ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications Host Executive Roundtable on Digital Transformation

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Put great minds in one room, and over the course of a dinner, they’ll share some significant insights. This is exactly what happened at an event hosted by ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications in Silicon Valley this month. The topic on the minds of these thought leaders was Digital Transformation (DX), a concept, challenge, and opportunity being discussed among all industries, businesses, and demographics today.

Moderated by Kyle Ellicott of ReadWrite Labs, the group discussed why Digital Transformation (DX) is now becoming mainstream, the numerous challenges companies face on their transformation journey and where we are in term of life cycle across all areas of industry.

Redefining Digital Transformation

According to Ellicott, even though digital transformation began surfacing in the 2000s, the term was associated with existing initiatives driving radical changes from paper-driven manual processes to the ability to digitize existing forms, tasks, and processes.

But the significance of Digital Transformation in recent years is about redefining business models, strategy, and customer experiences. Nothing before could make such dramatic changes because previous digital transformation initiatives had only been used to address one part of one issue. Instead today, it’s about taking on all the interrelated issues in different industries at one time for the most disruptive change possible.

Technology is Not the Only Issue:

Common issues  with digital transformation are the technology,and the capability to integrate and migrate, as well as people’s unwillingness to embrace change. Many countries like China making the move willingly to digital across all generations and among consumers and businesses. However that’s not the case with industries and consumers in different areas of the world.

Another issue is the lack of openness around data, data sharing and ownership. In many instances, data has numerous parties that can access it. However, they are limitations about what they can do with it. The ability to be open to sharing data freely among partners or connected access points within the networked society has yet to happen. Until it does, there will be hesitation for select industries to take the step toward digital transformation.

Benchmarking the Best Industries

One way to get past these issues was to look at the top industries that are doing digital transformation well. Their best practices can educate other industries. Also, they offer a benchmark for companies that want to start on their digital transformation.

Many guests at ReadWrite Labs’s event most often named transportation as a benchmark digital transformation industry. That’s because of the recent strides in the connected vehicle market. The market has gone beyond the call button for assistance. It now provides data to manufacturers that help produce better vehicles. Also, manufacturers can personalize the experience a driver has with that car brand. Now, transportation is connecting to smart cities through street lights and other IoT infrastructure.

Additionally, healthcare, including digital health and telemedicine, is a great example of digital transformation. The migration started with medical records and an understanding that DX could enhance efficiency and service. Currently, the healthcare industry is enhancing the overall experience for patients. The digital transformation framework has changed how doctors are diagnosing patients. It’s also making healthcare more accessible to many patients around the world. The result is faster diagnosis and treatment, helping to improve the lives of many.

The IoT thought leaders also mentioned payments and e-commerce and logistics as other industries that are becoming more adept at digital transformations. Both have benefitted from digital transformation in terms of more satisfied customers, faster service, and lower operating costs.

Envisioning a Different Future

Ease of access to old world services with the likes of Uber, Airbnb and many other sharing economy successes have illustrated how technology is driving business models and how entire industry ecosystems can be leapfrogged in a matter of years. Technology is now driving the formation of new industries and business models. It is no longer the other way around where business models once figured out how to insert technology into their processes. Digital Transformation has become a subject for the c-suite and is part of the strategic process of many companies.

To these thought leaders, even with all the confusion in many companies, the gap is closing. Technology solutions are available and implemented incrementally changing how things work for a company and its ecosystems. Companies and organizations are also incorporating experience-led engineering both for their customers and employees to get the most out of the DX frameworks.  For these leaders, they agreed that use case-led direction clarifies what DX is capable of delivering.

The post ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications Host Executive Roundtable on Digital Transformation appeared first on ReadWrite.


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Canada forces Apple and Primate Labs to testify in iPhone battery scandal

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Though lawsuits and government investigations into Apple’s iPhone battery debacle multiplied and went international in January, Canada’s government escalated its investigation today, bringing representatives of Canada’s Competition Bureau, Apple, and Primate Labs — the Toronto, Canada-based company that unearthed the issue — to testify before the House of Commons’ standing committee on industry, science, and technology.

Faced with charts from Primate Labs’ Geekbench that showed dramatic performance reductions across multiple iPhones, Apple admitted last December that it had been slowing down certain iPhones based on declining battery performance. The company publicly apologized, then dropped the price of replacement iPhone batteries to $ 29 in the U.S. ($ 35 in Canada) through the end of 2018.

The members of parliament (MPs) seemed primarily concerned with ensuring that Canadian customers were being treated fairly by Apple, both prior to and after Apple’s admission. Representing the Competition Bureau, Alexa Gendron-O’Donnell explained that the organization’s interest was in protecting consumers from false or misleading advertising and that a U.S. company operating in Canada must comply with Canadian civil and criminal laws, including the truth in marketing requirements of the Competition Law. Responding to questions from the MPs, she noted that there was not as yet a law prohibiting planned obsolescence in Canada, and that based on Competition Bureau policy, she isn’t able to comment on whether the agency was already dealing with Apple in this case.

John Poole of Primate Labs noted that although his company had received consumer complaints of slowdowns in iPhones, he originally believed that they were attributable to an issue with iOS 11. However, a Reddit post noting performance improvements after a battery replacement led Primate Labs to investigate further. Based on additional research, Poole determined that the cause of the slowdown was introduced in iOS 10.2.1, though he didn’t know exactly why.

MPs asked Poole whether the issue affected Canadian and U.S. iPhones differently — after checking Geekbench data, and to the best of his knowledge, Poole said he didn’t think so. They also asked whether Poole felt the battery issue was evidence that Apple engages in planned obsolescence, and Poole said that while he originally might have thought so, Apple’s explanation that it slows devices rather than letting them become unstable made more sense. Still, he felt Apple’s lack of transparency in the matter was an issue.

Poole was also asked if Apple had misrepresented the iPhone to the public. While Poole noted that the public knows Apple’s claims tend to be “up to” and ideal case scenarios, consumers wouldn’t have expected their devices to get slower over time due to battery issues. Additionally, he said that Apple representatives at stores would tell people nothing was wrong with their batteries.

In a separate panel, Jacqueline Famulak and Simon Potter represented Apple Canada, initially reading from prepared remarks before answering questions. Famulak explained Apple’s prior public statements on battery performance, saying that the company’s power management software was designed to enable customers to keep using flagging devices, rather than forcing them to replace phones that would otherwise face the risk of unexpected shutdown. She said that software updates always come with a “readme note” that the customer can read before installation, and that the 10.2.1 note disclosed the power management solution. Beyond offering discounted batteries, she mentioned that the latest version of iOS includes battery management tools.

MPs aggressively questioned Famulak, noting that Poole’s work had seemingly established that unexpected shutdowns can happen at 30% battery life, yet Apple’s slowdowns can begin at 70% remaining battery power — if Apple wasn’t interested in degrading the user experience, why would it slow phones before they hit that 30% point? Famulak said that if other conditions are established, such as a very low temperature or chemical aging of the battery, the phone would manage its power and slow down even if it wasn’t at 30%. She later said that the 30% number wasn’t necessarily accurate.

Another MP asked Famulak what Apple is doing to educate customers about the problem. She responded that they’ve put out statements, and moreover, the company is still selling the affected models, not pulling them from the market. The MP noted that it’s not prominent on the company’s web site, and he wouldn’t have known about it but for news reports.

In a particularly testy exchange, MP Brian Masse asked Famulak why she thought the governments of so many countries were investigating Apple — wasn’t there a cause? Famulak responded that she didn’t believe Apple had done anything wrong.

For the time being, there appear to have been fairly few complaints — only 20 — to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, though the Competition Bureau couldn’t disclose the number of complaints it had received regarding potential false marketing by Apple.

Apple – VentureBeat

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Spirent opens new research labs to explore autonomous car tech

Spirent opens new research labs to explore autonomous car tech

Spirent Communications is to open new research laboratories to explore and develop navigation technologies of the future.

Hardware, network and security testing company Spirent Communications has announced the opening of new research laboratories in Paignton, Devon, where sensors will be evaluated for their use in autonomous vehicles and new positioning technologies that use multiple signals such as Wi-Fi, LIDAR and RADAR, in addition to GNSS (global navigation satellite systems).  

The laboratories were officially opened by Professor David Southwood, chair of the steering committee at the UK Space Agency. “Seeing a company like Spirent working in space navigation, very much part of our future world, expanding its UK facilities is very exciting as the UK Space Agency works with industry to capture 10 percent of the global space market by 2030,” he said.

Read more: Cranfield University teams up with Spirent on connected car tech

The shape of things to come

Spirent, which is headquartered in Crawley, West Sussex, is apparently planning to increase all of its laboratories at its Paignton facility by over 50 percent in the next few years.

“Very few people realize that many of the high-tech devices we use every day have been tested by systems from Spirent in Paignton” said Martin Foulger, general manager of Spirent’s Positioning business unit.

“Our systems are widely used to test smartphones, infotainment systems in cars, fitness bands, drones, and many more devices, in addition to high-end applications such as aircraft and space vehicles. This expansion of our research facilities enables us to lead the development of test solutions for next-generation systems and maintain our global leadership position.”

The company claims that these new labs will underpin “next-generation” research activities and  also allow it to test systems to make GPS and other GNSS receivers more resilient to interference. This is a growing problem, according to Spirent, as increasing numbers of positioning, navigation and timing features are embedded in a wide range applications.

Read more: AEye unveils iDAR advanced perception and planning for driverless cars

Recruitment drive

The new labs also look set to bring new employment to an area of the country where it’s needed. “Over time, the additional laboratory space will enable Spirent to recruit more staff and increase its contribution to the local community,” said Caroline Lee, human resources director for Spirent. 

“The company is already very active in encouraging students to pursue STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – so the expanded facilities will help us to offer more opportunities in these areas,” she added.

In September 2017, the company teamed up with researchers at Cranfield University with a view to exploring ways to improve positioning and timing technologies for unmanned vehicles such as autonomous aircraft or connected cars.

Read more: UK government gives autonomous lorries the green light

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Fix for Nokia 6 Beta Labs issue faced by Indian users coming this week

Late last month, it came to light that the Nokia 6 Oreo beta is not available in some key markets, including the US and China. While India is not on that list, users in the country have been facing issues participating in beta labs. HMD had earlier said they’ve identified the issue and working on fixing it. And now, CPO Juho Sarvikas has said the company will be pushing a couple of improvements this week (that will likely fix the problem), before making available the Oreo beta build through Beta Labs. Here’s what the executive exactly said: This is why I shouldn’t give hard dates. We… – Latest articles

FAA names seven nuclear research labs as no-drone zones

The FAA has granted DOE's request to make seven of its facilities no-drone zones — and they're all nuclear research laboratories. Starting on December 29th, you can no longer fly your UAVs within 400 feet of Hanford Site in Franklin County Washingto…
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Plex launches Winamp-inspired Plexamp music player for macOS through Plex Labs incubator

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Cloud-based media software developer Plex on Monday released a standalone desktop music player called Plexamp, the first project to come out of the firm’s newly announced Plex Labs incubator.
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Silicon Labs to acquire smart home technology company Sigma Designs for $282M

Silicon Labs, a semiconductor company that manufactures products for the Internet of Things, Internet infrastructure, and industrial automation use cases announced last week that it will acquire Sigma Designs for a cash transaction valued at approximately $ 282M.

In case Sigma fails to meet certain financial conditions, the deal will still go ahead as planned for a reduced amount of $ 240M.

The deal is based on Sigma’s per share price of $ 7.05, a 26 percent premium over Sigma Designs’ closing price of $ 5.60 per share on Dec. 6, 2017. Sigma Designs is a smart home company that provides Z-Wave, a leading Internet of Things (IoT) technology for smart home solutions.

The acquisition of Sigma Designs will help Silicon Labs to expand its offerings in the smart home wireless connectivity market. “The connected home represents one of the largest market opportunities in the IoT. Today, there is no single dominant wireless technology for home automation, and protocols include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, Zigbee®, Thread, and proprietary,” said Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs. Additionally, the deal will allow Sigma to expand into Smart TV market.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

GSMArena labs: enhanced compare tool

You don’t realize how complicated modern smartphones are until you try comparing two side by side. The avalanche of features can bury the true differences between them so we’ve improved our Compare page with a new mode. It shows only the differences between models, dimming the identical features. Looking at very similar phones to find the differences can be quite hard – let’s try the Samsung Galaxy flagship line for example. With the differences mode enabled, you can immediately spot that the Galaxy Note8 has a stylus and HDR10-enabled screen. The camera has 2x zoom and uses a slightly… – Latest articles

IoT Device Security startup ReFirm Labs gets $1.5M in funding

ReFirm Labs, an IoT device startup raised $ 1.5M in funding from DataTribe, a business incubator that funds the startups coming out of the federal intelligence community. The startup will use the funding proceeds to hire new talent and implement sales strategy.

The startup provides a platform called Centrifuge that validates the firmware, a type of computer program that provides the low-level control for the device’s specific hardware. The Centrifuge platform automatically vets and validates the firmware images for vulnerabilities in 30 minutes or less without having to access the source. It shows the ‘high-risk executables’ in images.

Some of the key threats identified by ReFirm include:

• Hidden Crypto Keys

• Password Discovery

• Insecure Code

At the heart of its product is Centrifuge’s ability to automate the process of detecting security flaws in connected devices and mitigating them. With the new funding, the startup plans to commercialize and sell the product to private companies.

“”They saw commercial promise in what we were trying to do, and wanted to give us some money to make it happen,” said ReFirm’s CEO, Terry Dunlap.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Illusion Labs Announces ‘Touchgrind BMX 2’ for Release in Early 2018

Here’s a fun fact about me: The original Touchgrind [$ 4.99 / $ 7.99 (HD)] from Illusion Labs is the reason I bought my first iOS device. I’d wanted one since the original iPhone, but the price of the device itself coupled with the exorbitant fee I’d have to pay to switch carriers always stopped me in my tracks. Once the App Store officially hit in 2008, I was practically dying for one seeing all the neat games coming out. The one-two punch of Apple releasing the gorgeous 2nd generation iPod touch and Illusion Labs releasing their trailer for Touchgrind (which I saw on my favorite website, TouchArcade) finally tipped me over the edge in September of 2008. Now iOS devices have been my full-time job and full-time hobby for almost a decade now. I wonder what my life would be like had the original Touchgrind never existed? Anyway, I always think about that whenever I hear about a new Touchgrind game, and in this instance it’s because Illusion Labs has officially announced Touchgrind BMX 2 today with the following teaser.

The original Touchgrind was novel for its use of Apple’s excellent multi-touch support for manipulating a tiny digital skateboard. It wasn’t an easy game to play though. With its directly top-down perspective it was tricky to figure out where you were going and to line up to hit tricks on the various objects in the game’s levels. The studio took that feedback to heart for their bike-focused spinoff Touchgrind BMX [$ 4.99] in 2011. It made all the difference in the world, and we loved Touchgrind BMX in our review from back then. Of course, being more partial to skateboarding than BMX, I was hoping they’d take that new direction back to their roots, and they did in 2013 with Touchgrind Skate 2 [$ 4.99], which was also fabulous. I’m excited to see them take things back to the dirt track with Touchgrind BMX 2, and although there’s no details beyond a target release window of early 2018 we’ll keep our eye on its progress and bring you any news as it develops.