Tag : tech

Monday News Recap: Week of December 12th

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Here’s the weekly news debrief, with things to know from around the world for December 12:
 
Vancouver:
Half of all Vancouver’s most expensive homes are secretly owned, meaning we have no idea whose fuelling the ultra-rich real estate market in the city. The NDP has called for more transparency, and to close the loophole on purchasing real estate through shell corporations.
 
Canada:
Syrian refugees celebrated one year officially coming to Canada over the weekend. Over 36,000 have been welcomed into Canada, and while it’s a good news story, the flip side is many are struggling to find work and their funding support was only meant to last a year.
 
US:
The CIA has “confidently” confirmed that Russia was involved in hacking to improve Trump’s odds at winning the Presidency. In an unprecedented move, but typical to Trump, he calls it nonsense, being the first incoming President to seriously undermine the CIA. At this point, Trump is going to convince the entire US population he is the only trustworthy person in America.
 
International:
The IOC has released a scathing report claiming Russia helped over 1,000 athletes tamper with doping tests in two Olympic games. And this apparently goes right to the Kremlin. It’s actually kinda crazy, the tests found male DNA in female athlete urine samples, so either Russia was cheating, or they’ve been secretly inserting men into the women’s games.
 
Tech:
Bill Gates, along with Alibaba head Jack Ma and other billionaires are launching a $1 Billion dollar fund to combat climate change. The fund is expected to run for 20 years and will help companies at all stages develop reliable and affordable clean tech. Looks like having a climate-change denying President may drive others to do it for him, that’s a small silver lining.
 
Science:
A very promising vaccine for HIV has been approved for Phase II trials, meaning it will be tested on HIV-negative patients to test the reliability of the drug. This is the biggest step medicine has taken to date in finding a vaccine for HIV and has already proven to be extremely effective in Phase I.
 
Entertainment:
Some guy who was fraudulently using his company credit card to buy things like cars and seasons tickets spent $1 Million dollars on the mobile game Game of War. One Million dollars on a mobile app!!
 
Fun:
This happy Shiba Inu!
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The Big Five Tech Trends That Shaped 2016

In 2016, tech trends like augmented reality and smart appliances took off while the seeds of virtual reality and artificial intelligence were planted. As the year comes to a close we’re taking a look back at five tech trends that captured our hearts, minds, and wallets.

1. Wearable Tech

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The romance of tech and fashion was a hot topic this year, far beyond the Apple Watch. From heart rate monitors, wearable sleep enhancers, to a dog collar with built-in GPS, it’s clear what direction the fashion industry is heading.

Take for instance the Indiegogo funded Spartan Boxer Brief, an undergarment that repels 99% of cellphone and Wi-Fi emissions. With numerous studies suggesting radiation in cellphone waves causes cancer, the Spartan Boxer Brief is pushing wearable tech that might one day save your life.

2. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

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VR and AR are two buzzwords that piqued interest, but do you really know the difference? Here’s the break down:

Augmented Reality (AR) blends virtual reality with the real world. The worldwide phenomenon Pokémon Go was downloaded over 100 million times and now software companies are switching gears to develop more AR titles from its success. Hardware such as Google Glass saw modest adoption and Google now plans to release the second generation of its tech-infused glasses next year.

Virtual Reality (VR) is the complete immersion into a virtual world through a headset. This trend is shaping up to revolutionize the way you communicate in real-time. Sony just released its VR hardware for PlayStation 4 forcing its competitors to rush to market. The barrier of entry here is a hefty price tag. With units costing upwards of $600, it’s up to financially-sound early adopters to become the voice of this industry.

It’s still too early to know which technologies will triumph. Throughout the year AR had a clear lead, but next year when more content releases for VR it will be a major contender. You can expect to witness another contest on the scale of Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD with only one clear victor, the consumer.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

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Internet of Things is the concept of industrial and home devices being connected through cloud-computed networks to gather information. Think smart appliances. Don’t worry; the washing machine isn’t trying to steal your debit card PIN, but rather it’s becoming ‘smarter’ by learning your usage habits and using that data to improve efficiency.

Imagine owning a fridge that knows when the milk runs out so a grocery reminder is sent to your smartphone or consulting an app to see if you remembered to turn off the stove. Apps are the big mover for this technology and we’re on the cusp of having fully controllable households from the palm of our hands.

But is IoT really that big? The IDC 2016 Global Market Predictions believes so. The market research organization forecast by 2018 there would be 22 billion Internet of Things devices installed, which will promote over 200,000 new IoT apps and services.

4. Financial Technology (Fintech)

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Touted as the major disruptor to the financial industry – the Uber of banking – fintech is creating new avenues to handle day-to-day banking affairs without having to step into an actual branch.

‘Fintech’ is a blanket term that can’t be categorized into one specific area. The rise of crypto-currencies and block-chain provides a secure and transparent allocation of currency worldwide. Meanwhile, companies such as TIO Networks are re-inventing bill payment solutions for the underbanked outside of traditional bank channels. Even financial institutions are investing in fintech through services such as mobile deposits and online banking apps. Studies are showing the millennial generation is shifting away from traditional brick-and-mortar concepts in favour of easy, instant access to finances. 

5. Advanced AI Ecosystem

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Big strides towards artificial intelligence were made. AI was developed so it could be ‘taught’ through complex algorithms and data rich neural pockets operating on a cloud network.

Sound like a quote from Star Trek? The reality is machines are learning how to perform day-to-day tasks that were only thought possible by humans. Google DeepMind created a learning algorithm allowing AI to remember something after only seeing it once. This out performs humans who take two to three times to recall new learnings. AI is also capable of natural language generation, which is working to break down communication barriers across the world. Soon customer support lines will have conversation and troubleshooting capabilities through a live chat-bot eliminating the need to speak to a representative directly.

AI tech is being developed for a multitude of functions including diagnosing human illness, serving and autonomous vehicles. The ride sharing behemoth Uber has already begun testing a fleet of driverless cars throughout Pittsburg. With 94 percent of car accidents involving human error, there could be a drastic improvement of road safety with this technology pushed nationwide.

While AI can tremendously impact our lives there are still questions that need to be addressed. How will the government regulate mass-production of robots? Will self-taught AI possess a moral compass? Are low-skilled labour jobs at risk? Only time will answer these questions, however it’s exciting to see what direction it goes.

In the coming years, expect more groundbreaking discoveries in the field of space exploration, biotech, and medicine. There’s so much to cover in the world of tech, but these are the trends that stuck out most in 2016. Either way, it’s a great time to be alive.

Vancouver Tech PR & Fashion PR – September

Fashion trends, Vancouver Startup Week, and business growth were key topics of conversation this past month. See how some of our clients tie into these conversations.

Vancouver Fashion PR

Michelle Lane – senior designer and stylist at Clearly.ca shares her top picks for the season on Brazen Woman. For those of us subjecting our eyes to screen glare for long periods of time, blogger Jamie Leigh reviews Clearly’s protective, yet stylish Blue Reflect lenses.

Vancouver Tech PR

Vancouver Startup Week attracted tech fans between September 21 and 25th. The Vancouver Economic Commission hosted #VanStartupCity at the Imperial to support Vancouver’s local startup ecosystem. Watch Sean Elbe on Breakfast Television as he celebrates local tech and recent success stories in the adventure and tech space including ShareShed, RentMoola, and Tinkerine. StartupCity events were also featured on CKNW,  Vancouver Magazine and Business in Vancouver.

US Tech PR

At the European Cancer Congress in Vienna, OncoSec Medical announced positive results from the very first trial to combine merkel cell carcinoma with immunotherapy through its proprietary ImmunoPulse treatment.

Fin Tech PR

In the last week of September, Canadian entrepreneur Hamed Shahbazi was featured on Business News Network. As CEO of  software company TIO Networks, he discusses the company’s rapid growth strategy, how it is competing in the United States, and its thoughts on national fintech players like PayPal.