Aptera, developer of a futuristic, solar-powered passenger car, has unveiled its first production vehicle, which it says will roll off the assembly line this year.

According to the company, the all-wheel-drive, three-wheeled, two-passenger vehicle will have a range of 400 miles, can hit 60 mph in four seconds, and have a top speed of 101 mph.

Although designed to take most of its power from the sun, the Aptera vehicle can also be charged from a standard 120-volt outlet.

The company reported in a news release that in a place with lots of sun exposure, such as Southern California, the average American driver would never have to plug in, based on a daily average of 29 miles.

In moderately sunny places like New York or Chicago, drivers may need to plug in about three times a year. At 13 mph, an overnight charge should last 150 miles.

Meanwhile, Lightyear, developer of a more traditional-looking passenger car, announced on Monday that it is suspending production of its US$250,000 Lightyear 0 solar-powered vehicle and redirecting its resources on its Lightyear 2 product , which is expected to start selling. $40,000 and has a range of 500 miles.

“Recently, we launched a waiting list for the Lightyear 2, which resulted in over 40,000 subscriptions from individual customers, and we already have a fleet of 100,000 units,” Lightyear CEO and co-founder Lex Hofsloot said in a statement. There were about 20,000 pre-orders from owners.”

“We look forward to completing some significant investments in the coming weeks to make Lightyear 2, an affordable solar electric vehicle, available to a wider audience,” he added.

‘Ambitious’ target

Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys, a global market research company, explained that the Lightyear 0 was always just a showcase for what’s possible with solar and hopes to deliver that to a few hundred customers.

“It was expected that these influential, wealthy, early adopter customers would become evangelists to help build awareness for a new vehicle category,” Jones told TechNewsWorld.

“Lightair’s second model will be priced favorably for an EV planned for launch in 2025,” he added. “We’ll have the full reveal this year, but importantly it’s a five-seat car – and it looks like a car.”

light years 2

Lightyear has opened a waitlist for its second production model, the Lightyear 2. As of now, the company is slowly pulling back the curtains to reveal what the vehicle will look like. (Image credit: Lightyear)

“Aptera, on the other hand, has gone for a less-traditional, more radical look,” he continued. “It’s a design that will attract less customers.”

He called Aptera’s announcement that it would produce cars this year “ambitious”, especially because it will need to get funding very quickly if it wants to meet that goal.

lack of capital

“2023 is a terrible time to be raising capital,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst for e-mobility at Guidehouse Insights, a Detroit-based market intelligence company that has covered Aptera since 2007.

“Companies that are much better established are having a tough time right now, so I don’t have much confidence that Aptera will be in a position to deliver any significant number of vehicles this year,” Abulsamid told TechNewsWorld. Will reach.”

If Aptera can start delivering SPEVs this year, it might want to deliver them outside North America as well.

“Some European markets and Southeast Asia are better prepared for such cars,” said Roger C Lancto, director of automotive connected mobility at Strategy Analytics, a global research, advisory and analytics firm.

For example, France has a program called Vehicles San Permis, which is designed to allow unlicensed drivers to operate vehicles with reduced safety standards.

“There is a market for solar-powered vehicles, although it may not be a mass market yet,” Lancto told TechNewsWorld.

Aptera will likely leverage car sharing to introduce consumers to the concept of solar-powered transportation, he added.

many angles

Once Aptera’s vehicles hit the market, they may face more problems.

“Their technology is pretty much baked in, but the disparity in weight and the relative instability of their design will cause problems for them in the marketplace,” said Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at Enderle Group, an advisory services firm in Bend, Ore.

“The Aptera offers better protection than a motorcycle, but I expect interest in the car will wane after the first crash,” he told TechNewsworld.

Enderle said the solar technology needs further development before it can be used to power a vehicle that looks like a conventional automobile.

“You need to reduce the weight and size of the vehicle to even have a remote chance of getting solar power to work,” he explained.

“Given how light the vehicle is, the Aptiva’s design doesn’t look like it would fare well in a multiple-car collision,” he added.

Abuelsamid pointed out that photovoltaic cells have peak production efficiencies with a fairly narrow angle of the sun. At more extreme angles, they generate much less energy. Since a vehicle usually doesn’t have a very flat surface, the cells are at all kinds of angles, and the vehicle itself could be relative to the Sun an infinite number of times.

“Solar cells are likely to be most useful for auxiliary power, such as powering climate control and other systems to reduce the load on the battery,” he said. “For a small vehicle like Aptera, it also has limited surface area useful for cells.”

forced to compromise

Lanctot said, however, that 70% of all vehicle trips are between six and 12 miles. “So solar can be a very practical solution, which is why companies like Sono Motors and Squad Mobility are getting into the business,” he said.

Sono Motors, based in Germany, manufactures a vehicle that charges via the sun, an electrical socket, or both. The car’s solar range is 70 miles a week, although its battery has a range of 190 miles. Its top speed is 86 mph.

The squad builds two solar-powered vehicles – a two-seater with a top speed of 27 mph and a four-seater with a top speed of 44 mph. The vehicles have a range of 12 miles a day.

“With solar, one way or another, you are forced to make compromises,” Lancto said.

“Sono and Squad compromised on security to deliver a low price,” he continued. “Lightyear compromised on price — super expensive — to provide performance equivalent to an ICE/EV. Aptera compromised on cosmetics — three wheels — while also sacrificing interior space to get a low price and acceptable performance.” .

“There is a niche in the market for these vehicles – for each and every one of them – but it is a niche with limitations that have meaning,” he said.

Lancto explained, “The Nissan Leaf was greeted with some skepticism due to its limited range, but it found a strong niche in the market and remains popular.”

“There is certainly a home for solar vehicles, but this represents tens of thousands of vehicles, not millions, for Aptera, Sono and Squad.”

New technology is improving situational awareness for police officers and other first responders by reducing response times and streamlining data sharing between agencies.

Advances in high technology may be necessary for first responders to keep up with the hiring of police, firefighters and EMTs. Nearly half (44%) of first respondents to the survey said they considered leaving their jobs because of work-related stressors.

noted Matt Polega, co-founder and head of external affairs at Mark43, which has developed a public safety software platform that allows agencies to more efficiently manage, share, collect and analyze information, first responders Becoming is not an easy task.

Solving such problems related to job stress and safety concerns is a common element that has prompted some high-tech companies to focus on the needs of workers patrolling the streets on the home front. Public safety technology is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Often it overlaps. Sometimes, it brings extreme innovation.

Technological Innovation for First Responders

TechNewsWorld recently went behind the scenes presenting an exclusive interview with the founder of Critical Response Group (CRG). That company adapted military concepts to map internal plans to law enforcement’s emergency response strategies.

In this article, we continue to discuss the role of technology in the efforts of software developers and hardware manufacturers to protect and assist agencies that provide public safety. One such company is Mark43, which has produced a range of software solutions that run on desktop and laptop computers as well as squad car-based computer terminals.

Mark43 communication platform enables real-time view on squad car screens

New technology such as the Mark43 communications platform enables real-time visuals on squad car screens, so responding units can be better informed about incident scenes before they arrive, improving their safety and efficiency it happens. (Image credit: Mark43)

The company’s Mark43 lineup of options is entirely cloud-based, which minimizes employee training because the applications run in a variety of web browsers. The result is a much less expensive, and technically easier upgrade path for a successfully high-tech, stress-free transition. The only new cost is the cloud-delivery subscription, which varies.

“Cloud Native is something Mark43 hangs its hat on. This means that our application is built to live in the cloud. Things that power the Cloud Power Mark43,” Polega told TechNewsworld.

storybook trappings

In Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” movie, the hero takes on his new battle suit called Mark 42. This was the forty-second version of the crime-fighting exoskeleton he had built. Polega and his two other co-founders — Scott Crouch (also CEO) and Florian Meyer (also vice president) — named their new company Mark43 in honor of their next-generation crimefighting gear.

The three met and began working together a decade ago, as juniors at Harvard University pursuing either mechanical or electrical engineering degrees. His assignment in a particular class was to work with a client on an engineering project.

Harvard was very interested in developing engineers who were focused not only on why heat exchangers work and how bridges bend. The focus was also on helping them understand that someday they would have to work together with people to solve their problems. They’ve been doing it ever since, Polega quipped.

That third-year class project involved much more than just kinetic operations and the detection of physically breakable structures. The job involved working with the Massachusetts State Police special operations team, which had spent time serving in a military capacity in the Middle East. This prompted the state police team to have a sigh moment. Domestically violent gang members behave like rebels in the Middle East.

Their dilemma was how to bring all-out counter-insurgency tactics from the battlefield to combating domestic gangs and gang violence. Polega & Co. tried to do the same. Actions include easing people into calling the police, cleaning up graffiti, or reducing open-air drug dealing.

“The state police was implementing this new policing model, and our job in this crazy engineering class was to assess whether or not this policing model was effective. Fast forward 10 years later, you find out that the engineering Three juniors with degrees who had no idea about policing or the complex socioeconomics,” Polega recalled.

He learned to do all those non-academic things and used engineering principles to overcome those obstacles. It was a much bigger project than the three aspiring engineers expected.

more than teachable moments

The project set out for three students to see that whatever software they were using was not the kind of witchcraft found on the TV shows NCIS, CSI, and any other that use “stage” technology. Were the choice of cool Hollywood TV shows. His professor gave him a goal – try to create something to help the state police in some way.

All three worked on it for the rest of their junior and senior years. After graduating in 2014, he went to the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department, where he faced a similar challenge. The police officers said: We really don’t know what you guys do, but we have some problems; And they said: We don’t really know what your problems are, but we can show you some of our solutions.

“We’re just starting to really understand all these analytical stuff and all these business intelligence tools. They were cool, and everybody wanted to make them, sell them, and get them into police agencies. But the real problem was the data. It was to collect and capture the information in a way that it could be used online for all the important things that police officers needed to do if that information went to court,” Polega explained.

The Mark43 platform provides first responders with a 3D aerial view on a patrol car video screen display.

The Mark43 platform provides first responders with a 3D aerial view of the patrol car video screen display that shows the target incident location and the status of responding patrol cars in a red diamond outline. (Image credit: Mark43)

His encounters with police departments and other first responder agencies further taught him the scope of performance for the arrest software he created. For example, when dispatched, police officers are required to write reports about anything they find in the field and the type of incident they respond to.

Those reports were to be completed and submitted back to headquarters from computer terminals. Doing this on a daily basis removed officers from the streets where they were no longer protecting and serving.

The burden of constantly generating reports for incidents, accidents, collisions and court records significantly reduced the manpower available to respond to calls for their many assigned shifts.

engineering a new solution

A dynamic trio of engineers solved that problem. Polega, Crouch and Mayer launched the company’s first product, a records management system, in August 2015 after completing their work for the Washington DC Police Department.

This was the precursor to the Mark 43 which he later developed. This older model of records management system handled the collection of on-duty arrest and traffic collision reports. Polega stated that this was a de facto operational system before the Mark 43 was fully designed.

Mark43 In-Vehicle Software

The result of three young engineers’ work with the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department was the development of in-vehicle software that integrates with computers at headquarters. (Image credit: Mark43)

“I hate to call it TurboTax for police reports. But it’s actually a very apt description,” Polega said. “When we left Washington, D.C., that agency’s arrest reporting time improved by 80% and crime reporting time by about 50%.”

Another highly anticipated result was that the department ultimately added 110 police officers back to the force, which equates to 240,000 person-hours back-to-back annually to the agency.

Current Technology, Turbocharged

If you’ve ever seen a modern emergency call center or watched TV police reality shows, you’re familiar with the command center with multiple dispatchers. Each one sits in front of several large screen monitors.

This high-tech concept is somewhat similar to what many large first responder organizations have in their regional dispatch centers. Smaller agencies operate scaled-down versions of that scenario.

Kevin Fry, director of solutions architecture at Mark43, demonstrated an online demonstration, showing patrol officers the power and ease of operation of the Mark43 system brought to their vehicles and into their call centers. Writing reports from dispatchers and accessing updated video data instantly is a significant game changer for first responders.

Mark43 Computer Aided Dispatch

Police dispatchers in a central communications center use a variety of large screen displays to monitor police and emergency response units in real time from miles away. (Image credit: Mark43)

During our Zoom call screen-share, Frye displayed reports, maps of the area, aerial views and more on multiple call center monitors, showing what dispatchers would see at their workstations and the officer’s view in the patrol car. Similar to using an automobile navigational app and multitasking, Fry showed how the Mark43 navigation worked with the Alt-Tab keys and the touch screen to change the screen display.

“I am [using] Modern browsers — Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari. So think about it from an end-user perspective, and not just a technical perspective, as long as you have your typical standard desktop, or even laptop, and you have access, you don’t have to go out and get a computer or No need to buy anything. for the Internet,” Frye told TechNewsWorld.

Other Mark43 Benefits

One of the key assets of this innovative communications platform, noted Frye, is its ability to put the mapping power in the hands of dispatchers. The system is capable of displaying multiple types of data layers. Responders to an emergency can see live views of traffic, accidents, active shooter locations, and even crime scene scenes along the way.

Mark43 Dispatcher Screen

Another display enables dispatchers to be in constant contact with first responders in real time and shepherds updated information quickly wherever it is needed. (Image credit: Mark43)

“This is cutting edge. No one else in the industry is doing this. A lot of public sector agencies rely on Esri for their mapping technology. We built Esri directly into our mapping technology,” Frey said.

Another advantage of Mark43 is its flexibility for information sharing. The system features a reliable workflow that lets officers automate report-writing tasks and enter information while on patrol. Many older products require additional data stitching when officers return to headquarters and attempt to integrate content written on patrol car mobile computers.

Often, data collection needs to change, added Frye, but in-car and in-station entry fields are not always compatible. Those two products won’t work very well together, especially if different vendors maintain them.

Generative AI is a category of artificial intelligence that uses algorithms to create things like literature, graphics, music, and language models.

Gen-AI has been burning up the news of late and promises to transform computing. ChatGPT is the current star of this category, but Google is putting up a challenge as ChatGPT scared them off. They are hardly alone.

While there is a lot of concern about this technology taking jobs away from humans, the jobs it will eliminate, at least initially, are jobs that people often don’t like to do.

Furthermore, it is part of the anticipated evolution of computers as glorified calculator work mates, and it changes vital dynamics. Instead of people having to learn how to work with computers, generative AI-based computers will increasingly learn how to work with humans.

Unless evolution reaches critical mass, when computers can perform fully as companions to humans – likely when they overtake us in evolution, machine speeds will exceed evolution by thousands of orders of magnitude. goes – we’ll need the AI ​​Whisperer skill. This is much like the need today of people who know how to work best with computers or learn boolean logic to work more efficiently with search engines.

Let’s talk about that development this week. Then we’ll close with our Product of the Week, a new mechanical keyboard I tried that just needs one more thing to perfect.

Connecting Gen-AI to Humans

Traditionally, a “whisperer” refers to someone who knows how best to work and communicate with an animal. They are knowledgeable who are able to get into the heads of the animals they work with and train animals that seem untrained.

They use verbal and non-verbal methods that make them seem like magic to onlookers and create a bond of trust with the animals that appears impossible to the owners, and the whisperer cements that bond at the end of the process. I can transfer owners.

True whisperers come naturally to their skills. They are wired differently than the rest of us, and like connoisseurs in other fields, I expect they often don’t relate well to people.

Unlike animals with abuse, health, or mental issues that generate humans’ fear, generative AIs will be relatively stable, although they will vary greatly depending on their programming.

However, understanding how to guide them towards a desired outcome will be no less difficult because, unlike animals, we will ask AIs to complete far more complex tasks than to sit, stay or come to us on command . We will ask AI to write scripts, articles and novels, create new products and execute military commands.

We also know that generative AI currently lacks empathy, although there are people who are working to not only fix this, but also use them to teach humans how to be empathetic. needed. As anyone who’s worked in IT already knows, the big problem with generative AI today is that users don’t know what they want, so they can’t very well issue requests that a generative AI can be effective at. can execute properly.

AI Whisperers will act as a bridge between the generative AI and the human user. The whisperer understands what the AI ​​needs to hear and can better translate what they want into commands that more efficiently direct the AI ​​to complete the task. Scale will immediately become a problem, because like animal whisperers, AI Whisperers will initially be rare and difficult to identify.

AI-Based Human Whispers

Just like we’ve built generative AI and trained it on materials to perform a wide variety of tasks, the hitch is that people just aren’t great communicators. As generative AI can advance at machine speed and will achieve stability over time, it is the human side of the problem that will require more work.

The final stage in the development of generative AI will be the creation of AI-based human whisperers. These AIs are explicitly trained to know what humans want. Their unique methods of communication, both verbal and non-verbal, can induce or manipulate humans to perform the essential act of fully thinking through their requests – often simulating feedback and responses to avoid mistakes. By providing historical perspective – to avoid mistakes that might otherwise have been made and increase the quality of the overall process.

Given that they can be trained through digital knowledge transfer, these human-whisper AIs can scale and will be able to bridge the gap between people and machines, eventually leading to true human-AI synergy. provide capability.

wrapping up

Generative AI is a game changer that will help eliminate repetitive tasks and even a lot of the grind when writing a long paper, article or book.

It would perform best as a human enhancement tool rather than a human replacement tool because its creativity is derivative and it lacks empathy, meaning it will do socially unacceptable things on purpose without oversight.

Those who do best with this technology will be the ones who initially adopted and learned from it, much like those who first adopted and learned mainframes, PCs, and Boolean logic.

We must see AI whisperers initially emerge as a bridge between these AIs and humans who have not yet learned how to think and properly articulate their requests.

Eventually, they will be replaced by AI-powered human whisperers, allowing technology to advance more quickly and tackle the associated communication problems on a larger scale.

Computers are about to become a lot more social; We are not ready for this at all.

tech product of the week

Das Keyboard 6 Professional

Das Keyboard 6 Professional

Image credit: Das Keyboard

If you write a lot, as I do, there’s nothing like a great keyboard. For me, a mechanical keyboard is far better than the cheap, chiclet-style keyboards on most laptops and desktop PCs.

I like the long key throw, solid touch, and the fact that mechanical keyboards tend to last longer than their cheaper-made counterparts.

The Das Keyboard 6 is more suited to writers and computer programmers than professional gamers. Still, it’ll be a good gaming keyboard, provided it’s mechanically ergonomic, and you can control your PC’s volume with the convenient volume knob on the device itself. However, there are better boards out there for gaming that look more luxurious.

This keyboard is for office, home or work. It has lighted keys (with an on-off switch) that work at night as well as all media controls.

Many of us like to listen to music or podcasts while we work, and the ability to manage that content with dedicated keys is tremendously helpful. You can also press the volume control to mute the speaker, but there’s one feature missing: a mute microphone button for video calls, which those of us working from home desperately need.

The Das Keyboard 6 Pro has a convenient sleep button if you don’t have user sensing (a feature that suspends your PC when you walk away), making it a great way to reassure your kids or co-workers Is. Don’t mess with your stuff if you leave your desk.

I found the keys a little sticky at first, but that cleared up within the first 15 minutes, and it’s now the keyboard I use for most of my work. I wish it had a microphone mute button.

It comes in two versions: one with soft switches and one that I found is a bit more clicky. I prefer the clicky version, but if you’re in an office, your co-workers may prefer you to the quieter one.

A good keyboard helps with productivity, reduces mistakes and hand strain, and creates a more enjoyable work experience. Accordingly, the Das Keyboard 6 Professional, which retails for $199, is 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.

Held annually in Las Vegas, CES is unquestionably the most famous and influential tech show on the planet.

With the pandemic still hanging around the world last year, its 2022 appearance was a shadow of its former self, attracting just 45,000 people – down from its pre-Covid high of 150,000 – with dozens of exhibitors ramping up their on-floor presence ahead of the show was cancelled.

This year’s event, happily, attracted significantly more attendees, reaching the 115,000 mark, according to the event’s organizer, the Consumer Technology Association.

After logging nearly 80,000 steps, attending over 35 meetings, and spending many hours on the show floor during my five-day stint, I can attest that the event lived up to my expectations.

There were interesting products and solutions, running the gamut from wireless TVs for your toilet to urine sensors that can monitor your kidney health, VR headsets to the latest electric vehicles; There was literally something for everyone.

Putting those product categories aside, I was looking to see what inroads the industry has made in smart home energy management. Over the past several years, some companies have tried to broaden the definition of a smart home to include the ability to manage electricity use as part of their sustainability efforts to reduce carbon and fossil fuels.

In late 2021, I embarked on a long journey into my home to test the theory that smart devices — and ultimately smart appliances — could reduce my electricity use and, most importantly, my electric bills.

A year after upgrading my 1,700-square-foot condo in San Jose, California, with a host of devices specifically designed to monitor my electricity usage in precise detail, the results were surprising and ultimately disappointing.

How do I upgrade my home with smart energy management devices?

As the saying goes, you can’t manage something until you can measure it, and this is important in the field of smart energy management.

Fortunately, there are some ways to accurately measure power consumption. If you’re building a new home, many homeowners opt to install smart energy electrical panels that connect to the home network and provide detailed information on electricity usage to appliances and outlets.

Legacy Electrical For homeowners with legacy panels, a product such as Schneider Electric’s Visor Energy System is a more economical alternative to replacing the entire electrical board. However, you’ll need a certified electrician to install it because the unit gets embedded behind an existing panel.

schneider electric sensible energy system

Wise Energy Home Power Monitor | Image credit: Schneider Electric

Wiser Energy uses machine learning to check all the power you use in your home. It can identify appliances that are on and off, and its intelligence can even identify major appliances and power usage down to the outlet level. I’ve been using it since late 2021, and it helps me determine which devices in my home are in “always on” status, like the refrigerator.

I’ve gone a step further and used several Kasa Smart Wi-Fi power strips to help me dramatically reduce so-called “ghost” power (also known as “vampire” power), because Most devices waste power when they are not on. use or even discontinued. Ghost power is estimated to account for around 20% of all residential energy consumption, so it is a significant phenomenon.

I’ve installed four Casa Smart Wi-Fi power strips in key areas like my bedroom, den, and office, allowing me to automatically power down and power these areas on at specific times in the morning and at night. Plus, these power strips are Amazon Alexa-compatible, so I can wake them up and turn them off via spoken word.

Smart appliances were the next major upgrade.

Despite a lot of momentum classifying the smart home at a higher level, many consumers have been reluctant about upgrading their major devices to “connected” models because the perceived benefits outweigh the costs.

It’s worth mentioning that it cost about $7,000 to upgrade my entire kitchen and laundry room (refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and washer/dryer) with the latest connected models from Samsung and LG.

For the mainstream consumer, the convenience of remotely changing the refrigerator’s temperature, being notified of when the filter needs to be replaced, or how many times the refrigerator door has been opened, is worth a lot of cash. .

Sure, the ability to remotely see inside your Samsung refrigerator with its integrated indoor camera to figure out when you need to buy milk when you’re already at the grocery store can be helpful. Nevertheless, the fact that most appliances have a life cycle of more than 15 years facilitates consumer behavior that these in-home machines do not upgrade until they fail.

Strangely, smart appliance makers haven’t aggressively used appliance intelligence to change consumer behavior. Neither LG nor Samsung’s Smart app will advise users to delay doing their dishes or laundry until early morning or late evening, when utilities like Pacific Gas and Electric in California offer less-expensive time-of-use (TOU) plans. offers.

TOU plans are available in California, Arizona and Massachusetts, with scores of other states coming in the coming years. TOU plans are widespread in Western Europe and Asia, and it is only a matter of time before these offers become ubiquitous in the United States.

Appliance apps lack energy provider integration

Connected device manufacturers have a lot of work to do in this area. Suggesting to postpone doing dishes or laundry with a general message about saving money isn’t enough. A great smart home appliance app should be able to connect to my energy provider account so that it can provide specific cost savings based on my behavior and routine.

For example, let’s say my LG dishwasher tells me I’ll save 90 cents by delaying using it until after 9 p.m., which could translate into savings of several dollars a month or a year. In that case, I imagine the behavior would change quickly. Sadly, this capability is not integrated into the LG and Samsung Smart apps.

The Schneider Electric Wiser app provides me with typical kilowatt-hour (kWH) costs for appliances at the zip code level. Yet, it is not directly tied to my utility account and does not provide the personalized messaging needed to change consumer behavior. This situation is a substantial missed opportunity for all parties involved.

On the bright side, the Home Connectivity Alliance formally announced its interface spec at CES 2023, which should provide greater interoperability between individual devices, including paving the way for how connected solutions work in the real world for the consumer. Can provide energy and cost savings. hope springs eternal.

Will smart energy upgrades to my home save me money?

With 2022 now in the rearview mirror, I could do some “behind the envelope” math to figure out the effect. As mentioned earlier, the results were both surprising and disappointing.

First, the good news: Despite the scorching heat in the Bay Area in 2022 and “staying” with friends and relatives more often in 2021 versus last year, when I lived more or less in isolation, my overall electricity use was about 3.5% lower.

I attribute much of this to the elimination of phantom power, but my more efficient intelligent appliances, which I installed in October, also played a part. One notable example: rates the cost of a new LG washing machine for a full year of use at $13 compared to $38 for the older 2007 model it was replaced with.

Today’s new equipment is dramatically more affordable than the products available 15 years ago. If I pro-rate the savings related to those new appliances for a full year, I could see an even more dramatic reduction in total electricity use in 2023, potentially reducing my annual electricity use by 10% May come This is really a big deal.

But here’s the bad news: Despite that power cut, in 2021 through 2022, my actual power bill climbed About 18%, from $2,508 to $2,954 in 2022. This type of news will reduce the skepticism of smart home energy management.

Yes, California is to blame, as it has some of the highest electricity rates in the nation, despite regularly taking advantage of less expensive TOU plans.

While some may mildly spin this result because it could have been much worse if I hadn’t made all these upgrades to my condo, it’s not the type of message that will be successful with most consumers, as they View the upgrade as a means. In fact now to save money from their expenses.

In the final analysis, my main conclusion is that this underscores how seriously I should consider moving out of California.

Other notable sightings at CES 2023

A few other product demonstrations caught my attention and were worthy of being called out during my five-day stint in Las Vegas.

lenovo thinkbook wireless dock

lenovo thinkbook wireless dock

Image credit: Synaptics

Synaptics, one of the major human interface “component” technology leaders in the world, announced a new capability that Lenovo has used to release a completely wireless docking station, the aptly named Lenovo ThinkBook Wireless Dock .

With the potential to feature seamless, cable-free 4K display connectivity, this capability will resonate with work-from-home users who hate cluttered desktops.

EV Battery Management

Infineon Technologies and Newtron Controls, as shown in my on-site interviews, demonstrated new technology designed to optimize overall battery management and consumption in the EV field.

Given the scores of control systems in the average EV, this capability will find wide appeal by electric car makers looking to optimize as much as possible in a highly coordinated, synchronized manner without sacrificing functionality or safety.

schneider home

Schneider Electric unveils its innovative, sustainable home energy management solution, called Schneider Home.

Schneider Home Sustainable Home Energy Management

Image credit: Schneider Electric

Consisting of a home battery for clean energy storage, a high-power solar inverter, a smart electric panel, an EV charger, connected electric sockets and light switches, this attractively designed solution monitors energy consumption by individual appliances Uses an app to manage and decide how to prioritize power during an outage.

While it lays the groundwork for lower electricity costs by taking advantage of solar energy stored in local batteries, its associated app still provides functionality based on individual account linkage with the local energy provider, rather than guiding consumer behavior at the device level. ready to monitor. Nevertheless, it is a good step in the right direction.

material product display

Finally, it was good to see the Matter smart home inoperability initiative making an appearance at CES 2023.

Unlike last year’s CES, the Matter product demos, which promise to allow smart home devices to work together without strict allegiance to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, were on the show floor and behind the NDA sessions. Was visible in both the shows. ,

Unfortunately, MATER-compliant products are still not available at retail, but that should change in the next 60 to 90 days.

When I received the AnkerWork SR500 speakerphone shown above, it looked like a useful multipurpose office accessory for making business phone use and video conferences more productive. It turned out to be little more than just a helpful one-trick device in corporate and SMB conference rooms.

The disconnect in purpose of this device escaped me at first. It’s been a while since my work revolved around conference rooms, and now I join video presentations and interview calls involving phone lines.

Alas, the SR500 is too much for my well-stocked multi-phone line remote office. But my weak speakerphone handset and external speakers leave a lot to be desired. So the business phone equipment hype around the SR500 seemed like a perfect solution. but not for me.

This speakerphone could be a winner for business conference rooms as a souped-up video conference speaker amplifier and voice enhancement tool. The SR500 can be your new go-to device for making video conference sessions more audibly enjoyable in both small and extra-large meeting rooms.

No Telephone Acceptance: You’ll need a backup plan for conferencing via a landline instead of a computer—and if you’re thinking about connecting a smartphone or other Bluetooth-enabled device, think again. The SR500 doesn’t currently support them.

case of naming overreach

AnkerWork’s product photography and marketing blurb strongly “suggest” that the product being called a “speakerphone” will have something more to do with telecommunications. The two line ports on the bottom of the SR500 added to my misconception.

Sadly, though, the response was disappointing when I contacted Anker’s technical support office regarding how to connect this device to a phone line. This unit is designed for computers and does not support landline phones.

So even though the SR500 has LED-lit icons to press to connect (green) and disconnect (red) the phone, those two buttons only unmute and mute non-phone speaker devices.

Audio-Boosting Features

AnkerWork designed the SR500 to improve voice delivery in noisy environments, whether in small or very large rooms. For large conference tables, users can daisy chain up to five speakerphones to give all attendees seated at the table a clear shot without having to shout or strain to hear what others are saying.

AnkerWork’s Quick Start Guide video shows how to set up and connect multiple SR500 speakerphones:

According to AnkerWork, this conference enhancer picks up sound from up to 16 feet away, helping to ensure that 45 people around a series of conference tables can be heard equally without increasing their voices or volume.

Upgraded VoiceRadar 2.0 technology integrates comprehensive audio processing with deep learning to separate voices from background noise. It can isolate sounds in over 30,000 different room designs and sizes. For speakers only the primary speaking voice is filtered.

The AnkerWork app makes it easy to keep up with software updates. With the manufacturer’s software, the SR500 is fully compatible with all major online conferencing services, including Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, WebEx and GoTo Meetings.

sound-capturing design

The all-metal black and gray casing is compact, though a bit bulkier than most desktop speakerphones. It measures 8″ x 4.5″ x 1.5″. That space is needed to house the device’s eight microphone array around a rectangular-shaped case.

The 1.75″ speaker is not a lightweight performer either. Hidden in the top half of the speakerphone’s case, it produces upward and sideways directed sound, emitting voices around the room.

I tested the SR500 during a work week of conference calls for news briefings and voice-only calls, mostly using Zoom, Skype, and Meet. The quality seemed better than a face-to-face conversation.

The speakerphone uses an artificial intelligence algorithm model based on 280 hours of speech signals across dozens of simulated and field training tests. This algorithm dynamically recognizes language utterances and a wide range of sound sources.

The SR500 supports audio frequencies from low (80Hz) to high (20KHz) with less than 3% vocal distortion. The result is lifelike sound quality from any direction.

missed user opportunities

Compared to smaller speakerphones I’ve used, the SR500’s sound quality is better. The only drawback, and it’s a serious one, is the lack of Bluetooth support for pairing the speakerphone with other devices.

The sound response is so good that I’ll be using this unit to replace the current speakerphone that connects to my smartphone. But with no way to connect the two devices wirelessly or via cable, I can’t access my Google Voice phone number through the SR500.

It’s even more challenging because the AnkerWork speakerphone connects to a computer via the included Power over Ethernet (PoE) cable. I can output audio from the videoconferencing application through the speakerphone, but the connection doesn’t work with Google’s Voice internet phone platform.

ground level

The AnkerWork SR500 speakerphone offers an impressive build quality. Plus, its anti-theft security features, including a device-locking system, make it a premier solution for organizations with heavy loads of small and large group video communications.

However, the list of unsupported connections limits the SR500 speakerphone’s usefulness to enterprise-sized organizations. Although it’s a solid performer, at $349.99 for a single unit, it becomes expensive to chain together multiple voice extenders—and the inability to be a PC-only tool makes it a questionable purchase for a broad user base.

The AnkerWork SR500 Speakerphone is available on Amazon and the AnkerWork Web Store.

suggest a review

Have a tech product or application you’d like to recommend for review? Something you love or want to know?

Please email me your thoughts and I will consider them for future columns.

And use the reader comments feature below to provide your input!

Meta is taking a law enforcement intelligence company to court for collecting data about users of its Facebook and Instagram properties.

The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, alleges that Voyager Labs, an international scraping and monitoring service, improperly collected data from those properties through fake accounts that flouted the terms and conditions for use of the platform. is a violation.

In a January 12 post on Meta’s newsroom site, Jessica Romero, director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation, explained that Voyager’s proprietary software uses fake accounts to scrape data accessible to a user who is logged in to Facebook.

They said Voyager used a diverse system of computers and networks in different countries to hide its activity and thwart Meta’s efforts to verify fake accounts.

Romero wrote that Voyager did not compromise Facebook; Instead, it used fake accounts to scramble publicly viewable information.

“Web scraping is legal — if you’re scraping publicly available information,” observed Liz Miller, vice president and a principal analyst at Constellation Research, a technology research and advisory firm in Cupertino, California.

“In Meta’s case against Voyager Labs, the issue is the creation of a fake Facebook account, which was used for the purpose of data collection,” Miller told TechNewsWorld.

scrapping industry

Romero wrote that Meta is seeking a permanent injunction against Voyager to protect people from scraping-for-hire services.

“Companies like Voyager are part of an industry that provides scraping services to anyone, regardless of the target users and for what purpose, which includes profiling people for criminal behavior,” he continued.

“This industry secretly collects information that people share with their community, family and friends, without oversight or accountability, and in a way that can affect people’s civil rights,” she said.

“These services operate across multiple platforms and national borders and preventing the misuse of these capabilities requires a collective effort from platforms, policy makers and civil society.”

Voyager was not immediately available for comment on this story. However, a spokesperson told The Guardian in the past: “As a company, we comply with the laws of all countries in which we do business. We also trust those with whom we do business to comply with the law.” There are public and private organizations that follow.”

Meta Business Matters

While META emphasizes its efforts to protect people, it also has business ideas that need to be protected.

“Sadly, from Meta’s point of view the problem is not really about data scraping. The point is that Voyager did not pay Meta to do this,” KnowBe4, a security awareness training provider in Clearwater, Fla. Roger Grimes, a defense campaigner for the U.S., argued.

“If Voyager had paid, the meta would have been very happy,” Grimes told TechNewsworld.

Vincent Reynolds, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Emerson College in Boston, explained that data is at the heart of the business model for social media companies.

“The data that users produce is reused by these platforms for advertising,” Raynauld told TechNewsWorld. “It’s at the core of their business model.”

“With this lawsuit,” he continued, “they are trying to protect their business model. They want to take control of the data they have and prevent other companies from using the data.”

“When they see researchers or other companies scraping data, they see business opportunities go away,” he said.

Raynauld said, “There is a clear intention by the Meta to protect its assets here.” “It’s a shot across the bow of marketers and researchers.”

common practice, common problem

Scraping social media sites for data is a common practice.

“It is common for social media sites, from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter or LinkedIn, to scrape publicly available and viewable data,” Miller said.

“Advertisers and marketers commonly use it to track trends, target audiences, or create audience profiles,” she continued. “If you’ve ever compared prices on a site so that you can get a product at the best price, you’ve likely benefited from bot-based web scraping.”

Miller said most social scraping is for rather benign uses, but exceptions exist, such as bots deployed for ad fraud, traffic scams, identity takeover and account hacking.

“The scraping is probably much worse than anyone realized, including Meta,” Grimes said. “I’m sure hundreds if not thousands of data scraping operations are targeting social media sites every day.”

“It’s probably so bad,” he continued, “that Meta only has time to worry about the biggest and most revenue-damaging examples.”

Minimizing Unethical Scraping

Grimes said combating shady data scraping is a big problem. “It’s like phishing and password-guessing,” he said. “Vendors can’t hope to stop it. The best they can try to do is identify the easiest and stop the most prominent examples.

Miller said that most social media platforms have placed constraints through their terms and conditions of use to reduce malicious scraping.

“But what many want to subtract is non-malicious scraping, which forces organizations to turn to, for example, Meta, some of the insights that social scraping can provide,” she said.

Romero wrote that meta is one of the tools used to combat scraping. “We have also invested in technical teams and tools that monitor and detect suspicious activity and use unauthorized automation for scraping,” she explained.

“This focus on scraping is part of our ongoing work to protect people’s privacy,” she said. “In the coming months, we plan to discuss some of the other measures we are actively using to prevent scraping.”

legal whack-a-mole

Until those additional measures are disclosed to combat malicious scraping, litigation may be the most effective means of cracking down on the practice.

“Being sued is a huge motivator not to do it,” Grimes observed. “Who wants to be sued by a tech giant? You can spend millions for the first day of a court hearing, even if you did nothing wrong and are completely in the right.

“That’s the nature of lawsuits, especially in the US, where the loser often doesn’t have to pay the winner’s fees,” he said.

“Lawsuits are like getting a big hammer when playing whack-a-mole,” Miller said. “You can take one out of the game, but another malicious mole will likely pop back up.”

“But, in the absence of a law or a rule making scraping publicly available data illegal,” she continued, “the goal is to reduce them with litigation costs.”

Robots have been around for decades, but they’ve mostly been stupid. They were either controlled remotely by humans or ran fixed scripts that allowed almost no latitude in terms of how they operated or what they did. Even though I was born in the year Robbie the Robot became famous, the robots I grew up with were nothing like Robbie. They were as smart as old toasters.

Luckily, that’s changing. Robotics has advanced tremendously over the past decade, partly thanks to the pioneering work Nvidia has done with autonomous vehicles, much of which has translated into autonomous robotics. At CES this year, Nvidia was on the mind among all the top robots, starting with a robotic tractor from John Deere and ending with the GlüxKind, an AI-powered baby stroller I want to buy for my aging dog.

Let’s talk about the Nvidia-powered robots at CES this week. We’ll end with our product of the week, a wireless microphone that just might keep me from getting into a fight on my next air trip.

john deere autonomous tractor

John Deere won the Best of Innovation award for its robotic tractor.

john deere fully autonomous tractor

John Deere fully autonomous tractor | Image credit: Deere & Company

I grew up working on a farm. Driving a tractor was fun in the beginning, but it got tiresome very quickly.

The repetition of driving in the heat and long lines was only broken by the excitement of an equipment failure or the prospect of a horrific death should I fall asleep and fall off the tractor. This actually happened years later to my division head at IBM, who died after falling from his tractor into a plow.

John Deere tractors will not bore, will not tire, will not die, so farmers can work on other jobs that need to be done, considering that staffing farms has become a big problem lately. Historically, robots weren’t cheap on farms because labor was cheap. But now you can’t find those workers, and it’s just as difficult to get local people to work on the farm.

Therefore, if farmers want to continue operating, they need to automate, suggesting that the farms of the future may be run entirely by increasingly intelligent robots and robotic equipment. Therefore, this tractor could be the key to ensuring food on our tables in the future.

Agrist Harvesting Robot

Another robot was from Agrist. I am not a fan of it mainly because it was made to cut capsicum and capsicum triggers my gag reflex. Just the smell of things makes me feel sick. Still, if I had to harvest bell peppers (apparently one of my concepts of hell), I’d appreciate a robot like this one that kept my hands, nose, and tongue away from the horrible stuff.

Sometimes you have to grow stuff you don’t like, and this robot will assure me that if I still had a farm—which thankfully I don’t—I could grow bell peppers and plant them without Brought close to something could bite.

Seriously, this robot is designed to work in indoor factory farms, which will be critical to the survival of countries that will be badly affected by climate change and lose the ability to farm as a result. Such robots will be crucial to sustaining humanity as the climate makes outdoor agriculture obsolete.

skydio scout drone

Drones were also covered, with Skydio Drone standing in for its Scout drone.

Skydio is an attractive drone company. There’s also a docked drone solution that reminds me of the old Green Hornet TV show. Can you imagine putting one of these on your car so you can check what’s causing that traffic jam you’re stuck in? Or imagine a police officer on a high-speed chase being able to launch one of these and have it autonomously and covertly pursue the suspect, therefore saving them life and limb while chasing them in the car. didn’t have to risk it.

Skydio drones are used in law enforcement, fire and rescue, power line inspection, construction, transportation, telecommunications, and defense.

Skydio is a powerful company with an increasingly powerful set of autonomous products that could one day save your life, making it potentially one of the most important products launched at CES this year.

GlüxKind ‘Ella’ AI-Powered Stroller

I was looking for a powered stroller for my aging dog a few weeks ago. When the dog gets tired of walking, we put it in a stroller, but the mountain climbing thing gets old. When my wife walks all three of our dogs alone, it becomes exhausting and potentially unsafe to manage the stroller at the same time.

When empty, the GlüxKind Ella stroller will follow you (I don’t want to imagine being a runaway with a baby in it). When occupied, it’s battery-assisted for going up hills where my wife often struggles (I’m currently her go-to solution for going up hills).

GlüxKind Ella AI-Powered Smart Stroller

Glüxkind was honored with the CES 2023 Innovation Awards for its “Ella” smart stroller. , Image credit: GluxKind Technologies

Sadly its current configuration won’t work for my dog. Otherwise, I would probably have ordered one. But trying to teach a 14-year-old dog to sit like a kid in a stroller is a non-starter, although it does shock others a bit when we walk by. Still, for parents with multiple children or those looking to walk their dog and child at the same time, this powered stroller could be a winner.

Now, if they would just come out with a pet configuration, I’d be all in.

Nubility Delivery Robot

Nubility’s self-driving robot, named Nuby, is one of the newer delivery robots to hit the market.

I’m a little worried about this class of robot. In tests, children and some adults often abused and broke these robots when in use. The Newbie is bigger and more robust from what I’ve seen, but I imagine it may need some sort of defense or high-speed escape capability to work in the real world.

Onboard cameras should capture and record anyone who damages it, but it may take a while for people to leave the thing alone to do their job. For this reason, Nubility is smartly targeting golf courses where the robots can be better protected. Places such as resorts, hospitals and factories would be where such robots could operate most successfully.

I’ll wait to see if they develop one with a built-in taser before putting too much faith in delivery robots outside controlled environments like golf courses and resorts.

Still, once accepted and protected, robots of this class will likely make home delivery by humans a thing of the past, better assured you’re home to receive the delivery and no more to the porch pirates. Make life very difficult whom I hate with a new found obsession after this past Christmas.

Seoul Robotics LV5 Control Tower for Autonomous Parking

Seoul Robotics demonstrated a Level 5 control tower, typical of the way autonomous cars are currently configured. It uses infrastructure outside the vehicle to manage the automobile, potentially enabling any current-generation car with Level 2 technology that is connected to that grid to operate autonomously. Is.

This variant is interesting because, rather than thinking of autonomous cars as they are now, it thinks of them more as how an air traffic controller monitors all cars in range and directs them from a central resource. Eventually, this technology could replace things like traffic lights, effectively moving them into the vehicle when it is being driven by humans and making them invisible to people riding in autonomous cars.

Not only could this approach be much cheaper than putting this technology in every car, but it would also shift maintenance from the car owner to the government, which could maintain it better, although this is not always a given.

It could also help ensure fewer catastrophic problems and allow older cars to better interoperate with newer autonomous vehicles, while providing a viable low-cost upgrade for those building more recent cars. wanted which are not currently autonomous functions like they were. This is arguably the most innovative approach to the autonomous car problem I’ve seen, and I’m thrilled by it.

while the autonomous wheelchair

Finally, Whill presented its autonomous wheelchair designed for people with limited mobility and vision. Older or partially disabled people who cannot see well are heavily dependent on others because the white cane approach does not work in a wheelchair.

Winner of the Best of Innovation Award in the Accessibility category, this wheelchair features unique high-traction tires and a rear bin to hold packages or groceries. It sounds a bit like a science fiction movie.

With 12 miles of range, the ability to climb over 3-inch objects like curbs, and very high stability for rough roads, it could be ideal for aging seniors and those with vision and mobility problems. At 5.5 mph, it’s anything but blazing fast, but if you have mobility and vision problems, you probably don’t want blazing fast.

Weighing in at 250 pounds, it’s lighter than many motorized solutions for people with limited mobility, and its autonomous capability provides freedom that some people might not get any other way.

wrapping up

This list of robots at CES is by no means exhaustive, but I realized that Nvidia was the brainchild of most of the robots I saw, so I thought I’d use that as a theme for this column. The autonomous robot revolution is just getting started, with the hope that we never go far enough to make the book robopocalypse a reality.

Over the next decade, these will unfold at an increasing pace, and Nvidia has placed itself at the heart (okay, maybe more at the brain) of these efforts. After all, we can be like George Jetson and have a maid like Rosie who’s autonomous, robotic, and with just the right level of snark.

At CES, I Saw My Robotic Future. I can’t wait until I have my own rosé!

tech product of the week

mutlhack vr microphone

Before Christmas, I took my last trip of the year to New York. Before taking off on the return flight, I had to do a radio interview over the phone. While the person next to me was fine with it, the guy in front of me was not and it looked like I was talking too loudly because he was about to hit me. I have a trained media voice, and that goes a long way.

Having a solution I can be a lifesaver when doing these things especially if we get to the point where we are making inflight phone calls and don’t want to annoy or accidentally entertain everyone on the plane with our conversations – Let alone accidentally share confidential or personal information.

The Mutlock VR microphone was one of two products launched at CES that can include your voice when you speak.

I’m choosing Mutalk because it was also designed to work with the VR rig I play with in VR, the Mask by Skyted, which was huge and apparently designed for inflight use Made it more appealing to me than it was. , To be honest, I’d be fine with either, and I have to admit that even a whole mutable rig on a plane might be a bit much.

Finally, something I can use for making calls in areas with a lot of ambient noise or when I need to be punched when I need to speak loudly. So, the Mutalk Leakage Voice Suppression Microphone is 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.

The new year is up and running, set to bring solutions and challenges affecting all industries. As the faltering economy continues to revolve around the ravages of broken supply chains and deteriorating cyber security, businesses and analysts alike are turning their attention to what’s next.

TechNewsWorld spoke with IT executives to gather predictions for what will happen in 2023. He offered insightful writing on the wall about what to expect going forward.

One of the most important areas is the need for more effective security to protect cyber infrastructure. Politics aside, Executive Order 14028 issued in May 2021 clarified the priorities. President Biden’s order requires agencies to improve their security to secure the integrity of the software supply chain.

“Software vendors can no longer hide from their shortcomings, and software users can no longer hide from their responsibilities,” said John Geter, chief product and technology officer at RKVST, a SaaS platform for tracking supply chain issues. Technewsworld.

With still a way to go, he sees the digital supply chain finally being recognized as just as important as the physical one. Gator also sees a critical need for suppliers to provide quality and for consumers to control their own risk.

He offered, “Companies and governments around the world are waking up to the fact that the software they use to run their enterprise operations and the hardware and software solutions they use and deliver to customers are represent a significant risk.”

Core Technologies Top Priority

Geter said the current political and macroeconomic conditions are worse than most people predicted, and this is having a chilling effect on innovation.

People will focus more on cost cutting and efficiency. However, this should not diminish the importance of the key technologies being developed.

“But it changes the emphasis from new use cases like proactive cyber defense to improvements in existing use cases like more efficient audits,” he said.

Geter suggested that most supply chain problems come from mistakes or oversights that originate in the supply chain itself, and that leave targets open to traditional cyber attacks.

“It is a subtle distinction but an important one. I believe the bulk of the discoveries arising from improvements in supply chain visibility [in 2023] Will highlight that most threats arise from mistake, not malice,” said Geter.

Year of AI and ML

The new year will bring a renewed focus on machine learning operations (MLOps), predicted Moses Gutman, CEO and co-founder of ClearML, an MLOps platform. It is important to take stock of how machine learning has evolved as a discipline, technology and industry.

He expects artificial intelligence and machine learning spending to continue to grow as companies look for ways to optimize increased investment and ensure value, especially in a challenging macroeconomic environment.

“We’ve seen a lot of top technology companies announce layoffs in late 2022. It’s likely that none of these companies are laying off their most talented machine learning personnel,” Gutman suggested to TechNewsWorld.

However, to make up for the shortfall of fewer people in deep technical teams, companies will need to lean even further into automation to maintain productivity and ensure projects get completed. He also expects to see companies that use ML technology put in place more systems to monitor and conduct performance and make more data-driven decisions on how to manage ML or data science teams.

“With clearly defined goals, these technical teams will need to be more key performance indicator-focused, so leadership can have a more in-depth understanding of machine learning’s ROI. Gone are the days of vague benchmarks for ML,” Gutman said. .

end of talent hoarding

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become common in the last decade. Those working with ML are likely the most recent employees, as opposed to employees who have been working with AI for a long time.

Many big tech companies started hiring these types of workers because they could handle the financial cost and keep them away from competitors — not necessarily because they were needed, Gutman said.

“From this perspective, it is not surprising to see so many ML workers being laid off given the surplus within large companies. However, with the era of ML talent hoarding coming to an end, it could usher in a new wave of innovation and opportunity for startups,” he observed.

With so much talent now looking for work, he expects to see many displaced workers move out of big tech and into small and medium-sized businesses or startups.

Cloud Predictions

Drew Firmant, vice president of enterprise strategies at Pluralsight, believes that fundamental cloud computing skills will continue to be the most relevant and in-demand worker needs for 2023. This is despite ML and AI getting the most attention.

According to Pluralsight’s State of the Cloud report, 75% of tech leaders are building all new products and features in the cloud. Yet he noted that only 8% of technologists have significant cloud-related skills and experience.

Ironically, lower-level cloud infrastructure skills will continue to be in high demand because using those technologies successfully requires more people than higher-level services, said Mattias Andersen, Pluralsight’s lead developer advocate.

“For example, many organizations now want to own and manage their own Kubernetes clusters, allowing them to hire for Kubernetes administration skills while they offload to a cloud provider,” Anderson told TechNewsWorld. “

tech talent shift

Firmant said an expected shift from consumers of talent to creators of talent will be a key differentiator for cloud leaders in 2023. Gartner reports that 50% of enterprise cloud migrations will be delayed by two years or more due to cloud skills shortages – directly impacting the ability of enterprises to achieve cloud maturity and achieve a return on their technology investment.

“To address the challenges of cloud adoption, enterprises must invest in migrating their talent to the cloud as much as they are investing in migrating their applications,” Firmant told TechNewsWorld. “Lift-and-shift migration strategies limit the benefits of cloud platforms, and the approach doesn’t work well for workforce transformation.”

He urged that in order to achieve a sustainable transformation towards cloud adoption and maturity, enterprises need to invest strategically in skill development programs designed to achieve cloud adoption at critical mass.

Multi-Cloud Adoption

Avoiding vendor lock-in is an important target for 2023. According to Anderson, this is the strategy that is now prevalent across the industry landscape. More enterprises are adopting multi-cloud, either by design or by accident.

“The increase in multi-cloud adoption will accelerate demand for the tools needed to manage the increased complexity as enterprises struggle to reduce their implementation timelines. The trifecta of multi-cloud challenges and solutions in 2023 will include security, cost and operations,” said Anderson.

This, he said, would force another need on multi-cloud strategies. Technologists must become multilingual between two or more cloud providers.

He predicted, “With the current shortage of cloud talent, the multi-cloud strategy trend is expected to add further stress to the existing skills gap.”

open-source role

The focus on ML operations, management and governance will force MLOPS teams to do more with less. According to Gutman, businesses will adopt more off-the-shelf solutions because they are less expensive to produce, require less research time, and can be customized to meet most needs.

“MLOps teams will need to consider open-source infrastructure rather than being locked into long-term contracts with cloud providers. While organizations doing ML at hyper-scale can certainly benefit from integration with their cloud providers, it forces these companies to work the way the provider wants them to work,” he added. Explained.

This means users may not be able to do what they want the way you want, he warned. This also puts users at the mercy of the cloud provider for cost escalations and upgrades.

On the other hand, open source provides flexible customization, cost savings, and efficiency. Users can even modify the open-source code to make sure it works exactly as they want.

Gutman concluded, “especially with teams shrinking in technology, it’s becoming a more viable option.”

Microsoft researchers have announced a new application that uses artificial intelligence to mimic a person’s voice with just a few seconds of training. Voice models can be used for text-to-speech applications.

The application, called VALL-E, can be used to synthesize high-quality individual speech with only three seconds of nomination recording of the speaker as an acoustic signal, the researchers wrote in a paper published online on arXiv, a Free distribution service and an open-access archive for scholarly articles.

There are now programs that can cut and paste speech into an audio stream, and that speech is converted from typed text to the speaker’s voice. However, the program must be trained to simulate a person’s voice, which can take an hour or more.

“One of the extraordinary things about this model is that it does it in a matter of seconds. It’s very impressive,” Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology advisory firm in New York City, told TechNewsWorld.

According to the researchers, VALL-E outperforms current state-of-the-art text-to-speech (TTS) systems in both speech naturalness and speaker similarity.

In addition, VALL-E can preserve the speaker’s emotions and acoustic environment. So if a speech sample was recorded on a phone, for example, text using that voice would sound like it was being read through a phone.

‘super impressive’

VALL-E is a noticeable improvement compared to previous state-of-the-art systems like YourTTS, due to be released in early 2022, said Giacomo Micelli, a computer scientist and Werner Herzog, creator of a website featuring an AI-generated, never-ending discussion and the synthesized speech of Slavoj Zizek.

“The interesting thing about VALL-E is not just that it only needs three seconds of audio to clone a voice, but also how much it can mimic that voice, emotional timing, and any background noise.” can match closely,” Michaeli told TechNewsWorld. Ritu Jyoti, group vice president of AI and automation at IDC, a global market research company, called VALL-E “significant and highly impactful”.

“This is a significant improvement over previous models, which required a much longer training period to generate a new sound,” Jyoti told TechNewsWorld.

“It’s still early days for this technology, and more improvements are expected to make it more human-like,” he added.

emotion simulation questioned

Unlike OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, Microsoft has not opened VALL-E to the public, so questions remain about its performance. For example, are there factors that could cause degradation of the speech produced by the application?

“The longer the audio snippet generated, the more likely a human is to hear things that seem a bit distant,” Micheli said. “Words in speech synthesis may be ambiguous, omitted, or duplicated.”

“It’s also possible that switching between emotional registers will feel unnatural,” he said.

There is also doubt in the application’s ability to simulate the speaker’s emotions. “It will be interesting to see how strong the potential holds,” said Mark N. Vena, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif.

“The fact that they claim this is hard to believe with only a few seconds of audio,” he continued, “given the current limitations of AI algorithms, which require a lot of voice samples. “

ethical concerns

Experts see beneficial applications for VALL-E as well as some non-profit applications. Jyoti cited speech editing and replacing voice actors. Miceli said the technology could be used to build editing tools for podcasters, customize the sound of smart speakers, as well as incorporate them into messaging systems and chat rooms, videogames and even navigation systems.

“The other side of the coin is that a malicious user could clone a politician’s voice, and have them say things that sound absurd or inflammatory, or just to spread false information or propaganda in general,” Miceli said. Told.

If it’s as good as Microsoft claims, Vena sees huge abuse potential in the technology. “At the level of financial services and security, it is not difficult to accept use cases by rogue actors who can do really harmful things,” he said.

Jyoti also sees ethical concerns emerging around VALL-E. “As technology advances, the sounds produced by VALL-E and similar technologies will become more reliable,” he explained. “This would open the door to genuine spam calls that mimic the voices of real people a potential victim knows.”

“Politicians and other public figures can also be impersonated,” he added.

“There could be potential security concerns,” she continued. “For example, some banks allow voice passwords, which raises concerns about misuse. We can expect an increase in the arms race between AI-generated content and AI-detecting software to prevent misuse. Huh.

“It is important to note that currently VALL-E is not available,” Jyothi said. “Overall, it is important to regulate AI. We will have to see what measures Microsoft takes to regulate the use of VALL-E.”

enter lawyers

Legal issues may also arise around the technology. “Unfortunately, there may not be existing, adequate legal tools to deal directly with such issues, and instead, a hodgepodge of laws that cover how the technology is misused reduce such misuse. can be used to,” Michael L. Principal at Harness IP, a national intellectual property law firm.

“For example,” he continued, “voice cloning can result in a deepfake of a real person’s voice that can be used to deceive a listener or even be used to mimic the voice of an election candidate.” While such misuse would raise legal issues in the area of ​​fraud, defamation, or electoral misinformation laws, there is a lack of specific AI laws that would deal with the use of the technology itself.

“Further, depending on how the initial voice sample was obtained, there may be implications under the federal Wiretap Act and state wiretap laws if the voice sample was obtained over, for example, a telephone line,” he said. .

“After all,” Teich said, “in limited circumstances, there may be First Amendment concerns if such voice cloning is used by a government actor to silence, delegate, or dilute legitimate voices from exercising their free speech rights.” is done to.”

“As these technologies mature, there may be a need for specific laws to directly address the technology and prevent its misuse as the technology advances and becomes more accessible,” he said.

make smart investments

In recent weeks, Microsoft AI has been making headlines. ChatGPT is expected to be incorporated this year into its Bing search engine and possibly its Office apps. It also reportedly plans to invest $10 million in OpenAI — and now, VALL-E.

“I think they’re making a lot of smart investments,” said Bob O’Donnell, founder and principal analyst at Technalysis Research in Foster City, Calif., a technology market research and consulting firm.

“They jumped on the OpenAI bandwagon several years ago, so they’ve been behind the scenes on this for quite some time. Now it’s coming out in a big way,” O’Donnell told TechNewsworld.

“They’ve had to play catch-up with Google, which is known for its AI, but Microsoft is making some aggressive moves to come to the forefront,” he continued. “They’re jumping on the popularity and the incredible coverage that all these things are getting.”

Rubin said, “Microsoft, having been the leader in productivity for the last 30 years, is looking to preserve and extend that leadership. AI may hold the key to that.”

Not all of the gadgetry announced at the Consumer Electronics Show this year solves just business problems. Some new technologies help people have fun, keep track of things, or enhance personal spaces.

Here’s a summary of three new items that check those boxes. We found this emerging technology intriguing, and you may wonder why no one thought of it before.

Verge Motorcycles launches high-performance model

A highly anticipated new electric motorcycle line from Verge Motorcycles is now available for pre-reservations in the US. The company announced that it will start selling in select states during 2023.

By making an early reservation, fans can indicate their interest to be in touch when the long-awaited electric motorcycles go on sale in the United States. Verge announced the start of series production of its other models, the Verge TS and Verge TS Pro, for select European markets in November. Here is their brand clip “Introducing Verge TS Pro – The Electric Superbike”.

The new Verge TS Ultra model (pictured above) is one of the most advanced electric motorcycles out there. The Verge is known for its unique design and innovative integration of the rim motor inside the rear wheel. This pioneering technology enables a bigger battery, more extended range and great performance. Furthermore, the center of gravity is lower, providing a better riding experience than conventional electric motorcycles.

“We see a lot of potential in the market and look forward to [by] Bike enthusiasts will soon be rewarded with even more powerful and futuristic electric motorcycles,” said Tuomo Lehtimäki, CEO of Verge Motorcycles.

The Verge TS Ultra is a high-performance model designed from the ground up with electric drive in mind. The Verge TS and Verge TS Pro models already represent innovation. The performance of the new Ultra model is exceptional, with a range of up to 233 miles and a fast charging time of 25 minutes. With its 201 horsepower output, the bike accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds.

Commercial Smart Label Tracking Device

Pod Group, a Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) company and the world’s first Enterprise Network Operator (ENO), in partnership with Sodak and Lufthansa Industry Solutions (LHIND), announced on Tuesday the launch of a paper-thin tracking device. form of a smart label.

Smart Label Paper-Thin Tracking Device

The device could revolutionize the logistics industry by allowing the tracking of smaller and lighter items. According to the company, this capability has not been possible before using traditional tracking devices.

“Smart mobile devices will play an increasing role in digital transformation across all industries. Due to its form factor and unique technology, smart labels enable a range of new use cases,” said Ingo Pietruska, Vice President of Business Development at LHIND.

Smart labels use low-power cellular connectivity (LTE CAT-M) to transmit data about device location and temperature back to a centralized dashboard, enabling logistics companies to track valuable items.

The package can be as small and light as an envelope containing important documents or as large as a full-size oil painting. The LEAP platform provided by LHIND enables geofences with notifications that can be set to alert the user when a package has entered or left strategic points along the supply chain.

The printed battery keeps the label as light as possible, while the use of low-power connectivity ensures that battery life is optimized and can last up to six months. The label can be used multiple times depending on the frequency of transmission. Alkaline batteries are also more environmentally friendly than traditional lithium batteries, and the materials used are recyclable.

“With smart labels, companies with complex supply chains can track their goods efficiently, reducing spoilage and theft. State-of-the-art low-power cellular communication technology can now deliver real-time tracking from a recyclable ultra-thin device can reliably send position, near temperature and shock alerts,” said Oli Smeenek, co-CEO of IoT hardware company Sodak.

AI powered personalized air improvement solutions

Airosphera, a new company operated by Airovation Technologies, showcased an unprecedented product and concept at CES 2023 – Personal Air Improvement.

AI-powered air improvement solutions personalize a variety of environments for wellbeing and performance at home, work and other indoor locations. Aerosphaera is collaborating with leading brands in home appliances, air purification, and other relevant markets to embed its technology and AI capabilities into their products in a variety of ways and across multiple use scenarios.

The technology uses artificial intelligence, unique remote sensing capability and cloud processing to produce an all-in-one solution designed to create the optimal personal indoor environment customized for each user. Machine learning technology enables bio-sensing to continuously monitor actions such as heart rate, breathing rate and daily routines – all remotely.

With manually entered data, it creates personalized baseline parameters for an optimal breathing environment.

According to Marat Mayan, founder and CEO of Aerovation Technologies, these air-improvement products will stand out in the market by activating air treatment, monitoring user-critical vital parameters and instructing users to improve their environment with an accompanying app.

Air purifiers also deal with CO2 Level and treatment of particulate and microbiological pollutants within indoor spaces, thereby improving people’s productivity and well-being.

The Aerosphaera Trio of Air-Improvement Products

Aerosphaera Product Line

Aerosfera Pro Improves the air around users such as students and workplace professionals and helps them be aware of their vitals and surroundings to help improve focus, productivity and learning skills.

aero An air treatment device that improves air quality for the vitality, well-being and improved performance of users. It cleans the air of pollutants and captures CO2,

aerosphere Junior is an all-in-one air control solution for babies, equipped with multi-sensors that measure and reflect environmental and baby conditions and treat the air to improve baby’s well-being.