Security risk against enterprises continues undimmed as IoT popularity grows

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The increased popularity of the IoT leading to growing adoption is one of the main reasons for more cybersecurity attacks against enterprises and utilities, according to a new Navigant Research report.

The report, titled “Managing IoT Cybersecurity Threats in the Energy Cloud Ecosystem”, evaluates cybersecurity threats in relation to IoT affecting enterprises and utilities alike. With IoT popularity, new threats are coming in and the need for a stronger IoT security lingers.

According to the report, over the last few years, the need to shield cybersecurity attacks has heightened as corporates are demanding robust security along value and supply chains. So far as domestic consumers are concerned, similar demand to improve security of IoT devices and services is noted.

Neil Strother, principal research analyst with Navigant Research, said: “The mushrooming number of IoT devices being deployed by utilities and other enterprises carries an obvious and growing security risk. Smart managers need a comprehensive strategy to stay ahead of potentially devastating threats to IoT assets. No longer can managers rely on an old-school reactive approach; instead, they and their security teams must adopt the latest proactive and predictive tools and methodologies to keep devices and systems safe.”

Another report from Navigant Research has placed Philips Lighting, Acuity Brands, Eaton, and OSRAM among the leading players in the IoT lighting market. The report evaluated a total of 16 vendors including the giants – Cisco, Intel, Schneider Electric, and Siemens – although they are labelled as challengers and not contenders or leaders. Navigant Research argues that the global IoT lighting market is all set to touch $ 5.5 billion by 2027 from $ 808.2 million in 2018.

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With Snapchat’s new redesign, the company is betting that users want intimacy versus popularity

Its simplified new app looks slicker, but Snap’s longtime focus on personal relationships isn’t going to change.

Snapchat unveiled its much anticipated new redesign today, a change that CEO Evan Spiegel said was necessary after the company acknowledged that its app was too hard for many people to use.

But it’s still not the drastic change that many expected. While Snap is most definitely changing the app’s look and feel to make it simpler and more sleek — such as where you find Stories posted by your friends — it isn’t changing that much in the way of functionality, like how you capture or share a video message.

What is clear is that Snapchat’s redesign means the company has decided to double down on intimacy, the idea that has been at its heart from the start. That is: Snapchat is first and foremost a service for private communication between friends and family, and not a place a place to opine on Donald Trump’s most recent tweetstorm or broadcast photos from your family vacation for everyone to see.

This has been Snap’s identity from the beginning, and, until recently, it’s worked pretty well. So much so that Facebook’s Instagram shifted its own philosophy on user sharing 18 months ago to mimic (some say copy) Snap’s low-pressure philosophy.

The question is: Is focusing on more intimate personal relationships going to work for Snap as a publicly traded company, because it suggests a smaller, although potentially more engaged, audience?

Let’s start with the redesign, which include a number of changes (and non-changes). Two notable ones that reinforce the company’s approach to relationships:

  1. Snapchat didn’t make it any easier for users to find and follow new friends. This has always been, in my opinion, a major obstacle to scaling the app, which is a problem when you’re a publicly traded advertising company. Unlike Facebook, Snap doesn’t bombard users with friend suggestions every time they open the app and seems totally content with users having a smaller number of connections, even if that means fewer total users.
  2. Snapchat eliminated the Stories page inside the app, a section where user posts co-mingled with posts from publishers like NBC or Bleacher Report. Instead, Snap is putting all user posts and messages in one section of the app and leaving all publisher content in a separate section. The idea, according to Snap, is to help lower the bar for what is considered post-worthy, so that people don’t feel the social pressure that might come with posting to a wide network of people.

Those decisions are meant to reinforce Snap’s identity as a place to connect meaningfully with your friends and family, not a place where you need to keep up with the Joneses.

Snapchat said as much on its blog explaining the changes:

Until now, social media has always mixed photos and videos from your friends with content from publishers and creators. While blurring the lines between professional content creators and your friends has been an interesting Internet experiment, it has also produced some strange side-effects (like fake news) and made us feel like we have to perform for our friends rather than just express ourselves. The new Snapchat separates the social from the media.

But it’s not clear that the redesign actually addresses the “hard to use” problem that Spiegel alluded to earlier this month.

It doesn’t change the way people actually record or share posts. It doesn’t change how difficult it is to find or understand Snapchat features, such as face filters or Snap streaks. And while the redesign makes Snapchat more visually appealing — and perhaps that will make it easier to understand for new users — it’s unclear if any of these changes will make it easier to use.

It’s no secret that Snap has struggled since the company went public in early March. User growth has slowed considerably since last summer, and Snap’s business continues to disappoint investors.

Now Snap is betting on a strategy that hasn’t correlated to steady user growth in the way we’ve seen from other network-driven apps like Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. At the end of the day, Snapchat is an advertising business, and advertising businesses rely on scale. The idea of a more intimate social experience is laudable, and it offers an alternative to Facebook, but it may not provide the kind of growth investors expect for a social networking app.

Or maybe it will as users become inundated and overwhelmed by a social media environment — primarily on Facebook, but also on Twitter — that has become bloated, noisy, and at times, toxic.

Snapchat has attracted loyal fans — including young people — because it’s different, and the innovative Spiegel is better than almost everyone at giving users unique products and features. And it’s true that this app design is a definite improvement.

That said, it still might not be the solution to Snap’s problems.


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iPhone X’s Popularity Urges Samsung and LG to Launch S9, G7 Early

It’s been a little over three-weeks since Apple released its high-end iPhone X, which has already emerged a massive success for the company. Even despite its equally high-end price tag, Cupertino’s first edge-to-edge iPhone sold out within just minutes of being made available for pre-order — and while shipping estimates have since improved, as Apple’s assembly partners in the Far East continue ramping up production to meet demand, there’s little doubt the company is on track for another record-breaking quarter of iPhone sales.

Of course, while that’s great news for Apple and the future of iPhone, it’s obviously not so great for companies like Samsung, LG, and Google — whose latest Galaxy Note 8, V30, and Pixel 2/2 XL devices have struggled to compete on many levels.

And now with the new year looming just over the horizon, a new report published by Business Korea is claiming that both Samsung and LG will unveil their next-generation flagship devices at the upcoming consumer electronics show (CES) in January of next year — in a move that would see their Galaxy S9 and G7 handsets hit the market (historically speaking) several months ahead of schedule.

In part, Business Korea cites a previous report published by Venture Beat, which originally said that Samsung would release its next-generation Galaxy S9 smartphone at the CES 2018 in Las Vegas next January.

“It is said in the smartphone industry that Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy S9 in order to hold the iPhone X in check, which was recently launched and is gaining in immense popularity,” Business Korea noted, while adding that “It is also said that LG Electronics is considering a plan to release its next product, the G7, in January of next year.”

While it’s certainly not uncommon practice to hear of an Android OEM trying to beat Apple’s iPhone to market, if the inherent report is true, it would appear that some of Android’s biggest players are gearing up for a much fiercer-than-expected competition next year, particularly as they scramble to procure integral components powerful enough to rival the iPhone X’s.

Samsung has for the past few years released its high-end Galaxy S devices several months ahead of Apple’s iPhone — with its latest and greatest Galaxy S8/S8+ having been unveiled at a private event in early March, 2017, prior to going on sale later that month. Interestingly, while the S8 and S8+ were among the first of 2017’s most advanced handsets, they were in fact beaten to market by LG’s comparably-equipped (but much worse-looking) G6 flagship, which went live one month prior at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona.

Meanwhile, both the Galaxy S9 and G7 will reportedly be the first Android flagships to boast Qualcomm’s next-generation Snapdragon 845 SoC, the report cites, while adding that the G7 in particular will feature an OLED display of unknown dimensions in addition to Qualcomm’s new glass-embededded fingerprint-scanning technology.

Interestingly, sources cite that Samsung is foregoing the new biometric technology in favor of a generic fingerprint scanner, which will reportedly be “positioned in a better location” on the rear of the device.

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Xiaomi Mi 5X review: Popularity contest

The Xiaomi Mi 5X was unveiled as the first smartphone to carry the new MIUI 9 out of the box. But its key feature lies elsewhere – the Mi 5X has a similar dual-camera setup to the flagship Mi 6 model. Add Redmi Note 4’s chipset and pricing, plus the premium design of the Mi Max 2 – and you get the Mi 5X.

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That popularity is due in part to the fact that when Night of the Living Dead was released, its distributor forgot to place a copyright indicator when it changed the title from Night of the Flesh Eaters to its current moniker. According to copyright law at the time, leaving that symbol and the year off meant that it…

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