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This week on TechRepublic’s Business Technology Weekly podcast, hosts Dan Patterson, Bill Detwiler, and Amy Talbot discuss how the blockchain helps provide birth certificates for marginalized people, advances in software defined networking, and how primitive technology can help you survive in the wilderness.


  • Microsoft believes blockchain tech could help fight human trafficking, child exploitation | Conner Forrest Microsoft is joining forces with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys to develop an open source, blockchain-based identity system that could help protect people who don’t have access to legal identification. Blockchain is the technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin, and this project is important because there are about 5 billion people without identification like birth certificates, making them more vulnerable to crimes such as human trafficking, prostitution, and child abuse. The project was announced at this week’s ID2020 Summit on Identity, as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. One of the UN’s goals is to provide legal identity to all by the year 2030, and the idea is that blockchain-based identification could help toward this goal.
  • Reasons behind the growing use of SDN in the enterprise | Teena Maddox For those ready for the next step in network traffic control, the answer might be software-defined networking (SDN), which uses software and policies to define consistent network behavior and responses, as opposed to using individual hardware devices with their own configuration. The results of a recent research by Tech Pro Research indicate that SDN is becoming a lot more popular. Respondents were more familiar with the concept than when the same poll ran in 2013. SDN implementation also jumped substantially, with 32% of respondents saying their companies plan to use it. That’s way up from 6% in the last survey. Flexibility was a top driver for companies that have gone the SDN route. Positive outcomes after implementation included faster production time for new business solutions and improved network performance.
  • Meeker’s Internet Trends 2016: Keep an eye on messaging, UI, big data, and connected cars | Conner Forrest Venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s internet trends list came out this week. This is a report she does every year that outlines global trends in internet use, as well as shifts in the way the internet is used as a tool for business. Among the trends she identified this year are the growth of messaging apps and platforms, the increase of voice input as a way to interact with devices, and the rise of autonomous cars, or smart features in cars. A couple of business takeaways: First, since messaging apps are becoming the “second home screen” for many users, businesses should target these apps to stay in front of their customers. Second, as outlined in the report, companies like Amazon are stepping all over giants like Walmart, so business leaders should develop a contingency plan for dealing with potential disruptors. Or, in other words, disrupt themselves before someone else does.
  • How Timescope’s public VR terminal can show the past or future of a significant site | Jason Hiner There’s a startup in Paris that’s hoping to use VR to enhance the experience at historical sites. Its first project was a VR headset, set in a kiosk at the Place de la Bastille in Paris. That’s where the Bastille, the place that got stormed, starting the French Revolution, would be if it hadn’t been torn down in 1789. But thanks to the power of VR, visitors can experience the site as it would have looked when the building was still standing. The company is pitching the idea to other historical sites, and it’s also hopeful that it can be a way for people to experience future built environments like skyscrapers and stadiums.

Cover Story:

  • How to survive in the wilderness using primitive technology | Dan Patterson This summer millions of people will venture into nature. Many of them will carry technology with them, from mobile phones to fitness trackers. It’s easy to think about tech as a modern idea. Wilderness expert, anthropologist, and adventurer Tom McElroy explained to TechRepublic how indigenous cultures have innovated with primitive gadgets and machines for thousands of years. At Tom’s school, Wild Survival, he teaches everyone from kids to scouts to Navy Seals how to build machines like debris huts, water pumps, and friction-based fire thongs. Tom believes that technology comes from nature, and that going outdoors should be like going home.


  • 3D Printing Survey | Amy Talbot In 2014, we conducted a survey to get your views on the newest 3D printing technologies. Now we’re updating our research to see how attitudes and uses have changed. We’d like to hear whether 3D printing is in use at your organization, why your company might not see a need for it, what benefits you might find or have observed in it, and how and where you think it will impact your industry in the future. Is your company poised to take advantage of the possibilities or is 3D printing not a factor in your business operations?If you’d like a free copy of the research report, normally available only to Tech Pro Research subscribers, you’ll have the option of entering your email address at the end of the survey.

Produced by Amy Talbot, Bill Detwiler, Jason Hiner, and Dan Patterson.

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