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Vermont Law School Study on Electric Grid Resiliency Finds Urgent Need for Cost Recovery of Cybersecurity Investments

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: datacenterfrontier.com
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Research Commissioned by Protect Our Power Provides Pathway to Address Complex National Security Challenge

Cost recovery for electric sector cybersecurity investments and development of resilience metrics to gauge the industry’s progress are two of several recommendations unveiled today by Vermont Law School researchers who briefed the Critical Infrastructure Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) on the findings of a six-month study of electric grid security.

The study, conducted for Protect Our Power by the law school’s Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE), recommends that state utility commissions exercise their authority to increase the flow of confidential information regarding vulnerabilities and best practices. It also identifies the diversity of regulatory approaches to cybersecurity regulation by utility commissions across the country as a concern that warrants attention and improvement.

“Addressing anticipatory threats such as cyberattacks is a challenge that we are not fully meeting,” said Mark James, assistant professor of energy law and a senior research fellow, who led the institute’s research team. “As interconnections between and within distribution systems increase, the vulnerability of the electric grid also increases. Continuous communication between utilities and their regulatory commissions is the first step to improving the depth, quality and consistency of efforts to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities.”

Richard Mroz, former president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the former chairman of NARUC’s Critical Infrastructure Committee, said the study offers valuable insights into a complex problem that is rife with confusion and cost challenges.

“As a former state regulator, I know how difficult it can be to balance the needs for new investments to protect critical infrastructure against the potential cost to ratepayers,” said Mroz, who serves as Protect Our Power’s senior advisor for state and government relations. “That challenge is made even more difficult because protecting against cyberattacks is a new necessity, and the utility industry and regulators don’t necessarily have the legal tools required to evaluate and support such investments.”

Mroz said he believes this new research will help regulators evaluate whether they need new or additional polices to support investments to protect against an ever-growing variety of cyberattacks on the electric grid.

Protect Our Power, a national not-for-profit organization formed to advocate for greater electric grid security, commissioned the study in June 2018. The goal is to help identify a pathway, or model approach, for state electric utility commissions and the utilities they regulate to use in facilitating timely grid upgrades, including identifying an appropriate financial structure for equitably sharing the costs of such upgrades.

The IEE team conducted its research by: reviewing utility commission dockets and orders; analyzing state statutes and regulations; evaluating cybersecurity policies; and, interviewing representatives of investor-owned utilities, national trade organizations, public utility commissions, information security officers and others.

The study comes follows the recent Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, in which National Director of Intelligence Dan Coats warned that “Russia has the ability to execute cyberattacks in the United States that generate localized, temporary disruptive effects on critical infrastructure—such as disrupting an electrical distribution network for at least a few hours—similar to those demonstrated in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016. Moscow is mapping our critical infrastructure with the long-term goal of being able to cause substantial damage.”

Today’s briefing to NARUC on the study’s key findings occurred on the opening day of the NARUC Winter Policy Summit. The study will be finalized over the next several weeks and is expected to be released officially in early March, James said.

Protect Our Power is an independent, not-for-profit organization with 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) status. It has a highly experienced board of director, staff and advisory panel from across relevant government, industry and private sectors. Its mission is to build consensus among government and industry to strengthen our electric grid against all potential attacks.

Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a juris doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; four master’s degrees and four post-JD degrees.

SOURCE Protect Our Power

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Footprint Media Holdings Launches Bizz, a New Social Media App Designed to Boost Business

Vlad Poptamas

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Bizz - messaging done right
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Footprint Media Holdings, the company behind High TV, is proud to announce the launch of Bizz, the world’s first 5G messaging application designed to suit the needs of both individuals and businesses of all sizes.

Bizz is a revolutionary messenger service that combines voice, text, and video chat with content development, e-commerce and advanced community engagement tools. As a result, it’s the only application designed to cover all areas of social media under one roof.

Highlighted features include:

  • 4K live video streaming
  • Uncapped group chats
  • Group conference calls over voice or video
  • Voice and Video Calls
  • RADAR, a location based messaging service that allows users to send messages and advertisements based on geographic location
  • 24/7 streaming radio stations
  • End-to-end encryption, providing users with ironclad security
  • Campaigns/Polls in all types of Groups

What’s more, Bizz offers a number of unique tools for entrepreneurs and e-commerce professionals. Its platform can be transformed into a virtual storefront, where transactions take place on the application itself. Bizz even comes with its own marketing and customer service tools, allowing brands to offer discounts, resolve customer problems, and create on-app advertisements for videos and text channels.

More Than Just a Chat Tool

Other messaging services provide platforms where people can chat with their friends and families; Bizz takes it a step further by creating a fully-immersive ecosphere designed to connect people from all walks of life. Friends and family, government agencies and citizens, customers and brands are all vital to the Bizz community.

Bizz is the only communication tool designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s influencers. By incorporating all the popular features of the leading social media services, Bizz makes it possible for influencers to reach bigger audiences, where they can create and share high-quality multimedia content, participate in branded marketing campaigns, and engage followers in Bizz’s uncapped, personalized groups.during Beta Phase the App got 60K testers from all around the Globe both on iOS & Android.

With the presentation of its first non-beta version, Bizz is also opening the doors to its global franchise/license opportunity. Companies interested in working together with Bizz to extend its global reach by becoming its official ambassador within their local region, are being offered the unique possibility of participating in an enormous revenue potential.

According to Ronny Shany, President of Bizz, “we believe that the official launch of Bizz is opening the door to a new paradigm of integrated social media. Our franchisees/licensees stand to convert this once in a lifetime occasion into a thriving long-term venture. The sky’s the limit, and conditions will never be more favorable.”

 

SOURCE Bizz

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Asia

Vivo Brings Cutting-Edge Elevating Front Camera to V15Pro, Revving Up the Mobile Experience for Consumers Globally

Vlad Poptamas

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V15 and V15Pro Key Visual
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Vivo today unveiled the all-new V15Pro smartphone in key markets starting in India. The V15Pro is Vivo’s first model after the NEX to incorporate the industry’s first Elevating Front Camera. It packs upgraded AI technology, bringing consumers a stunning full-screen smartphone and has the Google Assistant built-in. Vivo once again is breaking new ground by elevating the mobile experience with this latest affordable V series addition that packs in many high-end technologies that usually appear in only the most premium phones.

In addition to the Elevating Front Camera, the V15Pro includes cutting-edge technologies like its AI Triple Camera that takes pro photography on the smartphone to another level, plus In-Display Fingerprint Scanning.

“Innovation is one of our core values. Aside from the industry’s first Elevating Front Camera which gave us the ultimate bezel-less display, we are always looking to bring other game-changing features, such as higher-quality cameras and smarter AI services that transport the mobile experience to a new dimension,” said Spark Ni, Senior Vice President of Vivo. “The V15Pro is a clear example of our commitment to bringing advanced products to consumers from all around the world and from all walks of life.”

Elevating Front Camera Makes Possible Super AMOLED Ultra FullViewTM Display

Taking inspiration from the ground-breaking NEX, V15Pro carries the same Elevating Front Camera, but better. V15Pro comes with a staggering 32MP Front Camera to capture even better selfies with unrivalled clarity. Vivo has further upgraded the mechanics of the Elevating Front Camera in V15Pro. Design enhancements also ensure the camera is sturdy enough to withstand daily wear-and-tear.

The innovative Elevating Front Camera which first debuted at MWC 2018 as a concept and was featured in the first NEX has effectively created the ideal full-screen display without compromising on photo quality or camera position. With the elimination of the notch, V15Pro now has a staggering 91.64% screen-to-body ratio, creating an unprecedented immersive viewing experience for gaming and video viewing. The Super AMOLED Ultra FullView™ Display on the V15Pro now has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and is 6.39 inches diagonally. Its side and top bezels have been reduced to a razor-thin 1.75mm and 2.2mm respectively.

Capture the Perfect Shot with a Stunning AI Triple Camera

V15Pro comes with AI-embedded solutions that take the mobile photography experience to the next level. With an AI Triple Camera, V15Pro allows consumers to take photos with stunning clarity and a wider perspective. Users can easily capture professional-grade photos with a snap, thanks to the 48 Million Quad Pixel Sensor[1], 8MP AI Super Wide-Angle Camera, and 5MP Depth Camera. The “four-in-one pixel” technology in the main rear camera combines four pixels into one large pixel to deliver high-quality 12MP photos even in the dark. The AI Super Wide-Angle Camera can expand up to 120 degrees[2], capturing more people and fuller landscape shots.

This powerful hardware is complemented with AI to make professional photo-taking a breeze. Borrowing from V11, V15Pro is equipped with AI photography features including AI Face Beauty and AI Portrait Framing. The all-new AI Super Night Mode makes shaky night shots a thing of the past, as consumers can now capture amazing night scenery without a tripod or a DSLR camera. AI Super Night Mode can instantly take multiple photos at different exposures. It then brilliantly combines them to greatly improve brightness and clarity, meaning night scenes can now be captured with a high level of detail and stability.

With the all-new AI Body Shaping feature, users can now look naturally perfect by adjusting every aspect of the body such as the waist and legs – users will no longer need to use photo-editing applications to look their best.

In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology Brings Out the Best in Sleek Design

V15Pro also incorporates Vivo’s popular In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology, which is now in its 5th generation. With higher fingerprint pixel density and more sophisticated algorithms, it allows consumers to unlock their phones in a more secure and intuitive manner.

Without a physical fingerprint pad, the sleek back cover adopts a unique Spectrum Ripple Design in Topaz Blue or Coral Red, that reflect different shades at different angles, complementing the futuristic innovations housed within V15Pro.

AI-Powered Performance for a Smoother and more Intuitive Experience

Vivo’s AI has made another leap forward, with a more powerful Jovi, the personal assistant that understands the user’s needs and desires better than ever.

The brand-new AI-powered Jovi Image Recognizer has access to almost 100 mainstream e-commerce platforms such as Shopee and Zalora, so it can easily search through databases of over half a billion products. With a simple scan, users can now directly locate the product they need and enjoy futuristic AI shopping.

Simply use the new Smart Button on the side of V15Pro – one press activates the Google Assistant, while two calls the Jovi Image Recognizer into action. It’s easy, intuitive, and fast. With the Google Assistant, users can get things done and stay on top of their day while on-the-go, in the car or at home – using just their voice. Whether users want to activate AI Face Beauty, clean up phone memory, or search for food pictures in their album, they can just utter the command and V15Pro will do it immediately.

Avid gamers will love the upgraded Game Mode 5.0. It comes with the new Competition Mode that allocates system resources to prioritize game performance, and Dual-Turbo which reduces frame-drop by 300% and increases smooth gameplay.

V15Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 675AIE Octa-core processor with 6GB/8GM RAM + 128 ROM, ensuring ultra-smooth performance. Users can also have peace of mind that their phone will be up and running at all times thanks to Vivo’s latest Dual-Engine Fast Charging technology, which tops the V15Pro up to about a quarter of power in just 15 minutes.

Availability

V15Pro will be available in multiple markets internationally. Price and color vary by region.

High-resolution product images of V15Pro are available at this link:

https://edelmanftp.box.com/v/V15Pro

SOURCE Vivo

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Banking/Financial Services

Wirecard and Tirol Werbung Launch Joint China Pay Initiative

Vlad Poptamas

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Wirecard, the global innovation leader for digital financial technology, and Tirol Werbung, the tourism organization of the Austrian state of Tyrol, are launching a new China Pay Initiative together with partners Innsbruck Tourism, Kitzbühel Tourism, the Kufsteinerland Tourism Association, Ötztal Tourism, the St. Anton Tourism Association and the Swarovski Kristallwelten. The initiative will enable a state-wide coverage of Wirecard’s mobile payment solution, integrating the most popular Chinese mobile payment methods into numerous Tyrolean companies. Initially, 150 businesses in the region will be equipped with the solution.

According to a Nielsen study, around 91 percent of Chinese tourists would be willing to spend and buy more abroad if more merchants accepted Chinese mobile payment methods. With this initiative, Wirecard and Tirol Werbung are therefore addressing the preferences of this target group. The state of Tyrol wants to offer Alipay, among others, as a payment option in as many businesses as possible. Wirecard is responsible for the entire payment integration and processing operations.

A 2018 report found that total spending by Chinese tourists in Austria had increased by 28 percent over the previous year, making China the top spending country for tax-free purchases in the Alpine nation among non-European countries. With a share of 30 percent of all tax-free sales in AustriaChina clearly ranks first, ahead of Russia (10 percent) and Switzerland (8 percent). While the average non-European tourist spent 508 euros, visitors from China spent an average of 616 euros per purchase.

Holger Gassler, Market Manager of Tirol Werbung, said, “We expect to gain a competitive advantage as the first Austrian province to introduce Chinese mobile payment methods on a large scale. Payment convenience plays a major role for this target group in particular and can make both the region and participating merchants more attractive to Chinese tourists. The introduction of Wirecard’s digital payment platform is also one of the first projects within the scope of Tyrol’s digitization campaign.”

Roland Toch, Managing Director CEE at Wirecard, added, “Experience shows that accepting Alipay as a new payment method can lead to an increase in transaction volume with travelers from China of more than 350 percent within one year. We are proud to partner with Tirol Werbung to offer our digital payment solution to hundreds of companies and to continue the digitization of their payment processes. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Tyrol and other European regions in the future.”

 

SOURCE Wirecard AG

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