by Amirah Farag
In terms of tech, there are always top-trends and big headlines. This week’s Tech5 looks at Newbury in Berkshire becoming the UK’s answer to Silicon Valley, whether GDPR will actually make it more difficult to catch hackers, drones starting to deliver your Saturday night takeaway (in China), the World Cup in 4K HDR, as well as Microsoft overtaking Google to become the more valuable company.
1 - Were our pre-GDPR days harsher on hackers?
This week, unless you’ve been living beneath a sizeable rock or you’ve been sunning yourself beyond reach of your inbox being inundated privacy policies, you’ll know that GDPR came into force on the 25th May 2018. Will the ‘regulatory rubric’ created by the EU make it more difficult to shutdown online illegal activity? The website ‘Whois’ has traditionally been used by journalists and police forces to be able to check the legitimacy of websites, but with the requirement to remove identifiable data from their website, including contact names, email addresses and phone numbers, they can no longer operate in the GDPR world. Not only did the site assist the police in their roles, but cyber-security firms used the site to be able to identify unsafe websites and phishing emails.
Is GDPR a help or a hindrance in the fight against cyber-crime? Only time will tell.
2 - Microsoft becomes the 3rd most valuable company in the world
Unless you’re a snazzy Apple creative-type, you have a PC for work, and you learned to type your first sentences on a Windows computer. For the first time in three years, Microsoft has overtaken Google, with an estimated worth of $753 billion compared to Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) mere $739 billion.
Both companies have regularly switched places in the profitability stakes over the past 6 years. With Microsoft’s stock price doubling over the last 4 years, their newest CEO Satya Nadella has focused on the cloud, artificial intelligence, the future of quantum computing and mixed reality headsets. But Microsoft still trails behind the mighty Amazon and Apple. Will Microsoft’s investment in cloud services propel them towards the $1 trillion over the coming years?
3 - Is Berkshire the future Silicon Valley of Britain?
In the tech industry, we all know that things move forward at such a pace that you can sometimes feel like a hamster in a wheel trying to keep up momentum. For some of our most promising UK tech-based talent, the dream destination for a fruitful career has always been Silicon Valley stateside with its promise of year-round sunshine and hefty salaries.
But following an impressive growth in the tech sector in the UK, it could be more a case of destination: Newbury. Home to Vodafone’s headquarters, it has the highest concentration of the digitally and technically gifted amongst our UK workforce. The Tech Nation 2018 report focused on UK tech growth, acknowledging that whilst London might be the world’s second most connected hub after Silicon Valley, we have to nurture that position, especially in light of what a post Brexit world might look like for our industry. That includes making Newbury the new tech destination of choice.
4 - The World Cup 2018 in glorious 4K HDR and virtual spectator technology for your viewing pleasure
The past few weekends have been good as far as football is concerned, whether you think Ramos deliberately took down Mohamed Salah or not. Few things can encourage mass elation or widespread despair than watching your favourite football team reduced to sad or happy tears. This week, the BBC announced that viewers would be able to stream matches in 4K HDR via its BBC iPlayer.
As with most things that seem too good to be true, there’s a catch. The number of screens with access to this brighter and punchier ultra-high definition (UHD) picture will be limited. Whilst all 29 of BBC One’s World Cup matches are scheduled to be made available in 4K and HDR, there will be limited access to ‘tens of thousands of people’. How do you get to be one of those lucky few? You’ll have to use your thumbs of fury. You’ve got to be one of the first to click on the home screen button after each stream starts, and a 40 megabit per second internet connection.
If you want to feel like you’re truly in the middle of it, chants and all, the BBC are also offering virtual reality views of 33 games through a dedicated app which you’ll be able to get on your iOS or Android device, as well as other VR headsets.
5 - Shanghai Saturday nights with takeaway drone deliveries
Takeaway deliveries just got techie in Shanghai, with a food delivery service, Ele.me owned by Alibaba being given permission to deliver takeaways by drone along 17 routes in Shanghai’s Jinshan Industrial Park which covers a 22.4 square mile perimeter of the park. The food is expected to be delivered within 20 minutes of orders being placed from a choice of over 100 restaurants. The final leg of the journey is done the old-fashioned way, with staff at delivery locations then taking the meal to its final destination: the customer’s front door.
With drones used as part of last year’s pilot being able to carry up to 6 kilos of food, and fly a distance of 12.4 miles at a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour, is the future of fast food delivery in the sky?