IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 2nd November 2016

By | 2 minute read | November 3, 2016

IoT and tech news round-up

Welcome to IBM’s weekly IoT round-up: the latest news in the connected world of the Internet of Things. This week, Harry Potter fans can control their smartphone with spells thanks to Google’s addition to the ‘OK Google’ voice command functionality; IBM acquires Fluid’s Expert Personal Shopper; and the House of Commons releases an app to help you keep track of how your MP is voting.

Your Android phone can now recognize Harry Potter spells

Google has added magic spells to the list of voice commands recognized by ‘OK, Google’, to celebrate its collaboration with the new Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Silence notifications and incoming calls with ‘Silencio!’ and turn the flashlight on and off with ‘Lumos’ and ‘Nox’. You can also virtually explore magical monuments in 1926 New York (the setting of the new film) through Street View.

Microsoft Probase tries to give computers common sense

This week, Microsoft Research released its work on tackling the challenge of giving background knowledge to machines, in order to help them better understand language. Background or connected knowledge is one of the key separators between the way machines and humans understand language, and provides vital context through which the most likely interpretation of a string of words can be selected. Knowledge database Probase is the heart of a public tool called Microsoft Concept Graph, which uses 5.4 million concepts to support text analysis via a process of elimination based on the most probable interpretation.

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Sudo lets you change online identities for one-time purchases

In response to being constantly spammed by promotional emails from once-visited stores and sites, Anonyome Labs have created Sudo App and Sudo Pay: two apps designed to allow users to create (and delete) temporary identities when making one-time purchases. Each identity includes customizable name, email address and phone number, and confines communication to the app itself, so your real email address won’t get spammed. For those worried about credit card fraud there’s SudoPay, which allows you to create prepaid debit cards that you can match up with any of your created identities. Since you load the new card with Apple Pay in advance, it won’t be connected to your real credit card.

New House of Commons app shows how MPs have voted

A new parliamentary app released this week will mean that members of the public can track how their MP has voted on particular issues. Traditionally recorded with pen and paper, votes are now recorded digitally, although MPs must still vote in person by going into the ‘Aye’ or ‘No’ lobbies. The app is called Commons Vote and is available for free.

IBM buys Expert Personal Shopper for a connected online shopping experience

IBM has acquired the Expert Personal Shopper (XPS) division of Fluid, a leading innovator in digital customer experiences. The XPS solution is a dialogue-based product recommendation platform designed to personalize the customer experience (with a little help from IBM Watson, of course.) XPS provides tailored recommendations as to products the user might want to buy, across online and mobile experiences.