Convergent TechWeek 10/23

Cloud Video Service Provider Takes Videoconferencing to the Next Level in China

Videxio, a leading cloud video service provider, has reaffirmed its commitment to operations in China with the launch of an expanded Chinese service platform, simplified Chinese user interface and cooperation with Huawei to support a fully automated service for Huawei video systems. These enhancements make it simple and cost effective for organizations, whether they are headquartered in China or are international companies with operations in China, to communicate using cloud video.

Videxio China

Videxio has expanded its Points of Presence (PoPs) in China, both in Shanghai and in Hong Kong, with several new services and a massive capacity increase. “Doing business outside your home market is a challenge for any organization. There are both cultural and time differences to take into account. What is similar in most markets, however, is the need for businesses to communicate in real-time to make faster decisions, reduce misunderstandings and align teams over large distances. Dialing in or calling out? Cloud video could be your best line of communication with China,” says Tom-Erik Lia, CEO of Videxio.

For more information see Videxio: Taking Videoconferencing to the Next Level in China

Registering a Drone Will Soon Be a Requirement

Yes, it’s time. The U.S. government has announced a program that will require drones to be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation, as Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the plan at a press conference this past Monday in Washington D.C. The department will be creating a task force comprising public and private industry leaders to devise exactly how the registration system will work. Specifically, the DOT hopes the task force will have recommendations in place by the middle of November, with a registration being implemented before the end of December.

capitol-dronesThe agency claimed that while it is actually easy to locate a particular drone that may have violated illegal airspace, it is still difficult to find the operator of the offending drone. This registration process will in essence now close that loophole.

The announcement comes after a sharp rise in “near misses” between piloted aircrafts and drones throughout the U.S. over the last year. Most of these incidents are happening near major airports, even though most major drone manufacturers, including DJI, have now programmed their devices to not be able to take off when near a U.S. or International airport.

Foxx said that registration will reinforce the need for hobbyists and drone operators to learn the airspace rules before they fly, and use their devices safely. He also noted that registration will allow these rules to be enforced, and let the FAA identify any operator who breaks these rules.

TechCrunch: Drones Now Need To Be Registered With U.S. Government, Say The FAA And DOT

The Debate Over Encryption and Backdoors: Tim Cook Takes On the NSA

Apple CEO Tim Cook and US National Security Agency’s director admiral aren’t remotely close to consensus on encryption, following the White House apparently backing away from a plan to make backdoors to encryption mandatory.

Cook encryptionMonday at WSJDLive, Tim Cook took to the stage (prior to NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers) declaring that Apple would not bake encryption backdoors into its products. Cook noted that a backdoor wouldn’t be so bad if it only exposed “bad people” however he proclaimed, “But this is not the world. And so what I’m convinced of is that it’s in everyone’s best interest that everybody is blocked out.”

He argued that backdoors would also fall into the hands of the bad guys, saying, “You can’t have a back door in the software because you can’t have a back door that’s only for the good guys.”

NSA Chief encryption

While Rogers conceded that “strong encryption” was good, he also argued that there needed to be a trade-off between privacy and national security. “Security, encryption: good. The ability to generate insights as to criminal behavior and threats to our nation’s security, also good,” he was quoted by Bloomberg as saying on stage at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live conference.

Rogers, also claimed that the future “is all about how do we create an environment where we can build partnerships that spans the public and private sectors.”  When asked whether that meant impenetrable encryption he claimed, “That’s not what I said, strong encryption is in our nation’s best interests.”

On top of that, Rogers said a cyberattack against critical infrastructure was “only a matter of time.” And that the experts have been talking about for quite some time as well.

ars technica: Apple CEO Tim Cook blasts encryption backdoors

ZDNet: Apple CEO Tim Cook vs NSA: Good guys shouldn’t get their own backdoors

Generation Z is Coming…

I read an article this week, and one statement in particular stood out to me — way out:

At its core, new tension in the workplace is likely to stem from differing preferences in relation to technology-driven productivity and collaboration.

Thus the arrival of Generation Z (those born after 1995) in workplaces around the world is being greeted with varying degrees of apprehension, excitement and, in some cases, fear. Fear?

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teen-friends-walkingIn a recent cross-generation study by Ricoh, nearly two-thirds (63%) of older workers said they expect workplace tensions to increase when Gen Z’ers join their company. It does remain premature to understand exactly how this generation will want to work, however their social habits may in terms provide a large indicator – being the first generation to grow up firmly alongside social networks which has in turn had a profound effect on how they communicate. Many of course growing up in the social-internet age with XBox controller and smart phone in hand — they may just represent that generation that executives truly fear.

Most eye-opening though is how more than half (58%) of Gen Z’ers surveyed accepted that they will need to develop face-to-face communication skills to be effective in the workplace. Preference for face-to-face communications drops from 75% among Baby Boomers to 56% among Gen Z.

Information Age: Why Generation Z is about to take your workplace by storm

Supplement – Business Insider: Everything you need to know about Generation Z

Halloween and IoT Making An Impact

­Halloween is the prime holiday for tinkerers, creating spooky effects and haunted lighting through automated solutions. Now, with more connected devices and services hitting the consumer market than ever before, opportunists can revel in the new ways that the Internet of Things (IoT) can make the most of this celebrated season.

Philips-Hue-Halloween-PumpkinAccording to  John W. Rutland, cinematographer of the supernatural horror film Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the key to making things scarier is by learning to manipulate lights to create spooky shadows. Rutland and Royal Philips have teamed up on some tips to make your home spooky using Philips Hue smart bulbs.

For starters, you can light up your carved pumpkin in a whole different way by placing a Philips Hue Go inside instead of an open flame candle. The smart bulb is a rechargeable, portable light that lasts up to three hours on a single charge. You can then use a mobile app to change the color of the bulb, set timers, or even set dynamic effects to make the pumpkin head more eerie.

Haunted houses, of course, aren’t complete without an ominous mist. To accomplish this (according to the article), you’d need a fog machine, a Samsung SmartThings hub, an Aeon Labs Multi-Sensor and a GE Outdoor Light Plug-and-Control Power Outlet. First, find a place where the Aeon Labs Multi-Sensor will be triggered when someone walks to your front door – but make sure it’s not easily seen, to create that air of mystery. Plug in the fog machine to the GE Outdoor Light Plug-and-Control and using the SmartThings hub, so that when the Aeon Labs Multi-Sensor is triggered, the fog machine gives that full effect.

For more, check out the article.

siliconANGLE: Creepy IoT: 3 ways to automate Halloween 

And the Internet Archive Hero Award Goes to… The Grateful Dead 

The Internet Archive (IA), the San Francisco based non-profit digital media archive, this week announced several new programs in collaboration with major US libraries and a new annual award: Internet Archive Hero.

internet-archive-logoThe latest programs include partnerships with top libraries and music archive organizations. Music is a key focus for the IA which unveiled a “music locker” approach to enlarging its store of music without triggering copyright suits. It allows music collectors to upload digital copies of their libraries to their music locker stored on the Internet Archive.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by Brewster Kahle, a former Internet entrepreneur. Its mission is to digitize and store as much media culture, newspapers, magazines, books, TV, radio, leaflets that it can find. It has digital versions of some of the first books and hundreds of thousands of hours of TV broadcasts from stations of all sizes across many decades. Nearly all of the early video games from the 1970’s and 80s are also available, allowing people to play them through a virtual game console created in a web browser.

Dead HeadKahle gave the very first Internet Hero award to the Grateful Dead. John Perry Barlow, a lyricist for the band, accepted the award. Barlow said that the Grateful Dead’s popularity was due to allowing its fans to record live shows and share the tapes.

“The Grateful Dead were the first to exploit viral marketing,” said Barlow. “There were many other great bands around when we started by they didn’t have the same type of audience we had and with an almost religious fervor.” 

Here is a link to the Grateful Dead content in the Internet Archive (and of course there’s much more).

 

ZDNet: Grateful Dead win Internet Archive Hero award for viral marketing and sharing