2016 Tech Review

Augmented Reality

2016 has been a real banner year for technology. We’ve seen the mainstream finally come to terms with the need to take cyber security seriously with the hacks of Internet of Things devices, email hacking scandals and the rise of ransomware. We’ve learned that not everything you read on the Internet is true with the controversies surrounding “fake news” online. We’ve seen the proclamation that we’ve entered the post-PC era… again. Not to mention the fact that we might be in the post-headphone era. And we’ve seen the incredible rise of virtual and augmented reality.

Coming to Terms with Cyber Security

It’s been a huge year for cyber security. In a phrase, this stuff just got real!

Ransomware has exploded in 2016, with our offices dealing with over a dozen different attacks. We even did a whole podcast on it and spoke to an FBI group about it. And with the growth of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, there’s no reason to believe ransomware is going away anytime soon. As a matter of fact, there are even some ransomware viruses that infect mobile devices.

Internet of Things devices have been compromised in 2016 to create massive Denial of Service attacks. And, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that the email accounts of several members of the Democratic National Committee were stolen and published for the world to see. This event cost several high-ranking officials their positions.

What does that mean to you? It means it’s time to take cyber security seriously. If you have unsecured, Internet-connected devices, from cameras to light bulbs, you need to have your network secured. Lock down your email and protect your workstations from attack. Fortunately, we have our Data Security Risk Assessment that will give you a complete roadmap for securing your data and your network, step by step.

You don’t have to be a victim of cybercrime in 2017; you can take steps now to protect yourself. Get started with the Data Security Risk Assessment.

Fake News

From The Pope endorsing Donald Trump to President Obama banning the Pledge of Allegiance, fake news has exploded on the Internet like never before this year. The driving force? Social media. In 2016, social media has become the main news source for most of America, and that isn’t going to change in 2017.

The only advice I can offer you here is very simple: Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.

The Post-PC Era

It seems like every year The Powers That Be proclaim that we have entered the post-PC era, everyone has moved on to phones and tablets, and all the world’s computing is now all done in the cloud. This year, Intel laid off 12,000 people and shifted production to connected devices and data center equipment.

And yet, we still sell a lot of workstations, laptops, and servers. Have there been big shifts in the way people use computers? Sure. But there are plenty of situations where the cloud isn’t the right fit for a company and a tablet just can’t beat a laptop in productivity. If you’re not sure in which direction your company needs to move, you can Talk To An Expert here at Advantage Technology, and we’ll help you find the right solutions for your situation.

Legacy Device Support

One of the biggest stories in the world of tech was Apple’s decision to remove the standard headphone jack from the iPhone 7. On top of that, they removed USB ports from the new MacBooks. These steps were pitched as “courage” in moving people toward the utopia of wireless technology to come.

Truth be told, the wireless future is right up there with the paperless office and the post-PC era. Every year or two, tech companies tell us, this is the year it’s going to happen.

Is 2017 finally it? Maybe.

This isn’t really out of step for Apple. Way back in the misty days of technology known as The 90’s Apple was the first to produce a PC without a floppy disk drive. The skies didn’t open, and no chorus sang “Hallelujah,” but then the earth wasn’t ravaged by earthquakes and pestilence either. Within a decade, pretty much all PCs came without floppy drives, and no one really noticed. The only time most of us even think about floppy disks is when a kid asks why the Save button on their video game looks like a square with a little rectangle on it.

The consensus right now is that Apple’s largest growing line of products is their adaptors. After all, people spend a lot of money buying accessories for the tech and don’t want to run out and get a bunch of new accessories because the manufacturers felt the old tech was passé

We run into this a lot with people who have legacy phone systems, workstations running Windows XP or servers running Windows Server 2003. We’ve even run into environments with an ancient version of IRIX, a type of Unix popular in the 90’s, and Linux distributions from the early 2000’s.

If you have legacy technology, a great resolution for 2017 would be to modernize. But, don’t go at it alone. You can trust our team of network, server and telecommunications engineers to develop a plan and walk you through the process. And let me tell you, there can be a lot of creative solutions we can come up with beyond just giving you a list of stuff to buy.

Do you have an old machine that you’re worried will die any day now, but you are afraid to take it totally out of use? We can virtualize it. Do you have an old phone system that’s giving you problems, but the budget just isn’t there for a totally new system yet? We can source refurbished equipment. We’re also experts at finding leasing options for new equipment, and with over 15 years in business, we’ve seen and worked with every piece of technology there is out there.

So don’t put off dealing with that legacy gear another year, Talk To An Expert here at Advantage Technology today and let’s make 2017 the Year Of The Upgrade!

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Finally, we get to probably the most entertaining area of tech in 2016: Virtual Reality. 2016 saw the launch of Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC’s Vive VR and the PlayStation VR, not to mention all the mobile virtual reality devices from Google’s Carboard to Samsung’s Gear VR. Not since the days of a guy mowing lawns turning into a cyber-god has there been so much discussion of virtual reality.

But, we also got a little twist: Augmented Reality. With the smash hit Pokémon GO the world was introduced to the concept of technology adding to the real world rather than creating a whole new world. With the release of Microsoft’s HoloLens Development Edition in March of 2016, it’s just a matter of time before augmented reality goes mainstream.

So what will win? Virtual or augmented reality? Personally, I think the edge has to go to augmented reality. As cool as a virtual world is, the idea of building on the amazing world we already have around us sounds really exciting to me. And in a state like West Virginia, where the ethos is Go Outside and Play I can’t think of a single virtual world that could beat our own.

I think I’ll go for a hike. Who knows? I might spot a Pokémon or two.