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June 1, 2020

Hardware News


Backblaze HDD Report Shows the Resilience of Hard Disk Drives

Cloud storage provider Backblaze’s quarterly drive performance report shows that hard disks have remarkable resilience despite the abuse they take. Looking at specific vendors, HGST (which is owned by Western Digital) was the most reliable brand for the company. The article states that reliability and affordability ensure HDDs will be around for the foreseeable future.



Lenovo Doubles Down on AMD Support, Adds Liquid GPU Cooling

Lenovo has launched the 1U ThinkSystem SR645 and 2U ThinkSystem SR665 two-socket servers, featuring enhanced performance and I/O connectivity for higher performance workloads. With 128 cores/256 threads in a 1U/2U design, a whole lot of computation power can be squeezed into a small space. Also as part of Nvidia's launch of the Ampere A100 GPU, Lenovo is adding support for liquid cooling of Nvidia's latest GPU.



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Software Updates


Explore New Update Channels for Microsoft 365

On June 9, 2020, Microsoft will change the names of its traditional update channels and add a new channel to the mix called the Monthly Enterprise Channel. This article maps the old channel names to the new naming convention. Microsoft recommends that administrators change all their Office 365 and Microsoft 365 tenants to the Current Channel before June 9, 2020. In addition, if your administrators use an automatic deployment rule (ADR) to deploy updates, they may need to make changes to the ADR to accommodate channel name changes.



Survey Shows Appetite for Open Banking Picking Up Pace Worldwide

Open banking is on the up in 2020 compared to 2019: The percentage of FIs looking to leverage open APIs has substantially increased in the US (+23%). Finastra's research concludes that Open Banking is maturing on a global scale, but it's still seen by many to be in its teenage years.



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Most Countries See Growth in ATMs Despite Pressure from Cashless Payments

According to RBR’s new report Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2025, the number of ATMs worldwide fell slightly in 2019, contracting by 15,000 units – half a percentage point. RBR predicts that some growth markets will see a temporary drop in ATM numbers in 2020, but says that most countries should still see ATM numbers going up between now and 2025.



Touch-Free Navigation Kiosks

Kiosk Innovations has developed two No-Touch solutions that allow touch-free navigation to help mitigate the spread of any virus. Their foot-controlled (Foot-Nav) and gesture-controlled (Gesture-Nav) can be mounted on any existing or new kiosks with a USB connection. These devices use simple UP, DOWN, FORWARD, BACKWARD, and ENTER/SELECT keys for navigations.



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Wireless World


Coronavirus Crisis Mobile Banking Surge Is a Shift Likely to Stick

April saw a 200% jump in new mobile banking registrations, while mobile banking traffic rose 85%, according to reserch from FIS. In a recent survey by fintech company Novantas, only 40% of respondents said they expect to return to branches post-Covid, indicating the shift to online is likely to stick.



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Security Section


Why Is SDP the Most Effective Architecture for Zero Trust Strategy Adoption?

Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) is the most effective architecture for adopting a zero trust strategy, an approach that is being heralded as the breakthrough technology for preventing large-scale breaches, according to the Cloud Security Alliance. A zero trust implementation using SDP enables organizations to defend new variations of old attack methods that are constantly surfacing in existing network and infrastructure perimeter-centric networking models.



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Technology and Marketing


5 Digital Marketing Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness

Digital marketing is turning out to be one of the most popular ways to boost brand awareness, according to the author. She goes on to list 5 important digital strategies: 1) Leveraging Influencer Relationships; 2) Elevating Content Strategies; 3) Getting SEO Techniques Clear; 4) Being Creative; and 5) Collaborating When Possible.



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Online Banking/E-Commerce/Website Design


Lightweight ‘Banking via Messaging’ Services Are Getting Gen Z Buzz

“Banking services via a messaging” is growing among FinTechs around the world including a new European player called Zelf, where users get an account and a virtual card via their Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram accounts. Their CEO states “with 84% of screen time taken by five apps, mostly messengers, we make sending and receiving money as easy as sending a message. Instant notifications, voice commands instead of buttons, simple invoicing and QR codes are some of the messenger banking features that will simplify the financial routine and bring money matters to the default apps of today — the messengers.”



U.S. Households Pay Average of $914 for the Nine Most Common Recurring Monthly Bills

doxo, a web and mobile bill pay service, released its newest statistical report: America’s Household Bills, Unbundled. In it they find that the average American household spends $914 per month, or 17% of their household income, on the nine most common bills (excluding housing expenses like rent or mortgage): Alarm & Security; Auto Insurance; Auto Loans; Cable, Internet & Phone; Mobile Phone; Health Insurance; Dental Insurance; Life Insurance; and Utilities (electric, gas, water & sewer, and waste & recycling).



Samsung Wants to Help You Manage Your Money with Its New Debit Card

Samsung's getting into the personal finance game with its new, no-fee Samsung Money cash management service and debit card for Galaxy device users. Samsung is just the latest tech company to expand into personal finance., but instead of offering a credit card like Apple, Samsung opted for a debit card. Users can open an individual or joint cash management account, and the card has a 0.2% annual percentage yield.



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Internet Access


Cisco Throws Its Weight Behind SASE

Cisco’s SASE (secure access service edge) offering will tie together elements of its networking, security, and zero-trust product lines. This includes elements of its Viptela and Meraki SD-WAN platforms to address SASE’s WAN and routing requirements. Meanwhile, for security the vendor will lean on Cisco Umbrella.



Why Service Providers and Vendors Are Tuning up Home-Based SD-WAN Services

Comcast Business, Colt Technology Services and other SD-WAN vendors are evaluating home-based SD-WAN solutions for work from home employees. SD-WAN could emerge as a prime technology that better enables work-from-home (WFH) and work-from-anywhere (WFA) scenarios for organizations. Some vendors are looking to enable a "branch-in-the-box" solution for home offices.



Brave Builds Privacy-Focused Video Chat Right into Its Browser

Brave, a privacy-focused browser, is adding a videoconferencing feature called Brave Together to compete with services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. To use Brave Together, you launch a chat room from the Brave Together website and share its web address with an unlimited number of others. No account is required, and Brave doesn't log the activity.



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Call Centers


Managing Fraud Through Chat

THe author is convinced that making use of chat to resolve fraud queries is a better option all round. In action if a user gets a message in chat asking about a fraudulent transaction, they could reply in chat asking for more information or they could confirm that they had made the purchase – in their own time.



NEC Announces Cloud-Based Unified Communications and Contact Center Solutions

NEC's Univerge Blue Connect, which is a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), and Univerge Blue Engage, a contact center-as-a solution (CCaaS) offering, are now available to NEC's U.S. Business Channel Partner Community. The launch of Univerge Blue Connected and Engage marked NEC's global expansion into cloud-based communications and collaboration services.



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