The unstoppable march of technology into a pillar of our society has unleashed a lot of forces, both positive and negative, and created many problems that are well documented – the impact of social media on mental health, the evolution in the way we process information, and the instant access culture being a few notable examples. A raft of reactionary cultural movements has also been spawned – mindfulness, minimalism and social protest among them. The more negative of these aspects tend to be what gains the most press, as a spiral of sensationalist, click-bait headlines compete for our fractured attention, so the echo chamber about the unsavoury effects of technology amplifies. However, there can be little doubt that a lot of the technological leaps currently being made are of huge benefit for our safety, health and wellbeing, Each month brings breakthroughs and positive developments driven by the power and speed of technological development. Here are just some of the headline advances making the world a safer place:
York University hit the headlines recently for the development of robots that can assist at volatile crime scenes, most especially those that are hazardous to human workers such as those with chemicals or biological weapons. A range of cameras, sensor and gauges provide detailed live data feedback to skilled operators to interpret. They can even construct 3D maps of environments that are hostile to human investigation. The technology will also be of enormous help in disaster relief efforts and may help rescuers to locate casualties with much more accuracy and speed than is currently possible.
There May Be Trouble Ahead
When disaster strikes, it is unexpected by its very nature, a fact which puts relief operations very much on the back foot. But a wave of developments is giving authorities the tools to detect emergencies and disasters before they occur. There are now advances that can accurately predict landslides, as well as technology that can give early warning of forest fires – which are increasing due to global warming and kill over 400,000 globally each year – via reliable, low-cost wireless sensors developed by KUAST in the Middle East which monitor gas emissions and combine a huge range of data on temperature and humidity levels. The more ‘big data’ gathered by these sensors, the more accurately conditions that lead to these disasters can be identified. Emergency response can then be prepared in advance of a disaster happening – and this technology holds developments that could also be applied to the prediction of other, more abstract threats such as crime and illness as well.
Cars That Talk To Each Other
Sentient cars may be a trope that we more usually think of as belonging to comedy movies, but the tech behind getting vehicles to communicate with each other has the potential to save millions of lives each year by preventing road accidents and also taking the sting out of a daily commute by reducing congestion. A vehicle-to-vehicle dialogue exchanging vital data on direction, speed and positioning is fast becoming a reality, due to cutting-edge research in the US. And this prospect isn’t just a faraway dream – Volkswagen has forecast that they will have road-ready ‘talking’ vehicles by next year.
The City That Knows Your Name
Like something out of a sci-fi novel, advanced technologies are being piloted with hopes of making our cities safer too. Singapore may already have one of the lowest crime rates in the world, but that is being further supported by a pilot programme called Safe City being carried out by the government there and technology consultancy Accenture. Video analytics applied to the city’s network of CCTV is being used to identify gang members and wanted criminals, deploying policing resources much more effectively and saving civic cost and disruption in the process. Data generated by movement is used to pick up patterns that alert authorities to a crime being committed. And although some find this use of technology distinctly Orwellian, biometric data such as this is already in use via our chipped passports. This sits alongside the development of a sophisticated audio technology called ShotSpotter that can pinpoint the sounds of gunfire and alert police, giving them a greater chance to catch the suspects in robberies and homicides.
On The Homefront
While many of us may feel ambivalent about our biometric data being used by the state, we may be more sanguine about using it to protect our homes. Existing technology is having a huge impact on home security, with fingerprints and retina scans viable alternatives to mortice locks in giving access to our houses. The Intel Security True Key app can memorise the mathematical proportions of your facial structure and act as enhanced security. Use of an app can now allow you to remotely lock entrances and arm or disable a security system from anywhere in the world, while allowing for house sitters, family members and dog walkers to gain entry. These systems can also remotely monitor and alert you to any unauthorised entry to your home or even your car, meaning that you can stay vigilant and protected at all times.
High Tech Health
As the recent mania for fitness trackers has shown, we’re all keen to use technology to gain insights into our personal health and wellbeing, from scales that analyse our body fat percentage to DNA kits that give custom diet and health advice. A growing number of apps are now focused on our health and wellbeing. ShopWell provides custom dietary advice and helps you build shopping lists and a healthy eating plan, Headspace can proactively manage stress and anxiety, while MySugr helps diabetics to track their glucose levels to support the work of their health professional. Meanwhile, smartphones are also making it easier to access instant medical advice via platforms such as PushDoctor, meaning conditions are more likely to get diagnosed and managed earlier by those with busy lifestyles who never find the time to make it to a doctor’s office. MedAdvisor is a prescription management tool for those on complicated medical regimes. Whatever your health concerns, a raft of tailored support apps are out there – with more being developed all the time.
How Has Technology Changed Farming Over The Years?
Technology has become a big thing in the world. No matter where you look, technology is everywhere and that isn’t going to be changing any time soon. We live in the age of tech, and if you can’t get behind it then you are going to be left behind while everyone else surges forward. This is exactly what has happened to the farming industry over recent years. Technology has made processes easier to complete, and generally made a positive impact on the industry as a whole.
But. how has it done this? There are many different elements that make up farming, and tech has managed to ingrain itself in each and every one of them.
Crop Genetics And Pest Management
While the idea of improving plant genetics isn’t new, it is made a lot easier by the development of technology in the field. Plant breeders have been working to improve germplasm to develop seeds that have the best mixture oc characteristics possible. As such, they can make sure they get the best yield when it comes to specific weather conditions and soil. It’s important to understand that the older methods are still used here, but they are also combined with a newer approach that involves the latest tech.
Genetic engineering technology plays a huge part in this process, as it helps to improve a number of different things about the plant. By doing this, farmers are able to increase crop yields, making their farm more efficient.
The new and improved farm equipment has had the most significant impact on the farming industry. It has drastically changed the way that farmers raise and care for their livestock, as well as growing plants. The heavy duty equipment such as tractors, combines, and planters all make their life a lot easier. If you need any old school products such as a G8P 12V 8 GPM Portable Fuel Transfer Pump then these are still available for farmers to purchase. It’s not to say that just because tech has come about it’s completely out with the old.
The biggest benefit of mechanization is that farmers are now able to produce more from their farms with less labor. Saving farmers money, producing more to cater for the demand and all around making life much easier for those who are in this industry, tech has been a lifesaver in some ways.
When you think back to being a kid, do you remember the farms that you saw on TV? Well, that is how they used to be. There was a little bit of everything by way of animals, and certain crops were also grown depending on what kind of farm you had. With tech coming into the equation more and more, farms have become more specialized in recent years.
When you visit a farm now, you are more likely to see one type of livestock being raised than a whole range of them. Back in the olden days, raising a range of different livestock was where the money was, but not anymore. Thanks to technology, focusing on one area rather than all of them is actually more profitable. It gives you the chance to acquire all of the tech that you need to focus on that one area, and it also means the farmer has more knowledge of it. Therefore, what is produced is a much higher quality than it would be otherwise.
Livestock Genetics And Breeding
Humans have been domesticating animals for a long time now, and farmers used to select particular livestock, breeding them to adapt to certain conditions. Or, they would be bred with one purpose in mind: the end goal. The technology to aid this practice has come a long way in recent years, and now there are animal geneticists who work to identify the genes within animals and then enhance them for various reasons.
Embryo transfer is gaining more and more popularity over recent years, especially in the dairy industry. This wouldn’t have been possible fifty year ago, and it is thanks to technology that it is possible now.
Now, you should understand a little more about how technology has changed farming over the years. There have been many changes to how farming used to be, ensuring that farmers can keep up with the rising demand from the market. Of course, it’s not easy to make all of these changes for farmers, especially the ones who have been used to doing things the old fashioned way. But, with technology at the forefront of almost everything that we do, it’s hardly surprising that it has made its way into the farming sector.
How Will Roads Change As Logistics Become Automated?
There have been a lot of big developments to be found inside the automated vehicle space over the last few years. With countless car companies throwing their hats into the ring, it’s only a matter of time until cars that don’t need drivers are able to spend more time on the road. Of course, though, personal transport is only one side of this, and the automated driving scene is much more likely to impact logistics in the short-term. But how exactly will this change the way that transport companies operate, and how will the roads you use be impacted by changes like this?
Currently, many truck drivers have to push themselves to their limits to be able to get their work done. Long drives can easily be held up, but important deadlines can’t be missed without throwing off an entire schedule, and this leaves drivers having to miss sleep and drive long distances without breaks. A tacho card will usually be used to monitor this, making sure that drivers don’t break the law. Automated transport promises to solve problems like this, with digital machines never tiring and being able to work for days on end without having to take a break.
Many transport companies have to use the roads at the same time as normal drivers to make sure that they can make their deliveries without pushing drivers too hard. This sort of approach wouldn’t need to be taken with automated vehicles, instead giving transport operators the chance to choose the quietest times to have their machines on the road. Alongside this, route planning can be more dynamic, with plans being changed on the fly to make up for things like traffic issues. Of course, though, as a big part of this, normal drivers may experience some strange behavior from the automated trucks that they see, especially when they are first starting to hit the road.
While it may be something that changes in the future, transport companies are often more interested in systems that use convoys of trucks rather than simply sending trucks out on their own. This involves having a lead truck that is driven by a normal person, with several other trucks that tail safely behind it. This can make it much easier to have trucks follow specific routes without having to rely on GPS systems can lose signal or be disrupted in other ways. Of course, though, as a big part of this, many transport companies simply can’t afford the technology like this, and it could be a few more years until they start to be spotted when you’re out and about.
With all of this in mind, you should have a much better idea of how the automated logistics market is going to change roads over the next few years. The way that you drive will almost certainly change as time goes by, with more and more automated driving options becoming available all the time.
Matica’s CEO Sandro Camilleri speaks about security in digital payments
One thing is for sure: the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many behaviors and trends that once were holding their pace. A great example can be found in digital payments and online shopping. According to Rakuten Intelligence, from March through mid-April, e-commerce spending in the United States increased more than 30% compared to the same period last year. When it comes to worldwide scores, it reaches the surprising increase of 74%.
Although books and cleaning products led the ranks mapped by Rakuten, specialists argue that digital payments and online shopping are here to stay, as much as it has already been observed in Asian countries. In this sense, securing financial transactions and protecting consumer data became a mandatory issue to be addressed both by companies and the government.
As a leading European company in the processing and printing of cards and identification documents for security systems, Matica Technologies is dedicated to granting safety and technological solutions to businesses dealing with financial transactions online. According to the CEO and founder of Matica, Sandro Camilleri, the advent of digital payments is a revolution similar to that which technology has caused and is currently causing in other areas, such as transports. “It is an inevitable revolution, which citizens will have to get used to, and which must therefore be managed in order not to risk unintended consequences, being the key issue obviously safety,” he argues.
Camilleri stresses that there are two different phases when it comes to digital payment security. A first one is about information and personal data storage, one of the greatest topics of our time and also a potentially enormous market sector. The second, less discussed though equally important, is guaranteeing strength and security for the financial transaction itself — and this is a purely technological issue. “The use of chips that are equipped with incredible memories, high precision lasers and holograms makes it extremely difficult, not to say impossible, for any attacker to clone a card produced by us. Secondly, the transaction must be secure thanks to specific and constantly updated software,” explains Matica’s CEO.
Now, when it comes to privacy, Camilleri states that people must be aware of what is at stake when data is leaked and why such occurrences are so alarming. With more and more appliances being automated and connected to computers and to the internet, such as is the case for cars and home security systems, cyberattacks could lead to consequences that are not only terrible, but tragic.
In such situations, Matica’s CEO believes that only biometric data could spare individuals from having their systems hacked, though this data must be filed with care and used only for strictly necessary purposes. In any case, Camilleri argues that using biometrics is becoming day by day more inevitable with the increasing rhythm of automation, and this is a feature that can already be found in some of Matica’s available systems, such as is the case of the passport series.
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