A company that uses artificial intelligence to detect firearms in active shooting settings has been awarded a US$1.25 million grant by the US Air Force to integrate the technology into existing unmanned aerial vehicles.

This is the third R&D grant the Air Force has awarded to ZeroEasy, whose core business is protecting schools with its gun detection video analytics platform.

With ZeroEyes technology, the camera in a flying drone can be used to locate a firearm as soon as it appears, report it to a weapons specialist at an operations center to assess the threat, and Instruct to take action – all within three to five seconds.

“A quarter of active shootings occur on government property, and we will do everything we can to protect our airmen,” Dover AFB Chief Innovation Officer Captain Nicholas Martini said in a statement.

“ZeroEasy’s technology not only provides another layer of security,” he adds, “it will also enable us to reduce our investment in security personnel and utilize our manpower for more mission-critical tasks.”

In addition to the Dover award, ZeroEyes has a $750,000 grant for drone-robot enabled active shooter deterrence at Ellsworth AFB, SD, and a $1.2 million grant for unmanned ground vehicle automated threat detection at Minot AFB, ND.

robo dog

“DoD was impressed by what we had and asked us if we could apply our technology to mobile cameras, unmanned aerial systems and unmanned ground vehicles,” said co-founder Sam Alimo, ZeroEas chief revenue officer.

Alimo, along with the four other founders of ZeroEasy, are all former leaders of the Navy SEALs team. He said his company’s technology could be very valuable in a war zone.

“When you’re on a mission, the base for protection is often low so having an extra layer of security with drones that can detect someone with a gun in a crowd of people without it, would be a huge asset.” ,” he said.

He explained that the Air Force grant will enable ZeroEyes to adapt its technology, which is currently used on stationary video cameras, on mobile platforms as well as on robotic dogs. “First responders like the idea of ​​walking a gun detection dog in an active shooter situation rather than a human being,” he said.

Optimizing on-the-go vehicles could also open up other business possibilities for ZeroEyes. “A lot of third-party logistics companies and sporting arenas ask us for the technology,” Alimo explained. “Playgrounds want the ability to follow a drone around the stands.”

active solution

Last week, ZeroEyes announced that its gun detection system was being deployed at Vassar Public Schools, located 45 minutes from Oxford High School in Michigan, the scene of a mass shooting in November 2021 that killed four students and seven people were injured. including a teacher. After shooting, Oxford began a pilot program with ZeroEyes.

“I stumbled upon the ZeroEas at a superintendent’s convention. I didn’t know anything about them,” confessed Vassar Public School superintendent Dot Blackwell.

“What surprises me about the product is that it’s very active,” she told TechNewsWorld. “Someone who is ex-military or law enforcement is looking at frames from our cameras 24/7, and me and law enforcement will be alerted in seconds.”

“In these situations, the first few seconds are the key in stopping them,” she said.

Alaimo explained that the ZeroEyes technology can be used with any existing security camera system. “It can identify an object and send an alert to first responders in three to five seconds,” Alimo said. “However, we have a human in the loop because no algorithm will ever have 100% certainty on anything.”

ZeroEasy’s machine learning models have been trained with thousands of samples – everything from snub-nosed revolvers to semi-automatic pistols to submachine guns to assault rifles to shotguns and hunting rifles, he said.

“When the algorithm sees what it thinks is a gun, it will send an alert to our surveillance center,” he continued. “The center is staffed with veterans and law enforcement personnel who are very comfortable in these situations. He has the final say on what a gun is. This way, we ensure that our customers never get false positives. ,

“This process is very fast,” he said. “The camera will see the gun. The image will be sent to our surveillance center, and the surveillance will be sent to the customer in three to five seconds.

privacy protected

Although images are being piped into ZeroEyes’ monitoring center from across the country, it can accommodate workflows with a modest number of analysts.

“The algorithm is such that we don’t get overwhelmed by false positives,” Alimo said. “It’s manageable to the point that we’ve been able to scale to a million cameras without a massive surveillance center.”

“Right now,” he continued, “we are in 30 states and we have less than a dozen analysts in our surveillance center.”

“We have identified hundreds of guns, some of them real, some of them not real, some of them fake, some of them sharp guns,” he said.

Once a potential threat has been identified, the threat system can be notified in a number of ways.

“We have several mechanisms in place to notify customers if some of them don’t work,” Alimo said. “There is a call tree to make sure that no matter what happens, we can find someone on the phone. We also have a mobile app that sends notifications with the shooter’s image, the shooter’s exact location, and a bread crumb trail.

“We also have desktop notifications and integrations with an organization called RapidSOS,” he continued. “They are integrated with 93% of public safety answering points nationwide.”

“A school often tells us to send our alerts to Rapid SOS,” he said, “so first responders can get notification at the same time as a principal so both can enforce their safety protocols simultaneously.”

The combination of artificial intelligence and surveillance video may raise red flags among privacy advocates, but ZeroEyes seems to have covered those grounds. It says its AI does not record, store or share videos or images of students or others, ensuring that privacy is maintained.

Data privacy laws are becoming a major focus globally as businesses scramble to meet new compliance obligations.

Privacy rules generally oblige any business or organization to securely store all data collected or processed by them. What they do with that data is strictly regulated.

According to a Gartner report, by the end of next year about 65% of the world’s population will have their personal data covered under modern privacy rules. Following these extended rules can be challenging.

The harvesting of personal data from electronic transactions and the increasing use of the Internet over the past 20 years have seen companies have almost free reign.

Many organizations involved in international commerce must modify their procedures in line with the new law. This is a priority for transactions and correspondence involving e-commerce and social media.

Expanding consumer mistrust, government action, and competition for customers prompted some governments to introduce stricter rules and regulations. Its effect is changing the conditions of a no-man’s land, which has allowed both large companies and small businesses to run rampant with people’s personal data.

“The biggest challenge companies face by far is maintaining the amount of data they manage, which is subject to ever-changing data privacy requirements,” Neil Jones, director of cybersecurity evangelism at Egnyte, told TechNewsWorld.

Classification of different demands

The European Union has a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). According to Jones, in the UK and Continental Europe, data privacy has generally been viewed as a fundamental human right. In the US and Canada, businesses must navigate around a growing patchwork of state and provincial laws.

Data privacy law in the US and Canada has traditionally been more fragmented than in the UK and Europe. Canada’s Quebec, and the United States’ Utah and Connecticut are the latest to enact comprehensive data privacy laws, joining the US states of California, Virginia and Colorado.

By the end of 2023, 10% of states in the US will be covered by data privacy legislation, Jones said. The lack of a universal standard for data privacy has created an artificial layer of business complexity.

In addition, today’s hybrid work environment has created new levels of risk, with complex compliance with myriad privacy concerns.

what’s at stake

To increase productivity, organizations may need to ask employees detailed questions about their behavior and work-from-home arrangements. According to Jones, these types of questions can create unintended privacy implications of their own.

The recent convergence of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI) has put even highly confidential data at risk. This includes confidential test results such as workers’ compensation reports, health records of employees and patients, and COVID-19 information.

“With 65% of the world’s population expected to have personal data covered under privacy regulations by next year, respecting data privacy has never been more important,” Jones said.

cloud privacy barriers

Data privacy and security are the top challenges for implementing a cloud strategy, now rebranded as Foundry, according to a recent study by IDG. In this study, the role of data security was a major concern.

When implementing a cloud strategy, IT decision makers or ITDMs are facing challenges such as controlling cloud costs, data privacy and security challenges, and lack of cloud security skills/expertise.

With more focus on securing privacy data, this problem becomes bigger as more organizations migrate to the cloud. The two main obstacles the IDG study found were data privacy and security challenges and a lack of cloud security skills/expertise.

According to Foundry, spending on cloud infrastructure has increased by about $5 million this year.

“Although enterprise businesses are leading the charge, SMBs are not far behind when it comes to cloud migration,” said Stacey Rapp, marketing and research manager at Foundry, when the report was released.

“As more organizations move towards living entirely in the cloud, IT teams will need the appropriate talent and resources to manage their cloud infrastructure and overcome any security and privacy barriers that may occur in the cloud,” he said.

obtaining compliance

Organizations can successfully prepare for data privacy legislation, but doing so requires making data privacy initiatives a “full-time job,” Jones maintained.

“Many organizations view data privacy as a part-time project for their web teams, not a full-time business initiative that can significantly impact customer relationships, employee morale and brand reputation,” he said. offered.

Beyond that step comes establishing holistic data governance programs that provide greater visibility into a company’s regulated and sensitive data. Added to this is working with trusted business and technology partners who understand the data privacy space and can help you prepare for rapidly evolving regulations.

Jones suggests that perhaps the most dynamic approach is to use advanced privacy and compliance (APC) solutions. It enables organizations to easily comply with global privacy regulations in one place.

Specifically, APCs can help achieve compliance by:

  • Managing Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs), such as the right of individuals to be notified of personal data collected on them, the right to opt-out of personal information being sold to others, or by collecting organizations right to be forgotten
  • Assessing the company’s compliance preparedness and scope with specific regulations (eg, GDPR, CCPA)
  • Create and review technical assessments of third-party vendors and evaluate potential risks to consumer data
  • Enhance cookie consent capabilities such as integration of cookie consent into compliance workflows

active labor

It can be difficult for companies to understand today’s rapidly evolving privacy landscape, as well as how specific rules apply to them, Jones said. However, by taking proactive steps, organizations can stay on top of data privacy regulations in the future.

Those phases include these ongoing tasks:

  • Monitor the status of data privacy regulations in the countries, provinces and states where the customer base resides
  • Create a data privacy task force that can improve organizational focus and increase senior executive focus on privacy initiatives
  • Be aware of new federal data privacy legislation such as the proposed US Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA)

It is also important to note the long-term benefits of data privacy compliance. Specifically strengthening the company’s overall cyber security protections.

Originally published on July 11, 2022. This story is brought to you today as part of our Best of ECT news series.

A TED talk by Graham Conway, principal engineer at the Southwest Research Institute, claims that electric vehicles are less green than ICE cars and this is well argued. While I don’t agree with all of Conway’s metrics, the point he makes is valid, which is that the things we need to do to make electric vehicles truly green haven’t been done yet.

We are nowhere near the maximum potential for an electric car. Conway argues that for the next two or three decades, the hybrid approach may be better – at least until we can fix the parts of the ecosystem that are making electric vehicles less green.

In the meantime, we must continue to explore alternatives such as green hydrogen; A process where hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. With that, if we continue our massive push to convert to electric vehicles, we could be in a better place faster.

Here’s Conway’s presentation for reference:

This week let’s talk about what’s really involved in switching to electric cars. Then we’ll close with our product of the week, a laptop from Vaio that shows just how much you can get for less than $700—at least for now.

I’m not anti-electric

I’ll start by pointing out that I drive an EV and have leased one of the first Jaguar I-Pace electric cars to come to the US since 2019.

Last year I bought that car from a leasing company because I didn’t like anything better, and the lease buyout was much less than what I sold the car for. Seems like a good deal.

I’ve been covering electric cars since the late 1990s, when I was the top US battery analyst among many other titles. So, I love electric cars, but I also know their drawbacks and there are still many.

disadvantages of electric car

As Conway pointed out, electric cars can be driven indefinitely in a closed room without killing us and are certainly greener to operate. However, they have three major weaknesses.

The first is that due to the almost complete collapse of battery development in the early 1900s, battery technology is not where it would have been otherwise.

Lithium ion has one-third the energy density of dynamite, the common configuration being in cells such as small AA batteries that are difficult to cool, and if the battery catches on fire, it is difficult to put out. I know this directly because a fire broke out in a bicycle with a lithium-ion battery in my garage and even though I was trained as a fireman and was at home, I almost lost the house.

Lithium ion burns hot enough to melt aluminum and it will continue to ignite as long as the cells have enough energy to generate the heat needed for combustion. That’s why we have reports of a crashed Tesla on fire again in the wreckage.

Also, as Conway mentioned, manufacturing these batteries is far from a green process and the substance is a pollutant, which means that the batteries must be recycled to prevent groundwater contamination.

The second weakness is that for large-scale cryptocurrency miners, there is no electrical power headroom in the world and the peak generation capacity of the power grid often comes from old, dirty and nearly obsolete production facilities.

Electric cars draw a considerable amount of electricity, and we don’t yet have the headroom in our grid to supply it. Cars are typically charged at night when renewable energy such as wind and solar is unreliable (wind) or non-existent (solar). So, even if you have a solar plant on your roof, if you’re connected to the grid (not using the battery for power at night), and you change your electricity at night, you might end up with something like this. Pulling from a power source that is anything but green.

Third and finally, we don’t have enough neighborhood electric capacity to handle the huge influx of electric cars. Last time I checked, if you find more than three cars charging at once in a block of houses, there’s a good chance your local transformer will grenade – and they really do boom when they go up.

I considered getting a Level 3 charger for my electric vehicle, and it would have cost me more than the car cost. Not only would I have to pull bigger wires and more of them (going from L-2- to L-3 phase), but I would have to pay to replace the local transformer and massively increase my home service level.

Now with solid state batteries (which are coming), the expansion of green energy sources (especially nuclear or geothermal ones that can operate at night), and the expansion of micro-grid technologies (which are small green generators to be distributed Provided), we can turn Electric cars serve as a tremendous force to work against climate change. But we are not there yet.

This is not a list of requirements you can pick and choose from. You need all three elements to make electric cars truly green: green energy storage, sufficient green energy generation, and a more efficient grid to deliver that energy reliably, cheaply, and safely. All that is coming, just not in this decade.

Other Problems We Aren’t Talking About

The big deal is, what do we do with existing gasoline drilling, refining and distribution systems? The oil industry employs about 6 million people directly and 10 times more jobs are created indirectly.

Refineries, gas and oil pipelines, storage tanks and gas stations are all potentially hazardous material problems depending on how much oil and gas has leaked over the years. Even if the answer is zero, equipment will need to be safely cleaned and then scraped.

Industries dependent on oil production ranging from plastics to cheap drugs (petroleum jelly) and some solvents would collapse without large-scale oil production, and the resulting economic collapse of an industry (what happens to all oil platforms and oil drilling rigs?). The ecological time bombs of the future are subject to the firms once owned by them.

Plans should be drawn up on what to do with these related industries and implemented before the car and truck industry moves to electricity so as to avoid huge labor and ecological problems.

Plug-in Hybrids: The Short-Term Answer

As TED Talk also pointed out, you can get the same benefits as an electric car with a plug-in hybrid.

My wife drives a Volvo XC60 rechargeable plug-in hybrid. With the car coming up in a year and a half, we’re on our third or fourth gas tank (largely connected to the drive that exceeds its electric limit). It uses a very small and safe battery.

The Volvo XC60 also typically only requires the included Level 1 battery charger that plugs into a regular household electrical plug, unlike Level 2 chargers that require a two-stage hookup and a plug that plugs into an electric cloth. Uses dryer. His car will work with my level 2 charger, and it charges fast but not enough, in my opinion, to make a level 2 charger worthwhile.

Oh, and I should point out that while his car has a 20-mile power range, the latest version of his car doubles that to 40 miles, which makes the battery size far smaller and greener than the full- Keeping full is more ideal. – On an electric car.

wrapping up

While I’m an electric car fan because they’re fun to drive and gas stations surprisingly pleasant to pass through, the electric car ecosystem isn’t where it needs to be to get the full benefits of going electric just yet.

We need better, safer, more reliable and green battery technology. Charging cars requires more green energy, and we need a far stronger and more powerful grid to handle the extra load (cryptocurrency mining, which has taken off as of late, has led to arguably more powerful grids). pushing has helped). We also need a plan to more painlessly go away from oil. Otherwise, the infection will be noticeably more ugly than expected.

If we move to electric cars before all of these elements are in place, the result will not only be less of the positive impact on climate change that electrics would otherwise provide, but they will create many other environmental and social problems that we are prepared to tackle. are not. with.

Sometimes it’s better not to rush into new technology and instead be more measured in our approach. This is why, for now, a hybrid car may be a more sustainable option than electric vehicles, until we address other aspects of the conversion process to EVs.

Technical Product of the Week

Vaio 15.6″ FE Series Notebook

I was a big fan of Sony’s Vaio line back when Sony had the Vaio — and I studied why Sony failed massively in the PC market in the early 2000s. It was not because it did not have a well differentiated and well manufactured product. The products were more innovative and better built than any other big seller of the time.

The bigger problem was that while the product broke less often when it did break, the service experience was terrible. Therefore, customers did not hold back and tended to replace their better looking Vaio PCs with vendors that are still in this market.

Vaio is now largely a standalone company. I was curious whether it maintained its product quality, so I requested the least expensive new laptop evaluation model for this review. I should point out that I haven’t tested the company’s service process, but I’ve been told that it has improved and today’s laptops are far more reliable than they were two decades ago when Vaio was part of Sony.

Priced at $699 in silver, the 15.6″ Vaio FE laptop runs an acceptable Intel i5 processor with limited integrated graphics. That means it tests well for things like web browsing, watching movies, and office work – But it’s by no means a gaming machine or workstation. Its graphics score indicates it’ll be woefully useless if you need graphics headroom for gaming, photo or video editing, or computer-aided design.

Vaio 15.6

The Vaio 15.6″ FE Series Notebook is currently available in silver for $699 and in black for $799. (image credit: Vaio)

It played older and more casual games respectfully, and as mentioned, it streamed TV and movies just fine, though the speakers don’t do the included THX technology justice. It would be far better with a good set of headphones.

This Vaio FE has a fingerprint reader for security on the track pad (unusually), it lacks a touch screen, and has an older-style charger (no USB-C charging) that’s unusual on current-generation laptops – but probably acceptable is the lower end. USB-C chargers are a lot more useful in the sense that they’re more common now, so you’re more likely to find a charger you can borrow, and they can charge many of your smartphones in a pinch.

The fit and finish were sturdy, with a metal casing and a painted plastic keyboard. What I found was silver – and silver-painted plastic usually looks cheap – but this was the best implementation I’ve seen so far. Still, I’d pay an extra $100 to get it in black.

Vaio 15.6”-inch FE Series Notebook in Black Color

VAIO 15.6″ FE Series Notebook in Black color. (image credit: Vaio)

It was one of the first laptops to come with Windows 11 already on board, and with one exception the startup experience has improved.

That exception is that when it does its first major update, it doesn’t provide a progress bar, which makes you wonder if it’s doing anything at all. Since rebooting the machine can brick it, lack of notice can lead to some costly mistakes. Otherwise, the OS loaded fine and did a better job of bringing in my settings and favorites than Windows 10.

In the end, the $699 Vaio 15.6″ FE laptop in silver was a good high-end, entry-level laptop for school or remote work, has good battery life, isn’t too heavy for its class, and looks great. Is to be mistaken for a more expensive product.

All this makes the VAIO FE Series Notebook my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

PCs and TVs received high scores from consumers in a report released Tuesday by the US Customer Satisfaction Index.

The ACSI Home Appliances and Electronics Study for 2021-2022, based on interviews with more than 9,000 consumers, rates a range of products on a scale of zero to 100.

Customer satisfaction with the TVs is “sky high,” ACSI noted in a news release, pulling the score down to 80.

“Television – and consumer electronics more broadly – has been one of the more satisfying industries measured at ACSI,” said ACSI Research Emeritus Forrest Morgesson.

“When you consider the never-ending wave of technological innovations being introduced into the industry, as well as the ever-decreasing prices for these goods – despite recent inflation – it is not hard to understand why, Morgeson, who is also an assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University, told TechNewsWorld.

streaming satisfaction

It should come as no surprise that overall consumer satisfaction with TVs is so high, said Mark N. Venna, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif.

“For nearly a decade, TVs with embedded ‘smart’ interfaces have been gaining in overall share, allowing users to more easily and intuitively change settings, as well as content in an intuitive manner through an ‘app’ orientation. can reach,” he told TechNewsWorld. , “Consumer satisfaction is up as TVs get easier to use.”

Streaming programming has also contributed to consumer satisfaction with TV. “With TV streaming, they’ve become far more capable over time, and they’re relatively problem-free, in terms of devices,” said Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at Enderle Group, an advisory services firm in Bend, Ore. .

“With streaming, TV is again the center of in-home entertainment, and people are pleased with improvements over time and not worried about premature obsolescence,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Desktop Outscore Laptop, Tablet

PCs, which include desktops, laptops and tablets, also scored higher on the index with 79. In form factor, desktops, at 80, scored higher than laptops and tablets, which both posted 79, although the tablet satisfaction number was three points. More in 2022 than in 2021.

“It’s little surprise that PCs recorded higher customer satisfaction than laptops and desktops,” Morgesson said. “Of course, it’s important to note that PCs have a much smaller market share than the other two, and there are different consumers of PCs who are looking for different features and functionality in their computers. These differ in needs. explains the large amount of difference in product types.”

Neither Vena nor Enderle, however, were surprised by consumer satisfaction with the desktop.

“Tablets and laptops are often used to penalize mobile settings that make them more prone to accidental damage,” explained Vena. “Due to their fixed nature, desktop PCs — especially all-in-one models — tend to have a stronger reliability assumption because they don’t move around.”

“Desktops generally don’t need to be carried around, the bigger the screen you can afford, the fewer connectivity issues there are, and there aren’t much battery life issues,” Enderle said.

Apple tops in popularity

Among PC makers, Apple had the highest customer satisfaction rating with 82, although Samsung came second with 81.

“Apple PCs have long been popular with their customers, and have often outperformed other PC makers,” Morgesson said.

“For many years,” he continued, “this popularity was driven by the niche market created by Apple, appealing to web and graphic designers. More recently, the strong popularity of the Apple iPhone, and with Apple’s PC Its seamless integration – like the MacBook – has attracted a broad set of customers who have come to really like the product.

US Customer Satisfaction Index: Home Appliances and Electronics Study for 2021-2022

Apple is a leader in overall consumer satisfaction because they control the total hardware and software “stack,” explained Vena.

“This allows Apple to manage the overall user experience in a very strict and cohesive manner, which is something Microsoft cannot do because it relies on an OEM model,” he said.

“Apple products ‘just work’ because they are not open, generally speaking, like Microsoft-based products from a third-party peripheral and device perspective,” he continued.

“Microsoft focuses more on backward compatibility with the tools that enterprise customers demand,” he said.

stellar customer service

Customer service is another way Apple attracts customers. “Apple has great service,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology consulting firm in Campbell, Calif.

“Over the past 20 years, they have developed a top-notch service model that includes physical service at Apple Stores and Genius Bars,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“When you have an issue with an Apple product, you know how to deal with it,” he continued. “It has a great online service for handling problems and if you are in a city with an Apple Store, you can make an appointment with Genius Bar and 90% of the time, this will help you take care of the problem.”

“It’s a really big difference for Apple,” he said. “None of the other companies have the same kind of network to handle customer service as Apple does.”

In contrast, surveyors found that satisfaction with Microsoft’s software dropped four points to 73.

“Microsoft offers its customers a wide range of very different software solutions, and so it’s hard to attribute their decline to any one software product,” Morgesson said.

“Nevertheless,” he continued, “the increasing availability of competing alternatives for many of their products – including low- or no-cost apps now available to consumers – is potentially influencing consumer perceptions with software offerings. “

LG is the leader in the domestic category

“Microsoft’s bread-and-butter apps like PowerPoint, Outlook, Word and Excel keep getting new features that create a notion of bloat that doesn’t necessarily mean ease of use,” Venna said.

Then there’s Windows 11. “Satisfaction usually goes down when new OSes come out because people don’t like to upgrade, even though the process has improved a lot over the years,” Enderle said.

Consumer satisfaction with the major home appliances in the survey – washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, oven and microwave – also rose one point year-on-year to 79. LG Corp led all companies in the domestic category, jumping three points to 81.

“Our performance in the 2022 ACSI Rankings indicates that LG is an innovative brand that delivers products and features with real consumer benefits, but more importantly, without sacrificing product quality,” said the CEO of Home Appliances Product Management. LG Vice President Brandt Warner said.

“As we continue to listen to the customer and prioritize their recommendations, the quality of our product remains our main focus so that consumers know that their LG device will offer excellent performance while meeting their needs, ‘ he told TechNewsWorld.

A new service powered by artificial intelligence that can turn portraits into talking heads was announced by D-ID on Monday.

Called Creative Reality Studio, the self-service application can convert a facial image into video, complete with speech.

The service is aimed at professional content creators – learning and development units, human resources departments, marketers, advertisers and sales teams – but anyone can try out the technique on the D-ID website.

Creative Reality Studio
Video by John P. Mello Jr.

The platform reduces the cost and hassle of creating corporate video content and provides an unlimited variety of presenters – versus limited avatars – that include users’ own photos or any images that the company has the right to use, according to the company. Gained notoriety when its technology was used in an app called Deep Nostalgia. The software was introduced as a way to animate old pictures.

The company said the technology enables customers and users to choose a presenter’s identity, including their ethnicity, gender, age and even their language, accent and tone. “It provides greater representation and diversity, creating a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging, which drives further engagement and interaction with the businesses that use it,” it said in a news release.

Matthew Kershaw, D-ID Marketing Vice President, told TechNewsWorld, “The use cases include empowering professional content creators to seamlessly integrate video into the digital space and presentations with specialized PowerPoint plug-ins, the use of customized corporate video narrators.” Generating more engaging content.

impressive services

The quality of these services is impressive, and continues to get better, maintained Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a research and public policy organization in Washington DC.

“The service isn’t at a level where it’s completely replacing a presenter, but there’s no reason not to expect it to be there relatively soon,” he told TechNewsWorld.

D-ID explained that the use of video by businesses has increased dramatically and more of them are integrating it into their training, communication and marketing strategies.

Accelerating this trend, it continued, are the rapidly evolving worlds of avatars and the metaverse, both of which demand a more creative, immersive and interactive content approach from digital creators. Production budgeting, however, can be prohibitively expensive and requires significant allocation of time and talent.

“The service is an evolution of the avatars and emoji people use today, but can be used in lengthy discussions or presentations,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology consulting firm in New York City.

“The idea is to save time, especially if you were going to read a script,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It can be more engaging to an audience than simply watching audio or slides.”

democratizing AI

D-ID CEO and co-founder Gil Perry noted in a news release that the company’s technology, which is limited to the enterprise, has been used to create 100 million videos.

“Now that we are offering our self-service Creative Reality platform, the potential is enormous,” he continued. “It enables both large enterprises, small companies and freelancers to create personalized videos for multiple purposes on a large scale.”

Kershaw said D-ID’s technology will further democratize creativity. “I say ‘forward’ because technology has really been democratizing the arts for decades,” he said.

“From the installation of synthesizers, samplers and sequencers in music to Photoshop and Illustrator in photography and illustration, and premiere and desktop editing in film production and motion graphics, the ability to create high-quality productions outside of specialist high-end studios It’s been happening since the 1980s,” he said. “This is the latest episode of that long-running series.”

“This is certainly a step forward towards democratizing AI,” agreed Aviva Litton, a security and privacy analyst at Gartner. “It has great use cases in education, healthcare and retail,” she told TechNewsWorld. “It’s a better way to communicate with people. We’re becoming a more visual society. Nobody has time to read anything.”

deepfake concerns

With growing concern over the use of “deepfakes” to spread misinformation and take social engineering to new heights, there is always the potential for misuse of new synthetic media solutions such as D-ID.

“As with any technology, it can be used for the ill by our bad actors, but our platform is aimed at legitimate businesses that would have no interest in that kind of use,” Kershaw said.

“Plus,” he continued, “we’re not deepfakes. We don’t put someone else’s face on someone else’s body, and we’re not trying to tell anyone something they didn’t say.”

“Within D-ID’s platform, we have put in place a number of security measures to ensure that our technology is not used in this manner,” he said. “We do not repeat the voices of celebrities or those without permission from any person.”

The company also filters abusive and racist comments, and prohibits the platform from being used to make political videos.

“D-ID is putting railings on their platforms, but we all know that railings are never perfect,” Litton said.

“It is a good tool to spread misinformation because these social media sites are not ready for deepfakes,” she said. “Even if social media sites are good at detecting deepfakes, they will never be enough. It’s like spam. Spam always gets through. It will happen too, but the consequences There will be worse.”

need for origin

Detecting deepfakes is a losing proposition in the long run, Litton said. Even today, detection algorithms typically cannot detect more than 70% of deep fakes.

He added that determined adversaries will keep pace with deepfake detection using generative adversarial networks so that the detection rate is eventually reduced to 50%.

She predicts that in 2023, 20% of successful account takeover attacks will use deepfakes to turn over sensitive data to socially engineered users or transfer funds to criminal accounts.

“Many safeguards need to be implemented industry-wide, which is why we are also working with industry bodies and regulators to implement legal safeguards that will make the industry more secure and reliable in general ,” said Kershaw. “We think that having an industry-wide system for watermarking content invisibly through the use of steganography, in particular, would get rid of almost all potential issues.”

“You will be able to see a section of media and click a button to see where it came from and what’s in it,” he said. “Transparency is the solution.”

“There are many ways to deal with counterfeiting, but the most important is to know the origin and authenticity of the media,” Castro said.

A new search engine powered by artificial intelligence and natural language processing is offering an alternative to the list of web pages that make up the results of a typical online search.

Called Andy, the search engine combines the use of large language models – think OpenAI’s GPY-3 – and live web data to formulate answers to questions posed by searchers.

“We use AI and natural language processing to understand the intent of a question,” explained co-founder Angela Hoover.

“Andy will look at the top 10 to 20 results for any question,” she explained to TechNewsWorld. “Then, using the larger language model, it would produce a direct answer to the question.”

andy search engine

Andy’s Search Query Screen (Image Credit: Andy)

Does the Internet need another search engine? Hoover thinks so. “Google is broken,” she said. “Google is built 20 years ago for the way the web worked. The cognitive overload of ads and links overloads the user with a lot of distraction and time wasted.”

“People want direct answers to questions. They don’t want a list of links,” she said.

Gen Z Appeal

Andy is designed for a younger demographic.

“It felt like my search results were being found in social media feeds. It appealed to younger users,” said Will Duffield, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a Washington, DC think tank.

“The clean reading that Andy is showing seems like a pushback against adding more widgets to Search,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Hoover acknowledged that Andy aims to appeal to the younger set, particularly Generation Z. “Gen Z lives in visual feeds and chat apps. My generation spends all their time in conversational interfaces,” she said.

“The key to taking on Google is a conversational interface,” she insisted. “Everyone who has tried to take down Google has been a weak copy with the same amount of massive information, spam, and clutter in the results.”

andy search results

Andy search results (Image credit: Andy)

A search engine that provides answers could also appeal to older people, noted Mark N. Venna, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif.

“In general, users are getting tired of Google’s search algorithms being biased, deterministic and selective,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Whether that assumption is correct or not,” he continued, “a new search engine that uses common sense language and provides specific answers rather than links could be particularly interesting to older users who have Don’t want to bother reviewing the link. To get an answer to a question or query.”

search option required

However, making people switch search engines is a daunting task. “Google has set the bar really high for web search,” said Danny Goodwin, managing editor of Search Engine Land and SMX, a digital marketing and advertising technology publication.

“The only reason we would need another search engine is if you can provide something better than Google,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Better search results. Better user experience. Better answers. Better whatever.”

Greg Sterling, co-founder of the news, commentary and analysis website Near Media, said there is a lot of information online right now, much of it of low quality.

“Google is trying to respond to growing complaints about the decline in the quality and usability of its search results,” he told TechNewsWorld. “I believe there is an opportunity to deliver a new or better search experience. But this is a big problem and many new search engines copy the look and feel of Google.”

“Google’s partial abandonment in favor of TikTok by some young users,” he said, “is an example of the hunger for something different.”

“It’s hard to get just one answer now,” said Liz Miller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, a technology research and advisory firm in Cupertino, Calif.

“Which one do you see fighting for first in query results is extremely costly for brands and increasingly unpleasant for users,” she told TechNewsWorld. “The reality for many users is that they only want answers to the question they asked. They don’t want easter egg hunts that provide sponsored and level-headed results.”

finding a niche

Kerstin Recker, chief strategy and development officer at Seeker Search Engines, said there are several reasons why alternative search engines exist. “When a search engine controls the majority of the market, it has control over the information most people receive,” she told TechNewsWorld.

“Top search engines all factor engagement in their rankings,” she continued. “The more clicks a result gets, the higher the rank of the result. Most search engines do not take into account the quality of the content.

“Alternative search engines are needed to balance bias and give people more choice and clarity when it comes to information discovery and privacy,” he said.

Chasing the biggest search player to an alternative search engine can be challenging, but not frustrating.

“If you’re going to compete with a major product like Google, you find a niche that Google doesn’t want to cater to — in this case, answering questions — and you come up with a service that does a better job.” does,” explained Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at Enderle Group, an advisory services firm in Bend, Ore.

“It’s usually a successful strategy called sub-targeting,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Andy’s target demographic should also help it gain some traction in the market, Enderle said. “It’s targeting a demographic in which the demographic feels it’s not getting from the primary search engine,” he said.

“One thing about going after the younger demographic is that they are very active on social media,” he continued. “So if a few influencers get excited about it, it can drive a lot of people into it.”

show me money

Providing answers, not lists, isn’t the only way Andy differs from some of its competitors. It does not charge any fees for its service and does not record personally identifiable information about its users.

Hoover explained that the service is looking at several ways to generate revenue, including creating a premium tier of service, offering API services, and partnering with publications. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to partner with tools like Amazon Alexa and other types of voice-powered search,” she said.

However, Duffield said that becoming profitable through organic link referrals and add-on services can be difficult. “Current searches are bundled with advertising for a reason. That’s the way to make money,” he said.

Last week Apple launched new iPhones with many interesting new features. One feature reports if you’ve been in an accident (assuming your phone can connect), and the other connects the phone to satellite in a very limited way for the times when a cellular tower is out of range.

Starlink and T-Mobile are promoting a yet non-existent service that should make Apple’s satellite service look like it’s survived years of modems. All of these follow AST Spacemobile which will install its first 4/5G satellite next year to begin its coverage.

Let’s talk about our future of satellite cellular services this week. Then we’ll close with our product of the week: a very affordable pair of active noise-canceling headphones that could be perfect for those who take long trips and need to sleep with them.

apple fills a need

Apple’s emergency SOS via satellite service, which will be the first for these next-generation services, is very limited. One big advantage of this is that it will work long before the others reach critical mass.

If you’re in the middle of nowhere and need help, it won’t do any good to have a service that doesn’t work yet, so Apple service limitations only become a problem for Apple when other services become critical. Mass. Look for it in or around 2025.

This service only works in open areas that have a clear view to the sky and, I expect, you may have to do a little dancing sometimes to get enough signal. It won’t work if you fall into a ravine, get stuck in a cave, or are in a bunker.

Yet, every year there are a ton of people who get stuck at my place of residence. What they don’t realize is that the weather here can change very quickly, and that if you’re too far from your car or civilization in only shorts and a T-shirt, you’ll need help if this happens, or you’re likely to lose. Chances are anything from a few fingers to your life.

The app helps you find a satellite and then, through menus, uses the phone’s intelligence to narrow down the message and pass it on to someone who can help you. However, it can take anywhere from 15 seconds to several minutes for the satellite to get a clean line for this to work. So, if you have a broken leg, or are otherwise handicapped, you may still be out of luck.

Apple is working with Globalstar for this feature. iPhone 14 users, who initially got this facility, will get two years of this service for free. Until then, there will likely be alternatives available, and this initial offering will undoubtedly be even better.

The service is better than nothing and right now, unless you want to invest in an expensive Iridium (or other satellite) phone, it’s your only choice. Iridium’s service, while expensive, I remember it being much less expensive than traditional cellular, but still more expensive.

Starlink and T-Mobile

Elon Musk has an idea of ​​a minute and many are surprisingly good. Although I’ve worked with a guy like Musk and know it’s a nightmare to work for or with someone like this because not every idea is good and generally, people like this can’t tell the difference Huh.

Having said that, the idea of ​​turning Starlink satellites into a telephone solution is interesting. However, given that Starlink is already experiencing bandwidth issues, this service could make Starlink less attractive if it reduces bandwidth for existing Starlink customers.

Musk also tends to overpromise and underdeliver, miss announced delivery dates, and cause a fair number of problems for his companies. Still, SpaceX is the cheapest launch platform currently in service, surprisingly reliable, and most Starlink reviews I’ve seen have been impressively positive.

Personally, I would have waited until Starlink was profitable and performing extensively before offering another service on the network, but that’s not Musk’s way. So far, their big, risky bets have mostly worked out. But he and his companies remain a big mistake away from the crisis. Given the complexity of his companies, it looks like he’ll eventually hit a bad wall.

The service will initially be more capable than Apple’s satellite offering but will not be true cellular, and will require upgrades to the Starlink satellites. A beta of this service is rumored to last until the end of 2023, with full service expected within the next year in areas where there is a significant mass of new satellites. If it doesn’t reach critical mass, T-Mobile and Starlink are in an interesting position to be the first to succeed with a satellite-based smartphone solution.

AST Spacemobile

AST Spacemobile, which is set to launch its Low Earth satellite in 2023, has partnered with companies such as Vodafone and AT&T to provide a robust route to early worldwide coverage. They would need between 45 and 65 satellites to reach critical mass, assuming no major market changes or the emergence of largely better competitive technology, before the end of 2025.

The company is wrapped up with 2,400 patents and should be able to provide good 4/5G coverage once critical mass is achieved. The service will be treated like international travel or on-plane service to areas that have cellular options, so your phone will work where it currently doesn’t. Or as primary phone service for people who are outside cellular coverage areas, such as remote land or sea locations.

This will certainly improve ship-to-shore and most radio solutions for police and first responders are operating in areas where there is either no cellular service or where cellular service has been disrupted. Unlike the other two services, AST SpaceMobile will be like regular cellular in that it will support both voice and data and will not have the limitations of the other two services. But its quality and data throughput will surpass terrestrial cellular services indefinitely.

This service should work on planes as well and be better than what you currently get on airplanes. It will support both voice and data whereas planes currently only support data (people are against getting cellular coverage on planes for fear that those using it will drive them crazy with loud incessant phone calls).

wrapping up

With Apple’s announcement last week, we are now in the world of consumer satellite cellular communications and the growing potential to be able to call for help from anywhere in the world, regardless of where the cell tower is located.

This can be huge for those who find themselves in trouble or lost in remote areas and provides peace of mind for parents who can’t locate their children.

Apple is just the beginning. Companies like Starlink and T-Mobile promise far better data bandwidth than Apple, and AST Spacemobile promises global general-purpose 4/5G cellular service that includes both voice and data in the same general time frame. .

By the latter part of this decade, the idea of ​​going out of service may be as obsolete as the need to find a phone booth was in the 1990s. That, my friends, is something worth looking forward to.

Technical Product of the Week

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones

I travel a lot, so I have a lot of noise-canceling headphones with me.

Most headphones are not only very expensive, they are also not comfortable to sleep on a plane. Many are in the $250+ range, which is way too expensive for kids and, considering I leave these on airplanes, they add up for me too. Also, I don’t like earbuds or earplugs because they make my ears itch, which makes it difficult to sleep.

Well, I may have found the perfect solution in a set of headphones you can sleep in: the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Adaptive Noise Canceling Headphones. At a retail price of around $150 on Amazon, they’re not the cheapest on the market, but they’re a ton less expensive than most of the headphones I currently own.

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones

Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones (Images Credit: Soundcore)

These are an over-the-ear design with very soft pads, which make them much easier to sleep than my Bose and Sony headphones, and far more comfortable long-term for me than earbuds or on-ear products.

The Space Q45 headphones offer 50-hour battery life (I haven’t tested it), support Bluetooth 5.3, and have one of the most robust noise cancellation solutions I’ve tested—including five levels of noise cancellation Which are either turned off automatically or can be controlled by an app. If someone wants to chat with you – and you want to listen – they have a voice passthrough button.

These headphones have big 40mm drivers that lend themselves to decent lows and the sound quality was pretty good, to my ears, with significant range. For those who need an over-the-ear, affordable, noise-canceling solution they can sleep with, the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Headphones may be the ideal solution—and it’s my product of the week .

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Do you use a desktop computer or laptop with a large screen monitor as your daily driver? Either way, adding a second display will more than double the convenience and productivity.

Intel’s P15NF 15.6″ QLED Portable Monitor can boost your work and play performance. This plug and play, no configuration required portable panel is a perfect FreeSync HDR gaming or work monitor.

If you manage to play computer games on your smartphone, or travel a lot, the lightweight, P15NF lets you bring a big-screen powerhouse to life in a handy 0.17″ x 14″ x 9.1″ package that weighs only 1.41 lbs.

The display delivers a stunning FHD 100% DCI-P3 color gamut with 500-nit brightness and has an impressive assortment of connection ports: two USB-C, one mini-HDMI, one Type-C OTG , and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Intehill P15NF as a desktop display

The Intehill 15.6″ portable monitor has enough real estate and enough features to be a full-service desktop display. (image credit: Intihill)

An on-the-go (OTG) port isn’t always included on portable monitors, but having it increases convenience and productivity. The OTG adapter allows you to connect a full-sized USB flash drive or USB-A cable to your phone or tablet via a micro USB or USB-C charging port.

The monitor’s right edge sports a mini-HDMI port and two full-featured Type-C ports for turning this screen into a portable laptop and computer monitor.

It is also ideal for PS5/4, Xbox, Steam Deck and Switch. The monitor’s power ports include a USB-A to USB-C connector with a wall socket power plug, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable.

unbeatable screen performance

The QLED panel with 10-bit color depth delivers an immersive visual experience. It offers better text clarity and vivid image colors in both portrait and landscape view.

The display offers a 178° viewing angle that doesn’t look washed out or faded at the edges of the screen. You can set the panel’s menus to intensify the flicker-free display and adjust for a low blue light mode that helps reduce eye strain when staring at the screen for long intervals.

Intihill 15.6-inch portable display connected to HP Chromebase

The Model P15NF’s 500-nit visual display (R) is connected to a Chromebase computer with a 250-nit, 21.5-inch display. Note that the portable monitor displays a ChromeOS bottom docking bar, which essentially gives full functionality without launching from the main display and dragging it to a second monitor.

business view standard

Another contributing factor to this solidly built portable panel is the difference that DCI-P3 (Digital Cinema Initiative – Protocol 3) over sRGB brings into the picture.

DCI-P3 is a new technical standard for a set of colors from the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), designed to standardize the colors used in the film industry .

sRGB is an older color display standard that was jointly created by HP and Microsoft in 1996 for use on monitors, printers, and the Internet.

While the older sRGB standard is still common in portable monitors, DCI-P3 brings a wider color gamut and its use in this device is a boon for gamers and graphic professionals. Especially if you use the monitor outside, or in brightly lit offices or graphic studios, the P15NF model with DCI-P3 is more visible.

Intihill Monitor Vinodes 10 Display Adjustment

The Integral Monitor (L) in Microsoft Windows 10 Display Adjustment requires only a minor configuration change. Note that each monitor is showing different content and bottom bar for full functionality.

Smart Cover, Dumb Results

The so-called Smart Cover included in the box is a typical weak point for a portable monitor. Most come with some sort of fold-around case to protect the panel while carrying and storing it. The Smart Cover also doubles as a tabletop stand.

Intel Smart Cover
Intel Smart Cover

Unless you love solving puzzles and folding origami creatures, Smart Cover on a monitor can be a pointless and frustrating experience. In this case, however, the textured surface of the cover is a non-slip surface that wraps neatly around the panel.

The heavy plastic vinyl material around a small magnet helps keep the cover attached to the back of the monitor. Its trifold design is more rigid and usable, thanks to a smaller hinge-like reinforcement that forms part of the center of the folding section.

Still, when I use this monitor for long work sessions, I stick to two double-sided pieces of mounting tape. One piece prevents the back flap from sliding off, and another piece prevents the bottom front edge of the panel from sliding forward.

A better solution is to attach a metal mechanism that pulls very much like a picture frame. I’ve only seen that method used on some portable panels.

extra matter

Connectivity is a plus with this monitor. It easily connects to phone, desktop and laptop computers. The only requirement is that the host device must have a Thunderbolt or HDMI port. This is rarely a problem with newer Mac, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS computers. The panel is also compatible with SteamOS.

Intehill 15.6-inch Portable Panel Dragging Feature

The Intihill Portable Screen (L) displays various content easily by dragging a window from a Linux laptop. With Linux computers, duplicating desktop elements and launchers is not carried over to the second monitor.

The FHD monitor consumes minimal power, which is an added advantage for portable use. It requires 10 watts, but it comes with a 15W power adapter—a sufficient option if the host computer doesn’t power the portable monitor from the connector port.

Since the P15NF model uses less than 10 watts, the 20,000 mAh power bank can keep the monitor working for more than 10 hours when performing regular tasks.

This unit supports all Samsung phones with DeX. You can also extend the screen for the iPhone, but this requires a Lightning to HDMI adapter.

Keep in mind that not all Android phones send an output signal to the USB-C connector. This determines whether your phone works with this portable monitor.

Even my new Moto Stylus 5G (2022) smartphone is dumb in this regard. That result is not Intelehil’s fault.

where to buy

The P15NF 15.6″ QLED Portable Monitor is currently available at the Intelhill Store on Amazon. Its list price is $269.

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