Daily Tech Digest - September 12, 2017

Automation, robotics, and the factory of the future

Advances in computing power, software-development techniques, and networking technologies have made assembling, installing, and maintaining robots faster and less costly than before. For example, while sensors and actuators once had to be individually connected to robot controllers with dedicated wiring through terminal racks, connectors, and junction boxes, they now use plug-and-play technologies in which components can be connected using simpler network wiring. The components will identify themselves automatically to the control system, greatly reducing setup time. These sensors and actuators can also monitor themselves and report their status to the control system, to aid process control and collect data for maintenance, and for continuous improvement and troubleshooting purposes.


The next big thing in hard disks may be glass

Hard disk makers are in a big of a struggle for survival. As SSDs grow in capacity and shrink in price, hard disk makers are losing business on the low end. Only the cheapest of laptops don’t have a SSD standard any more. And with affordable 1TB SSDs on the market, it’s a good choice for most desktops, as well.  ... Forget 3TB or 6TB hard disks, we now have 12TB and 14TB drives coming to market. These are done by cramming a lot of disk platters in the drive case and using helium inside the drive to reduce friction. Even there, drive makers are reaching the limits of physics. But a Japanese firm, Hoya Corp., thinks it has the solution. The company told Nikkei Technology it believes glass substrates, already used in 2.5-inch notebook drives, can be designed for 3.5-inch desktop and server disks.


Hybrid Cloud – is it really the future of enterprise IT?

It’s clear to see that the appetite for agility and flexibility in the enterprise IT arena is increasing dramatically. Just like virtualisation revolutionised the traditional data centre over a decade ago, cloud-based technology is driving a dramatic shift in how enterprise organisations design, deploy and manage IT services today. IT professionals now expect the on-demand, robust and consistent characteristics of cloud-based platforms to exist across the entire IT estate they carefully manage and the services they consume. End-users and consumers expect fast, reliable and accessible services without any real appreciation for the technical complexities involved in delivering new applications that meet these demands. Business leaders want to see increased productivity, greater security and a better return on investments as a result of adopting new, modern cloud-based technologies.


10 Tips For Getting Started With Machine Learning

AI adoption outside of the tech sector is mostly at an early, experimental stage, with few firms deploying it at scale, McKinsey reports. Companies that have not yet adopted AI technology at scale or as a core part of their business are unsure of the returns they can expect on such investments, according to McKinsey. But Olley, whose ML efforts at Elsevier have helped pharmaceutical clients discover drugs and deliver relevant medical information to clinicians, said use cases for ML abound in talent management, sales and marketing, customer support, and other areas. ... In fact, it may make sense to embed data science and machine learning into every department, including sales, marketing, HR and finance. Olley suggested CIOs try something that works for him at Elsevier, where he pairs data scientists with software engineers or oncology specialists


Number of women in executive roles could surpass men by 2037

The number of women in executive leadership roles, STEM fields, and small business ownership roles could match or exceed that of men within the next 20 years, according to the the 2017 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight survey. The report, which surveyed 1,022 small business owners (375 women) on the aspirations and concerns of women business owners, found that a majority of the respondents believed women would at least match men in the number of these roles filled. A majority of the respondents also believed that women would reach pay equity with men within that time frame as well. Of the women surveyed, 80% believed there will be equal or greater representation in STEM fields, 68% believed there will be equal or greater representation in the C-suite, 61% believe women's wages will be equal to or greater than men's


How Android One could complete Google's grand Android plan

Unlike on the high-end of the spectrum, where every detail counts and a finely tuned holistic experience is part of the package, letting third-party phone-makers retain some amount of branding and control of these lower-cost devices is a compromise Google can afford to make. After all, Google may not want to invest the resources in developing its own devices at every level of the Android price spectrum. Creating a comprehensive line of products would be costly, for one, and it'd risk alienating and irritating third-party manufacturers even more than it (probably) already has. For now, at least, this could be a clever way to accomplish a good-enough-for-the-affordable-realm goal while getting just involved enough to maintain critical core standards.


Top 5 elements of cybersecurity risk management

Cybersecurity has evolved to become one of the greatest threats to global organisations and the individual alike in the last few years alone. This transition has left behind the world of simple software that applies locks, doors, moats, drawbridges, turrets and shields to a business, and now risk management is key. Attacks and the hackers behind them have become more formidable, capitalising on unsecured IoT devices to launch grievous enterprise-scale attacks such as the notorious Mirai Botnet. While the severity and sophistication of attacks has increased, some of the most damaging attacks are still simplistic, but the volume of attacks has exploded. This never before seen volume is leaving IT to face a bombardment that cannot be controlled, meaning that attacks are bound to end up inside the network, or they already are.


Build a cloud-based infrastructure one layer at a time

Cloud-based infrastructure is like a multilayer cake, with each component providing a foundation for the next. To get a grasp on the entire stack, IT teams must delve into the individual technology layers involved, starting from the bottom -- the data center -- and moving up to the cloud applications and services that users access. In this series, you'll learn how to prepare for a shift to cloud-based infrastructure, including private, public and hybrid clouds. You'll learn about prepping a server fleet for a private cloud implementation, how to evolve storage and networking architectures for private and public cloud, and how to make application development and infrastructure management processes cloud-ready. We also offer insights on how cloud bridges a gap between old and new with mobile computing, enabling employees to be productive from any location on any device.


In-House or Cloud? Where is More Secure?

Without the right security strategy and best in class technology, both approaches can be unsecure. Thus, the real question to ask yourself is whether you feel comfortable with the security of your systems? Data loss protection, data encryption, access control, anti-malware and DDoS protection are just a few of the areas you need to address. Secure data processing requires highly trained and experienced engineers, investment in security infrastructure and appropriate security governance. With that in mind, can you say that you are truly at ease with the effectiveness of your security? Today, the real question is not whether we should outsource IT infrastructure, but when we will be ready to do so.


The Sun sets on Solaris and Sparc

This isn’t exactly a shocking development. Back in January, Oracle laid off 1,800 workers, a tiny number relative to its size, but it included 450 workers from the company's hardware group and reportedly half of the Solaris division. Layoffs have a habit of coming in waves, and last Friday’s was the second wave. Also in January, Oracle changed the release road map for Solaris. Instead of Solaris 12, it switched to "Solaris 11.next," a rolling release that would be pretty much security fixes but no new features or advances in the OS. The same thing happened with the Sparc line, with Sparc next replacing planned chip upgrades and featuring less ambitious improvements to the line. Sparc and Solaris won’t disappear overnight, and Oracle has promised to support both until 2034. But the two will likely be long gone by then.



Quote for the day:


"You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them." -- Michael Jordan