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Predictions for exciting, eerie, and emerging tech in 2020

(TECH NEWS) We all want to be right on top of any new tech, it can help in so many ways. So here are the predictions of growing tech for the coming new year.

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DaVinci predicted flying machines. Arthur C. Clarke imagined iPads. And, Ray Bradbury envisioned earbuds. All of those ideas were way ahead of their time. Now that we are in the year of vision – 2020, let’s consider some of the expert predictions for the coming year in the areas of social, finance, healthcare, tech and the cloud.

SOCIAL
In 2020, The Verge says it’s likely metrics keep dropping off social, people are back as curators leaving algorithms behind, Discord hits mainstream, Facebook’s Oculus hits its prime and Congress legislates misinformation. Oh, and, some experts question whether regulators will seek to break up Facebook and Google. TikTok’s time is up as the new big thing with competition heating up with other short-form video apps entering the market. And, the internet continues to splinter into European, American and Sino-Russian-authoritarian internet, which will limit the size of any one social network.

FINANCE
Hold onto your hats as foldable phones (note not flip) and dual-screen laptops become en vogue and find a niche market as price remains a deterrent, according to The Street’s Real Money. 5G phones will become more available but won’t impact the market. Microsoft stock was strong the last two years, but in 2020, may slow its growth and continue slowing as the majority of its corporate office has migrated over to Office 365. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) sees interest from major internet/cloud giants with lots of cash and with major cloud storage needs and those companies will most likely be the key buyers of AMD’s Rome CPU. And, China starts buying local for chips, hardware and software since the US implemented restrictions.

HEALTHCARE & SCIENCE
Fast Company has many tech predictions, but we’re sticking to healthcare and science. Gene therapy will play an increasing role in the treatment of cancer as the technology was already approved for B Cell treatment and the goal is to use it for other cancers. And, AI will help make medical care less costly while also providing more access to excellent care. A new voice app will allow doctors to actually interact with patients while the virtual assistant takes notes. One expert is betting on biosensing and sees wearables predicting colds, interacting with pharmacies and getting you medicine before you are actually ill.

THE CLOUD
Companies will see the cost savings and safety of using the hybrid cloud and more will turn to it over private cloud in the coming year, according to expert predictions on TechRepublic. Meanwhile, Nextcloud, already the largest on-site deployed solution, is going to have a great year as more companies move toward the hybrid cloud approach. Open source already plays a huge role in the cloud, but in 2020, it’s predicted that by the end of the year it will run completely on open source software. Oh, and to top that, it’s expected that the biggest cloud breach ever will occur putting billions of users’ data at risk, but which could lead to new security features.

TECH
Libra will remain a horoscope sign as Facebook kills plans for its cryptocurrency, according to the folks at Fortune. Protesters afraid of being identified through facial recognition will be using fashion and special makeup, along with masks that look like other people, all designed to confuse the technology. So, may the odds be ever in your favor. Remember when cable was cheap? Sometime around 1982. As streaming gets pricier by the second, it’s expected piracy will make a comeback with people pissed about paying so much and getting “streaming fatigue”. In an election year, I think most folks are hoping we don’t have a repeat of 2016, with hackers impacting results. Hackers beware, you are on the radar of the U.S. Cyber Command. While WeWork was a fail, the office space leases may be taken over by none other than Amazon, who knows a bit about making lemonade.

A few other tech predictions from TechRepublic: An Android smartwatch will triumph over the Apple Watch. Also, Android phones, (Samsung) will lose the notch on the phone, offering full screen phone functionality. And, the Samsung Galaxy S11 will become the must-have device and skyrocket the company into the stratosphere.

So, here’s to 2020. Let’s hope the advances in technology make work smoother, life easier and all of our pocketbooks a little fatter.

What are your tech predictions for the next year?

Mary Ann Lopez earned her MA in print journalism from the University of Colorado and has worked in print and digital media. After taking a break to give back as a Teach for America corps member and teaching science for a few years, she is back with her first love: writing. When she's not writing stories, reading five books at once, or watching The Great British Bakeoff, she is walking her dog Sadie and hanging with her cats, Bella, Bubba, and Kiki. She is one cat short of full cat lady status and plans to keep it that way.

Tech News

Australia wants Facebook and Google to pay media royalties

Australia seeks to require Facebook and Google to pay royalties to media companies for use of news content on their platforms.

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Australia is in the process of requiring tech giants, Facebook and Alphabet, to pay royalties to Australian media companies for using their content. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the move the day after the US Congressional antitrust hearing that put the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple back in the regulatory spotlight.

In addition to the pressure from the United States investigation into market control by these companies, global leaders are calling for similar regulations. Though none have been successful, media companies in Germany, France, and Spain have pushed for legislation to force Google to pay licensing fees to use their news content. Some companies have been pushing for this for years and yet, the tech giants keep dragging out their changes, even admitting their actions are wrong.

In 2019, the Australian government instructed Facebook and Google to negotiate voluntary deals with Australian media to use their content. The Australian government says the companies failed to follow through on the directive, and therefore will be forced to intervene. They have 45 days to reach an agreement in arbitration, after which the Australian Communications and Media Authority will create legally binding terms for the companies on behalf of the Australian government.

Google claims the web traffic that it drives to media websites should be compensation enough for the content. A Google representative in Australia asserts that the government regulations would constitute interference into market competition – which would be the point, Google!

According to a 2019 study, an estimated 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in the last decade. The previous generation of media companies has paid substantial advertising fees to Google and Facebook while receiving nothing in return for the use of its news content. Frydenberg asserts the regulatory measures are necessary to protect consumers and ensure a “sustainable media landscape” in the country.

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Tech News

Onboarding for customers and employees made easy

(TECH NEWS) Cohere enables live, virtual onboarding at bargain prices to help you better support and guide your users.

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Web development and site design may be straightforward, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t get turned around when reviewing your products. Onboarding visitors is the simplest solution, but is it the easiest?

According to Cohere–a live, remote onboarding tool–the answer is a resounding yes.

Cohere claims to be able to integrate with your website using “just 2 lines of code”; after completing this integration, you can communicate with, guide, and show your product to any site visitor upon request. You’ll also be able to see what customers are doing in real time rather than relying on metrics, making it easy to catch and convert customers who are on the fence, due to uncertainty or confusion.

There isn’t a screen-share option in Cohere’s package, but what they do include is a “multiplayer” option in which your cursor will appear on a customer’s screen, thus enabling you to guide them to the correct options; you can also scroll and type for your customer, all the while talking them through the process as needed. It’s the kind of onboarding that, in a normal world, would have to take place face-to-face–completely tailored for virtual so you don’t have to.

You can even use Cohere to stage an actual demo for customers, which accomplishes two things: the ability to pare down your own demo page in favor of live options, and minimizing confusion (and, by extension, faster sales) on the behalf of the customer. It’s a win-win situation that streamlines your website efficiency while potentially increasing your sales.

Naturally, the applications for Cohere are endless. Using this tool for eCommerce or tech support is an obvious choice, but as virtual job interviews and onboarding become more and more prevalent, one could anticipate Cohere becoming the industry example for remote inservice and walkthroughs.

Hands-on help beats written instructions any day, so if companies are able to allocate the HR resources to moderate common Cohere usage, it could be a huge win for those businesses.

For those two lines of code (and a bit more), you’ll pay anywhere from $39 to $129 for the listed packages. Custom pricing is available for larger businesses, so you may have some wiggle room if you’re willing to take a shot at implementing Cohere business-wide.

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Tech News

Smart clothing could be used to track COVID-19

(TECH NEWS) In order to track and limit the spread of COVID-19 smart clothing may be the solution we need to flatten the curve–but at what cost?

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COVID tracking clothing

When most people hear the phrase “smart clothing”, they probably envision wearables like AR glasses or fitness trackers, but certainly not specially designed fabrics to indicate different variables about the people wearing them–including, potentially, whether or not someone has contracted COVID-19.

According to Politico, that’s exactly what clinical researchers are attempting to create.

The process started with Apple and Fitbit using their respective wearables to attempt to detect COVID-19 symptoms in wearers. This wouldn’t be the first time a tech company got involved with public health in this context; earlier this year, for example, Apple announced a new Watch feature that would call 911 if it detected an abnormal fall. The NBA also attempted to detect outbreaks in players by providing them with Oura Rings–another smart wearable.

While these attempts have yet to achieve widespread success, optimism toward smart clothing–especially things like undershirts–and its ability to report adequately someone’s symptoms, remains high.

The smart clothing industry has existed in the context of monitoring health for quite some time. The aforementioned tech giants have made no secret of integrating health- and wellness-centric features into their devices, and companies like Nanowear have even gone so far as to create undergarments that track things like the wearer’s heart rate.

It’s only fitting that these companies would transition to COVID assessment, containment, and prevention in the shadow of the pandemic, though they aren’t the only ones doing so. Indeed, innovators from all corners of the United States are set to participate in a “rapid testing solutions” competition–the end goal being a cheap, fast, easy-to-use wearable option to help flatten the curve. The “cheap” aspect is perhaps the most difficult; as Politico says, the majority of people have a general understanding of how to use wearable technology.

Perhaps more importantly, the potential for HIPPA violations via data access is high–and, during a period of time in which people are more suspicious of technology companies than ever, vis-a-vis data sharing, privacy could be a significant barrier to the creation, distribution, and use of otherwise crucial smart clothing.

There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated, among other things, technological advancement in ways unseen by many of us alive today. Only time will tell if smart clothing–life-saving potential and all–becomes part of that trend.

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