September 18, 2016

Telecom APIs could increase African innovation

This has opened up a great avenue for developers to bring innovation into the hands of every African. However, this can only be achieved by companies opening up their APIs to the ecosystem. “Mobile operators already play a central role in nurturing the development of innovative solutions in Africa,” the GSMA report said. “They have traditionally supported various initiatives to identify and develop new talent and solutions, including incubators, accelerators and competitions, mostly through funding and mentorship.” The report also highlighted the interest that mobile firms have had in the tech industry. MTN, Millicom and Orange have acquired equity stakes in Africa Internet Group, the organisation that owns ecommerce giants Jumia and Kyamu.

How smart materials will literally reshape the world around us

Here’s how it would work: An airplane component (like the wing) is made out of a composite material that has been coated with a thin layer of nanosensors. This coating serves as a “nervous system,” allowing the component to “sense” everything that is happening around it — pressure, temperature and so on. When the wing’s nervous system senses damage, it sends a signal to microspheres of uncured material within the nanocrystal coating. This signal instructs the microspheres to release their contents in the damaged area and then start curing, much like putting glue on a crack and letting it harden. Airbus is already doing important research in this area at the University of Bristol’s National Composites Centre, moving us closer to an aviation industry shaped by smart materials.

What’s New in the Economics of Cybersecurity?

Policymakers’ choices can influence cybersecurity in various sectors. In “Economic Impacts of Rules- versus Risk-Based Cybersecurity Regulations for Critical Infrastructure Providers,” Fabio Massacci and his colleagues address the pressing issue of finding an optimal way to alert operators of critical infrastructures about cybersecurity risk. In particular, they compare the US’s rulebased model to the EU’s risk-based approach. A proposed cybersecurity model for public policy in the presence of strategic attackers is calibrated to the National Grid, which operates in the UK and the East Coast of the US. The model shows that, depending on the combination of incentives, operators will stop investing in risk assessment and care only about compliance, or vice versa. 

Now or never - India CEO Outlook 2016

Technology serves both as a trigger as well as an enabler of innovation. CEOs expect that over the next three years, technology is likely to have a huge impact on their growth, next only to global economic factors. They agree that almost every function of their businesses is bound to be influenced, with key focus areas for technology adoption in the near term likely to revolve around customer centricity, efficiency enhancement and employee satisfaction. ... Integration of basic automated business processes with artificial intelligence and cognitive processes remains an important concern for nearly 92 per cent of the surveyed CEOs. Key underlying causes could be the fact that planning for technology in many organisations takes place in silos, rather than at a unified organisational level, paired with a lack of ability to identify the right technology to meet organisational needs.

Bank of England wants next payment system to be blockchain-ready

It's not just about linking up with external blockchains, though: The bank will, it said, also continue to explore the use of distributed ledgers in its own systems, including through its own startup accelerator, which will shortly begin selecting a second round of participants. The first round includes a security assessment service, BitSight; a data anonymization tool, Privitar -- and a blockchain demonstration platform developed by the bank and PwC to explore the possibilities of smart contracts. "The resilience characteristics of the distributed ledger in particular are potentially highly attractive from a financial stability perspective," the bank noted. But it pretty much ruled out the possibility that the new RTGS would be blockchain-based.

Will Fog Computing Hide the Clouds of the Internet of Things?

The OpenFog Reference Architecture is an architectural evolution from traditional closed systems and the burgeoning cloud-only models to an approach that emphasizes computation nearest to the edge of the network when dictated by business concerns or critical application the functional requirements of the system. The OpenFog Reference Architecture consists of putting micro data centers or even small, purpose-built high-performance data analytics machines in remote offices and locations in order to gain real-time insights from the data collected, or to promote data thinning at the edge, by dramatically reducing the amount of data that needs to be transmitted to a central data center. Without having to move unnecessary data to a central data center, analytics at the edge can simplify and drastically speed analysis while also cutting costs.

The Top 5 Problems with Distributed Teams and How to Solve Them

It’s easy to put the problems in a list of 5. Putting the solutions in such list is a lot harder. Every setup, company and situation is different. I sometimes have people coming to my trainings expecting ‘cures’. The only thing I can deliver is a set of ideas, some of which may apply to their situation. It’s about turning a button here, tweaking a bit there and adjusting step by step. Agile, iterative. ... By creating a positive team spirit and addressing the cultural differences, we avoid the trap of ‘us versus them’ and we create awareness about how each team member behaves given the cultural context. We also define actions to organize around the differences and benefit from the similarities. Implementing a structure or tool to share the knowledge about the product or project we’re building, helps team members understand what they’re working on.

Singapore's cut-off from the internet is not so crazy

There are good reasons for Singapore's big disconnection, since Asian countries suffer a huge number of targeted attacks on their internet infrastructure. Those attacks are increasingly sophisticated in terms of both the technology employed and the psychological profiling of targets. In fact, Singapore's decision is more a question of philosophy than IT security. Actually, there are two questions: 1. Is it possible to completely secure a system that's connected to the internet?; 2. If not, what are the potential consequences if such a system is compromised? The answer to the first question is a resounding no. No operating system is exploit-free. The same applies for any mail client or web browser. Vulnerabilities may not be widely known yet, but they exist and will be discovered.

Bad migration experiences leave IT bosses gun-shy

IT shops don't think about the web of dependencies and connections between what they are upgrading and other systems, says Arnold. They don't look at storage subsystem compatibility, app dependency and true dependency of apps to servers. You might have to take down and replace several things all at the same time. But therein lays the challenge. Arnold spoke with one CIO who talked of wanting to solve the constant change in his environment but there were too many variables in these migrations to make a move. "There is no one particular issue because everyone has a different experience. I've had people plan these out and thought they knew how it would go and had a storage subsystem fail on them," he says.

This Is Why Securing Your Business Is More Important Than Ever

While attackers do continue to target large enterprises more frequently, small businesses are proving to be an emerging gold mine as they store the same valuable information, but have fewer resources to defend themselves against threats. In our most recent survey, we found that despite the majority of small businesses reporting being concerned about cyber attacks, a third were not taking any proactive measures at all to mitigate cyber risks, and only 12 percent had a breach preparedness plan in place. ... Awareness, education, monitoring and response, will all play a role in helping you safeguard your company information. There are a number of free, easily accessible resources, like the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Federal Communications Commission, for information on security best practices.

Quote for the day:

"Anticipation is the ultimate power. Losers react; leaders anticipate." -- Tony Robbins