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AI faces these obstacles

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By Jim Holland, Country Manager at Lenovo Data Center Group Southern Africa

The furore around Artificial Intelligence (AI) is understandable. When adopted correctly, it is a true enabler for achieving a business life without limits, and it has the potential to power future success. AI promises the possibilities of the future, and with it comes the opportunity to win the race to become ‘digital’. That’s why there is an expected 37.3% compound annual growth rate for the 2017 – 2022 period in global spending on cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

However, as more businesses turn their attention to the AI hype, they need to be aware of the challenges ahead. AI, despite the frenzy, is still nascent and there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for success.

AI certainly has the ability to open monumental business opportunities, and it’s easy to see why so many businesses are jumping on the bandwagon. But all businesses striving for adoption need to forge their own path, away from the traditional strategies that hold others back. This ‘different’ line of thinking is the only way to emerge as a digital winner.

With great possibilities comes great obstacles

It is in understanding how to utilise AI that we see many businesses struggle. Many want to adopt AI as soon as possible, but are struggling to know how AI can be used to benefit their business or optimise a specific task because of the sheer IT complexity.

AI is broader than just an IT initiative, ownership of it needs to spread across a company. Therefore businesses should look to find forums for discussions and places to test ideas. For example, at Lenovo we recently opened three innovation centres for our customers to discuss, test and innovate. 

Those who successfully hurdle the obstacles in adopting AI technology will see dramatic business growth as their IT initiatives flourish.

The need for expert counsel

With AI and machine learning (ML) technology becoming more mainstream, a number of industries are already seeing big benefits. Agriculture, science and healthcare are among the multitude of industries using the technology to provide better quality services and products. From improving drought management to enhancing radiology practices, AI is the driver in optimising these solutions.

Behind these initiatives is a software-defined data centre, built to harness the power of AI. However, enterprises still need to have the flexibility to adapt. And this means the ability to operate without technology hampering their business. Therefore, it’s vital businesses work with partners who invest in the AI and ML space to get the most out of their initiatives. That’s why we are accelerating our AI initiatives to generate new and actionable insights in the business and science sectors.

AI driving the possibilities of the future

To reap AI rewards, businesses need to have strong foundations in place and an understanding of the technology. This starts with a flexible, future-defined and AI-optimised data centre, which is the only pillar capable of handling the vast amount of data vital for all AI models.

The right infrastructure, combined with a different line of thinking, will enable today’s businesses to stand out from the rest of the competition. 

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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