This week’s technology news – 21st March 2014

Microsoft Office on an iPad near you soon
The first press engagement next week for new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, is rumoured to include an announcement for the long-awaited launch of an Office application for iPad.  Any misgivings internally about this move weakening the Windows platform is put into context when set against the estimated gap in revenue that this dedicated app would bring of around $2.5 billion per year.  Microsoft seem intent to ramp up the software onto as many platforms as possible having released applications onto iPhone, OneNote, Sky-Drive and Outlook for the iPad. 

Innovative evolution for wearable technology in US healthcare pilot
Wearable computing has moved one step further with the employment of Google Glass in a small pilot at the ED of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, USA.  Clinicians wearing unmissable orange specs, would glance at a bar code or QR code and receive patient details, location, lab results and other data through the glasses during examination.  The real time access to patient data through the glasses proved effective and life-saving during the pilot.  Concerns about data security were satisfactorily answered with data being held behind the BIDMC firewall and patient reaction and clinician usability both got approval.  With further testing ongoing, for limited or summarised information, the glasses have proved an effective compliment to current desktops and iPads in speeding up clinician workflow and enabling them to work hands free. The results will be closely monitored.  The potential for wider adoption across the US and internationally is tantalisingly close, whilst the use of tablets in healthcare may see a decline if it takes off.

Google Glass for clinicians
Google Glass for clinicians

The path of data security is never smooth

4th largest supermarket Morrisons, already facing a tough time in the UK press last week after announcing a sharp fall in profits, promptly endured a major security breach from a disgruntled employee, who published the payroll details of 100,000 of the company’s employees on a website including names, addresses and bank details.  Clearly, the need to secure confidential data from rogue internal use vs the cybercriminal bogeyman is less comfortable, but of equal necessity to firms.  This could have been the end of it, but perhaps the final lesson in what not to do, came with the retailers choice of messaging to inform and reassure staff about the data breach via social media behemoth, Facebook.  In this digital age, HR departments have the powerful and certainly more private tools of email and text to communicate private messages to staff. Perhaps if they had done this, it would have kept the last vestiges of their laundry from being aired quite so publicly.

Google – to infinity and beyond for mobile technology
Google has created an Android Wear mobile operating system to power smart watches. This smart strategy ties in with its move into robotics, Google Glass and data analytics.  As intelligence conjoins through Google Now, the company’s PA software, this helps inform and interact with the user to provide a more effective experience for the information and services received.  Globally, this strengthens Google’s wearable technology offerings promised in 2014, but they will not be on their own, as Motorola has announced it is launching the Moto 360 smart watch to run on Android Wear too.  Working with several consumer electronic partners including Samsung, Motorola, Asus, LG and HTC, plus chip makers, Google is ensuring that if it builds out this particular technology wardrobe, that it wants its software across as many devices as possible as the Android platform goes beyond today’s smartphones and laptops.

This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 14th June 2013

Office finally arrives on iPhone
Microsoft Office finally arrives on iPhone. After much deliberation Microsoft has ported over Office to Apple’s popular mobile platform. The App is free but there are several caveats to be aware of; currently the App is only available in America and only on the iPhone with no iPad support yet. In addition the App is reliant on a paid Office 365 subscription. If you meet all these requirements you can now use the ‘real’ office experience on your phone. It’s a bold move and with Office being subscription free on their own Windows Phone 8 platform they are in no danger of losing one of their biggest mobile advantages.

Google buys Waze for $1.1 Billion
Google has purchased social-mapping company Waze for the high price of $1.1 Billion this week. Following the purchase Waze has spoken out that “We are excited about the prospect of working with the Google Maps team”. Although both services should see benefits from working with the other, naturally Google has big plans with making Google Maps more social to secure their lead in the mapping market. The key to success with this is making the new functionality easy to use, without taking away from the current services millions use and to provide it on as many devices as possible.

When big buy-outs go bad
Former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein is still proud of Palms work on their webOS smartphone and tablet operating system, which was later purchased by HP for $1 billion. However shortly after the purchase and release of HPs first WebOS device, they abandoned the platform altogether. Jon Rubinstein now admits his regret of the sale of Palm to HP calling it a ‘wasted opportunity’. Not all buy-outs have happy outcomes for either party, and with light of similarly priced recent acquisitions this should show as a warning for big buy-outs.

Apple unveils iOS 7 to a mixed response
The first major change to the iPhone was at this year’s WWDC as Apple showed off for the first time iOS 7, which is the next iteration of the operating system that powers the company’s popular iPhone and iPad. Both the graphical interface and how you interact with the device has changed dramatically, which may make more than a few users double take at their phones new appearance. Users will have no option to roll back to how their system worked before. Apple could have another ‘apple maps-fiasco‘ on their hands which stopped users upgrading and purchasing new devices when it was forced on users in their last big update.