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CES: Taiwan firms to unveil breakthrough technologies

Facial recognition, deep learning, virtual tourism and electric vehicle charging innovations will take centre stage at the world’s biggest launchpad for new gadgets

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At CES 2020 in Las Vegas next week, Taiwan-based companies will showcase products that “have the potential to dramatically improve daily life – for everyone around the world”, according to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

At a January 6 press conference, AI and facial recognition pioneer CyberLink, deep learning and computer vision firm Mindtronic AI, image product design firm Ultracker Technology, and electric vehicle (EV) charging technology systems developer Noodoe EV, will showcase their latest innovations.

These trail-blazing products – FaceMe, a leading facial recognition engine for smart apps, an AI automotive cockpit that keeps drivers safe, a virtual tour camera for 360 photo-taking, and an EV charging station that transforms parking centers into revenue generators – are breakthroughs to be unveiled in the backdrop of a host of innovations launched in Taiwan this year.

Taiwan, known for its key role in the information technology global supply chain, pulsates with an invigorating atmosphere for manufacturers, startups, and product designers. Taiwan’s many cutting-edge AIoT innovations, exemplified by four presenting companies – also winners of the prestigious Taiwan Excellence Award or CES Innovation Award – will be unveiled at “Smart Tech, Smart Future: Taiwan Innovations for 2020 & Beyond” CES press conference:

1. CyberLink – FaceMe
CyberLink will feature FaceMe showing off even more of its facial recognition capabilities. A top facial recognition engine, FaceMe enables new and innovative applications spanning authentication, access control, safety, security, and visitor analytics. The company will also show off facial recognition in kiosks for mobile payments and home security. 

FaceMe, at the forefront of biometric solutions, is continually pushing standards for accuracy, performance, security, and flexibility across a wide range of industries. Powered by deep learning and a neural network algorithm, its high precision yields up to a 98.41% true acceptance rate (TAR) with a false acceptance rate (FAR) of less than 10-6(0.000001). Since the launch of FaceMe in late 2018, CyberLink has collaborated with 100+ global partners, deploying the technology across multiple IoT/AIoT scenarios. 

CyberLink, in addition to its expertise in AI and facial recognition, has shipped several hundred million copies of its multimedia software and apps, including the award-winning PowerDirector, PhotoDirector, and PowerDVD. The company has close long-term partnerships with the world’s leading personal computer and peripheral device manufacturers.

2. Mindtronic AI – AI Automotive Cockpit 
Redefining the future of driving, Mindtronic’s digital cockpit is designed for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that show new levels of user experience and interaction with AI functionality. It’s a bridge between safety, convenience, and comfort. It employs high quality biometric technology for a luxury user experience and interactions, and a Driver Monitoring System (DMS) for evaluating a driver’s cognition to bridge with ADAS for a seamless handover between human and self-driving. The cockpit detects distraction, fatigue, and unresponsiveness in real time to raise alerts and predict behavior. 

A CES Innovation Award Honoree four years in a row (including 2020), Mindtronic is an innovator in embedded deep learning, computer vision, and robotics, with a special focus on automotive product design. Mindtronic works with automotive Tier-1’s and OEMs throughout the world. The company’s core technology applications revolve around Driver Monitoring, Occupant Monitoring, Advanced ADAS, and Vehicle Control – currently some of the most challenging technologies in today’s cars.

3. Ultracker – Virtual Tour Camera 
A virtual tour is only as effective as the quality of photography used within it. Unlike traditional photography, 360 image capture can accurately portray a location’s unique differentiators and provide a clear view of intricate details. Ultracker’s Aleta S2C is a 360 camera that can capture 12K (66-megapixel) 360 photos and shoot 360 video in 4K. With one of the highest photo resolutions on the market, it is emerging as the virtual tour camera of choice and is ideal for commercial and interior design photography. 

Founded in 2001, Ultracker has been developing advanced video systems with stability and color-rich image quality. The company specializes in designing/programming proprietary FPGA-based image systems that are featured with advanced image processing and stitching technology to meet panorama image applications with efficient hardware processing. Innovation, quality, and service are the company’s key components to success in this competitive image product market.

4. Noodoe EV – EV Charging Stations 
Used in 110 countries, Noodoe transforms parking lots and traditional charging stations into smart EV charging locations that generate additional revenue. At the heart of the Noodoe EV S1000 station is an advanced cloud-based operating system serving as the “brain” that automates the 24/7 service delivery and universal payment processing. Any EV driver can charge their vehicle, and select their preferred payment method, without having to set up an account. As automotive centers and repair shops begin servicing the growing number of electric vehicles on the roads, shops can install EV charging stations to ensure that customers leave in a fully charged vehicle after repairs. 

Noodoe’s mission is to make the world greener by accelerating the world’s transition to electric transportation. In this quest, they produce well-designed EV charging infrastructure solutions that help construction, retail, hospitality industries, and public sectors to be part of the global zero-emission revolution.

Throughout CES 2020, TAITRA will showcase some of Taiwan’s best in information and communications technologies at the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall 4, #36021.

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Security issues grow with transition to smart TVs

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You can’t picture a modern home without smart equipment. Smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, robot vacuums, and smart TVs won’t surprise anyone these days. For example, around 70% of the TVs being sold worldwide are smart TVs. Although they bring more entertainment, these devices also carry new digital threats. 

Sometimes people forget that smart TVs are as vulnerable to cybercrime as their smartphones and computers. Daniel Markuson, the digital privacy expert at NordVPN, says that “although smart TVs are connected to the internet and have similar functions to computers, they aren’t equipped with the same security tools, which makes them easy prey for hackers.” 

What’s so scary about your TV getting hacked? As smart TVs gain more features, the amount of your private information they handle increases too. TVs aren’t just for watching movies and shows anymore. Now you can use them for web browsing, streaming video content, gaming, and even shopping online. 

To enjoy your smart TV to the fullest, you need to download various apps and games. These cost money, so you need your credit card details filled in. Putting your financial information, logins, and passwords on your TV makes it an appealing target for hacking. 

According to Daniel Markuson, a smart TV can be used to spy on its users. Hackers can access its camera and microphone through malware, which they can slip into your TV when it is connected to Wi-Fi. They can use footage from your bedroom or living room to blackmail you and your family. By watching your home and listening to your conversations, hackers know what goods you have, where you keep them when you’re away, and what your plans are. 

If you use your smart TV for web browsing, you can infect it with various viruses too, says the digital privacy expert at NordVPN. Like computers, smart TVs run on software, but they don’t have the same strong antivirus and firewall systems installed. Once your TV gets infected, your browsing history, passwords, and other private data become accessible to hackers. And they won’t miss the opportunity to use this information in ransomware attacks. 

Even though smart TVs are vulnerable to cyber threats, Daniel Markuson says there is no need to panic yet. The expert names a few simple principles every smart TV owner should follow to protect their device.

Always update your TV’s software whenever a new version becomes available. The expert says that software updates are crucial for cybersecurity as manufacturers do their best to patch vulnerabilities. Updates often repair security flaws, fix or remove various bugs, add new features, and improve the existing ones. Some TVs install updates automatically by default. With others, you may need to check for updates periodically to make sure your device runs on the latest version. 

Use available security measures such as a VPN. The best practice for any internet-connected device is to install a firewall and use a VPN such as NordVPN. It secures your device and lets you enjoy fast internet access with encryption-powered privacy.

Connect your smart TV to the internet only when needed. It isn’t necessary to have your TV connected to Wi-Fi all the time. To make it less vulnerable to hacker attacks, turn on the Wi-Fi connection only when you are using it.

Download apps from official stores only. Do not install any programs and games from unofficial sources on your smart TV. Make sure that both the app and its provider are reliable. Moreover, if an application asks for access to your data, camera, or microphone that isn’t necessary for its operation, never accept it.

Be careful with personal files and financial data. Shopping online on a big smart TV screen might be fun, but be careful providing your credit card details and other sensitive information this way. Although some manufacturers equip their TV sets with security features, they cannot guarantee safety online. “People who synchronize their smart TVs with their computers to access compatible media content should be especially cautious,” warns Daniel Markuson. The connection between your smart TV and your computer can be a weak link and lead to a data breach.

Use strong Wi-Fi passwords. This practice is the most obvious and the easiest to follow. Create a strong password to protect your Wi-Fi connection at home and don’t share it with any outsiders.

Turn off your TV camera when not in use. Whether it’s a built-in camera or the one connected to a TV via Wi-Fi, turn it off when not using it. If you can’t turn off your camera, use a piece of tape or a sticker over the camera lens to cover it. 

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Tech too complex? It stresses out even the tech-savvy

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Picture by hobvias sudoneighm on Flickr.

Even the savviest members of the tech industry get stressed by common devices that power their everyday lives, according to a recent poll conducted at CES 2020 by Asurion, the global leader in helping people connect, protect and enjoy their tech.

Survey screen by Asurion at CES 2020.

Asurion surveyed nearly 1,400 attendees of CES 2020, the world’s largest and most influential tech industry event, about their relationship with personal tech and their role as tech expert for family and friends. What the tech care company found is that even the tech-savvy, tech DIY’ers and early adopters stress out over some of the most ordinary devices in our hands and homes.

So, what tech tops the list of devices that stress out some of the consumer electronics industry’s tech enthusiasts?

  • Mesh routers and Wi-Fi networks (33%)
  • Phones (26%)
  • Smart home security systems (23%)

And, the tech-related activities that even the tech-savvy dread the most?

  • Troubleshooting a device that worked perfectly yesterday (39%)
  • Device security (27%)
  • Setting up devices (nearly 27%)

Asurion helps nearly 300 million customers worldwide unlock the potential of their tech with a team of over 10,000 Experts who are just a call, click or tap away. The company’s Experts provide ongoing tech support, same-day device repair, and same-day delivery and setup services. They’ll meet customers virtually, in-home, at select partner stores, and in more than 540 uBreakiFix stores across the country or wherever it’s convenient.

“The tech industry just spent four amazing days experiencing and celebrating the latest innovations in the future of tech,” said Teresa May, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Asurion. “What we heard is that even common tech tasks and devices can be challenging. Every day, our Experts help people across the country with their devices – everything from setting up a new phone to troubleshooting streaming issues on their smart TVs. Our CES poll reveals that the industry’s top tech innovators share the same pain points affecting millions of Americans.”

Asurion’s Experts received more than 18.5 million calls and chats from customers seeking tech help last year. And while the No. 1 question this holiday was a strong “How do I activate my new phone?” Asurion Experts also received many questions ranging from “How do I connect to Wi-Fi?” to “Can I sync my smart speakers to play them in tandem?”

And while the tech industry may have tech challenges of their own, they also get tapped by family and friends for help. Eight out of 10 attendees surveyed said their family and friends rely on them to help set up and troubleshoot their tech. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said they hesitate to gift tech to their loved ones because the recipient won’t know how to use it, and nearly half (46%) gave pause to gifting tech to family and friends because they didn’t want to be the one to help set it up.

Asurion CES Tech Poll

Consumer Tech Devices That Stress CES Attendees Out the Most

1. Mesh Routers and Wi-Fi Networks (33%)
2. Phones (26%)
3. Smart Home Security Systems (23%)
4. Smart Home Assistants/Hubs (20%)
5. Bluetooth Printers (19%)
6. Smart Home Automation (19%)
7. Laptops/Tablets (18%)
8. Smart TVs (17%)
9. Smart Appliances (14%)
10. Home Energy, Lighting and Switches (13%)

Tech Activities That Stress Out CES Attendees the Most

1. Troubleshooting Tech That Worked Perfectly Yesterday (39%)
2. Security (27%)
3. Setting up a Device (27%)
4. Privacy (23%)
5. Helping Others With Their Tech (20%)
6. Managing or Connecting Multiple Devices (19%)
7. Wi-Fi Connectivity (19%)
8. Paying for Personal Data Storage (18%)
9. Learning a New Operating System (17%)
10. Choosing Which Brand To Purchase (17%)

To learn more about where you can get tech support and protection, visit Asurion.com.

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