Posted by & filed under E-Business.

Autumn In Rome

The tours and experiences market is projected to be worth $183 billion this year, and today a startup that has made inroads into the space through bootstrapping is announcing its first outside investment.

ToursByLocals — which sources local guides in some 162 countries, then helps tourists search and book them for either individual or small group tours and experiences in the place they are visiting — is today announcing 33 million Canadian dollars (US$25 million) in funding, from a single investor, Tritium Partners, money that it plans to use to hire more talent, build out its proprietary booking, payment and review publishing technology and expand its business development team.

This is the first outside funding for the Vancouver, Canada -based startup, which for the past 10 years has bootstrapped its business, building it up to 1.45 million customers and some US$45 million in revenues. It has around 100 employees today.

Source: TechCrunch

Date: January 16th, 2020

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/13/toursbylocals-snaps-up-its-first-funding-33m-to-link-sightseers-with-guides-globally/

Discussion

  1. What do you think ToursByLocals will use its CDN33 million for?
  2. ToursByLocals as 100 employees. What are the major groupings of work for these 100 people?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, Blockchain.

Gold bitcoins on circuit board graphic

Is blockchain – the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency – is fulfilling its promise, or a tech still looking for a better reason to exist.

There have been some very grandiose claims made about blockchain.

Source: BBC Business Technology

Date: January 16th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45919700

Discussion

1) Do you understand what the difference is between Bitcoin and Blockchain?

2) Blockchain should really be called Distributed Ledger Technology.  Why?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Cyber Security, Emerging Technologies.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 16th, 2020

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/disruptors_how_may_I_help_you

Discussion

1) “In the brave new world of retail this won’t necessitate a trek out to the nearest late night supermarket. Instead the shop can come to you.  With the touch of an app button, you hail a low-slung electric vehicle, like a glass-sided motorhome, which quietly glides into a parking space near you.  You enter the shop by swiping your mobile phone at the door, pick up your wares and swipe out again. There’s no cashier or sales assistant, and no-one to clean up if you drop a carton of milk on your toe.”  What are some of the cybersecurity issues around this idea?

2) What are some of the technology (in addition to cybersecurity) issues around this idea?

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics, Politics, Privacy.

brexit

A joint investigation by watchdogs in Canada and British Columbia has found that Cambridge Analytica-linked data firm, Aggregate IQ, broke privacy laws in Facebook ad-targeting work it undertook for the official Vote Leave Brexit campaign in the UK’s 2016 EU referendum.

A quick reminder: Vote Leave was the official leave campaign in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. While Cambridge Analytica  is the (now defunct) firm at the center of a massive Facebook data misuse scandal which has dented the company’s fortunes and continues to tarnish its reputation.

Source: Tech Crunch

Date: January 10th, 2020

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/27/brexit-ad-blitz-data-firm-paid-by-vote-leave-broke-privacy-laws-watchdogs-find/

Discussion

  1. “The investigation finds that the personal information provided to and used by AIQ comes from disparate sources. This includes psychographic profiles derived from personal information Facebook disclosed to Dr. Aleksandr Kogan,  and onward to Cambridge Analytica.” And yet most consumers will barely care. Why is this?
  2. What sorts of monitoring could be put in place to ensure companies adhere to the rules and regulations?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, Innovation.

Sex tech area

CES has welcomed sex tech this year. But blink and you might miss it.

There are no more than half a dozen stands, and most are tucked away in a far corner of one of Las Vegas’s vast conference halls.

They are being hosted under the umbrella of the Health and Wellness zone.

Several feature innovative sex toys, while one – called Pulse – is demoing a dispenser that heats oils and gels.

But while the booths are well away from those of the big brands that dominate the room, their presence still represents a significant shift.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 10th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51044546

Discussion

  1. Why does the world’s largest Consumer Electronics convention, hosted in Las Vegas no less, likely have a problem with Sex Tech, which they call “Health and Wellness”?
  2. Is health and wellness the right place for sex tech?

Posted by & filed under Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality.

Nreal glasses

A pair of hi-tech glasses that superimposes computer graphics over real-world views has emerged as one of the most lauded products of this year’s CES tech expo.

Nreal, the Chinese start-up involved, has confounded the expectations of many industry watchers with the quality of the images its Light glasses produces.

The firm still faces issues.

One tester said the glasses looked a bit “clunky”, and the company is being sued by Magic Leap, a rival.

But long-time CES attendee Ben Wood, an influential tech consultant, declared them the “product of the show”.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 10th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51057941

Discussion

  1. These appear to be a successful attempt at Augmented Reality (AR). What’s the difference between Virtual Reality (VR) and AR?
  2. Why is AR actually more difficult than VR?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Amazon.

Picture this: You’re playing a game of trivia with friends. The question is, “How many bones are in the human hand?”

Your friend answers 27.

You decide to ask Alexa, the smart speaker sitting in the living room, to verify the number. Alexa says, “26.” 

Everyone agrees that even though your friend’s guess was close, their answer was in fact, wrong. No point for them.

But who was actually right? Would you take what Alexa says as fact?

According to a new study, it depends on who you ask. While adults might be willing to take those results as fact, kids are a bit more skeptical.

Source: CBC Technology Analysis

Date: December 18th, 2019

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/ramona-pringle-alexa-kids-technology-1.5397579

Discussion

  1. “Kids trust their teachers because they’ve learned to trust them, whereas they’re still figuring out whether or not sources like voice assistants are trustworthy.” How might kids and adults be taught to trust intelligent agents like the Amazon Alexa?
  2. ” when the statements involved scientific and historical facts, kids tended to trust the teacher while adults were more inclined to trust the internet. The researchers concluded this could be due to the vast amounts of information available online, the fallibility of human memory and the tendency for adults to become less trusting of humans as they get older. ” How is this insight important to the developers of intelligent agents like the Amazon Alexa?

Posted by & filed under Innovation.

The oil producing equipment is not going extinct like the traditional grain elevator, but just as technology changed how agriculture companies built their terminals, innovation is altering the number, size and placement of pumpjacks.

For much of the last century, oil wells were similar to drilling a water well — they were vertical. That changed in the mid-2000s when companies discovered how to turn the drill bit and produce directional wells.

Technology continues to improve and as a result, oil wells are getting longer and longer. The average oil well drilled is now about three kilometres in length.

Source: CBC News

Date: December 18th, 2019

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/oilpatch-pumpjack-drilling-abandonment-1.5375836

Discussion

  1. The article is really all about innovation, this time in the mining industry. Is the technology talked about in this article Information Technology (IT)?
  2. How might information systems and information technology perform a key role in improving drilling efficiency?

Posted by & filed under Fraud, Twitter.

A girl sitting at a chair welcoming the viewer.

Artists have told the BBC how their artwork is being stolen from social media and sold for profit online.

They claim malicious individuals are finding their art, often with the aid of an automated system known as a bot, and uploading it on to a website where it can be sold on a T-shirt without the artist’s permission.

The individuals then comment underneath the artist’s work on social media with a link to the T-shirt website, tricking the artist’s fans into thinking it is an official product.

Some artists have claimed this entire process can occur without any human intervention.

They say the bot finds the image, uploads it to a third-party T-shirt-selling website, and posts the link automatically.

Source: BBC Business News

Date: December 18th, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50817561

Discussion

  1. As an artist, how could you stop this fraud from happening to you?
  2. Should Twitter be doing more to stop this fraud, and if so, how would they do it?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Phishing.

Fraudsters almost swindled the Royal Canadian Mint with payroll ‘spoofing’ scam

The Royal Canadian Mint fell for what’s known as a “spear-phishing” scam and almost forked over an employee’s paycheque to fraudsters, according to a breach report obtained through access to information.

Spear-phishing is a type of fraud which sees swindlers carefully collect information on a target in order to impersonate them. It’s one of the “most common and most dangerous attack methods” and it’s getting increasingly difficult to investigate, says a bulletin issued by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre last month.

In the Mint’s case, a “malicious actor” masquerading as a former Mint employee reached out to the Crown corporation’s human resources department back in February. The scam artist requested a change to a real former employee’s bank account information for payroll purposes, according to a copy of the incident report obtained by CBC News through access to information.

After some back-and-forth emails, a human resources worker at the Mint — thinking they were talking to the real former employee — changed the banking information. They also gave the fraudster a pay stub, as requested.

Source: CBC News

Date: December 13th, 2019

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mint-spear-phishing-scam-1.5392036

Discussion

  1. One of the bigger problems with this issue of spear-phishing is captured by the photo for this article, which shows a lone hacker, in a hoodie, presumably in the basement of his parent’s home.
    In reality, almost all spear-phishing attacks are conducted by criminal organizations that have banks of what are essentially office workers conducting the email scams.
    Why is it a serious issue that people and companies think of this as being a “lone hacker in the basement” issue?
  2. How do you train employees to not fall for these spear-phishing attacks?