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By Sanjeev Sharma
In a statement announcing the "nationwide" investigation, Republican Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said, "When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws", Fox News reported.
The probe revolves around "the techniques used by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users." | Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
The report said the investigation comes after The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Instagram's own internal research indicates that the platform, which is largely focused on photos and subjects' appearance, could have a negative impact on a substantial percentage of users -- particularly those with issues surrounding body image, like young girls.
In response to the investigation, a Meta spokesperson told Fox Business in a statement, "These accusations are false and demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of the facts. While challenges in protecting young people online impact the entire industry, we've led the industry in combating bullying and supporting people struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-injury, and eating disorders." (IANS/ MBI)
At least 61 per cent employees do not feel isolated while working remotely, while 37 per cent of remote workers manage to communicate even better with their colleagues this way, a report said on Wednesday. According to the global cybersecurity company Kaspersky, the extensive use of non-corporate communication services enables better connections but increases the level of risk from unmonitored IT resources.
"Shadow IT solutions do not let security or IT specialists gain the complete picture of the company's digital infrastructure," Andrey Evdokimov, Head of Information Security at Kaspersky, said in a statement. "That situation results in increased risk because defenders do not consider unsanctioned tools when developing threat models, data flow diagrams, and planning," Evdokimov added. During 2020, people and organisations have been through many changes. The epidemiological situation and subsequent lockdown restrictions around the globe seriously affected the communication aspect of people's private and working life. The new conditions created different challenges and social isolation along with a lack of communication with colleagues -- these were among the most discussed concerns for remote employees.
While the majority of employees have successfully transitioned to the digital communications era, a substantial number of respondents could not adopt the remote way of life and still feel isolated (39 per cent) while working at home, said the survey that included 4,303 IT workers from 31 countries. Given the fact that loneliness contributes to employee burnout, not less than other demotivating factors like exhaustion and anxiety, this statistic should be a matter of concern for business executives. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: 37 percent, employees, work from home, survey, report, remote working
The global switch to 5G is well underway, with the number of connections to the next-generation network set to reach 1.34 billion in 2022, says a new report. According to an analysis by market researcher CCS Insight, this year has seen connections to 5G triple to 637 million, suggesting that the roll-out of the network is continuing apace.
National lockdowns caused by the global health crisis in 2020 slowed network rollout, for example making it more difficult to send engineers on the ground to physically build the infrastructure, ZDNet reported. CCS Insight noted that geopolitical tensions related to Huawei's role in 5G rollouts led to delays, especially in western Europe. European countries were effectively hesitant to allow Huawei to provide critical infrastructure for their 5G networks after the Trump administration in the US raised concerns that the company might pose a security risk due to its ties with the Chinese government.
"The US being one country, the decisions were made relatively quickly while in Europe every country had to make its own decision as to what to do with Huawei," Marina Koytcheva, Vice-President of forecasting at CCS Insight, told the tech website. "In some countries, operators had to wait a little bit to see whether they'd be allowed to use Huawei equipment and in which part of the network. That was probably an even more significant delaying factor than Covid-19 in 2020," Koytcheva added.
One of the key reasons that deployment is accelerating is that consumers are now buying devices that are 5G-enabled in 2021. | Wikimedia Commons
Although the speed of rollout is improving in western Europe, this relatively gradual start means that 5G won't account for more than half of cellular device connections in the region until 2024, predicts Koytcheva. Different regions are switching to 5G at a different pace, but the trend across western Europe, North America, China and other advanced markets in Asia remains the same -- operators have now largely committed to upgrading from 4G, and are rapidly getting on with the builds.
One of the key reasons that deployment is accelerating is that consumers are now buying devices that are 5G-enabled in 2021, CCS Insight expects 560 million 5G-capable smartphones to sell. In a turning point for the industry, Apple released its first 5G-equipped iPhone at the end of 2020, which triggered a "smartphone supercycle" that saw many users replace their devices.
After a huge dip in sales, smartphones have now started selling again with the second quarter of 2021 seeing a 10.8 per cent increase in shipments year-on-year. Previous analysis by IDC predicted that 5G device shipments will increase by 123 per cent in 2021 as compared to 2020 and that by 2022, they will make up more than half of all smartphone shipments. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Global health crises, 5G smartphones, 5G in western Europe, 5G network, 5G report, health crises in national lockdown
India may not see a billion smartphone users even by the end of this decade and there are seven key challenges to achieve 100 per cent smartphone penetration, according to a new report. With the shrinking addressable base for smartphones, India is likely to have 887.4 million smartphone users by 2030, said the report by Gurugram-based market intelligence firm techARC.
The new smartphone user acquisition has been on a decline since 2018, after 4G drove switch to smartphones as it ushered several new use cases and forced feature phone users to upgrade. This, however, is not the case with 5G, which can substantially bring out a new use case for the mobile users compelling the feature phone users to move to a smartphone.
Affordability is the first concern even if users would discover their own use cases. "This is on account of both - investment in the device and the recurring data cost. Even to own a device, it's a substantial increase in the outlay for around 200-250 million users who cannot spent more than Rs 1,500 on a mobile device," said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst, techARC.
Even to own a device, it's a substantial increase in the outlay for around 200-250 million users who cannot spent more than Rs 1,500 on a mobile device. | Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash
Second reason is that there are no models that could self-subsidise the smartphones for this potential audience, who are on the other side of the fence waiting to join the smartphone arena. "Advertising-based revenue and value-added driven revenues are negligible for such audiences where advertisers would not be ready to spend much as this is not their target audience," the report mentioned. So, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) cannot work out any model of recovering partial cost of the device upfront and then realising the gap in due course through other streams.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) cannot work out any model of recovering partial cost of the device upfront and then realising the gap in due course through other streams. | Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash
The third key reason is that the OEM ecosystem is gradually moving away from the entry segment. All major OEMs have disinvested out of the entry segment (less than Rs 5,000) where the first-time smartphone user would fall. Rather OEMs are moving to higher average selling price (ASP) as consumers are willing to spend more (15-35 per cent) on their next upgrade/replacement of smartphones.
The fourth reason is that the OEMs are adding more features and functions to their smartphones to facilitate paying users leverage more from the device by consuming content and other services, which are subscription based. The interest of OEMs is gradually moving in this direction, where they could increase the lifetime value (LTV) per smartphone user by getting a pie of the services that the users are paying for.
"Another reason is that attempts such as a hybrid smart-feature phone, haven't paid off well. Though it has got in additional 80-85 million users into the digital ecosystem using fundamental digital services, majority of the featurephone users haven't accepted this 'workaround' wholeheartedly," said Kawoosa.
Attempts such as a hybrid smart-feature phone, haven't paid off well. | Photo by The Average Tech Guy on Unsplash
The sixth reason is that globally, we are witnessing prices of components going up on the one or another pretext. This is only forcing the OEMs to increase the cost of the devices and in a very hypersensitive market like smartphones, it is very challenging for the OEMs to frequently trade-off between input costs and the market opportunities.
Globally, we are witnessing prices of components going up on the one or another pretext. | Photo by Yiorgos Ntrahas on Unsplash
Finally, the entire smartphone ecosystem is interested in investing in opportunities which are rewarding. For example, when we compare education and gaming as two areas of immense opportunity, the entire smartphone ecosystem has preferred to make considerable investments in gaming than education. "There is hardly any OEM focusing on making devices affordable so that more and more students could benefit from digital means of education. But over the past two years, we have seen several OEMs making gaming smartphones in the affordable segments," the report argued. The result: At 4.9 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for smartphone subscriber growth, India may not have a billion smartphone users even by 2030. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: gaming, education, affordable, market, report, reason, device