This Week In Digital – Week 10, 2019

Microsoft launches AI business school, AR to transform maps completely, and Apple to start its AR/VR venture by 2020. Read about all the recent tech happenings in This Week In Digital.

IBM X-Force Red launches new service for blockchain security testing – PRNewswire, March 5, 2019

Security’s team of offensive security experts, X-Force Red, today announced the launch of a new blockchain testing service to help identify weaknesses and strengthen security of a wide range of solutions that incorporate the fast-growing technology. Leveraging the extensive security and developer expertise of X-Force Red penetration testers, the service will evaluate both the backend processes used to manage blockchain networks as well as the actual ledger environment.

3 Trends That Define The Next Phase Of Cloud Computing – Dilip Khandelwal, March 5, 2019.

With access to core business applications, analytics and collaboration tools, cloud computing is a reliable path for business innovation. It provides organizations the agility to scale and adapt their business model to market conditions and opportunities. Cloud computing has created the foundation for a flexible innovation infrastructure for companies’ growth strategies. Now cloud computing is going through a growth spurt of its own. The next wave of intelligent technologies that build onto the cloud is emerging, including the Internet of things (IoT), machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

New crypto hardware wallet fits your phone’s SIM card slot – Yogita Chatter, March 6, 2019.

U.S.-based startup VaultTel has launched a tiny cryptocurrency hardware wallet that sits in the SIM tray on mobile phones. The firm announced Tuesday that the wallet solution combines an app and the VaultTel Intellichip card to store cryptocurrency private keys on mobile devices, using biometric authentication and “military grade” encryption to keep the funds safe. The card can be placed in the SIM card slot of dual-SIM Android mobile phones, or can be used with a dongle accessory on iPhones, VaultTel said.

Apple to start manufacturing AR glasses late 2019 or early 2020 – Jason Cross, March 8, 2019.

Almost a year ago, there was a report from CNet that Apple is working on a wireless AR/VR headset for release in 2020. Given the current state of related technologies, the advanced combined AR-and-VR headset described in that report seems wildly unrealistic. Now, a new report from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo makes a prediction that is a little more down to earth. Kuo’s predictions are by no means perfect, but he has a better track record than most and is dialed-in to the supply chain Apple relies on. Kuo’s prediction is that Apple will begin manufacturing its first generation AR glasses either late in 2019 or in the first half of 2020, for release in 2020. He claims the glasses will support only AR, not AR and VR, and will require an iPhone to work. The iPhone would do much of the computation, wireless networking, and global positioning, while the AR glasses would only process their fine position/orientation and display. This would allow the glasses to be smaller and lighter, with better battery life.

Microsoft: Consumer AR’s path is ‘measured in years’ – Jamie Feltham, March 9, 2019.

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 reveal event last week made one thing clear: This is a device for the enterprise. If the multiple demos from business partners didn’t make that known, the $3,500 price tag certainly did. But consumer AR is an increasingly popular topic. We can all see a future where cheaper HoloLens units are giving us map directions and showing virtual Netflix screens. How long will it take to get there? According to Greg Sullivan, director of communications for Microsoft’s Mixed Reality arm, it could still be years.

AR is going to kill the map’s blue dot – Brendan Ciecko, March 10, 2019.

Remember the first time you used the handy-dandy map app on your smartphone? The magic of the blue-dot and step-by-step directions has undoubtedly changed the way we think about navigation, the physical world around us, and it has also given life to a new layer of location-aware experiences and conveniences. A growing number of technology companies are jumping at the opportunity to improve the experience of navigation and wayfinding. We’ve seen many impressive concepts including Google’s recently unveiled AR directions for Maps, and AR-powered wayfinding apps by American Airlines and other major airports around the world. Even the formerly glorious AR unicorn Blippar threw its hat in this ring before going bust, and it’s inevitable that someone will finish what they started.

Alexa researchers improve AI error rate up to 30% by reducing data imbalance – Kyle Wiggers, March 11, 2019.

Imbalanced training data is a major hurdle for classifiers that is, machine learning systems which sort inputs into classes. (Think object-detecting security cameras and smart speakers that distinguish among speakers.) When one category of samples disproportionately contributes to a corpus, the classifier naturally encounters it more often than others, and so runs the risk of becoming biased toward it. Researchers at Amazon’s Alexa division, though, say they’ve developed a technique that can reduce error rates in some data-imbalanced systems by up to 30 percent. They describe it in a recently published paper (“Deep Embeddings for Rare Audio Event Detection with Imbalanced Data”) scheduled to be present at the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing in Brighton this spring.

Microsoft launches AI Business School – Khari Johnson, March 11, 2019.

Microsoft today introduced the AI Business School, a series of case studies and free instructional videos made to help business executives design and successfully implement an AI strategy within their organization. The Microsoft AI Business School is born out of three years of conversations with customers and follows the launch of an AI school for developers and AI School first introduced last year.

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