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CES 2016: 170 000 visitors included 50 000 non-US

CES 2016 wrapped this weekend with more than 170 000 industry professionals, including more than 50 000 from outside the USA, having been drawn to this Las Vegas business event driving the global technology industry. 

“At CES 2016 everyone saw that tech is about more than single products and services, it is about improving our world and providing hope for our future. It was awe-inspiring to see traditional and non-traditional ‘tech’ industries meet to brainstorm, partner and collaborate on ways to do business and address global issues,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA), formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

“Technology now touches every facet of our lives, from improving our workouts and the way we sleep, to keeping us safe on the roads and in our homes and even preventing or treating illnesses. CES has cemented its position as the global gathering place for all industries to be wowed by the tens of thousands of ways that technology is changing the world as we know it.”

“CES is the one place where expanding global innovation, the technology community and government can join and showcase a better future for us all,” said John Penny, chief strategy officer, Starz.

CES once again confirmed its position as the global stage for innovation, with attendees from more than 150 countries and more than 100 official delegations, including the first Cuban delegation organized by the Cuban Embassy of the U.S.

“CES allows us to reach almost all of our key global partners – dealers, technology partners, suppliers and a huge press core from around the world – in a single efficient place,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO, Gibson Brands Inc. “It is not possible to touch base with so many relationships anywhere else. To have such intensity in a fun, hospitable and well organized show makes attendance a pleasure.”

Emerging innovation was at the heart of this year’s show with 500 startup companies in the Eureka Park Marketplace, up from 375 in 2015. “Eureka Park was incredibly inspiring,” said Paul Sabbah, president, Stamford International Inc.  “The exhibitors see a future that many of us have forgotten was ever there.”

From automotive technology and unmanned systems to wearables and 3D printing, the breadth and depth of innovation on display at CES is unmatched and growing. “You see so many important trends at CES,” said David Hagan, chairman and CEO, Boingo Wireless. “This week we saw that devices are no longer just connecting to the Internet, they are increasingly connected to each other.”

CES 2016 welcomed government officials including every member of the Federal Communications Commission and four members of the Federal Trade Commission. Two cabinet level officials, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Forman, as well as U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Mark Warner and Representatives Darrell Issa and Will Hurd also were in attendance. Other top level government attendees at CES included representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Trade Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, NASA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, among other government agencies.

With more than 6,000 members of the media in attendance, CES 2016 garnered worldwide media coverage. The show also received impressive social media momentum, including 1,278,870 mentions of the #CES2016 hashtag and 15.2 billion total potential social media impressions from January 5-9.

“We had amazing press coverage,” said Pat Lavalle, president and CEO, VOXX International. “We were able to see our customers, government guests and international partners all in one place. CES is the most efficient place in the world to do business.”

While attendance numbers reached a record high, improvements to show operations enabled attendees to navigate CES 2016 with ease. For the first time, Uber and Lyft were allowed to operate in Las Vegas, increasing transportation options for attendees. “Having Uber and Lyft available here was just amazing,” said Lee Cheng, chief legal officer, senior vice president, corporate development and corporate secretary, Newegg Inc. “It made it so much easier and convenient to get around and attend meetings.”

CTA will release final CES 2016 attendance figures upon completion of the show’s independent audit late this spring. CES will return to Las Vegas Thursday, January 5 through Sunday, January 8, 2017. For the latest CES news and videos, visit CESweb.org and CESweb.org/videos. B-roll for CES 2016 also is available online.

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Cisco gives pre-owned tech a Refresh

In a market of constant upgrades, Cisco Refresh aims to keep quality product away from landfills, writes BRYAN TURNER.

When one gets a new smartphone upgrade, the old device may be used as a backup or can be used by someone else. In business environments, equipment upgrades may not be conducive to keeping old equipment around, which may send older, working equipment to landfills.

This is where Cisco’s Refresh initiative comes in. At Cisco Connect in Sun City this week, Ehrika Gladden, VP and general manager of Cisco Refresh, lifted the lid on a little-known aspect of the company’s strategy. 

“Refresh is Cisco’s global pre-owned equipment business unit,” said Gladden. “It is certified to meet the quality and engineering standards of Cisco. It is licensed for software and it’s also inclusive of a services warranty.

“Our responsibility in 80 countries around the world is tied to both the recovery of assets and the ability to leverage those assets at a lower price point. This ensures our sustainability and proper usage of the Earth’s resources while providing access to small and medium businesses. The products are typically in the range of 20-40% cheaper. The products represent the entire portfolio for Cisco in some part, the majority of that product set is 2+ years in terms of generation.”

Cisco’s Circular Economy initiative ensures a sustainable loop through businesses willing to pay a premium for the latest, cutting-edge solutions, while Cisco markets older, working equipment for resale to those who don’t require the latest solutions. This ensures far less new components need to be used in a product range.

“We are leveraging the model of remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and reusing,” said Gladden. “Depending on the product set, there is a certain set of product yield that we expect. They vary from product to product, but we do have a percentage that doesn’t make it through.

“Those are always reused, meaning we will look at those products and decide to use them completely differently, leveraging the components, remanufacturing back into the overall build process. If that can’t be done, we will go into a recycle process where we melt those products down to reuse them.”

Repairing and refurbishing older products isn’t just that. Cisco is creating repair centres that are owned by third-parties to uplift local ownership.

“The repair centres, as a global manufacturer, is Cisco’s entree into local ownership,” said Gladden. “I want to be precise about what I mean by local ownership. It’s critical for us to have a localised presence, but doing that through ownership. When you look at inclusive economies, those that are participative, to be sustainable – not in the product set, but generationally.

“The ability as a global manufacturer through a local ownership model  isto create a repair centre where a product can be returned, screened, tested, and repaired, leveraging the talent that the Networking Academy is creating.”

Cisco is working closely with local governments to understand where it operates and how to leverage the skills in the market.

Gladden said: “We are also super excited about the National Development Plan and African Union statements which with we align: eradication of poverty, job creation, ownership, healthcare, education, it all fits in the model. So we were very excited to have the opportunity to come to Africa first to announce this. Over the next twelve months, we want to establish our first repair centres, and in the next 3 to 5 years, build that vision into a reality.”

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Why Data Privacy has become a Pipe Dream

If you’re active on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other social platform, you’re not as safe as you thought, writes
AARON THORNTON, MD of Dial a Nerd

As you begin to read this, let’s perform a quick experiment! How many active conversations are you engaged in – right now – on WhatsApp? When was the last time you shared a picture or video on Instagram? Is Facebook currently open and active on one of your devices? And how many internet- connected devices are you using at this moment? Chances are, you have multiple devices running multiple applications most of the time. So what’s the problem, you ask? Since when did checking in with a high school buddy in Australia via Facebook become a dangerous act?  

In reply, we say, read on if you can stomach it!  

Nation-State Hacking & You  

It might seem like a laughably long shot to say that you are a key player in the increasingly sinister and sophisticated world of nation-state hacking. Well, you are. Given that individuals, businesses and governments are now constantly connected, round the clock, consumers and businesses have become fair game in cyber espionage. And as we create and share more and more data, both the value and accessibility of that data increases. According to a report by McAfee, IP theft now accounts for more than 25% of the estimated $600 billion cost of cybercrime to the world economy.    

With data having become the ‘new gold’, nation states are naturally pouring investment and key resources into building advanced cyber warfare tools. Indeed, entire divisions of armed forces as well as the upper echelons of corporate leadership are devising ways to harness data to gain economic, political and social power. At the highest level, tools and platforms are being developed with the specific aim of perpetrating cyber espionage and data theft. No surprise then, that the consumer and business environments are rife with increasingly advanced malware, ransomware and many other malicious hacking tools and methods.  

Still not convinced? Yes, we can smell the scepticism from here! So let’s take a moment to see how this has already played out, beneath our noses.  

Remember the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal of early 2018? For many, this was a watershed moment in the emerging war for consumer data – and the ensuing tensions between privacy, power and profit. Need a refresh? Well, in 2018, Facebook exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign. In essence, the data was harvested without user consent and used for political purposes.  

Another chilling but less direct example can be found in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. According to Politico, Russia launched a massive social media campaign to ‘sow discord’ leading up to the elections. The website reported that as early as 2014, an infamous Russian “troll farm” known as the Internet Research Agency – a company linked to Russian president Putin – developed a strategy using fraudulent bank accounts and other fake identity documents to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” 

When referring to the Russian hacks and their impact on election results, one U.S. Representative sagely noted: “They didn’t just steal data; they weaponized it.” 

Ignorance is not bliss 

Okay, so data is being ‘weaponized’, and ordinary people and businesses are being caught in the crosshairs of cyber warfare. A little bit frightening, but the good news is that savvy individuals like you can take steps to protect personal data and actively combat the creeping influence of juggernauts such as Facebook and Google.  

To begin with, awareness is key. As you engage with various platforms and applications at work and at home, take time to understand how your data is being used and what the terms of use are. Is your data being accessed and sold to advertisers? Have you consented to this? In addition to scrutinizing your consent, also pay close attention to how much data you share online – and the nature of the details you are divulging. Always keep in mind that hackers are employing smart social engineering tactics and using the details of your private life (birthdays, holidays, pet’s names, etc) to trick you into opening infected emails and clicking on malware. Whenever you are online, you are a target – and vigilance at all times is critical. Beyond that, it goes without saying that you must commit to following basic security protocols with your devices. So always keep software up to date and keep your data backed up so that you can reboot or wipe a device if needed.   

Now that we’ve left you sufficiently spooked, you can get back to those demanding WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram notifications (same company, by the way)…albeit, we hope, with a slightly altered [cyber] worldview!  

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