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Archive for February 2017

 
Machine learning

A breakthrough in the technology of artificial intelligence and its active use in practice is the trend of the last two-three years. If earlier the creation of a high-quality machine translation system required a decade, now startups can offer consumers quite a competitive product in this area within one year.

Machine learning is a new approach to information processing, it turns the machine into an intelligent device very fast. In many ways, the development boom based on machine learning programs happened due to the fact that almost everything you need can be found among free software. It is enough to download the development environment, a number of libraries and read the manual. For a week or two, you can write, for example, a program recognizing wine labels or even individuals.

AI opened a completely new universe that humanity will explore for centuries. This means that robots are getting smarter and can learn independently. They are even capable of transmitting their knowledge to each other. To do this, of course, communication infrastructure is necessary. With its help, the program, which has recently invented a new universal language, could teach the other machines.

By the way, people did not expect artificial intelligence to create a new language, it was a by-product performed while teaching machines to translate from different languages. The program has learned how to translate from the languages it hadn’t been asked to by itself. Hence, the researchers concluded that a computer system uses meta-level language for communication, a new sort of Esperanto, a universal language.

 
Robots and VR
 

Analytical agencies called 2016 the year of virtual reality technologies. According to the Digi Capital forecast, by 2020 the virtual reality market will come up to $ 30 billion. Today we have every reason to believe that in 2017 VR-technology will finally become mass.

This trend has affected robotics as well. Complex machine control via VR-helmets and screens shows that augmented reality is gaining popularity. At MWC in Barcelona 2016, all visitors were offered to try themselves as excavator operators, controlling real excavators via Oculus Rift helmet.

This is one of the main scenarios of applying VR in industry and business, which will be used in a variety of situations: unmanned vehicles control (trailers, drones, trucks), surgical operations, exploring out of reach places (the ocean bottom, mines, permafrost). However, the automation trend of the last decade is increasing in order to completely avoid people’s participation in these processes.

 
Artificial Intelligence
 

The idea of intelligent robots has been exciting minds for a long time. We are used to different fiction anthropomorphic golems, androids, perfect voice assistants. Moreover, the success of HBO Westworld recent show demonstrates that the interest in artificial intelligence is rapidly increasing.

Meanwhile, the representatives of different professions were asked to imagine AI as a professional assistant at work or even in the role of a leader. Intelligent Apps have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks easier and its users more effective. The prospect of getting help from the robot frightens 25% of people, 40% are against the robot leader. However, the majority of people can easily imagine robots among their colleagues- 35% want to see a robot as a personal assistant. Every fourth looks positive on robots to take a leading position.

 
Internet of Things

The internet of Things has been labeled as “the next Industrial Revolution” because of the way it will change the way people live, work, have fun and travel, as well as how governments and businesses interact with the world.

Most of us are used to applications, which allow us to switch tracks on the audio system, to open our cars, turn on the lights, change the temperature in the room. According to Ericsson ConsumerLab research, two out of five people expect applications to remember users’ preferences and configure home appliances in the nearest future. It is as a good way to save personal time that can be spent on tasks that are more important.

 
Unmanned vehicles
 

They can either be remote controlled or remote guided, or they can be autonomous vehicles which are capable of exploring the environment and navigating on their own. With the right technology, multiple cars could “talk” to one another and reduce the chance for crashes.

Every fourth interviewee said he would feel safer if all the cars would be driven by robots. Meanwhile, 65% said they would prefer to have an autonomous vehicle rather than drive themselves.

Self-driven cars – futuristic, comfortable and safe. However, at the moment none of the existing systems can completely take over driving. Even the most sophisticated systems can fail.

 
Augmented reality
 

Approximately four out of five users believe that a complete blending of real and virtual worlds will happen just within three years. Half of the respondents are already interested in buying special gloves or shoes that would control VR-objects (for example, for playing virtual instruments).

A well-known game Pokemon GO is a good example to demonstrate the real potential of augmented reality. Many people want to use similar possibilities not only in the games but in real life as well. More than half of users would like to have AR-glasses to see better in the dark and, for example, to be able to observe criminals. One out of three would like to use augmented reality to get rid of unpleasant elements of their landscape, such as graffiti and litter. Many people dream of not seeing street signs, uninteresting shop windows and billboards.

 
Security Paradox of “smart” devices
 

More than half of the respondents use applications and trackers that transmit alarm and danger warnings. Using such apps people expect to increase their personal safety level. The paradox is that 60% of those who feel more secure with a smartphone admit that would try to avoid those situations while not having a phone in the pocket. People rely on their smartphones capabilities too much. Meanwhile, they won’t know what to do if they lose the device or the battery dies. Three out of five people, who believe that the smartphone makes their lives safer, are in a bigger danger.

 
Social fragmentation
 

For every third respondent social networks have become a main source of information. However, social networks do not connect people from all around the world, on the contrary, they form small groups and communities. There is a chance that this fragmentation will only increase: every week, every day individuals exclude each other from friends or refuse to accept connection requests based on the opinions of other people.
 
We all know that making predictions about the course of technology’s future is challenging. Surprises can appear in any direction. Now we can only imagine those amazing opportunities we are going to explore in the nearest future.

Feel free to share your thoughts about technology prospects for the near future in comments below!

 

Darya Bertosh

Darya Bertosh

Business Development Manager

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altabel

Altabel Group

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By 2020, more than 24 billion internet-connected devices will be installed globally — that’s more than 4 devices for every human on earth.

The Internet of Things first reached users on PCs. Then it migrated to smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and TVs.

This growth surely brings several benefits, as it will change the way people fulfill everyday tasks and potentially change the world. Having a smart home is undoubtedly cool and will amaze your guests, but smart lighting can also reduce overall energy consumption and lower your electric bill.

New developments would allow connected cars to link up with smart city infrastructure to create an entirely different ecosystem for the driver, who is simply used to the traditional way of getting from Point A to Point B. And there are many other examples of positive changes IoT may bring to our lifes.
But with all of these benefits comes risk, as the increase in connected devices gives hackers and cyber criminals more entry points.

Late last year, a group of hackers took down a power grid in a region of western Ukraine to cause the first blackout from a cyber attack. And this is likely just the beginning, as these hackers are looking for more ways to strike critical infrastructure, such as power grids, hydroelectric dams, chemical plants, and more.
 

 
What is already being done to Secure The IoT?

The great thing about IoT security is that previously ignored, it has now become an issue of high concern, even at the federal government level. Several measures are already being taken to gap holes and prevent security breaches at the device level, and efforts are being led to tackle major disasters before they come to pass.

Now security firms and manufacturers are joining ranks to help secure the IoT world before it spins out of control. IT giant Microsoft has started taking measures and has promised to add BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot technology to the Windows 10 IoT, their operating system for IoT devices and platforms such as the Raspberry Pi.

BitLocker is an encryption technology that can code entire disk volumes, and it has been featured in Windows operating systems since the Vista edition. This can be crucial to secure on-device data. Secure Boot is a security standard developed by members of the PC industry to help make sure that your PC boots using only software that is trusted by the PC manufacturer. Its implementation can prevent device hijacking.

The IoT security issue has also given rise to new alliances. A conglomeration of leading tech firms, including Vodafone, founded the Internet of Things Security Foundation, a non-profit body that will be responsible for vetting Internet-connected devices for vulnerabilities and flaws and will offer security assistance to tech providers, system adopters and end users.

Other companies are working on setting up platforms that will enable large networks of IoT devices to identify and authenticate each other in order to provide higher security and prevent data breaches.

 
What should we know to protect ourselves and minimize risks of hacking attacks?

Security must be addressed throughout the device lifecycle, from the initial design to the operational environment:

1. Secure booting: When power is first introduced to the device, the authenticity and integrity of the software on the device is verified using cryptographically generated digital signatures. In much the same way that a person signs a check or a legal document, a digital signature attached to the software image and verified by the device ensures that only the software that has been authorized to run on that device, and signed by the entity that authorized it, will be loaded. The foundation of trust has been established, but the device still needs protection from various run-time threats and malicious intentions.

2. Device authentication: When the device is plugged into the network, it should authenticate itself prior to receiving or transmitting data. Deeply embedded devices often do not have users sitting behind keyboards, waiting to input the credentials required to access the network. How, then, can we ensure that those devices are identified correctly prior to authorization? Just as user authentication allows a user to access a corporate network based on user name and password, machine authentication allows a device to access a network based on a similar set of credentials stored in a secure storage area.

3. Firewalling and IPS: The device also needs a firewall or deep packet inspection capability to control traffic that is destined to terminate at the device.

4. Updates and patches: Once the device is in operation, it will start receiving hot patches and software updates. Software updates and security patches must be delivered in a way that conserves the limited bandwidth and intermittent connectivity of an embedded device and absolutely eliminates the possibility of compromising functional safety.

What is evident is that the IoT will play an important role in our lives in the near future, and its security is one of the major issues that must be addressed via active participation by the entire global tech community. Next several years will show whether all of the innovations will revolutionize the world or will bring us to a new era of digital insecurity and chaos. Time will tell.

 

yana-khaidukova

Yana Khaidukova

Business Development Manager

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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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www.altabel.com

 


 
Go was created in 2007 at Google as an experimental project. It was designed to be a fun language and at the same time it is productive, practical, expressive and powerful. Google Go can be considered the result of a rather conservative language evolution from languages such as C and C++.

Node.js is an increasingly popular platform that is built on fast, JavaScript-based runtime: V8. V8 is a JS virtual machine created by Google that is designed to build scalable, networked applications. It compiles JavaScript code to native machine code, using some complex optimizations. V8 also does the memory allocation and garbage collection of JS objects.

Recently, there have been criticisms about the value of using Node.js in a high-performance, networked application environment, and some developers have moved to the Go language. Not only developers but also some well-known companies, such as Google, DropBox, Docker, DigitalOcean and more have picked up Go for some of their projects.

Certainly, Node.js is still used by a much wider audience, has more modules, is easier to use and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, Go is gaining more and more popularity. In this article we will take a look at the differences between Node.js and Go to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each environment.
 
Performance

Due to JS’s dynamically-typed nature Node cannot reach the raw performance of CPU or memory bound tasks that Go can achieve in many tests. Go is about 3 times faster and more lightweight than Node.js in a production environment. Not to say that Node.js is slow, it’s fast enough for most use cases, but when you do hit a limit, Go can still go a long way.
 
Concurrency

One of the language’s peculiarities is the presence of goroutines, functions that can be executed concurrently with one another.

These can be launched simply by using a keyword. Go runtime contains a scheduler that coordinates the execution of an arbitrary number of goroutines on an arbitrary number of system threads (the M:N model). In this way it is possible to carry out rapid context switches in order to take advantage of all CPU cores. So, in a hypothetical web application written in Go a single process will be able to continue serving requests even if one of these is trying to execute a blocked operation.

Node suffers from JavaScript’s less than elegant concurrency support using the event-callback mechanism. However, for a lot of applications working with JS promises and the coming async generator support (also called “semi-coroutines”) will suffice. Something like the Koa framework is already supporting the async generator approach in Node.
 
Ease of use

Node.js is a much simpler platform to use, especially if you are already a JS developer. For Go you will need to learn some new programming concepts, such as: coroutines, channels, strict typing (with compilation), interfaces, structs, pointers, and some other differences.
 
Ecosystem

Both platforms have pretty active and growing ecosystems, but as Node.js has been around much longer and certainly it has a broader community of users and more tools that make certain software projects a lot easier and/or cheaper to implement.

Go is a younger language, however, it dynamically develops: the number of standard Go packages is growing steadily, currently at over 100, and the Go community packages can be searched easily.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that there is no ideal language/framework/tool that could be used by everyone otherwise there would be only one programming language and there wouldn’t be such debates as Go vs Node.js:) Every language is tailored to be used for specific use cases. But we need to admit that there are some things Go performs better in, at the same time it lacks some characteristics that Node.js provides.

And what advantages and disadvantages of using Node.js and Go have you come across?

 

Anna Kozik

Business Development Manager

E-mail: Anna.Kozik@altabel.com
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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com


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