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Tech news from the past seven days

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Enterprises everywhere are facing a challenge of how to analyze the data their software systems collect. Fiber-optic companies have a whole other problem: how to hold their own against the up-and-coming Google Fiber. Startups in general could be leading major shakeups in the Internet of Things.

A recent open-sourcing gift by Stephen Hawking could accelerate progress in existing software for persons who live with physical disabilities.

Experts weigh in on the security of cloud-stored data and some little-discussed legal reasons for why you might want to keep your data out of the cloud. And a new survey finds overwhelming approval of Linux as a safe and trustworthy platform for accessing the cloud.

Tech Trends

  • We’ve got plenty of data, but not enough data scientists. Ron Miller of Tech Crunch finds a widespread problem of businesses having sophisticated software programs that aggregate data in bulk, but not enough data scientists who know how to apply statistical methods to assemble solid answers from the data. This technical expertise is important since raw data can be construed or misconstrued in many ways and thereby yield misleading answers.
  • Google Fiber could give fiber-optic providers a run for their money. Google Fiber entered the cable market in Austin, Texas, last week, making Austin the third U.S. city where Google’s new fiber-optic service is now available. Offering Internet speeds as much as 20 times faster and prices equal to or only marginally higher than those of incumbents Comcast, Time Warner, and Channel, the search-engine giant could become a quick draw and put great pressure on the incumbent providers to improve their services.
  • Startups may gain momentum with enterprise IT and Internet of Things. The recent Tech Pro Research survey of 148 IT experts shows the Internet of Things is one of the most suitable industries for disruption by startups. Prospects are also high for enterprise startups that can significantly affect the technology sector, as more and more companies evaluate their cloud options.

For Those in Software Development

  • There’s a legal case for keeping your data out of the cloud. Storing your files in an on-site data storage center may hold legal advantages over storing it in the cloud. Alan Zeichik points out that when your data is in on-site storage, you know where it is at all times and can set up your own instruction-detection and access logs for it, which is good for compliance purposes. If a prosecutor sues you for the data, you will receive the subpoena and will be able to decide how to handle it. If the data is in the cloud, the cloud provider will receive the subpoena, and you might have no say at all.
  • Cloud data should be encrypted on-the-fly. Most cloud storage uses SSL encryption, leaving many files unencrypted on servers and leaving the protection up to internal processes. On-the-fly encryption can fix that with providing encryption while files are stored in the cloud, but still show unencrypted files to users. There are challenges though, such as increased need for backup.
  • Linux is the most trusted cloud platform. When enterprises access the cloud, chances are they do so with Linux. The Linux Foundation’s latest annual Enterprise End User Report finds that 75% of enterprises use Linux as their primary cloud platform, and that more continue to adopt it at a growing rate. Survey responders give Linux more points for trustworthiness and security over other platforms.

Transforming Industries

  • Financial robo-advisors are changing the investor-advisor relationship. While the industry is benefiting from automated programs which help optimize the investment process, the need for human financial advisors is still there – if only to make sure the investor’s long-term goals are met. Still, interactive online solutions, are improving the relationship between the investor and their financial advisor and are a useful tool to make accurate predictions.

Innovation of the Week

  • Stephen Hawking gets a new speech software system and open-sources it to the world. Acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking had been using the same speech software system for the past 20 years to formulate audible words—Lou Gehrig’s disease having destroyed his ability to speak naturally. Swiftkey and Intel, the system’s manufacturers, recently replaced it with a new model that has double the type speed and much more efficiency at Web browsing, lecture writing, and other tasks. Hawking, Intel, and Swiftkey subsequently announced together that they will make the technology open-source to the world so that more adults with physical disabilities can benefit from it.
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