As another working week comes to a conclusion, Indianweb2.com finds out the top 10 things that happened in the tech world during the week.

1) RBI Gives Green Light To Blockchain Tech; To Digitize Indian Rupee

RBI’s research arm, the Institute for Development & Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), has published a reportstating that it has tested the blockchain technology for core banking processes in the country and considers that now the time is right for the technology’s wide adoption in India.

The white paper named “Applications of Blockchain Technology to Banking and Financial Sector in India” talks about how blockchain technology has the potential to address certain limitations of the current financial processes by modernizing, streamlining and simplifying the traditional siloed design of the financial industry infrastructure with a shared fabric of common information. The advantages brought of the technology can be broadly classified into cost savings, efficiency, and transparency.


2) Introducing ‘TimeSync’, A New WiFi Standard Syncs Home Devices In Real-Time

Released by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the new Wi-Fi standard called TimeSync makes wireless connections within the Internet of Things a reality and serves as a real threat to the capabilities of wired systems.

Wi-Fi certified TimeSync enables devices to tightly couple with each other through Wi-Fi connectivity and ensures the best quality output by providing sub-microsecond clock synchronisation. It brings standards-based technology to device synchronization and ensures a seamless experience to its users across a variety of components. Multiple wireless headphones, speakers, sensor devices, and video displays can provide precision output. The new Wi-Fi standard TimeSync operates in both peer-to-peer and infrastructure mode so as to provide flexibility when and where Wi-Fi networks are not easily available.

3) FTC Announces $25,000 Prize Money For Suggesting Ideas on How To Make ‘IoT’ More Secure

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a $25,000 Internet of Things Home Inspector Challenge to encourage people to create a technical solution that home consumers could easily make use of to protect themselves from the security vulnerabilities in their IoT devices. According to tech experts, poor security in IoT devices is emerging as a huge challenge because of their poor design and human nature. While the winner of the challenge will walk away with a price of $25,000, the three runner-up teams will also get $3,000 each.

FTC will be accepting applications for the challenge from March 1 to May 22, 2017. After the first round of the competition concludes, up to 20 first-round submissions will be selected for further review and judging.

4) This Tool Quickly Scans If Your Home IoT Device is Secure or Not

BullGuard, which is Europe’s number one rated consumer security company, has come up with a quick and easy tool called the Internet of Things Scanner, which lets people know if their IoT setup is secure.

The Internet of Things Scanner is a service that checks if any of your Internet of Things devices are on Shodan, a popular search engine that lets anyone and everyone find IoT devices like printers, thermostats, and cameras that are publicly accessible on the net, thus making them vulnerable to hackers.

BullGuard’s Internet of Things Scanner is extremely easy to use. One doesn’t have to buy or install anything; all they have to do is simply go to its website and click on the Check if I am on Shodan option prominently visible on the website. Once selected, the website will churn out the result within a few seconds.

5) Microsoft Acquires Deep Learning AI Startup Maluuba

Software giant Microsoft has acquired Maluuba, a Canadian startup focused on deep learning for natural language understanding. The startup was founded by Sam Pasupalak and Kaheer Suleman from University of Waterloo with a vision to advance towards a more general Artificial Intelligence (AI) by building ‘literate machines’ that are capable of thinking, reasoning and communicating like humans.

According to a blog post written by Harry Shum, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, the acquisition will help Microsoft in advancing their strategy to democratize AI and to make it accessible and valuable to everyone — consumers, businesses and developers.

6) Android’s Co-founder Is Building A New Company And A New Kind Of Smartphone

The tech world is abuzz with rumours that Andy Rubin, co-founder of the Android operating system, is currently in the modern of building a new company. Along with it, he is also working on several new products including a premium smartphone with an edge-to-edge display and minus a surrounding bezel.

According to a Bloomberg report, Rubin’s new company will be called Essential and it will be formally announced soon. Rubin will lead the company as its CEO.

The report also claims that Essential’s high-design smartphone will be competing with big players like Apple’s iPhone 7, Samsung’s Galaxy S7, the Google Pixel, and other flagship mobile devices. The smartphone could see a mid-2017 launch. According to the report, Rubin is already in discussions with Foxconn to manufacture the smartphone.

7) Phone-Cracking Firm Cellebrite Hacked

In an ironical incident this week, Cellebrite, an Israeli firm that markets hacking tools, was hacked and information about its users was stolen.

Cellebrite confirmed that a cyberattack did take place and some information has been taken but said it was not aware of any “increased risk” to clients. The firm is currently in the process of notifying affected customers.

According to a tech site Motherboard, it was sent 900 gigabytes of data by a hacker which included “what appears to be evidence files from seized mobile phones, and logs from Cellebrite devices.”

8) Meet Opera Neon, Opera’s Radical Vision For The Future Of Web Browsers

This week saw Opera introducing the world to Opera Neon, the company’s first concept browser.

According to experts, Opera Neon is like an important vehicle for showing what the Web could evolve into. It has a refreshingly attractive design in which Neon’s background blends into your desktop, and circular tabs consciously contradict the sea of rectangles that most of the rival browsers currently support.

9) Microsoft Bringing ‘Game Mode’ to Enhance PC Gaming Experience

Microsoft is currently in the midst of working on a new “Game Mode” feature for its Windows 10 that will significantly enhance the PC gaming experience of its users making it run faster than ever.

Last year, Microsoft acquired Beam, a live streaming video platform that focuses on video gaming, including playthroughs of video games and allows viewers to interact with the streams. And now, Mike Ybarra, head, Platform Engineering, Xbox has revealed that the company is building Beam as a feature of Xbox One and Windows 10 with an aim of making Beam one of the easiest and quickest ways to stream ones gameplay.

10) Google Confirms End of Internet Drone Project

Google has finally shut the shop on its much-hyped internet drone project Titan, three years after it was brought into business. The project aimed to bring internet to remote rural areas all around the world and complement Google’s Loon project, which is a similar initiative using hot air balloons.

According to sources, the solar-powered vehicles have been facing technical difficulties and funding challenges for a long time now which encouraged Google to finally pull its plug on the project and completely focus on Project Loon.

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