Rumors keep mounting as Apple invests more into next-gen MicroLED screen technology

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Apple Watch updates 2018: MicroLED screen

Switching to OLED displays on the iPhone X was a huge change for Apple. The company has been famously prissy about the screens in its devices, and it took Apple years longer than the rest of the industry to make the leap from LCD to OLED for its flagship smartphone’s screen. But although Apple still has some work to do integrating OLED into the rest of its iPhone lineup, new rumors out of Taiwan suggest the company is already looking to the future.

According to Digitimes, Apple is in “preliminary talks” with Taiwanese firm PlayNitride over “cooperation in the micro LED segment.” PlayNitride has just had an application approved to invest $ 17.1 million in a production facility for MicroLED displays, and it seems as though Apple is particularly interested in what the company has to offer.

The report says that “PlayNitride will produce micro LEDs, display modules and panels [at the facility]. Micro LEDs feature low power consumption, high brightness, ultra-high resolution and color saturation, quick response time and long service life. Micro LED displays can be used in smartphones, smartwatches, VR devices and large-size TVs.”

Given the current high cost of MicroLED displays, there are only two applications that Apple is rumored to be looking into right now, and neither of them involve smartphones. The first, and likeliest to happen in the near future, is a next-generation Apple Watch with a MicroLED display, which could make the device last longer and possibly be thinner.

The second, and far juicier, is the possibility of a MicroLED display-powered augmented reality headset. Apple has long stated its interest in AR, and if the company is projecting a two or three year delay until launch of AR glasses, that’s enough time to get MicroLED production going.

This new report lines up with one we saw earlier this week, which said that Apple has already partnered with longtime manufacturing partner TSMC to produce MicroLED displays for future AR glasses. Apple’s interest in PlayNitride’s facility could simply be a matter of hedging its bets, or it could be an indication that Apple will need to ramp up production in the near future.

Apple – BGR

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Smart energy: Why vehicle-to-grid technology is on the move

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There’s a lot to be said for using car batteries as temporary energy storage facilities, but significant barriers still stand in the way of widespread uptake, as Jessica Twentyman explains.

What do you get if you cross an electric vehicle with a smart building? According to Hitachi Europe, Mitsubishi Motors, and energy company ENGIE, the answer could be an energy-neutral office block that uses cars in the parking lot as a temporary energy storage facility.

Last week, the three companies announced a project in the Netherlands that will see them test out their theories, by linking a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to ENGIE’s office building in Zaandam, via Hitachi’s two-way V2X Charger.

The V2X Charter can be used not only to recharge an electric vehicle (EV), but also to discharge the energy held in its battery back into a building when needed. In this way, when a building equipped with solar panels generates more energy than it needs, for example, the excess might be stored in vehicles until it’s required.

For the next stage of its project, the consortium will examine how EVs, renewable energy, and smart building energy management systems might be more closely coordinated to reduce energy costs and emissions, with the ultimate goal of making buildings energy neutral, according to Hitachi Europe’s chief digital officer, Ram Ramachander.

“Our technology can also help to create new business cases across the EV value chain,” he says, “including vehicle-to-grid technology, which enables flexibility with their energy distribution.”

V2G promises

The term ‘vehicle-to-grid’, or V2G, is not new. The idea of using car batteries as a source of power in grid services has been seen as attractive for several years, not only because of the growing lithium-ion capacity tied up in EVs, but also because much of that energy is not being used a great deal of the time.

As Vincent Cobee, corporate vice president at Mitsubishi Motors, puts it, the project in Zaandam aims to show that EVs and PHEVs “can be a vital component of energy in the future.”

Last month, automaker Nissan announced a partnership with energy giant E.ON at the Geneva Motor Show, which focuses in part on “vehicle-to-grid infrastructure and advanced bi-directional charging technology to allow customers to optimise their energy use and costs.”

The UK government seems to see a lot of promise in V2G, too. In February 2018, the Department of Transport announced a new £30 million investment in V2G technologies, which it hopes will unlock the potential for EVs to be used to power homes, rather than the other way around.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman certainly didn’t hold back his enthusiasm for the technology. “These projects are at the cutting edge of their field,” he said. “Just like the visionary designs of Brunel and Stephenson in transport, they could revolutionise the ways in which we store and manage electricity, both now and in the future.”

One of the groups that will benefit from that funding brings together energy storage specialist Moixa Energy, the UK’s National Grid, Western Power Distribution, and Nissan’s Technical Centre Europe, among others.

If electric vehicles are left plugged into smart, two-way charging points when not in use, argue the consortium’s members, their batteries can feed power into the network at times of peak demand. Just ten new Nissan LEAFs can store as much energy as a thousand homes typically consume in an hour, they claim.

“Smart chargers can also control when cars recharge to avoid stressing the network and to store surplus power when demand is low. This will allow the grid to operate more efficiently, support high levels of renewables, and rely less on fossil fuel power stations,” the consortium says.

Its study, V2GB – Vehicle to Grid Britain, aims to establish the best way to incentivise a rapid rollout of the technology, via sharing the revenues that result from V2G energy flows among drivers, owners of smart charging stations and car parks, and aggregators of battery capacity.

Internet of Business says

A promising technology, but the journey to becoming a mainstream, everyday option is still some way off for V2G. One concern it that discharging energy from a stationary EV stresses its battery, which is one of its most expensive components.

Paying drivers to take part may prove to be the critical incentive that helps V2G schemes succeed, but not all drivers will be persuaded to participate, especially if they’re concerned about their EV being drained of power just before they set off on a journey. This is where smart energy management software may play a big role, by helping to ensure that charging and discharging fits in with drivers’ preferences and schedules.

Utilities’ ability to keep up is also in question. It’s no secret that many are already struggling to deal with growing EV charging requirements, even though they look set to gain massively if they can reposition themselves as ‘the new petroleum companies’.

Recent analysis by research firm Wood Mackenzie, for example, predicts that simultaneously charging 60,000 EVs in Texas could cause a massive grid failure in that state – even though that total accounts for just 0.25 percent of the 24 million vehicles registered by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

Plus, there just aren’t that many EVs available that support two-way flows. Most EVs can chug away at charging points, but vehicles capable of regurgitating the contents of their battery for use elsewhere are yet to emerge in substantial numbers.

In short, automakers have a lot of work to do to make V2G systems work.

But that is not to say that the hurdles can’t be overcome in time. The benefits are potentially huge: a more resilient smart grid, energy-neutral buildings, cleaner air, and lower carbon emissions.

Read more: Electric car demand supercharges lithium-ion battery market. Positive news?

Read more: Battery breakthrough puts superfast-charging electric vehicles on road

Read more: WaveRoller energy: Why the sea is the world’s biggest battery

Read more: Pirelli smart tyres underpin its Cyber Car strategy

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Apple Files New Patent for VR Technology That Could Alleviate Motion Sickness in Cars

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Apple’s self-driving car program, known internally as Project Titan, might get an important upgrade over the coming iterations according to a new patent application. The USPTO application talks about alleviating motion sickness and boredom among users by using a combination of VR headsets and in-car metrics. Continue reading
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How Is Technology Going to Change Facebook Ads?

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Facebook ads are a combination of marketing and technology that some love, some hate, and some simply don’t understand. What’s sometimes seen as a creatively fueled marketing platform is driven by a lot of science — data, metrics, and an ad performance-oriented auction system prove Facebook ads are about technology before anything else.

In 2017, Facebook ads drove nearly $ 27 billion in sales, a 57 percent increase from 2015. Facebook revealed that 84 percent of its money comes from mobile ads. Both stats indicate that Facebook ads will continue to drive traffic and sales and become integral parts of most brands’ marketing efforts.

But the platform can’t remain stagnant, and brands will need to be prepared. How will technology continue to influence Facebook ads and impact brands’ outcomes? Cat Howell, the founder and CEO of Eight Loop Social, a social media strategy firm that specializes in Facebook advertising, offered a few predictions.

Bots will continue to play a bigger role.

Facebook has enabled marketers to use its instant messaging platform, Messenger, as a way to communicate directly with users interacting with their ads. Here, bots often take over, allowing advertisers to automate their sales or lead qualification processes — the bots can do everything from answer basic customer questions to send promo codes. Marketers simply need to “train” the bots via workflows and scripts.

Howell doesn’t see this bot influence slowing down anytime soon. “AI is even doing creative at this stage,” she says. “But the AI needs to be managed — people still need to set objectives and put parameters in place so the AI knows what to do. It’s all about how you communicate the results or the ROI of the AI’s efforts.”

Does this mean AI will replace Facebook marketers? Howell says they’ll still be needed, but the role will shift; Facebook marketers will simply need to expand their skill sets to use the data from bots. “The role will require data analysis and an understanding of whether the bot is working correctly; Facebook marketers will need to report back to management and clients the outcomes and payoffs,” she explains. “Three people may have been managing an account, and then it will become just one. But that one will provide needed human analysis.”

Reporting will become more robust.

The ROI metrics of Facebook ads would ultimately stay the same; those running Facebook ads are consumed with one thing: How much business is this generating for me? They want to know whether the platform is driving business or awareness and how much each click is costing them. Howell anticipates that although the metrics won’t change, reporting will become more robust.

“When you put automation in place, you’ll pick up on issues happening in sales funnels a lot faster than you can with humans because a human may not understand how to manually interpret that data,” she says. “One thing that’s really cool with AI running ads at the moment that’s hard for humans to replicate is making mass duplicate ads at a scale humans can’t manage.”

They can also manage split tests a lot better, resulting in faster, more thorough comparisons. “Bots are getting great results because they can do testing on a great scale humans can’t at volume,” Howell explains. “Humans on the back end need to identify the end goal, such as where traffic is going, and direct the bot. But bots are understanding exactly what bids others are putting out into market and how they’re winning auctions.”

Facebook’s invasive nature will benefit users.

While people have expressed discomfort about the invasive nature of Facebook, they’re not likely to do anything differently — there are too many benefits. “Facebook Payments is in beta right now and would operate straight through Messenger,” Howell says. “A lot of people are on the fence because they don’t want to give Facebook too many details. Others feel Facebook already knows so much about them, what’s one credit card number?”

People, she says, adapt to change, particularly when it creates more convenience, and this is reflected in the high adoption rates of the Facebook and Messenger apps. And this applies to businesses, too. “Consumerism is only going up, not down. We’re becoming monsters when it comes to consumerism. It’s why everyone wants to advertise on Facebook,” Howell says.

But she does predict that the increasing amount of information being gathered on Facebook’s huge user base is to going to lead to a focus on creating customized experiences for each user. “Budgets will definitely be funneled in that direction,” Howell says. “People want to make sure they’re not leaving any money on the table when it comes to business automation. Marketers are now held accountable to specific results, and they have to track outcomes and create ties between certain actions and revenue streams. Customized experiences, based on data, will fill the gap in showing how specific actions lead to specific outcomes.”

What’s next? A concierge service, Howell believes. “Facebook has so much data on us that it’s only a matter of time before Facebook will start telling people what to do when they’re traveling in other cities, whom they should date — Facebook would really know the kind of person someone’s into. Facebook’s AI is going to start talking to personal AIs like Siri.”

She says ads show how much Facebook knows about us; combining that knowledge with predictive AI will make Facebook a part of our lives beyond our news feed. “The only competitor who could do something similar based on our usage is Amazon,” Howell explains. “If it has a pixel — Instagram, email, etc. — Facebook can use it and go to another level in influencing our lives and matching us with certain things.”

Facebook ads may, at the end of the day, focus on getting brands a piece of the market. But the platform’s emphasis on data and metrics will strengthen — more bots, better reporting, and a concierge service may all be part of the future presented by Facebook’s ad platform. Facebook’s fingers will reach further into our lives, but we just may welcome it.

The post How Is Technology Going to Change Facebook Ads? appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Apple’s technology is a ‘means, not an end’ to help public education in his city

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Tech can can help equalize opportunities in education, the Mayor says.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained how he sees Apple helping Chicago public school students learn how to code after the company’s education-themed keynote on Tuesday.

Emanuel spoke with Recode’s Kara Swisher after Apple’s event at Lane Tech College Prep High School, where Apple announced its new partnership with Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern University to train local computer science teachers in coding.

“Apple is an important part of making computer coding universal and making sure kids have that,” said Emanuel. “There’s 6,000 school districts across the United States. Every one of them would be excited to have Apple.”

Apple is creating a Center for Excellence at Lane Tech where Northwestern University trainers will provide free technical education to local high school teachers through Apple’s Everyone Can Code program as well as training on Apple’s programming language, Swift. The company says the program is an effort to address the shortage of high school computer science teachers.

Chicago Public Schools made coding a requirement for high school graduation back in 2015 — the first urban school district to do so — and has educational partnerships with other tech companies such as Cisco and IBM, the Mayor said.

Still, Emanuel emphasized that technology should never supplant the fundamentals of education.

“Technology doesn’t replace literature, it should complement it,” said Emanuel. “Sometimes there is an overemphasis on technology as if the other stuff is not necessary,” he said.

In his interview with Recode, Emanuel also discussed his passionate support for Dreamers and the importance of privacy online. You can watch the full video below:

To learn more about Apple’s plans around education and job training, watch Tim Cook’s interview on “Revolution: Apple Changing the World,” a TV collaboration between Recode and MSNBC that is scheduled to air on Friday, April 6 at 8 pm ET.

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Alchemy-powered ICO: ‘Blockchain is good for money, but useless as technology’

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In times when initial coin offerings (ICO) are raking in billions of dollars and raising the value of your company could be as simple as adding the word “blockchain” to its name, it has become crucial to question why businesses need their own distributed ledger – and their own cryptocurrency. This is precisely the question I found asking myself when I stumbled upon Synthestech: a cold fusion research firm purportedly developing cutting-edge technology for “transmutation of cheap elements into valuable elements and isotopes,” which has raised almost $ 600,000 in its own ICO. What makes this case particularly interesting is that –…

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Jaguar Land Rover to use BlackBerry technology in next-generation connected cars

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Jaguar Land Rover will use BlackBerry’s infotainment and security technologies in its next-generation connected vehicles under a multi-year deal signed by both the companies.

As part of the deal, the T&C of which remain undisclosed, the Canadian software firm will license its QNX and Certicom technology to the auto maker. In addition, a dedicated team of BlackBerry engineers will support the formulation of the new Electronic Control Unit (ECU) modules. The maiden ECU project focuses on the development of a net-gen infotainment system.

Commenting on the partnership, Dave Nesbitt, vehicle engineering director at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Working with BlackBerry will enable us to develop the safe and secure next-generation connected car our customers want. Together with BlackBerry engineers, we will be able to access the most dynamic and up-to-date software to ensure the highest security required for our connected vehicles.

Alongside this, BlackBerry is furthering its leading position in Enterprise of Things (EoT) security with the launch of a wide array of new software capabilities aimed at enterprise users, IT administrators, and developers. With BlackBerry Secure – an end-to-end EoT platform – enterprises can connect and secure their physical and digital endpoints.

The enhanced capabilities of BlackBerry Secure aimed at improving user productivity include securely using Microsoft mobile apps with BlackBerry Enterprise BRIDGE; the addition of the new Do Not Disturb feature to BlackBerry Work to block email and calendar notifications outside of usual working time and exchanging pictures, videos, PDF’s and other files within BlackBerry Connect.

In addition, some of the enhanced solutions aimed at easing IT management of endpoints and notifications include the on-demand deployment of pre-configured and secure Android devices and managing IT notifications talks with users from one platform.

In June last year, Jaguar Land Rover announced an investment of $ 25 million in Lyft to support the US-based ride sharing company’s plans circled around expansion and technology.

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Zimbabwe will use fingerprint ID technology for its 2018 general elections

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Zimbabwe’s government has announced that it has awarded and signed the contract for the supply of the fingerprint biometric identity solution with American company, Ipsidy. The de-duplication hardware and software solution to be supplied by Ipsidy will include an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (“AFIS”) which will be used in Zimbabwe’s upcoming 2018 general elections. Ipsidy was selected following an international tender to provide de-duplication, adjudication, and voter roll publication services. The contract was awarded and signed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). “We are very pleased to have been selected by the ZEC to provide this critical solution, ahead of all…

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Google is reportedly working on “blockchain-related” cloud technology

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Blockchain Kodak, blockchain taxis, blockchain pizza! What’s next? Why Google, of course. According to a report by Bloomberg, Google is working on “blockchain-related” technology for its cloud business. It would theoretically help make customers feel their data is more secure. It could also differentiate Google from some of its competition in the cloud space. Athough at the rate things are being blockchain-ified, I’m not sure how long that would last. Perhaps more interestingly, Bloomberg’s source also says Google will provide a version of the technology for other companies to run on their own servers. The news isn’t totally surprising. Google started…

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