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Lessons Learned: Social Media Platforms and Blockchain Mass Adoption

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The inception of blockchain as a solution to secure data is a welcome change. All the more now, as social media platforms have leveraged their pervasive presence to abuse people’s privacy constantly. It is a fact. A fact that has attracted massive public outcry in the last few years.

Just last year itself, Facebook came under heavy fire for misusing the personal data of 1 million users in England and Wales. The Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant was also implicated in the notorious Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal that involved harvesting the data of 87 million folks (globally) to polarise political opinions and target political advertisements for donations during elections.

Only if there was a blockchain -based social media platform immune to such malversations. Life would be so much better.

Moving on, although CA drew the ire and criticism of the entire world, an article published on Vox on May 2, 2018, explored why this was more “a Facebook scandal more than a Cambridge Analytica one.”

According to Alvin Chang, the author of the article:

“…this highlights a larger debate over how much users can trust Facebook with their data. Facebook allowed a third-party developer to engineer an application for the sole purpose of gathering data. And the developer was able to exploit a loophole to gather information on not only people who used the app but all their friends — without them knowing.”

What’s the solution to this egregious situation? A blockchain –based authentication system. Period.

How Can Blockchain Help Prevent Social Media Privacy Violations and Data Pilferage?

Usually, there is a tendency to connect blockchain technology to Bitcoin. But, it’s much more than just a ledger for settling BTC transactions. Along with payments, blockchain has sufficient potential to redefine supply chain management, data validation, and identity protection.

Now, you must be wondering how a nascent technology that appeared only 12 years ago can redefine all these sectors.

Well, that’s because every “block” of data on a blockchain is secured cryptographically through hashing algorithms. Data gets verified by a network of computers before entering the ledger, eliminating any possibility of manipulation, a hack, or a malicious network takeover.

Therefore, using blockchain for authentication makes perfect sense when it comes to social media platforms. Why? Because social media platforms use traditional infrastructure for personally identifiable information (PII) storage and management. This centralized infrastructure provides huge business advantages, but is also a massive target for hackers – as Facebook recently saw with the hacking of 533,000,000 user’s accounts.

Transparent Application Access Without Significant Digital Traces

Blockchain can solve this problem. , in a decentralized system, each user can control their own data, making a single hack of hundreds of millions of people almost impossible to achieve.  The inclusion of public key cryptography further enhances data security, allowing people to use applications pseudonymously without leaving a significant digital footprint.

Distributed ledger technology (DLT) reduces third-party access to personal data significantly. It ensures that the application authentication process is transparent and that only the authorized person can access his/her data.

A blockchain-based social network would empower you to control your own identity by letting you control the cryptographic keys that allow access to your data.

The Marriage of Blockchain Adoption and Social Media

Blockchain adoption still faces crucial bottlenecks. The technology has proven itself ideal for protecting sensitive data, but the idea of actually going through the process comes across as daunting. People still don’t fully understand blockchain and seem to get intimidated by a whole lot of technical jargon, complex user interfaces, and reclusive developer communities.

Most of the available access points have a very high barrier for entry. Compared to social media platforms, the blockchain space is riddled with technicalities that ordinary people don’t understand. And the ecosystem has developed somewhat of a negative reputation for fostering scams and rug pulls (as they call it in DeFi terminology).

This has inhibited the blockchain industry’s growth. It has been over 12 years since Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world to blockchain first, and despite its seminal potential, DLT still hasn’t found sufficient traction.

However, some platforms are helping ease the process of blockchain adoption by introducing workarounds that make decentralized apps (dApps) user-friendly and widen their access. One such platform is AIKON which simplifies blockchain usage through its proprietary solution called ORE ID.

The team at AIKON has designed ORE ID to enable the constructive integration of blockchain via social media platforms. People can utilize their social logins (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) for blockchain identity verification.

Even organizations can onboard their clients into the blockchain ecosystem by seamlessly creating their (clients’) decentralized identities with their existing social media logins.

The idea behind it is to reduce the complexities in accessing blockchain applications. AIKON’s ORE ID solution makes logical sense and borrows from the already existing practice of traditional applications enabling access through social logins.

Why is a Smooth User Experience Necessary for this Marriage to Work?

Unlike social media platforms, complex blockchain app user interfaces are the most significant obstacles preventing blockchain technology from experiencing mass adoption. People who are not so technically sound feel left out and don’t feel motivated enough to move forward with using blockchain-based services.

Seamless integration of blockchain and social media platforms (through intuitive user interfaces) can help businesses and corporations effortlessly onboard their clients atop the DLT bandwagon, spurring the technology’s mass adoption. People should be able to use blockchain services just by logging in with their email, phone, or social login. There should be no need to understand all the underlying decentralized technologies’ intricacies.

That is if we want to achieve mass blockchain adoption.

Article & Image by Abhishek Bakshi

 

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AOC dazzles visitors with a special game room at GITEX Technology 2021

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AOC Sales Director Middle East & Africa, Carol Ann Dias (Image: Hazem Abed)

AOC, the world’s leading manufacturer of computer monitors, highlights its presence at GITEX Technology Week 2021 through their authorized distributor, Hiperdist. At GITEX, AOC is showcasing a special game room where visitors can get try out the latest lineup of gaming monitors, some of which are made for professional e-gamers.

“Being one of the largest information technology exhibitions not just in the region but the whole world, AOC would not want to miss the opportunity to participate at GITEX 2021,” said Carol Ann Dias, Sales Director Middle East & Africa at AOC. “More than making our presence felt at the show, we are now focusing on emerging markets which is why we have partnered with Hiperdist due to their strong presence in the MEA region,” she added.

Some of AOC’s well-known monitors that include the Agon and the G2 line up are all on display at GITEX. Where visitors are encouraged to try out the new displays that offer some of the best technologies that make it fit for the gaming crowd.

Already a top choice by gaming professionals, the AGON AG352UCG6 features a 35-inch display with a 120HZ refresh rate. The curved design supports a WQHD (3440 x 1440) resolution that has 2.4x more pixels than a standard widescreen monitor. It also features a lighting panel at its rear which can be customized in colours of red, green or blue.

Also on display is the AOC C27G2 gaming monitor that comes in a 27-inch size with a 165Hz refresh rate. There’s also a 1ms response time for more accurate play. And Freesync support so high-intensity games are razor-sharp without ghosting.

Visitors can join and experience AOC monitors at the Hiperdist stand in Hall 3 E1 at GITEX Technology Week in the Dubai World Trade Centre.

 

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Philips Introduces Momentum 559M1RYV 4K HDR display with Ambiglow for Xbox

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Philips 55 lifestyle in situ Xbox (Image: Supplied)

MMD, the leading display specialist and brand license partner for Philips monitors, today announced the release of the world’s first designed for Xbox console gaming monitor. Philips Momentum 559M1RYV featuring 55-inch panel size boosting 3840×2160 resolution with 4K / 144Hz, 4ms GTG response time, and many other features that will be available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan.

4K HDR display with Ambiglow 559M1RYV/01 | Philips

Philips Momentum 559M1RYV: Design and Sound

This new “Philips Momentum 559M1RYV” bears the name Momentum 559M1RYV and bears the same exterior appearance as the previous version, including the adoption of a VA LCD panel with a W-LED backlight system with Ambiglow technology that adds a new dimension to your viewing experience. Innovative Ambiglow technology creates an aura of light on the surrounding wall from behind the screen panel. Its fast processor analyzes the content of the displayed image, and continuously adapts the color and brightness of the emitted light to match the displayed image. This technology also helps reduce eye strain to enjoy the scenes, it also supports DisplayHDR 1000 standard. The gaming monitor includes a specially designed speaker enclosure from the engineers at Bowers & Wilkins, the British loudspeaker company globally renowned for their innovative designs and sound engineering, that completes the experience.

Pankaj Budhiraja, Category Manager – Philips Monitor – Middle East & Africa, said: “The new Philips Momentum monitor offers unique user experience especially for gamers who demand exceptional graphic quality display and flicker-free pictures. This monitor is a wholesome entertainment package with build-in stereophonic speakers, sharp picture quality, vibrant colors and dynamic contrast and excellent resolution”.

Philips Momentum 559M1RYV: Performance

Philips Momentum 559M1RYV including Displayport 1.4, a USB-B port along with 4 USB 3.2 ports, two of them with fast charging. The Philips Momentum Monitor delivers designed for Xbox validates performance with ultra-clera 4K resolution at a minimum 120Hz refresh rate. 3840×2160 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a good response time of 4ms, as for the brightness rate in the mode up to 750cd / m2, while in the HDR mode it reaches 1200cd / m2. As for the color weight, we will notice that it offers DCI-P3 color gamut with 95% coverage, NTSC color gamut with 104% coverage, and sRGB with 125% coverage.

“As Philips always prioritizes user health, we introduce Ambiglow technology for eye-friendly productivity and a premium sound system. The monitor been extensively tested, and validated by engineers at Microsoft and MMD to ensure perfect compatibility, Philips Momentum meet’s the high expectations of the Xbox fans, creating an integrated gaming atmosphere to enjoy.” Budhiraja added.

Key features for Philips Momentum 559M1RYV:

  • Screen size: 55-inch
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160 UHD 4K
  • Panel type: VA
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz (HDMI 2.1); 144Hz (DisplayPort 1.4)
  • Response time: 4ms
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • V-Sync method: Adaptive Sync
  • Contrast ratio: 4,000:1
  • Ports: HDMI 2.1 (x3), DisplayPort 1.4 (x1), USB-C (x1), USB-B (x1), USB 3.2 (x4)
  • Ambiglow: 3-sided
  • Power supply: Internal, 100-240VAC, 50-60Hz

 The Philips Momentum 559M1RYV monitor is available through MMD authorised distributors in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan and comes with a standard 3-year warranty, and EUP in UAE AED 6999*.

 

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GSMA Report 2021: Over Half World’s Population Now Using Mobile Internet

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The GSMA has launched its global State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2021 showing that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of the world’s population is now using the mobile internet. Mobile internet usage translates to just over 4 billion connected people,  225 million more compared to 2019, and up from a third of people globally just six years ago.

Even with this impressive growth in mobile internet connectivity, both in terms of mobile internet coverage and usage, the report highlights that work must accelerate to bridge the digital divide. Of the 3.8 billion people who remain unconnected, only 450 million people do not live in areas with mobile broadband coverage, (“the coverage gap”). The coverage gap represents a significant improvement year on year.

The far bigger challenge is the 3.4 billion people who live in areas that are already covered by mobile broadband, but are not using it, (“the usage gap”).

The report examines trends in the coverage and usage of mobile internet over the last six years and identifies the key barriers to mobile internet adoption. It also looks at the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the most significant regional effects. Finally, it makes recommendations to help close the digital divide and ensure greater access to mobile internet connectivity.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made clear the importance of mobile internet access to people’s lives and livelihoods and has accelerated the digital transformation around the world. Mobile  is the primary and often the only way to access the internet in low- and middle-income countries. While more people than ever are now using the mobile internet, some fundamental barriers stop far too many people from using mobile internet. To close this usage gap, all of us – government and industry – need to do more,” says the GSMA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, John Giusti. “In particular, we must address the key barriers to usage of mobile internet services, most notably literacy and digital skills, as well as affordability. Only through targeted and collaborative action can we bridge the digital divide.”

Coverage and usage gap in mobile internet is narrowing

During the last six years, the coverage gap has continued to narrow: 

  • In 2014, almost a quarter of the world’s population did not have access to a mobile broadband network. 
  • By the end of 2020, that figure was only 6%.  
  • Now, 94% of the world’s population has access to a broadband network, with most progress between 2014 and 2018. 
  • In 2020, global coverage increased by one percentage point, from 93% to 94%. This reduced the number of people living in areas without a mobile broadband network to 450 million. Those who remain uncovered typically live in sparsely populated rural areas with difficult terrain.

The number of people using mobile internet has also increased for the second year in a row: 

  • However, the usage gap remains large and accounts for the majority of the unconnected. 
  • In 2020, 3.4 billion people (43% of the world’s population) lived within the footprint of a mobile broadband network but were not accessing mobile internet services. 
  • Although the usage gap is narrowing, it is now seven times larger than the coverage gap. 
  • In 2014, the usage gap accounted for 64% of the total unconnected population – this figure grew to 88% by 2020 due to the increase in mobile broadband coverage.  
  • Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) now account for almost 93% of the world’s unconnected population and more than 98% of the uncovered population.  
  • Between 2019 and 2020, the most significant increase in mobile internet usage is in East Asia (61%), which grew by 4%. 

Barriers to mobile internet usage 

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mobile internet connectivity to the social and economic well-being of people around the world. People with mobile internet access were able to stay connected with friends and family, conduct business, gain access to critical information and services, and otherwise ease the monotony of lockdown life. Yet 47% of the population in LMICs are still not using the mobile internet despite living within mobile broadband network coverage.

Key barriers include: 

  • Lack of awareness of mobile internet and its benefits, literacy, and digital skills make up the largest barrier to adoption. Nearly a quarter of adults across the report’s surveyed countries are not aware of mobile internet and its benefits. 
  • Affordability: internet-enabled handsets and data became less affordable in many LMICs in 2020 due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These barriers often disproportionately affect specific segments of the population, especially people living in rural areas and women. 

A Collaborative Approach 

The global climate challenge shows that mobile connectivity can be a lifeline for people during crises, re-emphasising the importance of doing more to improve access to mobile services.  The only way to close the digital divide is through a strong collective effort to address people’s barriers to accessing and using mobile internet. It requires targeted action by all stakeholders including mobile operators, policymakers, government and the broader private sector. 

This report is the output of a project funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The views expressed are not necessarily those of either organisation.

The GSMA’s State of Mobile Internet Connectivity 2021 is available at: www.gsma.com/somic

 

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