How Popular Culture Influenced Our Technology

It isn’t unheard of for entertainment to blur the lines between fiction and reality. From tablets to autonomous-driving cars, the imaginations of the past often inspire the everyday items that surround us in the future. Today, let’s consider a few technological innovations that first appeared in popular culture.

Tablets in Star Trek and A Space Odyssey

The modern tablet is widely known to have started with the first Apple iPad in 2010. However, this was not the first time tablets appeared in pop culture. The show Star Trek featured a tablet called a PADD – or personal access display device – which allowed crew members of the Starfleet to easily access various information on the small handheld device. The PADD is often thought of as the original inspiration for the modern-day tablet.

However, Star Trek was not the only time a tablet-like device appeared in entertainment. In 2001, Stanley Kubrick’s film, A Space Odyssey, featured tablet devices. This film was used to block Apple’s attempt to copyright the form factor and, because the innovation had been used in entertainment before, Apple’s bid failed.

Autonomous-Driving Cars in Total Recall

Self-driving vehicles are a popular innovation nowadays, but they were first seen in 1990’s Total Recall with “Johnny Cab”, a car that drove itself with an advanced computer system.

Smart Watch Technology in Dick Tracy

Smart watches like Apple watches and Fitbits have only grown in popularity since their development. However, the idea of a smart watch first appeared in the 1930s with the comedy series Dick Tracy. The series’ titular detective possessed a watched that served as a two-way communicator with authorities.

3D Printing Technology in Star Trek

Another technological development to begin with Star Trek is 3D printing. Any Trekkie should remember the replicators that the crew utilized to produce nearly anything and everything. 

Most 3D printing is currently carried out by running a strand of material in a computed pattern until an item is produced. However, a 2019 version uses rays of light to shape objects, and its creators say it was inspired by the famous replicator.

The Defibrillator in Frankenstein

This technology actually comes from a book, instead of a television show or film. In Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, which many consider to be the first piece or modern science fiction, she details a possible defibrillator-like device with the quote,


“With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.“

The “spark” she is referring to is most often interpreted as a spark of electricity. Thus, creating the very valid argument that this inclusion inspired later research and development of the modern defibrillator in 1930.

What other pieces of technology or innovations do you remember from popular culture and entertainment that we now have today? List them out in the comments! And, visit our blog for more fun tech content!

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Future Technology in Today’s Workplace

It’s fun to fantasize about the future of business, but what kind of technology can we realistically expect to make a difference in the way ordinary businesses function? Today, we hope to answer this question by examining three emerging technologies we think might make a splash in the business environment moving forward. 

Artificial Intelligence 

Artificial intelligence promises to be a major game-changer for businesses moving forward. Still, AI is not the most far-along technology out there, but as more businesses use it, the possibilities could expand. The idea here is that smarter technology will use machine learning to continue to learn and grow, leading businesses to focus more on operations and support. Still, despite many IT professionals cautioning users against its implementation, AI is not going anywhere; it’s here to stay, but it takes a certain implementation to bring about enough ROI to make it worthwhile. 

There are AI-fueled applications out there that have helped businesses overcome their operational inefficiencies, but the fact of the matter is that these applications have not yielded a significant return on investment––at least, not one comparable to the ones that smaller businesses need to justify such an investment. AI requires that the system be configured appropriately so as to increase value, and that value does not come cheap. Furthermore, AI systems also bring into question infrastructure and governance, both of which must be considered to adequately implement AI. 

The verdict: AI can provide significant growth potential, but it requires considerable investment to make it happen, and you must first determine how and where it fits into your business model before committing to it. Some applications you might consider implementing are a ChatBot software to help with customer support or cybersecurity tools that respond to the current threat landscape. 

Internet of Things 

Smart devices and Internet of Things devices are technologies that can be put to great use by small businesses. They can be used to hodgepodge together systems to improve efficiency and reduce costs, and the neat thing is that there are solutions out there that fit into just about any business model. Whether it’s a barcode scanner or a smart lock, businesses can use IoT devices for a variety of reasons and purposes. Plus, these devices can also collect data that can be used for assessment of operations!  

The IoT is expected to grow to 50 billion connected devices by 2025, so you can bet that the applications for these devices will only grow in scope and scale over time. While the connectedness is one of these devices’ greatest strengths, it’s also one of their greatest weaknesses, as they are known for having subpar data security and for sharing data a little too freely. You’ll want to invest in security if you want to use the IoT to your advantage. Thankfully, you can just give AE Technology a call for any of your security needs! 

Cloud Computing 

We know you’re probably sick to death of hearing about how the cloud can be transformative for your business, but it really is that important. Let us explain. The cloud gives your business the ability to fulfill just about any task in computing without investing massive sums of capital into your infrastructure. It can save you from purchasing application licenses, too. All it takes is paying a monthly fee to manage and maintain your cloud platform. 

While this is a technology that is actively being used, cloud computing is so dynamic that the ways businesses can utilize it are growing by the day. Plus, it is becoming increasingly more cost-effective to use the cloud for these purposes. We recommend that you monitor your cloud usage so that you don’t accidentally wind up over-utilizing (or underutilizing) your cloud resources. 

If you want some help with bringing your technology infrastructure into the future, AE Technology can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006. 

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Is Your Business Ready for Windows 11?

For the past few years, Microsoft led customers to believe that they would be building on Windows 10 for the foreseeable future. Of course, in tech, nothing ever stays static and they have now released Windows 11 for PC. For the business, it starts a clock that can get quite uncomfortable if not planned for. This week, we thought we’d take a look at the system specifications for Windows 11, and what you need to know for when you decide it’s time to upgrade. 

 

Before we get into the specifications, we’d just like to say that there is no rush to move your business’ workstation OSs to Windows 11; if, like many businesses, you’ve moved to Windows 10. For businesses still using Windows 8.1, however, it is definitely time to consider an across-the-board upgrade. Microsoft has announced they will be completely retiring that OS on January 23, 2023, so you have just under a year to make your move before you lose Microsoft’s comprehensive software support.  

Windows 11 Hardware Requirements 

The Windows 11 operating system requires a 1GHz multicore processor, which by today’s standards is a pretty low bar. As for memory, Windows 11 requires at least 4 GB of RAM, as well as 64 GB of onboard storage. The display requirements are higher as well, needing at least 720p to run. 

 

For more on the specific requirements, Microsoft has provided all the specifications here.   

 

For context, most modern PCs will have very little trouble running Windows 11. In fact, the only problem users may run into is that your processor doesn’t meet the TPM or Secure Boot requirements. You’ll want to download Microsoft’s PC Health Check app, and it will tell you if your PC is compatible, and if not, why. A workstation from 4 or 5 years ago might not be readily compatible. 

 

For the individual user or remote worker, even if your PC has no problems, we don’t recommend making the jump to Windows 11 without speaking to your IT administrator. They may have certain issues that demand that you are running a certain operating system. 

Let Us Help You Upgrade Your IT 

Support for Windows 10 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so there is no real rush, but there are some things that you need to prepare for if your organization is thinking about upgrading to Windows 11. The IT professionals at AE Technology Group are here to help your business upgrade any of your technology. Give us a call at (516) 536-5006 to learn more. 

IoT: Smart Devices are Getting Smarter

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) grows larger with every passing day, and with so many connected devices with Internet functionality entering the world, one has to wonder how this impacts cybersecurity. Let’s take a look at what could potentially be changing as the Internet of Things expands its borders and scope. 

The Projections for the Internet of Things 

It’s estimated that 127 new IoT devices connect to the Internet every second, and with the numbers swelling to 75 billion by the year 2025, there are countless opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit them. Even commercial Internet of Things devices are not safe from the attacks of hackers. 

For one example of how this growth has impacted cybersecurity, turn to 2017, when the United Kingdom’s National Health Service—including its Internet-connected medical devices—was struck by ransomware. Furthermore, video doorbells will often stream data without protections, and smart home devices have been known to store wireless network credentials in a similar way. 

The question then becomes, how do you secure an infrastructure with so many weaknesses in it? 

What Can Be Done to Secure the IoT? 

There are many ways you can solve the IoT security crisis, one of which is the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020 in the United States. This piece of legislation introduced IoT industry-specific standards and shows that governments understand that this is a problem which must be addressed. Despite these movements, it’s important still to do all you can for the sake of your own business, such as the following: 

Encrypt Data 

Relatively speaking, few IoT devices utilize encryption to protect their data. Implementing it on a network level can be an effective tool for keeping data secure, especially while it’s moving back and forth on the network or between devices. 

Change Default Passwords on IoT Devices 

All default passwords should be changed, especially on IoT devices that often use the device model as the default password. Just come up with a secure password and you are already leagues ahead of where so many others are. 

Use Devices from Security-Conscious Manufacturers 

One way your company and its users can make security a priority is by simply looking at the manufacturers you work with. Supporting those that make security a priority will aid you in the long run, and it will encourage others to follow suit when you put your money where your mouth is. 

 

AE Technology Group can help your business secure its IoT devices and network. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006. 

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4 Technology Innovations on Common Devices Found in Most Businesses

Attractive woman scientist with tablet in hands

There are thousands of pieces of technology available that accomplish something positive for your business. Whether they are communications tools that help your team collaborate and build a better client-support system, gadgets, and software to help streamline your team’s ability to get work done, or devices to help advance the company’s mobile strategies, considering what you can do with technology innovations is a responsibility of a forward-looking executive or small business owner.

Today, we thought we would introduce you to some remarkable technologies that are being built that could benefit your business in the future.

Hushme

Hushme may look intimidating, but it really could be helpful for businesses that depend on phone calls and don’t have a lot of space. The device wraps around the user’s head and covers their mouth like a muzzle. There are noise-canceling headphones attached. Once the device is on, the user can talk into it, and no one can hear a sound.

It isn’t too difficult to imagine the practical application for a device like this. You get the privacy you’d want, even if you talk in a busy, bustling environment.

Epson Paperlab

If your business uses a lot of paper or handles a lot of sensitive information, the shredder often works overtime. Well, the printing professionals at Epson have developed a machine that is effectively the first in-office paper recycler. Using this technology, a company can not only destroy sensitive information, but it can also take all the waste paper that it has and recycle it in-house.

It works because once wastepaper is put into the machine, it is defiberized, removing traces of all information and color. At this point, the fibers are formed under pressure back into sheets of paper. The machine then cuts the paper to specification, and you have recycled paper.

XGIMI Projectors

Many offices have some projector they use to broadcast information, but a company named XGIMI has begun to take the technology of projectors to the next level. The company has several innovative new devices that do several unique things. Some devices broadcast 4K video, some fit in the palm of your hand, and one even has theater-grade sound built right into the projector unit.

XEBEC Tri-Screen 2

A lot of people prefer their laptop to a bulky desktop computer. The problem is that sometimes there isn’t enough screen real estate while you are on the go to do all the things you need to do as effectively as you need to do them. WIth XEBEC’s Tri-Screen 2, you can add two fully-functional screens to your laptop. All you need to do is hook the device into your computer, and you now have a fully-functional, multi-screen workstation anywhere you go.

 

These technologies are all over the map on cost, but there is no denying that they can have some pretty exciting results for the people willing to invest. What do you think of these technology innovations? Do you know any cool tech that businesses may consider down the road? Leave your comments below and check back regularly for more great technology suggestions.