That Sound You Hear Is Your Enterprise’s AI Technology

What’s happening this week at the intersection of management and technology.

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Tech Savvy

Tech Savvy was a weekly column focused on new developments at the intersection of management and technology. For more weekly roundups for managers, see our Best of This Week series.
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Hearables are here: Apple held its “Special Event” and, among other things, officially killed the iPhone’s 3.5-millimeter earbud jack, replacing it with $159 wireless AirPods. My first reaction: Meh. But then I read Mike Elgan’s paean to this development in Computerworld.

Elgan says that AirPods are actually artificial intelligence hardware. “The biggest thing going on here is the end of ‘dumb speaker’ earbuds, and the mainstreaming of hearables — actual computers that go in your ears,” he says. “Bigger still is that the interface for these tiny computers is a virtual assistant. When you double-tap on an AirPod, Siri wakes up, enabling you to control music play and get battery information with voice commands.”

What does this mean for your company? Soon every employee could have a supercomputer whispering in his or her ear. For instance, Hearables startup Bragi and IBM just announced that they plan to combine Bragi’s Dash earbuds and IBM’s Watson IoT platform “to transform the way people interact, communicate, and collaborate in the workplace.”

Earbud-sporting workers, according to the companies, will use the devices to “receive instructions, interact with co-workers, and enable management teams to keep track of the location, operating environment, well-being, and safety of workers.” Bragi and IBM have targeted six areas of initial focus: worker safety, guided instructions, smart employee notifications, team communications, workforce analysis and optimization, and biometric ID.

Cybersecurity is every executive’s responsibility: The fact that Hillary Clinton’s email foibles have become a political football of Super Bowl proportions should be a wake-up call to business leaders: Their job descriptions include cybersecurity. “Defending against attacks is now a permanent part of senior executives’ job descriptions,” writes Bill Sweeney, CTO, Americas at BAE Systems, in Harvard Business Review. “It’s no longer enough to leave cybersecurity to annual reviews or a lone CISO. Senior executives must understand what procedures are in place and ensure that everyone in the organization understands protocol and takes accountability.”

With Kaspersky Labs reporting that the average cost of an individual cyberattack on a large company now exceeds $800,000, this may seem obvious. Yet Sweeney points out that in a recent BAE Systems survey of 300 managers in the financial services, insurance, and IT/tech industries in the United States, 40% of the respondents admitted lacking “a clear understanding of the cybersecurity protocols within their organizations.

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Topics

Tech Savvy

Tech Savvy was a weekly column focused on new developments at the intersection of management and technology. For more weekly roundups for managers, see our Best of This Week series.
See All Articles in This Series

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