US government to strengthen consumers‘ right to repair: According to Bloomberg, US President Joe Biden will direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to draft new regulations to empower consumers to repair their devices on their own and at independent shops. While the agency will ultimately decide the size and scope of the order, the presidential right-to-repair directive is expected to mention mobile phone manufacturers and Department of Defense contractors as possible areas for regulation. Tech companies including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have imposed limits on who can repair broken consumer electronics like game consoles and mobile phones, which consumer advocates say increases repair costs.
Apple once again breaks Homepod with software update: The original HomePod has been discontinued for several months, and users are now reporting that their smart speaker is suddenly dying in version 14.6 with no proper reason. This comes after some users reported issues with the HomePod Software 15 beta as well. Some users are reporting that their HomePods are failing after being connected to an Apple TV. Although users have been complaining about HomePod suddenly dying, Apple has yet to acknowledge this issue. For those who are out of warranty, Apple charges a $280 fee for replacing the older smart speaker. For those with Apple Care still active, the company just replaces the product outright.
Electrical trade bundles expertise for the smart home: The electrical trade is responding to the rising number of smart home applications in the everyday lives of many people and is restructuring its apprenticeships, among other things. Due to the increasing demand for automation of apartments, houses and buildings and the growing number of manufacturers, electrical trade plays an important role both in the decision-making phase and the installation of devices. According to the Central Association of the German Electrical and Information Technology Trade, the profession of electronics technician is increasingly developing into system integrator. In the new apprenticeship occupation referred to as „electronics technician for building systems integration“, experts can thus be trained in the field of smart home as well as smart building.
More transport companies are dreaming of the success of air cabs: An increasing number of established transport companies are cooperating with providers of air cabs. Important for the success of air cab companies is the right infrastructure. Since many EU citizens are concerned about whether there is enough space for the so-called vertiports, airports play a major role in the further development of air cabs. Many respondents also want integration into the local transport ecosystem. Many established transport companies do not want to be forced into the role of supplier in the presumed great success of air taxis, but want to be able to participate themselves.
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Project Jedi: Pentagon rewrites billion-dollar cloud contract and terminates contract with Microsoft zdnet.com
Mobility: Apple takes photos from backpacks for map service faz.net
WhatsApp: Data protector criticizes social coercion with certain chat services golem.de
Kaspersky: Password manager put users at risk with easy-to-guess passwords tech.hindustantimes.com
Antitrust lawsuit: 36 states accuse Google of unfair competition nytimes.com
Smart home deal: Tink reduces Yale door lock with practical accessories in a bundle netzwelt.de
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
Global consumer spending on smart home solutions is set to grow to US$123 billion in 2021 after declining in 2020 due to the economic impact of COVID-19 according to new research published in Strategy Analytics‘ “2021 Global Smart Home Forecast”.
Supporting AI can improve public safety and smart cities: In recent years, artificial intelligence has taken on an increasingly important role in community safety. However, many cities are just now starting to take advantage of the technology. In this regard, emergency call-taking in emergency call centers represents an underserved area with great potential. A supporting AI can confirm important incident details and also identify similarities or anomalies in emergency calls. Public safety personnel could further rely on the technology as an extra set of eyes in emergency situations, improving incident response. In the event of staff shortages, so-called chatbots could automatically dispatch teams to deal with the less serious and complex issues, freeing up on-site personnel to deal with high-priority events. The use of supporting AI can increase not only public safety, but also the efficiency of key personnel.
How the smart home can become sustainable: A holistic strategy is necessary for a smart home to become truly sustainable. The key is to install applications that make as much sense as possible and connect them as effectively as possible under a comprehensive network with central control. Since the digital devices are permanently in standby mode so that they can be accessed at any time via the central control system, it is advisable to pay attention to the energy class of the devices when purchasing them. Smart home solutions can lead to numerous savings if used correctly. For example, a joint study by the Institute for Applied Ecology and the NRW consumer center found that they can save up to 9 percent of heating energy per year in an apartment. For a single-family house, the figure is as high as 14 percent. The electricity consumption caused by the digital applications is not affected by the savings in heating energy. With fluorescent materials, on the other hand, the situation is not so clear-cut. Due to permanent standby mode, digital motion sensors and automatic adjustment to ambient brightness, their consumption often exceeds the electricity savings.
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„When I approach the next fork in the road, I just want the app to tell me where to go, not start a long-winded dialogue with me.“
Michael Kühler of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology criticizes artificial intelligence (AI) acting in a paternalistic manner, especially with regard to health apps. This is a fundamental ethical challenge that requires a social discourse, he says.
NOT SO SMART…
Brazil arrests self-proclaimed Bitcoin king for million-dollar fraud: Federal Police in Brazil have arrested members and a leader of the Bitcoin Banco group for their alleged involvement in an embezzlement scheme. Police named businessman and self-proclaimed “Bitcoin King” Claudio Oliveira, as leader of the group. The group is alleged to have embezzled US$300 million. The police operation was based on intelligence gathered over a three-year investigation which alleges the group engaged in fraudulent scams and embezzlement.