Tag: smartphones

The Google Pixel smartphone’s dialler will soon have a spam filtering feature that sends suspected spam callers directly to voicemail.

According to MyBroadband, this is an extension of the app’s existing ability to alert users as to whether it suspects a call of being a “suspected spam caller”.

Instead of a missed call, numbers marked as “spam” or “suspected spam” will be automatically sent to voicemail where they can be listened to at a later date.

This may pose a problem for the traditional telemarketing companies. Once a company has been marked as “spam” by a number of users, it will be “blacklisted” and not appear as a call.

Marketing for large companies is often done by telephone.

Cars need software updates: just like a smartphone

In response to millions of people fleeing Florida in the face of Hurricane Irma, Tesla has “flipped a switch” in some of its cars to temporarily extend their range.

Tesla cars receive software updates much like an iPhone does — via the Internet in an update process called “over-the-air” or OTA updates. It’s one of the only car companies that can do this with their cars, regularly sending updates to fix security flaws or update autonomous driving capabilities.

Contrast this with the approach taken by Chrysler, which sent out USB sticks with a safety update to 1.4m vehicles after hackers showed they could remotely take control of a Jeep. With such USB updates, there was really no way of knowing whether the updates had been applied properly or even got to the right person.

Most people don’t realise just how much of a car’s function is controlled by computer processors. The average car has between 25 and 50 different processors, with cars from BMW and Mercedes having around 100 processors each.

These processors control everything from advanced engine features to braking, automatic parking, collision detection, entertainment, navigation and security. As cars become more intelligent, they are coming to rely on increasingly sophisticated software.

Most of these processors have software that, at the moment, can only be updated by taking the car into to an authorised dealer. Car recalls have become a multibillion-dollar expense for the car industry and a major inconvenience for owners.

For this reason, over-the-air updates will be coming to most cars soon. General Motors recently announced that it would start to deliver updates to its cars using GM’s OnStar network. Bosch, one of the leading companies delivering electronics and processing to car manufacturers, is gearing up to deliver secure over-the-air capabilities to cars through a subsidiary, Escrypt.

Malware

It is estimated that 180m cars will be built with this capability in the next five years.

Despite the recent interest, car manufacturers have been wary of updating vehicles in this way. There was concern that too many things could go wrong during the update, leaving the car not driveable.

Security has also been a concern. Hackers could potentially intervene and substitute malware during the update, for example, with potentially lethal consequences.

The process of updating a car turns out to be not that dissimilar from updating an iPhone.

In fact, the acceptance of over-the-air updates for a car starts with the fact that people are more familiar and comfortable with updating a smartphone. They understand that the process can’t be interrupted and the phone must have enough power, for example.

From the technological perspective, the update is encrypted and is accompanied with appropriate signatures that get checked and accepted by special security hardware on the car, called a hardware security module.

The updates are transmitted over secure connections and special software on the car can receive the update and apply it. If something goes wrong, the system needs to be able to roll the update back and leave the original version of the software intact and operating.

Traditional car dealers may see this as a way of cutting them out of the loop, and may resist any regulations allowing these types of updates outside of a normal service
The arrival of more autonomous driving capabilities in cars will make updates essential, as with the case of Tesla. While these updates could be done at an annual service, the demands of autonomous driving will require more frequent updates of software.

At the same time, consumers are becoming sophisticated enough to be able to manage these updates themselves.

The challenge for companies wanting to move to over-the-air updates may not just be a case of car manufacturers moving too slowly. Traditional car dealers may see this as a way of cutting them out of the loop, and may resist any regulations allowing these types of updates outside of a normal service.

Other potential barriers may come from regulators. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has a task force looking at cybersecurity and over-the-air updating in motor vehicles.

One area of concern for this group is that if a vehicle has been certified by a country’s motor vehicle safety standards, what happens if it receives an over-the-air update that changes how it performs? Does this render its certification invalid? This might be the case especially if the vehicle’s emissions change as a result of the software update.

Another challenge that may give car manufacturers pause is that if a car can be updated with new features using a simple software update, will customers hang onto the cars for longer and not upgrade their cars quite so often?

By David Glance published on TechCentral

South Africa’s office workers spend nearly an hour a day working on their mobile devices despite having access to more powerful computers.

And they see smartphones as preferable to tablets when it comes to doing work on a mobile device.

This is according to a recent survey of 12 000 office workers nationwide by Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy. The survey quizzed South African office workers on their technology preferences in the workplace.

Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, said:”The results show how mobile devices are making greater inroads to just about everyone’s working life. Even if people have access to desktops and laptops, they spend an hour a day working on their smartphones. We expect this number to climb.”

When asked which mobile device was most needed for work, 52% said a smartphone while 38% said a tablet. Interestingly people in both categories said they would prefer to bring their own devices to work (the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon as it is called), a global trend in which workers associate greater enjoyment in using their own devices.

The survey also asked about workers’ preferred operating system. When it came to desktop computers, 80% said they preferred windows while only 11% preferred macOS, Apple’s desktop operating system.

When asked the same question about laptops, 79% said they prefer windows while 15% preferred Apple’s operating system.

On smartphones however, 41% prefer Apple’s IOS operating system to Google’s Android at 50%. For tablets, Apple comes top at 49% compared to Android’s 37%.

“Interestingly the survey also showed that when people work on smartphones or tablet’s, 77% prefer to do it away from their desks, even if they are still in the office.

“It’s a habit – people think of smartphones and tablets as mobile tools so they often use them elsewhere.

“Many of our clients are now setting up more casual areas of chairs, couches and mini desks where people can nip away from the desk and work elsewhere for a while.

“This is especially true for millennial workers who tend to be less inclined to sit at their desks all day and love using mobile devices,” Andrews noted saying given the rise of mobile devices offices would have to change to accommodate the demand for working away from the traditional desk.

When asked which were the ‘most important IT features’, 73% said remote access, 50% said high performance machines, 44% said an ability to access applications offline while 32% said some sort of protection for their devices against weather and/or dirt.

Finally, people were asked about something every office worker has strong views on: IT Support.

“The survey asked people where they turn to for IT support: 35% said the IT help desk, 21% simply googled the problem while 13% asked colleagues,” Andrews concluded.

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top