somewhat small. Replika can’t reply to your emails, schedule your appointments, or spend 45 minutes chatting with a customer service representative on your behalf. Instead, Replika works a lot more like a basic messaging app with a single contact.
51. Skype taps Whisper’s Signal protocol to test encrypted calls and chats
This article is a description of Skype’s new encrypted call function beta. However, they listed several problems with the beta that has led to EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), scoring it low with their criteria and ended off with a recommendation to utilize more established apps such as Whisper’s Signal to conduct such encrypted phone calls which require privacy.
52. AR, VR, MR: Making Sense of MAGIC LEAP and the Future of Reality
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2y12s7FHxA
Magic Leap: https://www.magicleap.com/
There are so many different types of goggles-on experiences these days, it can be tough to know which one you’re subjecting yourself to. In virtual reality (VR), everything is make-believe. In augmented reality (AR), there are virtual objects overlaid on top of real objects, but they’re just little-suspended movies – you can’t interact. Once you can interact with those not-really-there objects, that’s the realm of mixed reality (MR). In this video, WIRED senior editor Peter Rubin explains the details and the future implications, of each.
53. AR has inherited all the promise and hype of VR
For the better part of the last decade, we’ve been told that virtual reality, and to a lesser extent augmented reality, will transform how we communicate, use computers, and play games and enjoy other forms of interactive entertainment. In 2018, it feels like the situation has reversed: AR is the more promising technology on the horizon. As a result, we’re starting to see the industry shift its resources and the built-in momentum of a hyped-up new product category toward heads-up displays.
54. ‘Game-changing’ new app allows the hearing-impaired to enjoy Broadway shows
This article is about the creation of an app called “GalaPro” which uses patented voice recognition technology to provide closed captioning which will aid the hearing impaired. In addition, the app can also translate any performance to the language of your preference, in real-time.
55. Benefits of Chatbots: Transforming the Customer Experience
In July 2017, 57% of global firms are already using or have plans to use chatbots. Singapore is said to be one of the most advanced in Asia-Pacific to invest in chatbots as customers here are more digital savvy and have higher expectations, making companies more willing to experiment and explore emerging technologies. Various sectors in Singapore ranging from banking to retail have commended on the benefits they received greatly with the implementation of chatbots in their business. Companies are expecting the development of AI to become more sophisticated and be able to have tailored responses to allow more personal conversations while users seem to be happy to engage with the fun personalities equip to each individual chatbots.
56. Paper Booklet: Electronic Music Toy
The article is about Papier Machine, a paper that can produce music through electronic circuitry. The booklet contains pages silkscreened with conductive silver ink that can be assembled to create 6 electronic paper toys. Users can close the circuits by drawing them in with a graphite pencil, and play around with the pitch and volume of the sound. The graphite can also be erased and reused multiple times.
57. Smartphone for Gamers: The Razer Phone & Project Linda
Since its inception in 2005, Singapore-San Francisco founded brand, Razer has grown to become the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers. From laptops, keyboards, headsets and all gaming related devices; Razer has it all. Their newest addition includes the Razer Phone, a smartphone designed specifically for a PC-like gaming experience. Along with Project Linda, a computer powered by the Razer Phone, this new smartphone is bound to change the landscape of gaming.
58. Wireless Charging Pads, A New Trend
A wireless charger is essentially a semi-permanent fixture often placed on the desk, which serves the function of charging your smartphone without the use of a literal physical connection through a cable. Although this technology is not new to the market, a new trend in wireless charging seems to be rising to the surface because Apple has recently introduced wireless charging to its new iPhone models last fall, bringing about an influx of new users and much attention to this technology.
59. 1st American CRISPR Human Trial
Recent light in 2018 has been shone upon the news of the first human trial test for usage of CRISPR – our current most successful gene modification science technology, for cancer treatment in the United States.
60. Google launches Google Assistant in Singlish
With the intention of enabling users to have a natural conversation with the Google, the Assistant is built to recognise local accents and understand the local culture, customs and language – Singlish. Google’s team of professional writers, who generates the responses, worked closely with the Singaporean teams to teach Google names of local places, businesses and festivals.
61. An increase in the existence of unmanned convenience stores
The advancement of technology is altering the retail landscape by gradually replacing humans. From expediting internal to external processes, some instances include mobile wallets such as apple pay to self-checkout systems, there is now the increasing existence of unmanned convenience stores, especially in China which has a wide array of technology such as the two aforementioned above, RFID tags, QR codes, facial recognition or palm-vein scanning.
Some of the main objectives of having unmanned convenience stores include reducing operational costs by almost completely eliminating the need for manpower. There are however disadvantages as well such as having an impersonable customer experience and high maintenance costs.
One of the major challenges is the need to strike a balance between the high costs of having such technologies in place and the low margin of return for such FMCG (Fast-moving Consumer Goods) on top of occasional technical glitches that may impede the unmanned convenience store.
Will unmanned shops subsist and gain acceptance by people in time to come?
62. Voice recognition becoming the new frontier for customer relationship management
Voice recognition technology has revolutionized the way brands communicate with customers and clients. Intelligent personal assistants like Siri and Cortana, available on Apple and Microsoft devices respectively, provide users with real-time information based on voice input data. In a CRM context, speech-to-text tools are changing the game, too.
63. Why Amazon is the new Microsoft
This article focuses on Amazon hit virtual assistance platform “Alexa”, which managed to turn the situation around by dominating CES this year when it was considered to be the weakest and least sophisticated chatbot or virtual assistant on the market when it is first released. The article listed the features of “Alexa” and has compared it with its competitors such as Facebook M and Google Now.
64. Face Recognition in China
This article talks about facial recognition in China that is now able to open doors, make payments, etc. It uses around 80 points on the face to ensure accurate facial recognition. It is also used to detect wanted criminals through the surveillance cameras. To prevent people from using photos to cheat the system, there is a liveliness test where the user is required to move their head or speak during the confirmation.
65. Digital Pill
A digital pill, Abilify MyCite (by Otsuka Technology and Proteus Digital Health) that treats schizophrenia and depression has an ingestible sensor device attached to it. The sensor is made of magnesium, copper and silicon that tracks as and when the pill is taken. It communicates with a patch that the patient wear. It is connected to a smartphone app which allows a patient to track when the pill is digested, records activity level, monitor sleep patterns. Once the stomach fluids interact with the sensor to create a small electrical signal, the patch will send data to the smartphone. Doctors or even approved persons are able to see the data and gain insight on how well the pill is working.