Do I really need a smart firewall in my home?

By T Roy, IoT Defense Inc.

One of the most common questions we get from potential customers, at least from the more technically minded ones is – I don’t have any open ports on my home router, do I still need the protection offered by a smart firewall? This question is based on the assumption that if a home Wi-Fi router does not have any open ports, no unsolicited traffic from the internet can access the router and hence it cannot be compromised by malicious actors on the internet.

In this article, we will describe some of the functionality provided by home routers, understand the security implications of such functionality, provide some context around the above assumption and arrive at some interesting conclusions. Continue reading

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The business case for customer service chatbots

By Tobias Goebel, Aspect Software

Chatbots can provide real value to companies when properly conceived and have a tremendous amount of potential to support a business’ customer service efforts. How? Let’s look at the facts: Continue reading

How artificial intelligence optimizes the use of customer data

A couple of decades ago, businesses faced the challenge of managing disparate data sources about customers, the company, products and services, etc. That was a problem solved through the use of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

These tools enabled businesses to access and manage all their data in one place, including accounting, inventory management, sales and purchases, etc. The better visibility into company data enabled executives and employees to be more efficient in responding to customers’ needs, aka drive more sales.

Now companies have another problem: too much data, a faster paced economy, and not enough time and human resources. Information is everywhere and the rate at which we generate data is growing chaotically. By some estimates, data will be 4,300 percent increase in annual data production by 2020. Continue reading

How technology can make cycling a safer sport

By Victor Dano, Bike Computer

As cycling becomes a more popular sport, so do cyclist become braver aiming to cover more miles, go faster and ride further outside city limits. But besides tracking speed, elevation, and other metrics that improve performance, the current technological advancements offer nothing more. Most ignore safety even though cyclists are a vulnerable group, especially when they are on road getting passed by speeding vehicles, or mountain biking on treacherous ridges where adrenaline speed rush makes one forget about the dangers. Continue reading

What’s the value of blockchain to consumers?

Credit: Shutterstock

A distributed ledger that relies on no central authority and is tamper-proof. That definition of blockchain, the technology that underlies Bitcoin, will appeal to anyone who has had a taste of the sorry state of centralized models of business and networking.

Wall Street is abuzz about blockchains because blockchains can make financial transactions faster and cheaper. Cybersecurity experts believe blockchain can prevent cyber attacks and maintain the integrity of data and online identities. Blockchains can bring transparency to supply chains and fight voter fraud in elections. I can go on about the applications of blockchain in different industries.

We know very well how to pitch the industrial and business value of blockchain. But when it comes to explaining blockchain to consumers, we’re saying all the wrong things. Continue reading

Why don’t more businesses encrypt their emails?

Businesses rarely encrypt their email messages because good encryption is too hard to use.  That’s changing.

By Randy Battat, PreVeil

Most business-to-business communication involves sensitive information – stuff that the parties really don’t want others to know about. Whether it’s contracts, customer communications, supplier information, dialog with consultants and contractors, or other things, there’s a lot of sensitive information that travels via plain old email.

These emails really should be protected, i.e. encrypted. But the vast majority of B2B communication remains unencrypted, despite wide availability of very good technology and tools. Why? Continue reading

Here’s why you should be wary of ICOs

In tandem with the surge in value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), the new form of investment that relies on blockchain (the technology underlying Bitcoin), are also gaining traction. Blockchain startups are raising millions in ICOs without going through the tough and cruel Silicon Valley VC process, and every major media outlet is talking about them.

When we first covered Initial Coin Offerings on TechTalks past December, we weren’t very sure about their future. At this stage, they’re still widely viewed with skepticism (as is everything else that relates to cryptocurrencies). But it looks like ICOs are here to stay, unless they bubble as some have predicted. Continue reading