Transforming education through technology

tecnologia y educacion

With the digital revolution, all areas have suffered and are undergoing a gradual transformation. And education shall not be the exception.

The use of new technologies has represented a real revolution in education, transforming what we had done for centuries.

The pencil and paper era are behind, we now use tablets and tactile pencils. In other words, technology has changed the traditional and static model due to the intrinsic dynamism of these new elements. As with everything, this has positive and negative aspects.

The arrival of technology to classrooms

The first technological devices implemented in classrooms came to some schools in the second half of the 20th century. The American universities were pioneers, beginning to install computers in classrooms.

However, we cannot speak of a massive presence of technological elements until the beginning of the 21st century.

Current technological solutions for education

Since then, academic institutions and technology companies continue improving digitalized classrooms.

Microsoft, for example, invests much of its resources and efforts in developing new software and service solutions that are tailored to the specific needs of students. An example of this is the integration of cloud services such as Office or Onedrive, allowing students and teachers to share content in a more versatile way, making group work easy, wherever you are.

But it is not the only one, Redmond has opted for the inclusion of video games in the educational field with the intention of promoting creativity and motivation … And the results have been a success, with products such as Minecraft.

Virtual Reality is very present in education today. The test can be seen in the Microsoft Hololens, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens, or the Samsung Gear VR, http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear- vr/.

It was precisely Samsung who has invested a large volume of resources to guide them through virtual visits to historical sites, software to understand human anatomy, etc.

Beyond offering devices and technological solutions, many companies work with publishers in content creation adapted to the technological age in audiovisual formats and adapted to be cross platforms. That is, being able to access from any type of device, either mobile or computer.

Keys for technological solutions on education

Simple software and intuitive interfaces

Because the inclusion of technology is a success and continues to evolve in the educational setting, it is essential that its use is simple and intuitive.

Complex software limits and slows down technological penetration in educational centers; it has been proven that having practical and intuitive solutions, drives to progressive transition and evolution towards this type of solution.

Here the technological companies have a great challenge, if interfaces are not always easy to use, “intuitive”, failure is assured.

Control and monitoring

One of the greatest concerns is security for students. Although it is a problem that technology has largely solved, we cannot forget about it. To date, most companies offer monitoring solutions that allow control of the use that students make of the tools. As in any educational field, what you need to do is to explain and justify what must be the basic norms of behavior. So the individual is accountable for what he does and limits himself. Absolute control, as well as impossible, is ineffective if we want to create free and responsible citizens.

Modularity

In the traditional model, all students must follow the same rhythm of the classroom; a rhythm marked by the teacher. This methodology causes difficulties following up classes for some students.

The new educational technologies give a turn of 180 degrees to this methodology, giving the power to set the rhythm for the student. It is necessary to define ambitious but realistic goals, adapted to the individual conditions of each student.

Educational Robotics and Digital Platforms

The inclusion of new technologies is happening progressively, but with a firm step. The new scenarios in which students live today require new ways of teaching and learning.

Educational robotics and digital platforms are some of the most powerful tools in this evolution, as they are giving students essential tools for their future.

Collaborative online tools

The cloud

The concept of cloud working or cloud computing is based on the idea of working through applications that are not installed on our computers. Google Drive or Dropbox are some examples.

Web 2.0

These are web spaces that facilitate sharing of information and collaboration using a web browser. We are talking, therefore, of web applications that facilitate interactive sharing of information, user centered design and collaboration within the World Wide Web. Examples of these applications are social networks (facebook, twitter,.), Blogs, wiki, etc.

Moodles

The famous moodles are web-based course management applications that help educators create online learning communities.

As I said at the beginning of this article, pencil and paper gave their way to tablets and tactile pencils; and physical classrooms gave it to virtual classrooms, to e-learning.

It has been a long way to see many of these technologies in educational centers. Technologies continue to evolve and transformation will continue to be progressive, the reality is that new scenarios and students habits demand new models and tools to learn.

To conclude, it is important to say that digitalization of education is a determining factor for democratization and universalization of education. There is no doubt that online training drastically reduces training costs. It allows access to training for many people who could not do it otherwise. This because of general costs of face-to-face training, for the student, are much larger than the ones where there is no need and attendance, especially if we think of people who live in remote places.

On the contrary, people who do not have access to technology will be definitively excluded from it. We are, therefore, facing an extraordinary challenge that will have to be overcome if we want to guarantee real opportunities for all the inhabitants of the planet.

Today, we can say that if a country invests in technology and digitalization, it is investing in education for its citizens. As education will become digital or will not be…

ICT solutions for HR management

The progress of technology advances with giant steps, causing a great impact in all industries and sectors, which reaches and produces adaptive solutions for companies.

The departments of human resources are not an exception to this reality.
Long, very long is the path that has been taking place since those days when the personnel were managed through spreadsheets.

tecnología y recursos humanos

Current situation

Although the solutions are many, there is some weakness when implementing new technological systems in the departments of HR that allow professionals to manage human capital efficiently.

True, it is becoming increasingly common in SMEs and new startups to realize investments for the implementation of ERP systems. However, most of these systems are more focused on financial, production or logistics aspects, and in some cases, they do not have an HR module and we need to look for external solutions.

Facing this scenario, HR professionals see an overload of data and information that is really difficult to manage through traditional methods, as currently, the human resources departments of a company not only assume personnel management tasks such as recruitments, layoffs or payrolls, but also the nexus in charge of speeding up and improving communication between the company and its employees.

Technology in human resources

The internal communication of any company can be complex. And it is precisely here where Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) come into play, with the aim of streamlining these processes and procedures; In addition to finding multi-tasking tools that are responsible for communicating and being able to perform the administrative tasks that become endless.
When we talk about human resources technology, we start from three bases:

  1. Computer applications for the complete management of people

These are software that offer solutions that span multiple processes, such as staff selection, recruitment, analysis of performance indicators, ongoing training, job site definition, risk prevention, etc.

  1. Advancement of telecommunications

It has led to remote labor relations. In some way, it has helped to reduce personal contact, reduce waiting times and errors and reduce the number of offices. Work teams are now more and more geographically distributed, remoteworking is a key tool for improving efficiency and capability.

  1. Robotics

Robotics allowed developing continuous changes in the production processes, transforming the profiles and reducing the employment index. Robots have long been in factories, while backoffice activities are still very manual.

In any case, we have long seen “bots” (robot abbreviation) automatically performing repetitive tasks over the Internet, such as scheduling doctor appointments, informing us about the available banking services or managing our connection to a Pay TV system. Even behind the erotic lines there are robots!
It is clear that these software programs have a long way to go if we apply them to provide services to our collaborators in our tedious HR tasks in backoffice.

 

ICT solutions for HR management

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERPs)

At the moment it becomes indispensable for many companies to have a system that not only manage administrative tasks, such as calendars, schedules, incidents or vacations; It also allows the company to cover the changing legal requirements, for example.

With this type of software, we unify tasks and allow execution times to be reduced considerably. While deciding for the best management software (ERP) that suits us, it is important to know the volume of the company. Small brands can still find software brands that offer optimal sector solutions.

As we increase the volume of the company, we must say that the range of possible solutions is reduced. We can say that we basically go to hegemonic ecosystems, Microsoft or SAP. When I say ecosystems, I mean the model that both have set up, defining a true global platform that isolates the core of the ERP from all the applications and parameters that can be developed.

This central core is periodically updated to include all the essential modifications to guarantee new services, legislative changes by country, or solve problems of any kind, of the rest. Above this non-modifiable core we can “connect” applications of all kinds that respond to all business problems, in the case of HR, payroll management, training, risk prevention, career plans , control of the workers, etc.
All this in a global context and with virtually monthly updates, so that we will always have the latest “core” updates that will improve the efficiency of our management.

This architecture is necessary to be able to develop the strategic line that these two software giants have set up and that will take them in medium term to contemplate only solutions in the cloud and with payment by service (SAS).
There is one of the points that must be taken into account, the fact that the current trend of “servicing” that affects all products, in the case of software and ERPs is definitive.

 

E-learning platforms

Corporate e-learning can transform a whole company.

In an increasingly competitive world, it becomes essential to have specialized personnel in very specific tasks. And that is why training is essential. Managing the training of the human team of a company is not an easy task. That is why e-learning training has become a great solution with multiple advantages

Just a few years ago it was unthinkable to have what this type of platform offers us: intranets that facilitate communication between teachers and students, live classrooms, interactive exercises, etc. We cannot forget the flexibility that this solution offers both to the company and to the professionals, allowing the training to adapt to work days.

Moodle is one of the most popular e-learning solutions available to companies to implement distance learning through their HR departments. But little by little, others start to appear, as evol Campus for example.

Registration, validation and signature systems

Adapting to changes and legal requirements by complying with regulations and obligations is very necessary, but also involves many resources. There are ICT tools developed precisely to offer solutions to this type of regulations and legal requirements in a simpler way.

Through them, it is possible to efficiently and safely manage the signature of documents, validate employees’ work schedules, register days …
And thanks to the cloud servers, all the data generated by companies are managed virtually in real time by people assigned to it; In addition, these types of servers facilitate tasks for those who are responsible for HR, allowing them to access the information from any device.

In short, immediacy and global availability are the differential values of these solutions.
Electronic signature systems such as Docusign are an example of what we are saying.

 

Gamification tools

Let’s start with the beginning: what is gamification?

It involves the use of techniques, elements and dynamics of games in non-recreational activities, such as the work environment. The objective is to enhance motivation, strengthen behavior to solve complex problems, improve productivity, enhance learning and evaluate individuals.

Facilitating the interaction between employees or members of a team, encouraging them through prizes, levels or ranking games, can provide them with a supportive and motivational tool at work, as well as improving productivity and commitment within the company.

There are already multiple tools that allow these tasks and techniques to be implemented in order to inform and encourage employees.

A good example of this is the Badgeville startup, which offers a platform for managing fidelity programs based on the behavior of online users. This tool allows us to reward users with personalized gifts.

Conclusion

Although the implementation of this type of ICT solutions may seem as a complex task a priori, as they are still unknown to many companies and professionals, we must take into account that suppliers are prepared to design solutions adapted to each company, guaranteeing start-up, initial training, technical support and continuous assistance, to ensure that their introduction and subsequent development are successful.

While digitization of factories and productive processes is already a reality for many companies if we look at the processes of the backoffice of companies and, in particular, human resource management, we will see that there is a long way to go. We find inefficient processes, manuals and management without criteria of efficiency and capability.

In summary, what should be done by HR departments is not to ignore advances and get updated tools. Only in this way it will be possible to prevent companies from becoming obsolete facing unremitting technological advances.

Technologies that will be developed in 2018

We could say that the past 2017 has been a bittersweet year for the technology industry. This is because throughout the year we saw new and great devices that came to the market, some predictable technological advances and also important failures. But that is the past, already immersed in 2018 the question is, what will bring us the new year and in which technology?

tenbdencias tecnologicas 2018
These are some technologies that will be developed in 2018.

VIRTUAL REALITY

It came on stepping hard and many assumed that virtual reality was going to take over the world. However, the fact of clutching some handsome glasses in the head to watch videos in 360 or video games, was not exactly what most expected of this technology.

But let’s not take it as a failure, it seems that virtual reality was only studying the best way to become a hole in our lives. And there are many chances that we will see it integrated into our mobile phones soon.

A good example of this is Apple’s ARKit, a software development kit for developers, which allows augmented reality applications for the iPhone and iPad. ARKit applications put three-dimensional images in our world through the so-called inertial visual odometer, which takes advantage of the sensors of our device to track our world and perceive the orientation and position of our device in relation to the scene what are we seeing. The applications are endless, from seeing the effect that you can have new furniture in your room, to telling fantastic stories to our children with unreal characters that move around our house.

As you can see, a fantastic world where fiction and reality is being mixed. And that is just the beginning …

THE ADVANCE OF BLOCKCHAIN

We talked about Blockchain in the previous article and, of course, it could not be left out of this list.

It was born as the base technology of Bitcoin, then it began to be used with other digital currencies, but as I explained in the previous article, its use will go much further, using it for any type of transaction. This could cause Blockchain to mark the history of technology in the coming years, maybe decades.

In the world of digital currencies or cryptocurrencies, an instrument is known as ICO (Initial Coin Offering) to finance the development of new protocols. This ICO process is complemented by the use of what are known as smart contracts (Smart Contracts) and gives us the possibility of financing any business project. 2017 was definitely a record year for the ICO: an equivalent, in fiduciary money, has been raised to about 4 billion dollars. It’s only 2% of the total money raised by traditional IPOs (Initial Public Offering), but it’s all about starting. It’s not bad at all!

Although it is in an initial phase, 2018 is a promising year in which we could begin to see blockchain-based applications for: the execution of intelligent autoexecutable contracts and complemented by automatic learning; identity managements; votes and referendums; supply chain through the Internet of Things (IoT), mainly through IOTA; gaming platforms; etc. IOTA allows companies to explore new B2B business models, making each technological resource a potential service that is negotiated in an open market in real time, without commissions.

In summary, the explosion of the innumerable applications of Blockchain technology begins.

THE DEFINITIVE ARRIVAL OF 5G

A few months ago I was talking about 5G as the future of wireless networks. I invite you to read the article, explaining exactly what 5G is, how fast it will be and some incredible things that will allow us to do …

In this article I was talking about a global availability forecast of 5G by 2020. Well, it seems that the date is not far from reality, because throughout 2018, the fifth generation of mobile telephony will begin to replace to its predecessor 4G-LTE.

AT & T Company is already working to become the first American company to introduce 5G mobile network service in 12 cities in the United States.

And in case there is some doubt that 2018 will be decisive for 5G, South Korea implements a pilot test during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and intends to launch the first 5G trade network in 2019.

https://www.rcrwireless.com/20170525/5g/south-korea-launch-first-commercial-5g-network-2019.

ROBOTS “WILL TAKE THE STREETS”

Many companies have spent a lot of time investing resources and efforts in the development of robots. And it seems that in 2018 we will begin to see them in the streets. For the first time robots leave the “controlled” environment they have in factories to participate in service processes where they interact with us in the same space. This is possible, due to the technological evolution they have had.

In this way, we will see robots with built-in cameras, sensors and GPS that will make life easier for us. Everything points to this year that we will begin to see them in hotels, airports, medical centers, etc.

The TUG robot, for example, is designed to bring medical material to nurses and perform other tasks that allow healthcare personnel to focus on the really important, the patients.

SMARTWATCHES EVOLVE TO MEDICAL DEVICES

Although so far smartwatches offer notifications from our Smartphone, in addition to calculating basic health data, the great plan of smartwatches is to become medical devices that can save our lives .

Although at this time they offer very interesting data (sleep apnea, calorie calculation, heart rate) with great precision, we cannot consider them medical devices.

It is possible that the recent initiative of the American FDA through which it invites several manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung and Fitbit to join a pilot program to accelerate the development of certificates for digital health devices as they can serve to transform the market, we could see advances throughout this 2018 and obtain finally that they can be considered medical devices.

https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm577480.htm

AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

Truth is that the issue of autonomous vehicles has been going on for a long time. So much so that autonomous cars are no longer an extraordinary thing or that it surprises anyone.

In fact, over the past year some companies have already begun to implement this type of vehicle in their fleets …

It’s not a totally new technology, but it will continue to evolve and normalize throughout 2018. A good example is the case of Waymo, who has already announced that he will launch his first completely autonomous taxi this year.

The technology is ready, now we will have to solve the legal problems. It will not be easy, each country is different, since the problem of liability and insurance is not treated in the same way. It will be a difficult obstacle to solve because there are many interests behind, despite knowing that more than 90% of road accidents are caused by human causes.

INTELLIGENT HOUSES THAT OPEN THE DOOR TO STRANGERS

That we are not at home is not a reason to not be able to receive a package or that the delivery guy leaves dinner at home before we arrive.

The Amazon giant, last year, launched a service that allows the delivery service to access homes through a special intelligent lock. From its own website, it sells the special lock and the camera that guarantees a certain security and shows each movement of the delivery guy.

Of course, the Amazon camera, as well as a security system, will allow the company to know your habits, your tastes and even the brand of milk that you consume. Maybe we will have to think twice before installing or covering it when it does not interest us to be spied on!

And these are just some of the technologies that will be developed in this year that begins. As you can see, to change, we are waiting for an exciting year in which technological advances are concerned.

The impact of Blockchain on logistics

Surely there were many times that you’ve heard that Blockchain is a revolution in economics and the key to future. And that’s right. In addition, if we talk about sectors such as logistics, its impact will be brutal…
But, do you really know what Blockchain is and why is it the key to future?

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a complex concept that we been hearing a lot lately, but actually not so difficult to understand…

Internet has changed the world. However, there is something that has not changed much: we do not trust each other, for that reason, especially when it comes to transactions; we need another part to verify who we are. That is why until now, intermediaries, such as banks or Paypal (very present in online transactions), have been an essential part of the system.

The problem is that these intermediaries, while guaranteeing certain security, obtain our data and market with them. Blockchain is a solution to this precisely.

Here is an example: A person (sender) wants to transfer 2.000€ to someone (receiver). The normal procedure at that time is that the sender demanded that the bank withdraw the import from an account and transfer the Money to the recipient’s account.  In just a few hours (perhaps less), the bank will have made the operation and the money will have gone from one place to another with a simple automatic balance of accounts.

At this point, there is only one problem, that neither the sender nor the recipient have had any control over the operation process and only the banks involved have all the information. In addition, both the issuer and the receiver are subject to the conditions (and commissions) of the bank.

This is where Blockchain comes into play, which basically comes to get rid of the intermediaries, taking away power to the banks and granting control of the processes to the users.

Therefore, we can define the block chain as an enormous book of accounts, a database in the form of an accounting book, from which all those who participate in the network keep a copy and where all transactions are recorded. In this book of accounts, the records (which are to be the blocks) are linked and encrypted to guarantee security and protect the privacy of the transactions that are carried out. It is an immutable and distributed registry, which is both integrable and programmable.

Here some important keys about blockchain:

I give you some important keys to the blockchain:

  1. Transactions do not necessarily have to be economic, it can be any type of transaction.
  2. Consensus is one of the major keys: if we all have the same information, this information is given for a fact. Everything works by consensus of the parties, and the past cannot be erased or modified, nor can it operate outside the rules given by the network itself.
  3. In order for a transaction to be carried out, there must be several users who verify it and that the corresponding block (each block has a number of transactions that can vary) is registered in the large book of accounts that we talked about.

This infographic shows how it works in a very illustrative way:

blockchain a la logística

Blockchain platforms

It is important to know that there is not a single kind of blockchain, there are many blockchains that can be used not only for money transactions, but for any kind.

There are three types of block strings:

BLOCKCHAIN ​​PUBLIC

In this type of block chain there are no restrictions to add nodes (users) and anyone could use a client to start participating.

Bitcoin is an example. In fact, this concept was born by the hands of the famous digital currency.

This model gives rise to blockchain networks of thousands of independent nodes that are distributed throughout the world. The problem of this model is that in business environments, where privacy and performance have a decisive weight, it is difficult to assume it and implement.

PRIVATE BLOCKCHAIN

Private blockchain is more exclusive, for only the ones authorized by the owners. In addition, this type of blockchain has very specific uses.

In this way, without losing the blockchain essence, networks can be configured between actors of a particular field, and participation is more controlled.

MULTICHAIN

In this case, we speak of an evolution to improve the characteristics of the use of private networks. Starting from an open source philosophy and license, it allows the creation of regulated networks “with permissions”, in which an administrator can define and grant different kind of permissions. It is a platform that allows to design, implement and operate blockchain blocked registers quickly and easily. To create private blockchains, means that the creator can decide who can connect to the platform to send and receive transactions, create assets and blocks. In addition, you can also decide to open your blockchain and make it public. The platform allows you to create your own digital currencies to make exchanges and keep track of transactions on your network.

The impact of blockchain on logistics

How and to what extent does all this affect the logistics sector?

As we all know, international trade requires complex transactional logistics operations involving a large number of entities, as well as requiring the control of information flows and money. On the diagram you can see the complexity of the process. They are processes that involve more than 10 different entities and where more than 30 documents are generated and moved.

These different participants are all around the world and many times they do not know each other. The lack of knowledge and trust, forces to implement an enormous amount of paperwork and of operations that do not add value. In a container transport from Asia to Europe by ship, 40% of the time is lost in waiting, essentially due to customs and operational procedures of all kinds due to lack of confidence between the parties.

blockchain a la logística 2

Different solutions in the logistics field have varied over time. Initially we talked about architectures that departed from a central server. This model evolved resulting in solutions in the cloud today widely used.

The blockchain is presented as a new model. A future model that will bring decentralization, confidence and collaboration towards the efficiency in logistics operations.

Imagine the scope of blockchain in logistics! It would allow you to connect to importers and exporters, logistics operators, financial entities, insurers and any other agent involved.

This new model would help accelerate processes, ensure a more agile operation, reduce costs, more transparency and improve the auditability of the process.

The advantages, as you can see, are enormous!

When will be implemented?

Technology promises and allows us to ensure that it will produce a radical change in how we do things today. But we are not facing any change, we are facing a paradigm shift. In front of a change of what we know for something totally new.

Let’s say it is in an initial phase and there are still many challenges to face, both in a technological and operational point of view and of legal and regulatory matters.

The challenge is great and ambitious. And the projects are, for the moment, ideas in the development phase.

In addition, we must take into account that intermediaries, who have become an integral and essential part of the economy and society, will not make it easy the transition for this innovation to happen. Before this revolution that we so much talked about, succeeds these same intermediaries will put all the means to reject it or, in a more optimistic case, adapt it to their own interests and needs.

I leave you a video where you can see a real case of implementation of blockchain in the world of logistics by IBM for Maersk.

 

Future Professions you don’t know about

Many times I have spoken to you of the great speed at which new technologies advance. World changes so fast that I am sure that there is somebody in your immediate environment of whom you do not really know what his or her job is about (SEO, Big Data, Machine learning, cybersecurity, business intelligence, etc.). What, just a few years ago, were just technicalities; they have become the professions of the present and the future.

Inevitably, some professions will disappear with technological advancement, but that is something that has happened throughout history. Economic, social and technological development has been determining trends in the labor market in order to adjust the law of supply and demand.

Is the technological advance we are witnessing negative then? The truth is that no; in the same way that some professions will disappear, others are being created and new ones will appear.

The key resides in the ability to adapt to change. Workers who are willing and able to face this new age of change will survive at their workplaces. The old paradigms are no longer applicable; it is essential to be willing to learn and enrich ourselves with knowledge every day. And so organizations have assumed the need for change and also that it must happen fast, because otherwise, their success will be limited.

New professions that appear with technological evolution

Each country has its own situation, of course. But if we are talking in general terms, and we can do so because we live in an increasingly globalized world and therefore we can reach conclusions applicable to almost any country.

 

Specialist in massive data (Big Data)

Among the most disruptive profiles is the specialist in Big Data. A profile that lately has positioned itself as the most sought in the market.

But what does an expert do with Big Data?

He analyzes the data generated by a company, in any sector, interprets and establishes the necessary lines to improve businesses. He is an expert in areas such as statistics, mathematics or computer science, a specialist in solving problems, analyzing and solving problems without entering into scientific concepts.
Shortly, he analyzes what happens, solves the problem and passes it to the organization in comprehensible words, all without the need to explain the scientific principle as to what happens.

This profession is more than promising. The problem is that until very recently, there were no specific qualifications given. It is now, when professionals can begin to study through masters that unite technology and business. Now there is an interesting offer for this kind of studies.

In the following video you can see one of the possible uses of the analysis of massive data:

 

Cybersecurity Specialists

As experts say, there are two types of companies: Those who have received a computer attack and those who have not learned that they have received it. This is a reality since all the companies are open on the Internet, and every day they are more. If you are on the Internet, you are exposed daily to thousands of attacks that occur, from anywhere in the world, any day and at any time.

In spite of the huge concern that business administration boards have for network security issues, few know how to focus, they do not know who to address. This is due to the important technological gap between many managers and CEOs of companies and new technologies.

In this context, the figure of the cybersecurity expert, the so-called Information Security Director (or CISO, Chief Information Security Officer) is especially important. Here, graduates in computer engineering, telecommunications and information systems, will find new and exciting opportunities.

Here is one of many videos you can find online about being a cybersecurity expert:

 

Specialists in bio-3D printing

Bio-3D printing emerges from the combination of biology, the creation of biomaterials and 3D printing. This technology opens the door to regenerative medicine, which undoubtedly focuses on the future of many medical advances.
In this context, specialists in bio-3D printing will stand out. 3D printing of biological structures to implant in the body is in full development and evolution. Thus, although the present is focused on more immediate challenges, the medical opportunities in future will be able to generate in the laboratory, tissues and functional organs that later can be transplanted to patients.

I leave you a video where you can see what has been done in this field:

 

Specialists in Gamification

The video game industry is gigantic in which we can also see new professions. We can talk about developers, designers or game testers. Although these profiles already exist, they will be enhanced. The experience accumulated in several decades of video game creation made the concept of Gamification appear.

Gamification is the use of techniques, elements and dynamics of games and entertainment, in non-recreational activities with the aim of promoting the motivation of employees in companies. In the end what it is about is to turn a boring, repetitive activity and sometimes not exciting, in something interesting and attractive. It seems an impossible goal but it is a reality, we can see incredible results of its application.

Gamification was first applied in the world of marketing, but it has spread rapidly to other sectors, such as education, culture and scientific research. The successes achieved with this technique make its growth so spectacular now.

In this context, the experts on Gamification appear. Gamification studies and Gamification techniques are aimed at professionals from different fields, such as design and creativity, audiovisual and multimedia, engineers and developers, marketing and communication, psychology and pedagogy, and entrepreneurs and digital professionals. In short, a wide range of professions that can bring a lot to this interesting world of Gamification.

I leave a link where you can see 5 videos that explain how to be an expert in Gamification;

 

Resuming, we could talk for a while about new professions that are born as a result of the advancement of technology, for example; growth hacker, AI expert, virtual relations manager, blockchain engineer, IoT specialist, talent aggregator, etc. So many, that the list may be endless.

But once again we return to the principal, “renew not to die”. In this case, not to be left out of the labor market.

Bitcoins or virtual coins, opportunity or threat?

In recent months, much has been said about Bitcoins, or virtual currencies, and their ability to have authorities and investors on the verge of hysteria.

But let’s start at the beginning to get to our own conclusions: what are Bitcoins? And above all, when can they be used?

These virtual currencies, which for some, are a great innovation, taking lead in financial markets, and for so many a real threat.

Bitcoin, what is it?

As I said, this is a currency, such as the euro or the dollar that serves to exchange goods and services. So what difference do they have with any other currency?
Well, as I said at the beginning, the big difference is that it is a virtual or electronic currency.

As for the user, Bitcoin is just a mobile or desktop application that provides a personal Bitcoin wallet and allows the user to send and receive Bitcoins with it.
If we look at what is behind it, the Bitcoin network shares a public accounting called “block chain.” This accounting allows you to verify the validity of each transaction. The authenticity of each transaction is protected by digital signatures corresponding to the shipping addresses, allowing all users to have total control when sending Bitcoins from their Bitcoin addresses. In addition, anyone can process a transaction and get a reward in Bitcoins for this service.

What are the differences between Bitcoins and other currencies?

Probably, the biggest difference between Bitcoins is that it is a decentralized currency. This means that it does not have a central emitter, so that nobody controls it. In other words, it is beyond the control of any government, institution or financial institution, be it state or private.

So, who controls it, you’ll ask …
When we talk about Bitcoin, the control is made by the users themselves, indirectly through P2P exchanges (peer to peer, which means point to point, between peers). With this structure on which the digital currency relies, no authority can manipulate its value or cause inflation by producing more quantity. So much so that the production of Bitcoins is guided by the law of supply and demand and its value is calculated through an algorithm that measures movements and transactions with Bitcoins in real time.

How does this type of currency work?

There are applications available, both for PC and mobile devices, adapted to all operating systems that allow you to create a Bitcoin wallet.

Through these applications you can create a wallet that will have a private key associated with another public key that will allow you to perform operations with Bitcoins.

But is it safe?

The keys I spoke before in the previous section, allows to ensure that transactions are carried out safely for users and prevent the currencies from being falsified.

Bitcoins are a legal currency?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Or rather, the legal void that surrounds them makes us think of they are not covered by the law rather than illegality.

As I said at the beginning of this article, this is a type of currency that escapes the control of any institution. However, we can say that it is legal in places where it is accepted as a means of payment in a transaction.

We talk about anonymous and encrypted transactions between users; therefore, we talk about transactions that are exempt from any type of taxes, such as VAT.

Why are they considered a threat?

Decentralization and anonymity in transactions have made this means of payment attractive to fraudulent economic activities.

That is why there are countries that have decided to ignore their existence and have begun to take measures:

China, for example started to ban it: https://lta.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idLTAKCN1BF28G-OUSLB

https://www.xataka.com/empresas-y-economia/panico-en-el-mundo-de-las-criptomonedas-china-prohibe-las-icos

In other countries, such as the United States, we can see a long journey to achieve the legality of this type of currency:

https://criptonoticias.com/regulacion/la-travesia-legal-bitcoin-estados-unidos/#axzz4ueAubNYh

But not all Bitcoin transactions are on the verge of legality and probably these transactions will always have a doubtful origin. A good example of a legal transaction is found in the well-known company, WordPress, which allows you to pay in their online shop with Bitcoins. Every time more and more private and public corporations will recognize their existence and facilitate their use.

Now that you know what it is, judge yourself: opportunity or threat?

Google´s technology patents

Google, this prestigious technology company, the main subsidiary of the American multinational Alphabet Inc.,specialized in products and services related to internet, software and other technologies, appeared almost by chance in the hands of two university students and in its beginnings it only offered an Internet search engine.

Just in a short time this search engine became the favorite of almost every user on the planet. And this was the path that led Google to develop the hundreds of services it offers today.

As time has passed, the company gradually has become a synonym for innovation. A distinction that has been won by betting on ambitious and, at times, almost surrealistic projects. Some examples are the development of autonomous vehicles, projects related to drones, the development of a super computer brain or the disturbing Red Button of which we spoke recently on the blog.

Ambitious, innovative and almost science-fiction projects require a series of patents, sometimes, almost as extravagant.

But let’s start at the beginning…

What is a patent and what is it for?

A patent grants exclusive intellectual property rights over a particular invention.

This is undoubtedly one of the most common strategies for appropriating the economic benefits derived from technological innovation. In fact, technology patents have become common among the big technology companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft or HTC, among others.

Main Google patent

Google’s technology patents are counted by hundreds, maybe even more. These are probably some of the most curious:

camion autonomo

Self-driving truck

Self-driving truck

Google has patented a self-driving truck destined for the distribution of goods.

The vehicle conceived by the company of Mountain View has several separate compartments with the aim that the person who receives an order can lock, unlock and open the compartment to collect their goods.

New version of Google Glasses

The Google Glasses, an augmented-glass-shaped reality device, presented by Google in 2012, was not exactly a success.

However, the company has patented last year a new version of the technology used for its smart glasses.

Google intends to develop an improved version of its proposal launched in 2012; A more flexible and sturdy element that allows users to use their glasses in a larger number of situations.
In this case, it aims to guide its use to companies where the original model does not cover all the needs that organizations have nowadays.

Self-driving cars for passenger transport

Google has used this type of car for years to develop Google Maps. But until recently the company had not considered commercializing them.

I say until recently, since the Patent Yogi website has discovered a new patent that reveals Google’s plans in this regard…

It would be a system through which vehicles can determine a collection position and destination. And all with minimal human contact, users should only indicate where they want to go; the car does everything else.
But here the benefits do not end; the patent includes a system capable of determining the best location to pick up a person to avoid jams, construction works, etc.

Let Uber tremble!

The bionic eye and the sun eye

The technology Google is also betting on, offering solutions to health problems. An example of this is the bionic eye, a device that could allow correcting the vision of people who have visual difficulties without using glasses.
To achieve this, the patient would undergo a surgical intervention through which an intraocular device would be inserted to replace the crystalline.

And in case it is not surprising enough the foregoing, Google also has a patent on the development of contact lens that work with solar energy and in addition to improving the vision, allows its users to collect data about their health or read barcodes, among other things.

As I said at the beginning, the patents registered by Google are counted by hundreds. Probably more … With all this huge number of patents safe, the company will continue to surprise us in the coming years by proposing products and services that we do not even dream of today. We are waiting for an exciting future!

If you are interested on discovering more about this topic you can find much more in the Google patent search engine.

Marea, the submarine megacable of Facebook and Microsoft that will connect Europe and the United States

In previous articles I have talked about big data, cloud computing, Internet of things (IoT), industry 4.0, autonomous vehicles, etc. In this future, that is already present, if there is a constant, it is the need to manage more and more data and in real time, if we want to respond to the challenges that are presented to us. To achieve immediacy and capacity for calculation it is obvious that one of the essential factors is to have more and more efficient communications systems with global coverage. We have the need to have more and more transmission capacity and in real time, because without it, the digital revolution is slowed down.

cable marea

In order to respond to this need, initiatives such as “Marea” appear. Last June, the work to connect, “Marea”, the submarine megacable that will connect Europe and the United States, began in the town of Sopelana, in the Bay of Biscay, 18 kilometers from Bilbao.

Marea is a Microsoft and Facebook project that Telefonica will manage through its affiliate, Telxius, which will sell capacity as part of its infrastructure business.
The deployment of this cable, which as we have said, began last June in the coast of Biscay is expected that in autumn will arrive in Virginia Beach, in the United States.
The intention is that in 2018 Marea will be already operative.

What is Marea?

Marea is a cable of about 10 centimeters of diameter and more than 6,600 kilometers length, that will cross the Atlantic at a maximum depth of 4,000 meters in order to make the world a more open and connected place, since it will allow access to the large data centers installed in the North American market. It will be the largest submarine capacity cable that has ever crossed the Atlantic, consisting of eight pairs of fiber optic cables.

Marea will also have great interoperability capabilities. In this way, various companies can use it relatively easily with different types of equipment.

The cable is made, a priori, for all kinds of dangers and inequities. Designed to withstand the pressure of water, earthquakes or storms, and even shark bites.

What is the capacity?

Marea has an initial capacity of 160 terabits per second (Tbps), the largest in the world, 16 million times faster than a domestic Internet connection.

Thus, perhaps, we cannot imagine the dimensions of its capacity, we can transform it, for example, into the possibility of sending 100,000 million tweets per second or the transmission of 4,000 DVDs per second. It’s not bad at all!

Why is this infrastructure so important?

The project, backed by Facebook and Microsoft, will allow Telxius to sell capacity as part of its business, allowing its clients to benefit from lower costs.

On the other hand, it is a scalable project that can evolve adapted in innovation of optical technologies. Given this, we can conclude that Marea will allow bandwidth growth in a short time.
In addition, these types of connectivity projects are essential for the development of technology products and services in the cloud.
Marea, in particular, will allow a low latency connection that will help with the increased demand for faster speed across the Atlantic, which will improve the reliability of cloud services.

The great challenge. And the interests of Facebook, Microsoft and Telxius

The main objective of the companies involved in this technological project (Facebook, Microsoft and Telefónica through its subsidiary Telxius) is to cover the growing demand for high-speed Internet.
But, are there specific interests on the part of each of the companies embarked upon in this deployment?

The business, on the side of Telxius, is, as I mentioned at the beginning, by selling this service to its wholesale customers.

On the side of Facebook, the largest social network in the world, there is a clear intention to provide video and virtual reality services to its users. Marea will allow increasing the transferability between various data centers; A good example of this, is the data related to the popular social network, Instagram, or the most widely used instant messaging app, WhatsApp, both owned by Facebook.

And what about Microsoft? Marea is the perfect ally to continue the expansion of its services on the Cloud; As the case of Bing or Microsoft Azure.

More efficiency and security than the satellite

Nowadays, almost 99% of the transoceanic data are sent through submarine cables.
One of the main reasons is that the satellite connection has a much smaller capacity and offers a noticeably slower response. This makes it feasible to use it in broadband and real-time applications.

But the key is not alone in speed, also for security. All the information that circulates is a treasure for governments, spyware and hackers. It is much easier to protect a submarine cable than a satellite connection.

This new open and connected world, managed in real time, will increasingly need communication systems like Marea. We are perhaps at the beginning of the era of the global broadband connection. Surely we will see in the near future many “Mareas” throughout the Earth’s oceans. We hope that we make responsible, efficient and safe management of it.

Finally, if you want to take a look at the submarine cables installed around the world, you can see it on this website https://www.submarinecablemap.com/#/

 

 

The keys to understand the Forth Industrial Revolution

We are immersed in a technological revolution that is changing many things, especially the way we live, relate and work.
A really complex change, whose reach goes beyond anything that we have experienced before. A change marked by the new digital, physical and biological technologies that economists have called: the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The change will be guided by genetic engineering and neurotecnologies, two specialties that seem to be far from the reach and understanding for most citizens. However, its impact is being so strong and changing completely our daily life and our way of relating with each other. As a result, we will see how this new way of relating will have a direct impact on the future of work and social inequality, for example.

Why the Forth Industrial Revolution

According to experts, the foundation that gives rise to the so-called Revolution 4.0 is that it is not just about developments, but because of the “encounter” of these developments. And in this sense it represents a paradigm shift, instead of one more step in the frenzied technological career.
There are three great reasons that define this revolution as its own and not as an extension of the Third Industrial Revolution:

  1. The speed

The pace in which advances occur is unprecedented.

  1. The scope

These advances are reaching industries of all continents, taking place globally.

  1. The impact

Its impact affects directly to all industries.

On the other hand, it follows the process of the three previous revolutions:

The First Industrial Revolution changed artisanal production to mechanized production. Being carbon the engine of it.
The Second Industrial Revolution, entailed electricity and mass production. Mass production, at an efficient cost, but without product customization. Remember Henry Ford and his Ford T black.
The Third Industrial Revolution was accompanied by electronics and new information and telecommunications technologies. Here began the ability to become more cost efficient and achieve greater customization of products and services.
This Fourth Industrial Revolution completely automates manufacturing and what we see is an intelligent factory that combines physical machines with digital processes, allowing machines to make decisions and cooperate (among them and with human teams). The personalization of the product reaches its maximum level, while we try to make a different product for each consumer at the same cost as if we did large series of production. The scenario people of marketing always have dreamed of!

3 keys to understand the Revolution or Industry 4.0

  1. This revolution is created on the basis of systems that combine software, nanotechnology, sensors, an important physical structure and new technologies related to communications.
  2. IoT or Internet of Things, , is playing and will play a fundamental role in this paradigm shift.
  3. It will affect industries around the world, which will lead to a radical change in employment.

There was initially a strong resistance and the belief that certain industries could be kept apart from digitization. In fact, the media, music and even logistics were some of the industries in which this resistance was more evident. Evolution finally came also to them and today, all these industries are fully adapted to the digital phenomenon. What does not change tends to disappear.

The 8 main axes of the Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is a very broad concept. A complex gear that we can divide into 8 main axes that are making it work:

  1. Massive Data (Big Data)
  2. Cloud Process (Cloud Computing)
  3. The Internet of Things (IoT)
  4. Augmented reality
  5. Robotics
  6. Cyber security
  7. Simulation and prototype
  8. Integration of processes

The great challenge of industry 4.0

The adaptation and individualization of manufacturing processes to attend the needs of customers are a fundamental element. But not only that, we must achieve it by improving production times, reducing costs and creating a more efficient value chain. The challenge is big, sometimes titanic.

The role of people

We cannot forget the role of people in all this …

Adapting all the technologies we are talking about, it is a complex process and must be done gradually.
Probably the great challenge of industry 4.0 is in the people. Achieving fluid, effective and natural coexistence between the human team and the machines is not an easy task. We are used to see in factories that there is on one hand machines and / or robots and on the other people. We are not accustomed to interact in cooperative processes.
This wall will gradually fall in order to achieve greater efficiency.

The first step is to change our mindset. This new paradigm requires adaptation of people to a new environment and that is why we must be open and predisposed to changes.

Pioneers of the Revolution

The most advanced countries will pioneer the change. These countries will implement it more quickly.
The emerging economies will gradually be added and surely these will be the ones that can benefit most.

The employment of the future will be based on work that still does not exist and industries that work with totally new technologies. This revolution has the power to increase the level of global income and improve the quality of life. However, all these processes of transformation will not affect each other in a positive way. It will benefit only those who are able to adapt and innovate. In this sense, we will have to work so that it is not a source of social inequalities. This is one of the main challenges that we have to face.

Now more than ever, we have to adapt if we do not want to disappear.

Google´s Red Button to stop machines from rebelling against humankind

Artificial intelligence is perhaps large companies most important strategic decision. They are investing huge amounts of money, effort and resources in its development.
Machines that are able to learn independently in order to facilitate our lives in any area.boton rojo de google

But there will come a time, when machines will surpass human intelligence. And no, I’m not inventing this, nor is it the title of a science fiction movie. This is the conclusion, experts of the company Deep Mind have reached (a company specializing in artificial intelligence) together with FHI (Institute for the Future of Humanity). In fact, computer science has advanced greatly since its inception 70 years ago. The computing power has been doubling every 18 months, according to Moore’s Law. It is believed that if Moore’s law continues fulfilling itself, by 2030 the computing power of a processor corresponds to the intelligence of a person.

This hypothesis is at least, a disturbing one. So much that the classic movie “Terminator” seems to have inspired Google when developed and patented his now famous red button.

With the aim of eradicating the fear of artificial intelligence, Deep Mind (company belonging to the giant Google) and FHI have developed a “red button”. An emergency button in which in case of a machine rebellion, it could be prevented and stop any harmful action for humankind.

What is Google´s Red Button?

Laurent Orseau, a scientist who works for Deep Mind and Stuart Amstrong of the University of Oxford, are responsible for this project.

According to Armstrong and Orseau, the button has been created for the purpose of preventing machines to follow a sequence of actions that could be harmful to humans or the environment. So they developed a protocol that allows a human operator to interrupt the operation of the artificial intelligence platform in case of emergency and also ensure that the robot is not able to override these interruptions.

The challenge of artificial intelligence

The question of whether machines can be revolted is present and more and more inventions question this possibility…

A good example of this is a robot capable of deciding whether or not cause pain to people by nailing a needle. Its creator, Alexander Reben, sought, when he created the machine, to enter into the burning debate whether or not artificial intelligence is dangerous.

Another example is the Microsoft bot, Tay, designed to create fun chats on social networks, the company had to turn off the next day after its release because it started throwing racist and sexist comments on Twitter. Do you remember?

http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias/2016/03/160325_tecnologia_microsoft_tay_bot_adolescente_inteligencia_artificial_racista_xenofoba_lb

Scientists and specialists agree that no system is infallible and that precautions must be taken.

Surely the danger today is not very likely to happen, but technology is advancing very fast, it is best to work on it from now on.
The key is to raise awareness about safety in the development of almost all algorithms and robots, and to be able to disconnect the system in an instant. Or even better, that any artificial intelligence system can detect when something is wrong and be able to stop it automatically.

In the world of artificial intelligence, managing to control any risk for humans is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges we face.

In conclusion we could say that we are facing an exciting future but not without risk, if we don´t do it right.