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Thursday, July 03, 2014

News roundup: This week's tech trends

Stay in the know with these leading tech stories.

Category:   Enterprise Mobility

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From IT spending to World Cup predictions, here's what you need to know about this week's technology news.

Global IT spending to top $3.75 trillion
Indicative of the rapid expansion and deep penetration of technology in organizations across industries, global spending on IT is likely to continue climbing, though perhaps not as rapidly as some might have expected. According to Forbes Magazine, Gartner recently announced that IT market is expected to grow 2.1 percent in 2014, exceeding $3.75 billion.

The source noted that this development may come as a surprise given the fact that the global economy is recovering, but Gartner asserted that the commoditization of IT in several market segments within IT spending and a lack of product differentiation will heavily impact the trajectory. The research firm also predicted that 2013 to 2015 will serve as transition years, before the market returns to more normal growth rates.

Survey reveals how attached Americans are to their smartphones 
Do you know where your smartphone is right now? PC Magazine reported that a new survey conducted by Braun Research and commissioned by Bank of America revealed that 47 percent of U.S. citizens believe they "couldn't last" more than a single day without their phones.

Additionally, 85 percent of survey participants indicated that they check their smartphones multiple times a day, even "constantly." The fact that many respondents consider their mobile devices to be more important than coffee, chocolate, or alcohol points to the increasingly central role these gadgets have in many Americans' lives.

Google reveals big developments at I/O 2014 conference 
Wearables and Android initiatives took center stage at Google's annual developers' conference. According to TechRadar, the company didn't pull any shocking stunts at this year's convention, but the revelations are still sure to excite enthusiasts. The tech giant demonstrated the features of its newest Android version, Android L, which puts an emphasis on performance and usability. 

The company described Android Wear, its smart watch platform, as a "new phase in the miniaturization of technology," according to the source. Other highlights of the conference included Google's car apps and TV platform.

Western oil and gas companies attacked by Russian hackers 
The New York Times explained that Russian cybercriminals have "systematically" targeted hundreds of Western companies—specifically those in the energy industry. Believed to be acts of industrial espionage, these efforts attempted to gain influence over industrial control systems remotely.

Among other techniques, hackers have been using a "watering hole attack" that infects frequently visited websites to eventually get to the main target, according to the news source. Ultimately, the attacks gave cybercriminals the ability to "mount sabotage operations" against the infected computers, Symantec noted in its assessment of the hacks, The New York Times reported. More than 1,000 organizations in 84 countries have been affected by these attacks, the news source added. 

Want to know who will win the next World Cup game? Ask Cortana 
Companies and sports enthusiasts have put big data analytics to the test by attempting to predict outcomes for the World Cup tournament. According to ABC News, Microsoft's smartphone virtual assistant, known as Cortana, has been a valuable betting companion so far. The news source explained that Cortana has gotten every World Cup outcome correct since the beginning of the knockout round.

"Belgium is favored over the United States... but they play the game for a reason," Cortana announced before the game, as noted by the source.

Fueled by Microsoft's Bing search engine prediction technology, Cortana has predicted that Brazil will beat Colombia, Germany will defeat France, Argentina will overcome Belgium, and the Netherlands will reign supreme over Costa Rica in the upcoming games. Who wants to bet she's right?