If you were to wander through the halls at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 (CES) this year, chances are that one of the phrases you will have heard most often is artificial intelligence (AI). AI is, it appears, this year’s IoT or Cloud. The hot buzzword that every company wants to associate itself with.
The term has been plastered on marketing material for hundreds of disparate gadgets: Samsung’s massive 8K TVs apparently use AI to upscale lower resolution images for the big screen. Sony has created a new version of the Aibo robot dog, which this time promises more artificial intelligence. Travelmate’s robot suitcase will use AI to drive around and follow its owner wherever they go. Oh, and Kohler has invented Numi, a toilet that has Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built in - though mercifully, it doesn’t appear to be doing any deep-learning analysis of your, umm, data.
There does appear to be something real at the heart of all of this marketing copy: it’s clear that it’s an exciting time in the tech industry, as entire product categories are being invented or transformed using these sorts of smart technologies. Products like Amazon’s Alexa, with its accurate voice recognition would have been virtually unimaginable a decade earlier, at least outside of the realms of science fiction. And Google’s ability to pick out objects from photos would have seemed like witchcraft to companies that would previously have paid humans to do the tedious business of adding metadata to images.
But despite all this, it does leave me wondering: is artificial intelligence really what we should be calling this revolution? Because, well, these technologies really aren’t all that intelligent at all.
It’s essentially a definitional problem: For some reason, the industry is hellbent on using AI when what is actually means is machine learning (ML). This is a much more narrow term, referring to what is essentially using trial and error to build a model that’s capable of guessing the answers to discrete questions very accurately.
For example, take image recognition: say you want to build a system that separates pictures of cats from pictures of dogs. All you have to do is feed a ML algorithm enough pictures of cats, telling the system they are cats, and then enough pictures of dogs, telling it they are dogs. It will then build a model of what patterns to look for and eventually, after enough training, you should be able to feed it an unlabelled image, and it will be able to make a fairly accurate guess as to which of the two animals is in the picture.
The trouble is that though this is very impressive, and has only been possible at scale over the last few years because of the collapsing cost and availability of processing power, it isn’t exactly ‘intelligence’, is it?
Intelligence, of the sort that humans have, is very different and more broadly defined. We’re capable of a wider set of skills. A great example of this comes from an industry-wide group called the AI Index, which is attempting to measure and benchmark progress in AI. In its 2017 report, it says:
“[A] human who can read Chinese characters would likely understand Chinese speech, know something about Chinese culture and even make good recommendations at Chinese restaurants. In contrast, very different AI systems would be needed for each of these tasks.”
In other words, we’re a long way from the sort of generalised artificial intelligence that would be able to do these very different tasks. And we’re even further away from such an intelligence being able to not just carry out those tasks, but also wonder to itself why it is doing them.
So, given the obvious limitations of current technology, why is an entire industry obsessing over the term AI? Why is it suddenly so important? And why is every tech start-up at every major trade show touting its AI capabilities?
Perhaps the answer lies in this one chart (see below), which is again from the AI Index.
Ah yes, that would explain it. If you can frame your start-up as a company that is dabbling in artificial intelligence, it appears as though the investment cash will come flooding in. Around $3bn has been invested in AI start-ups annually following an enormous increase around 2013.
But this doesn’t explain why we’re mislabelling. Why we’re referring to artificial intelligence rather than machine learning. My guess here is simply that AI sounds a whole lot sexier. Think about it, if your competitors are conjuring up images of Tony Stark’s Jarvis or Data from Star Trek, you don’t want to be caught talking about boring old, harder-to-market machine learning instead.
In any case, I think it’s time to exercise more caution when throwing around the label artificial intelligence, and we should save it for when we truly have systems that are approaching a more generalised form of human-like intelligence so that we don’t end up with false or misleading expectations.
Given this real milestone is at least a number of years away, in the meantime I’m going to get back to work on building a machine learning system that can figure out how to easily separate the AI fact from AI fiction.
A single day after we reported that Amazon is seeking cash-generating blockbusters for distribution on Amazon Prime Video, Amazon has announced that it's hiking up the monthly subscription rate for Amazon Prime.
As of today, if you're paying the monthly rate for Amazon Prime in the US, expect to pay $12.99 during the next billing cycle beginning on February 18. That's an 18% hike from the previous price of $10.99.
The price increase also affects Amazon's monthly plan for students, which will also jump 18% from $5.49 to $6.49.
In a email to TechRadar, Amazon confirmed that the price hike only affects US customers.
Fortunately, the annual rate of $99 will stay the same, as will the standalone $8.99 monthly fee for Amazon Prime Video for those who wish to enjoy Amazon's video content without paying for the shipping and other perks.
Amazon didn't give a concrete reason for the price increase, and instead simply played up the appeal and wide range of services available through Amazon Prime in a prepared statement.
"Prime provides an unparalleled combination of shipping, shopping and entertainment benefits, and we continue to invest in making Prime even more valuable for our members," an Amazon spokesperson said.
Amazon also pointed out that the number of items eligible for two-day shipping recently jumped from 20 million to 100 million, and it called attention to original viewing content on Prime Video such as "the Golden Globe-winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and The Grand Tour.
The last time Amazon Prime saw a price increase was in 2014, when the annual rate jumped from $79 to $99. The boost was seen as controversial at the time, but, as these things go, it's essentially been accepted as business as usual.
That's partly because Amazon introduced the new monthly plan that's now seeing the price increase a little under two years ago, offering greater flexibility to folks who just want to try out Prime for a while or don't have $99 to throw down all at once.
Unfortunately, with the new price hike, monthly customers will end up paying a total of around $156 per year if they pay the monthly fee throughout the entire year.
The January sales are in full swing right now and we may well have one of the biggest bargains for you today. Future - the publisher of TechRadar - is providing some of the greatest magazines at up to 55% off.
Although we don't have a TechRadar magazine, that's because our fellow Future titles have got the world of print covered So we're very excited to offer up a whole host of discounts for some of the best magazines on the planet
From the amazing Total Film, a film magazine for the more discerning movie fan, right through to the fantastic How It Works, and TechRadar stablemate T3 - there's a magazine for everyone.
The deals will end 32 January, so head over to MyFavouriteMagazines now. Have fun reading!
You could also check out our guide to the best tech gifts under £100
Cheap TV deals are on our radar throughout the year as we check through the most reliable retailers to find you the finest bargains every week. 4K TVs have generally taken over nowadays and have come down in price much faster than HD TVs did.
Take a look at our carefully curated selection below. We've split the 4K TV deals into different size categories immediately after our pick for TV Deal of the Week. Whatever your budget, we're sure we can find something for you. Towards the bottom of the page, you'll also find a few HD TV deals (non-4K models). When you compare prices though, you really don't have to pay much more at all to get a modern 4K TV instead.
Now's a great time to upgrade with a cheap 4K TV deal, especially with Netflix, Amazon, BBC and Sky all increasing their 4K content. Nowadays, pretty much every TV comes with Freeview (no more set-top boxes!) and also Smart TV functionality via your home internet - we'll be sure to mention it if they don't though.
If you're after more seriously large TV deals, we should warn you, they don't come cheap. However, if you want to see some more large screen TV deals -we're talking about 65 to 85-inch TVs- we'd recommend heading over to John Lewis, Currys and Amazon as they seem to stock more models than most UK retailers.
Not found the right cheap TV for you today? Or maybe you'd prefer to directly browse the TVs at your favourite retailers instead of our highlights of the best cheap TV deals? We're updating this page on a regular basis, so you may have better look another day. If you want to take a look for yourself now though, here are the direct links to a the full collection of TV deals at multiple stores.
If the 4K TV deals still look a bit expensive or you simply wont be needing 4K anytime soon, you can still get a great deal on a HD TV. After all, HD still has the picture to dazzle providing you're watching the right content on anything from Netflix to your PS4. Let's have a look at some of the best bargains this week.
With a new year comes new cheap 4K TV deals! With so many great 4K televisions to choose from, making a decision about which one to purchase for your family may very well come down price. A good cheap 4K TV deal can be hard to refuse, and these days there are more great TVs at even better prices than ever before. If you need a new television and don't want to pay any more than you have to, why not take a look at our curated list of the best cheap 4K TV deals in Australia for January 2018.
We've been on the prowl for the best value 4K Ultra HD TVs currently on sale, focusing on sets with huge discounts off the RRP. With so much 4K content currently available to stream on Netflix, Amazon and Stan, now's the perfect time to upgrade to an Ultra HD set. And at these prices, how can you afford not to?
Below, you'll find our selection of the best cheap 4K TV deals for the month of January. You better get a move on, though – some of these deals are time sensitive, and may disappear before the end of the month. Now, let's kick off our list with our deal of the month. It may not be the biggest discount on the list, but it's a great saving on one of the newest and best televisions currently available.
Hisense 50-inch 50N6 UHD LED TV | Now $692 + shipping (RRP $1,199) | videopro_online
When purchased in conjunction with eBay's PCTECH coupon code, customers receive 20% off the usual $866 price of Hisense's 50-inch 50N6 4K TV at the videopro_online eBay store, bringing the price down to $692. That's quite a nice price for this HDR-supporting Smart TV.
LG 49” 49UJ654T Ultra HD Smart TV | Now $993 (RRP $1,499) | VideoPro
A terrific Ultra HD television from LG, the LG 49UJ654T offers HDR10 and smart TV content delivered via webOS 3.5 for only $993 (free shipping included).
Sony X67E 60-inch 4K HDR Smart TV | Now $1,299 (was $1,999) | Sony Online
If our deal of the month is too big for you, there's also a 60-inch Sony option that also boasts 4K resolution and HDR support. Once again, it doesn't seem to run on Android TV, but it still offers Netflix, YouTube, FreeView and more. It also boasts ClearAudio+ functionality for an improved listening experience.
TCL 75C2US 4K Smart Android TV | Now $2,7439 (RRP $3,999) |Billy Guyatts
An incredible price for a 75-inch Ultra HD set, Billy Guyatts' deal on the TCL 75C2US television is exceptional value for money. Not only does it support HDR10, it also runs off the Android TV platform and sports built-in Harmon Kardon speakers.
Perhaps you're not after a cheap TV, but simply want a good deal on a top of the line telly. In that case, check out some great deals for our current favourite 4K televisions below.
The televisions listed above are but a small selection of the TV deals available online, with loads of sets in various sizes and brands reduced every day. If the TVs above don't suit your needs or fit your price range, you can check out even more cheap 4K TV deals at Getprice.
Few things are more wonderful and exciting as becoming a parent. It's also an anxious time no matter if you're welcoming your first child or adding a new member to your brood. Anything at all that can help relieve you of the worry that something might happen to your baby when they are napping in another room or are otherwise not right by your side is welcomed, and the baby cam is the ultimate device for this.
Not only does a decent baby cam give you peace of mind, it also helps you come to know your baby’s habits and gives you that little bit of freedom, so you can be away from your baby but also know they are within eye- and earshot.
You may have an image of a baby cam in your mind, and chances are, it's not the most glowing one. For years, the baby cam category was a tired field, filled with cameras that offered only grainy footage of your baby on a screen as small as a postage stamp and at a quality that simply wasn't very good.
With new tech has come a vast improvement in the world of baby cams, however. Thanks to the relatively new introduction of smart cams in the home, the choice of baby monitors has greatly expanded. While these aren’t dedicated baby cams, and you should always consider using them alongside - rather than as replacements for - a traditional baby monitor, they offer a viable solution rather than a substandard one.
This buying guide is a mix of traditional baby cameras and smart camera solutions. Each camera in this guide has been tested on one of TR’s honorary babies both in the day and the night, at long and short distance in a house.
Here’s our pick of cameras to keep a watchful eye of your bundle of joy.
Philips has a long history of supplying monitors and the uGrow smart monitor is top of the quality pile. Both in the dark and in the day the picture was crisp and detailed. Unlike other monitors, though, the picture comes through a dedicated app on your smartphone.
This was simple to install and does make sense considering that you are more likely to have a phone or tablet on you than remembering to take a separate monitor with you wherever you are in the house, The app also comes with some choice medical advice to help you with your baby.
We didn’t find the medical information that enticing but it’s good to have it in one place. We did have the occasional issue of monitor dropout which was frustrating but certainly not limited to this device. Reconnecting didn’t take too long, however, and it was only a few times we experienced it - mainly when it thought our Wi-Fi signal wasn’t strong enough.
It’s worth also noting that if the screen of your device goes off then you will have to log back into the app. It doesn’t take long but is an inconvenience. If you don’t have particularly strong Wi-Fi then don’t panic as the device will scale up or down the images to your broadband speed.
Image quality was on the whole excellent as was sound - both were HD and some of the best we experienced on test. It is pricey, though, but you are getting a lot for your money - including things like temperature and humidity notifications, talkback functionality and medical advice.
The BT Video Baby Monitor 6000 was the quickest to set up in our tests. Out of the box it’s simply a case of 'plug and play' which meant we had our device up and running in a matter of minutes. This is a baby cam with a dedicated monitor - the screen is a large five inches - which is a little too chunky for our liking but does a decent job in the picture and sound stakes.
We did find the footage a little grainy compared to others on test but it’s only really noticeable when you get close up. Battery life lasted around 10 hours in our tests after a full charge and the ability to tilt and zoom the camera from the monitor is a welcomed one.
There are a few gimmicks on board that we would avoid. It does come programmed with lullabies but they’re not that soothing, coming across more like a phone ringtone than a sleep mechanism.
There’s also a temperature gauge and talkback functionality, all of which worked fine in our tests. It’s not the best-looking device on test - dare we say it, it all looks a little baby like, but it’s price is good, especially for the tech you get.
One for the UK crowd, the Motorola MBP44 is a John Lewis exclusive and it looks like the retail giant has something of a hit on their hands. In terms of looks, the Motorola MBP44 is similar to the more expensive MP855 but the screen size is a touch smaller at 4.5 inches and the big reason for the price difference is that you don't get the Hubble app compatibility which offers streaming to a phone or tablet. This isn't missed, though, as the 4.5-inch screen is decent and offers a nice vista of baby.
The camera is clear and bright and the infrared works really well. The chassis of the camera is a decent small size, so is malleable enough to fit in most of the crevices of your nursery and the universal mount is a great addition. The remote pan, tilt and zoom is warranted but we didn't find ourselves using it that much.
There are a few gimmicks on board - we didn't think much of the soothing lullabies and our baby seemed non plussed by them as well but the room temperature functionality worked well, as did the two-way talk functionality.
We never noticed signal dropout in our house, despite the monitor using the 2.4GHz band and it was certainly loud enough when our baby wanted to let us know they were awake.
Motorola has done it again with the MBP44 - it's an easy to use, nice looking baby cam setup and one that does more than it should for its price.
The Motorola MBP855 is for those that don't want to lug a separate monitor around with them wherever they go. Sure, there is a 5-inch monitor that comes with the camera - and it's one of the clearest pictures we had on test - but the key to this setup is its access to Motorola's Hubble app. Here you can view what your baby is doing on a smartphone or tablet.
It streams 720p footage and when it works it's great. The stream is clear and it gives you a lot more control than the monitor does. The feed did drop out on us a few times, though, which is not ideal given you want 24/7 access to footage of your child but it was more likely our Wi-Fi connection than the technology on test. The good news is it took just seconds to get back up to speed.
Installation of the camera and the app was a cinch and it's a good-looking bit of kit, we really liked the gold trim. The icing on the cake is the inclusion of a Star Grip accessory. This allows you to put the camera pretty much anywhere around the cot - ideal for those whose nursery decor doesn't usually play ball with a baby monitor setup.
Two way voice was nice and clear, infrared crisp and, as always, the room temperature display was an added bonus.
Motorola MBP855 review is one of the most well-rounded smart baby monitors we tested.
The Tommee Tippee Digital Sound and Movement Monitor was something we paired with the Motorola MBP18 when our baby was very young. The reason for this is that there’s no camera with this model. That’s something you may want to consider before purchasing this one. But if you are happy without the visuals, then this is a fantastic device that monitors movement and sounds an alarm when no motion is detected.
Because it is a motion sensor, it’s a little tricky to install. There can’t be any hanging wires as they have to be taut for the sensor to work properly. The device comes with plastic wire tracks that you can use to guide and tighten the wires. These go under any mattress you may have, alongside the rectangle pressure pad. We put this under a Sleepy Head in a side cot and it worked fine. Once everything is installed - it took a while on the first go but we were a dab hand by the end - the device does offer the ultimate in peace of mind.
There are a few caveats, though. The monitor clicks, seemingly in time to the heartbeat of the baby - and it’s quite loud. This can be turned off but as it’s kind of the point of having this monitor, we recommend you don't do that. You do get used to the sound but it is quite audible. And when the clicks stop, which happens every so often, we did find ourselves anxiously waiting for them to start again.
Then there’s the false alarm issue. Occasionally the alarm sounded, even though everything was absolutely fine. This was usually because one of the wires had come loose, so it may have been shoddy installation on our part but it is worth bearing in mind. When the alarm does sound, then it is simple to reset the device.
A movement monitor isn’t for everybody, but they are very useful for first-time parents who are worried about leaving their baby alone in a room and want something more than visual reassurance.
The Tommee Tippee Digital Sound and Movement Monitor also comes with a temperature gauge and the audio - which was crisp in our tests - is two way so you can communicate with your baby if you need to.
The Nest Cam IQ is a sophisticated and well-made security camera that has built-in facial recognition technology. It’s not a dedicated baby cam but as it is one of the most advanced IP cameras we have ever seen, it can certainly be used as such.
Despite it being a Nest product, you don’t need any of the other Nest accessories for it to work.
Using it as a baby cam also means that you don’t have to pay the high subscription fees - these are only really needed if you fancy recording footage of your baby sleeping. Footage from the Nest Cam IQ is superb, it’s 1080p and the best quality we found in our tests.
All footage is viewed through a smartphone/tablet app so there’s (obviously) no dedicated monitor.
Yes, it’s pricey but this is a fantastic-looking, premium camera that works well as a baby cam but has the bonus of also being a security cam for when your little one grows up and no longer needs constant monitoring.
Again, the Hive Camera is not a dedicated baby monitoring system, but it does a decent job moonlighting as one.
The two essentials for baby cams are decent video-streaming capabilities and two-way audio - the Hive Camera is brilliant at both of these.
The streams is HD quality (and there is a night vision mode) and we didn’t notice any dropout in our tests and the two way audio worked well, the camera’s mic picking up many nuances of our baby trying to get to sleep.
It’s solidly built, too, and has a fairly small footprint, so can be placed pretty much anywhere in a nursery. If you did want to save any footage for posterity, you can have up to 16GB of expandable memory, thanks to a microSD card slot.
And when your child gets order, this smart cam is also a great security device - offering such things as a barking dog and police car alarm that you can set off if you see that someone has entered your house.
The D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD Camera is currently being sold in the Apple Store which gives you an idea of what kind of product this is: it’s a premium-looking device that’s packed with smart smarts.
It works with Apple HomeKit, which means that it will seamlessly interact with your Apple products, and it also works with Siri. Its HD video feed can be watched on a smartphone or tablet, while the night vision the camera offers is superb - thanks to some hidden LEDs powering its nocturnal functionality.
It’s so good that the camera can get five feet away from the baby and still pick their image up with no worries. The camera also has an 180-degree field of view which is one of the most expansive we tested.
It’s a great-looking device, one you wouldn’t mind having on your mantelpiece. Its silver finish may not fit the decor of a brightly colored nursery but it’s discreet enough to be put on a shelf and a brilliant 5x zoom means it doesn’t have to be situated too close to the cot to work.
Footage can be recorded on a microSD card but this doesn’t come in the package, while the accompanying Omna app is full of functionality. This isn’t a dedicated baby cam but it acts as a very good one, offering everything you need in one of the best-looking packages on test.
It’s also got Apple’s seal of approval, which isn’t easy to get. If you are an Android user, though, you can still use the camera as D-Link has recently updated its software for Android compatibility, pinch to zoom functionality has also come to the app.
Of all the cameras on test here, the Somfy One is perhaps the one better suited to being a security cam. It’s packed with features that will catch intruders in the act - including smart sensing capabilities, video surveillance, intrusion detection and a rather loud alarm. A lot of these features can be used to help monitor your baby, though, just maybe not use the alarm.
Everything is controlled by the Somfy Protect app, where you have the option to turn the camera completely off when not using it and can zoom in and out when necessary. The picture is crisp, HD (180p, 30fps) and wide angle so you can get most of the cot in the view and there is the option to record footage from the camera straight on to your smartphone and 4x zoom and clear two-way audio on board.
There is a motion-detect feature too, which is great for those who no longer need constant monitoring of your baby. The camera jolts into action when any movement is detected - so if your baby is tossing and turning and getting a little restless, then you can check as to whether or not you got go up and tend to them.
The camera is an all-in-one system so is a lot larger than the other cameras on test - it’s a great-looking device, however, and one that has won a Red Dot award for its looks. Again, this should only be a purchase if you want a camera system to last beyond monitoring your baby. The prime focus for the Somfy One is to protect your home.
Disable that rather loud alarm, though, and what you have is a very capable but perhaps over specced baby cam.
Blockchain technology has received quite a bit of attention over the last year, with the potential to be a transformative force across multiple diverse industries. At the heart of this is the blockchain itself which offers a technique to create and maintain an immutable – but also transparent – distributed and shared ledger to be able to store information in.
When we think of high-tech industries, the legal sector is hardly one that comes to mind. After all, lawyers are often buried in the proverbial mountain of paperwork and the classic film about the legal profession is ‘The Paper Chase’, which ends with papers being blown all over the campus quad.
However, the blockchain has the ability to disrupt the practice of law, and drag it into the current century – there’s already a Global Legal Blockchain Consortium which seeks to standardize and promote its adoption. Here are seven ways in which the blockchain will make a big impact on the legal world.
Legal contracts are still written, with physical signatures required on original documents, which requires significant time to accomplish, all for a binding legal agreement. The blockchain holds the promise to change this into a digital process in what’s being dubbed ‘smart contracts’. These smart contracts could potentially be created and executed directly between the relevant parties, with less lawyer involvement.
OpenLaw endeavors to use the blockchain to decrease “the cost and friction of creating, securing, and generating binding legal agreements.” It also plans to provide the tools for storage of these agreements, without the requirements for intermediaries. With the potential to cut lawyers out of the process altogether, this is a disruptive use of the technology indeed.
The law has struggled when it comes to protecting intellectual property in the digital age, including images, audio, and video files, as well as designs and symbols. Artists and musicians attempt to protect their work, but too often it gets used without their permission, and royalties do not get paid from audio streaming services that struggle with profitability. Companies such as NKOR promise to have a platform for registering intellectual property and ‘anchoring’ it to the blockchain.
The law continuously adapts to changing societal needs. A decade ago, the legal sector had to address digital media rights issues, and some lawyers soon focused on this segment of the law. Now, with blockchain technology having the potential to be used across many sectors, the law will need to adapt again, and there is already a need to have lawyers specializing in blockchain law – the new cutting-edge for digital law.
At the most recent annual meeting of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTACON), the buzz around artificial intelligence was reportedly eclipsed by the blockchain, with a whole panel devoted to its application in the law.
Property rights encompasses how property is bought, sold and rented. Go down to your local government property office, and it is easy to see how this arena is stuck in the last century, with piles of ledgers, paper deeds, and property cards all tracking property ownership. And even when an office makes the transition to go digital, it’s still essentially just scans of all the paperwork, with a database to keep it organized.
This area is also a problem in the developing world which has less infrastructure to protect individual property rights, and disputes are commonplace. For example, with some of India’s land records going back to literally colonial times, given these older, ambiguous records, it is hardly surprising that the majority of the country’s court cases are due to property disputes.
The blockchain, with its inherent security and digital ledger function, promises to be an effective, secure and immutable method to store the data essential for property rights, including land ownership, and the details of when it changed hands.
India has already hosted an international conference in 2017 entitled ‘Blockchain for Property Governance: A Conference on Distributed Ledgers for Secure Property Rights’, addressing the issue of digital property rights.
The chain of custody is an important legal concept which documents what happens to evidence in a criminal case. It is typically a paper trail that gets created for each piece of evidence, and must be fully maintained until this evidence gets presented in court.
The challenge is that if the chain of custody is not completely preserved, no matter how relevant the piece of evidence is to the trial, the defense attorney will file a motion to have the evidence suppressed, which can severely weaken the prosecution’s case.
While chain of custody is a difficult enough issue when it comes to physical evidence, it can be even trickier when dealing with digital evidence, such as a file found on a hard drive, or a device connected on a Wi-Fi network log.
The blockchain is ideally suited for application in the chain of custody, particularly for the more challenging digital files. Here, blockchain tech can be applied to not only track the custody of documents, but also to store the documents themselves. Via the digital ledger, there is a permanent record of the chain of custody, with the evidence digitally preserved, so no evidence ever gets thrown out. This also eliminates the need for testimony about the preservation of the chain of custody, another timesaver.
Lawyers will need to have an increasing awareness of Bitcoin and other blockchain-powered cryptocurrencies, as they get used in more and more financial transactions. The anonymous nature of these cryptocurrencies has already encouraged their use among criminals for less visibility.
As these crypto-assets become more mainstream, and we daresay they get used for actual currency transactions, lawyers will need familiarity with them in wide-ranging scenarios such as divorce proceedings, wills and international transactions.
Currently, notary publics (or general notaries) are used to confirm and verify signatures on legal documents, such as deeds and contracts. Using blockchain technology, these documents can be preserved digitally as part of a digital ledger.
Blocknotary is a company that seeks to apply blockchain technology to legal documents, and offers “timestamps and fingerprints for media files”, thereby eliminating the need for the rubber stamp of today’s notary public.
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There's all that, and much more great tech reviewed inside!
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Image credit: DJI
DJI has already made a name for itself building small, powerful drones such as the DJI Mavic Pro, and clues from a new teaser video suggest we'll see a smaller device that's rumored to be called the "Mavic Air" next week.
The trailer, titled "Adventure Unfolds," strongly recalls the "Powers of 10" video you probably saw in your middle school science classes, as it zooms from sweeping, spacebound views of Earth to extreme closeups of neurons.
In a Carl Sagan-like voice, the narrator hints at what the device may be like, saying, "from seemingly insignificant size comes formidable strength and power."
After all the microcosm and macrocosm shots, the trailer then shifts to closeups of what may be the drone itself, but the perspective is so close that you might as well be trying to identify a portrait of someone from a single freckle.
The actual reveal event will take place on January 23, and the site DroneDJ believes the "Mavic Air" name is legit, largely on account of a working redirected URL on DJI's site.
The video's language also seems to suggest whatever device gets shown may be smaller than the already tiny $499 (£519, AU$859) DJI Spark, but we could also end up seeing a mid-range device with specs somewhere between those of the Spark and the beefier $999 (£999, AU$1,689) Mavic Pro.
More specifically, as the Apple-like "Air" name suggests, the device might be a lightweight version of the Pro.
Whatever it is, we're hoping the device lives up to the promise of the eye-catching video when DJI at last zooms out and shows us the bigger picture next week.
Via: The Verge
Building secondary headquarters is apparently the hot new trend among massive American tech companies.
Most of us already know that Amazon is already making cities trip over each other in the hopes of securing the company's second headquarters, and today Apple announced that it's planning on building a second campus for its employees as well.
Much like an existing Apple facility in Austin, Texas that employs 6,000 people, the new campus will "initially" focus on technical support staff. For the moment, Apple isn't telling where the new location will be, but it says in a new post on its site that we'll learn "later in the year."
We do know, though, that the campus will be in the US. In fact, the announcement post emphasizes the economic benefits of this and Apple's future plans. Apple already employs around 84,000 people in the US, but over the next five years, the company plans to hire more than 20,000 people for both the new campus and existing ones.
In that same time period, Apple says, the company will contribute more than $350 billion to the US economy.
"Apple is a success story that could only have happened in America, and we are proud to build on our long history of support for the US economy," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a prepared statement. "We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible."
Apple even puts a positive spin on the fact that it's currently having to pay $38 billion in repatriation taxes in the wake of recent changes to US tax law, asserting that it's "already the largest US taxpayer." This payment, Apple says, "would likely be the largest of its kind ever made."
It's not clear how many of those 20,000 new employees will be housed in the new campus.
Until we learn more, I suppose the big question is whether the new campus will look as cool as the new "spaceship" campus Apple recently spent $5 billion building in Cupertino, California.
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Love it or loathe it, events and conferences are often where wheelers and dealers in the world of technology meet to decide on the future of the industry.
Ironically, technology itself has accelerate the demise of some massive tech events (like Comdex) but the remaining ones are more focused, alive and bustling than ever before.
January 24th-27th, London
Bett is the first industry show of the year in the education technology landscape, bringing together the global education community to celebrate, find inspiration and discuss the future of education, as well as the role technology and innovation plays in enabling all educators and learners to thrive.
Why attend? Over 850 leading companies, 103 exciting new edtech start ups and over 34,700 attendees (131 countries represented) will all be present.
January 31st, Business Design Centre, London
The conference for business leaders, innovators and governments developing a brighter digital future in our rapidly changing world - this event aims to provide deep insights into today’s cutting edge tech trends (particularly AI, IoT and cyber security) impacting business and society over the next few years through a series of expert keynotes and interactive panel discussions.
Why attend? Hear from experts on how tech such as AI, IoT, TVWS and much more will transform lives sooner than you think.
February 3rd-7th, San Francisco
DeveloperWeek, the world’s largest DevTech innovation festival, will be returning to the San Francisco Bay area February 3-8, 2018 for its 7th annual gathering of 8,000+ developers and dev execs from around the world.
February 26th - March 1st, Barcelona
The world's biggest mobile trade show marks another year in Barcelona with a stellar line-up of speakers and exhibitors.
Why attend? Over 2,300 exhibitors will gather in Barcelona to showcase the newest technologies and most innovative products available. Take your place among the companies that are shaping the connected future.
February 27th-28th, London QE2 Conference Centre
CyberThreat 2018 is a new event hosted by SANS Institute and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), designed to bring together the UK and Europe's technical cyber security community. Focused on practitioners and spanning the full breadth of cyber defence and incident response disciplines, the event encourages sharing of bleeding edge techniques, case studies from the field and new tools.
Why attend? In addition to talks from world-renowned cyber security practitioners, and rising industry stars, CyberThreat 2018 also features plenty of hands-on opportunities for delegates in the form of capture the flag events, team problem solving and hackathons against some of the latest devices and products.
March 6th-8th, Sonoma Valley, California
Open Source Leadership Summit is coming to Sonoma Valley, March 6-8, 2018. Where open source leaders convene to drive digital transformation and learn how to collaboratively manage the largest shared technology investment of our time.
Why attend? The Linux Foundation Open Source Leadership Summit is the premier forum where these leaders convene to drive digital transformation with open source technologies and learn how to collaboratively manage the largest shared technology investment of our time.
March 12th-14th, Portland
The Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) is the premier vendor-neutral technical conference for companies and developers using Linux in embedded products. For the past 13 years, ELC has had the largest collection of sessions dedicated exclusively to embedded Linux and embedded Linux developers.
Why attend? OpenIoT Summit delivers the technical knowledge you need to deliver smart connected products and solutions that take advantage of the rapid evolution of IoT technologies. It is the only IoT event focused on the development of open IoT solutions.
March 18th-20th, London Guildhall
FinTech is taking over London in 2018 as the Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) convenes for two days on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th of March, at the Guildhall and across the City’s Square Mile.
Why attend? Taking inspiration from the expansion of FinTech globally, the summit will welcome the world's leading lights, from innovators, institutions and investors to policy makers, regulators and international trade bodies.
March 20th-24th, Sweden
This conference will bring the latest developments in crowdsourcing to centre stage, focusing around trending topics such as Finance, ICO’s & Green Bonds, Energy & Sustainability, Innovation & CrowdGaming, and Agriculture & Farming in the Sharing Economy.
Why attend? European and other international business leaders and changemakers will gather in Luleå & Vuollerim during the 5-day conference to share how crowdsourcing is shaping their industries and is transforming organisations today
March 21st-22nd, San Francisco
Join 800+ tech leaders and professionals from the biggest names and hottest startups to learn from industry pioneers and boost your skills! Speakers include Arianna Huffington, Estée Lauder, Amazon, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Google, Sony Playstation, Facebook & many more!
Why attend? Be inspired by industry leaders, join a vibrant and talented community, grow your professional and personal skills.
March 20th-24th, Hannover, Germany
CeBIT is THE platform for experts and top decision-makers from all areas of digital business along the B2B value chain. The global market is present here – make sure you are, too! CeBIT is one of the world’s most important investment platforms for digital business processes. No other place can boast as many IT decision-makers and managers at the same time – or with such a strong focus on SMEs.
Why attend? The largest event for IT Decision Makers
March 26th-29th, Los Angeles
ONS brings together business and technical leaders across enterprise, cloud and service providers to share learnings, highlight innovation and discuss the future of open networking and orchestration.
Why attend? ONS is the best forum for companies to strengthen their brand, establish thought leadership, connect with both end customers and partners, showcase innovative products and drive the transformation in the emerging open source networking industry.
May 22nd-23rd, Gdansk, Poland
infoShare is where you can share your story and make your ideas happen. Here you will find knowledge and inspiration, form meaningful relations and create a truly innovative technological society.
Why attend? The biggest technology conference in central eastern Europe brings together thought leaders in the IT industry with a packed programme of speakers and sessions.
May 24th, London
Join the UK’s very first conference to have a holistic discussion about how we can increase diversity and equal opportunity in the fastest growing sector of our economy. Take a deep dive into the fundamentals of attracting, hiring, developing and retaining diverse talent.
Why attend? Be part of the global movement committed to changing the diversity landscape in tech and make sure that you are reaping the rewards of advancing inclusion and driving workforce evolution.
June 12th-14th, London
Now in its 3rd year, The AI Summit is the world’s first and largest conference & exhibition to look at the practical implications of AI for enterprise organisations, the actual solutions that are transforming business productivity. The AI Summit aims to help the business leader, data scientist, engineer successful implementing their AI projects.
Why attend? Join 10,000+ visitors, 3000+ delegates, 300+ speakers at The AI Summit London and secure your place at the front-end of the 4th Industrial Revolution
June 20th-22nd, Tokyo
Automotive Linux Summit connects the developer community driving the innovation in automotive Linux together with the vendors and users providing and using the code in order to drive the future of embedded devices in the automotive arena.
Why attend? The leading conference for technologists and open source industry leaders to collaborate and share information, learn about the latest in open source technologies and find out how to gain a competitive advantage by using innovative open solutions.
June 26th-27th, London
Join 3000 tech leaders and professionals at the UK’s vibrant centrepiece for women in tech. Speakers include Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho CBE, Baroness Joanna Shields, Microsoft, Monzo Bank, Facebook, GoCompare.com, eBay & many more!
Why attend? Hear from the best speakers in the industry, enhance your entire skills portfolio and celebrate gender diversity in the world’s fastest growing industry.
June 26th-28th, Beijing
At LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen, attendees will collaborate, share information and learn about the newest and most interesting open source technologies, including Linux, containers, cloud technologies, networking, microservices and more; in addition to gaining insight into how to navigate and lead in the open source community.
Why attend? Three conferences in one, this event is a technical conference for developers, operations experts (architects, sys admins, devops), business, compliance and legal leadership and other professionals to come together in an informal setting to learn from open source experts, have fascinating discussions, collaborate with peers, and gain a competitive advantage with innovative open solutions.
August 29th-31st, Vancouver
Open Source Summit is the premier open source technical conference in North America, gathering 2,000+ developers, operators and community leadership professionals to collaborate, share information and learn about the latest in open technologies, including Linux, containers, cloud computing and more.
Why attend? Four events in one, Open Source Summit is a technical conference where 2,000+ developers, operators, and community leadership professionals convene to collaborate, share information and learn about the latest in open technologies, including Linux, containers, cloud computing and more.
September 25-27th, Amsterdam
ONS Europe brings together business and technical leaders across enterprise, cloud and service providers to share learnings, highlight innovation and discuss the future of open networking and orchestration.
Why attend? ONS is the largest and most inclusive Open Networking & Orchestration event in the world, bigger and better than ever before.
October 22nd-24th, Edinburgh
Open Source Summit is the premier open source technical conference in Europe, gathering 2,000+ developers, operators and community leadership professionals to collaborate, share information and learn about the latest in open technologies, including Linux, containers, cloud computing and more.
Why attend? Four events in one, Open Source Summit is a technical conference where 2,000+ developers, operators, and community leadership professionals convene to collaborate, share information and learn about the latest in open technologies, including Linux, containers, cloud computing and more.
January 8th- 11th 2019, Las Vegas, USA
For 50 years, CES has been the launch pad for new innovation and technology that has changed the world. Held in Las Vegas every year, it is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies and where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.
Why attend? More than 3800 of the biggest tech firms exhibiting.
The blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) which is currently dominating the headlines, due to its meteoric rise over the past month, and the equally massive plunge it has taken this week. Bitcoin is nothing but volatile.
Blockchain tech, on the other hand, is a transparent, distributed digital ledger, that is inherently secure. It has the promise to revolutionize many diverse sectors, including musical digital rights management, secure digital voting, storage of healthcare records, and digital ‘smart’ legal contracts – to name but a few applications. The blockchain is frequently referred to as a disruptive invention, even compared to the very invention of the internet itself.
While blockchain technology offers many advantages, including a high level of security against fraud, and potentially cost-effective transactions, it may not become a storming success and sweep the world off its feet as soon as you might think. As with most fresh technological innovations, it faces an uphill battle towards adoption.
Here are some of the current obstacles that are ‘blocking the blockchain’, as it were.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining are highly dependent on GPUs and ASIC miners for profitability. Anyone who has built a computer is aware that GPUs require a robust power supply to function, with a greater amount of power on tap being ideal for stability.
Also note that the security of the Bitcoin blockchain is obviously critical, and must mean that any effort to defraud the system isn’t worth the while, as that effort would be better directed at simply mining the next Bitcoin, as this would be more profitable.
Now, as of December 6, 2017, the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining reached 32.36 Terawatt-hours per year, which is a ridiculous amount of power, and is actually higher than the energy usage of 159 individual countries according to one estimate.
With all this in mind, maintaining data in a blockchain – and keeping it intact and free of fraud – is an inherently energy-inefficient process. In the current era of 6W processors for laptops, deep sleep states for electronics, and solar panels, all aimed at greater energy efficiency and independence, the high energy consumption of blockchain technology and virtual currency mining flies in the face of this.
Generally speaking, the internet is fairly efficient when it comes to the transmission of data. The user requests information, and the server transmits back the piece of data requested with only a small amount of additional data required to get it there.
However, the blockchain, in order for it to be preserved, as well as to prevent hacking, needs multiple copies distributed across many nodes. And the blockchain then requires a large amount of storage – for example, Bitcoin’s blockchain was nearly 150GB in size as of last month, and it’s getting bigger all the time.
Furthermore, transmitting so much data for the blockchain each time also consumes additional electricity, making the blockchain quite inefficient. In a time where efforts are being made to compress video further to decrease the data required for a download, blockchain’s bulkiness makes little sense.
While blockchain technology may ultimately work for some sectors, its wider adoption may be a sluggish process, particularly when it comes to industries which are notably set in their ways.
Some sectors – like legal and healthcare – have only just started to move away from paper records, and in some cases still maintain them as backups. They are unlikely to jump to a cutting-edge solution such as the blockchain overnight.
The technology will need to clearly demonstrate advantages and gain a proven track record before this happens, and that could potentially take decades. After all, remember that stock markets held onto their old ticker tapes in the 1970s, after using them from 1867, and the last telegram in the world was sent in 2013.
Bitcoin was developed to be a decentralized cryptocurrency that allows for peer-to-peer transactions. However, this can be a disadvantage, such as when governments cannot track funds easily, and risk losing on the tax side of the equation (which may, potentially, mean that the average taxpayer ends up paying more). It also makes things more challenging when users experience fraud, and recovering funds can be difficult.
Some tout Bitcoin as the future of currency, and the promise is that peer-to-peer transactions can happen in a fast and cost-efficient manner that can compete with traditional credit cards.
However, Bitcoin transactions are painfully slow, with transactions occurring at the glacial pace (at least in the world of finance) of multiple hours for each transaction in some cases. One of the current reasons for this bottleneck is that each transaction has to be confirmed by six miners.
Obviously enough, this process needs to be sped up significantly for Bitcoin to realistically become a true rival to established methods of buying goods.
Many of the advantages of the blockchain come from its public use – anyone can download the entire blockchain, and mine for additional currency, which democratizes this process.
It also keeps it immune from hackers – with such a large legitimate group dedicated to mining, any fraud attempts would effectively have to ‘out-mine’ the miners, a process that would take a colossal amount of computing power for a popular cryptocurrency. This type of blockchain is known as a public blockchain.
So what about a private blockchain? Well, the same blockchain tech can be applied as a storage medium, and if a company doesn’t want anyone to download the entire blockchain – and no one is going to mine it – then this is kept as a private blockchain. It is also held in a handful of private nodes, rather than distributed across thousands of public nodes as is the case for a public blockchain.
With a private blockchain, while it is more carefully controlled, and far less likely to be hijacked or hacked, it also flies in the face of the whole fundamental idea of this technology – losing the advantages of transparency and wider distribution that make the blockchain tech intriguing in the first place.
Our list of the best printers for home and office use has been refined and updated, giving you the top advice for buying the best printer for your needs.
There are so many decent multi-purpose printers at very competitive prices these days, so you're spoilt for choice when looking for a new printer. Some will even offer cashback incentives when you buy them, so it's worth keeping an eye out for those offers. To make things even easier, our list of the best printers cuts through the jargon to make buying your new printer as simple as possible.
We've also split this list into the best inkjet printers and the best laser printers, and we include standard printers as well as multi-function ones. No matter what type of printer you're after, we have one for you, and our price comparison tool makes sure you get the best deals on the printer of your choice as well.
The Deskjet 3630 is a decent printer for the price, offering reasonable print speeds and the ability to connect to mobile devices without breaking the bank. Just be wary as its ink cartridges can be priced when picked up from shops. It doesn't quite have the build quality of HP's more expensive Envy models, but if you're looking for an initially cheap model that catches the eye when sat on a shelf, the Deskjet 3630 is a great option.
Read the full review: HP Deskjet 3630
The WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is a solid printer for small businesses and workgroups given its fast print speeds, solid print qualities and remote printing and scanning capabilities. Using the larger XL print cartridges, the WF-4630 delivers economical print costs that rival laser printers.
Read the full review: Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630
Great for the traveling professional or someone who needs a small printer for occasional use, printing photos or using the scanner function. It's a bit pricey to buy - and to run - but the flexibility and quality of the printouts is excellent.
Consumables are usually expensive when it comes to printers. So it is quite surprising that one vendor, Epson, single-handedly decided to challenge that status quo by allowing users to refill their printer using ink bottles. What's even more surprising is that Epson includes two years of ink with the package; no more expensive cartridges and instead, you have enough material to deliver 11,000 pages worth of black and colour inks (that's 700ml worth of liquid). Oh and there's even a three-year warranty making this a great choice for bean counters fixing the TCO of their printers. The ET-4550 lacks the features found on cheaper competitors – it is relatively slower (although it has a higher printing resolution) and has a small paper input tray.
If you're looking for a great all-round printer which doesn't skimp on print quality for your photographs, then we don't think you will be disappointed by what the PIXMA TS9150, Canon's flagship printer, has to offer.
While it's certainly more expensive than some of the cheap two in one printers you can pick up, it's not a bad price for something which produces high quality prints, especially if you only need to print at A4 or below.
Best of all, the print quality here is stunning, and it also has an attractive design. While the looks of your printer may not seem that important, it does mean you don't feel the need to try and hide it away out of sight if you're using it at home.
This temptingly priced printer offers 28ppm printing at up to 4,800 x 600 dpi (effective, rather than optical, resolution). With wired (Ethernet/USB) and wireless (Wi-Fi/NFC) connectivity, duplex printing, decent eco settings and support for a wide range of media, the Samsung is an excellent all-rounder, although the multi-purpose tray can only handle one sheet of media at a time. The main cassette has a more useful capacity of 250 sheets.
The M2070W delivers a lot of bang for your business buck – there's NFC printing from compatible smartphones, online document sharing, and a clever Eco system that supplements the usual toner saving mode with a feature to remove images from documents by replacing bitmaps with sketches.
Factor in claimed speeds of 20ppm, a clever scan to mobile feature and an effective print resolution of up to 1200dpi and you've got a multifunction printer that's well worth considering.
The DCP-9020CDW is a baby Brother – it's an entry-level all-in-one aimed at small offices, and with claimed speeds of 18ppm and a resolution of up to 2,400 dpi (effective) it has a decent spec for the price. It can upload to cloud services such as Dropbox and OneNote, it's wireless with WPS authentication and wireless direct printing, and its running costs are competitive. It also offers automatic duplex printing and its colour screen makes it easy to install and operate. This device is a solid all-rounder for PCs and mobile devices alike.
This is a colour laser printer, plain and simple. It has a relatively small footprint on the desk thanks to a surprisingly compact design. The printer is fitted with a 150-sheet main paper tray and a 100-sheet output tray, with an integrated drum/fuser unit and manual duplexing capabilities. Controls are adequate, with a two-line LCD display and a number of buttons for basic menu navigation. The C1760NW also offers an Ethernet connector, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port; although there is no USB host connectivity. The printer is aimed at office or small workgroups and has a high-rated speed of 15ppm for black and colour. This is a good workhorse for everyday printing, where colour isn't a major part of the mix.
At the time of writing (January 2016), this Brother was Amazon's best-selling laser, and with good reason – for very little cash you're getting a superb wireless colour laser. However, at this price don't expect rock-bottom running costs – it's a printer for livening up documents with the occasional flash of colour, not constant photo printing.
It doesn't have automatic duplexing or an Ethernet port, but the HL-3140CW delivers superb print quality, reasonable mono running costs and good wireless features for a very low price.
Microsoft has applied to patent a mind-controlled interface, so you may soon be able to open and control an app just by thinking about it.
The patent called 'Changing an application state using neurological data' was published last week and describes a device that can read human brain waves via electroencephalography (EEG), a technique often used in a clinical setting that involves placing electrodes along a user’s head. The data collected would then be used to launch and control an application.
It noted the tech could be used in 3D modelling software, word processors, video games, virtual reality and augmented reality simulators and much more. The same team also recently filed a related patent for a motion controller powered by the brain, too.
The team behind these futuristic patents includes Kazuhito Koishida, the principal lead scientist at the Applied Science Group in the Windows Division, Cem Keski who has been working on hand gesture controls and Professor Jaeyoun Kim, who has developed an artificial eye.
The patent follows Facebook’s ambitious plans to integrate similar brain-reading tech into its products, which would allow users to control interfaces and even transcribe thoughts using the same kind of neurological data.
Microsoft and Facebook aren’t the only big companies interested in the future of brain-reading tech. At CES 2018, Nissan unveiled its “brain-to-vehicle” (B2V) technology, which uses a similar electroencephalography (EEG) headset to read your brain’s responses to events so you can respond to dangerous situations on the road more quickly.
Although it’s still early days for brain wave reading to be integrated into the interfaces we interact with regularly, these recent developments signal a big interest in the future of mind-controlled tech and could hint at products that may be coming in the not-so-distant future.
Cryptocurrency, once strictly the domain of techies, has grabbed mainstream attention due to the skyrocketing values of the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum, two of the more popular virtual currencies.
At the heart of these digital currencies is the technology of the blockchain, which dates back to 2008. This is distributed ledger tech that provides a decentralized and transparent method for transactions, while maintaining a high level of security.
To date, the most successful application of the blockchain has been in cryptocurrency. However, this same technology will certainly make itself felt across a variety of other sectors – which should brace themselves for the impending disruption. In this article, we’re highlighting 10 such arenas that will certainly feel the impact of the blockchain…
A limitation to modern elections is that they require the voter to be physically present at the polling booth to cast their vote, which can often make things awkward in terms of finding the time to travel – and makes little sense in our mobile, connected society. Another bone of contention is the possibility of voter fraud, with losing candidates potentially engaging in legal battles which can delay the result, and even cost the taxpayer when it comes to conducting a recount.
The application of blockchain technology could eliminate voter fraud, providing a clear record of the votes cast, and preventing any chance of a rigged election. Furthermore, this could all be done on a mobile platform, allowing busy individuals the opportunity to cast their vote without going to a polling station. Follow My Vote promises an ‘online voting solution for the modern age’ via blockchain technology.
While healthcare has mostly moved on from paper-based records, it’s still an industry which is ripe for modernization via the blockchain. Current challenges in this sector include keeping patient records private from hackers, while allowing authorized access by providers.
Applying blockchain technology to healthcare records promises improved data security, with better access for healthcare professionals and patients alike, and greater transparency for healthcare transactions. Gem has partnered with healthcare tech firm Philips in this space.
Photographers can face challenges when it comes to getting paid royalties for their snaps, especially in our digital world where image theft is often just a click away.
With that in mind, at the recent CES show in Las Vegas, Kodak revealed its new digital currency, KODAKCoin, which is backed by a blockchain ledger and image rights platform called KODAKOne. Kodak hopes that the new virtual currency will help protect digital image rights for photographers, allowing them to securely register their work.
The IoT promises an ever-growing number of online devices to monitor and contribute to our connected lifestyle. But a significant barrier to the adoption of various smart gadgets is the walled ecosystems which some manufacturers insist upon, locking out devices from other vendors, and generally making things harder for the consumer looking to use a variety of different bits of hardware.
In 2015, IBM and Samsung showed off an application of the blockchain known as ADEPT (Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry), which is designed to decentralize the IoT, and allow devices to communicate directly, without a manufacturer’s hub getting in the way and trying to lock users into a particular ecosystem.
Storing data in the cloud has become an increasingly popular and convenient practice, although it still has potential problems – like downtime and losing access to your data temporarily, or more seriously, the cloud service being hacked.
Storj is a company that’s using the blockchain for open source cloud storage. Users are connected via blockchain and peer-to-peer technology, with a distributed network to store their data on. Folks with spare storage can also rent it out for income via the Storj app, as the storage space is crowd-sourced.
Our governments are entrusted to store a wide variety of information about individual citizens, including a lot of sensitive material such as financial data on tax returns or property records. Much of this information still exists only in paper form, or in siloed databases, and managing this data can be complicated, as it must be available, without error, and protected from hacking and manipulation.
The use of the blockchain represents an innovative solution to encode this data in a digital ledger, keeping the info safe from being altered. In the US, Delaware-based Ubitquity has the first blockchain-based system (currently in alpha) for property record management including titles, which is in testing overseas at the Land Records Bureau in Brazil.
Financial institutions continue to face challenges with identity theft, cost efficiency of transactions, and just general security. The blockchain will certainly digitally disrupt this industry, and holds the potential key to faster transactions, at less cost, and with a higher degree of security. IBM has partnered with Axoni and R3 to develop and deploy distributed ledger technology to the financial industry.
Leasing a car can end up being a protracted process, with multiple parties involved in the transaction, all needing to verify information before the car rolls off the lot. DocuSign, which specializes in secure digital documents, has partnered with credit card giant Visa to apply blockchain technology to Smart Contracts that promise a streamlined ‘click, sign and drive’ approach to securely leasing a vehicle. Now if only they could reduce the price of those floor mats...
Soon after music went digital with MP3 files, music piracy was close behind, with artists losing control of their work, and record companies unhappy over the lost revenue stream.
The entertainment industry is looking to blockchain technology to secure digital rights for music and other media, with the potential to recapture that income. The British company JAAK has grabbed attention with its effort to create Smart Content with a “global view of content ownership and rights”.
When companies hire an individual for a job, they want to get the best qualified person with the most appropriate experience levels. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to discern the truth behind the average resume or CV, as more than half of folks reportedly lie on their job applications – and indeed one study showed that a quarter of applicants said they’d worked for companies which in fact had never employed them.
This problem also arises at universities that need to verify the credentials of their faculty, and at hospitals that face a similar challenge when it comes to staff physicians and other healthcare professionals.
The Learning Machine is a company that hopes to change this. By applying blockchain technology, worker and professional credentials can be verified and kept in a secure digital ledger, which cannot be altered down the road to fit another position the applicant is subsequently interested in. The firm promises inherent fraud protection which could make choosing the right person for a job a good deal easier.
Amazon's much-hyped Great Indian Sale is all set to hit your apps and computers in 21 January. On this edition of the sale, much like the older ones, Amazon will have offers on a range of smartphones, laptops, TVs and other electronics.
In addition to this, Amazon Prime subscribers will also get an exclusive 12-hour early access to the sale starting at 12PM on 20 January 20.
Other offers include no-cost EMI, exchange offers and cashback on HDFC Bank’s debit and credit cards etc.
Amazon has revealed that it will offer discounts up to 40% on mobiles phones in the upcoming Great Indian Sale. These discounts and cashback offers will be available across a range of smartphones from all the popular brands, including Amazon-exclusive devices.
According to a teaser, customers can expect discounts on Moto G5s Plus, 10.or G, Honor 6X, Google Pixel XL, LG Q6, BlackBerry KeyOne and more.
In addition to discounts on mobile phones, Amazon will also be offering discounts up to 80% on cases, 60% on Bluetooth headsets and up to 65% on power banks.
Besides some great deals on mobiles, Amazon’s Great Indian Sale will also bring attractive offers on laptops, TVs and other electronics. According to a sneak peak, customers can expect discounts of up to Rs 20,000 on laptops, up to 50% on storage devices (pen drives, hard disks, memory cards etc), up to 60% off on Wi-Fi routers, up to 40% off on TVs and more.
Some popular devices that will be available at discounted prices include Lenovo and HP laptops, Western Digital My Passport 1TB hard disk, TP-Link routers, Samsung and TCL TVs and more.
Discounts on Amazon devices
Amazon will also be providing discounts of up to Rs. 2,500 on its Kindle e-readers and Fire TV. Users can also buy Amazon gift cards at a 10 percent discount, with Amazon Prime subscribers also eligible for an additional cashback of up to Rs. 300.