Is that really you?

Have you ever been approached by a stranger on the street telling you how familiar you look? Ever wondered why these random people think they know you, especially when you look nothing like a celebrity? Chances are they have seen a picture of you online,  and thanks to facial recognition software your pictures are causing you to be recognised.

These days facial recognition software is everywhere

iPhoto

iPhoto

iPhoto, one of the more popular photo management software programmes, now comes equipped with facial recognition software. However, iPhoto is not the only programme, more photo management software programmes are coming with facial recognition tools aimed to make things easier for you. Facebook is a perfect example; the software used to upload your photos also allows you to easily tag people in your photos using facial recognition software. Moreover, we all know how much people enjoy tagging photos of themselves and others on Facebook!

Have you ever wondered who might be using the data on Facebook to track you?

The question most of has is how does it work and is it any good?

Facial recognition

Facial recognition

Facial recognition software makes tagging photos on Facebook easier, but it also does so much more than that. A perfect example is Daon’s IdentityX technology. This technology is used to improve the security of any mobile transaction, lowering your risk of falling victim to identity theft!

IdentityX technology allows you to verify your identity for mobile transaction through a combination of biometrics, PIN entry, encryption, and technology that verifies your current location. It is the biometrics technology that has so many people talking. This technology allows for voice matching, facial recognition, and palm image matching. How this programme works is when you are making a secure transaction with your mobile phone a request is sent to the IdentityX’s server to verify your identity. You must provide the information required, which is then sent back to the server for verification. Once your identity has been verified the server will send a onetime use password for your transactions or the validation will be communicated directly with the company you are dealing with.

DIY – Identity Protection at UPS

IdentityX

IdentityX

In the USA, Daon have teamed up with UPS to enable you to capture your identity at a local UPS Store, as banks and ecommerce stores start to deploy more sophisticated identity verification within their financial transaction authorisation processes, these individuals will significantly reduce the opportunity of fraudsters to abuse their bank accounts and credit cards. Even more secure will be integration with mobile phones that will enable GPS and time stamped photographs to be taken making it exceptionally difficult for the criminals.

For many people IdentityX sounds too good to be true, but Daon recently won the honour of the Best ofs” award in Cyber Security & Authentication from the American Technology Awards. If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will!

Are You Torturing Yourself With Too Little Sleep?

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation

Are you sleeping less than eight hours a night? Do you find yourself feeling groggy in the morning, and finding it a little more of a struggle than usual to be at your perfect best through your day? If you answered yes to these two questions chances are you are depriving yourself of sleep, which is sheer torture.

Many people deprive themselves of food; look at all of the religions that require you to fast for several days at a time. Fasting is one thing, sure, by the end of a few days, you are going to be tired, a bit weak, and usually a bit slimmer, but no lasting harm is done. Depriving yourself of sleep is simply a form of torture. Just after two days of no sleep, your body will not be able to function, so just imagine what is happening when you deprive yourself of a full night’s sleep every night.

How many hours sleep do you really need?

Relaxed

Relaxed

Studies done show that 95% of people need anywhere from seven to eight hours of sleep a night, while 2.5% need more than eight hours. That means only 2.5% of people need less than seven hours of sleep. Therefore, the question is why so many people deprive themselves of sleep, especially when it affects how they function the next day. [It’s great research but totally undermined by a straw poll of the members of the Corr  family .. 3 of the family are angels first thing of the morning with hardly any sleep and two of us are completely wrecked if we don’t get at least 8 hours… I’m not revealing who’s who 😉 ]
Unfortunately, many people are under the impression that by getting one less hour of sleep each night they will have one more hour of productivity the next day. This is a MYTH! Sleeping less does not make you more productive, it makes you less productive due to how hard it is to focus. Memory, performance, and attitude are also affected by the amount of sleep you get. Having a hard time remebering what you are doing, want to get back to peak performance, what you need is to get more sleep.

Top tips for a great night’s sleep

Here are three great tips you can easily follow to ensure you are getting the sleep you need:

  • Set an earlier bedtime– This one sounds pretty obvious, but it is amazing how many people do not do it. Nobody wants to get up any earlier then they have to, hence why so many of us rely on the snooze button in the morning. Therefore, setting an earlier bedtime and then going to bed at that time ensures we are getting the hours we need. Bedtime routines are important, if you do not start one now you will find even more reasons to stay up late! [I need to remember this!!!! I couldn’t resist last night getting up to speed with some new video editing software I’m planning to use to record one of the girls’ forthcoming concerts with a combination of our video camera and a 4 track quadrophonic sound recording gizmo I’ve just bought]
  • Wind Down – The worst thing to try to do is jump into bed when you are wound up, your mind will not slow down long enough for you to fall asleep. About 45 minutes before crawling into bed you need to start winding down, drink something warm, read a boring book, listen to music, and do anything that will help your mind start to relax. Avoid anything stimulating, no matter how tempting it is! [Big mistake last night listening to the late night political debate on the radio my heart beat and blood pressure was getting higher and higher]
  • Jot Down A Few Notes –If you have too much stuff on your mind you will never be able to wind down, no matter how much you try. Rather than fighting your mind, take a few minutes to jot down what is on your mind. This takes it away from your mind, making it easier to fall asleep and lessens your chance of mulling over the problems when you wake up in the middle of the night. [Strangely enough I get my most creative thoughts just as I’m dropping off, thank heaven for post-it notes and my Macbook Air!]

If all else fails, what to do?

Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep

 

If all else fails you can always count sheep. Though as they say these days “there’s an app for that!”

See http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sheep-counting/id381471354?mt=8

How can Technology Innovation rescue a father in distress?

This weekend my daughter Florence had to get to her audition for the National Youth Orchestra. It’s her absolute highlight of her year participating in the NYO orchestra training and big events like performing in the summer Proms season in the Royal Albert Hall. Competition is intense so you need to be relaxed to perform at your very best.

London roads in gridlock preparing for the Olympics

Public transport isn’t running properly over the weekends as the underground network is being upgraded for next year’s Olympics, so we’d left an extra hour to travel the 15 minute car journey across London to Hampstead. Unfortunately the whole of London also appears to be in their cars too on Sundays faced with the same problem and the roads just can’t cope so central London is in gridlock. So an hour had passed and we were jammed in traffic when a fantastic piece of Technology came to the rescue.

Google Maps to the rescue

I was using Google maps on my mobile phone to get to the venue and then suddenly realised to switch on the real time traffic overlay. It tells you the speed of the traffic on all the main roads, so I was able to work out a tortuous route through back streets and alternative main roads to get past all the logjams (showing up with a deep red warning on the Google maps traffic overlay) in the road network.

Technology Innovation in the public sector

On my research today, I discovered that the Highways Agency has made available the road traffic data on England’s roads to Google. It’s a fantastic example of Technology Innovation being applied in the public sector. So three cheers to the Highways Agency and their boffins who made this all possible.

A happy ending?

And yes we did make it to the audition with 10 minutes to spare, we await the results later this week so fingers crossed.
What’s your best traffic jam anecdote? Let me know.

The Three Most Deadly Decision Making Mistakes

So how good is your decision making?

Stephen Elop

Stephen Elop

Making decisions is a constant challenge whether at home or at work. Whether you are Steve Elop as the incoming CEO of Nokia choosing which operating system to bet your business on, or choosing the perfect present for someone you love, when the stakes are high making the right decision is never easy.

In fact the more important the decision is the harder it is, then the greater the danger that you might fall into one of the three most deadly decision making traps.  So here’s the top 3 deadly mistakes and some advice to help you make great decisions no matter how high the stakes.

  • Confirming Evidence – While it is natural to gather evidence that supports your point of view, it can also cause problems in the decision making process. Talk to a friend or colleague to find out what their perspective is, hopefully it will shed more light onto the subject. You also want to avoid just seeking advice from working with people who always agree with you, if they always agree with you who is going to play devil’s advocate?
  • Status Quo â€“ Nobody likes dealing with change, but change is often necessary in order to grow. It is always easier to make decisions that allow things to remain the same, but those are not always the right decisions. Avoiding this mistake is as simple as asking yourself if the old way is best for your goals, you must downplay your desire to keep things the same though. Get out of that comfort zone!
  • Anchoring – Accepting the first information you find is normal, but can leads to some dreadful decisions. While it is OK to be incorporate this information, you must also remain open minded for additional perspectives. Even if the information is screaming at you that it is right, never settle on that information without first checking other sources. Gather as much information as needed and you can rest assured that you will always make the right decision!

Some books that you might find helpful

Decision making

Decision making can be tough

If you want to improve your decision making skills you might want to get yourself a copy of some of the following classic texts on decision making:

So will things work out for Stephen Elsop and Nokia?

Nokia Lumia 800

Nokia Lumia 800

Nokia announced their new range of Windows powered smartphones today. So we’ll find out soon if Stephen Elop (ex-Microsoft senior insider) was guilty of the ‘Confirming evidence’ trap when choosing to bet the farm at Nokia on going with Microsoft, rather than the Android, smartphone operating system. Take a look at the first reviews of their new Lumia 800 and Lumia 700 phones at Engadget and see what you think?

Will the ewallet transform financial services?

eWallet: an African story

The ewallet is banking through a phone. So who would have thought that the Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation would be at the cutting edge of such technology.

In its incarnation as Safari.com (a Vodafone affiliate) the company serves millions of customers. They use a pin and password to access their banking, which lets them receive money, make transfers and get physical cash from agent outlets and ATMs within the network.

eWallet

eWallet

Transactions are all passed through the phone (not a cash card). The ewallet can make money transfers with a few text messages. To withdraw cash from an agent (usually a shop) the customer inputs an agent number, amount to withdraw, and PIN. A screen confirms the transaction then both the customer and the agent get an SMS recording it. The agent hands over the cash.

No plastic, no ATM

WIll the ewallet spell more trendy wine bars?

Essentially the phone is a cash card and cash machine in one. Banking this way grew up in Kenya because there was no money (and a high risk factor) for banks to set up branches.

Now the service in this third world country is cutting edge and has been expanded to Tanzinia, Afghanistan and South Africa.

Which begs the question of what a reasonable ewallet system would do to the developed world’s banks. As we know, half of them are already trendy wine bars.

A wave and you’re away

Western banks have good internet and telephone banking for customers to manage their existing bank accounts, but the e wallet isn’t yet prevalent. What people are getting excited about is Near Field Communication (NFC) through mobile phones, which will let us simply wave our wallet in a shop to pay for goods.

ewallet phone

Apple will introduce ewallet soon

NFC payments are linked to credit cards. Google Wallet, for example, is working with Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Discover.

Will the big banks will keep up with the technology and ally themselves with the next wave of payment systems? Possibly. Media and retail businesses dismissed the game-changing potential of eCommerce ten years ago and have now gone bust or are on their last legs (for example Circuit City in retail, or newspapers and magazines around the world): the same could happen to banks in the next ten years.

Still, it’s all good news for potential wine bar owners.

 

Designed by: Carne Associates & modified by Dawud Miracle