Daily Tech Digest - January 28, 2017

IoT and business model transformation: We're not there yet

One thing is clear: IoT integration should be at the top of your agenda — and, in fact, at the top of your entire C-suite’s agenda. Because prying open the IoT treasure chest isn't a matter of technical prowess — it's a matter of organizational prowess. Sure, the technical challenges are formidable in their own right. With the promise of near-endless data comes the requirement to store and analyze that near-endless data. And when our data lakes become so vast, how can we make sure that our data is secure and the quality is up to par. Tough nuts to crack, but with the help of advances in storage technology, machine learning and cybersecurity, we’re definitely making good progress. That’s why most of my conversations with the C-suite take on a different focus: “Hypothesize these challenges solved, how do you get it to actually work? And what does it mean for my organization?”


Hydraulic muscle makes for tougher, stronger disaster-site robots

The Tokyo Tech/Bridgestone artificial muscle is a very simple device based on the human muscle, only instead of using contracting muscle tissue it uses a rubber tube bound by woven high-tensile fibers, which contracts in length as its pressurized with hydraulic fluid. The combination of rubber and fabric gives it a structure like that of the human artery, so it responds dynamically as pressure is applied and released, allowing it to move smoothly and precisely. ... According to the team, producing the muscle required the development of a new oil-resistant rubber that also has excellent deformation characteristics. The sheath needed a new technique for weaving high-tension chemical fibers, and the tube ends required special tightening to resist high pressure without leaking. The result was an actuator five to ten times the strength-to-weight of electric motors or solid hydraulic cylinders.


The Great Digital Identity Debate

For optimal management of digital identity, Madhu said, the process “begins at the business endpoint, which represents the edge that the consumer interacts with. That could be a private or public business.” A consumer could be challenged for credentials at one business and, across transactions, might not have to be challenged at subsequent interactions with other firms, as they intrinsically trust the credentials already presented and “accept you and can personalize content knowing who you are.” That has been established by XAML. But there are no hard and fast guidelines in the U.S. governing the attributes that a business should check for risk beyond typically confirming one’s name, date of birth or Social Security number. Other avenues of technology tied to digital identity, said Webster, include biometrics. But, said Madhu, biometrics exist primarily to avoid using passwords, where there is nothing wrong with passwords per se in establishing identity.


Big Data Leadership: CIO, CAO, Or Maybe The Big Dog

The common theme in the analytics community is along the lines of "We have to get buy-in from the CEO and the board." Buy-in means giving an OK or allocating funds. What a big data strategy really needs is for the big boss to say, "We're going to do this. If it changes people's jobs, the products we offer, or the way business gets done, we still have to do it." It's about delivering a mandate and providing leadership. Someone on the analytics or IT team can come up with great ideas for the use of data and how it can change the company, but they have no authority over the business units and too often they have only a marginal understanding of a line manager's job in the field. The CEO may have even less of an understanding of what really happens in the field, but what they do have are the authority and the responsibility. A big data initiative -- in fact the broader adoption of analytics -- is a multi-departmental effort.


Black market medical record prices drop to under $10, criminals switch to ransomware

The black market value of stolen medical records dropped dramatically this year, and criminals shifted their efforts from stealing data to spreading ransom ware, according to a report released this morning. Hackers are now offering stolen records at between $1.50 and $10 each, said Anthony James, CMO at San Mateo, Calif.-based security firm TrapX, the company that produced the report. That's a big drop from 2012, when the World Privacy Forum put the street value of medical records at around $50 each. That's because the average profit per record was about $20,000. The information in medical records can be used for medical billing fraud as well as identity theft and other big-money scams. But the market has become saturated, said James. With about 112 million records stolen in 2015 alone, the medical info of nearly half all Americans is already out there.


Zuckerberg defends immigrants threatened by Trump

While the country will have to come to grips with how to deal with the coming unemployment crisis fueled by globalization and automation, and Zuckerberg doesn’t claim to have an answer here, he’s brave to stick up for inclusive values that underpin the modern American spirit. Even if that means sparring with the other most powerful man in the world. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg today announced he’s dropping his Hawaiian land lawsuits that were part of him securing land on the island to build a home, calling the suits “a mistake” and planning a different route forward. The CEO has learned a lot about listening to the public since the early days of Facebook’s privacy missteps. In other Facebook-Trump news, COO Sheryl Sandberg yesterday posted her stern disagreement with Trump signing an executive order that will pull funding from foreign aid organizations that provide counseling about family planning options including abortion.


Here's how robots are going to change employment

"We are seeing the emergence of a Skills Revolution — where helping people upskill and adapt to a fast-changing world of work will be the defining challenge of our time. Those with the right skills will increasingly call the shots, create opportunities and choose how, where and when they work," said Jonas Prising, Chairman & CEO at ManpowerGroup. "Those without will look to the future and not be able to see how their circumstances will improve. This polarization of the population that is playing out in front of our eyes is no good for society or for business. ... "Now is the time for leaders to be responsive and responsible: we cannot slow the rate of technological advance or globalisation, but we can invest in employees’ skills to increase the resilience of our people and organisations. Individuals also need to nurture their learnability: their desire and ability to learn new skills to stay relevant and remain employable."


Banking on Bots: The Move towards Digital Labor in Financial Services

It’s no exaggeration to say that nearly every major process in the world of financial services will present candidates for bots, from the front, middle and back-office to enterprise services such as finance, compliance, and risk management, across all business units including investment banking, wealth and asset management, retail and commercial banking and insurance. At one bank, for example, bots are being used in trade settlement. According to an article in American Banker, the bank has programmed bots with rules that let them perform research on the orders, resolve discrepancies and clear the trades. While it takes a human five to ten minutes to reconcile a failed trade, the bot can do the same task in a quarter of a second.


Vanishing point: the rise of the invisible computer

Technologies such as gesture tracking and gaze tracking, currently being pioneered for virtual-reality video games, may also prove useful. Augmented reality (AR), a close cousin of virtual reality that involves laying computer-generated information over the top of the real world, will begin to blend the virtual and the real. Google may have sent its Glass AR headset back to the drawing board, but something very like it will probably find a use one day. And the firm is working on electronic contact lenses that could perform similar functions while being much less intrusive. Moore’s law cannot go on for ever. But as it fades, it will fade in importance. It mattered a lot when your computer was confined to a box on your desk, and when computers were too slow to perform many desirable tasks. It gave a gigantic global industry a master metronome, and a future without it will see computing progress become harder, more fitful and more irregular.


From insular US firms to spammy marketers: Who will GDPR hit the hardest?

“The upcoming GDPR will be especially demanding for SMEs that aim to collect large amounts of personal data for disruptive applications. For instance, GDPR requires that a data protection impact assessment should be carried out prior to processing personal data. GDPR provides some leeway to SMEs in terms of assigning a data protection officer, or in their record keeping activities. However, this holds true only if the processing is not likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of the data subjects, or the processing is not the core activity of the business.
 “GDPR demands that consumers should be able to review when their personal data is collected and how it is used, and be able to give or withdraw consent. ...”



Quote for the day:


"Pride is concerned with WHO is right. Humility is concerned with WHAT is right." -- Ezra T. Benson