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.
Digital Games Boost
UK gamers are almost exclusively buying and downloading their games online rather than installing them from disks. According to the latest figures, almost 90% of computer games sold in the UK in 2022 were purchased via digital download, while just over 10% were bought in a physical medium. At the same time, games for smartphones accounted for 30% of sales.
Reasons for the growth in digital sales include the convenience of not having to visit a store and the fact that games can be installed quicker by downloading to a computer, games console or smartphone, than installing them from a physical disk.
Gaming is also on the rise, growing by 2.3% during last year and contributing almost £5 billion to the UK economy. This puts the country’s gaming industry above other sectors, such as music, film and TV.
Off-Shore Solar Power
Difficulties with building solar power stations on land, such as a shortage of space and planning objections, are leading businesses to develop offshore solar power stations.
While floating solar power stations have already been created for use on lakes, the biggest obstacle at sea is the potential for damage from storms and high waves. This has led to new innovations in design, such as SolarDuck’s power station where the solar panels are fixed to a platform that’s raised several metres above the water’s surface, preventing individual panels being disconnected from each other in poor weather.
The joint Norwegian and Dutch company, SolarDuck, is collaborating with RWE, an energy company from Germany, to develop the world’s largest solar power station which will operate in the North Sea. It is hoped the station, which will be able to supply enough energy for hundreds of properties, will be up and running within three years.
A hacking group called Vice Society has been targeting schools in both the UK and the USA, stealing personal and sensitive data and ransoming schools for payment. When payment isn’t made, the data is leaked online, including on the Vice Society’s dark web website.
In the UK, at least 14 schools, mostly secondaries, and one major university are known to have become victims. The hackers use specialised software that enables them to search through school databases for the most sensitive of data. That which has been stolen includes passport images collected for foreign trips, information about children with special needs, staff contracts, salary information, teaching materials and folders marked as confidential.
To protect against such attacks, schools should implement strict password policies and make use of two-factor authentication for all accounts. Users should also be trained in how to spot phishing emails.
Belfast company, Artemis Technologies, is making waves in the development of environmentally friendly shipping, having developed a new type of boat that is both energy efficient and which doesn’t cause coastal erosion.
Aptly named The Pioneer of Belfast, the company’s new 11.5m workboat has a unique hydrofoil design that lifts its hull above the water when it travels. As a result, the drag on the boat is massively reduced. This achieves two things, firstly, not as much energy is needed to power the vessel and, secondly, the wake it leaves in the water is much smaller than that of a conventional vessel of the same size.
By fitting the boat with an electric rather than diesel motor, The Pioneer of Belfast uses 90% less fuel than a similar vessel and is carbon-free. In addition, its small wake means it has minimal impact on coastal erosion, enabling it to travel at much greater speeds when standard boats are required to slow down.
PC Sales Drop
Business analyst, Gartner, has reported that worldwide shipments of PCs fell by record levels in the last quarter of 2022. Sales fell by almost 30% to 65 million, the biggest drop ever recorded. Over the entire year, sales were down by 16% to 286 million PCs.
Reasons for the decline include higher interest rates, spiralling inflation and the anticipation that there will be a global recession. As a result, businesses are holding on to their existing PCs for longer. Another factor, affecting the home PC market, is that many consumers purchased new computers during the pandemic that are still only a few years old. In the current economic environment, there is little eagerness to replace these with newer models. Visit the WHUK website for more news, knowledge base articles, blog posts and information on our wide range of services.