Tech News for December 30

Moving Internet of Things to the tactical edge

If the defense marketplace operated like the commercial world, everyone from the acquisition experts to troops on the ground could expect to be wowed with nearly every new procurement of technology and equipment. Given the unique requirements for tactical products, however, things tend to move more incrementally. New technology capabilities developed for commercial purposes are consistently being implemented in areas such as location-based services, imagery analysis, logistics and mobile computing. This is often occurring on a more ad hoc basis or through pilots that aren’t tied to an overall strategy designed to meet the military’s stringent requirements for security, reliability, connectivity and interoperability. With rapid advancements in technology, there is a renewed opportunity to increase the pace of adoption and push for continued innovation. Now is the time for the Department of Defense to develop a more holistic plan to accelerate the move of commercial technologies to the tactical edge. Providing a strategic vision across the services can accelerate the efficient integration of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment into existing systems and help industry partners understand where research and development investments are needed.


Study Details State of Cloud Computing in 2015

There’s no denying that the cloud has had a profound and measurable impact on many modern IT businesses and service providers, but sometimes it is difficult to get a 10,000 foot view of the industry as a whole to determine just how much the cloud has affected our economy. Luckily, Soliant Consulting recently published the results of a study that reveals some telling information about the biggest names in cloud computing and how businesses and consumers are utilizing the cloud in more ways than ever before. Soliant said the use of cloud services not only saved companies money, it also generated an estimated $15.5 billion in spending from small businesses alone in 2015. Service apps were the most lucrative cloud service in 2015, bringing in more than $64 billion this year, according to the study. By 2020, the cloud industry is expected to be valued at $270 billion.


DoD Needs an Effective Process to Identify Cloud Computing Service Contracts

Our objective was to determine whether selected DoD Components performed a cost-benefit analysis before acquiring cloud computing services. In addition, we were to identify whether those DoD Components achieved actual savings as a result of adopting cloud services. Due to the limited number of cloud computing service contracts identified, we could not provide a sufficient answer to our announced objective. However, we addressed the need for a standardized cloud computing definition and an integrated repository for cloud computing service contract information to help determine whether DoD is effectively using cloud computing services.


Will a new cybersecurity law make us safer?

Before the president and Congress left town for the holidays, they managed to enact a massive 2,000-page package of spending and tax cuts. Typically, these laws draw attention only for the chaos they create, like shutting down the government. But there’s a lot more deep inside, in this case, a significant and controversial new law governing cyber-security and Internet data. The new law encourages private companies to share data about cyber-hacks with the government. It protects companies from liability, and it also allows data to shared with other companies and with the Department of Homeland Security. Lawmakers from both parties said it was a good deal.


Cybersecurity Act of 2015 Is Ineffective, Warns DB Networks

While many are decrying the newly signed Cybersecurity Act of 2015 for its privacy issues, DB Networks® is taking the Act to task for an equally troublesome reason: It is based on erroneous assumptions, rendering it nearly completely useless at improving cybersecurity. “Cybersecurity through information sharing is like driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror,” explained Brett Helm, chairman and CEO of DB Networks, the database cybersecurity provider of choice for the world’s largest financial institutions, manufacturers, healthcare providers and governments. “It presupposes that there will always be a first attack — a zero-day attack where some organization is attacked and then everyone else can see, for the first time, this new attack vector. Further, it assumes from knowledge of the attack that countermeasures will be developed so that everyone else is protected in the future. However in today’s environment of constant zero-day attacks, threat information sharing has proven to be of little value and yet it happens to be the cornerstone of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.”


New California Law Limits Use of Student Data

For technology companies in California, ringing in the New Year will mean adjusting to a new privacy law that limits how they can collect and use student data. The data privacy legislation was originally signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014 and goes into effect Jan. 1. It prohibits the operators of education websites, online services and apps from using any student’s personal information for targeted advertising or creating a commercial profile, as well as the selling of any student’s information. The law also requires education technology companies to maintain reasonable security procedures for students’ personal data and to delete information at a school’s request.


How Are Software Firms Benefiting From the Legalized Marijuana Industry?

Leaders of Nevada’s emerging marijuana industry say there are few consumable substances watched more closely than the vegetation that goes into cannabis products. Over the last decade, as nearly 25 states have authorized the use of marijuana in some form, several jurisdictions have imposed rules that require the substance be tracked from seed to sale. For regulators and sellers, it’s a daunting process for a plant that often changes hands and takes on many forms before it becomes a final product — a joint, an edible, a topical cream, etc. To ease data collection, states and marijuana establishments have turned to niche software providers who have made a business out of organizing data from harvest site to dispensary. Generally, the software works with a system of serial numbers, starting with each plant in a harvest getting one of its own. When the harvest batch is sent for extraction or made into an edible product, each byproduct gets another serial number — known as the child batch. As the plant goes through each stage of production — testing, cooking — it gets new serial numbers to track its process while retaining the old serial numbers to show where it’s been. That data can be translated to a barcode on the product.


Governor Brown Appoints General Services Chief Deputy Director

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday appointed Jeff McGuire, 55, of Elk Grove, as chief deputy director at the California Department of General Services. McGuire previously served as deputy director at the Board of Equalization since 2010, where he has worked in several positions since 1983, including as including tax policy chief, tax auditor, policy specialist, taxpayer’s rights advisor, business resumption coordinator, internal audit administrator and policy advisor. The Department of General Services serves as the state’s business manager, overseeing state procurement activities, including leveraged contract vehicles such as the IT Master Services Agreement and California Multiple Award Schedules (CMAS), among others.


What Does 2016 Hold for These 5 Techs?

Virtual reality, connected cars, e-sports, the on-demand economy — all are becoming important elements in the Southland economy, and all are poised for rapid growth in 2016 — along with some challenges. And then there’s Snapchat Inc., based in Venice, and one of the most highly valued companies currently competing in the latest venture-capital-juiced start-up cycle, which many believe is way overheated.


Six states see massive IT budget changes in 2016 fiscal year — database

Three states have seen their IT budgets more than double in fiscal year 2016, while three others have had them sliced in half compared to a year ago, according to Deltek’s GovWin database. The research firm’s state budget data shows IT spending has increased slightly nationwide overall, states are spending roughly $30.2 billion on IT this fiscal year, compared to approximately $29.4 billion in fiscal year 2015 — but some states are still seeing wild swings in their budgets. All states but four end their fiscal years on June 30. Alabama led the way among all states, with its IT budget soaring by more than 334 percent to over $295 million, up from just over $68 million a year ago. Connecticut and Iowa also doubled their IT spending for this fiscal year, committing to spend over $285 million and $331 million respectively.


Tecogen Forms Joint Venture to Bring Groundbreaking Ultera™ Emissions Control Technology to the Transportation Market

Tecogen® Inc. (NASDAQ: TGEN), a manufacturer and installer of high efficiency, ultra-clean combined heat and power products including natural gas engine-driven cogeneration, air conditioning systems, and high-efficiency water heaters for industrial and commercial use, is pleased to announce the formation of a joint venture (“JV”) company with a group of Strategic Investors for its patented Ultera™ emissions control technology. Ultra Emissions Technologies Ltd. (“Ultratek”) was created to advance Tecogen’s near-zero emissions technology for adaptation to transportation applications powered by spark-ignited engines (including gasoline, natural gas, and propane fueled vehicles) in the automobile and truck categories. Tecogen has granted Ultratek an exclusive license for development of its patented, emissions-related, intellectual property for the vehicle market while the Strategic Investors have collectively contributed $3 million to finance the initial operations of the joint venture. Tecogen retains the rights to its Ultera emissions control technology for all other applications.



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