Archive for March 13, 2018

Six-in-10 IoT projects fail to make it past concept: Capgemini

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 13, 2018 by itnerd

Although a vast majority of companies have good intentions when implementing IoT to support smart operations, obstacles with this technology remain. Capgemini released a report today broken down by industry that shows IoT initiatives designed to optimize operations at companies do not achieve their goals or reach meaningful scale. A few of the key findings include:

  • 6 out of 10 organizations have failed to take operational IoT initiatives past proof-of-concept or beyond implementation at one or two sites
  • More than 60% of organizations cite cyber security or data privacy concerns as a major deterrent to implementing IoT in operations
  • Around 50% of companies struggle to establish a clear business case for their investments
  • 60% of companies say they don’t have the analytics capabilities to take advantage of the data generated from IoT sources
  • More than 50% of organizations say uncertain standards are a significant challenge.

Here is a breakdown of industry activity in deploying IoT operations at full scale:




Cisco Launches Inaugural Tech4Good Hockey Tournament

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 13, 2018 by itnerd

Seven-time Stanley Cup winner Bryan Trottier will return to the ice and lead Cisco Canada’s inaugural Tech4Good Connected North on Ice Challenge, a fundraising tournament raising critically needed funds to deliver virtual education and youth mental health and wellness services to students in Indigenous communities in Canada’s remote north.

On Saturday, April 7th 2018, players will hit the ice at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville. Eighteen teams and 250 players are expected, consisting of Cisco employees, customers, partners, and NHL Alumni Stars of Hockey, including Bryan Trottier, Ric Nattress, Gary Leeman, Tom Fergus and Arron Asham. Teams will get their pick of these NHL all-stars during an exclusive draft party taking place the evening of April 6 at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Additional alumni will be announced in the coming weeks.

In June 2017, Cisco Canada launched a fundraising program to mark Canada’s 150th year since Confederation to help the Connected North program reach more students, and add more digital content partners. The Tech4Good Hockey Tournament will cap off a very successful year of outreach. Each participating team is required to raise a minimum of $10,000 in order to qualify and draft an NHL Alumni teammate. Current teams include Cisco Canada, TELUS, National Bank, Scotiabank, Shaw Communications, Home Hardware, Dimension Data, Scalar, Softchoice, Turbonomic, Ernst & Young and Solutions with Impact. Media partners include The Toronto Star and Rogers Media. Tournament sponsors include Cisco Canada, Hydro One, Canadian Tire, Benchmark and Shaw.

Joining the event as official spokesperson and player is Bryan Trottier, a Canadian former professional ice hockey centre who played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. Trottier is a passionate and active champion for helping Indigenous youth reach their full potential, and proud of his Metis heritage. He won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders, two with the Penguins and one as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche, making him the most decorated Indigenous athlete in the world.

Since its inception in 2013, the Connected North program has been using collaboration technology, such as Cisco’s high-definition video conferencing solution Telepresence, to deliver immersive and interactive virtual education and mental health and wellness services to remote Canadian Indigenous communities.

Funds raised by the Tech4Good Hockey Tournament will help to expand the number of schools in the Connected North program as well as further build the support network with additional experts, content providers and experiences that address each school’s unique cultural and educational needs.

Today, the Connected North program, under the leadership of charity partner TakingITGlobal, serves over 7,500 students and 32 schools across Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

AMD May Have Chip Flaws Of Its Own

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 13, 2018 by itnerd

A couple of months ago we heard about Meltdown and Spectre. That was bad as it’s affected everyone who runs a PC, Mac, or pretty much anything else. But it’s about to get worse as we now have the following new chip flaws to worry about:

  • RyzenFall
  • MasterKey
  • Fallout
  • Chimera

The flaws, which are 13 vulnerabilities that fall into the above four buckets, were uncovered by a company called CTS Labs who served up a report via a very slick and fancy website and reportedly only gave AMD 24 hours to respond. That’s a bit of a #fail as we don’t know if their findings are actually valid. Here’s one reason why I am personally skeptical. There’s this disclaimer on the website that I linked to above:

Although we have a good faith belief in our analysis and believe it to be objective and unbiased, you are advised that we may have, either directly or indirectly, an economic interest in the performance of the securities of the companies whose products are the subject of our reports. Any other organizations named in this website have not confirmed the accuracy or determined the adequacy of its contents.

We’re expected to look past that and take this group seriously? Uh, my gut feeling is not to. But I will suspend disbelief as AMD is investigating and I am sure that every hacker on Earth is too so that they can leverage these flaws, if they are accurate, for pwnage on an epic scale. But if they aren’t accurate, I hope AMD sues them out of existence.

More to come.



MoviePass CEO Says He Was “Completely Inaccurate” About App Tracking….. Sure

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 13, 2018 by itnerd

Color me skeptical, but when I hear this statement from MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, my natural tendency is to not buy into what he’s saying:

In an interview with Variety on Monday, Lowe said he was mistaken about what data the MoviePass app actually collected. “I said something completely inaccurate as far as what we are doing,” he said. “We only locate customers when they use the app.”

He added, “If you get in your car and drive five miles, we don’t know where you are or where you are going.”

Hmmmm….. Let’s contrast that statement with what he said about the MoviePass app a not so long ago:

“We know all about you,” he said at the keynote, appropriately titled “Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?”

The data collection information elicited some nervous laughs from the industry crowd, many of whom raised their hands to show they were MoviePass subscribers.

“We get an enormous amount of information,” he said, noting the company knows subscribers’ addresses and can glean demographic information based on where they live. The company also can track subs via the app and a phone GPS.

“We watch how you drive from home to the movies,” he said. “We watch where you go afterwards.”

So… Either he’s completely out to lunch, or he’s trying to spin this in some way so as to make this whole gong show go away. Seeing as his PR’s department lame attempt to walk his statement back failed. Oh yeah. What about the update of their iOS app to remove “unused app location capability”?

Lowe said the app never activated the “track all the time” capability. “We never used it, and it was confusing to have it there,” Lowe said.

Here’s the bottom line. From my point of view, he was very confident in his original statement. Then he thought it was a great idea to double down on that statement. When those blew up in his face, he suddenly says his statements weren’t correct? Sorry, nobody is going to buy what he’s selling. Though some people may buy what he’s smoking as it clearly alters reality. Jokes aside, the bridge that he just burned behind him is the trust of his user base, which isn’t going to get rebuilt anytime soon if ever.

Microsoft Admits To Updating Windows 10 PCs After Users Set The PC Not To Do That

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 13, 2018 by itnerd

Stop me if this sounds familiar. Microsoft has had to come clean about updating PCs to the latest build of Windows 10 after users set the PC to not do that. But it’s not quite the same situation as what Microsoft has been accused of doing in the past. Here’s the details from Bleeping Computer:

The admission came in a knowledge base article updated last week. Not all users of older Windows versions were forcibly updated, but only those whose machines were running Windows 10 v1703 (Creators Update). This is the version where Microsoft added special controls to the Windows Update setting section that allow users to pause OS updates in case they have driver or other hardware issues with the latest OS version. But according to reports, a Microsoft snafu ignored these settings and forcibly updated some users to Windows 10 v1709 (Fall Creators Update).

This is the knowledge base article in question. To me this sounds like a screw up rather than force feeding Windows 10 down people’s throats. I’m willing to take Microsoft at their word on this one.

However….. The larger issue is that users of Windows 10 in home environments and small business do not have complete control of the update experience like they did with Windows 7 and earlier. Unless Microsoft fixes that, we’re going to be talking about something like this over and over again.

Canada To Initiate Smartphone Based Emergency Alerts On April 6

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 13, 2018 by itnerd

If you have an LTE enabled smartphone and you’re in Canada, you’ll be part of a new emergency alert system that will go live on April 6. In the event of an emergency such as tornadoes, flash floods, and child abductions to name a few emergencies, a push notification will pop up on your phone. For what it’s worth, there will be no cost to you when that happens. And you won’t be able to opt out. Though I would think that you shouldn’t be opting out of something like this.

Frankly, this is beyond overdue. Other countries have had systems like this for years. Thus Canada is behind the times on this front. I am glad to see that this is finally happening as it’s going to help to keep Canadians safe.

ecobee Brings Voice Control To Every Room With ecobee Switch+

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 13, 2018 by itnerd

ecobee, Inc. today launched its smart light switch, the ecobee Switch+, delivering on its vision for invisibly integrated voice assistance in every room of the home. With built-in far-field voice technology and the Alexa Voice Service, ecobee Switch+ offers customers easy and effortless access to information, entertainment and intuitive control.


The company expects ecobee Switch+, introduced today during the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference in Austin, Texas, to propel the smart home industry into a whole home voice future, bringing the power of ecobee to every room and allowing customers to experience a smart home that can listen, learn and respond to their needs. ecobee Switch+ will cost $99 (USD) in the U.S. and $119 (CAD) in Canada and is available for online pre-order starting March 13, 2018 and in stores March 26, 2018.

ecobee Switch+ can bring voice into any room and is far more than a traditional light switch; it is the first available light switch to come equipped with built-in Amazon Alexa and a suite of smart features. ecobee Switch+ also lets you rely on motion and daylight sensors or a mobile device for smarter lighting control. Plus, when paired with an ecobee thermostat, the smart light switch will function as a room sensor to manage hot or cold spots. Together, an ecobee thermostat and ecobee Switch+ offer a seamless solution that makes for an unmatched, better home experience. The room sensor feature will be available later in 2018 via a software update.

Like all ecobee products, ecobee Switch+ will integrate with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, the Google Assistant, SmartThings and IFTTT. ecobee remains committed to integrating with multiple smart home ecosystems, empowering customers to control their devices using the service that meets their specific needs.

Pricing, Availability and Compatibility

ecobee Switch+ will retail for a suggested price of $99 (USD) in the U.S and $119 (CAD) in Canada. Beginning March 13, ecobee Switch+ will be available for online pre-order in the U.S. and Canada on and select retailers including Amazon, The Home Depot and Best Buy, and will be available in store across North America on March 26. ecobee Switch+ works with any light controlled by one switch with a neutral wire and supports most energy-efficient light bulbs, such as the LiFX. It is also rated to control 600w incandescent or 150w LED and CFD loads.