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Google Pays $2.1 Billion to Get Fit(bit)
November 7, 2019
Google has inked a deal to buy wearable fitness device maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion. The acquisition will give Google an immediate leading position in the wearables market, able to compete against the likes of Apple and Samsung rather than having to build up market share from scratch. Fitbit's products are carried in approximately 39,000 retail stores in more than 100 countries around the world.
The CRM-ization of Healthcare
November 6, 2019
We've been watching the CRM-ization of healthcare for a while. Salesforce recently embarked on parallel paths. The obvious option was to build tools that enabled users to craft systems of engagement. The second started when the company also began reaching out to various industrial sectors with its technology and those of some partners. The result has been a vibrant vertical industry approach.
Researchers Use Lasers to Hack Smart Speakers
November 6, 2019
University researchers have discovered a way to issue unauthorized commands to digital assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, Facebook Portal and Siri via laser beams. The microphones in devices like smart speakers, mobile phones and tablets convert sound into electrical signals, but what the researchers found was that the mics react to light aimed directly at them, too.
Voice Commerce: It's a Natural
November 5, 2019
Consumers increasingly are shopping by voice rather than typing on a keyboard or searching on a phone. People are growing more comfortable with voice assistants, as the tech becomes smarter and more conversational every day. "Consumers appreciate the simplicity of using voice to shop," said Shilp Agarwal, CEO of Blutag. "Users can express their purchasing intent much more quickly over voice."
Adobe Max Event Highlights New iPad, iPhone Tools
November 5, 2019
New products for the iPad and iPhone headlined the opening keynote presentation at Adobe Max, the company's annual developers conference held in Los Angeles. Photoshop for the iPad uses Adobe's artificial intelligence engine, Sensei, to enable new selection functionality. For example, "Select Subject," a feature of Photoshop for the desktop, will be available on the tablet version.
The Truth vs. Censorship Trap
November 4, 2019
There recently has been a lot of rumbling about Twitter deciding not to take political ads, and Facebook deciding -- and this was stupid -- that it would run political ads even if they were untrue. I'm becoming convinced that Zuckerberg is trying to put Facebook out of business. There are some real differences between the firms. Facebook does far more political advertising than Twitter.
The Force May Be With Microsoft
November 2, 2019
The Pentagon has awarded its $10 billion contract for cloud computing to Microsoft. The program -- which goes by the acronym "JEDI" for "Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure" -- has been attracting vendors like a dog attracts fleas for several years. It has been marked by fierce litigation too, so the award may not be the end of it. Oracle sued over the process, claiming it was unfair.
Are You Suffering From Technophobia?
October 31, 2019
The fear of technology has been around for as long as technology itself, and like technology itself, it is always changing. There is evidence of "technophobia" -- the technical name for this affliction -- in every age and in every part of the world. However, it is perhaps reaching a peak in modern society. Americans are more afraid of technology than death, suggests research conducted in 2019.
Active Noise Cancellation a Big Draw in New Apple AirPods
October 30, 2019
Active Noise Cancellation is just one of the hot new features in the latest generation of Apple's AirPods. The new AirPods Pro, which go on sale Wednesday for $249, combine earbud microphones with software to remove background noise and improve a user's listening experience. An outward-facing mic on the bud collects environmental sound for analysis.
Nvidia's New Shield TV Models Add Dolby Vision, Atmos
October 29, 2019
Nvidia has introduced two new versions of its Android TV-based Shield streaming product. Shield TV and Shield TV Pro are replacements for the last generation of Shield video streamers, which Nvidia introduced in 2017. The Shield TV Pro retains the form factor of its predecessors -- the box-like form favored by the industry generally -- while the lower priced Shield TV is cylinder-shaped.
Getting Sustainability Right
October 28, 2019
It seems strange to me that our governments haven't been more aggressive about protecting the environment, given that the cost of not doing so poses an existential risk to the human race. It seems insane to me as we watch parts of the country burn and other parts of the country drown that we're still arguing about climate change rather than coming together to do something about it.
Harnessing Visual AI to Boost E-Commerce Sales
October 26, 2019
Each person interprets an image in countless subjective ways, based on individual biases. However, when searching for a product on the Internet, most people prefer accuracy over multiple interpretations of a single object. Putting the appropriate tags on images ensures better searchability for users. Doing this manually, though, can be inefficient and prone to errors.
E-Gurus: Online Guides to Personal Growth
October 25, 2019
The personal and professional growth coaching industry is exploding, thanks in part to the accessibility afforded by the Internet and digital technologies. People who want to improve themselves are flocking to Skype sessions, online classes, Facebook groups, and other venues to work with life and performance coaches, get career advice, and network with other seekers.
EA Rewards Battlefield V Fans With Expansive Pacific Chapter
October 25, 2019
There's a new trailer for Battlefield V, the World War II first-person shooter Electronic Arts released last year, highlighting the game's Chapter 5: War in the Pacific. The trailer previews team-based gameplay in settings ranging from Europe to the South Pacific. War in the Pacific is a free download that will be available on Oct. 31.
Threat From Above: How to Stop Hostile Drones
October 24, 2019
Unmanned aerial vehicles -- or "drones" as these flying objects more commonly are known -- pose a growing danger, cybersecurity expert Kevin Townsend recently warned. The drone category is broad -- it includes toys for hobbyists, tools for commerce, and devices used for a variety of military purposes. They range in size from massive military drones to small hobbyist devices.
FTC Targets Fake Influencer Metrics, Fake Reviews
October 23, 2019
The FTC announced settlements of a series of fraudulent marketing charges against two high-profile firms. The actions taken make it clear that anyone who engages in similar illegal behavior will face enforcement action, the FTC said. In the first case, Devumi agreed to settle the FTC's first-ever complaint challenging the sale of fake indicators of social media influence.
GoPro Max 360 Wins Reviewers' Plaudits
October 23, 2019
GoPro has begun taking preorders for its $500 360-degree camera, the Max 360. It has two 180-degree lenses that can capture 360-degree stills at 16.6 megapixels, single lens shots with a 4:3 aspect ratio at 5.5 megapixels, and arresting 270-degree "PowerPanos" at 6.2 megapixels. For video, it can capture 1440p at 60 frames-per-second with a single lens and 5.6k spherical clips at 30 fps.
Smart Speaker Apps Caught Snooping Around Homes
October 22, 2019
Flaws in Amazon and Google smart speakers can expose users to eavesdropping and voice phishing. Researchers at Security Research Labs discovered that developers could create malicious apps for the Amazon and Google platforms to turn the smart speakers into smart spies. Using the standard development interfaces for the platforms, the researchers found a way to request and collect personal data.
3 Coming Tech Advances That Could Boost Our Safety and Smarts
October 21, 2019
I was moved by the recent news about a woman being shot in her home by a police officer who had come to check up on her. Once again, I found it frustrating that people immediately jumped to apply blame before all the facts were in. From my reading, three mistakes contributed to the incident. The first was by the neighbor, the second by the police, and the final mistake was by the woman herself.
Facebook's After-the-Fact Oversight
October 19, 2019
I wanted to like Kara Swisher's recent piece about Facebook's attempt to wrestle with its demons, but I can't. It feels too much like self-delusion. To cut to the chase, Facebook announced it was forming an oversight board that eventually will have about 40 members with responsibilities for policing its domain and reducing or even eliminating fake news and propaganda.
A New Business Model With Help From CRM
October 17, 2019
I have been writing about Salesforce for 20 years. That's incredible for me because aside from marriage, there's nothing in my life I've done so consistently for so long. Perhaps like a marriage, the thing that's been attractive about Salesforce is its constantly changing nature. The company went through a typical adolescence for a startup but it always had a sense that it was changing the world.
New Tech Vetting Law in SF Could Fuel Regulatory Trend
October 17, 2019
San Francisco officials want to get ahead of the emerging technology curve by prequalifying and regulating startup tech proposals before products become available to consumers. That approach is a developing trend in the U.S., according to Arle Lommel, senior analyst at CSA Research. If approved, the creation of a city-controlled regulatory office would invert the historical norm.
Google Rolls Out Pixel 4 Phone, Pixelbook, Nest WiFi and Pixel Buds
October 16, 2019
A new flagship smartphone, a slick refresh of Pixelbook Go, some home gadget improvements and a revamp of its wireless earbuds highlighted Google's annual hardware event in New York City. The latest models of Google's flagship smartphone, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, base priced at $799 and $899 respectively, will have wider distribution, as they'll be available from all major U.S. carriers.
Fitting Clothing Sales to E-Commerce
October 15, 2019
When buying clothes, many consumers still prefer to head to a bricks-and-mortar store, browse the racks, and try things on. There's something about clothing, after all, that's inherently tactile and personal. Gradually, however, the way people buy clothes has been changing. Digital technologies are reshaping the world of online fashion sales. One of the keys to sales success is personalization.
Virtual Pets, Virtual People and Virtual Immortality
October 14, 2019
One of the interesting and somewhat underappreciated aspects of the recent Qualcomm wireless event is that 5G will make realistic AR avatars possible. This advance will be possible because with high bandwidth and very low latency, processing could shift from the device to the cloud. Coupled with the rollout of distributed data centers, this means you could have realistic virtual pets and friends.
Now Is the Time for Sales Organizations to Embrace AI
October 11, 2019
Artificial intelligence is arguably the most disruptive technology to emerge over the last few decades. Consumers are producing data at record levels. It's estimated we'll produce 463 exabytes per day by 2025. Yet humans aren't equipped to process that complex information. We're starting to rely more on AI to interpret massive amounts of consumer and third-party data in real time.
New Trade Deal Provisions Give US Tech Firms Legal Shields
October 9, 2019
The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into trade agreements to shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits. That move could help lock in America's tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being questioned at home. The legal protections are included in the administration's two biggest trade deals.
Apple Touts Games, Music, TV in macOS Catalina
October 9, 2019
New versions of operating systems are usually about slick interfaces and improved performance, but that's not what Apple was flogging about macOS Catalina upon its release. One of the hot new additions in the OS is Apple Arcade, a game subscription service featuring a batch of new, exclusive games. Also bolstering macOS Catalina's entertainment chops are new music, podcast and TV apps.
Sonos Launches Rent-a-Speaker Pilot Program
October 8, 2019
Subscription models have taken hold in everything from software to smartphones, and now Sonos is testing the idea in the premium wireless speaker market. The Santa Barbara, California, company has launched a pilot program limited to 500 homes in the Netherlands, which allows consumers to gain access to Sonos hardware for the equivalent of about $16.46 a month.
The CCPA May Affect You, So Get Ready
October 3, 2019
Although not every United States business will be affected, the new California Consumer Protection Act almost certainly will have implications for many businesses outside of California. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, qualifying businesses will be subject to data privacy and security standards currently required only by the 28 member states in the European Union.
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NICE inContact February 12 webinar
How do you feel about government regulation of the U.S. tech industry?
Big tech companies are abusing their monopoly power and must be reined in.
Stronger regulations to protect consumer data definitely are needed.
Regulations stifle innovation and should be kept to the barest minimum.
Over-regulation could give China and other nations an unfair advantage.
Outdated antitrust laws should be updated prior to serious regulatory efforts.
Tech companies should regulate themselves to avoid government intervention.
NICE inContact February 12 webinar