December 31, 2018
Last year’s first big headline from the industry came on January 22, when the retail store Amazon Go was finally opened for the public. With this high-tech brick-and-mortar store, it further clarified that the world of eCommerce will never completely replace the conventional shopping experience we have grown to love. Instead, the combination of the two (physical and digital store) is shaping the future for an alternative shopping practise.
In March 2018,whistle blower Christopher Wylie, an ex-employee of Cambridge Analytica published the now viral article on ‘The Observer’ about the illicit harvesting of data from Facebook users. Once a substantial part of the population became aware of the situation, there was a public outcry particularly in the United States, making it imperative for the US Senate to get involved with the case. Many hearings later, Mark Zuckerberg took the incidence as a personal mistake, and that he didn’t make enough efforts to prevent the platform from becoming a source of political interference and consequent harm.
Microsoft finally takes the initiative to the future’s most predictable problem of IoT security by launching Azure Sphere in April 2018. Also known as a complete IoT security platform, Azure Sphere has all the crucial elements to make an entire IoT ecosystem safe from all the known and potential security threats.
One of the most exciting bits of 2018 news that has the all the smartphone enthusiasts on the edge of their chairs, as we enter into the year 2019 is the Samsung Galaxy X, the foldable smartphone! The phone was brought on stage during the Samsung’s annual developer conference in San Francisco and is said to be the first of an entirely new range of foldable smartphones from Samsung, which may lay the foundation for future multi-fold tablets, of which the company established ownership of the patent in April 2018.
In the Google I/O 2018 convention, during the first week of May 2018,the team unveiled the achievement that everyone in AI has been dreaming of for years. Finally, Google Duplex, the AI assistant from Google, passed the formidable test to become the world’s first AI bot to have a natural human-computer interaction. During the conference, the attendees became the live witnesses of the AI assistant’s capabilities.
Another big update within the Retail industry, where brick and mortar stores have been struggling to keep up with sales from growing eCommerce brands. Sainsbury and ASDA, UK’s top supermarket giants became one,which was deemed as a mega-merger. The Merger, which happened in May 2018, amounted to around £12 billion in profits. The merger is also said to be an attempt to dethrone Amazon in the UK’s retail e-commerce market.
The most effective regulation was brought into effect which changed the way companies now do business. GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is considered the most significant change brought by the European Union on the concerns of data privacy. The law was brought into effect on May 25, 2018, causing all the tech companies to bring significant changes in how they treat their client’s and customers’ data.
Like other years’, WWDC 2018 came with its share of expectations and changes in the industry. This year the event was held at San Jose California in the first week of June 2018. As per this particular event there were many things that got the public excited. For some, it is the Digital Health feature of iOS 12, while for others it is the at last emergence of a smarter Siri.
In what that can only be termed as shocking news, hardware cybersecurity flaws- Spectre and Meltdown were disclosed by Intel in August 2018. The news was all the more outrageous considering that not only were there vulnerabilities found in the evidently most secure Intel chips, but also how little attention was paid on the security features of the foundational hardware parts.
A huge uproar was raised in-house within Google, when the employees become cognizant of the fact that the company is considering its involvement with the US Department of Defense. The Pentagon project Maven was rumoured to have used cases for AI weapons causing the panic in the company. Thousands of employees signed a petition forcing the company to release the principle document ‘Artificial Intelligence at Google: our principles’ in June 2018. The document clarified that Google will not involve itself in anything that could potentially cause “injury to people”. However, months later in October 2018, Amazon’s CEO – Jeff Bezos made an announcement that it will not fall into the pitfalls of peer pressure, and will support the US military. The CEO stated that the company will do so to reduce the military’s reliance on Russian Technology.
Reflecting on the last year, you can see just how much change occurred in a matter of 12 months. It brought its share of good, bad, exciting and shocking, and also somehow managed to maintain stability with more exciting future prospects. In any case, with the start of the New Year there are many more innovations to look forward to.
Other interesting topics that trended in 2018…
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