On Episode 524 of the Waves of Tech, we are behind the mics bringing you details on the open source industry, smart-speaker moves, industry feuds, and accessibility improvements. The United Kingdom is proving to be the center of the European Union when it comes to open source with an estimated economic impact of £43 billion and increased use in business. Production of the HomePod has been discontinued after a very short shelf life as Apple moves its attention to their HomePod Mini unit. Microsoft had a rough week with hacks associated with Exchange servers, bad patches for Teams, and a growing public feud with Google. Starbucks is moving forward with efforts to provide better accessibility to those with low vision or blindness through the use of Aria, a live person connected app to share information to store visitors.
UK Becoming Open Source Hub
International tech talk often gets pushed outside with many of the giant tech companies being headquartered in the United States. However, the United Kingdom is quickly becoming the center of attention when it comes to open source capital. OpenUK, an industry and advocacy body, is reporting open source as being valued at £43 billion in the UK economy.
- Estimated 126,000 contributors involved in creating, developing open source in UK
- Over 80.7M open source files were changed on GitHub by UK-based contributors
- OpenUK is growing in its ability to advocate, create policy, and promote learning skills
- Open source being used more frequently in industry, business, and public sector
Apple Discontinues HomePod Production
After only a few years of production of the HomePod, Apple has made the decision to pull further production of the smart speaker product and turn its attention to the HomePod mini. If you are a HomePod owner, the Silicon Valley giant continues to provide software and support updates. The unit never truly grabbed the attention of the general consumer of technology.
- HomePod offered very little at a high price tag when compared to other units
- The Mini is better suited and priced to be competitive in the smart system market
- Apple really focused on the speaker quality that consumers may not be looking for
- A short lives production will have taught Apple a few things about the overall market
Microsoft Off to a Rough March
After last week’s discussion on how Edge is finally making some progress, we are learning over the tough month Microsoft is having this week. Some users were unable to access Microsoft Teams, Forms, and Exchange Online after 365 outages. They were subsequently hit with an Exchange server hack affecting thousands of corporations worldwide. And lastly, Google and Microsoft are not playing nice when it comes to possible international regulation.
- The patch for Microsoft Teams was eventually rolled back after some issues
- National Security Council of the Biden Administration was briefed on Exchange hack
- Microsoft is positioning itself in Australia if Google doesn’t abide with proposed law
- Tech companies have there month by month ups and down, this is just one snapshot
Starbucks Creating Better Accessibility for Blind
Over the last few years, Starbucks has been on an initiative to create a better shopping experience for those that are blind or visually impaired. In an effort to boost accessibility for different abled customers, they have partnered with Aria (a San Diego based company) that allows customers to connect with a live person to share visual information through the app.
- The person provided details and specifics of food and drink options available
- Information such as social distancing and plexiglass placement are also shared to user
- Aria derived from fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Remote Assistance (RA)
- Starbucks improved website with better descriptions of menu items and image notes
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