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.
AI mind readers
AI and machine learning are now helping scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, to read minds. By training algorithms used by brain-machine interfaces, they are now able to decode what someone is saying simply by analysing brainwaves when they talk. They do this by transferring brain patterns into sentences. Remarkably, this can happen in real-time and with word accuracy rates as high as 97%.
While current studies are only working with a limited number of sentences, there is the potential in the future to expand this capability to understand the entire language. Key to this is that the algorithm could be trained to decode sentences it has never been taught to understand.
The future potential for this type of technology is enormous. In medicine, it could enable those without speech or movement, like the late Stephen Hawking, to communicate with others in real-time and, in technology, it could remove the need for users to input speech or text – we’d just need to think our search queries. The downside, of course, is that we risk our more private thoughts being broadcast.
TSB exemplifies the need to upgrade hosting during Coronavirus
Customers have found themselves unable to access TSB’s mobile and internet banking services this week, with hundreds of users complaining on social media about the outage. While TSB hasn’t explained the precise cause of the intermittent service and ‘unexpected errors’, one of the probable reasons is that the Coronavirus outbreak has forced users to be more reliant on their banking apps and online services.
Any business currently seeing a spike in traffic should check that their hosting package provides all the resources they need. If not, an upgrade may be advisable to prevent growing visitor numbers impacting their website’s performance.
After Microsoft, it’s Google’s turn to tumble
Last week we reported how increased demand had caused issues with Microsoft Azure availability. This week, Google has had issues of its own which included a 14-hour cloud platform outage and a G Suite outage. As a result of the cloud issues, various Google services went offline, including Big Query, Dataflow, DialogFlow, Cloud Console, Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Firestore and App Engine. The cause of these cloud problems was a lack of memory in Google’s cache servers.
The G-Suite problem, which was caused by a failure of the company’s network gear, affected its Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Hangouts Chat and Meet services. The G-Suite admin console and Google Classroom were also taken offline.
CLOUD Act forcing companies to use native providers
If you are a company that needs to comply with GDPR, a new law in the US might force you to change provider. The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act, enables US law enforcers investigating criminal activities to access data stored on the servers of US cloud companies.
While law enforcement has been allowed to access data stored in US-based datacentres for some time, the new CLOUD Act extends the remit to any US-owned datacentres, anywhere in the world. This means companies storing the data of EU and UK citizens in US-owned datacentres located in Europe risk GRDP non-compliance, as does the cloud provider itself.
Indeed, not only does the CLOUD Act give US law enforcement the right to trawl through your customers’ personal data; it also allows them to do it without informing you. As a result, many EU and UK businesses may be forced into using non-US owned providers, like WHUK, which have all their datacentres located in their own country.
Business Coronavirus shopping list revealed
UK marketing intelligence company, Context, has released information about IT product shipments in Europe since the Coronavirus outbreak began. These reveal how businesses across the region have been spending their budgets in order to enable employees to work from home.
The data shows a surge in demand when compared to the same period in 2019. Shipments of headsets, headphones and microphones, needed for conference calls, grew by 57%, while audio-visual systems grew by almost 300% in some countries. Demand for smart security and access control also increased, with an 85% growth across Europe.
Notebooks, laptops and even desktop computers have been high on the shopping list too, the latter growing by 16%. At the same time, companies have been investing in telephony and conference systems and solid-state drives.
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