Daily Tech Digest - November 20, 2016

What is the future of SMS and USSD in Africa?

“USSD can become a container for many things,” Muhanga says. “For example, you can run a website on USSD only. Your whole system can be accessible anywhere in the world. And it is very secure.” With USSD users do not store any data on their handsets. This is quite secure in terms of mobile banking transactions that rely on the technology. “You can get sensitive messages like in health or financials that you do not want to store in your phone,” Muhanga explains. Even in the face of OTT services, SMS is not dead. According to the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA), more mobile phone subscribers use text messaging. In its quarterly report for the year 2015 to 2016 ending June this year, there was almost double the number of SMS’s used.


What is Big Data Analytics and Why is it Important in Fintech?

Data sets grow very fast because they are gathered using many information-sensing mobile devices, cameras, software logs, aerial, wireless sensor networks, radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers and microphones. Since the 1980s and the boom of the internet, the amount of data that is being generated and kept on a global level is inconceivable, and it keeps growing. The global technological per-capita capacity to keep information doubles every 40 months. Since 2012, 2.5 Exabyte of data is generated every day. A question for big enterprises is deciding who should be the owner of big data initiatives that affect the whole organization. Relational database management systems and some data visualization software have difficulty in dealing with Big data.


Everything you need to Know about Scaling MySQL

Although both sharding and replatforming enhance the performance of MySQL, they are complex processes that consume a lot of time in addition to being costly. Even then, the good news is that they are not the only options. It is not surprising that MySQL technology that dates back to more than two decades ago is struggling to stay abreast with the latest developments in the digital world today. While MySQL databases will do for those companies that do not foresee much growth, companies that are keen on growth need to consider scaling their MySQL databases even though achieving scale is no mean feat. It is possible to encounter problems when scaling MySQL despite having all the financial resources. For instance, Google has built its own database which is a huge undertaking as opposed to if the company had explored modern solutions.


Cyber security experts warn firms about dark side of social media use as hackers hunt data

"Cyber criminals know that the easiest way to penetrate a system is to go after the user, not the computer, so they target vulnerable users with 'spear phishing' emails that are crafted to look like they come from someone known and trusted. The messages might also appear to come from banks or businesses, and can include full names, usernames, and other personal details," he said. "It's an old-fashioned confidence trick," said Harris, "but cyber attackers are deploying it with more sophistication. "For example, imagine I send you a fraudulent email. You might work in the finance department and I send you an email that looks like it comes from your boss requesting you to make a payment urgently into a certain bank account.


Five strategies to unlock smart city potential

Smart city technologies hold the promise of improving the sustainability and liveability of our urban centres, and according to one industry executive, there are five ingredients needed to unlock their potential. “The smart cities movement is a global one. There are no boundaries in the smart cities movement, and that in particular provides a lot of challenges and opportunities,” said Adam Beck, executive director at the Smart Cities Council Australia and New Zealand. ... “Technology isn’t a barrier anymore, and I don’t think funding and finance is a barrier. The barrier now is probably the level of creativity we apply in trying to access that finance and funding,” Beck said. Beck outlined five strategies which he said “establishes the conditions in which we can accelerate the smart cities marketplace.”


Forget wearables. In the future, your clothes will connect to the internet

What Avery Dennison is trying to do is bring these experiences outside the store and expand their possibilities. Sidahmed says the company has no exact roadmap for hitting 10 billion connected items, but the project is underway. “The first collaboration is here with Rochambeau,” she says. “Now the conversation is starting.” The endeavor has obstacles to overcome, however. For one thing, RFID tags aren’t something you can just throw in the laundry and expect to keep working. Washable versions do exist, but Sidahmed admits they’re too expensive at the moment to be widely used. For now, they have to be removable so you can launder the garment, though Sidahmed says companies are working on the problem.


Big data can’t bring objectivity to a subjective world

What’s more, the implications of this weakness extend far beyond the social sciences. There are some, for instance, who think that big data will “revolutionize” advertising and marketing, allowing these two interlinked fields to reach their “ultimate goal: targeting personalized ads to the right person at the right time.” According to figures in the advertising industry “[t]here is a spectacular change occurring,” as masses of data enable firms to profile people and know who they are, down to the smallest preference. Yet even if big data might enable advertisers to collect more info on any given customer, this won’t remove the need for such info to be interpreted by models, concepts and theories on what people want and why they want it. And because these things are still necessary


Internet of Things Messaging, Part 1: Introducing MQTT

MQTT implementations are excellent choices for endpoint devices such as Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, smart phones OSes, and pretty much any platform that can benefit from simple and low overhead messaging. The MQTT protocol is, as of writing, at version 3.1.1 and has become an OASIS standard although there are still many implementations in the market that support version 3.1.0 . The latest specification has major improvements over the previous spec and also mandates that MQTT “brokers” should now be called MQTT “servers”.  IANA has reserved TCP/IP port 1883 for use by MQTT brokers, er … servers, along with port 8883 for MQTT over SSL (note that using SSL introduces an additional communications performance overhead). Many MQTT server implementations also support WebSockets.


Physicians Say Blockchain Healthcare Ideas in Need of Exam

“The attention is on these big issues because everyone loves the sexiness of solving a big problem,” said Mathew Rose, a practicing junior doctor in Ireland and co-founder at Saavha. “But if you think throughout history, anything that was an immense problem, it was easier to solve the little problems inside that big problem.” Look at the development of medicine, for example. Part of the reason medical science has advanced so far is because every medical researcher works on a part of the problem, Rose said. In cancer research, some doctors focus on practices for removing tumors, while others focus on inhibiting blood supply, while still others investigate what role proteins play. In Saavha’s implementation, a hash of the appointment data is stored on the blockchain so it can be proven that the data wasn’t changed retrospectively.


Why Top Executives Do Not Get Innovation – and What to Do About It

There simply is no room in this equation for CEOs to put their necks on the line and support investments in innovation efforts that won’t produce near-term results, or may even have a negative impact on the bottom line for some period of time. Thus we find ourselves in a world where companies put too much focus on incremental innovation. In an ideal world, boards would demand that investments in innovation are made on a widely accepted norm of 80% incremental and 20% radical to assure the long-term health of the organization. But few organizations have metrics for measuring innovation, and boards don’t pay executives based on innovation objectives. Dynamic values such as entrepreneurship, creativity, and risk-taking are not measured, let alone valued at bonus time. This lead to an over emphasis on incremental innovation.



Quote for the day:


"Leaders lead. They don't divide; they don't create a climate that is poisonous." -- @JebBush