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Amid tech turmoil, celebration at global electronics show

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opening Tuesday offers a chance to showcase the newest and shiniest gadgetry, looking past the turmoil engulfing the global technology industry.

The annual Las Vegas gathering with more than 4,500 exhibitors brings out about 175,000 attendees searching for innovations of the future.

For an industry facing unprecedented turbulence, the hope is that what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas after it closes on Friday, but filters into the world where consumers can adopt new technologies for health, communication, transportation, the home and lifestyles.

The show opens against the backdrop of mounting concerns on how data gathered from connected devices can be exploited by marketers, governments and hackers. There has also been a wave of attacks from politicians and activists against dominant tech platforms, as well as intense trade frictions between the world’s economic and technology powers, the United States and China.

Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, said consumers are slowly coming to terms with the digital world and its privacy tradeoffs, and still appear to be driven toward new gadgetry.

“People always want to see a shiny new object,” Kay said.

“I think people are going to adjust to this world and adopt the technology that comes along that suits them.”

CES 2020 will feature devices infused with artificial intelligence for cars, homes, smart cities and for personal health, with many gadgets embracing voice assistants from Amazon, Google and others.

“We will see AI and apps being used to make people’s lives easier, such as speech recognition and object recognition,” said Sarah Brown of the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes the show that includes media previews Sunday and Monday.

“You will see that across the entire CES — AI embedded in all these technologies.”

Trade and industry attendees will see wearables offering more precise health monitoring, for both athletes and seniors; cars with better computer vision to avoid accidents; televisions designed as smart home hubs; and robots with features to help understand or express emotion.

A series of panel discussions will also explore questions around consumer privacy, the importance of 5G wireless, technology for travel and tourism, the promise of quantum computing and how lifestyles will change in “smart cities.”

– Emotional issues –

Some of the new CES gadgets will collect and analyze data such as facial expressions and tone of voice — creating the opportunity for more personalized services, but with risks as well.

This could mean a robot might be a better personal companion for the elderly, and a vehicle may adapt to signs of driver fatigue or impairment.

According to a report by the consulting firm Accenture, emotional data “is reaching a tipping point of opportunity” for firms which can decode human emotions for marketing, market research and political polling purposes.

“Emotional data will challenge companies because reading people’s emotions is a delicate business,” an Accenture report said. “Emotions are highly personal, and users will have concerns about privacy invasion, security breaches, emotional manipulation, and bias.”

– US-China row on display –

Although CES is not about politics, it takes place while US-China tensions simmer over trade, tariffs, industrial espionage and national security.

But China will still represent the largest non-US delegation at CES, with hundreds of exhibitors including Huawei, the smartphone and infrastructure giant which has been blacklisted by Washington over national security concerns.

“In terms of exhibit space, Chinese space is down slightly from last year, but most of the major exhibitors are returning and some even upping size of presence,” Brown said.

Simon Bryant of Futuresource Consulting said Chinese firms see the show as an important opportunity to demonstrate their ability to compete globally with Silicon Valley.

“Chinese firms are looking at places like Latin America and Europe, where they have enormous opportunities,” Bryant said.

CES offers big Chinese tech firms like Baidu the chance to show their digital assistant that compete with those of Amazon and Google, for example.

“The Chinese tech companies are very aggressive,” he said. “Their domestic market is saturated, and they need to grow outside China, but not necessarily in the US market.”

Source: AFP

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5g

Ericsson signs $8.3 billion 5G deal with Verizon

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NEW DELHI:Ericsson said that it has signed $8.3 billion agreement with Verizon to provide its industry-leading 5G solutions to accelerate the deployment of Verizon’s world-class next-generation 5G network in the U.S.

Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America, says: “This is a significant strategic partnership for both companies and what we’re most excited about is bringing the benefits of 5G to U.S. consumers, enterprises and the public sector. We’re looking forward to working with Verizon to leverage solutions like Cloud RAN and our Street Macro, adding depth and versatility to 5G network rollouts across the U.S.”

“With this new agreement, we will be able to continue driving innovation and widespread adoption of 5G,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon. “We are pleased to continue this work through our long-standing relationship with Ericsson.”

Under this $8.3 billion USD agreement, Verizon will deploy Ericsson’s 5G MIMO C-band, low-band and millimeter wave (mmWave) solutions to enhance and expand Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage, network performance and user experience. Ericsson’s technology solutions, including Massive MIMO, Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and Ericsson Cloud RAN, complement the high-performing Ericsson Radio System portfolio to support 5G services. Ericsson’s industry-leading software functionality provides end-users with the speed and performance they expect from 5G networks.

In 2020, Verizon was the first communications service provider to receive a commercial 5G mmWave Street Macro base station from Ericsson’s award-winning new state-of-the-art U.S. smart factory in Lewisville, Texas. Ericsson is committed to building and accelerating the nationwide build-out of 5G across the country.

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Mobile Services

Comviva launches next gen digital wallet and payment platform-mobiquity Pay X

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NEW DELHI: Comviva, the global leader in mobility solutions, today announced the launch of mobiquity Pay X, its next generation digital wallet and payment platform.

Mobiquity Pay is amongst the world’s largest digital financial services platforms, powering over 70 digital wallets and payment services for 130+ million consumers and processing over 7 billion transactions exceeding USD 130 billion annually in more than 50 countries.

With its new next generation mobiquity Pay X platform, Comviva has enhanced all aspects of digital financial solution, including scalability, faster deployment and time to market, simpler user lifecycle management & experience and enhanced security.

This new platform is completely built on microservices based architecture with fully independent and reusable components. The enhanced modularity facilitates faster time to market and greater scalability.

Mobiquity Pay X has enabled Open APIs to easily integrate with third party systems and extended financial ecosystem. To enhance user experience, the platform now offers a revamped slicker mobile app for consumers, agents, merchants and other business users and provides an advanced User Management System (UMS) that allows back-office users to easily manage the complete lifecycle of consumers, agents, merchants, and other business users seamlessly. Its intuitive user-interface, predefined templates and real-time feedback help quickly perform operations.

The new platform significantly strengthens security with robust authentication and authorization modules. It provides complete flexibility to easily configure various PIN, password and access rules as per the requirements. Its advanced session management capabilities help identify all active sessions and logins from a user through multiple devices and takes corrective action to prevent frauds.

Speaking on the launch, Srinivas Nidugondi, EVP and Chief Growth and Transformation Officer at Comviva, said, “COVID has significantly accelerated the growth of digital financial services and the entire financial ecosystem is growing at its fastest pace ever. Customer demand and public health priorities are pushing contactless payment adoption and our next generation mobiquity Pay X platform shall help financial service providers scale their digital wallet and payment services faster and seamlessly. With this new platform, Comviva has completely automated the software delivery process. The time to market has improved significantly with continuous product development, integration, testing, release and deployment.”

Mobiquity Pay X offers Order and Payment System that provides consumers a unified view of transactions performed by various payment instruments. It provides end-to-end tracking of entire payment transaction across all stages. It also enables back-office users to view status of payment transactions and identify failed and ambiguous transactions to take corrective actions like refund to complete the order-payment cycle.

The new mobile app is built using best-in-class design practices and has rich features including self-registration, biometric login, profile personalization, payment through multiple instruments (prepaid wallet, card, bank account), favourite transactions, multi-currency support, currency conversion, real time transaction tracking, referral bonus, merchant/agent locator, dynamic QR Code and many more.

With an enhanced monitoring and alerting system, mobiquity Pay X quickly aggregates system logs and key performance indicator data and provides a real-time bird’s eye view of critical operational parameters through visual dashboards. mobiquity Pay X has capability of proactive disaster management by identifying threshold breaches for critical application and system parameters in advance and providing real-time notifications for corrective actions.

Comviva has pre-integrated best-in-class technology in the areas of digital KYC and Personal Financial Management (PFM) to offer unparalleled value to consumers. These pre-integrated solutions in addition to offering enhanced experience to consumers, also significantly cut down cost and time to market while launching a digital wallet service. The platform also offers a document management system that provides flexibility to back-office users to quickly retrieve KYC documents a centralized repository for regulatory and business purpose.

 

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IT rules 2021 empowering, protecting users, asserts Ashwini Vaishnaw

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NEW DELHI: IT and communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday said the new information technology rules are empowering and protecting users.

He added that the new IT rules will ensure a safer and more responsible social media ecosystem in India.

“Reviewed the implementation and compliance of Information Technology Rules, 2021 along with my colleague Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar ji. These guidelines are empowering and protecting users and will ensure a safer and responsible social media ecosystem in India,” Vaishnaw said on a social media account.

The new rules which came into effect from May 25 mandate social media companies to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for resolving complaints from the users or victims.

All significant social media companies, with over 5 million user base shall appoint a grievance officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officers.

The big social media companies are mandated to appoint a chief compliance officer, a Nodal Contact Person and a resident grievance officer. All of them should be a resident in India.

Twitter, which had been in the eye of the storm over its alleged failure to comply with the new IT rules in India, has named Vinay Prakash as its Resident Grievance Officer for India, according to the company’s website.

However, Facebook-owned Whatsapp has challenged the new IT rules for social media intermediaries requiring the messaging app to trace chats and make provisions to identify the first originator of information, saying they violate the right to privacy and are unconstitutional.

Whatsapp further alleged the requirement of intermediaries enabling the identification of the first originator of information in India upon government or court order puts end-to-end encryption and its benefits at risk.

Some of the media houses have also challenged the new IT rules and the matter is sub-judice.

Source: Press Trust of India

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