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data center

A record-sized data center is being planned right now but you won’t find this as a technology stock yet and it probably won’t be in a neighborhood near you; unless you’re in the Arctic Circle that is. The Norwegian town of Ballangen is looking to be home to this mega structure.

Kolos who is the firm behind the project thinks that the chilled air and wealth of hydropower available around the location would keep energy costs low. However, the area is suffering from a high rate of sick leave believe it or not. This may be related to the past as it used to be a mining community.

The company has made statement saying they have already raised several million dollars for the project from a group of Norwegian private investors. It’s still working with a US investment bank, though, in order to actually confirm the remaining funds needed for the project.

These record-setting claims are being based on the overall amount of power that will be drawn on, to run computer servers. The initial draw from Kolos would be somewhere around 70 megawatts of power. They say that within ten years that they intend to have added enough server modules, which would draw something that is more like 1,000 megawatts or more.

Considering that Amazon’s data processing division is already assumed to draw roughly one thousand megawatts of power in the Ashburn, Virginia site, this may not be out of the ordinary. However, in Amazon’s case, the servers are spread out across a wide area instead of in a cluster that’s in a single center.

“There’s always a danger with this kind of thing that providers rush to build capacity that outstrips what the market requires,” added David Groombridge, research director at tech consultancy Gartner. “But in terms of data centres, it’s hard to see consumer-driven demands dropping off and there’s the promise of the internet-of-things, with millions of sensors generating information that will need to be processed. So, unless there are radical new technologies that come along very quickly to help compress data, we will need the resources that these kind of facilities provide.”

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It’s all over the headlines: Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, digital currency, ethereum, blockchain technology…you name it. There are hundreds of variations out there and now there could even be some derivatives in the works but it all stems from this technology that we refer to as “Blockchain Technology”. So what is it?

Goldman Sachs is calling the technology, one that has the potential to redefine how transactions are handled. Another big bank, JPMorgan announced that it had launched a trial project with a blockchain startup lead by Blythe Masters, a former executive.

Masters’ company, Asset Holdings, secured funds from several banks including Goldman, Citi, ICAP, and others. So again this begs the question, “What Is Blockchain?”

If you’re wondering, you’re obviously not alone. What you need to understand about blockchain is that its the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It can actually simplify the way processes work. Is it exciting? Well, in short, no but what is can allow for the future of transaction is to many investors.

Essentially a blockchain is like a ledger (think Excel Spreadsheet). But the difference is in the inputs. These come from many different parties and can only be changed when there’s an agreement among the group. This helps with issues of security and that means, theoretically, there would be no need for a central authority to approve transactions.

What is blockchain

When blockchain transactions take place, smart contracts automatically execute themselves. Smart contracts allow for logic to be programmed on top of the blockchain transaction. When a transaction occurs, the smart contract effortlessly initiates the contract.  Some experts in the industry feel that smart contracts could be the next “FinTech” hype sector.

This could create a large amount of opportunity for Wall Street banks and that’s most likely why they’ve become interested in the technology

Wall Street Bank Blockchain

Looking for some blockchain definitions? Here’s a brief list to get you started:

NODES: This is a participant in the ledger. A node would be a transactor such as a bank or asset manager when it comes to financial transactions.

CONSENSUS: This refers to the situation where all NODES agree on the validity of a transaction. This is obviously important when it comes to ensuring security of a ledger.

BITCOIN: This is a version of digital currency managed by a ledger with the same name.

CRYPTOGRAPHY: In blockchain, cryptographic puzzles are utilized to identify and verify transactions

MINING: This is specific to Bitcoin blockchains.  Minders are computer servers that end up solving cryptographic equations, which keep the blockchain going forward.  In Bitcoin, for example, miners are rewarded with Bitcoin for their effort.

SMART CONTRACTS: Discussed above, these allow for logic to be programmed on top of the blockchain transaction. When a transaction takes place, the smart contract seamlessly executes the contract.  AN example would be derivative contacts or the additional info needed for customs in a Bill of Sale.

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Artificial Intelligence

For years now many marketers are using technology and things have become even more complex. Obviously this has spurred new interest from firms in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to sending a message to as many people as possible and in the least amount of time.  Technology is not a “sometimes” thing.

So how can someone balance the two tasks of staying ahead of technology while also sending a proper message that is customized to a particular audience?

The first direction to head in would be some type of automation. But then again that may not be as personalized as an authentic message from an actual person.  So the goal is to marry the two together in order to create a unique yet effective user experience. Basically, since automation is not authentic, it makes it very difficult to balance this but since this technology is allowing  organizations to communicate quickly, it’s a viable option for marketers.

Look at artificial intelligence (AI), for example. This is a technology that over fifty percent of marketers look to adopt in the next few years. This has presented a big opportunity to take A-generated information and voice recognition in order to leverage this some way and make communication easier without adding overhead.

In the end, customers crave “the real” person. An authentic conversation can be the difference between building customer loyalty or totally turning off an otherwise loyal customer.  These new AI and automation technologies have a chance to service this “open door” but now it’s time to get it perfected to reflect the “real feel”.

So, when it comes to automation, there’s an art to creating a real user interface while also relying on technology to do the heavy lifting.  Defining the brand personality is key and targeting your consumer are vital.  These are on-going throughout the lifespan of your automation journey.  Constant tweaks and updates are necessary to keep this automated message easily flowing and personalized. Just make sure there is still a human touch.  Maybe it’s letting your users know that you do have automated messages but a live person will be in touch within a certain amount of time.

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technology education

It was only a matter of time before chalk became replaced by dry erase markers and chalk boards themselves, traded in for lighter white boards. But now we’re beginning to see how technology is impacting the education community for the better. Figures show that investment on a global scale, into education technology or “edtech” is growing at a quick rate.

Some reports even show that there could be a total of over two hundred and fifty billion dollars of investment funds flooding into the market by 2020. The goal is simple: find solutions that enhance the learning and teaching experience while saving on higher education costs.

Research has shown that nearly three-quarters of students would like their universities to enhance the digital offerings and almost half of these students said that they would be happier with the university experience if they could have more digital resources. There’s an obvious demand out that and multiple studies already prove the case. But organizations that do not get with the program in new tech may find that they will struggle to attract new students.

Obviously no education technology has shown the ability to reinvent how the market learns and teaches. Even though the industry has gone through a large amount of change because of technology its still relatively the same as it has been for decades. There are companies that want to push for real, lasting change within the industry and they are looking to find new ways of partnering with educators. The goal is to offer effective options instead of making an effort to simply recreate already existing platforms.

So it’s important to view student outcomes and how it benefits an institution. Engaging with digital tools can allow learning centers & universities to gain a competitive advantage. Ultimately these institutions should focus on how to implement new technology in order to upgrade student performance and new edtech solutions may offer just the thing.

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Technology Company CEO, Musk Says ‘I’m Out’

Elon Musk, technology guru, and CEO of TeslaSpaceX vowed that if the US left the Paris Climate Accord, he would leave President Trump’s White House advisory council. Well, it just so happens that the President of the United States, Donald Trump, made the announcement late Thursday to say exactly that; the US is out on Paris. In a tweet from Musk, he said, “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the World.”


Musk has been a major supporter of green energy and helping to get the world off of fossil fuel use. The Tesla CEO even cited that climate change and the impact of leaving the Paris accord could be detrimental to the world. Musk said that he’d repeatedly made attempts to gain the president’s support for the agreement but to no avail.

Musk has been a loyal member of the advisory board even prior to this. But it seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The technology company leader stuck through some of the toughest times during the turbulent White House advisory board changes. Even after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick left the economic council, Musk stood by stating that it was for a greater good.

But Musk isn’t the only member to leave on account of the decision to not stick with the Paris Agreement. Even Robert Iger, Disney CEO, made a statement on Thursday evening saying, “As a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawl.”

Now, the question remains surrounding other members of the President’s advisory board who may follow suit.  As of the writing of this article, no new departures have been seen but we will continue to monitor this story as is develops.

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technology stocks outpace market

Technology Stocks Are Outperforming The Market

According to information from Goldman Sachs, more than 50% of large cap mutual funds are outperforming or have outperformed the milestones set so far this year with much of this being attributed to technology stocks taking center stage. This means that tech stocks are on track for the highest rate of outperformance since 2009. Overall, the relative exposure that funds have to technology stocks has been seen as a big factor to the recent successes that many of these funds are seeing.

technology stocks outpace market

If you look at what a team of Goldman analysts said, their sentiment is very bullish, “Information technology, the best performing sector year to date, has been a key driver of the divergence in fund performance.”

And with 60% of large-cap value funds outpacing their benchmarks, it’s no wonder why many retail investors are beginning to target tech for solid returns. The Russell 1000 Value Index is above the 10-year average of 40% and roughly 63% of growth funds capped the Russell 1000 Growth Index. Under 40% of the main funds have outperformed the S&P 500 on a year to date basis according to Goldman’s data. But even with that, this is slightly higher than the 34% in historical rates.

If you look at the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF, it’s up over 16% so far this year and more than twice that of the S&P’s return. The four companies leading the growth in the technology sector – Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Facebook – have all recorded massive gains in 2017. With the rise in technology and innovation that many of these companies are delivering, the dawn of the tech era in the market could be hitting a fever pitch at this point. The remaining question will be, “Where are there still ‘undervalued’ stocks that have room to run and grab hold of this trend in future months and years to come?”

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clothing technology

Technology for Altra’s Torin IQ was inevitable. Sensors integrated into articles of clothing have long been acknowledged to be the next step in wearable tech, and the Utah-based footwear maker just happened to beat most of its competition to the finish line with a pair of running shoes that bake tracking directly into the sole. However, unlike the scads of smart clothing technology that’s almost certainly on the horizon, the IQs are designed to address the very real issue of repetitive stress injury. It’s what turns running from a terrific full-body cardio workout to a veritable disintegrator of body parts.

clothing technology

And it’s what made me jump at the opportunity to have a go with the company’s new smart kicks. I only recently started running again after systematically grinding every joint and muscle below my waist into a fine powder. For all the health positives of running, doing it for any extended period of time can be downright destructive. And the common wisdom among many runners is that modern running shoes only exacerbate the issue with over-padding that masks the warning signs are bodies have evolved to let us know when we’re doing it. It’s why you briefly saw so many folks running around with those ridiculous toe shoes a few years back. To answer your question, yes, they think they’re better than you, but they don’t have to say it because their shoes have done all the talking.

For those less inclined to adopt barefoot or near barefoot running, there are plenty of shoes on the market designed to correct for common running problems like pronation and supination. Like many other runners, I tend toward to former, and it’s left me with a limp on numerous occasions, along with a laundry list of different issues like heel bursitis and plantar fasciitis. I had to get shots in my foot to relieve inflammation. I don’t recommend it. Any decent running store should have some sort of rig in place to better measure your impact. After recovering from my injuries the first time, I visited a store in Manhattan with a treadmill and camera rig designed to capture the runner’s foot strike at the moment of impact.

Torin IQ’s sensor technology is an attempt to provide a longer term solution in real-time. The app breaks down the bottom of the foot into sectors: heel, toe and left and right sides. A built-in audio assistant helpfully offers up tips for correcting runs in real-time, along with your standard array of motivation sentiments. And when a run in finished, it shows a breakdown of how you landed. This is far and away the shoes’ most useful smart feature. They’ll also tell you the time spent running, cadence, distance, and pace, but you’re not really getting much there that you aren’t already getting on your wrist-worn wearable.

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Uber Technology Drives Into Portland

Uber technology and the company’s automobiles are making their way to Portland, OR. The company doesn’t have the best history with the city, but that won’t stop Portland from becoming the first U.S. market where Uber will push a set benchmarks for electrifying its fleet.

For the Portland version of Uber Electric, a program that the company rolled out to London last year, the ride-hailing company will team up with Drive Oregon, a partially state-funded nonprofit that seeks to get more electric vehicles on the road. With a combination of incentives and educational initiatives, Uber aims to make 10 percent of its Oregon fleet electric by 2019, statewide. Right now, the company says that 100 of the 6,000 active Portland Uber drivers use electric vehicles, so it has a lot of work to do.

To reach its 10 percent goal, Uber is pursuing a range of local collaborations. The company will work with Portland’s Black Parent Initiative to expand electric vehicle access to underserved communities, Cynergy E-Bikes to connect UberEATS couriers with electric bikes, and Arcimoto, an Oregon-based EV company. Uber is expected to use its auto-lease subsidiary Xchange Leasing to offer in-house deals to drivers wishing to get behind the wheel of an EV.

Uber stated about its mission in the city, “The City of Portland has also adopted some of the nation’s most aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Uber Electric will help Portland and the state of Oregon achieve these important clean energy goals.” Uber isn’t the only alternative transportation company going electric in Portland. Late last year, the city became the second market for BMW’s ReachNow, a Zipcar-like service with a focus on electric vehicles, and a previous initiative by Car2Go sprinkled electric smart cars onto its rainy streets all the way back in 2012.

In a world where a quarter of cars could drive themselves by 2030, Uber’s decision to take two years to recruit a few hundred EV drivers is more incremental than revolutionary. Still, it shows that the company is implementing both long and short-term strategies for rethinking transportation, even in the midst of one of the worst PR crises the tech industry has ever known.

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On Demand Driver Technology? Lincoln Chauffeur Service Will Make You Feel Like A VIP

Automobile company, Lincoln, is testing a new service for owners of its vehicles that supply a driver on demand technology. The service is like an upscale version of Uber’s technology, in which you supply the car, and Lincoln supplies a professional driver. This driver is actually a Lincoln employee, not a spot contractor, and will drive you around and return your car to your home, basically make you feel like a VIP.


The service will launch first in Miami and will let Lincoln owners order up a chauffeur via a smartphone app. The chauffeur will not only be able to drive you around, but will also return your car to your home in case others in the household need to use it, will fill it up if so required, and can even run light errands like picking up some groceries. Costs, as you might expect, are not cheap. During the pilot program, Lincoln Chauffeur will run around $30 per hour, which is actually not terrible compared to Uber until you remember you have to supply the car as well. On the plus side for Lincoln owners, they will get eight hours free of Chauffeur service included in the purchase price of their vehicle.

This is only a limited test at the moment, but Lincoln reported that it would like to expand the service to San Diego next, and then additional markets after that. It is likely a decent challenge to scale, since Lincoln’s actually employing the drivers it is using. Lincoln Chauffeur may be a bit of a departure from other mobility service offerings automakers are exploring, which include on-demand vehicle rentals and even white glove delivery of said cars to a renter’s door, but it still sounds like an interesting way to add value while driving new revenue sources in the luxury segment.

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automatic driving technology

GM Debuts Automatic Driving Technology This Fall

Coming in the fall of this year, GM will launch its Super Cruise advanced highway automatic driving technology, debuting first in the new Cadillac CT6. Super Cruise has been in the works for a few years now, and the semi-autonomous drive mode is almost ready for its debut, after its release date was pushed from 2016 to 2017 to give engineers more time to focus on designing the safest system possible.

Super Cruise offers features similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, which can take over control of driving in highway settings, maintaining lane position and adapting speed based on surrounding traffic. The feature will be available on a limited basis, with access narrowed to “divided, limited-access highways” with “defined ‘on’ and ‘off’ ramps” according to The Verge. The system will also track driver head position using infrared cameras built into the steering wheel that will make sure they pay attention while the feature is engaged, and will alert them via a steering-wheel mounted light notification system, and audio alerts, if they stop.
automatic driving technology

GM has also incorporate a fail-safe measure that will stop the vehicle safely if a driver ends up not being able to respond to the alerts, a feature which Tesla also implements in its Autopilot software. Super Cruise can also be updated over-the-air, another similarity between it and Tesla’s offering.

However, unlike Autopilot, GM’s semi-autonomous highway driving features incorporate LiDAR data. Tesla has refrained from equipping its vehicles with the high-resolution laser detection tech, and GM isn’t putting LiDAR on consumer cars either. Cost of components and the aesthetics likely make this an unappealing way to go, but GM has an interesting workaround to both use LiDAR data and keep it off production vehicles: It’s deploying a fleet of LiDAR mapping cars that will image highways where Super Cruise is used and make that information available to the system over-the-air.

The option is a paid add-on, with a $2,500 upgrade price and a $3,100 additional requirement if you get a trim-model that doesn’t include a driver assist suite lumped into the existing price. Super Cruise finally getting on the road is definitely exciting, but this is also the year Elon Musk has said he’s aiming to field a first coast-to-coast test of Tesla’s full self-driving technology. In other words, we’re off to the autonomous races.

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