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Whether you’re a business owner trying to make your enterprise more profitable, a marketer trying to make your life easier, or just a consumer eager for the latest and greatest technology, it’s hard not to be excited about the new tech trends that are shaping our world.

Over the course of the past year, I’ve made a number of predictions about how technology would develop throughout 2016, and while many of my forecasts came true (more or less), there have also been some surprising developments in new areas that are worth our attention.

These are some of the most important and defining tech trends of 2016:

1. Streaming video.

Chances are, you’ve seen at least one of your friends or a major brand you follow stream a live video for their audience over the past year. That’s because streaming video is becoming more practical, more popular, and in heavier demand. Streaming video is interesting to users because it gives them an “in the moment experience,” being able to see through someone else’s eyes rather than just seeing a retrospective update. Because it’s been nearly perfected by brands like Facebook, it’s easier than ever for anyone to live-stream a broadcast at any time. Expect this trend to develop further with products like iGlass and Snap’s Spectacles.

2. Augmented and virtual reality.

AR and VR are already seemingly starting to become overused terms, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them on this list. Oculus Rift exploded onto the scene this year, along with dozens of competing devices and systems. Sales figures suggest that this is more than just a passing trend, and the hype wasn’t overblown (exactly). Plus, augmented reality app Pokémon Go crushed expectations with over 100 million downloads, ushering in what could be a new era for augmented reality gaming—and some marketing and advertising opportunities that go along with it.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have begun to creep into our lives in more diverse and unexpected ways. Just at a glance, AI algorithms are starting to self-improve search rankings and search results, automated investing, and personal digital assistants. So far, there have yet to be any major roadblocks—instead, we’re seeing major breakthroughs, such as AlphaGo beating a human Go master for the first time in history. We’re getting better at making our machines better, and in the next few years, we may start inching closer to approaching human-level intelligence with these systems.

4. Data visualization.

For a few years, every kind of “tech trends” post you could imagine mentioned “big data,” at least in passing. Today, big data is still around and still influential, but people aren’t referring to it in such generic terms anymore; instead, they’re focusing on its applications. One of the most important pieces to the big data puzzle is being able to interpret and manage the data accurately, and draw meaningful conclusions from what you’ve gathered; and that’s where data visualization comes in. Thousands of companies have sprung up to aggregate, project, visualize, and interpret data on behalf of non-professional data analysts, and to make “big data” more practical for the business world.

5. The open enterprise.

The “open enterprise” is a loose term that defines the tendency for different companies and applications to offer themselves through other apps, websites, and device functions. For example, you can order an Uber directly through Google, and Starbucks having plans to expand its mobile ordering app so consumers can order coffee while doing other things on their devices. This is becoming important because the “mobile experience” is becoming fluid, comprising elements of web surfing, information retrieval, and the use of functionality all at once. Being available to your customers no matter what app they’re using is a critical way to build awareness and encourage more engagements.

6. Blockchain and crypto-tech.

If you know the term “Blockchain,” it’s probably because of its association with BitCoin—or because it’s become a hot new tech fad that only keeps growing. Blockchain is a specialized way of sending, receiving, and processing information, which made it the ideal way to track the “ crypto currency ” of BitCoin. Now, Blockchain tech is being used in the healthcare and insurance industriesand is currently being explored by other developers. There’s a ton of potential for higher security and smoother consumer transactions here, and we’ll see those paths unfold into 2017 and beyond.

7. IoT streamlining.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart home technology have failed to “take off” for several years; despite lots of smart devices on the market, the diversity of different companies offering solutions and the lack of a singular, unified “language” has made it difficult to create full internal networks. Now, companies like Google (with Home) and Amazon (with Echo) are trying to streamline IoT, making devices revolve around centralized hubs. The problem of unification in IoT may soon come to a close.

 

The success and impact of these tech trends in 2016 means that more companies, entrepreneurs, and developers will be focusing their efforts in these areas in 2017 and beyond. The potential is overwhelming, and I, for one, and thrilled to see how these and yet-unpredictable technologies develop in the next few years, and how they affect entrepreneurs and startups. I’ll be writing about them as they develop, so keep your eyes peeled for new updates.

Author:  Jayson DeMers

Source:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/12/15/the-top-7-technology-trends-that-dominated-2016/#72e2b0f71ef0

Categorized in Science & Tech

With trends like ride sharing, autonomous vehicles, and the connected car, the auto industry is increasingly in the spotlight. As drivers contemplate letting computers take over control of the wheel for them, it brings up some important questions. What will cars of the future look like? What things will drivers be able to accomplish on their rides to work? And most importantly, what cool features will they be able to enjoy now that their attention doesn’t have to be on the road?

1. No parking skills? No need to fret

Parking sucks, especially the dreaded parallel. It’s often tricky in congested areas, it sometimes leads to smashed alloy wheels and it’s deeply embarrassing when not done correctly, which is why most are happy to hand over valet duties to a robot. Ford, Renault and many premium brands already own a system that will hunt down parallel and reverse parking spots and then use sensors and cameras to correctly steer the vehicle into the space, only calling upon a human for throttle inputs.

But things are about to get a whole lot easier, as BMW and Mercedes-Benz now boast tech that simply requires a prod of a smartphone for perfect parking results. BMW’s Remote Control Parking is already on the 7 Series  —  and due to be rolled out on more models next year — and sees the car autonomously reverse into and pull out of spaces, while Mercedes’ Remote Parking Pilot does a similar thing but also caters for perpendicular parking. The latter will appear on the new E-Class, which is due out late this year or early 2017.

 

2. Connected from the road to the kitchen

When your car knows to open the garage door and turn the AC on as you head down the road, you know you’ve hit peak connectivity. The ease of access for drivers as cars become a tool to become your personal assistant is rapidly advancing. The latest multimedia systems allow for emails to be read and sent, hands-free calls to be made and Twitter to be updated on the move by some of the largest car manufacturers like Nissan. Some even know to power themselves!

The cars of the future will be an extension of your home. As the auto industry combines to meld with the IoT revolution, we’ll see connectivity that we’ve never had before. Wouldn’t it be great to record your favorite television show when you’re running late by communicating with your vehicle? The cars of the future and you will end up being quite the team. Can’t wait or don’t want to buy a new car? Adapters from companies like Autobrain, Automatic and Vinli will turn your car (as long as it’s built after 1996) into the 4G connected, Wi-Fi enabled, connected car of the future.

3. A mobile living room

When car owners are no longer required to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel because computers are in the driver’s seat, the journey will be just as important as the destination. To the discerning 21 century mediaphile, this means HD screens, on-demand content streaming and one-kick ass, next-generation audio system to experience it with, just like one might in their living room but with the bonus of a smaller space and killer surround sound. Companies such as Auro-3D have partnered with companies like Porsche to introduce three-dimensional spatial sound patterns that replicate real-life sound experiences that are reminiscent of the best concert halls, but all in the comfort of your own car. This set up delivers the best-possible music playback to make every trip a new driving experience, not just a ride.

4. Goodbye dials, hello gestures

Why touch, when you can wave? Rear-view mirrors, radios, and more are moving away from the antiquated dial system to understand hand gestures through infrared cameras. Touch screens are increasingly becoming the easiest way to communicate with your vehicle over fumbling with dial switches. But the cars of the futures don’t want to have you even deal with potential smudges to that chrome finish. Thanks to leadership from Audi and Volvo, in efforts to de-clutter the dashboard to make you safer and more efficient, we’re going to see even touch screens get the boot as swipes and gestures will be the simplest and safest way to control functionality. Wave goodbye to those dials.

 

5. Never lose your keys again

We’ve seen in recent years the shift from key to keyless entry but next-generation cars take this one step further by completely removing them altogether. In the future, drivers will be able to unlock and start their cars using a fingerprint, retina scan or voice activation—similarly to how we access our smartphones today. And with how much time drivers save by not tearing the house apart looking for lost keys, they might be able to finish that book or learn a new language—or not. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about your teenager taking your car out without permission ever again. “Open the driver door, Tesla!” “I’m sorry Dave, I can’t do that.”

With all the cool new car technology on the horizon, it’s enough to make anyone want to give up public transit to commute in bumper-to-bumper traffic to catch up on shows, listen to the hottest new album release or just hang out with friends.

Author:  SPENCER MACDONALD

Source:  http://readwrite.com/2016/12/13/5-futuristic-car-technologies-that-are-available-now-or-heading-your-way-tl1

Categorized in Science & Tech

Facebook has risen to the top spot among tech companies on the annual Glassdoor Best Places to Work U.S. rankings.

That seems fitting for the company in a year when it is taking on Slack, Microsoft-owned Yammer, and other workplace collaboration platforms with its own Facebook Workplace.

Facebook’s Head of People, Lori Matloff Goler, told TechCrunch that the social media giant focuses on being a “strengths-based organization” and wants to be known as an employer that “takes good care of its people overall.”

She said, “Most employees speak favorably about their ability to have a real impact here. Many talk about the flexibility in the way we work.

Your manager is there to care for you, set context and help you play to your strengths, give you feedback and goals, but let you do whatever you need to get there. It’s not about how much time you spend in the office.

This is great for families but was inspired by engineers who, as you know, like to or need to work at different hours and are not seated at their desks all the time.”

Facebook also offers a very attractive parental leave package, she noted.

Glassdoor compiles compensation data, reviews and ratings by employees about the companies where they work. It makes money through paid job listings, recruiting and employer branding services. Its data sample comes from employees who self-select to offer information there.

 

Last year’s top-ranked tech venture, Airbnb, plummeted 34 spots in Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2017.

According to Glassdoor Community Expert, Scott Dobroski, that was largely due to written reviews from employees who said there has been an increasing amount of bureaucracy and decreasing amount of transparency from senior leaders in the company as it has grown.

The sharing economy’s top lodgings business still attained an overall 4.2 rating, out of 5 possible, from employees and did make the list of Best Places to Work U.S.

He also said Facebook made the list for the seventh time and topped the tech category because employees raved about their employer, overall, especially around compensation and benefits and perks that make day to day life easier like free meals or transportation.

When it comes to Facebook’s areas for improvement, Glassdoor data suggests the company could afford its people greater work-life balance. On a scale from one to five, Facebook employees rated work-life balance at their company around 3.8 compared to Google’s 4.1 rating in the category.

Google got slightly lower marks than Facebook on compensation and benefits with a rating of 4.4.

Other areas where employees were asked to score their companies included: career opportunities, culture and values, senior leadership, how strongly they’d recommend their employer to a friend, and the business outlook for their employer.

Whether Facebook can stay atop the list, or perhaps even top it overall and not just among tech employers remains to be seen.

 

The future of human resources at Facebook will be about “personalization,” Goler said.

“Students in middle and high school right now have grown up on shared platforms where they can customize their feeds, whether that’s on Instagram, or Facebook…They’ll enter the work world thinking it should feel similar to those consumer products.”

In total, 20 tech companies made the Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2017 list for the U.S.

Here they are, with their rankings and overall company score, as provided by Dobroski:

Facebook (#2, 4.5)
Google (#4, 4.4)
World Wide Technology (#5, 4.4)
Fast Enterprises (#6, 4.4)
LinkedIn (#8, 4.4)
Adobe (#9, 4.3)
Paylocity (#14, 4.3)
SAP (#15, 4.3)
MathWorks (#16, 4.3)
Salesforce (#17, 4.3)
Intuit (#20, 4.3)
Docusign (#23, 4.3)
Concur (#24, 4.3)
Akamai (#25, 4.3)
Zillow (#29, 4.2)
NVIDIA (#30, 4.2)
Airbnb (#35, 4.2)
Apple (#36, 4.2)
Microsoft (#37, 4.2)
Texas Instruments (#42, 4.2)

Author:  Lora Kolodny

Source:  https://techcrunch.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

The tech revolution, as commonplace as it may seem nowadays, continues to barrel forward, and 2017 will see some of the most innovative and evolutionary disruptions we have seen thus far. There will be more connection, more automation, and more significant impact in business and investment than ever before, and the revolution has just begun.

The innovations coming to fruit in 2017 are poised to redefine business and connection as we know it. From banking to devices, 2017 holds many a change in store — the technology of this next phase is dynamic, gigantic, and will feel like a futuristic sci-fi fantasy novel.

1 Finance will be automated.

Many financial experts are predicting that automated banks are the next big disruptor for the banking sector. According to a recent study by Citigroup, automated banking could replace 30% of bank jobs over the next decade. Financial advisors and analysts are due to be quickly replaced by robo-advisors that render them moot — with big data in the wings, robo-advisors have the data needed to make split-second, uber-informed decisions. The payments and mobile banking industries are riding high, as well: fintech startups raised over $22.3 billion in funding in 2015, up 75% from 2014. This trend will speed up in 2017.

 

2 Big data will get even bigger.

Big data will be a necessary asset for companies in all sectors, From trucking to data entry, big data algorithms will change the landscape in a big way, metaphorically and literally — geographical information systems will get a major upgrade in speed and efficiency. For example, MIT and Ford Motors recently partnered to read the cellphone location data of Bostonians, producing instantaneous traffic and transportation patterns that typically take years to build. Innovation will continue with developments in big data storage, providing much needed revolutionary agility in IT. Steve Wozniak has joined big data storage company Primary Data as their Chief Scientist, so we can be sure to see some huge changes there.

3 The Internet of Everything truly begins.

The Internet of Everything in both the consumer and B2B market will continue to rise, especially in North America, connecting data, things, processes and people. Intelligent systems will grow rapidly in 2017, especially after the release of the Home app from Apple this fall. Over 100 products are already on the market that will work seamlessly with apples HomeKit, so a smart-linked home will be an affordable possibility for anyone. Security, lights, electronics, and climate can all be controlled for the first time in one app. Wearable devices will continue to climb and mesh with healthcare and big data.

 

4 Mobility will continue to dominate.

Customers are almost completely mobile — as of now, four out of five people use their phones to shop. The global workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, working from home, and tech software and communications will begin to reflect that predominantly. From mobile storage for work-from-home employees to advanced security, mobility has only begun to gain traction. Verizon is one company to watch, as they are in the process of acquiring Irish fleet and mobile workforce management company Fleetmatics, positioning the mobile company to be the largest mobile workforce management company in the world.

5 Space exploration will become increasingly affordable.

Expect in 2017 to see huge changes in the space exploration sector. Costs will go down drastically, with what would previously cost billions of dollars costing only millions. The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority recently approved private company Moon Express to launch an unmanned exploratory moon mission in 2017, and the company plans to forge ahead with commercial missions to the moon to exploit its mineral resources.

We will also see huge strides in satellite use – Planet Labs Inc. has launched a fleet of tiny shoebox-sized satellites that can transfer daily high-res earth images, providing affordable and useful information to companies interested in economically sensitive areas like farmland, oil storage tanks and parking lot usage.

 

6 Marijuana tech will thrive.

Revenues from Colorado are booming, and investors are seeing huge returns on legal medical marijuana investments from other states, so 2017 will definitely see more of that. Marijuana in 2017 will be technologically pumped up, with fully automated grow operations that are both energy efficient and green (so to speak). Perfectly calibrated lighting and high tech grow software and control systems will make growing an even more lucrative business than it already is. Though legalization has been slow to come to all of the U.S., when it does the cleanliness and energy efficiency of high tech grows will make meeting regulations for high quality, safe, clean medicinal marijuana very easy.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the innovations due to arrive in 2017, but a sneak peek into what may be most prominent on the radar next year. Ubiquitous mobile advancements, quantum computing, VR, AR, and virtual intelligence have been changing the landscape and will continue to do so next year as we move into what seems like a science fiction novel at times: a mysterious, exciting adventure.

Author:  Murray Newlands

Source:   http://www.forbes.com/

Categorized in Science & Tech

It might not be tomorrow. It might not even be five years from now. But some day, Apple’s iOS platform will support home screen widgets. Apple’s unique iOS widget implementation is thought of by some as offering the best of both worlds. Widget support is there and it’s somewhat versatile, but widgets are buried off screen, forcing users to swipe to the right on either the lock screen or the first home screen in order to access the widget pane. On one hand, this allows iOS to support widgets without causing a big drain on the battery. On the other, it means zero-touch access to information, which is arguably the best thing about mobile widgets, is not possible.

Since iOS 10 widgets are hidden off screen, many people don’t even both using the feature. But we’re here to tell you that it’s time to give widgets another shot on your iPhone — and in this post, we’ll show you 10 iOS 10 widgets that should be installed on every iPhone.

recent thread on Reddit made me realize how often I actually do use widgets. I was pretty skeptical of how useful iOS widgets would be when Apple first introduced them, considering how limited their utility was (and still is). Though they are indeed limited compared to Android widgets, iOS 10 widgets can still be incredibly useful.

Whether or not you currently use any widgets on your iPhone, you’ll find links to 10 different iOS 10 widgets that you should definitely check out below.

 

AirLaunch Pro

This is easily one of my favorite iOS 10 widgets. It allows you to create a wide range of custom actions that are all accessible with a single tap from within an AirLaunch widget. Examples of how I use the widget include accessing the iPhone’s hotspot and VPN features each with a single touch, and copying my address to the clipboard so I can quickly and easily paste it into an email or elsewhere. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg with this nifty app.

Nearby Traffic

Everyone uses the Google Maps app, but did you know there are a bunch of useful iOS 10 widgets baked in? The Nearby Traffic widget gives you instant access to information about traffic around your current location.

Nearby Transit

Another great iOS 10 widget baked into Google Maps is the Nearby Transit widget, which makes it insanely easy to find public transit nearby.

Fantastical 2

The best calendar widget in the App Store, hands down.

Copied

Copied is a great clipboard manager that saves things you copy to your clipboard so you can access more than just the last text you copied.

Workflow

Workflow is an endlessly useful automation app, and the widget is just as endlessly useful as the app itself.

 

Deliveries

This app makes it incredibly simple to track all of the packages en route to your home or office, and now you don’t even have to open the app to get updates.

Stocks Widget

This free widget lets you see what your entire portfolio is doing in near real time with a single swipe to your widget panel.

MiniStats

This nifty widget shows you information such as how much cellular data you’ve used in your current billing cycle.

Dark Sky

The best iOS weather app also packs one of the best iOS 10 weather widgets. Instead of blasting you with all kinds of weather data you don’t need, Dak Sky shows you the current weather conditions, the day’s high and low, and the likelihood of precipitation for the next hour.

BONUS

I didn’t list this among the 10 widgets above since not everyone has an August Smart Lock, but if you do have one, you absolutely must check out the widget. Instead of having to fumble with the app on your phone or your Apple Watch, the August widget lets you either lock or unlock your Smart Lock with a single tap.

Author:  Zach Epstein

Source:  http://bgr.com/

Categorized in Science & Tech

Cloud data center traffic will exceed 14 zettabytes in 2020, an increase of 262 percent from 2015, according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index (PDF). Released Thursday, the report projects total global data center traffic to reach 15.3 ZB annually by 2020, with 92 percent of all workloads being processed in the cloud by 2020.

It also forecasts the number of hyperscale data centers to rise by 226 percent from 259 at the end of 2015 to 485 by 2020.

The majority of workloads will tip over from private to public cloud this year, Cisco says, and public cloud will continue to grow by 35 percent CAGR throughout the forecast period (compared to 15 percent for private), boosted by demand for cost efficiency and agility, along with strengthening public cloud security.

SaaS workloads will grow from 65 percent of total cloud workloads in 2015 to 74 percent by 2020, while the share taken by IaaS will drop from 26 to 17 percent, and PaaS will drop from 9 to 8.  Cisco also forecasts enterprises’ share of workloads to decrease, while consumers’ share will rise, though the enterprise share will be buoyed by big data and IoT workloads. In its report last year, Cisco noted that personal cloud storage would be used by 55 percent (2 billion) of the consumer internet population by 2019.

 

While data center traffic is growing, architectural innovations like software-defined networking and network function virtualization are streamlining it, the index says, and the density of workloads per server is forecast to grow from 7.3 in 2015 to 11.9 by 2020.

“The IT industry has taken cloud computing from an emerging technology to an essential scalable and flexible networking solution. With large global cloud deployments, operators are optimizing their data center strategies to meet the growing needs of businesses and consumers,” said Doug Webster, Cisco’s vice president of service provider marketing. “We anticipate all types of data center operators continuing to invest in cloud-based innovations that streamline infrastructures and help them more profitably deliver web-based services to a wide range of end users.”

Regionally, the Middle East and Africa will lead in data center traffic growth, with a 34 percent CAGR, but will still be “only” 451 exabytes in 2020. North Amercian cloud data center traffic is expected to grow by 27 percent, from 2.2 ZB in 2015 to 7.1 ZB in 2020.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) will generate 600 ZB of data by 2020, the report says, but hardly more than 6 ZB of that will be stored.

Data center space is being snapped up worldwide, with large chunks of data center space in particularly high demand. In October AWS announced the launch of three new cloud data centers in Ohio, leaving only a couple hundred to go by 2020.

Author:  CHRIS BURT

Source:  http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/

Categorized in Science & Tech

BEIJING — China is trying to capitalize on President-elect Donald Trump's hardline immigration stance and vow to clamp down on a foreign worker visa program that has been used to recruit thousands from overseas to Silicon Valley.

Leading tech entrepreneurs, including Robin Li, the billionaire CEO of Baidu, China's largest search engine, see Trump's plans as a huge potential opportunity to lure tech talent away from the United States.

The country already offers incentives of up to $1 million as signing bonuses for those deemed "outstanding" and generous subsidies for start-ups.

Image: Robin Li

Meanwhile, the Washington Post last month reported on comments made by Steve Bannon, who is now the president-elect's chief strategist, during a radio conversation with Trump in Nov. 2015.

Bannon, the former Breitbart.com publisher, indicated that he didn't necessarily agree with the idea that foreign talent that goes to school in America should stay in America.

"When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think ...," Bannon said, trailing off. "A country is more than an economy. We're a civic society."

 

While Trump's unprecedented telephone conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday may worry leaders in Beijing, comments like Bannon's and the president-elect's campaign pledges are music to the ears of tech leaders like Li.

Image: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump tours a Carrier factory with Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies (L) in Indianapolis

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump tours a Carrier factory with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., December 1, 2016. MIKE SEGAR / Reuters

"I read that an adviser to President-elect Donald Trump openly complained that three-quarters of CEOs in Silicon Valley are Asian immigrants," the influential entrepreneur said in a recent keynote speech at a state-sponsored conference, a copy of which was provided to NBC News by Baidu.

"Many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have expressed worries, especially after Trump's election, about the harm to the United States' capabilities in innovation," Li told the audience at China's third annual World Internet Conference. "I truly hope that these excellent talents from various countries will migrate to China and help China play a more important role on the stage of global innovation."

He added: "I hope everybody will come to China, let's innovate together."

As part of the plan for his first 100 days in office, Trump has vowed to prioritize immigration issues and "direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker."

On the campaign trail, he denounced the H-1B visa program, which admits 85,000 foreign skilled workers and graduate students annually — many of whom work in the tech industry and eventually become legal U.S. residents or citizens.

"It's very bad for business … and it's very bad for our workers and it's unfair for our workers. And we should end it," he said.

He sparked more uncertainty by naming Sen. Jeff Sessions, a long-time critic of the skilled-worker visa program, as his pick for attorney general.

Sessions has accused tech firms in Silicon Valley of exploiting the program to pass over American labor for foreign workers to cut technology costs.

China's efforts to attract foreign workers has traditionally been hurt by Beijing's web censorship and strict government control of the internet.

 

China has around 700 million internet users — who type a mind-boggling 35 billion words every day, according to the latest survey examining the behavior of the country's netizens.

But Li argued that the "global center of innovation is shifting," describing the world's second-largest economy as the "biggest and fastest growing internet market."

A Baidu spokesperson told NBC News that the company has a program to attract "top-tier talent" in China and abroad, to advance "Baidu's technological leadership in areas including artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and autonomous diving." 

Image: A Baidu sign

A Baidu sign is seen during the third annual World Internet Conference in Jiaxing, China. ALY SONG / Reuters

Hugo Barra, a Brazilian computer scientist, stunned the technology world in 2013 by leaving his post as Google's vice-president in charge of its Android division to join a private Chinese startup called Xiaomi.

As Xiaomi's international vice-president, Barra has taken charge of global expansion for the smartphone company that has been compared to Apple for its slick marketing and management.

The Beijing-based firm has now become the world's fourth-biggest smartphone maker and is broadening its businesses to mobile apps, laptops and Wi-Fi-enabled consumer electronics.

Analysts have also noted China's emergence as the world's biggest e-commerce market and a leading innovator in mobile services, on the strength of the country's estimated 600 million smartphone users, which is expected to reach 700 million by 2019.

WeChat, China's smash-hit messaging app owned by Tencent, the country's most valuable tech company, has also become a mobile payment giant that is chasing market leader Alipay. The two companies had the lion's share of last year's mobile transactions of $235 billion, pushing China ahead of the U.S. where the market was $231 billion, according to data provider Euromonitor International.

China is also leading the global innovation race. Of the 2.9 million patent applications worldwide in 2015, about 1 million of them came from China. In comparison, 526,000 applications came from the U.S., according to data released by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Success stories include Dajiang Innovations (DJI) — the world's biggest maker of consumer and small commercial drones.

 

The Chinese start-up boasts three factories in the booming city of Shenzhen, a marketing office in Los Angeles that works with filmmakers, and a Frankfurt office which deals with content partners.

Image: DJI drones

Paul Pan, DJI's product manager, saw the potential of the company and moved to Shenzhen from Silicon Valley in 2013.

During a factory visit last year, he demonstrated to NBC News why DJI was an industry leader. From humble beginnings in a dorm room in 2006, the private company is now valued at over $10 billion.

Shenzhen itself is now widely considered "China's Silicon Valley" and has taken the lead in rolling out a massive subsidy program to attract high-tech talent.

The southern city is currently led by Communist Party boss Ma Xingrui, a space scientist and former chief of China's moon mission. His ambition is to make the city a leading innovation hub as it sheds its image as a manufacturer of cheap goods for export.

Shenzhen's recruitment program has attracted 1219 "high-level talents" as of last year, according to Shenzhen Daily newspaper, of which 74 are "foreign experts."

Under a multi-category scheme updated in October last year, the highest incentive for so-called "Outstanding Talent" — a designation open for foreigners from 24 countries, including the United States, if the individual won a Nobel Prize in economics or physics — is an outright lump sum allowance of close to $1 million or 10 years free housing in a 2,200-square-foot apartment.

A lower category, an "Overseas Talent" who starts a business in the city, can receive a subsidy of up to $150,000.

In the past, Chinese companies could only attract Chinese engineers who studied abroad, Baidu's Li lamented.

But he pointed out that Trump's plans have created hope for China to attract "more and more talents from various countries and various nationalities."

Author:  ERIC BACULINAO

Source:  http://www.nbcnews.com/

Categorized in Science & Tech

It’s been a long time since tablets were the up-and-coming hotness. Companies learned years ago that people just weren’t going to buy a new tablet every year—and that’s led some to abandon the form factor altogether. In fact, some of our favorite tablets from 2015 such as the Dell Venue 8 7000, the Samsung Tab S2, and the iPad mini 4 didn’t get updates this year at all.

Even with the fervor around tablets dying down, we got some fantastic tablets, especially in the 2-in-1 category. So here they are: the 10 best tablets of 2016.

10. LG G Pad X 8.0

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 3.38.59 PM.png

You may not have heard of the LG G Pad X 8.0 (which yes, is an unfortunate name), but it’s a new midrange tablet from LG available exclusively for T-Mobile. It works best as an e-reader, with the balance of a large screen and portable size you’ll find in an Android tablet. However, the Reading Mode makes late-night reading easy on the eyes, and the versatility of Android 6.0 Marshmallow lets you read e-books from almost any digital bookshelf out there including comics. It’s probably not going to blow you away, but at $240 with LTE connectivity, it’s a great value for what you’re getting.

 

9. Huawei Matebook

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Every device manufacturer has a 2-in-1 these days, and Huawei’s Matebook is the company’s first attempt at one. While the Matebook looks great in all respects—from the beautiful thin design to the brown leather case. As a tablet itself, it’s everything you’d expect from a device with a $699 pricetag. It doesn’t hold up quite as well in terms of the 2-in-1 aspect thanks to the wobbly case, but if all you’re looking for is a terrific Android tablet, the Matebook is a good (but expensive) option.

8. Asus ZenPad Z8

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On the far other end of the price spectrum is the ZenPad Z8 from Asus, exclusively for Verizon. It retails at just $149, making it the most affordable tablet on the list. It’s not going to impress you with its build quality or performance, but the ZenPad stands out in a market flooded with mostly junky midrange tablets. Without updates to budget-friendly tablets like the Nexus 7, Dell Venue 8 7000, or the NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1, the ZenPad Z8 takes the mantle on for cheap tablet that you won’t want to get rid of in six months.

7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet

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When you think tablet, you’re not usually looking in the $1000+ territory, but that’s exactly what the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is. In other words, it’s obvious that Lenovo didn’t make this device for the average person—it’s for business professionals who are dedicated to the ThinkPad brand. The truth is for that market niche, the 2-in-1 X1 Tablet is fantastic as a machine for getting work done. Like most 12-inch tablets, the X1 Tablet is a little big too really use as a tablet, but with its great hi-res screen, built-in projector, and Lenovo’s proprietary pen, it’s potential uses are countless. The X1 Tablet may not have many takers, but those who can afford it won’t be disappointed.

 

6. Huawei MediaPad M3

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We didn’t get an update to the universally-loved iPad mini 4 this year, but this competitor from Huawei does a great job of filling that hole. The MediaPad M3 is impressive at being what it claims to be: a tablet for consuming media. This 8.4-inch tablet has a beautiful hi-res display, perfect for lounging on the couch with your favorite Netflixshow or game. A premium 8-inch Android tablet that isn’t trying to also sell you a keyboard is surprisingly hard to find these days. The MediaPad has Huawei’s slightly tacky Android skin over it, but installing a Google launcher can solve a lot of that.

5. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

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Although we’ll soon be getting the Tab 3 Plus, the Yoga Tab 3 Pro is an excellent little tablet, provided you like what Lenovo is doing with its tablet design language. In some ways, it’s just another 8-inch Android tablet—in others it’s unlike any one you’ve ever seen. Just pull out the kickstand and you’ve got the ability to project an image up on your blank wall straight from the back of the device. While it doesn’t project in 1080p or anywhere near 1000 lumens, the result is still impressive and unique in a remarkably small package.

4. Amazon Kindle (2016)

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While having everything on what device is great, there are some things that the Kindle can do that a traditional tablet will never be able to do. The battery life, readability, and easy connection to Amazon’s Kindle service makes it a product that stands out for those who read a lot, especially if they’re travelers. The newest Kindle doesn’t make any drastic changes to the formula, but it’s lighter and thinner than previous models, making it that much easier to throw in your bag.

3. Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 510

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We didn’t get a new Surface or Surface Pro this year, leaving the window open for a company like Lenovo to offer its alternative. Late this year we got the IdeaPad Miix 510, a 2-in-1 Surface competitor that actually works wells as both a laptop and a tablet. With a Core i series processor, Windows 10, and a unique watchband-style kickstand, the Miix 510 is made for getting actual work done. At a starting price of only $599 (with an extra $130 for the detachable keyboard), the IdeaPad Miix 510 is the best 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet to come out in 2016.

 

2. Pixel-C

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Although technically the Pixel-C was released in late December, it really wasn’t available until 2016—hence it’s position on this list. The Pixel-C is Google’s first tablet, built ground-up by Google. Replacing the Nexus tablets, the Pixel-C is possibly the best designed and constructed Android tablet ever made. It’s got an all-aluminum finish, a really innovative magnetic keyboard attachment, and a beautiful hi-res display.

What’s more, Android has finally gotten better at multitasking, making the Pixel-C more useful than ever before. Hopefully we’ll see Google update the Pixel-C again soon with more performance and battery life, but for now it’s the best Android tablet you can buy.

1. 9.7-inch iPad Pro

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In just about every way that matters, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the long-awaited up to the iPad Air 2. It’s the traditional iPad size, but with all of the multitasking and power that came with with the massive 12.9-inch iPad Pro. That means it works with the Apple Pencil, new keyboard cover, and got a performance—all to make for a product you might just be able to get some work done on.

More than anything of that, though, the iPad continues to be the go-to tablet in a more general sense. Apple has pushed to make the iPad the premiere location for exclusive fullscreen apps that are built with the iPad in mind. The hardware and design are simply the best—and with the new splitscreen mode, it looks like the software is finally catching up too. In many ways, the iPad Pro is Apple following Microsoft’s lead with what it has achieved with the Surface Pro, but when you’re building on the foundation that is the iPad, it only sweetens the deal.

Author:  Luke Larsen

Source:  https://www.pastemagazine.com

Categorized in Science & Tech
Just Eat has delivered its first take away with a delivery robot to a customer in Greenwich, launching a pilot project that will involve transporting food in the city using autonomous vehicles. 
 
Following extensive testing, Europe's biggest online delivery food company Just Eat has become the first in the world to successfully transport a takeaway with a robot. 
 
The maiden delivery comes months after the company said it would be testing the robots in the area. Just Eat announced the partnership with Starship Technologies, makers of slow moving pavement droids, back in July and said it would start robotic deliveries later that month. 
Starship's robots are autonomous and unlock with a code sent to the customers' phone
 
 
Starship's robots are autonomous and unlock with a code sent to the customers' phone CREDIT: JUST EAT

 

Just Eat has plans to expand the use of robotic delivery drivers in the capital in a move that could long term see the number of human drivers employed by restaurants cut back. The robot, which has been tested in more than 40 cities across Europe, costs around £1 per delivery compared with the £3 to £6 it costs for a human courier.
 
"We are delighted to add robot home delivery to the Just Eat service," said Graham Corfield, UK managing director of Just Eat. "Now that we are live in Greenwich, we're working towards a larger rollout of the pilot programme across London in the New Year."
 
The futuristic courier, created by two former co-founders of Skype who launched Starship Technologies in 2014, is a six-wheeled automated trolley that travels at speeds of up to 4mph.
 
It can carry up to 10 kilograms or three shopping bags and has a range of 10 miles, meaning it can transport food within a two to three mile radius, which takes 15 to 30 minutes. The robot can direct itself and avoid obstacles using a GPS signal and nine cameras, but it is also monitored remotely at all times.

 

 
Customers cannot choose to have the Starship robot deliver food, but will be alerted in the app if one is on its way to them. When the robot arrives, the customer receives a notification with a code that unlocks the pavement robot. 

Author:  Cara McGoogan

Source:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Categorized in Science & Tech

Results of the “Web IQ” Quiz

American internet users’ knowledge of the modern technology landscape varies widely across a range of topics, according to a new knowledge quiz conducted by the Pew Research Center as part of its ongoing series commemorating the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. To take the quiz for yourself before reading the full report, click here.

The survey—which was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,066 internet users—includes 17 questions on a range of issues related to technology, including: the meaning and usage of common online terms; recognition of famous tech figures; the history of some major technological advances; and the underlying structure of the internet and other technologies.

The “Web IQ” of American Internet Users

Substantial majorities of internet users are able to correctly answer questions about some common technology platforms and everyday internet usage terms. Around three-quarters know that a megabyte is bigger than a kilobyte, roughly seven in ten are able to identify pictures corresponding to terms like “captcha” and “advanced search,” and 66% know that a “wiki” is a tool that allows people to modify online content in collaboration with others. A substantial majority of online adults do not use Twitter, but knowledge of Twitter conventions is fairly widespread nonetheless: 82% of online Americans are aware that hashtags are most commonly used on the social networking platform, and 60% correctly answer that the service limits tweets to 140 characters.

On the other hand, relatively few internet users are familiar with certain concepts that underpin the internet and other modern technological advances. Only one third (34%) know that Moore’s Law relates to how many transistors can be put on a microchip, and just 23% are aware that “the Internet” and “the World Wide Web” do not, in fact, refer to the same thing.

 

Many online Americans also struggle with key facts relating to early—and in some cases, more recent—technological history. Despite an Oscar-winning movie (The Social Network) about the story of Facebook’s founding, fewer than half of internet users (42%) are able to identify Harvard as the first university to be on the site; and only 36% correctly selected 2007 as the year the first iPhone was released. The Mosaic web browser is an especially poorly-remembered pioneer of the early Web, as just 9% of online Americans are able to correctly identify Mosaic as the first widely popular graphical web browser.

When tested on their recognition of some individual technology leaders, a substantial 83% of online Americans are able to identify a picture of Bill Gates (although 10% incorrectly identified him as his long-time rival, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs). But just 21% are able to identify a picture of Sheryl Sandberg, a Facebook executive and author of the recent best-selling book Lean In.

Americans also have challenges accurately describing certain concepts relating to internet policy. Six in ten internet users (61%) are able to correctly identify the phrase “Net Neutrality” as referring to equal treatment of digital content by internet service providers. On the other hand, fewer than half (44%) are aware that when a company posts a privacy statement, it does not necessarily mean that they are actually keeping the information they collect on users confidential.

Age differences in web knowledge

Younger internet users are more knowledgeable about common usage terms, social media conventions

Younger internet users are more knowledgeable than their elders on some—but by no means all—of the questions on the survey. These differences are most pronounced on the questions dealing with social media, as well as common internet usage conventions. Compared with older Americans, younger internet users are especially likely to know that Facebook originated at Harvard University and that hashtags are commonly used on Twitter, to correctly identify pictures representing phrases like “captcha” and “advanced search,” and to understand the definition of a “wiki.”

 

At the same time, internet users of all ages are equally likely to believe—incorrectly—that the internet and the World Wide Web are the same thing. There are also no major age differences when it comes to the meaning of phrases like “Net Neutrality” or “privacy policy,” and older and younger internet users correctly identify pictures of Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg at comparable rates.

Educational differences in web knowledge

College grads more familiar with common tech terms

College graduates tend to score relatively highly on most Pew Research Center knowledge quizzes, and also tend to have high rates of usage for most consumer technologies. As such, it is perhaps not surprising that this group tends to do relatively well when it comes to knowledge of the internet and technology.

Compared with internet users who have not attended college, college graduates have much greater awareness of facts such as Twitter’s character limit, or the meaning of terms such as “URL” and “Net Neutrality.” Still, there are some elements of the technology world on which even this highly educated group rates poorly. For instance, just one in five correctly answered that the internet and World Wide Web are not the same thing, and only 12% know that Mosaic was the first widely available graphical web browser.

Author:  AARON SMITH

Source:  http://www.pewinternet.org/

Categorized in Science & Tech

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