Daily Tech Digest - November 03, 2016

Machines can now recognize something after seeing it once, Cybercrime in Canada: The impact on SMBs, How integrated reporting is changing the role of the accounting profession, Saudi Arabia turns to big data to boost business innovation and more.

Machines Can Now Recognize Something After Seeing It Once

The best algorithms can recognize things reliably, but their need for data makes building them time-consuming and expensive. An algorithm trained to spot cars on the road, for instance, needs to ingest many thousands of examples to work reliably in a driverless car. Gathering so much data is often impractical—a robot that needs to navigate an unfamiliar home, for instance, can’t spend countless hours wandering around learning. Oriol Vinyals, a research scientist at Google DeepMind, a U.K.-based subsidiary of Alphabet that’s focused on artificial intelligence, added a memory component to a deep-learning system—a type of large neural network that’s trained to recognize things by adjusting the sensitivity of many layers of interconnected components roughly analogous to the neurons in a brain. 

A glimpse of the future, part three: the internet of things

Certainly, there are many projects that are focused upon creating a self-sustaining planet where, instead of using fossil fuels or other dirty power systems, we get all our energy from the Sun. Elon Musk’s company announced just the other day a range of new house tiles that look like tiles but are actually solar panels. The world is changing fast, super-fast, and much of it being driven by the visionary Elon Musk but he’s not alone. For example, Jeff Bezos is quietly building a whole new world through Amazon. In fact, it seems that we have two sorts of billionaires out there. Those who want to create new solutions for the future (Musk, Bezos and Branson), and those who want to solve present problems in the future (Gates, Buffett, Zuckerberg).

Mobile apps to take over HR technology

Businesses are showing interest in using mobile tools to measure the culture of their business. “That is becoming interesting and big,” he said. Deloitte, for example, has introduced an app called CulturePath. It asks people 10 to 15 questions about their workplace, such as how much freedom they have, how safe they feel and how much collaboration there is, to assess the culture of the organisation. “In most companies, the CEO believes the culture is a certain way. It may be that way around him or her, but it may be completely different out in the company depending on who the manager is,” he said. ... A number of recruitment tools now have tracking systems that measure how diverse the process is, highlighting any unconscious bias.

Cybercrime in Canada: The impact on SMBs

The picture of Canadian SMB cybersecurity that emerges from this survey is of many good intentions and a broad awareness that cybercrime is a threat to organizations. For instance, 96% of SMB employees think backing up company files is important, and 92% think having IT security software installed on all devices is an important IT security measure. A very encouraging 88% place a strong emphasis on “training on your company’s IT security procedures”. Yet much work remains to be done. Only 43% on SMB employees felt confident that their business and its reputation could “survive and thrive” after a cyberattack. And only 40% said they were “very satisfied” with their company’s current IT security policies, procedures, and products.

One in three targeted cyberattacks results in a security breach: Accenture Survey

A new security survey from Accenture has found that, in the past twelve months, roughly one in three targeted cyber attacks resulted in an actual security breach, which equates to two to three effective attacks per month for the average company. Still, a majority of security executives (75 percent) surveyed are confident in their ability to protect their enterprises from cyberattacks. For the survey report ‘Building Confidence: Facing the Cybersecurity Conundrum,’ Accenture surveyed 2,000 enterprise security practitioners representing companies with annual revenues of $1 billion or more in 15 countries about their perceptions of cyber risks, the effectiveness of current security efforts and the adequacy of existing investments.

How Integrated Reporting Is Changing The Role Of The Accounting Profession

The ability to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment and anticipate the information needs of our investors, shareholders, partners and clients is a vital part of corporate reporting. At its core is the need to develop and use a best practice approach that will assist the decision-making process and contribute to the successful implementation of our strategy. As I lead the implementation of the Integrated Reporting (IR) framework and embed its principles into the fabric of our corporate reporting, my goal is to influence behavior and shift the focus to a more comprehensive view of the factors that contribute to increased strategic alignment and the long-term sustainability of our institution.

Saudi Arabia turns to big data to boost business innovation

“When you are only focusing on your strategy, you can miss significant changes in the business model of your industry and suddenly a brand new competitor arrives on your doorstep. This is why Saudi CIOs are becoming more anchored in their business strategy.” Barig Siraj, director of IT and ERP at Zahid Group, one of the region’s biggest conglomerates, agreed that big data strategy would loom large as his business becomes more globalised. Although Zahid is not currently undertaking big data initiatives, Siraj said global partners of its leasing division, such as Caterpillar and Volvo Trucks, would soon require data exchange and analytics to gain global information insights.

Q&A With The Author on "Designing the Requirements”, an Alternative Approach

Obviously the book is about design of IT applications but I have long felt that it is very odd that IT design should be so different from other kinds of design like designing a building. For instance, you would never incrementally design a house; start by designing a wall say, showing it to the customer and asking if that was what they wanted and then, when they were happy with that, showing them another wall and so on. When starting on this journey many years ago, I wanted to know exactly how IT design was different from “normal” design and why. And the first point I noticed was that design of buildings or machines was hierarchical. It’s the hierarchy that gives you traceability – if something is changed or breaks, you go up the hierarchy to understand the ramifications on the rest of the design.

The True Potential of RegTech: Fostering Systemic Financial Stability

RegTech platforms to date have primarily been designed to help major financial institutions meet the burgeoning, new demands of regulators and policymakers. Yet RegTech offers regulators much more. It offers a proportionate risk-based approach where access to and analysis of data enables more granular and effective supervision of markets and market participants. This new form of data reporting and monitoring has the potential to benefit macro-level supervision and stability ... Yet to date RegTech has fallen far short of this vision. For now, RegTech’s growth has principally been in processes that substantially decrease compliance costs and the potential for regulatory fines. The most immediate practical use has been to make it easier to attact and monitor clients in compliance with know-your-customer (KYC) rules.

Do We Need Two Types of CIO?

More traditional CIOs, with a long history of infrastructure projects, are likely to be more suited, and more comfortable, keeping the lights on. They will be focused on automating core tasks and driving efficiencies in existing processes. Whereas more digitally ambitious “change agents” will want to explore disruptive technologies to transform operational models altogether. A good example of this is the IoT2.0 approach adopted by Panera Bread to digitally mobilize customer-facing processes, including ordering and paying. I talked about Panera’s innovations in some more detail in my previous post. Perhaps there is a role for both types of CIO―and perhaps we’ll see a rewriting of senior job titles to reflect this increasing alignment between IT and business strategy.

Quote for the day:

“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance.” -- John D. Rockefeller