December Tech Savvy

“Smart Cities” are adding a whole new layer of complexity to data protection.
Driverless cars, cloud-based services and networks of sensors are driving rapid change… Yet along with great benefits, the smart city revolution adds new threats. For instance, since it relies heavily on interconnectivity, weak links make the whole system vulnerable to cyber-attack. Yet a study by Kaspersky Labs estimates that 57% of smaller companies underinvest in security. With deeper connectivity to these “weak links,” encryption of your own data becomes more critical than ever. Using secured websites (the “https” vs. “http” protocol), for example, not only secures data, it also creates trust among your customers and vendors. Clearly, the smart thing to do is to be ready for smart city challenges.

With Google’s new Daydream VR platform, reality will never be the same.
While it isn’t as pixel-rich as PC-tethered systems like Oculus Rift, Daydream is fully mobile. That means, for instance, you could navigate through a museum and get way more interactive with the exhibits. Google’s “View” headset with clickable touchpad controller is just the first of many to come, as other developers jump into mobile VR. As for apps, Google says there will be at least 50 in the Play Store by the end of December. Daydream has been deeply integrated into the new Android Nougat OS. If Nougat isn’t on your phone yet, be patient – or buy a phone, such as Google’s Pixel, that already has it installed.

Stop wasting your time and costing your company money.
No company is 100% productive 100% of the time. But talk of last night’s game, social media check-ins and long lunch breaks aren’t the only time thieves. Without realizing it, you may be asking your team to do things that frankly hurt the bottom line. For instance, do you hold meetings that take longer than necessary – or don’t need to be held at all? Consider holding meetings only when critical. And when they are, use an agenda to keep everyone on track. Another big time killer is trying to fix a problem via multiple e-mails or chat. Often a simple phone call could resolve the issue with a lot less back and forth.

Want better collaboration at work? Play these tunes.
Research has already shown that teams who listen to music together at work feel more bonded and collaborate better. Yet that begs the question – what type of music do you listen to? It’s a topic likely to end up in wrangling and conflict. However, a recent study at Cornell University offers a scientific answer. And, while metal fans may not be thrilled with it, the results weren’t exactly shocking. The study found that people who listen to happy music were more likely to cooperate, regardless of age, gender or academic major, than those who listen to unhappy music. Interestingly, they found it was not the vibe, but the bouncing beat, that gets teams in sync.