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TECHNOLOGY

How smart homes are changing our lives

By Chris Connell, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky

Smart home technologies have long ceased to be something new or surprising. Today, the idea of smart home appliances or switches isn’t from a cyberpunk scene, but rather an actively emerging reality.

For example, the report from Berg Insight revealed that the number of smart homes in Europe and North America reached 102.6 million in 2020.

What was once a collection of single and separate devices, smart homes are turning into fully-fledged smart systems that can supply coffee on time, adjust the temperature, and monitor the security of your house while you are away. All of this is possible thanks to the digitalization of an increasing number of devices. Kaspersky has developed a list of the most interesting benefits which the modern smart home can provide to become a fully-fledged personal assistant or protector.

Safety

Smart home technology can take the safety of your home to the next level. And we aren’t just talking about alarms. Modern cameras, motion sensors, and even smart door locks will help turn your home into a real fortress, and immediately send a message to your smartphone if something happens.

One of the most obvious examples is the installation of a home video surveillance system connected to the internet. Such cameras will work 24/7 and allow owners to look at what is happening anywhere in the house through an app on a smartphone. Sometimes such cameras have a motion sensor – if a camera sees something moving (be it a cat, a dog, or an intruder) it records the file and sends it to the server. Your device then receives a notification so that you can react as quickly as possible and perhaps prevent your property from being broken into.

The smart home has also made it possible to reinvent door locks. In order to secure your home as much as possible, the easiest option is to stop intruders from being able to get through the door. However, modern locks have moved on from being just a mechanism. Today, they can do much more than just prevent intruders from getting inside. For example, they can send you a notification when someone walks in and out, or create access codes for you or those who work in your home (nanny, housekeeper, gardener, etc.).

All of these solutions can turn your house into a high-tech home, but even smart defenses need protection. To ensure your defender has a shield, solutions have been created that help protects not only individual devices from being hacked but the entire IoT ecosystem.

Peace of mind

There are always numerous small things to worry about around the house – have I turned off the iron or closed the door? Who will water the flowers while I am on vacation? Even a small doubt is enough to ruin an evening out with friends or a short vacation with a loved one.

Smart devices can provide much-needed reassurance in such situations. Smart water leak detectors, for example, which react to contact with water, can help you to stay calm and relaxed. Sensors can be installed next to batteries, pipes in the bathroom and in the kitchen. The devices are not only able to monitor the water level, but also determine the level of humidity in the room: if you are suddenly flooded from above, you will know immediately even if you are not at home.

The same situation is true with smart smoke detectors, which can warn of danger before it is too late. If wiring suddenly lights up in the house or an open fire remains burning, the sensor will immediately react.

Another important assistant – a smart socket – will also warn you if you forgot to turn off the iron whilst in a rush. Seeing the notification on your smartphone, you can remotely disconnect the device from the power no matter where you are.

Comfort

The time has finally come when you can allow yourself to truly relax and leave some of your household duties in the hands of technology. By automating some types of furniture, we can take comfort and health care to a new level.

For example, Eight Sleep has developed a bed equipped with sensors capable of monitoring the user’s sleep quality based on 15 parameters, including the duration of REM and deep sleep phases, and heart rate patterns. This allows you to choose the optimal time for going to bed and waking up.

A smart bed will gently wake up the owner, catching the moment when the body is ready to rise, and create a pleasant morning environment, for example, turn on calm music or a light vibration, turn on the light or start the coffee machine via voice command.

Besides sleep comfort, a smart home can also make cooking much easier, enjoyable and fun. For example, the EYWA Kitchen Smart Screen is a small panel, no larger than a standard wall cabinet door. It easily fits into any kitchen, making it an indispensable helper. It can:

⦁ Find recipes for dishes online;

⦁ Make a list of required ingredients;

⦁ Independently purchase them online;

⦁ Order delivery at a specified time;

⦁ Turn on household appliances and set timers;

⦁ Distract children with a cartoon;

In order to safely use such smart solutions which are integrated into your daily activities (including cooking, shopping, choosing content), you need to ensure the safety of the devices themselves. Otherwise, attackers could get into your home network and gain access to personal data through convenient smart boards or switches.

The first and simplest step may be to change the default device password to a more complex one – but resist the temptation to copy the password from other accounts. If you have lots of devices and are finding it difficult to remember all the passwords, you can use a special solution to protect the ecosystem of the smart home. This will not only keep passwords safe, but also warn you if the password has already been compromised.

Pet help

In addition to caring for the safety and comfort of home owners, the IoT market seeks to make life easier and better for pets. According to research, the size of the PetTech market in the United States has reached $5.5 billion – this includes connected collars, smart doors, feeders, fences, toys etc.

Some of the most popular smart pet devices are for drinks and feeders. They help to not only control nutrition and prevent overeating, but also allow you to leave pets for a while at home alone, without worrying that your cat is hungry or has knocked over a bowl of water. Of course, in some extreme situations cats can also turn on survival mode – for example, a cat was recently discovered eating cardboard and drinking from a leaking tap for 52 days. However, no owner would like to repeat this scenario for their pet.

If everything is covered with feeding and drinking, what else can manufacturers of smart devices develop to support pet care? How about chatting with your dog?

Start-up FluentPet, has come up with a device for human-dog communication. The device is a panel with buttons labeled with different symbols. With its help, the company seeks to test the hypothesis that animals can express their emotions and desires by clicking on pictures.

Another example is smart animal houses which are designed to improve comfort for pets. They are equipped with intelligent temperature control and environmental sensors that regulate the temperature inside depending on the number of degrees outside. In addition, the houses can monitor the health of the animal, tracking and recording pet activity and sleep data. All of this information can be read from the app in the smartphone in order to timely monitor the health of your pet.

Eco-friendly living

Besides comfort and safety, smart home technologies help make our lives more environmentally friendly by using resources more smartly – for example, using water and electricity in a more rational way.

For example, sensors can turn lights on and off in a room, depending on whether there are people there or not. Another option is smart heating, which will allow you to maintain certain microclimate parameters in each room. For example, if everyone leaves for school and work in the morning, the system can reduce energy consumption and increase it later in the day when everyone is back.

However, in addition to controlling energy consumption, modern smart homes are also able to produce energy. For this, systems for the production of alternative energy are built in – such as solar panels, wind turbines or geothermal installations.

Depending on the location of the building, in some cases, even the energy of water – currents or tides – can be used. As a result, the smart home control center can not only control energy consumption but also monitor its production, as well as rational distribution.

Modern smart homes built from scratch include energy-saving technologies. Heat leakage and CO2 emissions from such buildings are minimal. Smart walls, roofs, and other building elements can inform the owner about their problems: the appearance of moisture or heat leaks. This allows you to promptly correct the defect that has appeared.

In general, the market for smart devices is actively growing and manufacturers of such systems are striving to digitize more and more elements of the house. This not only improves safety and comfort but also benefits the environment. As a result, smart homes are being transformed from a cluster of single, simple devices into true multi-layered digital ecosystems, which also require an appropriate level of protection.

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TECHNOLOGY

TECHSHAKE announces strategic business alliance with Mirai Works

6:00 p.m. July 18, 2024

TECHSHAKE PTE. LTD., headquartered in Makati City, Philippines, with a branch office in Singapore, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a business alliance agreement with Mirai Works Inc., headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo, a professional-focused human resource service provider in Japan. 

This alliance aims to provide support for the growth and market entry of startups in Japan and Southeast Asia. 

TECHSHAKE’s Business

TECHSHAKE’s vision is to expand the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia, with a focus on the Philippines, and to connect Southeast Asia with the world. 

TECHSHAKE (Kotaro Adachi, CEO & Co-Founder) manages and runs the Philippines’ premier innovation conference “IGNITE” in collaboration with dentsu X, a subsidiary of Dentsu Inc. and a provider of integrated media planning, branding, and marketing services. Furthermore, TECHSHAKE operates media platforms, matches startups with established companies and investors, and provides essential support for startups to thrive. 

TECHSHAKE is committed to fostering a global environment for business development in the Philippines.

TECHSHAKE is dedicated to nurturing the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia by connecting entrepreneurs with the necessary resources and networks to succeed. With a strong presence in the Philippines and extensive experience in supporting startups, TECHSHAKE aims to bridge the gap between Southeast Asia and global markets.

Mirai Works (Nagaharu Okamoto, CEO & Co-Founder) is driven by a mission to empower individuals to embrace challenges that shape the future of Japan. Their vision is to cultivate an ecosystem where professionals thrive, regardless of traditional work structures. They are developing a business to provide opportunities for professionals to navigate changes throughout their careers and to support them in the midst of diverse career paths, including independence, entrepreneurship, side businesses, and full-time employment. 

Mirai Works’ initiatives aim to provide resources for individuals to succeed in an evolving work landscape, fostering innovation and growth.

In May 2023, Mirai Works launched “Booster,” (https://booster.mirai-works.co.jp/) a startup support platform aimed at empowering professionals to start and scale their businesses. Booster facilitates growth through acceleration programs, providing information regarding startup ecosystem events and pitch competitions, and personalized mentorship, ensuring startups have access to critical resources for success.

In this collaboration, TECHSHAKE will leverage its expertise and network to support Japanese startups looking to enter the Southeast Asian market. Mirai Works, known for its professional human resource services and startup support platforms, will enhance TECHSHAKE’s efforts by providing hands-on support in various aspects of business promotion. This partnership underscores Mirai Works’ commitment to facilitating cross-border collaboration and growth opportunities for startups in Japan and Southeast Asia.

Details of Cooperation

Not only does Mirai Works support startups registered with Booster, but it also offers a service called “Free Consultant,” (https://freeconsultant.jp/) a freelancer business matching platform. Through Free Consultant, Mirai Works plans to connect highly skilled professionals with Southeast Asian startups supported by TECHSHAKE. Mirai Works provides hands-on support in various aspects of business promotion, including management strategy planning, marketing and PR, IPO preparation, and M&A activities, to drive business growth. Furthermore, Mirai Works will collaborate with TECHSHAKE to hold acceleration programs and offer support for overseas expansion.

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TECHNOLOGY

Last Call for Entries to the OPPO imagine IF Photography Awards 2024

8:59 p.m. July 15, 2024

OPPO today issued a last call for entries to the OPPO imagine IF Photography Awards 2024. Since the competition was launched on January 17, over one million submissions have been received from 73 countries and regions, each showcasing a vibrant tapestry of cultures and traditions from around the world. As the global submission deadline approaches on July 28, OPPO is calling on photography enthusiasts to seize the final opportunity to capture spectacular moments through the lens of their cameras and collectively demonstrate the power of mobile imaging.

imagine IF Campaigns Gather Inspiring Work from around the World

Since inaugurating the competition at the start of the year, OPPO has initiated a series of themed activities aimed at encouraging its global user base to use the power of images to expand their imaginative boundaries. From May to July, coinciding with Mother’s Day and the beginning of the summer season, the ‘Road to Paris’ campaign invited users to portray the grace of mothers and capture the excitement of sport through the photographic lens for the chance to win a spot at Paris Photo 2024. The ‘In Sync with the World’ campaign meanwhile sought images that portrayed exploration around the world. Across both campaigns, the wide breadth of entries received showcased strong and emotive works that help to foster exchange and understanding between different cultures.

Photo 1 Shot by Isthisreal; Photo 2 Shot by Andrewoptics; Photo 3 Shot by Shisan and Petrichor

Celebrating Culture in All Its Diversity

Many of the entries submitted so far this year have seen participants from around the world showcase the unique landscapes and traditions of their home countries through stunning photographs. From the lively coastal life of Rio de Janeiro to the profound natural wonders of the Amazon rainforest, each image offers a portal into a new world for audiences to step into.

Alongside the main OPPO imagine IF Photography Awards, OPPO has also collaborated with Discovery Channel to showcase the diversity and allure of world cultures through the ‘Culture in a Shot’ program. Kicking-off in June in northern Thailand, the program has so far seen OPPO capture traditional crafts and musical instruments in a series of captivating images that bring the region’s rich and colorful cultural heritage to global audiences while advocating for deeper cross-cultural exchange.

Shot by Jerome Teo

Share Your Imagination for the Chance to Win Incredible Prizes

Entries for the OPPO imagine IF Photography Awards 2024 remain open until 24:00 (UTC+8) on July 28. Submission to this year’s competition will be judged by a prestigious global judging panel that includes the likes of contemporary photography icon Steve McCurry, together with National Geographic Photographer Michael Yamashita, Hasselblad Master Tina Signesdottir Hult, Magnum Photos member Alec Soth, and OPPO Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer Pete Lau. A series of exciting awards are on offer to all participants, including individual prizes of up to USD24,000 and the chance to have their work exhibited at Paris Photo 2024.

Schedule and Prizes of OPPO imagine IF Photography Awards 2024

More than just a photography competition, the OPPO imagine IF Photography Awards is a platform for cultural exchange and creative inspiration. All photography enthusiasts are invited to take part and share moving moments that ignite inspiration and imagination through the global platform. To learn more about the OPPO imagine IF Photography Awards and to submit an entry, please visit the official website at https://imagine-if.oppo.com/en/.

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TECHNOLOGY

ZTE CEO Xu Ziyang at MWC Shanghai 2024: Ingenuity for Solid Foundation, Openness for Win-Win

10:20 p.m. July 12, 2024

ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063.SZ), a global leading provider of integrated information and communication technology solutions, announced today that the company’s CEO, Xu Ziyang, has delivered keynote speeches at both the “AI First” session and the GTI Summit themed “5G-A×AI” at MWC Shanghai 2024. Mr. Xu shared ZTE’s practices and innovations in intelligent digitalization amidst the AI wave.

In his keynote speech at the “AI First” session, Xu Ziyang shared insights under the theme “Ingenuity for Solid Foundation, Openness for Win-Win.” He emphasized that while the world has already entered an AI-driven industrial revolution, the development of generative AI faces challenges that extend from hallucinations, security, and ethics, to computing power, energy consumption, datasets, standardization, and commercial applications. To address these challenges, ZTE proposes three major principles: openness and decoupling, computing and network evolution, and training and inference enhancement.

Centered on customer value, ZTE provides a full-stack and full-scenario intelligent computing solution encompassing computing power, networks, capabilities, intelligence, and applications. This establishes a robust foundation through technical expertise and fosters innovation through collaborative partnerships, aimed at empowering various industries in their digital transformation. By continuously injecting momentum into high-quality economic development, ZTE plays a pivotal role in shaping a brighter future in the AI era. 

At the GTI Summit during MWC Shanghai 2024, Xu Ziyang participated in the GTI-GSMA 5G-A×AI cooperation signing ceremony and delivered a speech titled “Computing and Network Evolution Towards an Intelligent Future.” He detailed the transition from traditional industrialization to new industrialization, addressing core challenges, proposing solutions, and citing practical cases. The critical pathway involves breakthroughs in core digital and intelligent technologies, enhancing infrastructure efficiency and capability, and deeply integrating industry expertise. This accelerates the convergence of digital and physical realms, enhances production and transaction efficiency, and establishes agile, resilient organizations prepared for an uncertain future.

According to Mr. Xu, ZTE advocates focusing on four dimensions – digitalization, networking, intelligence, and low-carbon initiatives – to tackle current challenges and drive continuous innovation and development. The company promotes openness and decoupling, unleashing superior computing with advanced networks, enhancing intelligence capabilities, and driving business growth through green initiatives, with a strong commitment to vigorously supporting the healthy and sustainable development of the industry chain, fostering a thriving digital economy.

Below is the original text of Xu Ziyang’s speech titled “Ingenuity for Solid Foundation, Openness for Win-Win”:

Good day, everyone. It’s an honor to be invited to speak here at the MWC Shanghai. Today, I’d like to share ZTE’s insights and practices under the theme of “Ingenuity for Solid Foundation, Openness for Win-Win”.

Embracing Changes and Promoting Intelligent Evolution

Over the past year, large language models and generative AI have accelerated the transformation towards an increasingly digital and intelligent world. With the rapid emergence of new technologies and products, new business scenarios and models are also gaining momentum. Although generative AI is still in the early stage, there is a growing consensus that the world has already entered an AI-driven industrial revolution. AI will have disruptive and far-reaching impacts on all aspects of production and life, and significantly reshape the global economic landscape. According to forecasts by a consulting firm, by 2030, AI will boost China’s GDP by 26% and North America’s by 14.5%. This is equivalent to USD 10.7 trillion and accounts for almost 70% of the global economic impact. Apparently, AI will bring unprecedented business opportunities in various sectors such as retail, financial services, and healthcare.

Apart from issues concerning hallucinations, security, and ethics, the development of generative AI also faces challenges in terms of computing power, energy consumption, dataset, standardization, commercial application, etc. Therefore, advancements in multiple areas are required. As such, ZTE proposes three major principles: computing and network evolution, training and inference enhancement, openness and decoupling.

First, to break through technology bottlenecks, it’s crucial to strengthen research on architectures, algorithms, computing networks, and hardware-software synergy, thus improving AI training and inference efficiency. Second, various solutions such as Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) and AI agents should be employed to ensure reliability, security, and interpretability, thereby facilitating the widespread application of large models and higher value creation, and building a data flywheel that improves both capabilities and business efficiency. Finally, accelerating standardization through openness and decoupling will help build a thriving industrial and commercial ecosystem.

Building a Highly-Efficient Foundation Through Computing and Network Evolution

To begin with, we emphasize computing and network evolution to build a highly-efficient foundation. For intelligent computing, high-speed network connections are not just vital but also indispensable. From die-to-die connectivity to interconnects of chips, servers, and data centers, continuous innovation and breakthroughs in network technology will greatly enhance the performance and efficiency of intelligent computing.

More specifically, Die-to-Die (D2D) emphasizes high-speed interconnects between bare dies in a single package. Combined with the full series of in-house parallel and serial D2D interface IPs, as well as the advanced 2.5D and 3D packaging technologies, our solution enables heterogeneous integration and disaggregation. To a certain extent, challenges arising from the slowdown of Moore’s Law and constraints in manufacturing can be effectively mitigated. We have developed chip architectures that enable heterogeneous computing and network processing, which in turn deliver enhanced performance and cost efficiency.

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