Daily Tech Digest - April 23, 2017

Delaware Law Amendments Would Facilitate Blockchain Maintenance of Corporate Records

According to Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster, the blockchain could help to remove the middleman when it comes to how shares are held and voted, as at present they are operating on an outdated system that is too complex to determine who owns a share and how it’s used in decision making. Delaware is just one state in the U.S. that is showing an increased interest in the distributed ledger. Only recently, the Senate in the state of New Hampshire considered a blockchain bill that would deregulate digital currency transactions such as bitcoin from money transmitter regulations in the state. By doing so, the bill is designed to protect consumers when using digital currencies such as bitcoin instead of making them register with money transmitter regulators.

Do Collaboration Tools Create Security Risks For Your Business?

The business world is abuzz with the benefits of collaboration tools: less reliance on email, more organic collaboration on projects and better communication and relationships between teams. Collaboration tools encompass many solutions, including video conferencing, VoIP, document sharing and instant messaging. However, it is also important to think about the security risks that are inherent in tools such as document collaboration platforms, presentation software, remote support tools and virtual events. Each of these can create potential security threats, and evaluating vulnerabilities – and viable solutions – should be a sustainable part of your tool-selection process.

What’s To Do Before Ethereum Enters Its Third 'Metropolis' Stage?

One tricky part is making changes to all ethereum clients, no matter what programming language they're written in, in lockstep. Ethereum Foundation's Khokhlov has been writing tests using a tool called Hive to ensure not only that the clients implement the changes correctly, but that all clients agree on consensus-level changes. That's because if all clients don’t follow the same rules, there could be an accidental split into different networks (as happened briefly in November). Just like former phase changes Frontier and Homestead, the shift to Metropolis requires a 'hard fork' – meaning nodes or miners that fail to upgrade to the new blockchain will be left behind. Because of the possibility of an inadvertent split, hard forks are controversial and taken very seriously.

How IoT and Big Data are tackling Africa’s problems

“All solar systems are monitored in real time through the cloud,” Fruhen announced at a recent tech event in Nairobi. “Five years [ago] when we were founded nobody was thinking about IoT or Big Data but now we collect over 30 million payment notifications every year.” He added that they have more than one million device readings every day. This is from the batteries to temperature of the devices and sensors. Additionally, they have geographical data on where the devices are located. They also have 450,000 rooftop sunshine readings every day. They have calculated that they have saved their users US$338 million since they started, five years ago. “Cloud is the enabler for all these,” he reiterated. “We have 680 terabits of data on our platform.” The company has used its data to provide upgrade devices to users who have finished their solar loan.

5 Ways Cloud Vendors are Dealing with Data Privacy Concerns

Today, cloud vendors are designing managed cloud services from the ground up to meet the most advanced data security requirements, giving current and prospective customers the peace of mind that their data is private and secure. They should also deliver across-the-board support for every aspect of cloud security including physical security, network security, data protection, monitoring, and access controls. Data encryption for data in flight and at rest along with tokenisation of sensitive data items are strategies that can help improve Data Security and help to meet the most stringent of data privacy requirements. Cloud vendors understand that any successful cloud security solution requires close collaboration between you and your cloud service provider, knowing that it’s critical that your organisation has a programme that covers everything from data governance and compliance to cloud user access.

9 Essential #EdTech Ideas to Share With Your Team

To deny that tech will be important to students' futures seems unthinkable. But it's not enough to recognize students will need tech to be successful. Your students also need to see you as a willing learner of technology. They need to see you as a learner period. And it's a shame if you aren't leveraging your skills as a teacher because you aren't willing to learn technology. All of your teacher skills are priceless, but they can be even more relevant and powerful if you know how to effectively use technology for learning, too. ... Lots of kids like to use technology. But using tech because it is engaging isn't as important as using it because your students are engaged. If your students are curious and motivated learners, they will have questions that need answers. They will want to create and share new knowledge.

Learning to Think Like a Computer

Computational thinking is not new. Seymour Papert, a pioneer in artificial intelligence and an M.I.T. professor, used the term in 1980 to envision how children could use computers to learn. But Jeannette M. Wing, in charge of basic research at Microsoft and former professor at Carnegie Mellon, gets credit for making it fashionable. In 2006, on the heels of the dot-com bust and plunging computer science enrollments, Dr. Wing wrote a trade journal piece, “Computational Thinking.” It was intended as a salve for a struggling field. “Things were so bad that some universities were thinking of closing down computer science departments,” she recalled. Some now consider her article a manifesto for embracing a computing mind-set. Like any big idea, there is disagreement about computational thinking — its broad usefulness as well as what fits in the circle.

Regression - Professional analyst should be able to answer these three questions.

To produce a regression analysis of inference that can be justified or trustworthy in the sense that helpful. The term in the statistical methods that generate a linear the best estimator is not bias (best linear unbiased estimator) abbreviated BLUE. Then there are some other things that are also important to note, in which the data to be processed, must meet certain requirements. In terms of statistical methods some terms or conditions of the so-called classical assumption test. Because they meet the assumptions of classical statistical coefficient will be obtained which actually became estimator of parameters that can be justified or accurate ... With adjustments being an attempt to fulfill certain requirements (classical assumption) in the regression analysis as a form of simplification in the application of modern economics, which is a form of empirical science.

Google’s New Chip Is a Stepping Stone to Quantum Computing Supremacy

The six-qubit chip is also a test of a manufacturing method in which the qubits and the conventional wiring that controls them are made on separate chips later “bump bonded” together. That approach, a major focus of Google’s team since it was established just over two years ago, is intended to eliminate the extra control lines needed in a larger chip, which can interfere with how qubits function. “That process is all working,” says Martinis. “Now we’re ready to kind of move fast.” Designs for devices with 30 to 50 qubits are already in progress, he says. He briefly flashed up images of the six-qubit chip at the recent IEEE TechIgnite conference in San Bruno, California, but his group has yet to formally disclose technical details.

Data Transformation is the New Digital Transformation

What is data worth? In my 2010 predictions I expected to see “datasets increasingly recognized as a serious, balance sheet-worthy asset”. I was a bit early there. Data is clearly still not a well understood or significant investment category – brand “goodwill” is better accounted for, but there is no doubt that markets value companies perceived to be data rich with higher evaluations than other companies. Data is a moat. IBM acquired the Weather Company for around $2bn according to the Financial Times, and promptly put CEO David Kenny in charge of a swathe of its Watson and Cloud units. Uber now has a business selling data to companies including Starwood, and is leveraging data to make deals the public sector organisations such as the city of Boston. But taking advantage of data is hard – requiring entirely new skill sets. Valuing it is hard. Cleaning it is hard. Querying it is hard. Managing and maintaining it is hard.

Quote for the day:

"A problem is only a problem when viewed as a problem." -- Robin Sharma

Daily Tech Digest - April 22, 2017

How Indonesia is preparing its fintech ecosystem

“Trust in online payments and consistent education to accept new ways to pay are the two major challenges that we are currently facing,” explains Doku chief operating officer, Nabilah Alsagoff. “Most Indonesians are still comfortable and pretty much rely on bank transfer and COD as their preferred method of payments.” One of Doku’s main aims is to make e-commerce systems easier to navigate for both customers and merchants, she says. The ultimate goal is to be a part of Indonesians’ daily payment habits via e-money, especially for the unbanked in a country of over 250 million where only 65 million are bank account holders. But not only is access to customers a barrier, so too are laws and regulations. Most fintech players feel that the regulation in Indonesia is still in [a] grey area.

Indian techies, IT firms fret as Donald Trump orders US visa review

More broadly, uncertainty over the review announced this week has unsettled Grishma and many others like her. She will have to wait until at least around August to learn her fate, but having accepted the US job offer she is not in a position to apply for positions elsewhere, including in Europe. "It's pretty debilitating," Grishma told Reuters. "I'd like to start work to mitigate the financial damage." Trump's decision was not a huge surprise, given his election campaign pledge to put American jobs first. But the executive order he signed, though vague in many areas, has prompted thousands of foreign workers already in the United States or applying for visas to work there to re-think their plans. Companies who send them also face huge uncertainty.

How one company uses big data to maximize yields and minimize impact

The systems Vegis and her team have built are hosted on Bluemix, IBM's data storage, processing, and analytics cloud. "IBM's tools have enabled us to save both time and money on programming and development," Vegis said. With the initial hurdle of developing machine learning systems and processing data already accomplished, Foris.io has been able to actually gather data instead of just planning for it. According to Vegis, cognitive computing platforms like Watson allow them to "take concept to prototype in a shorter period of time, which we know will improve our chances of securing funding." That doesn't just apply to her and Foris.io—it's a huge benefit for all tech innovators. With a probe installed, data gathering begins. The devices, capable of transmitting data several kilometers, measure moisture, pH level, salinity, temperature, and other factors

25 Predictions About The Future Of Big Data

A flexible structure is just as important today as business needs are changing at an accelerating pace and it allows IT to be responsive in meeting new business requirements, hence the need for an information architecture for ingestion, storage, and consumption of data sources. One of the challenges facing enterprises today is that they have an ERP (like SAP, Oracle, etc.), internal data sources, external data sources and what ends up happening is that “spread-marts” (commonly referred to as Excel Spreadsheets) start proliferating data. Different resources download data from differing (and sometimes the same) sources creating dissimilar answers to the same question. This proliferation of data within the enterprise utilizes precious storage that is already overflowing - causing duplication and wasted resources without standardized or common business rules.

Introducing ‘Operator 4.0,’ a tech-augmented human worker

Human work will become more versatile and creative. Robots and people will work more closely together than ever before. People will use their unique abilities to innovate, collaborate and adapt to new situations. They will handle challenging tasks with knowledge-based reasoning. Machines enabled by the technologies that are now becoming commonplace – virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, wearable sensors like FitBits and smart watches – will take care of tedious work details. People will still be essential on the factory floors, even as robots become more common. Future operators will have technical support and be super-strong, super-informed, super-safe and constantly connected. We call this new generation of tech-augmented human workers, both on factory floors and in offices, “Operator 4.0.”

Fintech CEO Talks Cross-Border Pain Point Removal

Looking at payments through a global (rather that U.S.-based) lens, 2017 is not going to be a year of leap-frog innovations, but rather a year of incremental improvements focused on country-by-country wins. As mobile infrastructure continues to expand and the Internet reaches an additional two billion people in markets where access was previously nonexistent, we’re bound to see a spike in demand for online and mobile purchases. At the same time, the payment methods landscape will only become more fragmented, requiring payment platforms to optimize between multiple payment options, acquirers and processors, handle currency conversions cost-effectively and transparently, and account for numerous legislative nuances across multiple markets. Decades-old payments systems won’t cut here.

People Re-engineering How-to’s: Mentoring As A Service

The mess comes in what the older cohort in the business see in the self-organizing abilities and discipline in the personalities of the newcomers. I personally disagree with this 'mess theory' and see it as a normal difference in perspectives between generations that were professionally made in different ecosystems, with sharp differences in tempo and culture. Actually it’s our role (as veterans in the craft) to stretch a good hand to get the newcomers professionally in shape seamlessly and gracefully. So what’s the problem, then? Well, that becomes an issue when resources to coach these hordes of not-yet-matured practitioners are not enough. Especially when we remember the sometimes insane pressures on teams and leaders to meet their schedules, leaving very little space for helping juniors outside what’s barely needed to get them 'technically productive'.

Legal impact of data protection and management in the digital age

Regardless of the cause, the threat of data breaches is imminent and can have severe repercussions for organizations, especially if they are found guilty of failing to take sufficient measures to secure their data. Singapore's data protection law has one of the highest fines in Asia with each breach subject to a potential fine of S$1 million. Similarly, breaching Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation can result in a fine of the larger of either 20 million Euro or 4 per cent of the organization’s global annual turnover. Beyond financial penalties, a data breach can cause irreversible damage to a company’s reputation as well as potentially significant damages payable in civil liability to third parties, not to mention possible personal criminal liability for senior management. Organizations should be well aware of the prevailing legal regulations that govern ever growing popular technology solutions such as cloud storage, collection, analysis, and offshore storage of customer data.

Huawei’s CEO Eric Xu talks wearables, Cloud, AI, and more

AI will be everywhere in our products, in our technologies, and in our operations. And I believe AI can bring value in each and every one of those aspects. In the Telco markets, we've been talking about the technology of AI to build what we call a network brain. The whole notion of this network brain is to help telecom operators to be more intelligent as they build, run, and manage their network. Also, we have tried to bring artificial intelligence into smartphones. Last year we launched Huawei Magic; a concept phone with AI capabilities built into it. The idea was to show how the phones would evolve from smartphones to intelligent phones.  And then our network and cloud service - no matter whether it's Public Cloud or Private Cloud - we also inject the capabilities of AI into the Cloud platform to better enable enterprises.

Why You Must Build Cybersecurity Into Your Applications

“Companies face a terrible choice: either they turn their business into software and they accept the fact that they’re going to have rampant vulnerabilities and breaches or they let their competition win the innovation race. And everyone chooses software,” said Williams. “But as a result, we’re going to have 111 billion new lines of code in 2017. And the problem is that these legacy tools, dynamic analysis tools, static analysis tools and web application firewalls, were invented in the early 2000s. They’re absolutely incapable of scaling to the level of modern software.” This requires an approach that uses automation. Every business that has been around for more than five years will have legacy software integration challenges, which requires developing new code. Companies are constantly integrating new software platforms with older systems and a cybersecurity platform has to be able to protect all of these assets.

Quote for the day:

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." -- Dr. Seuss

Daily Tech Digest - April 21, 2017

A Vigilante Hacker May Have Built A Computer Worm To Protect The IoT

Symantec has found some possible proof. The company noticed that the computer worm has been leaving a message over infected devices since at least March, Grange said. That message has been digitally signed and fetched in a way that leaves little doubt it comes from Hajime's developer. The short message doesn't reveal anything about the Hajime developer's identity. But the vigilante hacker is aware the security community has been studying the Hajime worm. One clue: The mysterious developer refers to himself or herself as the "Hajime author" in the message the worm has been leaving behind. However, it was actually security researchers at Rapidity Networks that came up with the name Hajime, which is Japanese for the term "beginning."

Australia's bold plan for cybersecurity growth

The SCP is intended to "identify the challenges Australian organisations face when competing in local and international cyber security markets". "The SCP provides a roadmap to strengthen Australia's cyber security industry and pave the way for a vibrant and innovative ecosystem. It articulates the steps and actions required to help Australia become a global leader in cyber security solutions, with the aim of generating increased investment and jobs for the Australian economy," it says. The SCP was launched by Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. "The aspiration, and it's set out here in this plan so clearly, is to be a global leader in this space," Sinodinos said.

Even small firms can tap into value through data wrangling

Chances are, small businesses already have a fairly large amount of data collected, particularly if they have been in business for at least a year. Even if the business is older and had not begun in the digital age, and does not have many electronic records, the paper records still contain data. Sales slips, time cards, order forms, all of these have data worth analyzing. Perhaps the records are a mix of paper and electronic records. Maybe more recent inventory records are recorded in a spreadsheet, while the older information is kept in a hand-written ledger. It would be worth the business owner’s while to digitize the paper records. This will require an initial output of resources, but the time spent scanning images or entering data into a database program will be paid back in the time saved by the staff not having to dig through paper files looking for information in addition to gaining the ability to query these records.

Microsoft launches 'IoT-as-a-service' offering for enterprises

The Microsoft spokesperson added that the new offering will help IoT product manufacturers "that value time to market with technical stack prescribed and managed for them". "It is designed to enable the rapid innovation, design, configuration, and integration of smart products with enterprise-grade systems and applications to reduce product manufacturers' go-to-market cycle and increase the speed at which they can innovate so they can stay ahead of their competition and deliver smart products that delight their customers," the spokesperson told ZDNet. IoT Central is vertically and horizontally agnostic, though the spokesperson said its early adopters happen to operate in the manufacturing and engineering industries such as ThyssenKrupp Elevator, Sandvik Coromant, and Rolls-Royce.

Artificial intelligence: fulfilling the failed promise of big data

According to Forrester’s Business Technographics survey of over 3,000 global technology and business decision makers from last year, 41percent of global firms are already investing in AI and another 20 percent are planning to invest in the next year. Most large enterprises’ first foray into AI is with chatbots for customer service, what we call “conversational service solutions.” These run the gamut from hard coded rules-based chatbots which aren’t artificially intelligent to very sophisticated engines using a combination of NLP, NLG, and deep learning. From a customer insights perspective, many companies are starting to uses some of the “sensory” components of AI such as image and video analytics and speech analytics to unlock insights from unstructured data.

How the Internet of Things Puts SCADA Systems at Risk

Since OT is technology that was built pre-Internet and is goal-oriented, its security is not always a top priority, Brown said. Others agreed. "I think it's still sort of a nascent field which is ironic because industrial systems, operational systems are from a past era," said Alex Eisen, a security researcher for ForeScout. Eisen later continued, "Think about trains, iron, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and now we find ourselves in this modern world, information age, where a lot of these hard skills and experience is sort of tucked away." The panel discussed risks to assuming OT and IT systems are not connected. Brown went on to describe multiple attacks that have happened because of unknown entanglement between the two systems. The panelists — which included representatives from SMUD, the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, security companies, and others — discussed how OT systems can be protected:

How To Run Your Small Business With Free Open Source Software

Even if you want to stick with a closed source operating system (or, the case of macOS, partially closed source), your business can still take advantage of a vast amount of open source software. The most attractive benefit of doing so: It's generally available to download and run for nothing. While support usually isn't available for such free software, it's frequently offered at an additional cost by the author or a third party. It may be included in a low-cost commercially licensed version as well. Is it possible, then, to run a business entirely on software that can be downloaded for free? There certainly are many options that make it possible — and many more that aren't included in this guide.

Five emerging technologies for rapid digital transformation

To get a sense of what pressures IT leaders were under and how they were dealing with them, I recently sampled just over 50 of the top practitioners in the space with a focus on what I regarded were leading organizations in their industry -- mostly large enterprise CIOs, as well as a few CTOs, CDOs, and EVPs of IT who I knew were pushing the envelope -- to better understand the IT initiatives they are focusing on to becoming more agile. By picking cutting-edge leaders at top organizations, the intent was that the data will show what they're facing and how they're dealing with it this year, in a way that gives more typical organizations time to prepare for what they'll likely face next year and beyond. Unsurprisingly, the data clearly that top IT leaders are feeling much more pressure for their team to move quicker than they ever have in the past.

Surveys show high hopes, deep concerns about IoT

While many have high hopes for IoT, few are on their way to full deployment. The survey found 41 percent of respondents expect IoT to have a big impact on their industries within three years, affecting things like efficiency and differentiated products and services. But only 7 percent said they have a clear vision with implementation well under way. Most companies don't have everything they need to succeed in IoT, with many saying they'll need new technical skills, data integration and analytics capabilities, or even a rethinking of their business model. Thirty-one percent of the executives said their organizations face a "major skills gap" in industrial IoT. The annual developer survey co-sponsored by the open-source Eclipse IoT Working Group, IEEE IoT, Agile IoT and the IoT Council, also found growing adoption along with continuing concerns.

The Value of Exploratory Data Analysis

EDA is valuable to the data scientist to make certain that the results they produce are valid, correctly interpreted, and applicable to the desired business contexts. Outside of ensuring the delivery of technically sound results, EDA also benefits business stakeholders by confirming they are asking the right questions and not biasing the investigation with their assumptions, as well as by providing the context around the problem to make sure the potential value of the data scientist’s output can be maximized. As a bonus, EDA often leads to insights that the business stakeholder or data scientist wouldn’t even think to investigate but that can be hugely informative about the business. In this post, we will give a high level overview of what EDA typically entails and then describe three of the major ways EDA is critical to successfully model and interpret its results.

Quote for the day:

"Our leadership style is defined by who we are and what we do, not by what we say." -- Gordon Tredgold