December 27, 2015

10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2015: Where Are They Now?

The roads would be safer if nearby vehicles automatically shared details of their speed, direction, and other information over wireless links. This year Mercedes-Benz confirmed that its version of that technology will appear in 2017 E-Class models going on sale next year, and General Motors was reported to be putting car-to-car communication in the 2017 Cadillac CTS sedan. ... Alphabet continued testing its giant helium balloons intended to widen Internet access in 2015. In October the company signed an agreement with the government of Indonesia to give the technology its biggest test yet. In 2016 cellular networks serving the country’s 250 million people will begin to integrate the balloons into their networks, acting as extra cellular towers floating in the stratosphere.


Banks of the future are already here

The future is already here. One can pay subway fares by putting a smartphone with an NFC chip and banking application at the entry gate. No doubt, in a couple of years one will be able to do the same without a smartphone just by virtue of linking a credit card NFC tag to the NFC ring. To withdraw money from an ATM, one won’t need a bank card – it will suffice to log into online banking using a smartphone, then scan a QR-code and get access to the cash withdrawal menu. Skinner predicts that a new economy will be based on chips and online payments with a share of cash not exceeding 30 percent. However, even the most advanced governments have not succeeded to completely eradicate cash payments: e.g. in Sweden, the volume of non-cash payments has reached only 70 percent.


Five Principles for Leading an AgileCulture

Spotify is familiar with the downside of success. Following substantial growth a few years ago, its engineering team expanded and started to lose their nimble touch. Some companies might approach this problem from a process standpoint, but Spotify leadership seized the opportunity to re-orchestrate to an agile culture. Flash forward to today, and Spotify’s agile culture has made it easier for the company to go to market with ideas more quickly than ever before. That culture also paved the way toward success in a key area for digital business: attracting and retaining talented people. Organizations like Spotify and online retailer Zappos are among the growing tide that recognize that to compete in today’s digital age, agile is no longer optional.


2016 Could See Google Challenge WhatsApp With Chat Bots

The service will be similar to Luka.ai, a SIRI-like app that you can hold a basic conversation with about local restaurant recommendations, according to the Journal. Another comparable example is Facebook M, a virtual assistant service similar to Siri that runs on Facebook Messenger Powered by both artificial intelligence and a team of human beings, its being trialled by beta testers in the Bay Area, California and can book travel, find products or suggest a good gift. You can ask M to order Star Wars tickets, draw you a picture, even write you a song. In such cases it can be hard to distinguish if you’re chatting with a bot or a human.


How I Created A $350 Million Software Company Knowing Nothing About Software

It struck me that if I could build cheaper call center software, I could make my own softwarecompany — and have revenge on The Smirker. The stars must have been aligning for me because shortly thereafter, my college roommate, who I nicknamed “The Fro” (I give nicknames to everyone for whom I have a deep affection), called to tell me (brag) that the call center software startup he worked for had been acquired by Cisco. He hadn’t made much as a late-stage employee, he admitted, but he had a taste for what could be, and encouraged me to fly to Boston to discuss creating our own startup. “After all,” he said, “you’re good at selling shit.”


10 routes to IT job security

One of the quickest ways to irrelevancy in IT is to get behind the curve. That curve grows steeper with every passing year and the moment you get lost in the wash of progress, you are finished. Make sure you are always learning about the latest trends, keep yourself updated on security issues, ensure that you're up to date on everything new and shiny in the business. Take classes and/or workshops, and read, read, read. ... Yes, Sheldon Cooper can pull it off, but he's a fictional character surrounded by forgiving friends. In the world of business, you won't find many people that forgiving. So do not be a know-it-all. Even if you do know it all, don't show it all.


Collaborative Overload

Any effort to increase your organization’s collaborative efficiency should start with an understanding of the existing supply and demand. Employee surveys, electronic communications tracking, and internal systems such as 360-degree feedback and CRM programs can provide valuable data on the volume, type, origin, and destination of requests, as can more in-depth network analyses and tools. For example, Do.com monitors calendars and provides daily and weekly reports to both individual employees and managers about time spent in meetings versus on solo work. The idea is to identify the people most at risk for collaborative overload.


Bitcoin is Entering the Age of Practicality

The blockchain, at its core, is a database. It may be the Liam Neeson of databases, but still it's a database. This new age of practicality must be filled with companies solving real problems – problems that could not be solved before the gift Satoshi left for us (before returning to his alternate dimension). We as an industry must be able to look into every industry and every discipline and see what challenges a distributed, immutable ledger can really solve. We have debated on Reddit and other forums about what can be. But the new age must be filled with companies that not only see what can be, but build what should be. We have to embrace people from all disciplines and lend a ear to what struggles they have. We have to then be creative enough to innovate through cross-discipline association.


Debunking the biggest myths about artificial intelligence

These are real worries with immediate importance to how we use, and are used by, the current and plausible future of AI technology. If a doctor uses Watson (or Siri or Google Now or Cortana) as part of what proves to be a misdiagnosis, who or what is ethically responsible for the consequences? And might we one day face the issues of sentient machines demanding rights? The good news is that these worries are being taken seriously. Trying to define ethics, even between humans, is notoriously difficult. Society’s generally accepted ground rules are codified in a practical way by law and the legal system—and it’s here that practical answers to AI ethics are being developed.


Big Data Helps Alleviate Aviation Risk Management Problems

Probably one of the most important areas of aviation risk management to obtain immediate benefits from the utilization of Big Data will concern enhanced customer loyalty and offer programs. The ability to track responses to customer service surveys in real time now enables many airlines to enhance their advertising efforts in a way that tailors the benefits of specific offers to individual customers. For instance, by mining charter flight databases and merging information with customer files, some airlines may discover ways to offer attractive discounts to people who fly frequently to specific, remote locations. This type of tailored marketing would have proven impossible during previous eras. Today, it represents a popular new trend.



Quote for the day:


"A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself." -- Joel Barker