Driverless Cars: I Am Out of the Office. Let’s Do a Meeting

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    Autonomous vehicles (aka driverless cars) are coming and IT needs to prepare. That’s the premise of an InformationWeek article, which seems to suggest that a good deal of productivity may be added to a normal workday. The car becomes a fairly good workspace once the driver is released from the responsibility of driving:

    As cars start and stop in rush hour traffic, will there any reason why employees won’t join a meeting that they were going to be late for anyway? They’ll need both a voice and document screen link, with video added if the employee has a central role to play.

    The point is that vehicles will become, in a very real sense, true offices on wheels. They can tap into office networks as needed just as easily as they can link to GPS systems. Juniper Research analysts suggest that the stars are aligning for this to happen quickly. The drivers, so to speak, are demographic, technological, regulatory and environmental.

    1 Billion 4G Smartphones Will Ship This Year

    One of the subtle but undeniable transitions in the smartphone business is that the main focus of attention has moved from the developed economies of Europe, North America, and parts of Asia to Africa, the mideast and Asian nations with less developed economies. This has caused smartphone manufacturers to change their game plans, and has enabled the industry to reach quite a milestone.

    IDC found that 1.17 billion 4G phones will ship this year. That’s a 2.13 percent increase over the 967 million shipped in 2015. By 2020, the firm projects, almost 1.6 billion 4G phones will ship. The firm says that the number of 4G handsets in underdeveloped markets is increasing. Indeed, the trend of more 4G and fewer 3G phones will accelerate going forward. IDG found that no 3G phones will ship in 2020.

    Browser Wars: IE, Edge and Firefox Survive, Safari Sinks, Chrome Soars

    It’s always important to follow the browser wars. Analytics firm Net Applications said that Firefox’s user share climbed by a marginal .8 percent to finish at 11.9 percent in November. That is its highest proportion since December of last year. Computerworld said that Firefox had a “near-death experience in August,” when it bottomed out at 7.7 percent of users. While still in the doldrums, an increase of 50 percent over three months is a good sign.

    Safari, Net Applications found, lost .1 percent and finished at 3.6 percent. Its use is also declining among Mac users. The most popular browser today is Google’s Chrome; it is at 55.8 percent and has grown 78 percent in a year, the research found. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Edge ended the month at a combined 26.9 percent, a 1.5 percent decline from October.

    Protect VoIP

    The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the most common application layer protocol for VoIP, according to Security Intelligence, a site run by IBM. It’s also the most targeted, and those attacks are increasing:

    In actual attacks on VoIP communications, we note various types of disruption. Spikes in July and September were mostly the result of specially crafted SIP messages that were terminated incorrectly. Persistent, invalid messages are known to cause vulnerable servers and equipment to fail. The spike in October 2016 was largely influenced by SIP messages with invalid characters in the SIP “To” field. These could be reflective of suspicious activity, necessitating further investigation.

    The piece provides a good deal of information on the ins and outs of the attacks. The most important element is advice at the end. Smart users, and smart security staffs, use strong passwords, encryption, and a virtual private network (VPN) to protect VoIP.

    Fake Phone Bust in Brooklyn

    IT managers should make sure of the provenance of the devices that are bought for employees or supported by the organization in bring your own device (BYOD) environments. Case in point: The New York Daily News reported today that three men were arrested with more than $10 million worth of phony Apple and Samsung devices.

    “A nondescript cell phone store in Brooklyn” was a front for a warehouse filled with the fake devices. The seizures were made by city cops and federal agents who had been investigating since a parcel coming through JFK Airport caught their interest nine months ago.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.
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