Enterprise

EU might force Apple to abandon the Lightning cable

Voting yes for a USB-powered iPhone

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Recently, the EU has gone on a mass crusade against the world’s biggest tech firms. To the benefit of the region’s consumers, the European Commission is trying to create a universally competitive industry.

Over the past few months, they have hammered in guilty verdicts against big companies for stifling competition. After fining giants like Google and ASUS, the region has now set its sights on Apple.

In 2009, the EU has urged tech firms to create a more universal standard for smartphone charging. At the time, fourteen companies including Apple and Samsung signed the pledge.

However, as you can probably guess, these efforts fell terribly flat. Companies have still segmented the industry into a plethora of charger options — micro-USB, USB Type-C, and Lightning, for starters.

Irked by the lack of results, EU Commissioner of Competition Margrethe Vestager has taken matters into her own hands. The Commission is researching if additional regulations can rescue the industry.

Currently, the EU is concerned over the rising number of wasted chargers and cables. Because of the different standards, users are forced to shelve their old cables to accommodate phone upgrades.

Among the affected companies, Apple has created the most disparity. Notoriously, the company has stuck with its own exclusive cables. Whereas its competitors have relied on USB standards, Apple has used FireWire, the dock connector, and the Lightning cable.

Apple’s exclusivity creates an advantageous but unfair revenue stream for the company. Users are forced to source their cables from the company directly (or indirectly through licensed products).

As such, any future EU regulations will likely affect Apple the most. From a consumer’s standpoint, Apple switching to USB will please users the most.

Even without the regulation, a USB-powered iPhone is still plausible. Previously, Apple had already considered a break from Lightning before releasing the iPhone X.

SEE ALSO: Battle of the reversibles: USB-C vs Lightning connector

Enterprise

Qualcomm allegedly ordered a smear campaign against Apple

The two have beef against each other

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Image source: Flickr/Masaru Kamikura

Over the past two years, Facebook has been at the forefront of cybersecurity concerns. In 2016, the company allowed Russian intelligence to run rampant on the social media network. Though relatively subdued, the revelation revealed the company’s role in politics. Later, in 2018, the company was accused of mismanaging user data with Cambridge Analytica. Supposedly, the data influenced the US elections in 2016, as well as other political events around the globe.

Amid these controversies, a lone PR firm, Definers Public Affairs, has controversially managed the social media network’s failed redemption arc. Borrowing from Republican political campaigns, the firm infuses public relations with political strategies. This includes smear campaigns against a client’s rivals. Notably, Facebook hired the firm to take on George Soros, among others.

However, a key event in this timeline hints at a third player skulking in the shadows. Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg allegedly ordered his executives to ditch Apple’s iPhones for Android. Prior to this, Apple threw shade at Facebook’s sketchy ethics, emphasizing the value of privacy. Later, conservative websites, including the Definers-affiliated NTK Network, lambasted the former for similarly detestable practices. The news reeked of Definers’ involvement.

True enough, Tim Miller, Definers owner, confirmed that his firm did work on Apple. However, Facebook isn’t to blame. According to a New York Times exposé about Facebook, a third tech company is responsible for the firm’s handiwork against Apple.

After the exposé’s release, Business Insider and NBC News have claimed the mysterious tech company’s identity — Qualcomm. The company in question is no stranger to Apple. Apple supposedly owes Qualcomm some US$ 7 billion in royalties, prompting legal action between the two.

According to Business Insider, Miller approached the publication with story ideas that are “damaging to Apple and positive for Qualcomm.” Meanwhile, in NBC News, a former NTK Network employee directly named Qualcomm as the mystery client.

Adding fuel to the fire, Definers and Qualcomm have refused to comment on the issue in both news reports.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 675 chip is based on 11nm process

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PLDT, Smart activate Philippines’ first 5G towers

In partnership with Huawei and Ericsson

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More 5G phones are slated for release early next year, which is why telecom companies are already preparing for the next generation of wireless connectivity. The race to 5G is pretty tight, but the first to kickstart its 5G network in the Philippines is PLDT along with its wireless arm Smart.

The sister companies activated the first 5G cell site in the Philippines — not just one though, but two. In partnership with Huawei, the first 5G tower is located right in the heart of Makati City where PLDT’s headquarters is located. The second one is at Clark Smart 5G City within the premises of Clark Freeport Zone and the technology partner is Ericsson.

With two 5G cell sites already up and running, PLDT and Smart are one of the pioneers of the 5G network in the world. Only a few telco operators in the world have 5G base stations and they are in developed countries.

For now, the 5G service is not available to consumers. PLDT and Smart are yet to come up with 5G solutions and applications especially for central business districts like Makati. There’s no exact date when regular consumers can experience 5G connectivity, but PLDT and Smart are already deploying 5G-ready equipment for LTE-enabled towers nationwide.

According to PLDT, they have the most extensive fiber network in the Philippines spanning over 221,000 kilometers. With Smart as the wireless arm, both claim to be in the best position to deploy 5G in the country.

SEE ALSO: Philippines to become one of first to roll out 5G in 2019

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Is the Philippines ready to have its first smart city?

See how businesses will shape our cities to the future

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Photo by Sergio Souza

Living in 2018 means we see how things transform in smarter ways. As we go digital, lifestyle shifts and businesses are veering away from traditional marketing to catch up with consumers. Apps like Grab and Lazada are changing the way we travel and shop.

This is why MSI-ECS hosted the first-ever CXO Innovation Summit to discuss “Digital Transformation,” which tackled the integration of digital technology in all areas of a business. It was held last November 9 to 11, 2018 in Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu, Philippines.

Leaders of the IT industry shared their thoughts, plans, and solutions to the problems encountered as the world gets smarter. The three-day event discussed big data, cutting-edge securities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart cities, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

As a consumer, I believe that we should be attentive of what’s happening around us, especially with what the enterprises plan to do in the future. After all, we are the end users of their products and services.

AI is making the world more intelligent

Huawei is leading the industry in developing intelligent products through artificial intelligence. In their forecast, AI will change everything. We can have a safer city that supports intelligent transportation and predicts disasters. Healthcare services can improve drastically by preventing diseases early on and providing diagnosis assistance. There will also be faster R&D for pharmacies and medicines.

In addition, enterprises can have their logistics run smoothly through monitoring and auto sorting. Manufacturers can run their own maintenance and detect deficiencies, as well. The possibilities seem endless when AI is integrated with everything that you can imagine.

An example of AI Integration is the Shenzhen airport, which recently adopted facial recognition technology, making their operations more efficient. It hopes to increase direct boarding from terminals by 70 percent and lower passenger wait time by 15 percent.

If you’ve noticed, we’re already surrounded by IoT with AI built in. The Internet of Things, in summary, is the network of devices, electronics, software, and things that connect, collect, and exchange data. Some examples are sensors, security cameras, wearables, and electric cars.

This year, we’ve seen a lot of IoT packed with AI unveiled in different shows and events such as LG’s Cloi and Huawei’s recently launched Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. This is only the beginning, and we’re bound to see more of these in years to come.

Rise of smart cities

In a futuristic paradise, we are surrounded with IoT and everyone is connected. According to Cisco, a leader in IT and networking, smart cities are filled with IoT to improve every citizen’s life in terms of mobility, connectivity, safety, and security.

Copenhagen, for example, is using digital technology to reduce carbon emissions, making this city a place where people want to live in and new businesses want to invest in to bring in more revenue.

Photo by Krisztian Tabori

In the Philippines, PLDT and its subsidiary Smart started their plans on making the first smart city in the Clark Freeport Zone. Smart is currently upgrading their network, and started deploying 5G-ready equipment in an ongoing LTE rollout. They’re putting the possibilities of 5G closer to industries, businesses, and enterprises operating in the city in hopes of attracting more foreign investors.

Banks are also developing their apps and virtual wallets like GCash, which help enable people to go cashless and rely more on digital services. The thought of living in a smart city is promising. However, it’s also terrifying as it poses another threat: security.

The problem with being connected

Cyber security is already a big issue for personal safety. There are breaches on companies that collect information and personal data.

Staying connected means our personal information is freely given to those who we authorize to use it. Social media sites, financial apps, and shopping websites gather our data (like our credit card details) as we use their platform.

But it’s not just the tech giants that should be cautious of cyber criminals. There are also bank accounts, governments, and most importantly, ourselves to worry about

Nap Castillo, Systems Engineering Manager for Fortinet

One of the top cyber security companies in the world, Fortinet, is working closely with companies like Microsoft and Adobe to help improve their system and protect them from cyber attacks.

Are we ready to live in a smart city?

Considering that our everyday lifestyle relies more on digital services, I’m sure that everyone will adapt easily. It’s up to us to be prepared in the worst-case scenario, and to hope that the government and businesses will do their best to keep everything safe and secure even if the world gets smarter.

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