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The OpenXR Framework & Meta’s Prototypes

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As the metaverse unfolds and more and more companies are looking to join the fray we are seeing the progression of development life cycles of various hardware and software.

Virtual reality headsets are getting smaller, faster, wireless, and more portable than ever before. As the hardware advances, we are also seeing a seamless transition on the software side to OpenXR.

The Future of Virtual Reality

As headsets evolve, the likes of Quest 1 & 2 and the upcoming project Cambria will all look to build upon the OpenXR standard framework. The multi-billion-dollar wager on the future of XR tech by Meta proves that this industry is here to stay — hence standards need to be set and built upon for cross-platform redundancy. In a virtual roundtable discussion with reporters, Meta’s own Mark Zuckerberg announced the latest in a series of prototypes that will be paving the way for the future of XR.

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Meta is looking to innovate in massive ways as it looks towards a consumer-based future in the metaverse where users will bask in full XR glory for media consumption, shopping, entertainment, and more.  While this will unfold over the next decade or so, the reality is that we are in the very early days of both augmented and virtual reality technology and will continue to see incremental improvements over time.

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The Holocake 2 prototype

Other hardware suppliers like Pico and HTC will also look to move forward with the same standard. HTC is one of the earliest adopters of OpenXR portability and had already built out developer resources well before their counterparts, however, as of this writing, it appears Oculus has followed suit and surpassed them in terms of support on the development side.

A number of leading organizations and companies have also come together to create the Metaverse Standards Forum, which is being created to foster interoperability standardization for an open metaverse.  Simply put, this will be a consortium to collaborate on a standardized framework, the likes of which OpenXR has already developed and deployed at least for the XR industry.

What is OpenXR?

OpenXR is an open, royalty-free standard for access to virtual reality and augmented reality platforms and devices. It was first introduced by the Khronos Group back in 2017 at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC). It was later released as a professional version for developers in March of 2019, and that’s when we first got our hands on it. OpenXR was created to form a baseline for development across virtual and augmented reality devices.

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Image Courtesy: Khronos.org


What does OpenXR mean for the future?

As mentioned earlier, OpenXR will evolve as a standard in place for the development of virtual and augmented reality applications. We will begin to see applications using similar frameworks for development which will create apps that are device agnostic and can be run on any device. Similar to how we have games for both Xbox, Playstation, and PC – We will begin to see uniform applications for all major hardware platforms and device types (Pico Neo 3, Quest 2, HTC Vive Focus 3).

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This will also apply to PC-powered VR devices as well as AR headsets in the same way as the current standalone ones. This means current AR devices like the Microsoft Hololens 2, and even legacy VR devices like the tethered Oculus Rift S. The OpenXR cross-platform standard will get full support from others in developer preview form, with extra backing from the key chipset and XR accessory makers.

This might not seem that impressive to the layman, but the reality is that supporting all these devices meant that both Oculus and Microsoft had to release OpenXR compatible runtimes for both Intel and ARM architectures. This means that for both developers and businesses alike, the same applications will be able to run across PC-powered headsets, standalone Android-based headsets, and even HoloLens mixed reality goggles – all of which will save a ton of time and money in the development of universal virtual experiences.

Developer previews are also underway for two other high-end devices on the market; The Valve Index – a SteamVR-based headset and Varjo, an immersive mixed reality headset that focuses on ultra-high-resolution simulations. With all of this adoption and industry support ramping up from all sides, we can expect to see more and more adoption as momentum builds for the OpenXR standard.


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TECHNOLOGY

The Dark Side of Killer Drones

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The Dark Side of Killer Drones

Killer drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been a topic of much debate in recent years.

On one hand, these drones have the potential to be used for a variety of beneficial purposes, such as surveillance, search and rescue, and targeted killing of terrorists. On the other hand, there are serious concerns about the potential negative consequences of using killer drones, such as the loss of innocent lives, violation of international laws, and the psychological impact on both the drone operators and the communities affected. In this article, we will explore the dark side of killer drones.

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Source: Crown Copyright/ BBC

1. More Innocent Casualties

One of the primary concerns about the use of killer drones is the risk of innocent casualties. Drones are often used in conflict zones, where the situation is often complex and fluid, making it difficult to accurately identify targets. As a result, there have been numerous reports of innocent civilians being killed or injured in drone strikes. For example, a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimated that between 384 and 807 civilians have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and 2019.

2. Violation of International Laws

Another major concern about the use of killer drones is the potential violation of international laws. The use of drones in conflict zones raises questions about the legality of targeted killings, the right to due process, and the protection of civilians. The United Nations has called for greater transparency and accountability in the use of drones, and several human rights organizations have criticized the use of drones as a violation of international law. For instance, in 2013, a report by Human Rights Watch found that the US drone program in Yemen was violating international law, including the right to life and the prohibition against arbitrary killing.

3. Psychological Impact on Operators

The use of killer drones also has a significant psychological impact on the operators who are responsible for carrying out the strikes. Drone operators often suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. This is partly due to the fact that drone operators are often required to carry out long-distance killings, often for extended periods of time, and the fact that they are often isolated from the consequences of their actions. For example, a study by the University of Utah found that drone operators were more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD and depression compared to other military personnel.

4. Stronger Dammage on Communities

The use of killer drones also has a significant psychological impact on the communities affected by the strikes. The constant threat of drone attacks can cause significant stress and anxiety, leading to social and economic disruption. For instance, a report by the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic found that drone strikes in Pakistan had a significant psychological impact on the local population, including symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.

Conclusion

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Sources: Thales, General Atomics, Northdrop Grumman, EMT Penzberg, Prox Dynamics | © DW

The use of killer drones raises serious concerns about the potential for innocent casualties, violation of international laws, and the psychological impact on both the drone operators and the communities affected. The negative consequences of using killer drones far outweigh the benefits, and it is imperative that steps are taken to limit their use and ensure greater transparency and accountability. The international community must work together to establish clear guidelines for the use of drones, to ensure that they are used only in a manner that is consistent with international law and human rights.

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Vodafone Ireland turns to Amdocs to drive enhanced customer experience

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Cloud Computing News

Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


Vodafone Ireland has chosen Amdocs, a provider of software and services to communications and media companies, to transition its infrastructure and application workloads to the cloud, enabling an enhanced customer experience and rapid adoption of the latest 5G innovations.

Under the agreement, Amdocs Customer Experience Suite (CES) will migrate from Vodafone Ireland on-premise to the cloud, providing the Irish operator with greater flexibility and capacity to support its future growth.  

Mairead Cullen, CIO at Vodafone Ireland, said: “Moving to the cloud is a key part of our strategy as we look to become even more dynamic, agile and responsive to our customers’ needs. We have a long-standing relationship with Amdocs and we’re pleased to be collaborating with them on this important initiative.”

Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at Amdocs, said: “By migrating its IT services infrastructure to the cloud, Vodafone Ireland can ensure it has the foundations in place to achieve growth and further enhance the experience of its customers.

“We are excited to be taking such a central role in the company’s cloud strategy.”

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

With access to large amounts of data made available to businesses, maintaining and governing the kind of data that is accessible to users have become significantly essential.

Proper data and analytics governance in organizations can help them in achieving on-point data and analytics processes.

The use of data and analytics is increasing across practically all industries. Due to the availability of inexpensive storage alternatives, organizations have access to more data. It’s not surprising that the usage of analytics due to access to extensive data has expanded to every part of the company when you take into account the growing number of user-friendly tools for managing, retrieving, and analyzing data. 

However, a lot of effort goes into managing data and analytics. Thus, organizations must ensure that their efforts are aligned with their business priorities, and the data is accurate in nature and thoroughly secured. Without analytics governance, even if the organization has a good hold on its data governance policies, the advantages of establishing policies and processes to govern the analytics process still stand. As data governance guarantees your business has processes and standards around the use of data, analytics governance provides the same level of oversight to the way analytics initiatives are built and delivered.

Aligning Data and Analytics Governance

Data and analytics governance initiatives must be closely related to organizational strategies. However, businesses frequently base their data and analytics governance processes on data rather than the business. Here are a few points on how businesses can align their data and analytics governance with their business outcomes.

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Trusted Governance

Forming business decisions based on the notion that “all data is equal” is no longer a sound strategy because data and analytics capabilities exist across a company and differ in nature. Instead, create a paradigm of trust-based governance that allows for a dispersed data and analytics ecosystem and is able to help business executives make decisions that are more confidently appropriate to the circumstances.

Digitization

With the essence of developing technology, digitization has taken over almost every business to stay relevant in the market. However, for businesses to gain the best outcomes from the digital space, digitization is essential. And for successful digitization, data and analytics governance must function based on factors like digital ethics and transparency. Therefore, ensuring that the values and concepts of digitization are reflected in the data and analytics governance is crucial to significantly align it with business outcomes.

Data Security

Today, organizations are aware of the potential risks associated with their businesses and securing data has become a necessity. This awareness implies that they address both the threats and the possibilities brought about by data and analytics. Organizations frequently manage risk and market potential independently, and they also do not really prioritize information security when assessing business results. Therefore, data and analytics governance authorities should have interdisciplinary teams capable of making decisions that are well-balanced, giving risk, opportunities, and security the appropriate weight while considering the organizations’ future interests in mind.

 

Today, businesses are aware of the fact that without effective data and analytics governance, their initiatives and investments in data and analytics won’t be able to satisfy important organizational goals like increased revenue, cost reduction, and improved customer experiences. Therefore, aligning it with business outcomes is critical for business success.

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