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Tech Tuesday: Useful tools for your business’s hot-off-the-press communication  

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Tech Tuesday: Useful tools for your business’s hot-off-the-press communication  

Effective communication is without a doubt essential to the success of any organisation.

In 2020, when the majority of the Australian workforce was ordered to work from home, many aspects could quickly adapt thanks to some crucial downloads, hardware upgrades, and effective internal communication tools at their disposal because today’s business processes are largely enabled by technology.

If an organisation wants to promote a creative culture, its staff members must feel empowered and comfortable sharing their thoughts and problems. Digital communication tools are more crucial than ever as the company spreads from offices to kitchen tables. Online video conferencing and in-person meetings have made communication with colleagues and customers easier and more convenient than ever before. 

Your small business has a variety of alternatives for collaboration, including software, a mobile app, and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

This week’s edition of Tech Tuesday offers a list of new-age communication solutions your business can utilise for effective functioning and efficiency. 

8×8 Conversation IQ

8×8 Conversation IQ extends formal contact centre capabilities, such as quality management and speech analytics, to any 8×8 cloud communications users. The new offering applies conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to help organisations uncover insights, foster coaching, and ensure professional engagements deliver consistent experiences across the entire enterprise, for all user roles, from the contact centre to the front desk and the back office.

8×8 Conversation IQ is delivered via 8×8 XCaaS (eXperience Communications as a Service™), a single-vendor, integrated cloud communications and contact centre platform, enabling team leaders and supervisors throughout an organisation to oversee, evaluate, score and analyse voice interactions anywhere in the organisation. 

8×8 Conversation IQ provides easy-to-use, consistent and automated evaluation, reporting, and analytics capabilities that deliver AI-infused actionable insights into employees’ communications effectiveness, process adherence, and regulatory compliance. 8×8 Conversation IQ also supports voice interactions on Microsoft Teams endpoints via the 8×8 Voice for Microsoft Teams Direct Routing as a Service offering. Simple installation does not require professional services or separate multi-vendor applications, reducing complexity, risk, and cost.

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For more information, visit: 8×8 Conversation IQ

Podium 

Podium is a communications platform that enables companies with a local presence to conveniently connect with their customers at critical touchpoints to help them strengthen their business. Through its SMS-based platform, Podium enables over 100,000 local businesses to communicate with their customers on the platform they use most frequently: text. 

Today, email communication has less impact, and phone calls are inconvenient, but many Australians live and work on their smartphones. SMS text messages have a 98% open rate and a 209% higher response rate than phone, email or Facebook. Moreover, three in four consumers prefer to interact with a business via text. 

With a focus on ease, speed and convenience for customers, Podium enables local businesses to gain reviews, collect payments, communicate with customers and capture leads – all from a single inbox. Since March 2020, when the first lockdown began, Australian businesses have sent over six million messages and received over 200,000 reviews through Podium.

For more, click here.

Avaya Cloud Office

Avaya Cloud Office is a cloud-based platform that Avaya launched in July 2020 to deliver UCaaS (unified communications-as-a-service) and CCaaS (contact-centre-as-a-service) capabilities.

Avaya Cloud Office is designed for small-to-medium enterprise and government customers and consolidates communication and collaboration tools into a single, office-in-a-pocket application. This supports hybrid work arrangements by enabling employees to call, meet, share and collaborate anywhere on iOS and Android devices. Avaya Cloud Office has over 130 integrations – including Google G-Suite, Salesforce and Outlook.

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By removing application chaos and simplifying the experience into a single platform, overload is eliminated, and worker productivity and collaboration are improved. Customers, in turn, reap the benefits of improved agent reachability, additional support for remote staff, and an all-in-one, holistic solution. Local organisations that have benefitted from Avaya Cloud Office include YMCA Victoria (The Y), AECC Global and InnerVision Engineering.

More here.

Socialsuite is a global leader in impact technology, offering a simple, cost-effective reporting platform for teams committed to changing the world.  As legislators and key stakeholders (including investors/funders and rating agencies) increasingly demand ESG and social impact reporting, there is a growing need for purpose-built technology to support organisations looking to create positive change. 

Founded in 2014, Socialsuite set out to help all organisations to show the change they are making.  Socialsuite has clients across the Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe. They include companies from various sectors, government agencies, philanthropic foundations, not-for-profits and NGOs.

Socialsuite ESG has been adopted by more than 70 publicly traded companies globally, with a combined market capitalisation of more than $5 billion. Customers come from various industries, including agriculture, biopharma, fintech, media, mining, oil & gas, therapeutics, and software. A full list of Socialsuite’s ESG clients, which include companies listed on the ASX, NZSE, NASDAQ, NYSE and OTC Markets, can be found online.  

More here.

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Amazon won’t have to pay hundreds of millions in back taxes after winning EU case

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Amazon won’t have to pay hundreds of millions in back taxes after winning EU case

LONDON (AP) — Amazon won’t have to pay about 250 million euros ($273 million) in back taxes after European Union judges ruled in favor of the U.S. e-commerce giant Thursday, dealing a defeat to the 27-nation bloc in its efforts to tackle corporate tax avoidance.

The ruling by the EU’s top court is final, ending the long-running legal battle over tax arrangements between Amazon and Luxembourg’s government and marking a further setback for a crackdown by antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.

The Court of Justice backed a 2021 decision by judges in a lower court who sided with Amazon, saying the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, had not proved its case that Amazon received illegal state support.

“The Court of Justice confirms that the Commission has not established that the tax ruling given to Amazon by Luxembourg was a State aid that was incompatible with the internal market” of the EU, the court said in a press release.

Amazon welcomed the ruling, saying it confirms that the company “followed all applicable laws and received no special treatment.”

“We look forward to continuing to focus on delivering for our customers across Europe,” the company said in a statement.

The commission said it “will carefully study the judgment and assess its implications.”

The case dates back to 2017, when Vestager charged Amazon with unfairly profiting from special low tax conditions since 2003 in tiny Luxembourg, where its European headquarters are based. As a result, almost three-quarters of Amazon’s profits in the EU were not taxed, she said.

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The EU has taken aim at deals between individual countries and companies used to lure foreign multinationals in search of a place to establish their EU headquarters. The practice led to EU states competing with each other and multinationals playing them off one another.

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Tesla autopilot recalls: 2 million vehicles need to have their defective systems fixed

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Tesla autopilot recalls: 2 million vehicles need to have their defective systems fixed

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla is recalling nearly all vehicles sold in the U.S., more than 2 million, to update software and fix a defective system that’s supposed to ensure drivers are paying attention when using Autopilot.

Documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators say the update will increase warnings and alerts to drivers and even limit the areas where basic versions of Autopilot can operate.

The recall comes after a two-year investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into a series of crashes that happened while the Autopilot partially automated driving system was in use. Some were deadly.

The agency says its investigation found Autopilot’s method of making sure that drivers are paying attention can be inadequate and can lead to “foreseeable misuse of the system.”

The added controls and alerts will “further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility,” the documents said.

But safety experts said that, while the recall is a good step, it still makes the driver responsible and doesn’t fix the underlying problem that Tesla’s automated systems have with spotting and stopping for obstacles in their path.

The recall covers models Y, S, 3 and X produced between Oct. 5, 2012, and Dec. 7 of this year. The update was to be sent to certain affected vehicles on Tuesday, with the rest getting it later.

Shares of Tesla slid more than 3% in earlier trading Wednesday but recovered amid a broad stock market rally to end the day up 1%.

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The attempt to address the flaws in Autopilot seemed like a case of too little, too late to Dillon Angulo, who was seriously injured in 2019 crash involving a Tesla that was using the technology along a rural stretch of Florida highway where the software isn’t supposed to be deployed.

“This technology is not safe, we have to get it off the road,” said Angulo, who is suing Tesla as he recovers from injuries that included brain trauma and broken bones. “The government has to do something about it. We can’t be experimenting like this.”

Autopilot includes features called Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control, with Autosteer intended for use on limited access freeways when it’s not operating with a more sophisticated feature called Autosteer on City Streets.

The software update will limit where Autosteer can be used. “If the driver attempts to engage Autosteer when conditions are not met for engagement, the feature will alert the driver it is unavailable through visual and audible alerts, and Autosteer will not engage,” the recall documents said.

Depending on a Tesla’s hardware, the added controls include “increasing prominence” of visual alerts, simplifying how Autosteer is turned on and off, and additional checks on whether Autosteer is being used outside of controlled access roads and when approaching traffic control devices. A driver could be suspended from using Autosteer if they repeatedly fail “to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility,” the documents say.

According to recall documents, agency investigators met with Tesla starting in October to explain “tentative conclusions” about the fixing the monitoring system. Tesla did not concur with NHTSA’s analysis but agreed to the recall on Dec. 5 in an effort to resolve the investigation.

Auto safety advocates for years have been calling for stronger regulation of the driver monitoring system, which mainly detects whether a driver’s hands are on the steering wheel. They have called for cameras to make sure a driver is paying attention, which are used by other automakers with similar systems.

Philip Koopman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who studies autonomous vehicle safety, called the software update a compromise that doesn’t address a lack of night vision cameras to watch drivers’ eyes, as well as Teslas failing to spot and stop for obstacles.

“The compromise is disappointing because it does not fix the problem that the older cars do not have adequate hardware for driver monitoring,” Koopman said.

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Koopman and Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, contend that crashing into emergency vehicles is a safety defect that isn’t addressed. “It’s not digging at the root of what the investigation is looking at,” Brooks said. “It’s not answering the question of why are Teslas on Autopilot not detecting and responding to emergency activity?”

Koopman said NHTSA apparently decided that the software change was the most it could get from the company, “and the benefits of doing this now outweigh the costs of spending another year wrangling with Tesla.”

In its statement Wednesday, NHTSA said the investigation remains open “as we monitor the efficacy of Tesla’s remedies and continue to work with the automaker to ensure the highest level of safety.”

Autopilot can steer, accelerate and brake automatically in its lane, but is a driver-assist system and cannot drive itself, despite its name. Independent tests have found that the monitoring system is easy to fool, so much that drivers have been caught while driving drunk or even sitting in the back seat.

In its defect report filed with the safety agency, Tesla said Autopilot’s controls “may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse.”

A message was left early Wednesday seeking further comment from the Austin, Texas, company.

Tesla says on its website that Autopilot and a more sophisticated Full Self Driving system are meant to help drivers who have to be ready to intervene at all times. Full Self Driving is being tested by Tesla owners on public roads.

In a statement posted Monday on X, formerly Twitter, Tesla said safety is stronger when Autopilot is engaged.

NHTSA has dispatched investigators to 35 Tesla crashes since 2016 in which the agency suspects the vehicles were running on an automated system. At least 17 people have been killed.

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The investigations are part of a larger probe by the NHTSA into multiple instances of Teslas using Autopilot crashing into emergency vehicles. NHTSA has become more aggressive in pursuing safety problems with Teslas, including a recall of Full Self Driving software.

In May, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose department includes NHTSA, said Tesla shouldn’t be calling the system Autopilot because it can’t drive itself.

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AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this story.

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Why Was Sam Altman Fired? Possible Ties to China D2 (Double Dragon) Data from Hackers

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Theories are going around the internet why Sam Altman was fired. On an insider tech forum (Blind) – one person claims to know by third-hand account and how this news will trickle into the media over the next couple of weeks.

It’s said OpenAI had been using data from D2 to train its AI models, which includes GPT-4. This data was obtained through a hidden business contract with a D2 shell company called Whitefly, which was based in Singapore. This D2 group has the largest and biggest crawling/indexing/scanning capacity in the world 10x more than Alphabet Inc (Google), hence the deal so Open AI could get their hands on vast quantities of data for training after exhausting their other options.

The Chinese government became aware of this arrangement and raised concerns with the Biden administration. As a result, the NSA launched an investigation, which confirmed that OpenAI had been using data from D2. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, which is a major investor in OpenAI, was informed of the findings and ordered Altman’s removal.

There was also suggestion that Altman refused to disclose this information to the OpenAI board. This lack of candor ultimately led to his dismissal and is what the board publicly alluded to when they said “not consistently candid in his communications with the board.”

To summarize what happened with Sam Altman’s firing:

1. Sam Altman was removed from OpenAI due to his ties to a Chinese cyber army group.

2.OpenAI had been using data from D2 to train its AI models.

3. The Chinese government raised concerns about this arrangement with the Biden administration.

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4. The NSA launched an investigation, which confirmed OpenAI’s use of D2 data.

5. Satya Nadella ordered Altman’s removal after being informed of the findings.

6. Altman refused to disclose this information to the OpenAI board.

 

We’ll see in the next couple of weeks if this story holds up or not.

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