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Why modernising is key to business success

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Companies are often deterred from becoming more digitised due to the costs involved. However, according to MATUMANE TSHABALALA, managing executive of Application Services, the cost far outweighs the benefits further down the line.

As companies continue to grapple with the need to become more digitised, many are being held back by legacy technology. The cost of modernisation is often an inhibitor, but removing the risks associated with outdated technology far outweighs the price. The challenge is that many organisations do not even realise how vulnerable they truly are.

The first step organisations need to take is to understand what legacy technology and applications are running in their environments and how critical these are to their business, which requires a thorough assessment of the environment. Once that has been done, there are various options around the use of the existing legacy application, completely rewriting it, or just assisting with the migrations of those applications. This is determined based on the organisation’s needs and the actual application.

One of the biggest risks associated with outdated technology is security. It’s relatively easy for an attacker to scan an environment and identify the vulnerable areas. Once the technology has reached the end of its lifecycle, there typically will no longer be security updates available for it, which means you are potentially exposing your organisation, your network and your data.

While most companies are aware of the need for modernisation, dealing with it is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Firstly, there is the cost associated with modernisation, but through the right partnerships, this can be managed. Regulated environments such as financial institutions face another challenge in that once their technology stack has been certified, even minor component changes will require complete re-certification.

The modernisation of technology infrastructure and operating systems also has an impact on the applications running in an organisation. When organisations modernise their technology and operating systems, this can result in their enterprise applications breaking. If an application is developed to run on older operating systems and these are upgraded to more modern versions, the application will break, which means the entire application might need to be re-engineered.

Companies are increasingly looking for a consolidated view of their enterprise applications. We come from a history where whenever we had a problem, we threw software or an application at it. Where clients used to rely on the industry in the past to advise them on what solutions they needed, they are a lot more informed nowadays. So, they are taking back the control and looking to consolidate as much as possible. The wilderness of applications available does not make it any easier. Employees are using applications in their personal capacity and are expecting the same convenience in an enterprise environment. The problem is that, rather than looking at a consolidated approach, organisations look for quick fixes to appease employees, resulting in them deploying applications that don’t necessarily fit into the long-term strategy. Any application deployed within an organisation needs to be part of a bigger technology roadmap to ensure long-term sustainability as the solution evolves.

Modernisation focuses on more than just current business needs, taking into account the enterprise’s future business needs. And while it comes at a cost, it will enable the organisation to be far more agile and competitive, while keep the organisation relevant. Digitisation is rewriting the rules of competition and if CEO’s are not abreast of this, they will be left behind.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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