The tech stories to watch this week

The tech stories to watch this week

If you’ve been keeping up with our innovation blog posts and technology news lately, you’ll know how important we think it is to keep up to date with the latest industry news and updates. Here at InnovationScouts , we aim to help you and your business keep on top of what’s happening in your sector.

For a change this week, we thought it would be more helpful to provide you with the most important technology news and stories that you should be keeping an eye on throughout your working week instead of doing a round up of last week’s top news. We’d love to know what you think about this new format, too. Feel free to share your thoughts with us on Twitter or at info@innovationscouts.tech and let us know whether this is more helpful.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency

A report has surfaced that claims Facebook’s cryptocurrency is set to launch next year. It’s being referred to as Global Coin, and is certainly causing a lot of conversation in the community. More details about this intriguing should be being released to the public soon, with testing to begin in summer.

As with any new currency there will be a lot of testing to do, and many regulations and rules to consider. There have already been plenty of interesting meetings and conversations taking place, with Facebook speaking to key figures like the Bank of England’s governor, and representatives from the US treasury.

The advancements in blockchain and cryptocurrency have been fascinating to watch so far, and this is definitely a story that you’ll want to keep a watchful eye on if you’re interested in technology news and development.

London Underground’s tracking wi-fi

An interesting announcment relating to privacy and public wi-fi came out this week; London Underground has announced that, starting on July 8th, all phones using public wi-fi on their premises will be tracked.

There are a few key reasons why this is happening. One main reason is that it will allow the London Underground to understand how people are using the Tube better, and also to understand crowding scenarios in stations in real time. Staff will also have access to the data that their customers provide, to help them give journey advice. This tracking program will also be beneficial for the advertisers who work with the tube.

It’s an interesting development, and has predictably caused a lot of passionate discussion online. On one hand, it carries a lot of obvious benefits. On the other hand, it’s a huge responsibility in terms of data management and cyber security.

Ford’s foldable robot

One of the most intriguing stories that caught our eye recently is Ford’s robotics and automation research project. This project is exploring how robots and self-driving cars could help with mundane tasks like grocery shopping and parcel delivery.

In specific, Ford has shown off ideas for a self-driving car and robot combo, where a self-driving car would take a parcel to be delivered. When the car arrived at the destination, a robot folded up into the back of the car would get out and deliver the parcel to the correct house- thus, completely removing the need for any humans being involved. It’s great for introverts. Due to possible complications like uneven ground, aggressive dogs or potholes, Ford imagines that there would need to be remote operators to help the robots navigate difficult terrain. 

Ford doesn’t seem to be putting much into making this a full operation yet, but other companies like Amazon and FedEx are exploring the same areas here. It will be intriguing to see where this goes in the future.

The Baltimore hack

The Baltimore hack is still big news, and the NSA is facing questions from the public and the media in equal measures. For those who didn’t see, there was an immense ransomware attack on Baltimore’s city government on the 7th of May. This had a widespread effect; residents couldn’t pay bills or taxes, and staff couldn’t access potentially sensitive emails. The hackers demanded Bitcoin for unfreezing the computer system.

Now, the NSA is facing questions as the attack seems to be related to a hacking vulnerability known as EternalBlue, as reported by the New York Times on Saturday. The NSA created a tool years ago to deal with this vulnerability (confusingly, also called EternalBlue) and the argument currently is that if the NSA had told Microsoft about this issue sooner, more computers and data could have been protected. The NSA is still declining to comment at the time of writing.

SpaceX satellite launch 

SpaceX has taken it’s first small step for man into the world of space internet. Put simply, the first 60 satellites for the Starlink internet project have been successfully launched this week.  These are not the fully functioning satellites that the final project will need, but they are paving the way for the future of the project.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, the Starlink project’s overall aim is to provide global internet coverage from space, with much less lag time than usual internet. Currently, a lot of internet satellites in space are very high up in orbit, which can create quite a lot of lag depending on location. Starlink is aiming to avoid this by having two groups of satellites; one down lower in orbit than the other. This should provide much faster and higher quality internet overall.

Overall

Overall, it’s already been an intensely fascinating week in the world of technology and innovation. As the week progresses, we’ll be sure to keep you all updated on any key stories or developments that take place. Have we missed any out? Feel free to let us know on social media about your top stories this week, and if there’s anything that you feel like we need to cover- we’d be glad to hear from you.

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Emily Stonham
Emily Stonham

Emily is a researcher and writer for InnovationScouts.tech. Having worked with companies from Seattle to the Seychelles, she brings balanced and thought-provoking insights to the team.

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