Daily Tech Digest - December 09, 2016

Most embedded software has been traditionally written by hardware companies that only developed their code because they had to in order to make their product useful in the first place. For most device manufacturers, software development is a cost centre, not a revenue generator. As such, software development will often be pushed to the bottom of the pile in an effort to limit overall costs. The end result is that most manufacturers are happy to sell their devices to wholesalers or retailers and then forget all about them – they rarely continue to provide long-term support. At best, consumers may be lucky enough to find an appropriate firmware update in some obscure corner of the manufacturer’s website, which frankly only the most technical consumers will really know how to install.

Unsupervised learning is how an algorithm or system analyzes data that isn’t labeled with an answer, then identifies patterns or correlations. An unsupervised-learning algorithm might analyze a big customer data set and produce results indicating that you have 7 major groups or 12 small groups. Then you and your data scientist might need to analyze those results to figure out what defines each group and what it means for your business. In practice, most model building uses a combination of supervised and unsupervised learning, says Doyle. “Frequently, I start by sketching my expected model structure before reviewing the unsupervised machine-learning result,” he says. “Comparing the gaps between these models often leads to valuable insights.”

Customers today have more choice and opportunity to engage with banks and non-traditional banks than ever before. How the traditional banks respond to this new world of digital banking will define whether they sink or swim. All of them want to be digital banks, but does this resonate with their customers? Findings from SAP’s 2016 Australian Digital Experience Report show the banking industry has more consumers that are unsatisfied than are delighted with the digital experiences provided. The business outcome of getting digital interaction right in Australia is huge, as customers delighted with the digital experiences are five times more likely to remain loyal over those unsatisfied and more willing to share personal information such as buying preferences. Customer insight and understanding are where the business is; and using this data to better personalize only comes with accurate, appropriate, and timely information.

According to the agreement, upon a referral being received, the FCA or HKMA both intend to "assist the innovator businesses in understanding the regulatory regime" that they oversee and explain "how such regimes may be relevant" to those companies. The agreement also confirms that the FCA and HKMA intend to "share information about innovations in financial services in their respective markets", such as on emerging trends and regulatory issues pertaining to innovation. The FCA and HKMA may also pursue "joint innovation projects on the application of novel financial technologies", share expertise and knowledge, and facilitate staff secondments to one another, under the new cooperation agreement.

The totality of the BlackBerry solution is called BlackBerry Secure and is grounded in the company''s mobile software security platform. It helps companies manage and secure their mobile devices and connected things and secures communications for all messaging and file types - ultimately opening up new markets for BlackBerry where multiple endpoint mobile security management and applications are critical. For example, BlackBerry''s platform helps to prevent hackers from penetrating devices and computers, provide intelligence for highly secure supply chain communications, ensure patient confidentiality in healthcare and safeguard assets in the financial industry. 

When faced with transformation initiatives, the path of least resistance can often be to adapt existing processes to that change, without taking the opportunity to identify efficiencies or cost savings, as the scale of reviewing all processes and the impacts on both operations and customer deliverables are too great. I speak with many government agencies that are in the process of ’transforming’ and they have simply replaced a paper process with ‘handraulic’ electronic processes that pass through many hands, eyes and email inboxes due to compliance requirements or governance policies. A good example of this is when information has to leave your organizational silo, either as part of a joint responsibility across multiple government agencies, or when content based approvals must be sought from outside of your organisation. 

“Companies are going to need to invest in more technology to protect them from security threats,” said Brendan Jacobson, co-founder of NetGain Technologies. “It is just going to get worse.” It’s not necessarily that the attack tools are getting smarter; it’s the manner in which they are being used. Malicious players don’t even have to be highly tech savvy, said Cody Shackelford, systems engineer with Data Strategy, which acquired Louisville-based boice.net this year. Basic malware or ransomware packages are readily available on the black market or dark web, he said. Attackers today are succeeding by researching a target company or agency to determine a weak link 

Often lacking sufficient budget and headcount, security staff are overburdened. Given all the pressure to “get everything done,” sometimes things just don’t get done correctly. Misconfiguration of a tool and neglecting to follow security policies to the letter are regular mistakes. So is spinning up a certain service, such as a container, a proxy or monitoring tool, but forgetting to secure it. Still another consequence of time pressures can be forgetting to update security patches or not updating them on time. About half of IT professionals see outdated security patches as a problem and cite human error and patch management as stumbling blocks to making web apps totally secure. Cutting corners may sometimes be a good way to get the job done quickly, but it also makes way for poor security. Security managers must keep their teams on their toes. 

The industry's main effort to bend the technology to its will -- the R3 consortium -- recently saw the departure of several banks, including founding members Goldman Sachs and Banco Santander, and reportedly reduced its fundraising target. Charley Cooper, managing director of R3, explained that initial expectations were unreasonably high, blaming the "hype cycle" on tech firms and their dreams of disruption. Now, R3 has unveiled its new platform: Corda, a decentralized database that does not use a blockchain, as its technical whitepaper specifically points out. In a blog post, R3 architecture consultant Ian Grigg argues that Corda will become a formidable opponent to the two most popular blockchain technologies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, because it is the only solution that "asked the users what they want."

NativeScript supports Angular 2 and allows for true native performance on mobile applications – without having to learn multiple native languages. By using native components, the framework offers a native look, which give users the experience they both expect and demand. When it comes to developing, think of how much work you’d have to do to build simple Android and iOS apps using traditional native development approaches. In the case of a button, you’d have to take multiple steps across Android and iOS to accomplish what you need to. But with NativeScript and Angular 2, you can build that same button in a few lines of code; write the code in JavaScript/TypeScript; place the button in an Angular 2 component; style that button with CSS; install JavaScript modules to help you out from npm; and at the end of the day, there is only one code base to maintain.

Quote for the day:

"Winning by helping others succeed scales much better than winning at another's expense." -- @ThisIsSethsBlog

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