Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Are the batteries dying on the future of Smartwatches?

Apple sold 1.1 million of their watches in 2016, which is 73% less than it sold in 2015. And Motorola doesn’t “see enough pull in the market to put [a new smartwatch] out at this time,” you would be excused for thinking the smartwatch world is contracting.

“Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year,” said Shakil Barkat, global product development head, Motorola.

There are a few factors as to why this technology might be failing. First, smartwatches are implicitly polarizing. Unlike a phone, a watch is more an accessory and than an electronics device.
When a customer thinks about purchasing an Apple Watch or a Samsung Gear the question is not whether this device is better than the closest alternative. The question is whether this device will go with their wardrobe. The issue becomes more aesthetic than functional.

The second problem is that watches, unlike phones, are rarely upgraded. A watch is supposed to be an heirloom and the only way to encourage multiple purchases is to price them at lower than a traditional watch, which is a near impossibility. Or make them last longer. This is more of a generational problem, but one that will stymie smartwatch sales for years.

So what’ll happen next? The fashion watch brands such as Swatch, Burberry, Casio, Seiko will probably bring their long experience in making watches people actually want to buy to the smartwatch world.

Smartwatches are a fade. Watches, however, will always be with us but in their original form, as a tool and a bit of ostentation.


  • What’s HDR? It’s Explained.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It is slowly changing the way in which television set companies are making their televisions.

Ever since the HDTV standard was advertised in the mid-’00s, screen producers have been attempting to come up with new standards that feel anywhere as impressive. There hasn’t been a baseline image standard that has surpassed the quality jump from CRT sets to clearer panels with 1080p resolution support.

HDTV, 3D, and 4K have all been ready to quickly and accurately describe for every day people as “more pixels,” or “one image per eye”. HDR’s different because people don’t know how to justly describe everything that the standard is capable of.

HDR might be the most impactful addition to modern TV sets since they made the 1080p jump. The images are brighter and more colorful. Because of this the brightness and color are unmistakable to see even to the untrained eye. Content and hardware providers all know it, and they’ve all begun cranking out a worthy HDR ecosystem. The HDR difference is that it’s officially affordable.

“The problem with restricting maximum brightness to 100 nits (as in TV and Blu-ray) is that the brighter the color, the closer it becomes to white, so bright colors become less saturated. For example, the brightest saturated blue on an ordinary display is a mere 7 nits, so a blue sky will never be as bright and saturated as it should be,” said Dolby engineers.

The future of your television set is now HDR and not necessarily HD or 3D.


  • HackerOne Bug Bounties of 2016

What’s a bug bounty? Bug bounty programs are a way for software vendors to outsource web domain, app and network security beyond their own in-house security teams. This allows them to acquire as many eyeballs on potential security problems as possible before they become exposed and exploited by attackers.

Apple, Microsoft, Google and other name brand companies run their own invite-only and open bug bounty schemes. The rewards from those companies can sometimes reach as high as $200,000 for the most severe flaws, which could jeopardize users.

HackerOne provides a platform designed to streamline vulnerability coordination and bug bounty program by enlisting hackers to improve companies’ online security. Below is the list of the bug bounties that have been around this year as the most competitive programs.

PornHub’s bug bounty program was launched in May. It has already accepted reports and thanked 311 hackers for their efforts in finding security flaws in the porn provider’s web domains.

LocalTapiola is Finland’s insurance giant’s bug bounty scheme. It was launched roughly eight months ago. It has resulted in hackers being awarded some of the most competitive lures on the platform.

Twitter’s bug bounty program has proven to be a popular avenue for security researchers looking to make some extra cash. One hacker was awarded $15,120 for reporting a critical bug.

Snapchat’s bug bounty scheme, was launched two years ago. It is a relatively successful program, which has resulted in 125 security researchers being awarded over $70,000. The average for a valid bug report is $100. However, some researchers have earned $10,000 out of a $15,000 maximum award.

Uber’s bug bounty program has a response time of around a day. It asks researchers to find bugs in both the transportation company’s web interface and on their app. The bugs found range from cross-site forgery (XSS) issues to remote code execution.

Hack the Pentagon was the US government’s attempt in bug bounty programs. The program ran for 24 days last March. It resulted in 138 vulnerabilities being taken care of and $70,000 awarded to researchers.

From their success, Hack the Army was created. It is a program designed to challenge researchers to find security flaws in the US Army’s front-facing systems in return for thousands of dollars in rewards.

Bug bounty programs are a very lucrative choice of work for those people who have a knack for finding bugs in companies websites or apps.

  • Ericsson ConsumerLab Report – Top Trends for 2017.

The Ericsson ConsumerLab recently published their report, “The 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2017 and beyond”. This report found that 35% of advanced Internet users want an AI advisor at work. And one in four would like AI as their manager. However, almost half of the respondents were concerned that AI robots will soon make a lot of people unemployed.

The IoT? With an increase in IoT adoption, two in five believed smartphones will learn their habits and perform activities on their behalf automatically.

Virtual reality? While mentioning about Virtual Reality, the report pointed out that almost four out of five VR users believe it will be indistinguishable from reality in only three years.

“Beyond real time, I believe we should be talking about reality time. In fact, what we call reality becomes ever more personal and subjective,” said Michael Björn, head of research, Ericsson ConsumerLab.

Over 50 percent of those surveyed are already use emergency alarms, tracking or notifications on their smartphones. Of those people who say their smartphone make them feel safer, three in five say they take more risks because they rely on their phone.

One in three respondents said social networks are their main source of news and more than one in four value their contacts’ opinions more than politicians’ viewpoints.

“Consumers also want the future to remain fully mobile, implying that demand for battery-friendly, instant and fast connectivity is set to grow rapidly. In that sense, reality time means it is time for 5G networks,” said Björn.

The Ericsson ConsumerLab report describes what our society is doing in regards to technology. We can only wait to see what will actually happen in 2017!