Four Notable Things About the Most Distant Star Scientists Have Ever Glimpsed

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Between the glowing blue and yellow swirls of distant galaxies, this tiny pinprick of light doesn’t look like much: a white smudge on the infinite black of the universe.

But this tiny speck has enormous significance for astronomers. It’s the most distant star ever seen, affording astronomers a glimpse back in time.

Images showing how astronomers spotted the most distant star imaged, which was not visible in 2011 but popped up in 2016 thanks to gravitational lensing.
Icarus, the most distant star ever imaged, wasn’t visible in previous years (2011); it was only thanks to gravitational lensing that it twinkled into view (2016). Image credit: NASA, ESA, P KELLY/University of Minnesota

The star, MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1 (more simply known as “Icarus”) was about 9 billion light years away when it emitted the light now reaching Earth. Most other objects spotted at this distance are either galaxies or exploding stars (AKA supernovas), which produce much more light than this distant glimmer.

Thanks to the constant expansion of the universe, Icarus would now be much further away from our planet; by now, it’s probably gone supernova itself, and formed either a black hole or neutron star. (For why we can still view it, though, see #3.)

Here are four things you should know about this distant galactic neighbor, and why we’re just seeing it for the first time.

1. Spotting Icarus was a stroke of good luck

Icarus is so far away that we technically shouldn’t be able to see it: it’s about 100 times further away than the most distant star telescopes have been able to view before now. Fortunately, astronomers got a little bit of help from the universe in spotting it (and the Hubble telescope, props to that).

Icarus was visible because of an astronomical phenomenon called gravitational lensing. In short, the gravity of large, stacked-up celestial objects (in this case, a cluster of galaxies) bend light, creating a magnifying glass-effect for anything behind them. Overall, researchers told The Guardian, Icarus was magnified more than 2,000 times.

Icarus also got a special boost from an extra-magnifying star within the galaxy cluster, making it appear four times brighter over the course of the time the astronomers studied it. Thank you, physics.

2. The star is a blue supergiant

Icarus would be an oddity in the universe — if it were still around. Analysis of the star’s light showed it was a blue supergiant, one of the hottest and highest-mass stars we know of; the blue supergiant Rigel A, the bright left “foot” of the constellation Orion, is 23 times more massive than the sun, and estimated to be several hundred thousand times brighter.

Stars like Icarus and Rigel are rare in the universe today, but in the early universe, they were common; according to io9, most of the early stars were blue supergiants at some point in their lives.

That makes sense, since Icarus’ distant light is actually somewhat like a time machine.

3. Icarus gives a view back in time

The universe is way, way bigger than you can probably comprehend. And because of this astronomical (sorry) size, it can take a really long time for light to reach Earth from the cosmic wilderness. Even traveling at its immense speeds, by the time light from this distant star reached Earth, 9 billion years had passed.

When Icarus released the photons currently hitting the Hubble’s cameras, Earth hadn’t even formed yet — it would be another 4.4 billion years before our solar system even began to coalesce from the dust of the universe. Such distant views of the universe are helping astronomers learn about what the universe was like before our time, even giving us glimpses back to the moments after the Big Bang.

4. The view let scientists test dark matter theory

The Guardian reports that the team also used their view of Icarus to test a theory about dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up 27 percent of the universe (its counterpart, dark energy, makes up another 68 percent). One theory proposed that dark matter was made of black holes, but what the researchers saw of Icarus didn’t support that theory — looking back at a decade of Hubble images, they didn’t see Icarus’ brightness vary over time. If the black-hole-dark-matter theory was correct, the star would have appeared brighter.

In the coming years, scientists hope to peer even further into our universe’s history with more powerful telescopes, like the James Webb Space Telescope and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). Recent budget cuts from the White House threatened the future of WFIRST. If the government was unsure just how much these space telescopes could accomplish, this discovery from their predecessor might serve as an apt reminder.

The post Four Notable Things About the Most Distant Star Scientists Have Ever Glimpsed appeared first on Futurism.


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Opinion: The Visual Internet of Things – why IoT needs visual data

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OPINION James Wickes, CEO and co-founder of Cloudview, explains why visual data is an untapped resource for smart analytics within many IoT projects.

iob new conectionsNEW CONNECTIONS

An occasional series of vendor perspectives on the world of connected business – because it’s all about making new connections and starting new conversations.

We are constantly reading about IoT developments, but these rarely include visual data – which is strange, because sight is our most powerful sense and we are surrounded by digital cameras. However, much of the visual data currently collected is stored locally and only used for a single purpose, while a huge percentage is never used at all. Combining this with other IoT data streams and adding analytics would make it immensely valuable.

The volumes of visual data available are eye-watering. Looking at CCTV alone. In 2015, the British Security Industry Association estimated that there were between four and six million security cameras in the UK. Our own research suggests there are now around 8.2 million. Even six million cameras recording 12 hours a day would capture 72 million hours of footage every day, producing 7.5 petabytes of visual data every hour.

Analytics and visual data: a formidable pairing

Applying analytics to visual data is complex. However, we now have the processing power, bandwidth, data storage capacity, and computing ability to enable fast, reliable analysis to a standard that makes it commercially viable. McKinsey expects video analytics to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 50 percent over the next five years.

Adding analytics and cloud storage to cameras provides the ability to spot anomalies that we are unable to identify with our own eyes. For example, in health and well-being alone there are many opportunities, such as:

• A camera trained on a patient in a hospital with the right analytics can now spot irregular breathing or an irregular pulse.
• Cameras are being used in care situations to monitor individuals to ensure they are being well-treated (with appropriate permissions).
• Qualified health and social care professionals are able to review footage for safeguarding purposes, and this can prove popular with both residents and staff.

Building the VIoT

The next step is to combine visual data with other data sets – from static data, such as grid references, to dynamic data, such as weather information.

This will create a vast new market – the Visual IoT (VIoT).  In other words, the integration of visual data into a uniform, IP-based data stream, combined with the capabilities and functions of a network of physical objects and devices.

In this way, cameras can be turned into super-charged sensors providing data that can then be acted upon, such as identifying that a car with a certain numberplate is allowed to enter a given area, which automatically opens the gate.

The potential is huge, and could revolutionise traffic management, and the reporting of crimes or accidents. For example, when an individual with a VIoT device enters a certain area, by previous agreement their data could be aggregated with that of others to create an accurate picture of an event.

For a motorway accident, combining data from road cameras and in-vehicle routing systems would pinpoint the precise location and help first responders to arrive more quickly. Meanwhile, adding visual data from drivers’ dashcams (with permission) could add unique views of the area around an incident.

Combining visual data with analytics can provide insight into both what is happening and why things happen, together with the ability to anticipate what might happen next.

Consider the control centres used by emergency services to monitor cameras in city centres. Adding analytics and machine intelligence would enable them to identify impending problems and send resources to defuse a situation before it escalates. The same process could identify potential risky or suspicious behaviour at transport hubs and other public spaces.

There is also tremendous potential for smart city initiatives that use existing camera data to improve the local environment. For example, NVIDIA is developing an intelligent video analytics platform for smart cities, which will apply deep learning techniques to video streams. Applications include public safety, traffic management, and resource optimisation.

Safeguarding privacy and GDPR

The big issue, of course, is privacy, but technologies such as facial and behaviour recognition can be used to reduce human involvement to a minimum. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides additional protection, as it includes provisions for how visual data is collated and used in applications that apply AI, analytics, and deep learning techniques to that data. There are also applications in sectors such as the environment that will not involve individuals at all.

Provisions such as privacy by design, Privacy Impact Assessments, and the appointment of a data protection officer will be mandatory for public authorities and any organisation whose core activities require regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale. There are also applications in sectors such as the environment that will not involve individuals at all.

By providing information that is not available in any other way, visual data will enable the IoT to bring even more benefits to all our lives. More information is available in the white paper Visual IoT: where the IoT, cloud and big data come together.

Internet of Business says: This opinion piece and the link to an external white paper have both been provided by Cloudview, and not by our independent editorial team.

The post Opinion: The Visual Internet of Things – why IoT needs visual data appeared first on Internet of Business.

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The James Webb Telescope Is Delayed. Again. Here Are 4 Things to Know About it

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When you’re building the largest and most ambitious space telescope ever made, you have to expect that some things will go wrong.

At least, that seems to be the takeaway from a teleconference held by NASA today about the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a 6.5 meter (21 foot)-wide telescope that will observe distant space a million miles from the sun, all kept cool by an origami-folded sunshield the size of a tennis court.

That is, if it ever makes it off the ground.

Based on information from the project’s Standing Review Board (SRB), NASA officials have decided to delay the telescope’s launch window to roughly May 2020. (In 2011, it was supposed to launch in 2018; in September, officials pushed that back to 2019)

Here are four new things you should know about this latest James Webb update, and why we’re going to have to wait a little longer to get its unprecedented new view of the universe. But stay tuned, because it’ll be worth it.

1. The launch delay is about “getting it right”…

The primary cause of the delay: to ensure that NASA is as confident as possible before launch.

Since there will be no way of repairing the JWST if something goes wrong out in space, they want to ensure everything is in the best shape it can be before sending it adrift.

“Simply put, we have one shot to get this right before going into space,” Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), said during today’s press conference. “You’ve heard this before … failure is not an option.”

The recent SRB review evaluated whether JWST would be ready for a May 2020 launch. Its confidence level: 70 percent. That’s a normal level of confidence for a large NASA project, Zurbuchen and his colleagues said, but another upcoming Independent Review Board (IRB) will seek out additional ways to raise that number.

And yeah, potential budgetary issues are a concern, too.

2. …Because things have gone wrong.

Officials are afraid things will go wrong because, in the nearly twenty years that NASA and associated contractors have been building the James Webb, things have.

Some of the most recent delays were associated with errors. Like when they discovered that the sunshield’s tension-creating cables were too slack. This could have created a risk that the cables would snag on something as the sunshield unfolded, keeping it from deploying.

Contractor Northrop Grumman also accidentally put several small tears in the sunshield.

And during tests, scientists discovered that the propulsion system could allow leaks from the telescope’s thruster valves.

The telescope has already gone through considerable testing to make sure it can make it to its million-mile destination and start doing science once it’s there. This year, NASA is planning to do more tests, on individual pieces and the telescope as a whole (once it’s welded together), to ensure it can survive the traumatic journey from Earth to space.

The James Webb sunshield, stacked and unfurled for a full-sized test in 2014 (which it passed). Image Credit: Chris Gunn / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

3. The project’s cost may continue to rise.

Back in 2011, when JWST was slated to launch in 2018, Congress gave the project a cost cap of $ 8 billion. But now, officials think the project might exceed it.

That’s one of the main tasks of the upcoming independent review board — to figure out if the JWST can meet its launch date without going over the target price. At the very least, the project will need at least $ 837 million to operate the telescope after launch.

The good news, at least, is that it doesn’t appear that NASA would consider canceling this massive undertaking at the 11th hour. No one wants to throw away the $ 7.3 billion they’ve already spent.

“This is the definition of ‘sunk cost,’” Grant Tremblay, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told The Verge. “We’re launching this thing.”

4. The delay could slow down other space projects.

After James Webb gets in motion, NASA’s next priority is supposed to be the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), another massive telescope that promises to make Hubble’s astonishing images of the universe look like blurry flip phone photos.

In 2010, the National Academy of Sciences said the telescope was its number one priority. And now the latest White House budget proposal has already threatened to kill it

The Space Telescopes of Tomorrow [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

The scientific community has firmly resisted letting WFIRST go. But if the James Webb ends up over-budget and far past its launch date, the extra money needed to get the JWST into space will come out of WFIRST funds.

At the teleconference, Zurbuchen suggested that the James Webb’s impact on WFIRST will be “more of perception than cost,” that is, that people might simply think WFIRST is less possible because of the Webb delays.

Scientific American reports otherwise, nothhat extra costs will likely delay WFIRST further, and potentially prevent it from operating at the same time as Webb — one of the main reasons for launching it in the first place.

Some experts worry that the reverberations of JWST’s delays could extend even further.

“My fear now is that the community will be so frightened of cost that they won’t recommend any large telescope in the next decadal [survey],” one senior astronomer told Scientific American, speaking under conditions of anonymity. “If NASA doesn’t pursue another big strategic mission after Webb and WFIRST … More likely [that money] will go into rockets to put people on the moon, or to some program outside of NASA entirely. If we’re not careful, this could lead to the end of the golden age of U.S. space astronomy.”

The post The James Webb Telescope Is Delayed. Again. Here Are 4 Things to Know About it appeared first on Futurism.


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Apple HomePod Review: 5 Things We Love About Apple’s Smart Speaker, & a Few We Don’t

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Apple rarely invents new products. Instead, it typically waits for other companies to enter an industry, learns from their mistakes, and then releases a finished product that is superior to anything else on the market. When Apple released the Apple I computer in 1976, for example, the company was far from being the first personal computer firm established, and yet the Apple I was the most polished product of its kind on the market at the time. When Steve Jobs created the original Macintosh computer, he took the idea for the mouse and graphical user interface from Xerox. The iPod and iPhone are also great examples: AT&T released the first portable media player five years before the iPod came out, and the iPhone was released more than a decade after the first smartphone came out in the mid-‘90s. So, when Apple released the HomePod almost three years after Amazon released the Echo and almost one year after Google released the Google Home, it felt like a familiar formula.

The problem this time around, however, is that while the smart speaker market is still relatively new, Amazon has already proven to be a formidable competitor. Amazon’s Alexa platform now has over 25,000 third-party voice apps (called skills.) Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, claims that Amazon has already sold over 20 million Alexa devices. The Google Home can also perform a ton of tricks that the HomePod currently cannot, such as controlling your TV (through Chromecast integration) and recognizing multiple voices. The question is whether Apple has done enough to differentiate the HomePod from the competition. After spending a month with the HomePod, here are my firsthand experiences.

Audio Quality

Apple has decided to position the HomePod as a speaker first and a smart device second. As a result, the HomePod is in a different tier than the Echo and Google Home when it comes to sound quality (as well as price.) Personally, I like that Apple has chosen to focus on sound quality. One of the main reasons I hadn’t purchased an Echo up until now, despite hearing good things, was that I didn’t want to listen to my music on a terrible speaker. I did at one point purchase an Echo Dot, but it proved to be a hassle to connect to my existing speakers.

The HomePod has an impressive bass and a rich sound that comfortably fills a room without causing distortion. During setup, it automatically analyzes the space it’s in and customizes its audio to take advantage of the acoustics in the room. Before the HomePod came out, many websites claimed that the audio was comparable to a high-end audio system worth thousands of dollars. I have found the sound quality of the HomePod to be good but not great. It certainly is not comparable to a high-end audio system. While the speaker’s bass is very impressive for such a small speaker, the mid-range is a little muddled, and the high notes are underemphasized, which leaves guitar and vocals sounding a little muddy. Overall, it had a comparable sound quality to other mid-level speakers such as the Libratone Zipp and Sonos One, both of which retail for around $ 200 and have Amazon Alexa built in. The HomePod uses Apple’s AirPlay system to stream audio to your phone over Wi-Fi. AirPlay has higher quality audio compression than Bluetooth, and you don’t have to pair the speaker with your phone like you do with Bluetooth. When testing AirPlay with other speakers in the past, I’ve experienced frequent connectivity issues that caused the audio to cut out periodically. The HomePod, however, has been very consistent. A big downside is that, unlike with Bluetooth, AirPlay will not work unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

Using Hey Siri

I often struggle when using Siri on my iPhone. Half the time my phone doesn’t wake up when I say, “Hey, Siri.” And when it does, it frequently mishears my request. Because of this, I was a little concerned about how the HomePod would perform. I’ve been pleasantly surprised though by how well the speaker handles commands. The microphones are designed to pick up your commands even while the speaker is in use. I’ve found that Hey Siri works pretty reliably, and there are far fewer misunderstandings than when I use Siri on my iPhone. The only problem I occasionally encounter is that I have so many Apple devices in my room that when I say “Hey, Siri,” the wrong device is sometimes activated. Apple has said that multiple devices in a room communicate with each other when you make a command, and will figure out which one should be activated, and will mostly default to the HomePod. For the most part this is true, but every once in a while, my iPhone will activate instead.

Another downside of the HomePod is that it doesn’t support third-party apps yet and has a limited number of commands it responds to. Most of its commands are for Apple Music, which is, of course, only helpful if you are an Apple Music subscriber. I am a Spotify subscriber, so all of the Apple Music functionality is of very little use to me.

Apple’s Ecosystem

The biggest advantage the HomePod has over the competition is Apple’s ability to tightly integrate the smart speaker with the rest of its ecosystem. This advantage is made apparent right out of the box. To set up the HomePod, you simply plug it in and hold your iPhone nearby. A prompt will pop up on your iPhone walking you through a simple setup process. Apple also has the ability to support phone calls and text messages, something that Alexa does not support for iPhones. The integration is particularly helpful for Apple Music subscribers, who have a myriad of voice commands available to them. Surprisingly, Apple did not take advantage of the integration as much as it could have. Many of Apple’s built-in apps are not yet supported by the HomePod. The most glaring omission to me is the Calendar app. I schedule appointments via Siri on my phone all the time and would’ve loved to be able to use the HomePod for that. I also would have enjoyed having the HomePod read me my schedule for the day. While it does support the Podcasts app, I didn’t find it to work very well. Currently, you can only sync the HomePod with one Apple ID at a time. Because a speaker is typically a device used by an entire household, this creates a host of problems. First of all, you can only access one person’s Apple Music profile, which contains the playlists and musical preferences the HomePod uses. Also, because the HomePod does not distinguish between voices, anyone walking by the speaker can effectively read any of your text messages or send a message to anyone in your contact book on your behalf. You can turn off access to Messages, but then you are effectively turning off one of the few features that Apple has that the other smart speakers do not.

5 Of My Favorite HomePod Commands

1. Weather:

It’s surprisingly convenient to have Siri read the weather to me as I get ready in the morning.

2. Smart Home Management:

I have two space heaters plugged into smart plugs. I’m consistently yelling at my HomePod to, “Turn on the bathroom heater.”

3. Audio Management:

It’s really nice to be able to tell Siri to rewind thirty seconds, adjust the volume, or ask what song I’m listening to (which works even when I’m streaming Spotify).

4. The News:

The HomePod can play you a news snippet from several publishers, including NPR, The Washington Post, and Fox News.

5. Unit Conversion, Timers, and Alarms:

I keep my HomePod in my bedroom, so I don’t use this functionality as much as if it were in my kitchen, but I will occasionally have my HomePod convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, tell me the time in a different country, or set a timer or alarm.

Should You Buy the HomePod?

Answering this question is particularly complicated because the HomePod is still so new. It feels a little like evaluating a painting before the paint has even dried. Over time Apple will build out its functionality, add multi-voice recognition, and support third-party apps. The question then becomes, should we evaluate the HomePod based on how it currently ships or on the potential it holds? If you’re invested in Apple’s product line, I believe that the Homepod‘s integration with the rest of the ecosystem presents a huge advantage over the competition. However, its current feature set is not making the most of these advantages. Despite the audio balance being a little off, the HomePod’s hardware is pretty solid. Thus, most of the improvements Apple will make will likely be on the software side and will be available to existing owners.

If you own an iPhone (or other Apple device) and are interested in getting a smart speaker, I’d recommend the HomePod over the Amazon Echo, despite the Echo having so many skills. In my opinion, the advantage of having a smart speaker that is integrated into Apple’s ecosystem trumps the ability to access Alexa’s ecosystem of 25,000 apps. Apple will likely add an App Store for the HomePod, but Amazon can never integrate with the ecosystem in the same ways. This is especially true if you are an Apple Music subscriber. If you own Apple products but aren’t interested in being an early adopter and aren’t in a hurry to buy a new speaker, then I would recommend waiting to see what improvements Apple makes in the next year. If you aren’t committed to Apple’s products, then you probably want to buy a more device-agnostic smart speaker, such as the Amazon Echo so that you can take advantage of the more robust feature set. Personally, despite not being an Apple Music subscriber, and despite the speaker’s somewhat limited functionality, I am really enjoying owning the HomePod. I remain convinced that in the future, voice will be one of the most common ways that we interact with our devices. These are still early days, and smart speakers are probably still best suited for early adopters, but even in its current iteration, the HomePod is very useful and a great addition to Apple’s lineup.

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Six things we can do today to help women succeed in the workplace

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“That’s What She Said” author Joanne Lipman

“That’s What She Said” author Joanne Lipman shares what she has learned about discrimination and the failures of “diversity training,” on Recode Decode.

The inspiration for journalist Joanne Lipman’s new book came in part from an unsuspecting businessman on an airplane to Des Moines. He and Lipman were sitting next to each other, having a nice conversation, until he asked why she was flying to Iowa.

“I said, ‘I’m going to speak at a women’s leadership conference,’” Lipman recalled on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “And suddenly, this lovely man, he freezes up, he gets that deer-in-the-headlights look, and he goes, ‘Sorry I’m a man!’”

“Then he launches into this whole thing about how he had just gone through ‘diversity training’ at his bank, and how awful it was and they beat him up, and it felt like you were being sent to the principal’s office,” she added. “He says to me, he took one message away from diversity training: ‘It’s all your fault.’”

More than three years and a lot more air travel later, Lipman has written “That’s What She Said,” a practical guide for men and women, who she said desperately need to talk more candidly about working together. Below, we’ve highlighted six of Lipman’s pieces of advice from the podcast.

You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Here are six of Lipman’s top suggestions:

  1. Don’t outsource diversity to Human Resources. “For women as well as for African-American men and women, [diversity training] made things worse,” she said. “The problem isn’t the training, per se, it’s that it’s outsourced to HR. The ownership of workplace equality has got to sit with the CEO and the CFO. They need to see it as a business imperative. Every piece of research tells you that when you have more diverse groups, you are more successful.”
  2. Don’t obsess over the Harvey Weinstein types. The #MeToo movement has successfully rooted out several bad actors, but “if we only focus on the sexual predators and sexual harassment, we are totally missing the point. That will waste this moment. Not every woman has been sexually assaulted at work, but every single woman knows what it feels like to be marginalized and underpaid and overlooked. That’s what this moment is about.”
  3. Make sure the people doing the hiring are diverse. “We all know at this point that if you have an opening, you should have a diverse slate of candidates. But in my research, what I found is that is simply not enough. You actually need a diverse slate of interviewers, and that’s been a big, big issue with the tech firms. You bring in a diverse slate of candidates, but you’ve got a bunch of white guys who all went to Stanford who are doing the interviewing.”
  4. Don’t decide for her. “I cannot even tell you the number of times I’ve been in a small group of leaders, talking about an opening and somebody will say, ’Susan would be great for that!’ And somebody else will say, ‘Oh, she just had a baby,’ or, ‘Her husband has a big job, he’s not going to want to relocate.’ There’s always some reason.”
  5. Understand why she’s crying. “I had no idea, but men are terrified of women crying in the office, which leads them to not give honest feedback. Science says women do cry more than men, but when they do cry it’s because they’re angry or frustrated. Men don’t see it that way, they think feelings have been hurt. A woman crying in the office is the same thing as a man screaming and yelling and getting angry.”
  6. Hire somebody your mom’s age. “Age discrimination is rampant. Particularly for women who have maybe taken off some time for their kids or who have dialed back, they are invisible. They would add trillions of dollars to the economy.”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • On Too Embarrassed to Ask, also hosted by Kara Swisher, we answer the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Spring Cleaning for Digital Marketers – 4 Things Every Brand Should Do Now

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Spring is here, and now’s the perfect time for brands to freshen up their digital marketing efforts. So, how do marketers eliminate the clutter from their marketing strategy? In MDG’s new infographic, readers will learn which old and tired digital tactics to throw out this spring, and which fresh, new marketing techniques will help them grow their businesses in the seasons to come.

MDG Advertising’s new infographic, “Spring Cleaning for Digital Marketers: 4 Things Every Brand Should Do Now,” shows:

  • Which social networks marketers should engage on
  • The importance of cleaning up data and securing it properly
  • Why mobile load speed is a top priority
  • Why marketers should go all in on marketing attribution

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The Internet of Things (IoT): Is your future secure?

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We’re currently on the verge of the greatest human evolution possible. Where the shift is from Information Age to the Digital Age. Where intelligent devices can feel the presence of human and ask accordingly.

This phenomenal shift is due to a person’s desire to create efficiency, specifically with everyday tasks to automate the process. Additionally, the costs that are associated with these devices is no longer prohibitive, so companies of all sizes can bring products to market.

Many people laughed when in the year 2014, John Chambers mentioned, Cisco CEO mentioned “Internet of Everything” as a potential market of around $ 17 trillion, plus it will take over the whole market in the next 5-10 years. Two years down the lane and Chambers phenomenon came true in the form of the Internet of Things(IoT).

Although the shift from the Internet of people to the Internet of Things(IoT) initiated a new breed of innovation, on the other hand, there is even a greater chance that sensitive personal data is available online for anyone to access. Whether be it our health records, or family information or even our daily activities, we are all wired up with IoT.

The bad news is that with according to a survey by McKinsey cost of ineffective cyber security will rise up to $ 3 trillion by the year 2020. Given that the devices connected with humans will reach to 20.8 billion by the year 2020, there is a huge amount of risk associated with it.

Data has an entire lifetime

Throughout the 90’s, everyone was focused on data in motion – that is communication between two parties. However, companies have realized that with the advancement of data, there is a greater chance of data breach within the companies.

What we need is to consider data as for the entire lifecycle, not just when being transmitted among out devices, which becomes meaningless if the device itself is compromised.

For now, data is not just for a day, or a decade, it is for a lifetime. Whatever you do or store over the internet stays there forever. Whether be it your customer data, your personal information, or even your business secrets.

Considering the above, you need to make the necessary changes as per the advancement of the there comes a strong breed of hackers that can take your data and use it for their benefit.

Personal does not mean secure

It is a clear deceptive assumption that machines have data that is secure over the internet. Information security has three components:

Confidentiality: Here the data is restricted & protected.

Integrity: It is assured that there is no compromise on data & information.

Availability: Those authorized to access this information can do anything with the data.

There are some major security protocols you can make to strengthen your security – encryption, firewalls, tokens, and two-factor authentication – we need to target data confidentiality, secured barriers against unauthorized access and developing effective business dashboard.

But machines, have their own protocols, software, rules & exposed APIs will have exposed vulnerabilities.

What will happen when the data will have these weak points and breach points that will surely compromise the security.

The integrity

Unfortunately, there is not even a single security expert that think that we can build IoT networks without vulnerabilities. For that, we need a new approach. We need to know how is data changing and what can we do to stop the breach.

This is called the integrity issue – and it should be focused on modern security where everything relates to everything.

Data integrity is a different subject. Schemes such as scalable provable data possession (SPDP), the blockchain, and Merkle hash trees, and dynamic provable data possession (DPDP) are great places to start off your research.

To scale these technologies, we can make them reliable for the large networks. For this, we need to train our team how to tackle these types of issues.

To wrap it all up

The Internet of things(IoT) is not a new thing anymore. With great data comes greater responsibility to encrypt that data and save it from the eyes of the hacker.

Whether you’re an individual or a company that is struggling on the road to success, you need to secure your data. You need to develop strategies that can prevent you from great loss.

The post The Internet of Things (IoT): Is your future secure? appeared first on ReadWrite.


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8 New Things Apple Might Unveil at the March Education Event

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Last week Apple began sending out press invites for an education-focused keynote event scheduled for Tuesday, March 27. That event, which will take place at a Chicago area high school, will cover “creative new ideas for both teachers and students.” Continue reading to learn about several new products and services we can expect from the […]
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Internet of Things in Events: What’s in it for Event Planners

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Event planning and management have gone far beyond what it was in the past. From manual registration to collaboration with the attendees, everything has changed with the emergence of technology. From mobile event apps to Virtual and augmented reality, event planners are finding unique ways to engage attendees as much as they could.

With the rise of technology in the event industry, Internet of Things has become the buzzword as well. If you are not aware of what Internet of Things is all about, let us have a brief overview.

What is the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things is defined as the network of Internet-connected objects, able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors.

Connected things include everything from refrigerators to coffee makers and wearable devices to cell phones.

The recent hype in IoT has been quite surprising and an estimated projection suggests that there will be as many as 50 billion connected devices by 2020.

The opportunities offered by IoT in any industry will also play a vital role in revolutionizing event industry. From attendees tracking to check-in and cashless payments, event industry will see a major shift in driving attendees and engaging them.

Why is the Internet of Things Helpful in Event Management?

The event industry is dependent on data more than any other industry. From attendees to caterers and venues to speakers, everything needs a valid data and it is only possible through the Internet of Things.

The data helps event managers and planners to make informed decisions. The data extracted can be helpful in automating attendee management, intelligent lighting, keeping your guests safe and comfortable, and automatic notification based on iBeacon technology.

How Event Planners and Managers Can Benefit from IoT?

The event industry can benefit from the opportunities offered by IoT. How event planners and managers can benefit from IoT, let us have a look.

Access to Information

Events are successful only if attendee experience is unique and drive engagement. For instance, NFC device like iBeacon can connect with attendees in order to access schedule seamlessly, check in to the event and offer precise mapping and direction within the event premises.

Beacons also allow event staff to view visitors’ data from the wearable devices, such as wristbands and smart lanyards. It helps them to collaborate and pitch them in a more personalized way.

Moreover, smart lanyards can help attendees to attend specific session or talk based on their profile. In addition, they can also inform other attendees to attend sessions based on their profession and profile. Hence, IoT can help event managers and planners perfectly pitch tailored message to the attendees based on their interests.

Automated Registration and Check-in

Smartphones are now equipped with NFC, GPS, WIFI, and BLE. These features can help event managers to automate the registration process of attendees at events without making a mess. For instance, BLE connectivity can enable attendees to use their smartphones to collaborate with the onsite registration software to check in when they are near event venue.

Moreover, they can be directed to collection booth to get their event badges through a notification on their mobile phone. It would help event managers to save time and utilize automated system instead of the workforce for onsite registrations.

Interactive Posters

With the help of NFC, attendees can tap on posters or products through their mobile device to get more information. It would allow the exhibitors to extract the list of potential customers who are interested in the product offering.

The potential of IoT is beyond one’s imagination. The real advantage of using IoT in events is to collect data from any device. Imagine if an event planner incorporates the attendee data, it allows them to collect useful information, allowing them to create a personalized experience for the audience.

As you leave the event venue, you receive a notification that acknowledges you for visiting the event and a link to an event survey. At the same time, an email is sent to you with the list of exhibitors that you have visited and information about their service offerings.

Heat Map and Navigation

Allowing attendees to connect to the WIFI or adding BLE chips into the event badges can allow event managers to generate a heat map. The heat map will keep track of the attendees’ location to know which part of the event engages them the most.

With the help of this data, event managers can start improving the way they organize and arrange a venue. Moreover, they can also analyze the most visited areas where attendees were engaged the most and devise new strategies to market the product in a better way.

Security and Safety of Attendees

Smart buildings are optimal to deal with any kind of problems or hazards. Windows and doors in smart buildings are controlled wirelessly through the connection of beacons and cameras. With minimum to no human intervention, guests can be welcomed and unwanted visitors can be kept out. Moreover, the air conditioners, lighting, and heating appliances can be managed wirelessly in order to meet with the rapid changes in the venue.


The deployment of new technologies in your event can help you gather useful data, leading to more efficient event management. It depends on you how you utilize the data because deploying the latest technology is not beneficial unless you are ignoring the key data metrics.


The post Internet of Things in Events: What’s in it for Event Planners appeared first on ReadWrite.


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7 New Things to Expect at Apple WWDC ’18

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Apple has officially announced the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference. The event will kick off with a keynote speech at 10 a.m. on June 4 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. And while WWDC is a developer-centric event, Apple also uses the conference to announce new software and hardware developments. Here are seven […]
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