Welcome to our latest round-up of news from the technology and hosting world. Here’s what we’ve discovered this month.
Satellites – the future of connectivity
As the UK struggles to bring highspeed broadband to rural areas and huge sections of the globe remain internet blackspots, our reliance on cable connections might just be coming to a close. Today, the race is on to build global networks in space and deliver internet connectivity via satellites – thousands of them.
This month, Elon Musk’s SpaceX programme launched 143 satellites in a single launch, setting a new record. Many of those were part of Starlink, a project which eventually will use 42,000 satellites to provide broadband internet connections across the world. Indeed, with close to 1,000 satellites already in orbit, Mr Musk already has customers in the UK and US.
Musk is not the only astropreneur, however; Jeff Bezos has started Project Kuiper at Amazon and he plans to build a network of 3,000 satellites. So too, is the UK government, which has jointly invested with Indian company, Bharti Global, to develop the OneWorld network. Of course, you can’t forget the Chinese, who have already started to deploy 13,000 broadband satellites of their own.
The QR resurgence
If there is one form of older technology that the pandemic has brought back into use, it’s the QR code. In a period when shops and restaurants are closed and where no-one wants to handle anything, they have become increasingly popular with consumers and very useful for businesses.
Restaurants, cafés and takeaways, for example, are using them so that customers can buy food simply by scanning the codes with their phones. The businesses display a menu with prices, put a QR code next to the items and take the order. There’s no touching the menu, no handling of cash or debit card and, if the menu is in a window or pinned outside the shop, customers don’t even have to go inside.
Easy to use and now very popular, many businesses see value in using them even after normality returns. Indeed, some companies are now developing digital storefronts that enable retailers to display products with QR codes, so that shoppers can purchase products on the street. In an era when online competition and the costs of running a physical store have decimated town centres, QR codes and digital storefronts could well be the new face of the high street.
Businesses warned about vishing threats
While the rise in phishing attacks during the pandemic has been well documented, there has also been an increase in voice phishing or vishing. This latter form of cybercrime, however, is being targeted at businesses in order to steal the login credential of employees and gain access to corporate networks.
The pattern of vishing attacks emerging shows that cybercriminals are specifically targeting remote workers who use VoIP networks when taking business telephone calls. With businesses having to speedily deploy new network services to cope with remote working, many have been unable to keep track of who has access to different parts of the network and cybercriminals are using social engineering to exploit this gap. As a result, they have successfully managed to get access to a growing number of corporate networks.
Faster digital transformation predicts Gartner
Gartner has predicted that investment in IT will rise 6.2 % in 2021, with companies forced to accelerate digital transformation plans by five years if they want to survive in a post-pandemic market where ‘remote work and digital touchpoints will be the norm’.
Digital transformation will be the biggest trend in 2021 with businesses investing more in cloud computing, security, business apps and CX. The area which will see the largest growth in investment, rising by 8.8% according to Gartner, will be enterprise software, especially apps that expand and improve remote work environments.
The key objective of adopting these technologies will be to automate and optimise business processes in order to streamline costs, improve ROI and replenish depleted cash reserves.
Email causes productivity issues
According to a survey of business leaders by Mail Manager, UK workers are having to spend too much time dealing with emails, with 25% of respondents spending almost an hour a day managing their inboxes.
Email has long been the predominant way to communicate and was the most commonly used method in Mail Manager’s survey, with 90% using it to communicate with staff and customers. Despite this, the survey revealed that issues such as being unable to find documents attached to emails and losing track of important information increased employees’ frustration and affected productivity. Businesses are advised to train staff on how to manage their inboxes and use the tools their email client provides.
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