Catch up on this week’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.
It’s a rat trap, Jim, but not as we know it
The Internet of Things always promised to revolutionise the way we live and work, but few would have thought it being used to catch rats. Well, it is now. A new form of rat trap, developed by Pest Pulse, uses pressure sensors to identify when a rat has been caught and immediately alerts the pest control company over the internet.
Its IoT sensors help organisations like food processing companies and hospitals to know exactly when an animal was trapped so that it can investigate if there are further issues to be dealt with. In the past, when traps were checked manually at intermittent periods, this was impossible to do and could have led to much more problematic infestations. Additionally, companies are finding that pest management charges are reduced by around 20% because fewer visual inspections are required.
Video didn’t kill the radio star – but AI might
One of America’s most popular radio stations, iHeartRadio, is to replace hundreds of its employees with AI technology. Those working in marketing, programming, podcasts, sales and support are all in the firing line. The AI software being used at the station is even capable of mixing music, a skill usually done by the DJs. This means many live shows can be replaced and the role of multiple human DJs undertaken by one person doing the voice over for all the different local stations.
The company’s chairman, Bob Pittman, said the move will improve ‘services to our consumers and advertising partners; and enhance the work environment for our employees.’ While those employees who remain will certainly find it much easier to find a parking space, John Peel will be turning in his grave.
Brexit – a return to the good old days of roaming charges
Just when we thought we’d got rid of the nightmare of roaming phone charges, the UK’s exit from the EU is going to bring them back again. According to the UK government, when the 12 month Brexit transition period comes to an end on December 31st this year, free mobile roaming will no longer be guaranteed when travelling to the EU. If you are travelling to Europe, you’ll need to check with your operator to find out if charges will apply.
Although roaming charges were abolished by the EU in 2017, Brexit means UK operators are no longer required to offer free roaming services. Indeed, they might not be able to if EU operators decide not to freely share their networks with those in the UK or if trading arrangements prevent them from doing so. So, while keeping the current arrangements would be beneficial to UK visitors to the EU and EU visitors to the UK, it is expected that some operators will reinstate charges. To protect customers, new legislation will be introduced to cap roaming fees at £45 per billing period. Users can increase this but will need to opt in with their network. In the meantime, if you were hoping to keep the kids occupied watching Netflix as you drive to the south of France, they might need to download before you go.
For your eyes only – are you sure?
Before the invention of the digital camera, no-one dared take naked photos because they didn’t want the developer at Boots to see them. The mobile phone, however, has changed all that and there are millions of intimate photos stored on the devices all over the world. Of course, everyone keeps their phones locked, so they are all perfectly safe. Or are they?
What many people fail to remember is that Android and Apple have automatic backups to save your photos and videos. Any intimate pics you have on your phone may also be stored in the cloud on Google Photos or iCloud and this is where they can be vulnerable. This week, Tony Spencer, a hacker from Suffolk was sent to prison for breaking into iCloud accounts and downloading any intimate photos and videos he found. He then shared them online. To do this he used a third-party hacking tool which he bought on the internet. It just goes to show how easy it is to break into any online account if you don’t use strong passwords or two-factor authentication.
Combining IoT enabled street cameras with AI and machine learning is helping to transform London into a greener city. The cameras are being attached to the city’s lamp-posts from where they can count vehicles and the number of people they are carrying. With 98% accuracy, they are far more effective and cost-efficient than manual counts and they operate continuously.
With London wanting 80% of journeys to be made by cycling, walking or public transport within the next 20 years, the data gathered by the cameras is being used to help design better streets, improve transport networks and to discover where investment will have the most benefit.
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