Technology and Telecommunications

Australia Considers Blockchain for Trade Supply Chain Visibility

Australia Considers Blockchain for Trade Supply Chain Visibility

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has reportedly proposed the use of blockchain technology to modernize the government’s approach to the country’s trade process. The DHA told the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth last Thursday that it is looking at emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things (IoT) for a suitable framework. A department spokesperson said that since a majority of traders are trusted and interact in a secure and transparent supply chain, the use of blockchain technology should improve the veracity, validation, and analysis of intelligence and trade data. Source: ZDNet

ZTE Ceases Main US Operations Due to Ban

ZTE Ceases Main US Operations Due to Ban

China’s second biggest telecom equipment manufacturer, ZTE, said Wednesday that the ban imposed by the US government has prompted the company to shut down its main business operations in the country. Washington hit the phone maker with a ban last month for violating US export restrictions when it shipped components and technology to Iran. A spokesperson said, however, that they are appealing to have the ban changed or even reversed and have already submitted a request to the U.S. Commerce Department. At present, ZTE has suspended its online stores on its own website and on Alibaba Group’s e-commerce platform Taobao. […]

Android P to Fight Smartphone Addiction with “Digital Wellness” Function

Android P to Fight Smartphone Addiction with “Digital Wellness” Function

Google revealed at its developer conference last Tuesday that it will be including a number of tools that will help users fight smartphone addiction in its next version of Android. Included in the upcoming Android P are four new functions. The Do Not Disturb mode takes out all visual indicators even when the user uses the phone while the App Dashboard provides a quick overview of the user’s usage of the device. The App Timer can be used to set a daily time limit for app usage, and Wind Down feature blocks out blue light and gradually turns the screen […]

Grab Rolls Out 100-Rehab Plan for Drivers, Services

Grab Rolls Out 100-Rehab Plan for Drivers, Services

Grab Philippines marketing head Cindy Toh revealed last Tuesday the company’s 100 day plan to improve driver behavior and rider experience which is aimed to address the increasing number of complaints and cancellations by its partner-drivers. Toh said that the last six weeks had been very difficult for the company as its acquisition of Uber led to an increase in demand along with a reduction in supply of drivers. She additionally revealed that their drivers will be undergoing “intensive transformation programs” to make them examples of road courtesy and public service. The company said that it will be offering an […]

Grab Philippines Eyes Cancellation Fees for Riders

Grab Philippines Eyes Cancellation Fees for Riders

In a media briefing last Tuesday, Grab Philippines marketing head Cindy Toh revealed that the company is considering a cancellation fee for riders that may be rolled out within the next 100 days. Toh said that the solution, which was similar to what Uber had, was prompted by their data which showed that around 12% of riders cancel their rides, as opposed to 8% of drivers. However, Grab says it has yet to determine how much the fee will be, and how to implement it for riders who pay in cash. Source: Rappler

WhatsApp CEO Leaves Facebook, Cites Privacy Intrusions

WhatsApp CEO Leaves Facebook, Cites Privacy Intrusions

It was revealed yesterday that Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s CEO, co-founder and Facebook board member, will be resigning from his post due to disagreements on the app’s privacy and weakened encryption. On Koum’s post about his resignation, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in his comment that encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands, will always be at the heart of WhatsApp. Some noted that the Facebook CEO had attempted to downplay the notion that the company had pushed Koum away when it tried to weaken WhatsApp’s encryption. Koum was strongly opposed to in-app […]

Iran Blocks Telegram, Promotes Own Messaging App

Iran Blocks Telegram, Promotes Own Messaging App

Iran’s state media reported this week that the country’s judiciary court has decided to block popular encrypted messaging app Telegram, effective last Monday. The Iranian government says that Telegram had been used to coordinate illicit activities, as well as anti-government protests during the period of unrest earlier this year. The government is instead endorsing a homegrown messaging service called Soroush which reportedly features emojis depicting veiled women calling for “death to America”. The decision was shortly made after Russia’s own ban on Telegram which citizens protested at a march in Moscow last Monday. Source: CNBC

Singapore Airport to Use Facial Recognition to Identify Late Travelers

Singapore Airport to Use Facial Recognition to Identify Late Travelers

Changi Airport Group’s chief information officer Steve Lee revealed this week that the Singaporean airport is planning to use facial recognition to find lost passengers or late boarders who may be delaying flights. Rated as the world’s best for six straight years, Changi Airport is currently exploring ways to leverage the newest technologies to solve problems and improve efficiency. Lee further revealed that they have already tested the technology and are currently working with a few firms, and the capability may be put to work as early as next year. A Chinese firm called Yitu, which recently set up shop […]

FitBit to Use Google Cloud to Share Data with Doctors

FitBit to Use Google Cloud to Share Data with Doctors

Wearable tech company FitBit announced this week that it will be using Google’s Cloud Heathcare API for its increased efforts into healthcare legitimacy. The company says that it will be creating a centralized stop that doctors can use to monitor both electronic medical records and data from Fitbit’s devices. By using Google’s cloud offerings which have been developed with institutions such as the Stanford School of Medicine, FitBit will be well-equipped to pursue its push into ubiquitous health tracking and serious healthcare devices.     Source: TechCrunch

Facebook Prototype Allows Users “Feel” Messages Through Skin  

Facebook Prototype Allows Users “Feel” Messages Through Skin  

It was revealed this week that Facebook is currently developing a prototype that would let users “feel” words through their skin using vibrations. Called a transcutaneous language communication (TLC) system, the sleeve-like device can convert messages into vibrations on the skin of the arm, enabling users to receive messages while running, driving or carrying shopping bags in both hands. The researchers added that the device was customized for the forearm as it has better tactile sensitivity than most body parts, less likely to disrupt daily activity compared to the hand, and more socially acceptable than the forehead or feet. Source: […]

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