Have you heard of Refrigerdating? It's like Tinder, only instead of using your favorite selfie as a profile picture you use a picture of what's going on in your fridge (a "fridgefie"?) for potential matches to swipe through. The app comes by way of Samsung, best known for phones and TVs, but they're also in the kitchen appliance game and their Family Hub Refrigerator sports a camera that checks fridge inventory for you. To promote this camera feature Samsung crafted the dating app that automatically loads a picture of your fridge contents to your profile.
But not to fear, if you don't have the $4,000 refrigerator with a camera you can simply upload a fridge picture on your own.
While a bit of an obscure concept, Samsung asserts that a lot can be understood about a person via their fridge. Are they into health foods? Are they organized? Is stuff molding in the back? Perhaps they have the same kind of juice as you and that's your ice breaker. A view of a person's fridge offers a more "authentic" view of that person, especially since fridges aren't typically on display in one's life. And, with food being such a huge part of a person's daily life and people connecting over it in restaurants, it might not be too far a stretch to take that concept into the home too.
The idea for the app originated in Sweden, which has a high number of single households. So far, it's doing well in that market but it is available worldwide. Online dating isn't a new concept, but the proliferation of special-interest dating apps in recent years offer a fun and interesting take on the practice. And by all means, the contents of one's fridge aren't the strangest things that people can meet and connect over, either.
This article was based on a February 5, 2019 CNet article by Erin Carson
As we've reported recently, Google is researching ways to make navigating the internet less URL-heavy. Their reasoning for this is simple - URLs can be messy, confusing, and are easily abused by phishers who can hide their scheme within those characters. Google does claim, however, that URLs are necessary and will stay - their goal is mainly to reduce the user's reliance on them. Now, Google is putting their plans into motion.
The first task for the Google Chrome team is to figure out a way to automatically detect URLs that seem to be posing as something else. When this function triggers users can be warned, much like how Chrome will warn users now when it feels that a site is insecure. However, the difficulty here is in triggering the warning on nefarious sites and sparing the good ones. One way Google plans to go about this is by checking URLs to see if they're using alphanumeric characters to pose as other characters, say G00gle versus Google.
Secondly, the Chrome team is working up new ways to display a site's URL to the user, and if there's any way to build safety features into that. It may focus on displaying important parts of the URL (such as the domain) and removing the rest, or by expanding truncated URLs.
Third, Google is throwing its weight around a bit, like it has to get as many domains onto https web encryption by penalizing those who aren't. Its methods to revise the use of URLs are likely to become mainstream. However, the worry is that they'll develop tactics that work well for Chrome, but not for the web as a whole.
There is still much to research and discover about how to move away from URLs, but the hope is that Google will discover the solution that makes the internet a safer place.
This article was based on a January 29, 2019 Wired article by Lily Hay Newman.
"Eighty-two percent of employees report poor information management is damaging productivity in the workplace" - according to PaperFree partner M-Files. In their study, the 2019 Global Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report, M-Files found that a leading hinderance to productivity was workers knowing what system contained needed information, how to use it, and knowing if the file was the most current. The study surveyed 1,500 office workers around the world.
Their study also revealed the following:
- 42 percent cited challenges with improper or incorrect labelling of documents
- 41 percent reported that information was frequently stored in the incorrect folder or system -- with 29 percent asserting information was misplaced or lost
- 26 percent cited challenges determining which system or repository to search, while 26 percent were unsure whether they found the current version of a document
It's easy to see how this is happening - organizations are still using file tree structures to organize their corporate information manually. Documents can be misfiled, revisions aren't consolidated, and even multiple servers could be involved.
“These findings clearly show the need for change in information management practices across all organizations – both large and small – wherever they are in their transition to a digital workplace,” said Greg Milliken, senior vice president of marketing at M-Files. “With the exponential proliferation of information in today’s business environment, many companies are failing to give their employees quick and easy access to the information they need, severely reducing productivity. To combat this, enterprises will need to adopt intelligent information management solutions that dramatically change the way they manage and process information, enabling workers to focus on adding more value to the organization.”
Not surprisingly, 91% of workers surveyed reported that their job would be easier if they could quickly and easily access a needed document without having to know where it was stored. That's where M-Files comes it - its content management database dynamically links information together, manages versions, and enables easy access of documents spread across the enterprise. To learn more about how M-Files can help your business manage its documents more effectively, please give us a call.
This article was based on a January 16, 2019 M-Files press release.
This year at CES 2019, Segway announced its new Loomo Delivery product, a robot developed to handle deliveries in buildings and malls. Fully autonomous, Loomo Delivery can navigate around obstacles and through crowds and handle tasks such as mail delivery (straight from the mail carrier) and moving documents through an office environment. It could even bring you a snack. They're smart enough to figure out where deliveries need to go, and feature interactive screens, and can even work an elevator. Its cloud or 4G connectivity also handles dispatch, updates, scheduling, and monitoring.
The Loomo Delivery product serves to fill a niche in busy mailrooms, where getting items the "last mile" can be a time consuming and laborious process for workers. Plus, it also is a time saver for other staff by serving as a go between for documents and other needs.
The Loomo Delivery robots have swappable storage 70 liter containers for a variety of items, and can carry about 110lbs. Plus, they'll find their way to a charging station after a day's work.
This article was based on a January 3, 2019 DesignBoom.com article by Tim Spears
In a humorous twist, this week it's the robots that have lost their jobs to humans. The Henn-na Hotel in Japan was opened with bright hopes of a fully robotic operation, but was recently forced to shelve half of its 243 robots.
Among the layoffs:
Many of these robots had been in service for years and were outdated - their jobs have since been reassigned to humans. Their decommissioning comes as no surprise given the speed at which technology advances. Plus, with very little economies of scale the cost of upkeep and upgrades for bespoke robots can be prohibitive for businesses. Fortunately, humans are a bit more flexible in that regard.
While a fully robotic business is a shiny, exciting venture, perhaps we're not quite ready for it.
This article was based on a January 15, 2019 The Verge article by Shannon Liao.
Kroger, a large player in the American grocery chain market, recently launched a trial of smart technology to make shopping easier for consumers and managing stock easier on store employees. This technology, developed by Microsoft on their Azure cloud platform, utilizes digital displays located on shelves in place of paper price tags as well as the customer's smartphone or a store-supplied device.
The system works through an app that customers plug their shopping list into. Then, the backend system compares the list to the store being shopped and maps out the locations for every item. Then, an interactive map guides shoppers to their items. Here's where the digital displays come in play - using location data the display of the shopping list item will recognize the approaching customer and then change to a user-set icon to catch their attention. From there, the display can also display nutritional information, coupons, advertisements, promotions, and more. In their resting state the displays will show prices, with the plus that they can be remotely updated which saves store employees time and allows for more dynamic promotions.
Once the shopper makes their selection, the item can be scanned with the smartphone app and the shopper can move on. With all items scanned, they can also skip the checkout lines.
An additional plus to the smart grocery system is that customers can input allergies or dietary restrictions. Allergic to almonds? The system can display which breakfast cereals are safe for you to eat. However, the biggest perk to the system thus far has been for online grocery orders fulfilled by store employees. Pressed for time and dealing with a list prepared by someone who perhaps shops from unfamiliar aisles, having the shelves indicate where the ordered item is certainly speeds up preparation of orders. In a hot market with the likes of curbside pickup becoming more commonplace this speedy tech could give Kroger an edge.
This article was based on a January 7, 2019 Business Insider article by Hayley Peterson.
This month PaperFree and its employees again completed a heartfelt charity project for several San Diego-area families in need. This project, now becoming a annual company tradition, gave employees the opportunity to select a needy family of their choice to adopt and to plan, purchase, and deliver gifts to them. All gift purchases were sponsored by PaperFree and adopted families came from local churches, schools, and the Ronald McDonald House center located at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. PaperFree was delighted to again work with the Ronald McDonald House, and supports their mission is to provide housing, meals, schooling, and so much more to the families of critically ill children being treated at numerous hospitals in San Diego's Kearny Mesa area. Learn more about the Ronald McDonald House San Diego.
PaperFree employees have come to look forward to this event and the joy it brings them to facilitate an exciting and happy holiday for families who face tough circumstances - be it financial or health crises.
PaperFree is grateful for its many opportunities to contribute to the local communities and wishes all a happy and safe holiday season and a joyous new year!
We all know the irritation of seeing our phones light up with a number we don't recognize - more often than not it's a spam call promising that we've won an exciting vacation or that the IRS is hunting us down. Sadly, little progress has been made to stem the flow of these scams and they must be working because the spammers keep at it. These calls, often coined "robocalls" due to the tech used to automatically dial numbers, sadly numbered over 5.1 billion in November 2018. This is the highest number ever recorded and is up from 2.9 billion at the beginning of this year.
Why is it? Analysts suspect that it has much to do with the FCC's removal of an Obama-era autodialers that they felt was too broad. However, at the same time they are holding robocallers accountable for their activity. Others are looking for new tactics to end the disruptive calls. Google CEO Ajit Pai implored cellular providers to develop methods to end caller ID spoofing (a method in which a robocaller disguises their number as one local to you).
While this will likely be an ongoing battle, more and more tools are becoming available to help consumers to more readily identify which calls are spam before even answering. Many new phones cross reference internet phone records when a call comes in, and if there's a match to a listing will display the name. This is helpful for numbers that you don't receive calls from often (say, your auto mechanic), but are valid business. More and more mobile operating systems are now allowing users to mark calls as spam, which not only blocks the number on that phone, but reports the number as abusive to network directories and blocks those calls to other numbers on the carrier. Google also recently deployed a call screening feature to their Pixel line of phones that allows users to have the screening service ask the caller questions - all without personally answering.
While these tactics are merely a bandaid to the annoyance of spam calls, they are certainly a helpful feature while real solutions are developed to end robocalls for good.
This article was based on a May 7, 2018 Business Insider article by Prachi Bhardwaj and Paige Leskin
Black Friday 2018 has come and gone, and the results are in - more and more consumers are placing their holiday gift orders through mobile devices. According to Adobe Analytics, nearly half of this year's holiday browsing (not always resulting in a purchase) was placed on smartphones - while millions of dollars worth of orders were placed on devices.
Another darling of the holiday shopping season - Cyber Monday - saw 47% of its traffic and 36% of sales by way of smartphones. Total phone-based sales topped $2.2 billion, a full $800 million more than in 2017. Amazon reported that Cyber Monday 2018 was the best sales day in its history. Its top items? The new Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa voice remote, Fire 7 tablet, Amazon Smart Plug, Instant Pot and 23andMe DNA test.
Why the increase in sales? Convenience, namely. More and more retailers are optimizing their sites for smartphones, which in turn means easier sales (especially when a consumer cannot find a desired item locally). Payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay also make transactions easier. Previously, small screens and poor navigation made it worth the hassle for consumers to complete their purchases on computers, but now smartphones have near-tablet sized screens.
Phones as a shopping tool have become more and more ubiquitous in recent years, and those numbers continue to rise. However, it's not yet known if it'll overtake desktops in total orders, but it's certainly on its way. For 2018 alone, Adobe predicted that smartphones would account for 27% of revenue, a solid 12% more than last year. Desktop's 63% of sales is still a lofty target, but with mobile, anything can happen.
This article was based on a November 27, 2018 CNet.com article by Ben Fox Rubin.
Users of Microsoft services such as Outlook, Office 365, OneDrive, Skype, and Xbox Live will now get to enjoy the benefits of not having to remember their passwords. Now, with physical hardware keys using the FIDO2 technology, access to a Microsoft account is as simple as plugging into a USB port or using Bluetooth or NFC to pair a phone to the key.
Initially, the keys were used as part of a two-factor authentication policy, but new browser technology has enabled the elimination of the password requirement. Now, Microsoft's no-password log on process offers three options:
After a generation of having to remember your passwords, switching to (and maintaining) physical keys may seem like a big change. However, time and time again passwords are swiped in data breaches and are especially vulnerable since many of us reuse passwords across platforms. Two-step authentication is a step in the right direction to protect accounts, but the confirmation codes sent in the two step authentication process can be intercepted.
Google has had remarkable data security success by switching its employees to physical keys, and now offers a physical key for its users. And, it isn't alone; Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Github, LastPass, 1Password, and Dashlane all offer hardware-augmented login features.
This article was based on a November 20, 2018 CNet article by Stephen Shankland